Following on the heels of the news that Epcot’s Future World Will Be Replaced by 3 New Neighborhoods, we move to World Showcase for more big changes and additions. To our surprise, it’s not that the Brazil pavilion will be coming to Walt Disney World. Instead comes the announcement of the first-ever Mary Poppins attraction.
In this post, we’ll share details about this Mary Poppins-themed expansion to the United Kingdom pavilion, concept and poster art of the area, and offer some commentary about what this means for World Showcase.
This was arguably the announcement with the most fanfare at the 2019 D23 Expo Parks & Resorts panel, with a musical number introducing the expansion and Dick Van Dyke coming on stage (as spunky and chipper as ever) to introduce Bob Chapek’s announcement…
Unfortunately, it was almost entirely devoid of details beyond the fact that guests will be able to step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family, where their adventure will begin.
If those rumors remain accurate, the planned Mary Poppins attraction is a spinner. At the time, we believed this meant something a la Dumbo, but we’re now inclined to believe it’s more likely (again, assuming that rumor is still accurate–and it’s very possibly not) to be a carousel or small Ferris Wheel.
Any of these attractions would could explain why specifics weren’t announced. There was a lot of fanfare and excitement for this Mary Poppins expansion, and that same level of excitement probably would not have remained if Disney announced that the ride ‘anchoring’ Cherry Tree Lane is simply an off-the-shelf amusement park ride.
There’s also the possibility that the plans remain fluid, which is why more specifics were not provided. If more intellectual property is going to be injected into World Showcase, I’d like to believe it’s at least a charming and whimsical dark ride that is concealed from the rest of the pavilions and offers a rich experience.
Otherwise, I don’t really know what to say about Cherry Tree Lane. From the concept art flashed on screen at the D23 Expo (but not released online) it looks like take over the under-utilized courtyard behind the United Kingdom pavilion, and will mostly resemble the real-world London, albeit with some familiar landmarks from the films.
I used to be a hard-liner on characters in World Showcase, but more or less gave up on that once Frozen Ever After debuted and I realized that more intellectual property was an inevitability. Now, I simply hope for no fictional countries, tenuous connections, and other nonsense like that.
As far as IP integrations go, Ratatouille in France, Mary Poppins in the United Kingdom, and (if it ever happens) Coco in the Mexico pavilion are the most appropriate options. I’m mostly just thankful there was no announcement of a Wakanda pavilion in World Showcase. As much as I enjoy Black Panther, I probably would’ve lost it with that news.
As noted above, the biggest surprise of this World Showcase announcement is that it’s not a Brazil pavilion. We really thought the World Showcase poster to be revealed above Germany in the EPCOT booth on the show floor would be Brazil–not Mary Poppins.
After this addition was not announced at the D23 Expo two years ago, I remained steadfast that it was still coming to Walt Disney World. Now, after it once again hasn’t been announced, I will (once again) maintain my position/belief that Brazil is coming to World Showcase.
This is hardly some closely-guarded insider information or anything–the Brazil pavilion is pretty much an open secret at this point. Maybe the announcement will come on October 1, 2019? Maybe Disney is working out arrangements with Brazil for a big unveil? I’m not really sure what’s going on.
In other World Showcase developments, Disney announced that both the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along and Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 will debut in January 2020. The latter will feature a mix of new and existing scenes, plus a new story.
Wondrous China is the other new World Showcase Circle-Vision 360 film, and no debut date was given for it. This new film was announced two years ago at the D23 Expo, and will take guests on a spectacular journey across China. (Ages ago, we heard rumors that this would wind up at Shanghai Disneyland, so that could be the reason for the delay–but we truly have no idea.)
Overall, some interesting and surprising announcements…and ‘non-announcements’ for World Showcase at the 2019 D23 Expo. It’s tough to get excited about this…or really have much of any reaction…without more details. If anything, my main response to the World Showcase news is one of bewilderment that the Brazil pavilion wasn’t announced. I guess we shall see what happens on that front in the near future!
What do you think of the Mary Poppins expansion in Epcot’s World Showcase? Excited for this, disappointed, or in ‘wait and see’ mode? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment here? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!