Epcot wanted a revamp. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy are right here to save lots of the day


By Frank Pallotta, CNN Enterprise

    (CNN) — Disney World is the crown jewel of the corporate’s Parks enterprise, however even crown jewels should be gussied up every so often. Now Epcot, one of many resort’s most beloved parks since its 1982 opening, is in the midst of an replace geared toward attracting a brand new technology of customers.

The corporate is relying on a bunch of intergalactic scoundrels to assist. “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind,” a state-of-the-art indoor curler coaster that includes the favored superheroes who debuted within the 2014 movie, opened on the Florida theme park on Friday.

It isn’t simply any on a regular basis attraction. This coaster is vital to future-proofing Disney’s Parks enterprise.

Epcot goes via the “greatest transformation in its historical past,” the corporate mentioned. Cosmic Rewind — an attraction that reportedly price $500 million — is the linchpin of that change.

Disney is incorporating a synergy technique with Marvel, one of many firm’s hottest movie manufacturers, to bolster a foundational a part of its enterprise because it updates one among its geekiest theme parks.

The technique

Disney’s focus has turned to streaming, with its most up-to-date earnings report targeted closely on Disney+ and its 137.7 million subscribers. However investing in its resorts stays essential for Disney as a result of it presents the corporate a deeper connection to customers that its streaming rivals cannot match.

“Streaming offers Disney on a regular basis presence in its customers’ lives, however Parks offers Disney head house with these customers like no recorded media ever can,” Robert Niles, editor of ThemeParkInsider.com, informed CNN Enterprise. “A parks or cruise go to turns into a lifelong reminiscence for thousands and thousands of customers — one thing that drives a lifelong affinity for the Disney model.”

The experience arrives as Disney parks are bouncing again again from a horrible two years. The corporate’s resorts have been hit notably arduous by the pandemic, dropping billions of {dollars}.

However the phase notched $6.6 billion in income on this yr’s fiscal second quarter — greater than double its gross sales from a yr in the past.

The corporate has spent the previous couple of years updating its resorts all over the world, typically leveraging its standard franchises. These embody “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” at Disneyland and Disney World in 2019 and Marvel’s Avengers Campus at California Journey in Anaheim, California in 2021.

Now it is Epcot’s flip. Enter “Cosmic Rewind.”

The experience

Epcot presents different thrill rides like “Take a look at Observe,” however it’s by no means been thought of Disney World’s most thrilling resort. That distinction belongs extra to Hollywood Studios, its theme park with rides primarily based on Star Wars and The Twilight Zone.

In reality, the unique Epcot wasn’t imagined to be a theme park in any respect, however reasonably Walt Disney’s deliberate futuristic neighborhood referred to as the “Experimental Prototype Neighborhood of Tomorrow.” Therefore the acronym.

Marvel is the most important title in leisure, and now Disney is utilizing it to spice up its resorts enterprise to draw households who might have discovered the earlier iteration of the park a bit, effectively, boring.

Disney gave CNN Enterprise a primary have a look at the experience, and “Cosmic Rewind” is something however boring. The rotating curler coaster matches the enjoyable of the sequence, whose two motion pictures have made greater than $1.6 billion on the international field workplace.

In reality, it is much less of a experience and extra like dwelling in your individual Marvel movie.

Company are plunged right into a storyline that performs out from the second they get in line. As soon as they’re on board, the coaster weaves via a battle between the Guardians and a large projection of a Celestial house being set to hit songs like Earth, Wind & Fireplace’s “September,” which matches the movie’s disco vibe.

That full immersion is strictly the purpose, in response to Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise. “We’re next-level storytelling the place our visitors will be capable to step into their favourite tales in all-new methods,” D’Amaro informed CNN Enterprise.

“As Walt at all times mentioned, Epcot ought to at all times be in a state of changing into and it has by no means stayed the identical,” he added. “Our aims are to maintain this particular park vibrant, alive and nonetheless nostalgic, however prepared for the longer term.”

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