I don't want this to come across as a hatred for the Guardians of the Galaxy. It's not. I am a comic book fan, and a comic book movie fan even more. I've enjoyed the living hell out of both Guardians of the Galaxy (henceforth GotG) films, laughed really hard at both of them. I've pre-ordered the 2nd film already on iTunes. Great movies, lots of fun, 2 thumbs up.
But, I've written about it multiple times. I HATE the idea of bringing GotG into Future World. I've explained why, I probably don't need to do so again.
But... this is a manifesto. Brevity isn't a close friend of mine. Let's sum up.
I think that GotG goes against everything that Epcot Center once stood for. I don't think that Disney is approaching the Guardians addition because Guardians is the way that they want to tell the story of Energy at Epcot. I think that Disney decided that they want to put Guradians into Epcot, and if (and that is a BIG IF) they even try and "fit" GotG into Epcot, it's going to be finding hackneyed ways to try and force it to fit.
In my workplace, we do a lot with acroyms for projects. Probably the same as everywhere else. It's at the point where a project isn't taken seriously if it doesn't have a catchy named acronym, so we actually take the time to come up with a word first, then try and figure out what words might fit. It's called a backronym. For example, let's say that I have a project that I want to come up with a name for. I decide that I want to call it ODIN, because saying "Hi, I'm Scott and I am currently in charge of ODIN". In order to do so, I need to take a bunch of business words, buzz words, whatever, and try and force fit them into ODIN. Maybe it's the "Operational Data Information Network"? Maybe the "Open Data Integration Node"? Who cares. I wanted to say I work on ODIN, and I can find a way to make that acronym happen.
This is the same way that Disney seems to be approaching fitting GotG at Epcot, if they are even approaching it at all. Oh, we want Guardians. Now, can we find a way to make that fit? Hey, call up some top-notch script writers!
Scene: Inside the Guardians spaceship
Starlord: Hey, it's good to be back on Earth! I can make a new mixtape! Wait, why are slowing down?
Rocket: We're running out of energy!
Starlord: Earth has gasoline! Let's fill up there at that Exxon Mobile gas station!
Rocket: Great, glad we filled up! Wait, we're being chased by <generic bad guy>
<an entirely unrelated adventure happens>
Rocket: Energy is awesome!
Could it be more integrated if they tried? Sure. Maybe we'll get lucky and it will be. I might take a stab at putting my money where my mouth is and trying to find a way to make GotG fit. I might just keep complaining. Who knows.
Either way, I wanted to add a couple lists of GotG related things that have been bouncing around in my head. Just kind of a collection of things related to this whole topic that I've been thinking of.
5 better places for Guardians of the Galaxy at WDW
Now, not all of these are ideal, I give you that. Some of them might be downright unpalatable to some of you. I get that. I'd argue that they'd still be better than in Future World.
5) Space Mountain Overlay
What if they decided to just take the existing space-based attraction that they have in Tomorrowland and update it to have Guardians of the Galaxy? Would it be an ultra immersive experience? Probably not, depending on how cheap they wanted to be? Would it be the best Guardians attraction ever? Nope. Would it lose a beloved attraction? Kind of.
Maybe it could be a seasonal overlay, like Disneyland does. Maybe it could be something that is a "Limited Time Only", announced that it would be there for 5 years in a Limited Engagement, drum up a little excitement while nodding the head at hardcore DisNerds that it doesn't have to be forever.
Either way, Tomorrowland is a mishmash of IP right now anyway, with Monsters Inc, Buzz Lightyear, some Star Wars merch, and the soon to be Tron coaster. One more IP here isn't breaking an entire theme park.
Still, probably a better option than Epcot.
4) Instead of Tron Coaster
Here Tomorrowland gets to keep everything the way it is, it just changes the intellectual property attached to a brand new attraction.
Heck, keep the same ride vehicles, just change the design of the theme. Would it be that challenging? The engineering work on the track layout is already done. You're changing set dressing. This is being built in a new part of the park, it's not removing an existing attraction. There is no reason they couldn't inject GotG here in Tomorrowland without losing anything existing. Even if they announced this change now, how many hardcore Tron fans are there out there that would be disappointed, and how many Guardians fans are there to drown them out?
This one is probably better than Space Mountain. Either would work, this is probably better.
3) Tower of Terror -> Mission Breakout
I'm going to step on some toes here I know. People HATED the idea of a Guardians overlay in Tower of Terror as much as I hated it over Universe of Energy. I get that. Tower of Terror is a fantastically themed ride, and fits in with its location in Hollywood Studios like a glove.
I'd argue however that Disney effed up here. Tower of Terror in California Adventure makes a lot of sense, its, you know, California. I'm not exactly sure where the Collector's Palace is located in California, but I couldn't find it on Google Maps.
With the Studios part of Hollywood Studios being taken out piece by piece, does it matter that Tower of Terror is a fit in the Hollywood section? I mean, if they are going to say that this park is about "living the movies" or whatever, there is no reason that Tower of Terror fits any more than Guardians does.
So, might as well blow up ToT in WDW as well, since we don't care for overall theme anymore. Might as well rip the bandaid off fully. It's probably too much to dream that they could bring back the Twilight Zone version in DCA once they opened the GotG version in Florida isn't it?
2) Rock n' Roller Coaster
This really farking kills me. They want the Guardians ride to be a roller coaster. The Guardians movies are as closely associated with music, so much so that the soundtracks are an integral part of the movies. I was listening to Vol 2 this morning while I worked! Well, gee, don't they have a roller coaster already that blasts off like a spaceship would, and has music highly integrated in it? I could swear that they do somewhere.
Oh wait, I know, they don't want to get rid of that musical juggernaut Aerosmith! I mean, all the kids these days are listening to Aerosmith! Look, I love me some Rag Doll, Walk this Way with Run DMC was fantastic. They gave us Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler. I get all of that.
But, what the hell. This fit is so freaking obvious that it is insane to me that this hasn't happened already. Who cares what you call it. Guardians of the Galaxy Blast Off and Rock Out, or something else that rolls off the tongue as easily as Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.
Really, we're killing Future World to save Aerosmith? What compromising pictures does Steven Tyler have of Bob Iger?
1) Guardian's Land expansion at DHS / Marvel Park
Look. Guardians is just as beloved as any of the other Marvel characters. The universe that they inhabit is vast and varied. They could do an entire land focused on the Guardians. Is it Ego? Is it Knowhere? Any other planet they could possibly think of? Go nuts!
Make a carousel that looks like Groot, an entire structure that looks like Groot has decided to create something to entertain the kids. Give us a Collector's Palace queue to something that is just as full of Marvel Easter Eggs as it can be.
Or screw it. Disney has made their money, and then some, on its Marvel acquisition. Make Universal an offer it can't refuse for the rights to the marvel characters. Build an entire theme park. The fabled 5th gate. Marvel is big enough, vast enough, that you could add lands, rides, shops as needed.
Just do it Disney. You are printing your own money at this point with both Lucas and Marvel. Invest some of that.
Next, something a bit harder
5 ideas better than GotG to replace UoE
5) Bill's Energy Adventure
Look. It's an OK idea. I don't think it's the bestest idea ever. Still, it'd be closer to fitting the original vision of Epcot Center than anything they will likely put out with the Guardians.
4) Climate Change Institute
Talk about your half-baked politically charged idea! Let's pretend that Disney decides to put the Imagination Institute out of its misery. That leaves Epcot lacking an institute!
What if Disney decided to steer directly into the political curve here and go all in on the entertain/educate/inspire aspects that made Epcot once great and try and inspire our next generation of environmental activists, scientists, or just general good citizens of the world. Maybe the Nye ride is a part of it, in combination with a film describing what we can all do to help, and some exhibits showing what science actually KNOWS about climate change.
Another half-baked idea, but taking the "we want a roller coaster" idea from what they are doing with Guardians and turning it around a bit (even stealing something from my friend George along the way).
Why not have a coaster that showcases all kinds of things about energy.
One of the great things about current electric cars is their energy storage-to-torque ratio. I read on the interwebz that modern EV have a ratio around 90% efficient, while standard cars are around 35%. For fun recently, I test drove a BMW i3. It's my current dream car. What can I say? On the road outside the dealership, the salesman said "hey, while nobody else is on this road, just punch it, from a dead stop". I was floored at how quickly it took off. It's like the takeoff on Rock n Roller Coaster or California Screamin'. Oh, and the Lucid Air just clocked in at 235 mph on their test track. So, we can use this instant take-off and high speed to showcase one of the cool things that modern EVs can give us right now.
Push it up to the top of a lift hill and showcase the potential energy that the coaster car has in it as it is ready to go over a drop. Show that potential energy convert to kinetic energy on the slope.
Take the track through a wind-tunnel and blast us with a gust of wind that seems to accelerate the car. Put us through a tunnel lit only by bio-luminescent algae. Drop underground and whip us past some mocked up coal/oil/gas deposits (see, I'm not all against Big Oil).
There are so many things that could be done. Just put some thought into it!
2) Elon Musk Presents...
Elon Musk, Tesla, SolarCity, Powerwall, SpaceX, Hyperloop, should I keep going. I know that Musk isn't the only player in this field right now, but I do think he's the most recognizable face.
Give him carte blanche to create something here that helps him inspire others in future of energy, renewable energy, and/or fossil fuel energy.
Go nuts Elon. Bring your special list of thoughtfulness, creativity, and a touch of crazy to this pavilion.
1) Pretty much anything else that ties to the original mission of Epcot Center
Or let's call it a cop out
I can speculate. I can imagineer. I can come up with ideas, good, bad, and terrible
(What about the Guardians doing a shot for shot remake of Captain EO?!? Starlord is Michael Jackson! Rocket is Fuzzball! Nebula can be the evil queen!).
Now, I'm not privy to things that Disney imagineering is regarding budget, location / zoning, watershed regulations, pretty much anything that would be needed to really get something up and running.
Disney does have all of this. They also have people who get paid to come up with ideas (people who don't have to try and cram in blog posts during lunch hour and conference calls).
The guiding principles were laid out decades ago. The sky is the limit. There are an infinite number of options they could go with that can fit into the modern theme park while living into the mission to entertain, educate, and inspire.
But, unless I'm way off here, that's not what we're getting. We're going to get Guardians crammed into Future World with little regard to what that means to the overall park.
They had options. They seemingly picked the ones that was the easy way out in all regards. Epcot was never about the easy way out. It is now.