One of my favorite places in all of Walt Disney World Resort is Epcot’s World Showcase. I love all of the different cultures, languages, and foods available right here. My kids enjoy conversing with the Cast Members in their native languages. Their experiences over the past few years have opened up the world to them, encouraging them to learn other languages and about other cultures. So it might not come as a surprise that whenever I think about what could or should be added to Walt Disney World, I always hope for a new pavilion in World Showcase. Can it actually happen?
As you probably already know, World Showcase is anchored by The American Adventure, which plays host to 10 foreign nations. These are, of course: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, (host The American Adventure), Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. To anyone walking through, World Showcase certainly seems full. Disney has done an excellent job at filling in the areas between the countries’ pavilions with trees, shrubs, and even extension scenery such as the miniature village train between Germany and Italy. They even have an extra area called the Outpost that serves as a waypoint between Germany and China, but all it really does is fill in a large parcel of land between the two pavilions that could have been another country.
During my research for this post, I went back and listened to show #105 – The World Showcase That Never Was Wayback Machine. In it, Lou and Ryan Wilson discuss past plans and future possibilities for World Showcase.
When World Showcase first opened, there were only 9 countries including The American Adventure. Morocco opened in 1984, and Norway in 1988. Prior to Morocco’s opening, there were 3 other countries announced – Spain, Israel, and Equatorial Africa. Of those three, Africa seemed to be the furthest along, having “coming next year” previews on television. Instead, the Outpost was built in the area that was to be Equatorial Africa. There is a ton of information about what was planned and why it didn’t work out, but I’m here to talk about the future.
So far, I’ve shown that there is a precedent for adding new pavilions to World Showcase, and even plans and ideas for a pavilion based on a geographic region, instead of just one country. Is there still room for a new pavilion?
Here are some current satellite maps of World Showcase. The only thing that hasn’t been updated in the satellite views is the extension of Norway for the Royal Sommerhus into the area between Mexico and Norway. I’ve marked out where each current country pavilion is. Each red box outlines a different lot that could host a new country pavilion. There have been others that have researched this same topic, and they may have some additional spaces identified, but these are the spots that seem to me most likely to be used in the future.
Lot #1 is probably not useful anymore, as the Frozen expansion to Norway has moved into some of that area. Lot #2 could actually be split into 2 lots, and is currently used as the Outpost. Lot #3 is where the miniature train village is. Lot #6 is used as the World Showplace convention space.
All of these spaces are used as backstage storage, access, and prep spaces, but could easily be converted into a new country if needed. So now that I’ve shown that World Showcase has grown in the past, and that there is still more room to grow, which countries could next be added?
There are so many countries, cultures, and peoples not represented that could be wonderful additions to World Showcase. One of my favorite regions is Oceania, which is made up of Australasia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia. I spent a few years living in Hawaii, and have fallen in love with the culture and lifestyle of the Polynesian peoples, and I’d love to see this region represented in the World Showcase. I’d use both lots between Germany and China (#2 on my map), and replace the Outpost. Each lot could represent two sub-regions of Oceania. There could be a waterway running through the double pavilion, with little “islands” that each highlight a major country or atoll in the region.
As for attractions, I know some people are strongly against having characters in the World Showcase. I for one don’t mind much, as long as the character makes sense for that country. The obvious choice for a character-based attraction and Meet and Greet would be Moana. One long-planned, constantly shelved attraction idea for Walt Disney World is Fire Mountain. Back in 2012, Josh Taylor wrote about Fire Mountain. This could be the perfect anchor to an Oceania pavilion. It could even be reimagined to fit Moana in, maybe as Tamatoa’s lair.
So, what do you think? Would you like to see an Oceania pavilion? Or is there another country or region you’d prefer? Let me know in the comments!
(Screenshot ©Disney/My Disney Experience app. Satellite image courtesy of USGS Earthstar Geographics SIO © 2017 Microsoft Corporation. Photo from the author’s personal collection.)
To learn more about Joshua and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.