Peter Quill, Star-Lord visits Epcot - image from the D23 Expo

At the D23 Expo a couple of weeks ago, Disney confirmed the rumor that the Guardians of the Galaxy are coming to Epcot. This announcement was lauded by all, and the Internet, for once, didn’t collectively lose their marbles.

Ok, that’s not true.

The announcement, like pretty much all announcements these days, was met with both passionate cheers and equally passionate jeers (because the Internet loves extreme emotions). Being both a Marvel fan and a Disney Parks fan, I found myself oscillating between the two extremes.

On the one hand, I am beyond excited that we are getting a Marvel attraction on the East Coast, especially since we’ve been told for years that it wouldn’t happen.

On the other hand, the question I have, like many others, is, “How do the Guardians of the Galaxy fit into Epcot?” What do they have to do with Future World or the promise of a better tomorrow? While we didn’t get a full answer at D23, they at least showed us that they are going to attempt to bring the two together by presenting a photograph of a young Peter Quill in front of Spaceship Earth.

This one picture is not enough for us to go on yet, but it is, at least for me, an indication that there will be at some connection. That one picture was also enough to give the little purple dragon in my head a spark of inspiration to run with. Why would Peter have gone to Epcot? What would draw him there?

First of all, when did he go? EPCOT Center opened in 1982 and, according to the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Peter was abducted by Yondu and the Ravagers in 1988. So, he had to have gone to the park sometime in those six years. After taking Lou’s Way Back Machine to that time period to see what the parks were like back then, I think Peter went in 1986.

Why 1986? I’m glad you asked.

1986 was the fifteenth anniversary of Walt Disney World, and the park celebrated with flair. They gave away prizes every fifteen seconds, everything from pins to cars.

Space Mountain and Mission to Mars (now Stitch’s Great Escape…for now) were still relatively new to the Magic Kingdom, and I’m sure the future Star-Lord, spaceman would have loved them.

However, that’s not why Peter was there in 1986. In fact, I suspect he could have skipped the Magic Kingdom all together. His goal was to get to EPCOT Center. EPCOT in 1986 was going through a bit of a growth spurt. Horizons opened up a few years prior, and Skyleidoscope began entertaining guests in the World Showcase Lagoon the previous year. These, however, were not why Peter was at EPCOT (though the weird dragon boats in Skyleidoscope took him off guard for a minute).

It wasn’t even The Living Seas opening at the beginning of that year that got him excited. No, his excitement was about the King.

The King of Pop.

The second Peter went through the turnstiles at the front gate (remember those?) he would have made mad dash for the Imagination Pavilion to check out the newly opened Captain EO. George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppala AND Michael Jackson? What could be better? Clearly this would was an instant classic and would be around for years to come (he’s in for a surprise when he gets back in a couple of years).

I have no idea what the Imagineers are planning in terms of explaining why the Guardians of the Galaxy are coming to Epcot but making a connection with Captain EO seems only natural. (Dear James Gunn, can you please put “We Are Here To Change The World” on Awesome Mix, Vol. 3?)

 

(Image and Captain Eo logo © Disney)

 

What do you think drew Peter to Walt Disney World in the 80’s, and do you think it’s enough to justify his “return” in a few years?

 

To learn more about Chris 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.

 

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