August 1, 2018

EPCOT Center's Japan Omnimover Ride - and More

Let's kick off the month of August with a piece of concept art for a proposed Omnimover attraction for the Japan Showcase at Epcot. Or should I say, let's kick off the month with a gallery full of concept art for EPCOT Center's Japan Showcase.

This top piece from Imagineer Collin Campbell was designed long ago. But it is certainly not the only time Imagineers have looked at adding an attraction to the Japan location.

More recently, as with what's also happened elsewhere in World Showcase, there's been an idea to add even more shopping and dining options to entice guest to spend. More varied (and trendy) dining is certainly coming and has already been announced. Unfortunately the once proposed shopping street never saw the light of day. The art rendered above seems like something you'd find out in the ancient city of Kyoto. This would have been great! Kyoto is just an amazing city, and it's one I hope to return to some day.

A series of pieces for Meet the World.

The original plan for Japan at EPCOT Center was to build a huge revolving theater attraction. It did open but at Tokyo Disneyland along with the rest of the park in 1983, and it was called Meet the World. Think Carousel of Progress meets The American Adventure. Perhaps the suits felt two theater shows so close together wasn't a good idea, and this gave them the necessary excuse to scrap the very expensive plans to build it. Maybe it was the exclusion of World War II that made the suits decide it wasn't a good idea after all.

Matterhorn Bobsleds meets Japanese landscapes.

Perhaps a more thrilling and far less politically charged attraction is to your liking? How about a bobsled run inside a full scale replica of Mt. Fuji? Certainly a giant mountain thrill ride would be a hit. It's been done before at Disneyland in California, and the Japanese themed bobsled was considered as once was a full on Swiss version of the Anaheim favorite. These too were scrapped for a variety of reasons.

The bullet train idea.

In what would have been at the time a very unique attraction, a bullet train tour of the country was considered. If you remember how effective The Living Seas' Hydrolators were at bringing you under the sea, you can easily picture how convincingly the Imagineers could have pulled off a ride like this! Travelogue meets motion simulator in a fresh application.

Closing out this post is a variety of concept art as well as a small model made up to show what the Japan presence would have felt like when World Showcase was to be its own park.

As I mentioned in my recent trip report, I love the Japan pavilion for what it is, but how I would have loved it for what it could have been!

(Art and model copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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