The reimagining of EPCOT was highly anticipated for many years, so when it was mostly unveiled at the 2019 D23 Expo, many were excited to finally see the park get the much needed love it deserved. Flash forward to 2022, and a good portion of the project remains in limbo or has been canceled, including a second phase of announcements which were anticipated to be made public at some point around right now, at least when the plan was formulated many years ago. While the originally envisioned festival pavillion was canned and Disney remains quiet on the Mary Poppins attraction for World Showcase, they had also been publicly ignoring the existence of the Play Pavillion, an announced replacement for the former Wonders of Life in World Discovery (formerly Future World East).
According to sources inside the company, that silence would remain through the D23 Expo 2022, and it did, with no mention of the existence of the project from executives or Imagineers. Strangely enough, just weeks later, the pavillion was mentioned on the Epcot 40 map given to guests, and its pavillion logo even featured on EPCOT 30 merchandise, which is still being released as we speak. Despite all of this, sources in the company now indicate that executives have “officially” canceled the project during a retreat to Walt Disney World.
Reportedly, it was the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, Josh D’Amaro, who pulled the trigger and killed the project. Those familiar with the pavilion said that a lot of the interior had already been installed and completed. Given that it is rumored that current management will throw away the Harmonious barges when they hastily replace the show, giving up on a half-built new attraction doesn’t seem so crazy by comparison. It’s unknown exactly why the pavilion is being canned, whether it be that it wasn’t a strong concept to begin with, that it might be dated by the time it opens, simply that EPCOT did not want to pay the expected labor costs of a space that required live entertainers and loads of Cast Members to staff a number of small exhibits, or some combination of all of the above.
Honestly, the news comes as no surprise to additional sources in the company who stated that programmers and other Imagineers who were working on the Play pavilion were let go during the initial round of layoffs at the height of the pandemic.
News Source: www.wdnt.com