Play Pavilion

Earlier this year, we wrote about how Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center park is finally rebranding its old Wonders of Life pavilion into something called the “Play Pavilion.” Now some new details have emerged about the attractions and activities that will be in that section of the park, including an interactive game based on Zootopia, the return of Animation Academy, and more.

Epcot’s Play Pavilion Details

Walt Disney World News Today has a breakdown of what guests can expect to find in the projection-mapped domed area when Play Pavilion opens in 2021. Here’s what’s in store for the revamped area:

  • Animation Academy will return under the guidance of Edna Mode from The Incredibles. Guests will once again be able to learn how to draw Disney characters in this relocated offering that was once housed at The Magic of Disney Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Nick and Judy from Zootopia will host an interactive game called “Hotel Heist”. You can see the entrance to this attraction on the right side of the concept art.
  • Character meet and greets for Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope, Joy and Sadness, and Baymax should find permanent homes here.
  • Adjacent to the Wreck-It Ralph meet and greet, guests will find an arcade, as well as a play area for toddlers.
  • As seen in the concept art above, live performers will take to the stage in the very center of the pavilion, roughly where the former Goofy About Health, Making of Me, and Anacomical Players stages and theaters once stood.

Let’s take these one at a time. For those who don’t know, Animation Academy is an artist-led activity in which guests can learn how to draw Disney characters and take their art home with them at the end of the session. Here’s an example:

The fact that this report specifically mentions the fact that this new version will be overseen by Edna Mode initially made me wonder if Disney was planning to remove the human artist element from this experience altogether and just have a video of Edna teaching the class from the front of the room. But it makes more sense to keep the interactive aspect and maybe have this be more akin to Turtle Talk with Crush, where a Disney cast member is performs the voice and controls the animation and is able to improvise in a live crowd situation.

As far as Zootopia goes, it’s not surprising to see that property making more inroads in Disney theme parks. The first film was a financial success, two sequels are apparently in the works, and a full Zootopia land is heading to Shanghai Disneyland.

The fact that this pavilion will be where guests can meet characters like Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope makes total sense, because the concept art has a similar feeling as Ralph Breaks the Internet‘s depiction of the Internet as a brightly-lit hub.

This area is aiming to open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World in 2021. As WDWNT points out, that opening should align with the planned debut of the nearby Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster, which means this pavilion will serve as a nice counterpoint for younger crowds or people who aren’t interested in experiencing that attraction. We’ll keep you posted on all of this as we hear more.

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