Some Jerk With A Camera: 30 Years of EPCOT: The 1990s and 2000s

Some Jerk concludes his three-part EPCOT retrospective with a look at how the park has tried to enhance its image from the 1990s to today.

About SomeJerkWithACamera

Join Some Jerk With A Camera on location at Disneyland, California (and occasionally other theme parks!) for a series of whacked-out, irreverently irrelevant digress-alicious trips through some of the best and worst attractions and paraphernalia theme parks have to offer!


  1. Crossover Princess

    Did you ever hear about what happened at Soarin’ one Christmas? The line was 7 HOURS LONG! TV tropes pointed out you could have gone to the airport, got on a plane and get to Disneyland to ride their Soarin’ in less time.

    Also as I said I’m going to Disney World this fall… if I ride Mission Space, I’m riding the safe version. Don’t get me wrong, I love both Thrill Rides and spinny things, but even I think a NASA grade centrifuge is a bit too much…

    • It’s kind of telling that “Soarin'” seems more popular at Epcot than at California Adventure — it’s the whole “why recreate California IN California?”

      It does make sens that they wouldn’t retheme it. “Soarin’ over Florida” would be pretty dull.

      • I figured, given Epcot’s world-scope nature, they could have rethemed it to have a broader scope “Soarin’ Over Earth” or something.

        • Rumor is “Sourin’ Over the World” is in the works. They didn’t change the movie because they wanted a ride to guzzle up guests in a park that is lacking attractions, and it was the fastest and cheapest to just clone the California ride. Which…is what they did.

          But, the film and projection units are getting pretty old and worn out. Seeing artifacts on the film (dust, hairs, etc.) that, when projected, are about 3 – 4 feet long on the screen, is not uncommon.

          I suspect they’ll be looking into the IMAX curved screen 3D tech with digital projectors (it doesn’t currently use digital projectors), and, if the word (rumor) on the streets is anything, we’ll see this as part of the third theater they are adding in EPCOT (it will be a complete ride overhaul).

          No timeline, but the public construction permits have been filed for “Project 87”, and the rumors have come out from fairly solid “insider” sources, and it does make financial sense for them to invest more in that ride.

      • It’s also a function of what is available at the two parks. There is just much less to do at EPCOT, certainly less at an E-Ticket Thrill level. In fact, one could argue that while Sourin’ is certainly an E-Ticket at EPCOT, it’s possibly even a D-Ticket (or even a C-Ticket) at DCA due to the variety of other high thrill options that are available.

        DCA may be maligned by Disneyland fans, but it leaves WDW and EPCOT fans jealous. Post Carsland (which has the West Coast version of the Test Track ride system), it boasts 21 rides (give or take, I ignored “movies” like Tough to be a Bug). EPCOT has 9 (down from 10 now that Maelstrom is closed for the Frozen overhaul).

        Even if you add in stuff like Turtle Talk, American Adventure, O’ Canada Circlevision, Reflections of China Circlevision, Innoventions West (4 exhibits, no rides), Innoventions East (4 exhibits, 1 small “ride”), and all this is REALLY a stretch since most of these are B or C ticket…at best…only then does it even come close to what DCA has, and that’s if I don’t include stuff at DCA like Tough to be a Bug or Animators, etc…

        Sourin’ is popular because…there isn’t enough to do at EPCOT along those lines. Period.

  2. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    wow jerk you got it good.I really likes the ellen’s energy adventure ride that was there(it had her playing jepordy with albert einstein how could you not like that ride.)loved the kyle kallgreen cameo and perfect timing too sense he’s left channel awesome for new endevors.I’m so sorry you didn’t get to ride test track and you had to wait but hey you could go back there right now in 2015 and ride it.besides that though,I didn’t ride soarin or the three caberos ride cause we spent a short ride because my mom didn’t find epcot that impressive(besides test track and the ellen ride though).That spin around in circles ride created by nasa was actually made by two kids on the tv show fetch with ruff ruffman(a show that i enjoyed as a kid,but now that i’m in my teenage years it’s o.k but not really that interesting).Well i hope you have a fun time tony and don’t forget to send me some postcards while your there.


  4. One of my favorites of yours Tony! Love the Ellen ride mocking itself bit and your Matthew Broderick/Cam Clarke impression! One of your best man! You continue to be hilariously informative and entertaining! Though keep on the lookout. I heard tell about these mice that can crawl inside the human brain….

  5. Hi Oancitizen. Bye Oancitizen.

  6. Y’know, now that Disney owns Marvel and Star Wars, it would be a great opportunity to use the room in Epcot to create Star Wars and Marvel Superhero rides.

    • SomeJerkWithACamera

      It WOULD, wouldn’t it? But Star Tours is already at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (where they will soon be building a bunch of new Star Wars stuff), and unfortunately, Universal still holds exclusive east coast rights on Marvel-themed rides. Check out Marvel Island at Universal’s Islands Of Adventure – the Spider-Man ride and Hulk coaster are especially sweet.

      • Yeah, until Disney BUYS the East Coast.

        • Well, they don’t need to, necessarily. They are not allowed to use certain conflicting Marvel IPs which have already made an appearance at IoA. They can, however, use Marvel IPs which have not. Hence why you see them expanding new IPs with movies like GotG and Big Hero 6.

          For example, Hiro and Baymax had a meet and greet at Hollywood Studios. That is ok. However, having an Iron Man meet and greet on the East of the Mississippi (which is the line in the contract, iirc) parks is a no-no.

          So much so that when they had the wrapped Avengers Monorail, they ran it on the Resort line so it wouldn’t enter a park (not the EPCOT line, which would have sent it “into” a park and violated the agreement).

          Disney could, of course, purchase the rights. But, I doubt they will, and Uni/Comcast will have a very steep price on it until they decide what (if anything) they want to replace Super Hero Island with at IoA (Lord of the Rings, I hope??? Come on Tolkein Estate, give up the rights!)…

          If you are interested in reading the actual agreement (which is actually a grandfathered agreement between Marvel and Universal, not Universal and Disney), it’s here.

          • SomeJerkWithACamera

            Universal also has exclusivity on ANY Marvel-based rides. Disney can do meet-and-greets and preview screenings of Big Hero 6 and Guardians of the Galaxy at DHS, but they can’t make rides based on either on the east coast. That’s why both movies’ in-park previews were in DHS’ Sounds Dangerous theater, and NOT EPCOT’s Captain EO theater (whereas on the west coast, they were both in the Disneyland EO theater) – once the theater in EO starts shaking, it’s technically a ride. They also couldn’t say “Marvel Presents…” in either case.

          • @SomeJerkWithACamera

            For some reason I can’t reply directly to your post, but that’s probably because I’m watching Star Wars Episode I right now for the first time in 10 years, and that’s killing my karma.

            But, all I wanted to add was, I don’t see Disney purchasing those ride rights for quite a long time. At least not until after 2020. Or even later.

            The overseas parks are going to see major investments in Marvel, that’s already known. Especially the Asian parks.

            The only possible exception could be DLP, though I think the feeder markets for it (largely the UK) still make it a rather attractive place, and Disney Studios there needs a lot of help…it makes Hollywood Studios look well themed.

            I even played around with the idea recently with a small team of armchair Imagineers.


            But, Japan and both the Chinese Parks are certainly going to see Marvel concepts…

            And, the rumor is…Toontown is going away at Disneyland. That one I’m not so sure about, but…it could happen. The question there is…Frozen, Star Wars or Marvel? 😛

            The Cruise Lines are already on board (pun intended), with the recent overhaul of the Magic. The Wonder should be next, and then they’ll cycle through the Dream class ships…and there is still the rumor that there are 2 more medium class ships in the works (something I don’t doubt, the DLC line has been doing fantastic business).

            But, with the Magic refit, that answered one of my questions during the whole Marvel Buyout and license use rights discussion from a few years ago, since the ships dock in CA and TX, but most of them out of Port Canaveral or Miami. But, apparently, it’s acceptable to use them on the ships.

            I suppose the argument could be made that while the ships are in east coast ports, the places where these Marvel additions are located are not active (the kids clubs are not active until after leaving the port). But, I’m not an international contract lawyer. I just stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So…close enough?

    • Epcot’s not really the place for that anyway. Epcot is about real stuff.

      Hell, instead of hiring Bill Nye to co-star in one of their attractions, maybe they should have gotten him and his cohorts to design one or three, since he knows so much about making science attractive. Him, or the people behind “The Magic School Bus”.

      …Ah, what the hey, might as well just throw subtlety to the wind and literally just make a Magic School Bus ride. How could you possibly do a better job of making an educational theme park ride than that?

      • Agreed. Frozen has no place in EPCOT. But, it’s a losing battle, and not one for this forum (there are plenty of places online where this has been hashed out to death).

      • As a side note, I personally think they should give over Innoventions E and W to CES and/or TED to operate. There’s also a lot of unused space in the Innoventions buildings, specifically West, between the Ghiradelli, the Meet and Greet and the Cool Spot. It used to be a large theater (which I believe is still there) where guests would have an interactive presentation and get to see the computing core of EPCOT…and part of it was repurposed for the EPCOT “history” display (which is now closed and gone, except for the timeline sign which the Jerk uses a few times in the video, iirc)…

        It makes no sense…really.

  7. I wish I could go to EPCOT soonner than later in Spring with my girlfriend (or a group or an orgy group of friends) if I had one and visit and do stuff there with any attraction to visit and expeirence.

  8. But thanks Jerk your 3 part review was truly entertaining and informative.

  9. “and now Pizza” I can shenanigans! Only Jerk Jerkman got pizza while the rest of us got a dead imaginary dragon

  10. I didn’t know that Jerk had such lovely feet!

  11. wow, G.G. Allin and The Murder Junkies references.

  12. “Nothing” perfectly describes Wonders of Life, along with the Odyssey Restaurant. Great places for cast members to take a nap-er- break.

    A friend of mine who was starting off as an Imagineer got to work on Test Track and Mission space. Apparently, as an “initiation rite” they would put the new guys on the Orange version of Mission space. And that was the only time that EX-MARINE would ever go on that ride again.

    S(Tony’s Head)arin’ is also the ride with the most fights because you should never allow that many boozed up and exhausted tourists into such a narrow queue. Good thing they added a game to distract them for about 1/10th of the wait time.

    “A quagmire with great restaurants” Yep. That’s EPCOT in a nutshell. Good night everybody!

    I’d be hard pressed to say that EPCOT doesn’t have some of the best restaurants in all of Disney World. I made sure to try every single one of them while I was working there. My favorite was Marrakesh in Morocco. Since the restaurant is in the very back of the pavilion and, for a time, the hostess wasn’t near the front, there was almost no wait time to sit down. The food was awesome, and they even have a belly dancer and musicians. Even the wait staff would sometimes start dancing when they played music!

  13. That’s why I don’t look at the wait lines anymore when I go to Disney World, I plan my day at the parks around the fast passes, I skip the lines though really the only place I love to hang out at Epcot is Japan…yeah I love me my anime. And their clothes/kimonos are just SOOO pretty!

  14. At least this review struck the right balance between educational and entertaining. EPCOT apparently could learn something from this Jerk! 😀

  15. The Maelstrom ride is being replaced with a Frozen ride, and I personally think that is a good decision. I went on Maelstrom, and in my opinion was a big let down.
    With the huge success of Frozen, and it taking place in Norway, it makes sense to me to have a Frozen attraction in Epcot’s Norway pavilion.
    The big question on my mind is, “What will the Frozen ride be like? Can’t wait for the plans to be revealed.”

    • Frozen does not take place in Norway. It takes place in a fictional land called Arendelle, which is VERY loosely influenced / based on Norwegian (and other nordic) cultures. The story itself (while chopped and rehashed so badly even Walt would blush) is very loosely based on a Danish fairy tale.

  16. Frozen is coming…

  17. i heard that Frozen is suppose to get an area that spans from Norway and into the small open space between Mexico and Norway. What they should have done is just leave Norway alone and stuck their Frozen area in Wonders of Life since Body Wars is now just spare parts for Star Tours. Or just shove their Frozen are in Hollywood Studios where the Backlot Tour was since they closed that too.

    • There are larger plans for Hollywood Studios. And, that backlot area has a lot to do with them. Expect Star Wars, and likely an expansion of Pixar Place.

      And, yes, that rumor you heard is pretty accurate about Frozen and Norway. It’s more than a reskin/rework of Maelstrom. “Norway” is turning into “Arendelle” in everything but name and a few other things (the Stave Church will stay, as will Kringlas Bakery, etc…)… But, in the end, it sort of breaks the world showcase theme, imho.

      I don’t mind the inclusion of characters in World Showcase, when done well. And, I don’t mind them smartly using IPs for rides there either. For example, a Studio Ghibli ride in Japan would be fantastic! But, it should be at least somewhat culturally relevant.

      Frozen…is not. And, while it certainly deserves due to it’s success, a ride in Fantasyland (which is where it truly fits, and there is room at MK, even after the recent expansion, up in the spot behind Storybook Circus and still inside the berm…and that assumes they don’t choose to build over or under the berm…even though they would need to consider access to the Utilidors, it could be done…)

      Anyhow, point is, it’s clearly taking over that whole pavilion, and with that, I see a quick demise of EPCOT into irrelevance from it’s original ideals. And, that makes me very sad.

      But, Disney execs have been itching to turn World Showcase into a princess themed Fantasyland expansion for a while, and with Frozen and it’s financial success, they are finally able to take the first major step. They’ve been taking minor steps with Meet and Greet encroachments (which I didn’t mind), but this is an entire Pad being rethemed around a single (and not even culturally relevant) IP.

      • SomeJerkWithACamera

        Yeeeeeah, but…one has to wonder just how “culturally relevant” World Showcase was in the first place. It seems that whenever it gets mentioned in pop culture, it’s always used as shorthand for how Disney sanitizes – “Disnifies” if you will – all cultures everywhere, and presents a “Diet” version of world travel for tourists who don’t know better.

        I figure if Disney’s gonna continue being the brunt of such stereotypes, they may as well actually DESERVE it.

        • Yeah, World Showcase never really was accurate. I mean we all know France is just a hallucination of British opium dealers for their homosexual poetry, am I right?

        • Fair enough. However, at least the attempt was made. Is the Germany pavilion a good representation of German culture? Not really. It’s mostly common tropes and stereotypes, but they at least try.

          Originally the plans were to make the pavilions even more immersive, with culturally inspired rides. And, would they have been whitewashed a bit? Yeah. But, it’s still a theme park. I think it deserves a pass, and a nod for the “mission” that it was attempting.

          With Frozen taking over Norway (where it didn’t take place, and is based off a Danish fairy tale, the most “Norwegian” part of it is the intro scene which tries WAY too hard to be a blend of Lion King and Little Mermaid)…Disney has just given up.

          So, perhaps you are right. If it’s going to be cliche, might as well go full blast!

          None of the WDW fans will be able to stop Frozen. It’s going to happen. It IS happening, so…like Avatar (which I’m also not fond of going into Animal Kingdom), at this point, as long as they do it right, and do it well…not on the cheap, I’ll learn to deal with it.

          • Ok then, I expect the Brother Bear mooses in the Canada circle vision film and Mulan to fight SHanYu in the China pavillion at random

          • @kagezero23

            Absolutely. If it’s going to be cliche and shallow, lets make it as cliche and shallow as possible! Amirite?

            However, unlike Frozen, at least those two IPs have some sort of connection to their host environment that isn’t contrived.

  18. Oh god, Mission Space….I remember going on it when I was about eight or so, and I didn’t think too much of it heading in. This sense of dread hit me as I saw the face of this one guy stepping out, but I didn’t want to wimp out on what appeared to be a kiddy ride. Boy was I wrong; that initial takeoff rattled me more than Rock n’ Rollercoaster, and I had a raging headache for the rest of the day.
    I really wish they would add more to Epcot. Personally, my family and I love the world showcase and the few good rides that are offered, but there is so much opportunity to build on what is already there, and I hope the Disney execs look to those opportunities in the future.
    And as always, great video Jerk!

  19. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    what will your next episode be many questions

Leave a Reply