Today marks the start of a series of new attractions opening at EPCOT as it transforms into the reimagined version announced at the D23 Expo. This first round of new experiences includes three new pavilion movies – Awesome Planet in The Land, Canada Far and Wide, and a Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along in France. Each of these Epcot films offers a unique addition to EPCOT’s entertainment offerings.
Narrated by Ty Burrell, Awesome Planet is an educational look at the diverse ecosystems throughout the world and the threats they face. Playing off of his character in Modern Family, Burrell attempts to “sell” us on Planet Earth by listing its unique attributes and exploring various “neighborhoods” (biomes) in which we could choose to reside.
The film features breathtaking views of the world’s animals and natural landscapes, and it’s the only one of the three new movies to feature physical effects within the theater. Don’t get too excited. The effects are minimal – extra lighting within the theater, a little bit of wind and water to simulate a rain storm, etc – but it does add to the film’s story and makes the experience more immersive.
While the words “climate change” are never spoken, it’s a fairly obvious theme towards the movie’s finale. If this type of theme is going to upset you, you might want to skip it. Otherwise, it’s worth a view!
Canada Far and Wide
Replacing the long running Martin Short film O Canada! (2007), this is the third circle vision movie to play in this pavilion. The film provides what feels like a pretty great overview of the country, starting at one end and working towards the other. Featured areas include (in no particular order) Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Niagara Falls, Vancouver, and Quebec City.
But the most surprising part about this movie? It completely entertained my three and four year old children! They were enchanted by the surrounding screens and the pictures changed frequently enough to hold their attention.
Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
I’m not sure if this was my favorite of the three Epcot films, but it was certainly the most fun and engaging. As the name implies, much of this film includes original scenes from the movie featuring musical numbers (with printed lyrics for your singing pleasure, of course). However, instead of simply rehashing the story – like the Hollywood Studios’ Frozen Sing-Along – this film includes newly animated scenes revealing the “truth” behind Belle’s and Beast’s love story. Spoiler alert: Gaston’s bumbling sidekick, LeFou, was playing matchmaker the whole time!
While the “twist” in the story certainly felt forced, it was fun to see new angles on these beloved scenes. Fun fact: Don Hahn, who produced the original film, produced this short as well, so the style and characters feel cohesive.
Freaky Thoughts of these Epcot Films
While I wouldn’t classify any of these Epcot films as a “can’t miss” attraction, they’re all quality additions to their respective pavilions. If you’re a repeat visitor, have enough time in your day, or are just looking for a place with air conditioning – these are great options!