Israel Pavilion: Epcot Center's Canceled Attractions Part 9

Epcot has seen numerous countries proposed and designed for the World Showcase since it opened, and to date, only two have ever been added to the original roster. But few of them ever made it as far into the design process as the Israel Pavilion.

This pavilion would have actually been sponsored by the country, making it one of the only ones that would have been sponsored by a government, contrary to popular belief. The pavilion would have recreated several historical sites from Jerusalem.

This pavilion would have featured a stage as shown by leaked blueprints, but what kind of performance would have happened on it is unknown. It likely would have depicted elements of the culture of Israel as seen through the government of Israel.

Beyond this, the other parts of the land would have been very similar to other World Showcase pavilions. It would have featured a museum-like section that is found in pretty much every country, as well as a restaurant that likely would have provided a Kosher option to the wide array of foods available in Epcot.

So what happened to this land? It was officially announced along with two other countries to be a part of phase two of the park. Now, phase two did not happen mainly as a result of sponsors that fell through, but reportedly that is not what happened here.

The reason it fell through was that Disney got cold feet about bringing Israel specifically to the World Showcase. They were concerned about the implications of bringing religion into the park, as they had thus far avoided religion in the World Showcase (although references would later be included in Morocco and Norway). Israel, especially with the pavilion being funded by the Israeli government, would have brought Judaism into the park in a big way when none of the other countries had references to their major religions.

Also, at the time there were rising tensions in the region, and Disney did not want their new park to become a target for prominently featuring Israel depending on how things went in the region. In the end, the pavilion fell victim to political tensions much in the same way the Soviet Union Pavilion we previously discussed did.

Thanks for coming back to Epcot Center's Canceled Attractions here at Theme Parks and Entertainment. Be sure to check here if you missed any previous articles in the series, and check back for the part 10 of the series next week which will be the biggest project we have covered yet, Project Gemini: Discoveryland. We have covered individual projects from this proposal, but this will be a generic look at the entire project and things that would not be able to fill an entire article.