Soviet Union Pavilion: Epcot Center's Canceled Attractions Part 7

Epcot Center's Canceled Attractions

Disney projects rarely get canceled after its announcement, but for this entry in the Epcot Center's Canceled Attractions series, we look at one of the few that did. I'm talking about Epcot's proposed Soviet Union World Showcase Pavilion.

We're back from a one-week hiatus and ready to discuss this major canceled project for Disney World's second theme park.

This Pavilion would have mainly recreated famous buildings from Moscow's Red Square. This would have differentiated it from other Pavilions which showcased a fictionalized depiction of the country as opposed to a recreation of a single specific location.

This pavilion would have brought an Eastern European country to the World Showcase as well as bring two new attractions to the park and to the attraction light World Showcase.

One would be an animatronic show based on the history of Russia and the Soviet Union called Russia: The Bells of Change. This would have been similar in style to the American Adventure and the proposed but never built Meet the World in the Japan Pavilion. It would have prominently featured animatronics and live actors, serving as the centerpiece attraction for the park.

A secondary ride was also planned, instead based on the folklore of the country, similar to Malestrom, the former attraction in the Norway Pavilion. It would have followed the story of Ivan and the Magic Pike, but beyond that, not much is known about the ride, even what ride system would have been used.

This pavilion and its attractions were announced as part of the Disney Decade by Michael Eisner in January of 1990 along with a lot of other attractions, with the added caveat that all attractions announced would actually end up being built. Obviously, they were not.

Now, unlike other parts of the Disney Decade, this was not canceled as a result of the actions of Michael Eisner or because of a failed movie. Instead, it was canceled as a result of the complete collapse of the Soviet Union. This was during the time new pavilions in the World Showcase needed sponsorships either by governments or significant foreign industries. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the newly created Russian state, there were no actors able to pay for an Epcot attraction. They kind of had bigger issues to deal with. Also, it wouldn't really make sense to have a country currently undergoing massive political turmoil in Disney's celebration of world culture.

This would have been one of the most ambitious World Showcase pavilions ever designed and would have portrayed a culture that is still missing from the park. If it had been built I think its two attractions would have made it one of the most popular countries in the park.

Nothing from this project, as far as I have found in my research, has ever made it into any Disney Park worldwide, a rare feat for any proposed Disney project. It remains a major project officially announced by Disney that never even saw a groundbreaking.

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