Epcot's Lost Russian Pavilion: Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions Part 27

Epcot would have many countries planned but never built for the World Showcase over the years, but none would be anywhere near as elaborate as the never-built Russia/ Soviet Union Pavilion.

Welcome back to Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions. After a hiatus, we are back and releasing new entries every week. For the next three weeks, we are doing a deep dive into the lost Russian pavilion. Today we explore the general layout of the pavilion as well as the history of its design and eventual cancelation. Be sure to check out the rest of the series here.

We explored this pavilion in our original series but there is so much more to it than we originally discussed.

This pavilion would have taken the largest expansion pad in World Showcase, originally planned for Equitorial African and occupied in the present by the African Outpost.

This pavilion would have recreated a fictionalized version of Red Square from Moscow including most significantly Saint Basil's Cathedral. This would have formed a massive courtyard surrounded by walls and the shops and attractions of the pavilion. The courtyard itself would be home to live musical performances throughout the day.

Outside the courtyard would have been a side pathway filled with log buildings in a look at Russia beyond Moscow and more historical Russia.

In a way, this pavilion would feel like a spiritual combination of the Norway Pavilion and the American Adventure as it would feature two signature attractions reminiscent of the attractions found in both of those pavilions.

The ride of the pavilion would have been a Disney-inspired take on Ivan and the Magic Pike. It would be a ride through traditional Russian folk tales in the same general style as Norway's Malestrom did with the traditional mythology of trolls and Vikings. But we will go deeper into this ride in next week's article.

But that would not have been the main attraction of the pavilion.

The star of the pavilion would have been a massive stage show combining live people with physical effects in something unlike Disney has ever done before or since. Russia: The Bells of Change would have combined an animatronic stage show on the scale of the American Adventure with live elements to tell a version of Russian history up until the mid 20th century.

While these two rides would be a main part of the pavilion, they would also be joined by cultural art displays as well as shops and restaurants.

The reason we know so much about this pavilion as opposed to other similarly canceled Epcot pavilions as it was so far along a promotional video for the land was actually produced. While not released publicly, it has since leaked online, showing us countless amounts of concept art and giving us exact information on what the pavilion would have included.

This land was funded, fully designed, and ready to be built at a moment's notice. It is probably the closest a country has ever come to getting added to the World Showcase without actually being built.

So the question really is, if this was so far along, why did it not get built?

The answer to that, as it does with so many never-built Epcot Center countries, lies with politics.

This pavilion was designed to be built as part of the Disney Decade in the 1990s as part of many lavish additions to the Disney Parks. Most of these projects were almost entirely doomed by the failure of Euro Disneyland. But that would not cause the downfall of this land.

The beginning of the 1990s saw the gradual collapse of the Soviet Union. Given the unstable, and at times, the nonexistent political state of Russia during the time immediately following this pavilion being designed in the late 1980s, Disney would decide not to go through with this pavilion, leaving the expansion pad empty to this day, and the World Showcase without an additional country.

Thanks for reading this Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions. Be sure to come back next week when we delve deeper into the plans for the Ivan and the Magic Pike attraction. Be sure to check out the rest of the series here.