Meet the World: Epcot Center's Canceled Attractions Part 39

Meet The World Tokyo Disneyland Concept Art

Epcot has had dozens of attractions planned and canceled for it over the years, none of them ever getting built or letting people see them in a completed form. But one attraction would end up not only getting built in Epcot, but never opening in the park, and then getting built exactly as intended for Epcot in another park, entertaining guests for almost two decades. That attraction was Meet The World, an attraction planned for the Japan Pavilion of Epcot Center's World Showcase.

Epcot Center's Canceled Attractions started as a short mini-series before exploding into the successful open-ended series it is today, and it all started exploring this attraction. Today we re-explore it in more extensive detail, looking into its planning, construction, and cancelation in Epcot Center, followed by a revival in Epcot Center. Be sure to check out the rest of the series here.

Meet the World was a stage show intended to be an opening day attraction at Epcot Center, and it was at least partially constructed at the park, with its show building still sitting mostly empty to today.

The show was to be a cross between Carousel of Progress and the American Adventure about the history of Japan, as told by a crane to two children, and obviously the audience. It would have featured a theme song by the Sherman Brothers.

Meet the World Epcot Diagram Rotating Theater

The show would have been staged in a rotating theater that worked in a way opposite to how similar shows Carousel of Progress and America Sings had been built. The Seating would rotate inside with the sets being located on the outside of the attraction, with an entrance and exit area next to the stage area. This allowed for more space for elaborate sets than the small stages of the traditional rotating theater design.

This attraction would have been located on the second floor of the Japan Pavilion, although it would never open, with no official reason for its cancelation ever released. There are two theories that combined are generally accepted as the reason it never opened. One is its treatment of World War 2 would have been seen as problematic, and the other wider believed theory is that there were construction problems that prevented it from opening.

Tokyo Disneyland Fun Map

Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland were being developed at about the same time, and this attraction was intended for both of them. When the Epcot version was canceled, all the premade sets and animatronics were reportedly sent to Tokyo Disneyland where it opened in their Tomorrowland on the opening day of the park exactly as it was intended for Epcot, except with all dialogue recorded in Japenese instead of English as it was not in America.

This attraction became the first major canceled attraction of Epcot Center, a victim of its extremely over budget phase one. It remains as far as I am aware, the only never built Epcot attraction to actually get built unaltered in another park, with the possible exception of the Great Movie Ride.

Its show building remains empty today, after several proposed attractions to either fill or replace it including a Bullet Train attraction and an Mt Fuji roller coaster. Maybe it will be filled by a show or attraction someday. With Disney rethinking its Epcot redo, a preexisting show building could provide a relatively low cost to quickly add a new ride. We will have to wait and see.

Meet The World would operate at Tokyo Disneyland for almost twenty years, before closing in 2002 to make way for Monsters Inc Mike and Sulley Ride and Go Seek, with nothing left behind from it.

Thanks for reexploring this attraction with us. Be sure to check out the rest of the series here. Also, make sure you come back next week when we explore a space-themed redo of Horizons planned before Mission Space.