BAY LAKE, Fla. – Walt Disney World on Friday officially opened its all-new roller coaster attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT. After weeks of private previews and media events, guests can now experience the first “other-world” showcase pavilion and one of the longest fully-enclosed roller coasters on Earth, complete with a reverse launch.
Stepping inside the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion, guests might even spot some hidden Easter eggs that pay tribute to Disney history, attractions and more.
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“We put a lot in here. A lot of show, a lot of Easter eggs, and a lot of variety in the songs because we know you’re going to want to come back and ride over and over again,” said Tom Fitzgerald, creative executive at Disney Imagineering.
Here are just a few things we spotted while experiencing the attraction.
Starting on the outside of the pavilion, Terrans, AKA residents of Earth, will enter the attraction by scanning their Magic Bands at a touch point that features Guardians of the Galaxy logos. First revealed at D23 in 2019, the Guardians’ logo is one of 12 new symbols revealed for EPCOT.
In general, the circular icons have been around as long as EPCOT has, created by Imagineers to bolster continuity throughout the park and to evoke a futuristic feeling, according to D23. Some of the locations that the icons represented are now defunct — e.g. the Wonders of Life, the World of Motion and the original Communicore, among others — but some remain, such as at The Land, The Living Seas and Spaceship Earth.
The Guardians’ symbol is now featured in many areas of the park including the recently installed flags near Spaceship Earth.
The new logo takes over that of the former “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” — but, as we have uncovered, the logo for Universe of Energy (which Ellen’s replaced) makes an appearance somewhere else.
Entering the Galaxarium — a sweeping, planetarium-style space showcasing planets, stars and other intergalactic wonders — guests might spot a number of small Easter eggs in the roughly 30-minute pre-show that plays above the queue. At one time, the planetarium showcases Star-Lord’s iconic Awesome Mix Vol. 1, Spaceship Earth, music from Chuck Berry and the popular Disney treat, a turkey leg.
“I am discovering more about you Terrans, such as your fascination with eating the turkey leg. Why only eat the leg? What about the rest of this creature?” the Galaxarium narrator explained.
Inside the Xandar Gallery, guests learn about Xandarian people, culture and history, including the heroes of Xandar through specially-crafted displays. At one point, guests might even spot Walt Disney. The display said one of the cities on Xandar was designed in a radial pattern similar to the original spoke-hub design for EPCOT.
“We recently learned that your Terran visionary, Walt Disney, had a similar role in mind with his early concepts for the experimental prototype community of tomorrow (EPCOT). We appreciate the value and good design for better living and are proud to share our Xandarian story with you,” the narrator describes.
In the same display, guests might also see a depiction of a maelstrom, a powerful ocean whirlpool, which Xandarian people harness for energy. This is not only a subtle reference to the Universe of Energy, the EPCOT attraction that Guardians replaced, but also to the Norway pavilion’s beloved Maelstrom attraction, which closed in October 2014 to make way for Frozen Ever After.
In the display showing an overview of a Xandarian city and how it works, guests might spot something hidden - a Mickey Mouse.
Known as “Hidden Mickeys,” these depictions of Disney’s main mascot can be found by the dozen in just about every Disney property.
For the true Disney fans, the model in the queue also bears a close resemblance to Disney’s Progress City, Walt Disney’s dream for an experimental prototype community of tomorrow (EPCOT). Guests can see a scale model of Progress City while onboard the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover at Magic Kingdom.
While in the queue, riders are introduced to the Guardians of the Galaxy through the popular news program, “Good Morning Xandar.”
During the program, guests learn that Star-Lord, also known as Peter Quill, visited EPCOT in the ‘80s and picked Terra (Earth) for the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion after the fun he had.
“That was totally my idea, and EPCOT too. Because I love that place - it’s awesome! I went there as a kid and I cannot wait to go back and ride Horizons and see the energy dinosaurs and hear the Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit - it’s the best,” explained Quill.
For guests unaware, many of the things Quill mentions are yet more defunct attractions that once called EPCOT home.
Horizons was permanently closed in 1999 to eventually make way for Mission: SPACE, “energy dinosaurs” is another reference to the Universe of Energy with its now-dismantled dinosaur animatronics and “Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit” refers to Kitchen Cabaret, an animatronic stage show replaced in 1994 with the simpler Food Rocks show and later gutted completely in 2004 for the construction of Soarin’.
Another nod to the Universe of Energy attraction comes inside the first pre-show room of the ride. Nova Prime Irani Rael, leader of the Nova Corps, explains that Xandar and Earth were born of the same moment in time, also known as the “Big Bang.”
In the former Ellen’s Energy Adventure attraction, a celebrity-inclusive update to the aging original version of the ride, Ellen DeGeneres learns from Bill Nye the Science Guy that the universe, too, started with the “Big Bang,” serving as loud and theatric moment during the attraction’s pre-show.
Before getting on Guardians, guests might spot the former Universe of Energy logo on some of the ship’s maps and safety instructions.
One of the final Easter eggs we noticed might be one of the hardest to catch, because it has to be heard. When the guardians enter the scene to stop Eson, a Celestial, during the first couple minutes of the ride, guests might be able to hear them playing the “Universe of Energy” song. This is one of the final scenes guests experience before blasting into a reverse launch.
These are just some of several Easter eggs likely hidden throughout the attraction, waiting to be found.
Click here to learn more about Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
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