5/4/2022 UPDATE: According to sources, at opening a virtual queue system will be used to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Guests will also be able to purchase access the Individual Lightning Lane. No regular “standby” line will be an option for the immediate future.
4/4/2022 UPDATE: Disney announced that the ride is officially opening on May 27, 2022!
4/16/2022 UPDATE: Marvel confirmed the character who will be the antagonist on the ride!
With the imminent opening of EPCOT’s newest attraction, I decided to take a deep dive into what appears to be a ride of galactic—and gigantic—proportions.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a roller coaster that opens this summer at EPCOT. Announced in 2017, the attraction is replacing Ellen’s Energy Adventure, which was a 45-minute dark ride located at the Universe of Energy Pavilion. The attraction will inject EPCOT with a major thrill ride and Walt Disney World with a piece of the MCU—thanks to the the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind characters being outside the scope of Universal Studio’s ironclad rights to popular Marvel characters.
Queue: Disney Parks Blog recently revealed that upon entering the queue to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind you will enter the “Galaxarium”—a cosmic observatory that provides a view of the galaxy. Based on the photos, it looks like a futuristic blend of Mission: SPACE, Space 220 Restaurant, and Test Track—which is to say that it’s giving major EPCOT vibes. (Which is a good thing!) Not much else is known about the remaining queue at this time, but based on what we’ve seen, it’s sure to impress.
New Pavilion. Fans of EPCOT know that it is a park of pavilions—or themed areas around the park. The Universe of Energy Pavilion, (i.e, the show building housing the attraction) was renamed to coincide with the new attraction’s theme: it is now called the Wonders of Xandar. (Xandar is a planet within the Guardians of the Galaxy-verse that is home to the Nova Corps, an intergalactic police force. Xandar was the main setting of the first Guardians of the Galaxy film.)
This rebrand marks Walt Disney World’s first pavilion in EPCOT to be truly cosmic—or “other-world”—as Disney called it, which is setting the tone for the park’s ambitious move into the future. Though the park has mainly focused on earthly endeavors—like world culture, land, and sea—the Xandar-based pavilion is not entirely out of place next to Mission: SPACE, Space 220 Restaurant, and Spaceship Earth—the park’s icon.
Exterior. Despite its age, the existing show-building is befitting of its new astral attraction, which is probably why the exterior is remaining mostly unchanged. The wide, angular building gives the impression that it’s in constant motion, expanding backwards like an energetic blast. The addition of the Starblaster, a Nova Corps ship, stationed in front of the pavilion enhances that illusion while modernizing this section of the park.
About the Attraction. Described by Disney as family-friendly, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind looks to be more than your average dark ride. In fact, it features Disney’s first ever reverse launch roller coaster! The ride will also rotate 360 degrees as you move throughout the ride—likely to place you directly in the action as you move throughout the ride, and potentially in front of large screens. The ride is also one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world— not just Walt Disney World.
As a coaster nerd, I did a little research to get a better idea of the size of this ride. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a ride called Temple of the Nighthawk at Phantasialand in Germany holds the title of longest enclosed coaster, measuring at 3,851.7 feet. For reference, Walt Disney World’s own Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios measures at 3,403 feet, and Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom (which has two tracks) measures at either 3,196 or 3,186 feet.
In a recent article, Marvel revealed that Eson will make an appearance as the ride villain who is looking “to right a wrong in a big way.” It’s important to know that Eson is a Celestial–a group of very old and very strong beings–who once held the Power Stone (one of the Infinity Stones). Will he be a match for our favorite Guardians? Only time will tell, but this sure is an interesting development.
Merchandise. Disney recently announced that a new spacey store called Treasures of Xandar will open along with the new attraction. According to Disney, the store is operated by “The Broker,” a Xandarian who brought his store to EPCOT.
Opening Date. Disney’s official word on the attraction’s opening is “soon.” However, after Disney Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Geoff Morrell recently tweeted that it would be opening over Memorial Day weekend, fans are in an absolute tizzy. (The tweet has since been deleted.) If that is the case, we could be looking at Annual Passholder, DVC, and D23 member previews sooner rather than later—here’s hoping!
Are you excited about EPCOT’s newest ride? How do you feel about EPCOT’s identity shift with the addition of the MCU? Sound off below.
All photos: thezachriddley and disneyparksblog (Instagram).