For years, there was one clear semi-rule for EPCOT Center: Future World was packed with rides, while World Showcase was more about the pavilions of the nations. The only ride for years was Mexico’s Rio del Tiempo attraction, with Norway’s Maelstrom added in 1988. While there were ideas proposed over time, it still remained that World Showcase should be mostly about movies and other attractions than the rides to draw folks in.
That has shifted a bit with the addition of the Ratatouille ride for France and Maelstrom becoming Frozen Ever After. Some will argue it’s better that not every pavilion has a ride as it lends more beauty and peace to the World Showcase. But it’s always fun to imagine what could be, so let’s play “Blue Sky Imagineering” and think about if every World Showcase pavilion had a ride and which ones would work best for the areas.
China: A Skyward Trip
China is oddly tricky in that there are a lot of options for it. The 360-degree Wonders of China movie is already a spectacular look at the country and its amazing history. For a take on a land so ancient and packed with so much culture, perhaps a version of Soarin’ might work.
The idea can be the classic kites used by ancient Chinese scholars and have them take guests on a trip around China, giving views of the lavish landscapes to the cities and coasts. And sure, throw in stops at Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland, but still a great look at this huge nation.
Germany: A Carriage Trip
Originally, Germany was going to have a boat ride, taking guests around miniatures of German cities like Berlin and such. That could still work, but guests may want something a bit livelier. There are some amazing spots in Berlin alone to focus on, as well as some views of its history.
Perhaps a classic dark ride can work here, based on coaches or carriages to take folks by recreations of Germany’s cities, the massive palaces, breweries/gardens and more. Throw in some nice German music and a party atmosphere finale, and this could be a fun ride.
Italy: Riding The Waterways
Mention Italy, and one of the first things that comes to mind is the waters. From Rome to Venice, the canals of the nation are famous, and thus, a boat ride is the best bet. It could be like the Mexico ride, recreations of Italy with boats designed like classic gondolas, going around a mix of screens, 3D effects and old-school AA.
It may seem a bit traditional, but there’s nothing wrong with that, as an Italian boat ride is a perfect fit for this pavilion, especially given its location by the large lake and the best way to bring a smaller version of the nation to guests.
American Adventure: Soaring Over the States
The American Adventure is already one of Epcot’s best-ever shows, so a ride may not be necessary. There’s also the question of how it can work, but let’s think really outside the box here: Move Soarin’ out of the Land pavilion (where it was always an odd fit) and put it here instead.
The movie can now focus on the United States from coast to coast, not just the big cities but the smaller spots that show America at its best. Sure, moving a huge attraction across the park is wild, but it still might work better than it does in the Land and still be one of Epcot's best rides.
Japan: Bullet Time
There have been several ideas for a Japan ride over the years, with a Mr. Fuji-styled roller coaster once planned. That might be a bit too much of an eyesore for the Epcot landscape. Instead, the idea of a “bullet train” with the windows being screens of the Japanese landscape might be the better choice.
The Harry Potter train at Universal Studios showed how that can work and maybe make it more fanciful with a “time train” showcasing how Japan has transformed over the centuries. Given what a great ride a real bullet train is, letting the Imagineers put their stamp on it might be terrific.
Morocco: Magic Carpet Ride
Way back when Epcot was being planned, there were ideas for a pavilion based on the United Arab Emirates that would have used a carpet ride of Middle Eastern culture. That idea can be used today, and the options can be fun. Sure, Disney might be tempted to slap an Aladdin IP theme on it, but it’s likely better to avoid that.
It can be either a classic dark ride like Peter Pan or some fun VR elements. Disney had something like that for Innoventions back in the 1990s and technology has only improved since. That latter idea might work better with the space using the same tech as the Pandora ride and a lovely showcase for the magic of the Middle East.
United Kingdom: Mary Poppins Spin
This one is easy. If not for the pandemic, it’s likely right now, the United Kingdom would be boasting a huge attraction based on both the original Mary Poppins and the 2018 sequel. Guests would enter a recreation of the Darling household with special effects, making various decorations come to life.
It would then lead to a massive indoor room with a version of the Teacups ride, themed to music from the movies. Disney still has it on the backburner, but it would be a fun ride so hopefully, it gets made one day.
For such a lavish and large pavilion, it’s surprising Canada only has a 360-degree movie for an attraction. The entire area of the waterfall mountainside leading to a mine cave is just screaming out for some sort of ride.
A mine car roller coaster may seem too close to Big Thunder Mountain, yet some sort of dark ride for a land as vast and varied as Canada would be good. It can fight back against the cliches of cold and Mounties, showing how amazing Canada is. It’s perhaps the trickiest pavilion to figure out a ride for, yet an area as gorgeous as Canada deserves something more than just a film.