This post contains mature language, all opinions are my own.
During this year’s D23 Disney Parks Panel, Disney announced that as part of a Future World overhaul, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, formerly called the Universe of Energy, will be closing August 13th, 2017 to make way for a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. While some Epcot fans will be mourning the loss of this opening day attraction, I will be tap dancing on the grave of this slag heap of an attraction. Before I go into detail of why Ellen’s Energy Adventure is a boring incoherent mess, lets start with a little background:
On October 1st 1982. Walt Disney World opened its second theme park, Epcot, with the goal of teaching guests about the scientific and cultural wonders of our world in a fun and entertaining way. Early on, the park did a great job balancing the education and entertainment aspects of the park. As time went on however, popularity for learning while on vacation began to wane. To help bring in more guests into the park, Disney decided to change longstanding attractions and theming to drum up interest. Some of these changes, such as replacing World of Motion with Test Track, and adding the Three Caballeros to El Rio Del Tiempo worked really well. Others, such as “improving” Journey Into Imagination (which is a whole other story which won’t be covered here, because I don’t want to have an aneurysm writing about that fucking mess) and Ellen’s Energy Adventure are so head-scratchingly illogical that any sane person shouldn’t even begin to comprehend the hot garbage that went into this decision.
Sure, Universe of Energy wasn’t phenomenally great or anything, but it did its job and stayed true to the original message that Epcot is meant to convey. And sure, it was long and boring but even if you aren’t interested in learning about energy it is an air conditioned nap space. But during this time of change, Universe of Energy’s flaws got turned way up to 11 and introduced new disasters no one could even fathom their existence in a Walt Disney World attraction. Before we really get into this test of mental fortitude, I’d just like to point out that I am a fan of Bill Nye and Ellen DeGeneres, and I recognize that they had no input in the design of this attraction when they signed on to work with the Universe of Energy.
Anyway, when you walk into the building, you are greeted with a long pre-show room, where guests inevitably sit on the floor for some fucking unknown reason. Throughout the entire pre-show guests continue to file into the room and trip over the seated guests while the Cast Members working at the attraction are too busy looking back at all the mistakes in their lives up until this very moment to pack guests or stop that family of 17 from sprinting up and down the length of the room and causing more trauma for guests before the actual trauma begins. The pre-show itself isn’t that bad to be fair, but that is the one highlight of the attraction itself.
After the pre-show, you are lead into the loading area for the ride itself (which has no real queue because no one would want to actually wait for this torture). You are then sat in what is basically a human-sized ice cube tray, which is never actually full so feel free to embrace your inner homeless person and take a nap across that bench for the next 40+ minutes, and save yourself the mental anguish. The ride itself is a slow moving crawl while Ellen Degenres and Bill Nye try to teach you about various forms of energy, but really it devolves into Bill getting increasingly frustrated as Ellen doesn’t understand what’s happening because she doesn’t care about energy, while making cringe-worthy unfunny quips all across time and space.
It’s not like the ride is supposed to be thrilling or anything, but we are talking about energy. Energy is something that is insane to even try to comprehend. The power behind earthquakes or tsunamis, is awe inspiring. You could feel the car shake or feel the spray of water or strong winds. Hell, the energy behind things like fucking stars exploding and crashing into each other with enough power to kill you without you even knowing what happened is so mind-blowing-ly entertaining to even think about. Imagine in those giant empty rooms you had dramatizations of hurricanes or black holes. That shit would have you hooked and wanting more. But no, we just get a disinterested scientist and an unfunny comedian stumbling through history telling us about energy, while some 30+ probably once technologically great dinosaur Animatronics stand in the background. By the time you’ve slogged through this 40+ minute fever dream, you unceremoniously depart wondering what the fuck you just experienced.
Now, I’m sure that you’re thinking “fuck you, your opinion is wrong!” and sure, my opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s which of course means it’s worth absolutely nothing. In my opinion, this is really an attraction that attempts to teach the guests about what energy is and how it works, but fails harder than John Blutarsky in Animal House. The change in theming COULD breathe some life into the attraction. But as the first Marvel attraction in Walt Disney World Guarians of the Galaxy has the potential to be just as quippy and annoying as what it’s replacing (and I am a massive Marvel fanboy) but the rumors of it being a thrill ride could be entice guests into actually learning something. We could get a ride zipping us through space, and giving us an idea of the power and energy it takes for space travel to occur. Even if its something like a motion simulator, that would still be better than sitting on a literal moving classroom with wacky babbling. We could get some thing that could stay true to EPCOT’s mission statement to make learning at a theme park fun. Though if we are being realistic, it wont have any educational merit whatsoever and only help to further sell Baby Groot plushes.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure is closing August 13th, so if you are actually a fan, or are a masochist, you only have a limited amount of time to enjoy this -ahem- experience one last time.