When Epcot opened in 1982, the World Showcase was home to nine countries. From then to now, the showcase has grown to represent 11 countries, but that number would be more than doubled if all the plans for development over the years actually came to life.
- Spain: The Spain pavilion was among three pavilions that were announced as Phase II installations into the World Showcase in 1982. The proposed land would have featured two different attractions; a film showing landmarks throughout the country and a dark ride that depicted the country’s heritage, arts, and culture. The main dining location would have been a waterside tapas restaurant offering small plates of Spain’s customary cuisine.
- Israel: The second of three countries that were included as part of Phase II was Israel. The concepts for the country’s pavilion were developed during the original planning of Epcot’s World Showcase. The entrance of the pavilion was supposed to resemble ruins of an ancient minaret that housed an information center prior to getting into the main area. The central courtyard was to feature a cluster of marketplaces, olive and cypress trees surrounding a giant Menorah as the land’s centerpiece. The buildings were designed with ancient Jerusalem in mind, and one of the proposed attraction was an amphitheater that would hold performances of classical and folk music. The plans were never developed due to a lack of major sponsors for the project.
- Equatorial Africa: The final section of Phase II was intended to represent Kenya, Senegal, and The Ivory Coast as Equatorial Africa. The pavilion, which would have been located between China and Germany, would have featured an enormous 60-foot treehouse for guests to climb, a heritage area that was modeled after an African village with live traditional performances and a museum of fine African art, and two different shows. The live show, Africa Rediscovered, was going to be held in an outdoor amphitheater with performances of African music and dance. The Heartbeat of Africa show was to be an entertaining and educational depiction of the continent’s culture, from the past to the present and into ideas of the future.
- Denmark: The unrealized Denmark pavilion was rumored to have several planned attractions including a Ferris wheel, carousel, and a LEGO-themed canal boat ride. The land was also set to feature a recreation of the famed Tivoli Gardens.
- Scandinavia: After plans for a Denmark pavilion could not be brought to life, Disney toyed with the idea of bundling several Scandinavian countries together as a more cost-effective way of bringing the region to Epcot. The only country that ended up being able to get on board was Norway, which now holds its own pavilion in between Mexico and China and features the mega-popular Frozen Ever After attraction.
- Costa Rica: It’s unclear why this pavilion never became a location in the World Showcase, but plans for the Costa Rica area were inspired by Spanish Colonial architecture. Aspects of the country that would have been featured in the pavilion were a crystal palace, tropical gardens, birds and waterfalls. Plans for a dining location included a snack bar offering seafood options and melon dishes.
- Iran: The idea for an Iran pavilion was proposed before Epcot was even built, with a concept that included a bazaar-style shopping area and an elaborate dark ride through Persian history. However, the plans were scrapped when the Shah was overthrown in 1979.
- Venezuela: This was supposed to be the fifth South American location represented in the World Showcase. The main attraction for this pavilion would have been an aerial tram ride through a tropical rainforest. The Venezuela pavilion never came to life due to failed negotiations.
- Switzerland: Plans for the Switzerland pavilion were scrapped in 1987 when negotiations with the Swiss government fell through and there was no commercial partner willing to fund the project. The land would have been located between Italy and Germany, resembling a rural Swiss village with a huge mountain in the distance. The mountain was supposed to house an East-coast version of Disneyland’s Matterhorn bobsleds roller coaster. The Epcot attraction was designed as a cross between the Matterhorn and Space Mountain with a 230-seat restaurant above the ride’s queue. Plans for the village included a tourism center and VIP lounge and four shops: a clock and music shop, a wood carving and crafts shop, a candy and gourmet food store, and a clothing accessories boutique.
- Russia: Announced as a potential addition in January 1990, the Russia pavilion would have been made up of a recreation of St. Basil’ Cathedral and Moscow’s Red Square. Enclosed by brick walls, this area was going to be home to two attractions and feature performances of Russian dances, gypsy music, egg decoration, and other activities on the streets of Red Square. The central attraction, Russia – The Bells of Change, was an audio-animatronic show with both movie footage and live actors telling the country’s history inside St. Basil’s Cathedral. The second attraction was to be a ride focused on folk stories from the area, mainly Ivan and the Magic Pike. The plans for the Russia pavilion ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Over the years, rumors of pavilions dedicated to other countries like Brazil, Puerto Rico, Australia, or the United Arab Emirates have come along but not a lot of details have emerged to give those rumors much credibility. Ideas about adding a Brazil or Spain pavilion to the World Showcase lineup have resurfaced in recent months but for now, there has been no confirmation from Disney. For now, guests can check out how the current countries in the World Showcase celebrate the holiday season at Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays. Find discount Disney tickets and more on tickets2you.com!