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EPCOT’s newest coaster may serve as a reminder to DeSantis about Disney’s value in Florida

Later this month, the Walt Disney World Resort will unveil one of the world’s most costly and expensive roller coaster attractions ever constructed.

Disney officially announces the opening date for EPCOT's 'Guardians of the  Galaxy Cosmic Rewind' rollercoaster

Credit: Disney Parks

Beginning May 27, Disney World will welcome Guests to experience Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT. Plans for the thrilling roller coaster ride were first announced by The Walt Disney Company on August 25, 2019, at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, and filming for the Disney Park’s newest addition took place in October 2021.

“We saw an opportunity to bring in more young audiences through fresh and relevant IP, and this multiyear transformation will make this park more timeless, more family, and more Disney,” Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney’s Parks division, wrote via email.

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Credit: Disney/Marvel

The new ride at EPCOT–the second Disney Park in Florida–will embody elements inspired by Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, which includes films that star Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, James Gunn, and others.

The new Cosmic Rewind coaster is located where Guests once experienced Ellen’s Energy Adventure. And while Marvel fans try their best to patiently wait for the opening of the new Cosmic Rewind coaster, dreamed up in part by Walt Disney Imagineering, what they might not realize is that the timing of the new ride‘s opening has a very symbolic meaning to it, even though Disney didn’t plan it intentionally.

It’s no secret that the Burbank, California-based Walt Disney Company and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are engaged in a culture war. The sparring began in March when Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill began to gain traction in the Florida legislature.

After telling Walt Disney Company employees that he would not take a public stance on the bill on behalf of the company because historically, such measures don’t bring about positive change in the business arena, Disney CEO Bob Chapek caved to pressure from some who demanded he stand against the bill nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents.

An opinion you haven't heard yet: The Disney-DeSantis debacle is a dumpster  fire on both sides. And the stench is horrific. - Disney Dining

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But Chapek’s stance had no effect on Florida legislation, and the bill was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in late March. In response, Chapek vowed that The Walt Disney Company would be dedicated to seeing the law repealed. (Disney had already said no more donations would go to Florida until the bill was changed or done away with completely.)

DeSantis then set a target on Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, saying that Disney’s “woke ideology” could net them a removal of the special district in Orange and Osceola Counties. And that’s exactly what happened.

In the midst of the Disney-DeSantis debacle, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is on deck for a late-May opening. But how are they related? Well, the new ride might just be symbolic of at least a part of Disney’s value in Florida.

Credit: Disney Parks

Disney’s newest roller coaster will not only be the first coaster EPCOT has ever hosted. It will also be one of the most expensive roller coasters in the world. Pocket change didn’t bring the Guardians to EPCOT; not by a long shot.

EPCOT’s newest ride more than likely cost the House of Mouse a whopping $500 million to construct, according to Dennis Speigel, an industry consultant, per Bloomberg, seemingly underscoring the value of Disney’s contributions to Florida’s economy, specifically as it pertains to the state’s tourism industry, which is, of course, the Sunshine State’s largest industry.

“The technology there is incredible,” Speigel said.

Disney is a massive enterprise in Florida, boasting four theme parks, 29,000 hotel rooms in the Orlando area, and more than 70,000 employees.

Disney World is not going anywhere because it’s such a huge investment,” said Chad Emerson, author of a book all about Walt Disney World. “You can’t get rid of Disney World, both the state and Disney would have consequences.”

Disney World Opening Day Attractions That Are Still There Today

Credit: Insider

It remains to be seen how many Guests will flock to the parks at the Disney World Resort for the chance to climb up into the four-person cockpit in the ride vehicles at the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. While many swear a boycott of Disney, the parks continue to be full to the brim lately, and thanks to Disney World‘s Park Pass Reservation System, Guests have to do some fancy footwork when it comes to planning their Disney vacations.

And so far, law or no law, special district or no special district, it looks like Disney’s in Florida to stay, and there’s no shortage of fans ready to pack a suitcase, jump on a plane, and set out for a new adventure on Mickey’s stomping grounds.

Disney World is packed to the gills,” said Rich Greenfield, an analyst with LightShed Partners. “They’re raising pricing and literally looking at demand they can’t handle.”

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!