Remember the Vladimir Putin Audio Animatronic at Disney World?

Putin and an Audio Animatronic Figure of Lincoln
Credit: ABC News / D23

No? That’s because it was never fully built. But it almost was a thing.

Russia show at EPCOT

Credit: Disney

Russia at Walt Disney World

Once upon a time, Russia was slated to have its own pavilion within EPCOT Center’s World Showcase. As controversial as that would be today, it would have been just as surprising in the ’80s or ’90s with the Cold War going on.

EPCOT Monorail with Spaceship Earth in Background

Credit: Disney

Original artwork and models show what the pavilion would have looked like had it been developed by the Walt Disney Company.

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It would have featured St Basil’s Cathedral and the red brick walls of Moscow’s Kremlin. The plaza of the pavilion would have also contained statues and famous monuments celebrating Russian culture and art. And like all of the EPCOT countries, it would have included a restaurant with local dishes and shops selling merchandise and souvenirs from the country. But just as with many other countries in EPCOT, it would have had a show and ride celebrating its history, leaders, and culture.

The Russia Pavilion

The main attraction at the Russia pavilion would have been a show named “Russia – The Bells of Change.” Inside an 800-seat theater, it would have told the nation’s history and celebrated its achievements – similar to the American Adventure show. It would have included the coronation of Tsars, the Revolution of 1917, and the nation’s space program – illustrated through various audio-animatronics and a montage of video footage.

Russia Pavilion at EPCOT

Credit: Disney

Although it has never been fully confirmed – it is not without the realm of possibility that it would have included audio-animatronic leaders of the country, such as Peter the Great or Boris Yeltsin. And if that happened, the show would likely have been updated as country leaders changed – bringing us to current Russian President Vladimir Putin. Just as Walt Disney World updates leaders in the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom and other attractions at EPCOT Center, such as Spaceship Earth, we could have very likely seen a Vladimir Putin audio animatronic.

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What Happened?

As all Disney fans know, this pavilion was never developed. The fall of the Soviet Union brought much economic turmoil to Russia and other Soviet nations. With that, there was no money to sponsor a themed space at the new EPCOT Center. But given the current situation involving Russian leader Vladimir Putin, perhaps it’s best Walt Disney World Resort doesn’t have to defend such an exhibition.

walt disney world epcot night time ball spaceship earth drunk

Credit: Disney

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)