One of the few remaining attractions from Epcot’s 1982 opening will temporarily close as it prepares to share space with Disney characters.
The “Impressions de France” film in the French pavilion will shut down for refurbishment beginning Oct. 2. As part of this update, the gallery in the Palais du Cinema space will get a new exhibit and the theater space will be upgraded with a new digital projection system. While the film is closed, the stop for Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure housed in the pre-show area will not be available.
When the film returns in January, it will have a co-tenant in the theater. The previously-announced “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” will alternate times with “Impressions de France” — giving the 1991 film a third attraction at Walt Disney World along with its stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Enchanted Tales with Belle at Magic KIngdom.
The new sing-along is one of the several changes coming to Epcot that will inject more Disney intellectual property into the park. “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” ended its 20-year run as Epcot’s nighttime lagoon show on Sept. 30 to make way for a temporary fireworks show called “Epcot Forever.” Its permanent replacement, “HarmonioUS,” is expected to include Disney characters as the company has said it will “celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over.”
“The original vision for Walt [Disney’s] EPCOT is long gone,” Dan Dorsey, the chief creator and designer of “IllumiNations, told Orlando Rising in September 2018. “Even the subsequent revisions have fallen by the wayside. The world is moving and evolving way too fast for a single futuristic vision to last, so other non-future approaches are required and will succeed and change as needed.”
“Impressions de France” has survived relatively unchanged since Epcot opened in 1982 — even as other World Showcase films in the China and Canada pavilions have seen updates.
In 2017, it was recognized by Guinness World Records for the longest running daily screening of a film in the same theater.