“Coco” may be slowing taking over the Mexico pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot.
Beginning March 6, a new performance by the pavilion’s longtime mariachi band, Mariachi Cobre, will recount the story of the 2017 Pixar film, including its Academy Award-winning music.
“The immensely talented musicians of Mariachi Cobre are joined by a pair of Folklórico dancers to tell the tale of Miguel Rivera, his love of music, and his journey to find what matters most – his familia,” Walt Disney World public relations manager Sarah Domenech wrote on the Disney Parks Blog. “The dancers perform to the music of the film, pulling everyone into the celebration, and Miguel himself appears in the form of a whimsical, hand-crafted puppet.”
Mariachi Cobre performs multiple times a day on the steps of the Mexico pavilion, though its 25-minute shows are classified as only a “diversion” by The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.
But it’s yet another expansion of the film’s presence in the area. Since September 2017, ahead of the film’s release, an exhibit called “‘Remember Me!’ La Celebración del Día de Muertos,” about the traditional Mexican holiday featuring “Coco” characters has been open inside the pavilion.
The film, which grossed more than $802 million at the box office, has also proven popular with theme park fans on the West Coast, as Disneyland brought back its “A Musical Celebration of Coco” street show for a second season in 2018.
“I can’t speak for how Disney views Coco internally, but judging by how much live entertainment is Coco inspired at Disneyland Resort in California, I’d be willing to guess that Disney sees it as very sustainable for future projects,” Bill Zanetti, founding member of the Entertainment Management Advisory Board at the University of Central Florida, told Orlando Rising.
Its staying power in the parks has led to rumors and speculation that “Coco” characters could end up replacing the current Gran Fiesta Tour. That boat ride opened in 2007, replacing El Rio del Tiempo, a similar ride dating from Epcot’s opening that featured no Disney characters.
Gran Fiesta Tour stars Mexican settings features the characters of 1944’s “The Three Caballeros:” Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles. Of that trio, only Panchito is Mexican.
While Zanetti referred to the current characters as “slightly odd” for the Mexican pavilion, he feels “Coco” would be a natural fit.
“I’m an El Rio del Tiempo fan myself, but I think Coco would be a smart overlay for that boat ride because the film is truly Mexican in nature and it fits in well with the Mexican pavilion,” he said. “Plus, it could be done quickly and with a limited budget.”
Bringing in a newer intellectual property set in a foreign country also fits with Disney’s overhaul of Epcot and World Showcase. Following the remaking of the Norway pavilion’s Maelstrom attraction to Frozen Ever After, Disney is importing a Disneyland Paris ride based off 2007’s “Ratatouille” to the France pavilion.
Photo credit: Disney