According to Brazilian press, Disney may be getting ready to announce a major country pavilion addition to Epcot. Today columnist Monica Bergamo from Folha, one of the two biggest newspapers in São Paulo, reported this surprising information:
“Brazil got a seat in a great international “forum”: Disney. Representatives from the greatest theme park complex in the world approached the federal government this week to announce they’ll include a Brazilian pavilion at Epcot Center, in Orlando (USA). The country will be featured alongside nations such as the US, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Canada.
Two ministers will assemble teams to help with the undertaking: Helena Chagas of SECOM (Bureau of Social Communication) and Fernando Pimentel of Development. They will provide information about Brazil to help the park build the pavilion. The government’s expectations is one of great return for tourism.”
(Thanks to Rodrigo for the translation from Portuguese)
UPDATE (4/22/11): Disney’s only comment on this topic is to call it “rumor and speculation.” Clearly there is nothing to suggest that Disney is ready to announce Brazil as a new country in Epcot, so the Folha report’s truth (or lack thereof) remains a mystery.
UPDATE (4/25/11): I contacted Monica Bergamo, the author of the Folha story, to find out more information and she told me the following:
“Disney looked to the Brazilian government to speak about the new pavilion. Two ministers are involved in the subject: Helena Chagas, Secom (Secretary of Social Communication) and Fernando Pimentel, of Industrial Development. The subject is treated as confidential but already circulates between the teams of the two ministers.”
(Translated from Portuguese)
If Bergamo’s report is accurate, it’s clear why Disney has not commented, as it may be in the very early stages of communication between them and the Brazilian government to decide of adding a Brazil pavilion to Epcot is a possibility.
Last month Disney released a Vinylmation Flags series which features 11 figures – one for each of the 10 foreign countries that currently populate the World Showcase at Epcot plus one for… Brazil. Is this a small confirmation of the report that Brazil will be added to the World Showcase or just smart merchandising, given the large number of Brazilian tourists that visit Walt Disney World each year? (Thanks to Chuck for the tip!)
If true, this would be the first major expansion of the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World in decades. Brazil has been featured at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. Thousands of Brazilian tourists flock to Walt Disney World each year on vacation.
Disney has not yet commented. There have certainly been plenty of rumors of countries (including Brazil) being added to the World Showcase in the past, none of which have ever come to fruition, so treat this as an unconfirmed report (rumor?) for now.