Big Changes Coming to Epcot’s World Showcase Performances

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Bye Bye Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps. Such a great show!

Bye Bye Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps. Such a great show!

Here’s how I started my morning…I got a text from a friend telling me that something crazy was happening…a bunch of World Showcase acts were being removed. You know, those fantastic performers that you see around the promenade. I thought…no way. This has to be one of those off-the-wall rumors…it can’t be true. And then I got on Twitter…and I kept seeing the rumors with more fervor. It can’t be…

Well, now, it is official. Four different acts that perform around Epcot’s World Showcase – Off Kilter, MO’ROCKIN, the World Showcase Players, and the Spirit of America Fife & Drums Corps - will give their final performances at the end of September.

The first to leave will be the World Showcase Players. The last performance date for this comedic troupe found in the United Kingdom Pavilion will be on Thursday, September 25. They performed skits, oftentimes enlisting audience members to be a part of the fun.

Off Kilter, an extremely popular bag-pipe playing, kilt wearing, Celtic rock band that performs at the Canada Pavilion, will have its last performance on Saturday, September 27. Also ending on September 27 will be MO’ROCKIN, a musical act found in the Moroccan Pavilion, and the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps, a patriotic colonial marching band that performs outside of the American Adventure Pavilion.

With the departure of these acts, some new acts will be replacing them. They include a traditional Berber music and dance troupe in Morocco, a lumberjack-inspired show in Canada, a Celtic folk music ensemble at the United Kingdom Pavilion, and in the Italy Pavilion will be a new group featuring flag-waving performers, who will replace an act that closed earlier this year, the Ziti Sisters.

The new World Showcase experiences are expected to debut in the following months. I’ll keep you up to date as more information is released.

Which performers will you miss the most, and which ones are you looking forward to seeing?

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Posted on August 28, 2014

27 Responses to “Big Changes Coming to Epcot’s World Showcase Performances”

  • I’ve loved Off Kilter for years – but they’ve been playing that gig forever. I’m sad to see them go.

  • I’m actually really happy about this. I don’t care for any of these groups so seeing them *every single time* with no changes really made them stale.

  • I am so disappointed to hear this. I was looking forward to seeing Off Kilter during our December trip. (This will be only our second trip, so it didn’t have a chance to get stale for us.)

  • This news is bittersweet. I think it’s important to keep the Disney experience fresh, and sometimes that means updating things or replacing things. I do truly love Fife and Drum and Off-Kilter, though. I wish Disney could find a “happy medium” in incorporating new entertainment with tried-and-true classics. Maybe have them play on select days throughout the week?

    I also see a trend in Disney removing favorites and then replacing them with attractions that are lacking in quality. I may be overstating, but it seems like Eisner has the eye for quality – and Igor just has an eye for quantity.

  • Attractions, entire pavilions and lately long-time performers are going or gone from Epcot, but management continues to add opportunities to eat, drink (alcohol) and look at flowers. Strange.

  • I think this is a great announcement. World Showcase is stale and needs updating. It is my least favorite part of any park. The acts have been doing the same thing forever.

    I have seen and done everything in it. I have pictures from the early 1990s, early 2000s, and 2014 all showing the exact same thing.

    I go multiple times a year, I skip it unless food and wine is going on, I am with a newbie, or I am low on my weird Japanese candy.

    When Epcot first opened, some of those countries were exotic and the food rare. Now ethnic food is common place in America, my nephew at age 5 said about the Moroccan food “this is not real Moroccan food. It is much better back home.”

    It is time for a change. People think Hollywood Studios is outdated. I say close World Showcase off for a year and completely re-do it. Change out all the countries.

  • They did similarly this year in DLR, dumping longtime (two decades) Billy Hill and the Hillbillies from Disneyland. At least Epcot is getting replacement acts, though I’m bummed I never got to see Off Kilter or the Fife and Drums Corps. I’m *sure* it’s all about money.

  • We will miss MO’ROCKIN !
    Does anyone know if this also means no more Moroccan music and dance inside Restaurant Marrakesh ?

    We were not happy to see the acrobats in China depart, but we found the replacement (the current Jeweled Dragon Acrobats) to be a better quality replacement (and seemingly happier looking performers).

    Hoping the soon-to-be replaced acts will be at least just as good.

  • They seem to be taking the interactive entertainment away which is sad.

  • I’m sad to see Off Kilter go, but I’m just thankful that Disney is REPLACING the acts, and not doing away with them forever. It’s sad how much live (impromptu) entertainment has diminished over the years, so I’d say this is a welcome change in general.

  • I wouldn’t say that I loved Off Kilter, but it was fun to have music playing that you could hear all over World Showcase. Mo’Rockin did a great set the last time I was in EPCOT in 2012. It makes sense that changes will happen sometimes.

    What concerns me is that I get the sense the updates relate more to cutting costs than to providing a new experience. Veteran acts are going to cost more, and replacing so many in a short time in Florida and California doesn’t feel like keeping the parks fresh. The decisions seem economic more than creative. The prices continue to increase, and the offerings get slimmer. I’m not thrilled about the direction that’s being taken by the current leadership.

  • I’m happy to hear there will be a Celtic music performance in the UK pavilion, but will seriously miss Off Kilter. I have all their CD’s though, so they might be gone from Epcot but not my life.

  • I will certainly miss my Quest for the Holy Grail. (Rubbish!) I never got be Arthur (long live the king!), and to scratch my royal cheek.

    Always thought Off Kilter was, to quote Huey Lewis, “just too darn loud”.

    The lead performer for the Corps was a genuine institution. When he would instruct the young people on the American Revolution, he wasn’t just playing a part – he was genuinely teaching. He’ll be missed.

    Now if they announce termination of the Voices, that’s cause to march. They wouldn’t dare. (Oh, yes they would . . . . . )

  • Well shit! I love Off Kilter and Mo Rockin’. Oh well.

  • I wonder if Off Kilter will be making any appearances at Raglan Road.

  • by YohoWonKenobi on August 29, 2014, at 12:17 pm EDT

    Off Kilter was great stuff, and I really enjoyed each time I saw the Corps. They really seemed to care about sharing the “benefits of liberty.” But one of my best WDW memories comes from the World Showcase Players. My wife played the witch, and our family often talks and jokes about it. It was a whole lot of fun. My wife was seriously bummed that we won’t see the Players on our anniversary trip in November.

  • Let’s not pretend this is a “keep moving forward” thing where they’re trying to keep things fresh. This is all about the bottom line. If Disney could’ve signed them for less $, their contracts would’ve been renewed. Instead, Disney signed a cheaper act, so well-loved acts with loyal followings are kicked to the curb.

    In summary, another Disney cheap-out move at the expense of the guest experience. I’m really getting tired of this.

    • The sad part about all this is that the folks at Disney responsible for these changes have probably convinced themselves that they are making the changes to keep things fresh. I can just imagine the conversation: “Tilted Kilt has been playing basically the same gig for XX years. We can get some goofballs to put on a stereotypical lumberjack performance for 1/2 the price, and in doing so bring a fresh new act to the World Showcase.” In my experience, management who make these sorts of decisions always find ways other than money alone to justify the changes in their minds, which I guess allows them to sleep at night. Instead of being money-grubbing scum (in their minds at least), they think they are improving things. Not so much.

      Cheers,
      –Lee

  • Going to miss Oft Kilter, stopping and watching them then seeing the British Explosion or whatever band was playing in UK was always a highlight of Epcot. Don’t see myself stopping to see a lumberjack inspired show.

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  • I’ve sadly never heard/seen Off Kilter, but a lumberjack show? The Canada pavilion needs a reduction in the silly stereotypical shtick, not more. Well, unless the show is taken word-for-word from the Monty Python lumberjack song.