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Taking the Kids: And saving the galaxy at Walt Disney World this summer

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Those from the planet Xandar have the right idea.

They may live 2.5 million light-years from Earth in a different galaxy but as Irani Rael, the leader of Xandar explains: “We are more alike than different. … We were all created from the Big Bang.”

Ready to save the galaxy? Disney World’s newest and much-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind adventure debuts with great fanfare at Epcot May 27. (See my ride!)

“If you loved Space Mountain, you will love this ride,” promises Liz Diaz, one of the lead Imagineers on the project that has been in the works for some six years. Diaz notes that with a height requirement of just 42 inches, most kindergarteners (and some tall preschoolers) can ride.

Cosmic Rewind is the latest in the ongoing transformation of EPCOT, as Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration continues. There are new neighborhoods (Cosmic Rewind is in the remodeled World Discovery area), new restaurants at EPCOT (beam up to a Space Station 220 for lunch or dinner; enjoy a French crepe at La Creperie de Paris or a freshly made pizza or dessert waffle at Connections Eatery), a new nighttime spectacular (Harmonious), the 4-D Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure for the youngest park goers. (Shrunk to rat size, you race through the kitchen made famous in the Pixar film “Ratatouille”.)

Characters are back hugging and posing for pictures in their shimmering finery with plenty of 50th Anniversary and Cosmic Rewind “merch” available. Ready to gear up as an honorary Guardian or cuddle up with a plush Groot alien who helps the Guardians?


With your My Disney Experience app, you can use your phone to open your hotel room, enter the parks or pay for purchases. Your kids, though, will want Magic Band+ when it debuts this year so they can unlock interactive scavenger hunts or wave it at Disney character statues so they’ll talk to you.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is based on the blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. It features cosmic outlaws Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora and Star-Lord and Peter Quill, who loved visiting EPCOT as a kid, the story goes. (#CosmicRewind).

In fact, Quill suggests EPCOT as the perfect locale for Xandarians to show off their advanced civilization to us on Earth. The pre-ride Galaxarium shows us more about the two planets and Xandar’s people and culture.

“I would hope people would take away the wonder of the universe,” said Tom Fitzgerald, a 43-year Disney creative executive who co-directed the development of this experience. Fitzgerald’s career started at EPCOT, he noted, and this attraction underscores EPCOT’s theme of exploration.


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