Food Rocks had a reputation as being one of the more bizarre attractions at Epcot, if not the world! Featuring singing food stuffs passing on the message of healthy eating, it lasted for 10 years before joining the list of other abandoned attractions in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida alongside past favourites like Disney’s River Country and Discovery Island.
When Epcot opened in 1982, it featured a number of pavilions split into two zones – Future World and World Showcase. The Land pavilion was located on the west side of Future World. The pavilion is dedicated to human interaction with the Earth with a specific focus on agriculture and travel. Kraft Foods were the first sponsors of the pavilion and were involved in the initial design and operations. They were responsible for the attractions, restaurants and shops within the pavilion.
In 1992, Kraft decided not to renew their 10 year deal and Nestlé took over as sponsor of The Land. A major modernisation was undertaken. The pavilion’s major attraction, a boat road focusing on agriculture, was largely unchanged and opened as Living With The Land. It featured an element that took guests through an active greenhouse.
The second attraction to be upgraded was a cinematic presentation called Symbiosis which became Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable, a new film featuring characters from The Lion King. It was hoped that the updated attraction would better appeal to younger audiences.
The final attraction to be updated was The Kitchen Kabaret Revue which became known as Food Rocks, a musical stage show featuring audio-animatronic figures. Retaining some of the elements from the original, it was also designed to better appeal to younger guests. Food Rocks opened on March 26 1994.
The show had a running time of just under 13 minutes and featured the voices of a number of well known stars who parodied themselves. Tone Loc voiced the host, Fūd Wrapper. Neil Sedaka played Neil Moussaka, Little Richard played Richard, The Pointer Sisters played The Get-the-Point Sisters and Chubby Checker played Chubby Cheddar. Other “acts” included U-tensils (U2), The Peach Boys (The Beach Boys), Refrigerator Police (The Police) and Pita Gabriel (Peter Gabriel). There was also a singing fish called The Sole of Rock & Roll who was a parody of Cher.
The animatronic cartoon versions of foods sang classic tunes with lyrics reworked to convey nutritional messages about reading food labels, a healthy diet and eating in moderation. The milk carton who was the lead singer of the Refrigerator Police was a reused animatronic from he Kitchen Kabaret Revue and was the only figure retained from the previous show.
Nestlé’s decided to extend their initial 10 year deal to sponsor The Land and made a number of changes to the Pavilion in 2004. They completely overhauled the food court and announced that the popular Soarin’ Over California attraction from Disney’s California Adventure theme park would be coming to Florida. As a result, it was decided to close Food Rocks. The last day of operation was January 3 2004.
Soarin’ officially opened in officially inside The Land pavilion at Epcot on May 5 2005. The show for the attraction was similar to the original in Disney’s California Adventure. It was a roaring success and in 2016, the attraction was expanded to increase capacity. A new show, Soarin’ Around the World, was opened to coincide with the expansion.
Epcot is currently undergoing a redevelopment which will see The Land and The Sea pavilions merged into the new World Nature area. It will focus on “understanding and preserving the beauty, awe and balance of the natural world”. The current attractions will remain and be joined by a new walk-through based on the animated movie Moana called Journey of Water.
Food Rocks was a much-loved attraction in its short time at Epcot with many praising its wholesome nutritional message told in a fun way. The remaining traces of the attraction were removed in 2016 as part of the Soarin’ expansion.