Little girl crime fighters are out. Platypus crime fighters are in.
Those are the trends at Epcot, which was home of the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure from early 2009 until last month. Now the theme park offers the Disney Phineas & Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure.
Essentially, the company has swapped out characters and scenarios from the "Kim Possible" TV series with "Phineas & Ferb" features. Both shows have been Disney Channel favorites.
There are obvious similarities in the attractions. (Those names were your first clues.) Actually, they revolve around clues.
"It's essentially a scavenger hunt with you in the story line," says Matt Beiler, show design and production manager with Walt Disney Imagineering. He walked me through some of the sights and sounds of the Agent P version last week.
In "Phineas & Ferb" and the new attraction, Agent P is the alter ego of Perry the Platypus, pet of the title characters. The TV episodes showcase the creativity of stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb but also include story lines about Agent P's missions. Guests at Epcot help Agent P triumph over archenemy Dr. Doofenschmirtz, who, in turn, somehow foils the parallel-universe backyard projects of Phineas and Ferb.
The story line of Agent P's World Showcase Adventure has Doofenschmirtz up to no good while vacationing through seven countries, coinciding with the seven pavilions that are hosts of the game. (Perry the Platypus is traveling with his family but locked up in a cat carrier — for now.)
Players receive clues and instructions through a phone-like F.O.N.E. — that's Field Operative Notifications Equipment — just like the old Kimmunicator in the Kim Possible version.
Participants are sent to exact locations within the Epcot pavilions, where they activate certain effects that lead to more clues and the eventual defeat of Doofenschmirtz.
"Phineas & Ferb" creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh were in on the early stages of the Epcot game, and each country has a specific mission tied to the characters and the creative, comic sensibility of the show, Beiler says. For example, Doofenschmirtz is aligned with a "robotic troll army" in Norway.
In Germany, Beiler pointed out a rocket-powered kickball that plays into the plot (look for the shelf with trophies in a retail outlet). There also were popular Kim Possible tricks repurposed for the new edition. The singing steins still sing, but it's a campaign rally song for Doofenschmirtz (he's running for mayor). A train set includes a campaign slogan. Outside, the glockenspiel has been altered to include a certain bad guy.
Meanwhile, with the right mission, you can spot Agent P with a flower in his fedora. There are several tasks in each country that can be combined in different ways, so the next time I go to Germany, I may not see the same events.
Agent P's World Showcase Adventure is in "test and adjust" mode, but it will be included eventually in the Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Japan, France and United Kingdom pavilions.
If you've been to a Disney park lately, you've seen many kids in Perry/Agent P shirts and hats, so the change from Kim Possible makes sense. It's still a great diversion for kids, who may find Epcot to be eating-and-shopping heavy. And it can expose everyone to corners of the World Showcase previously unexplored.
It's not done yet.
"Over the course of the summer, you'll see a lot of new assignments incorporated into the experience," Beiler says.
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Agent P's World Showcase Adventure
What: Interactive game based on "Phineas & Ferb" characters at Epcot's World Showcase
Where: Off Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando
When: Theme park opens daily at 9 a.m., with World Showcase opening at 11 a.m. The park closes at 9 p.m.
Cost: Included in regular Epcot admission. A Disney World one-day, one-park admission is $89 general, $83 ages 3-9.