Ellen's Energy Adventure (initially titled Ellen's Energy Crisis, but it was quickly changed after its debut) was a humorous look at the past, present and future of energy, featuring Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alex Trebek and Michael Richards. Located at Walt Disney World's Epcot, it replaced the original Universe of Energy attraction back in September 1996.
In the pre-show, guests saw Ellen dreaming that she's on Jeopardy!, competing against her snooty college rival Dr. Judy Peterson (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Albert Einstein. All the categories are about energy, which Ellen is clueless about, so her neighbor, Bill Nye The Science Guy shows up to help.
After boarding a novel "moving-theater car" guests would travel back to the origin of fossil fuels, through a dinosaur-filled primeval diorama. Leaving the diorama, the vehicles entered a second theatre where they reassembled back into their original theatre seating formation. After listening to a brief prehistoric broadcast from KNRG News Radio, guests viewed a twelve minute live-action film in which Ellen and Bill Nye took an in-depth look at various current and future energy resources. Actor Michael Richards also made a brief cameo as a caveman.
Finally, Ellen returned to Jeopardy! as an energy expert (or at least expert-ish) to take on "Stupid Judy".
The attraction operated for almost 21 years (longer than the original Universe of Energy attraction) before closing on August 13, 2017, to make way for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, a new E-ticket attraction based on the Marvel Comics characters (and film) of the same name. Cosmic Rewind will be the first attraction based on a Marvel property in Walt Disney World note and is expected to debut in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary in 2021, as well as Epcot's own overall reimagining for its 40th.
Ellen's Energy Adventure provides examples of the following tropes:
- All Just a Dream: Inverted; in fact, we see Ellen taking a nap while watching Judy in Jeopardy, and we never see her wake up after the ride.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Ellen talks to the audience throughout the show, even commenting on one person's hair.
- Ellen is this, even in her dreams. She gets rained on, chased by dinosaurs, and has to go down with Bill to see sharks after viewing an oil rig.
- Albert Einstein, the only other Jeopardy contestant, gets no points during either round and is eliminated before the final Jeopardy. There is coffee for him in the back, however.
- Call-Back: During the Theater II to Theater I finale transition, Jeopardy! announcer Johnny Gilbert makes a reference to one of the songs from the ride's predecessor.Johnny Gilbert: Some contestants on Jeopardy! will receive a year's supply of energy. Energy, You Make the World Go 'Round.
- The Cameo: Seinfeld's Michael Richards appears as the caveman who discovers fire.
- Casual Time Travel: In Ellen's dream, Bill Nye can travel from The Big Bang, to the Cretaceous period, all the way to the present, without so much as breaking a sweat.
- Cue the Rain: When being asked about how dams work, the answer pours down on Ellen in a very isolated way but keeps Bill dry.
- In-Series Nickname: Ellen had the best nickname for her smarty-pants know-it-all roommate: Stupid Judy. Coincidentally, Judy called her Stupid Ellen.
- "Jeopardy!" Thinking Music: Natch, considering the game show theming of the attraction.
- Jerkass: Judy is a nasty piece of work, well at least the version of her in Ellen's dream:Judy: Ellen, you do know that the more expensive the question, the harder it is.
- Jerkass Has a Point: With that said, Judy is right to be suspicious that Ellen suddenly gained enough knowledge about Jeopardy to tie with her in the second round.
- Lampshade Hanging: When Bill Nye manages to just enter Ellen's apartment no problem, Narrator!Ellen leans into frame:Narrator!Ellen: And of course no one locks their doors in New York.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Averted. After talking about the cast member, Ellen gives a rapid recap of the pre-show for those who came in late.
- Look Behind You: Ellen uses this tactic to escape a T-Rex! Then jokingly to the audience at the end:Ellen: LOOK OUT FOR THE DINOSAUR! Ha ha ha, kidding. I'm a kidder.
- No Fourth Wall: Ellen talks to the audience in both narrator and dream form, and is aware of the cast member giving the safety spiel.
- Painting the Medium: In the second film, Ellen pushes the boundary of the film to super-widescreen to be more dramatic.Ellen: From now on we're dreaming in widescreen. Wider, wider! I sound like a dentist don't I?
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted with Ellen. She, as always, rambles, cuts her sentences off halfway through and talks in a normal sounding train-of-thought way.
- Re-Cut: A lot of the footage from the original attraction was repurposed for this version.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: After she loses to Ellen in Jeopardy, Judy gets one from Alex freaking Trebek:Judy: How could she possibly have learned so much during the commercial break? She's obviously cheating!
Alex Trebek: Zip it, Judy.
- Talking to Themself: Ellen even interacts with herself in the story she's narrating.Narrator!Ellen: Hey, hey, you! How 'bout sharing some of those chips?
Dream!Ellen: No, you're on a diet!.
- Threatening Shark: Just what every bad dream needs.
- Tough Room: Bill Nye's too wrapped up in teaching Ellen to laugh at her jokes:Bill Nye: Out of this nothingness, many scientists believe the universe was born.
Dream Ellen: Must've been a big delivery room, huh?
Bill Nye: Uh, yeah.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: The time it takes for Bill to show Ellen the beginning of time and the universe is enough to last the Jeopardy commerical break. Though a crew member asks Ellen where she's been.