Epcot was by far the park with the most amount of announcements and changes coming out of D23. There are so many changes coming that it’s hard to keep track and make sense of them all. I’ve compiled the biggest stories with their concept art here to help us all get a better look at the future of Epcot.
The changes to Epcot are expected to happen over the next 5 years, possibly more and have already started. Starting in October of this year, we will be able to check in on all their big plans by visiting the Odyssey building where Disney is setting up an exhibit titled Walt Disney Imagineering Presents The Epcot Experience. Here you will see concept art, models and plans for the transformation of Epcot.
My daughter was very pleased to hear about the new Moana attraction, titled Journey of Water, coming to Epcot. The attraction will be located in the area leading up to The Seas pavilion. It will be a self guided walk-thru trail featuring interactive water elements. We’re hoping they also decide to put a permanent Moana meet-and-greet somewhere in the mix!
And then there’s this futuristic looking thing:
This is the new Festival Pavilion which will be located right at the entrance to World Showcase where it meets Future World (that name is also changing, keep reading). This is a 3 level structure with a lower plaza level, a middle expo level and a park at the top level complete with trees and landscaping. Here’s another view in this concept art photo below. Wow, just wow. This looks amazing. The views of the new nighttime show from that top level will be prime spots for sure.
Speaking of the new nighttime show, the new show will debut in May of 2020 after the temporary Epcot Forever show that’s starting next month. The title is HarmoniUS and it features Disney music that’s been reinterpreted by different artists all over the world. The effects include massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, fireworks, and lasers. Disney is saying is will be their largest nighttime show to date. I’m glad to see they kept the perimeter fireworks as a good throwback to Illuminations.
Say goodbye to “Future World”. World Showcase will remain the same by Future World is being divided into three “Worlds”. The World of Discovery which will contain Test Track, Mission:Space (and it’s new restaurant), and Guardians of the Galaxy and the new Play Pavilion. World of Celebration will contain Spaceship Earth, and the new Festival Pavilion, and Imagination Pavilion. The World of of Nature will contain the Land Pavilion, Seas Pavilion, and the new Moana inspired water trail.
Our favorite spaceship is going to get an overhaul. Yes, the long standing rumors that Spaceship Earth will soon be closing for refurbishment are unfortunately true. But the reason why is positive. Disney has announce new narration, new music, and new scenes are coming to the attraction. Pretty much all the parts leading up to the boy selling newspapers facing the wall will remain the same. From there the scenes will completely change. A time frame for all this has yet to be announced by the rumors are that it will close early next year. In addition to the attraction itself changing, the exit when you step off the attraction is also getting an overhaul and will now be called Dreamers Point. This new area will feature gardens, a wishing tree, an interactive fountain and a new statute of Walt himself.
Since we’re on the subject of attraction upgrades, lets talk about the new attractions coming soon! Remy’s Ratatoille Adventure will open Summer of 2020. But that’s not all coming out of the France Pavilion, there’s a new restaurant coming as well that will offer both table and quick service options. La Creperie de Paris will feature a menu by chef Jerome Bocuse who also heads Les Chefs de France. The restaurant will also open Summer of 2020.
Also in the France Pavilion, beginning January 2020, Beauty and the Best Sing-Along will premiere alongside Impressions de France. Their play times with switch off.
The Canada Pavilion is getting a new video in their new circle-vision 360 theater titled Canada Far and Wide. This will debut January 2020. China is getting a new video as well in their 360 theater titled Wondrous China debuting at the same time.
That’s not it for new videos either. In The Land Pavilion, a video Awesome Planet will also debut January 2020.
There was some updated concept art and details that dropped on the upcoming Play! Pavilion that will encompass what was the Wonders of Life/Festival Pavilion. No completion date has been announced yet though. There will be games, lots of interactive elements, and more than a couple character interaction opportunities within this pavilion (Wreck-It Ralph, Baymax, and Joy and Sadness are expected to have a permanent home here). One of the attractions will be an animation experience with Edna Mode, helping her to rid the world of unacceptable fashion. There will also be a virtual water balloon fight with hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby as well as a “hotel heist” attraction featuring the characters of Zootopia.
As if this wasn’t enough excitement, there’s more. A whole new Mary Poppins themed neighborhood is coming to the UK Pavilion. You will walk down Cherry Tree Lane and enter the Banks’ home and begin your adventure. It’s unclear what exactly this adventure will be, it’s rumored it will be some kind of spinning attraction, but we will have to wait for more details including an opening date.
For those of us that probably won’t be able to afford a night in the new Star Wars hotel, we can have our own blast off to space experience in the new space restaurant opening winter of this year. The restaurant’s official name is Space 220. 220 represents the number of miles you will be above the earth’s surface. Besides the fact that all the “windows” of the restaurant will provide you with your own unique and ever changing view of Earth as you dine in a futuristic space station, the mode to which you will transport here was announced and it sounds great. You will be in an elevator that will blast off and provide you windows to look at your ascent from Earth. Reservations should be opening in the coming months.
In the same World Discovery will be the Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster The official name was announced as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This will be Disney’s first reverse-launch coaster. The coaster cars themselves will turn and spin to face the action happening on the ride. Some new concept art gives a bit of an idea of what that may look like.
Wow! That’s a lot of news and excitement coming out of Epcot. Prepare for construction crane views for the next few years!
One last thing I wanted to mention and that’s what WASN’T announced at D23. For years there has been talk of a new country pavilion coming to the World Showcase. Recently there have been some leaks that the new country will be Brazil. We thought for sure that announcement would be made this year but alas, no mention of it. We’ll continue to stand-by on this one.
Leave a comment with your thoughts on these changes. What are most excited for? What do you think will be a hit or miss? Let me know!