Disney Provides a New Roadmap for EPCOT’s Reimagining
After years of silence, Disney finally provided some insights on the future of EPCOT. Here’s what we just learned about the EPCOT reimagining.
A Plan Gone Awry
A few years ago, The Walt Disney Company revealed its grand ambitions for a modernized EPCOT.
Park officials made this announcement at the D23 Expo 2019, and then a pandemic occurred several months later.
The sudden financial shortfall caused Disney to cut $900 million in capital expenditures from its future projections. In other words, Disney cut the theme park budget.
EPCOT absorbed the most significant cuts, as it was preparing to add all the promised changes from D23.
Now, Disney is ready to embark on a modified version of these plans. And I’ll warn you right now that some of them will disappoint you.
Disney provided the roadmap for the updated EPCOT during a recent media day. We’re still getting most of the previously promised stuff, just not all of it.
The Recent Updates at EPCOT
Park officials confirmed/revealed several elements of the impending changes. I think of the whole thing as EPCOT 2.0.
We’ve already witnessed part of the update, as Disney split Future World into World Nature, World Discovery, and World Celebration.
As part of those changes, the park opened some new locations that mirrored old ones. So now, instead of Mouse Gear, we have Creations Shop.
Similarly, Club Cool has returned in a sleek new package but in a new location.
Also, Connections Café and Eatery replaces Fountain View as a diner/Starbucks caffeine addiction delivery system.
Then, we have the most significant additions thus far, Space 220 and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
The former restaurant has become the hottest ticket at Walt Disney World. Meanwhile, the attraction is the second-most popular ride at EPCOT behind Frozen Ever After.
However, that statement will change in less than three weeks when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens on May 27th.
This roller coaster and the accompanying Wonders of Xandar pavilion will highlight the new EPCOT.
Disney is advertising this experience as an otherworld pavilion. And early feedback is glowingly positive.
So, that’s all the stuff we’re sure to get. Disney has also filled in the blanks on what’s coming next.
Also, via intentional omissions, we can connect the dots on what’s either canceled or highly delayed.
What’s Coming to EPCOT?
Park officials proudly note that they’ve made excellent progress on the next big thing at the parks.
Construction on Journey of Water, Inspired by Water is well underway.
This attraction will provide an entertaining distraction as guests move between World Celebration’s Spaceship Earth area and World Nature’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion.
Disney had also promised a reimagining of the EPCOT entrance plaza. Remember when cast members moved all those Leave a Legacy stones?
Thankfully, the planned Dreamer’s Point section remains a go, albeit in a somewhat modified form.
Imagineers had planned the space around a Spaceship Earth update that’s apparently on hold, if not canceled.
The Walt Disney statue remains a part of the plans, though. Management wants the new area to highlight Disney’s past, present, and future. And there is no Disney past without Uncle Walt.
This new center will come with an unprecedented view of the park. Also, the new illustrations for Dream’s Point and this section display several gardens that subdivide into a five-ring EPCOT logo.
Park officials hinted that the nature of the gardens will change depending on which EPCOT festival is currently underway.
The idea for the gardens is that you’ll spend time here at night when the lights will accentuate the “in-the-round” design of the area.
Speaking of the festivals, CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza will apparently carry the CommuniCore name into the future. They’ll be a multi-use facility and a functional outdoor event area.
Disney describes CommuniCore Hall as “a flexible exhibition and gallery space, offering a wide variety of experiences that highlight art, live music, food – complete with a demonstration kitchen – and more.”
This place will also include a Mickey & Friends character greeting spot.
If I didn’t mention it, Disney has made no announcement about it. The Mary Poppins flat ride didn’t receive an update, and there’s radio silence about Spaceship Earth.
The multi-level festival building that once anchored the next generation of EPCOT is obviously not happening, either.
These CommuniCore sections serve the same purpose, albeit in a less showy way.
We also didn’t learn anything new about the PLAY! pavilion. Disney fans point out that it remains on several current park maps. So, its future appears brighter than the other stuff here.
Since Disney didn’t mention it, I’m not expecting PLAY! for a while, though.