Epcot Is About to Get an Epic Overhaul — Here’s What’s Coming (Video)
The next time you step inside Epcot, you may not recognize it. The Walt Disney World theme park is undergoing major changes, details of which were confirmed at yesterday’s D23 Expo fan convention in Anaheim, California.
Over the past few years, Epcot has been gearing up for a major shift that embraces its history while also bringing new family-friendly offerings and familiar Disney films into the park, and after D23 Expo 2019, it’s clear how these changes will be implemented.
New attractions themed to "Moana" and "Mary Poppins" are en route, a nighttime show will rival Magic Kingdom’s and even a roller coaster themed to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy confirmed in new, exciting detail — all of which should open in time for Walt Disney World’s massive 50th Anniversary celebration in 2021.
Brand new rides are landing, fresh concepts are being built and even iconic attractions are undergoing changes both big and small. The ride within Spaceship Earth — the emblematic “golf ball” at the front of the park — will be completely overhauled, while beloved Future World pavilions are set to be annexed into new neighborhoods.
From Cherry Tree Lane to a restaurant set high above the clouds, here’s everything coming to Epcot over the next few years:
Epcot’s new nighttime show could rival Magic Kingdom’s.
With IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth set to close later this year, details have finally arrived as to what nighttime show could fill its historical shoes. Arriving to Epcot in 2020, HarmonioUS will celebrate the impact of Disney music across the globe with a soundtrack of familiar Disney favorites, and between its LED panels, lights, pyro, lasers, floating set pieces and “choreographed moving fountains,” this spectacle should be more than just a fireworks show.
With Disney is touting HarmonioUS as a phenomenon of global scale — it’s said to be the largest-ever nighttime show created for any Disney park — it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s on par with Magic Kingdom’s “Happily Ever After” fireworks, and should undoubtedly impress.
Everything will look different — including how you view new nighttime shows.
Consider this Epcot’s Marie Kondo moment. Gone is Future World’s all-encompassing area and in its place are three new “neighborhoods” clustered by theme in tandem with World Showcase.
World Nature will include The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends, which will remain intact, as World Discovery, which focuses on science and technology, will include Test Track, Mission:SPACE, the new "Guardians of the Galaxy" coaster and the forthcoming PLAY! pavilion.
World Celebration will be entirely new, repurposing the entrance and thoroughfare leading towards World Showcase for a land of its own. With Spaceship Earth at its center, this new mini-land touts garden-like features including a wishing tree, fountain and statue of Walt Disney, as well as a three-tier building for festival events that allows for sky-high views of Epcot’s nighttime shows.
World Showcase remains the same, rounding out the fourth of Epcot’s new “neighborhoods.”
Changes are coming to Spaceship Earth.
The classic slow-moving indoor dark ride narrated by Dame Judy Dench is not long for this world — in its current state, at least. A favorite for its now-whimsical nostalgia, Spaceship Earth is set to be fully transformed, shifting from an emphasis on the history of communication to the art of storytelling, and is bound to include popular Disney characters.
Moana will have her own Epcot attraction.
Nearly three years after the Polynesian princess made her on-screen debut, Moana finally lands at a Walt Disney World theme park in a permanent way with Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana.” The walk-through attraction — not a ride — will allow guests to interact with dancing water in a serene setting.
No word on if a permanent meet-and-greet will also be included in the World Nature opening, but if early artwork is to be trusted, the warrior chief and her Gramma Tala, reincarnated as a Manta ray, are likely to appear within World Celebration’s reimagined Spaceship Earth.
Four new film experiences will debut at Epcot
The Land Pavilion’s nature-focused "Awesome Planet" film will also open in January 2020, replacing "Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable," while the new 360-degree digital film "Wondrous China" will replace the long-running "Reflections of China" film within Epcot’s China Pavilion.
January 2020 will also bring "Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along" to the France Pavilion and "Canada Far and Wide" to the Canada Pavilion, replacing the previous "O Canada!" The Circle-Vision 360 film, helmed by Martin Short, shuttered earlier this month; there is currently no word on if the famed Canuck will return to narrate.
New Mary Poppins, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratatouille attractions are en route
Disney’s first-ever "Mary Poppins" attraction will land at Epcot, which will include an overhaul of Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion to include Cherry Tree Lane, the iconic London street from the cinematic series.
Further details were also revealed for previously-announced Marvel and Pixar attractions landing at Epcot. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the massive indoor roller coaster coming to Walt Disney World, will feature rotating cars that spin to face riders different directions and a reverse launch — Disney’s first. The ride, which begins inside a planetarium exhibition about Xandar, soon evolves into a quest throughout space alongside the ragtag team of super heroes.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, based on the eponymous film, will open earlier than expected and welcome its first guests in summer 2020. The Pixar ride, which is immensely popular at Disneyland Paris’ Walt Disney Studios, will see guests scurry around Gusteau’s restaurant from the perspective of the beloved rodents.
Two new restaurants will serve food that’s out of this world – literally.
New details on previously announced restaurants were revealed at D23 Expo 2019. Epcot’s celestial-themed restaurant Space 220 will see guests boarding an “elevator” to travel 220 miles above Epcot for an immersive meal among the stars. And, given that it’s run by the restaurant group behind beloved Epcot restaurants Via Napoli and Tutto Italia, it’s bound to be worth traveling for.
La Crêperie de Paris will offer table-service and quick-service dining when it opens at the World Showcase’s France Pavilion in summer 2020. With a menu by chef Jérôme Bocuse — the son of Paul Bocuse, who founded Epcot’s Monsieur Paul — it’s a sweet hat tip to the park’s past.
Guests can get a first-look at everything coming to Epcot in preparation of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary with an exhibit at the park’s Odyssey Events Pavilion opening Oct. 1st.