D23 has come and gone and we are still sorting through all of the information that was released over the course of the expo that took place August 23-25 in Anaheim, California.
One thing we know is that one of the main focuses for The Walt Disney Company over the next few years will be the overhaul of Epcot. This, as Bob Chapek announced Sunday during the parks panel, will be the largest undertaking for an existing park that the company has ever taken on.
One of the biggest changes coming to Epcot is that there will no longer be Future World. The park will now be split into four themed areas or worlds. Celebration, Nature, Discovery and Showcase.
World Celebration will essentially be the Spine of Epcot. Everything from the entryway all the way to the entrance of World Showcase will be included in this world. While the 37 year old icon of Epcot, Spaceship Earth will remain the focal point of the park, it will undergo a two-year refurbishment that will completely re-imagine the attraction to focus on the power of storytelling.
The attractions storyline will shift from a focus on technology to one of stories that unite humanity throughout time. A “story light” will link the attraction to a nearby Dreamer’s Point where guests exit. While some of the originally scenes will remain Bob, Chapek said that the attractions refurbishment and new scenes will focus on the “universal narration of the human experience.”
One of the most exciting things coming to World Celebration will include Dreamer’s Point and it will house a brand new statue of the original imagineer, the one who made all of this possible, Walt Disney.
A new festival center has been revealed and it is quite the structure. Located where Innoventions currently is, this new pavilion will be three stories and will include a rooftop garden with amazing views of the new nighttime spectacular.
World Discovery will include Test Track and Mission: Space, also the new Mission: Space restaurant which we learned will be called Space: 220 that will begin accepting reservations in winter 2019. The Guardians of the Galaxy coaster that is currently under construction and will be titled, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. In addition, the new Play Pavilion, where guests will discover an interactive city featuring some of our favorite Disney characters including Edna Mode, Ralph and more. The new Play Pavilion will be open before the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.
World Nature will take guests on an adventure through the wonderful natural world. This is where the first ever and brand new Moana attraction will be located along with a brand new film that is coming the Land Pavilion called Awesome Planet that is scheduled to be open in 2020.
World Showcase will receive some updates as well. The new Ratatouille attraction is scheduled to open in summer 2020 in France as well as a new crepe restaurant and a new Mary Poppins themed attraction was announced for the United Kingdom pavilion.
China and Canada will get new videos for their 360-circle vision attractions and France will be getting a Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long show.
IllumiNations, the longest running nighttime spectacular at Walt Disney World will be coming to an end in September 2019 and will be replaced by a temporary show called Epcot Forever and the permanent replacement called Harmonious will debut in 2020 and will be the largest fireworks spectacular at Disney according to Chapek. The new show will include “massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains”.
No firm details were released as to when the Epcot transformation will be complete. Smart by Disney because it ensures people won’t be clamoring to book their trip for a specific week. The changes will be rolled out in phases with some debuting later this year and we imagine will not be complete for several years with the final transformation coming sometime in 2021, in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney resort.
The new attractions will roll out slowly, but most are set to be ready by 2021 — just in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World resort.
We also believe that Disney isn’t done and we expect to receive even more announcements as the transformation progresses.
Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.
(Source: Disney, Orlando Weekly, CNN)