“Won’t Even Look the Same,” Disney Has Big Plans For EPCOT

in Walt Disney World

beacon of magic epcot

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

One of the most unique Disney Parks in the world is EPCOT.

The Walt Disney World Resort theme park was originally envisioned by Walt Disney as a real-life city of the future. EPCOT is divided into four main sections: World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature, and World Showcase.

The exterior of Connections Eatery under Spaceship Earth.
Credit: Disney

World Discovery is home to many attractions that were once under the “Future World” umbrella. These include Mission: SPACE, Test Track, and the all-new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. World Nature is home to The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Living with the Land, and Soarin’ Around the World.

World Showcase is a collection of pavilions that represent different countries from around the world. Each pavilion showcases the culture, food, and architecture of its respective country, and features shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Some of the countries represented in the World Showcase include Mexico, Canada, China, and Norway. Finally, World Celebration is in the middle of the Disney Park and features Spaceship Earth, as well as some new attractions and experiences that we’ll get to shortly.

EPCOT is known for its annual festivals, such as the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival and the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. These festivals offer guests the chance to sample food and drink from around the world, and enjoy special events and entertainment.

Elsa Topiary Statue in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

As we look toward the future of EPCOT, here’s a look at the projects we already know are in the works and the ones that are rumored for the future.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana

One of the biggest projects currently underway at EPCOT is none other than Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. It’s not a ride, but it will be an experience that will be different than anything that Disney World Guests have experienced before.

During this experience, you’ll stroll along a self-guided outdoor trail where you can play and interact with water as it travels from the sky to the oceans and back again. Along the way, learn about the importance of water and discover its playful personality—just as Moana did on her heroic voyage.

Te Fiti at EPCOT's Journey of Water Inspired by 'Moana'
Credit: Walt Disney Imagineering

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, is scheduled to open within World Nature—the EPCOT neighborhood dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty and balance of the natural world.

Disney has not given us an update on when the attraction will open, but Walt Disney Imagineering did share a photo of Te Fiti at her position inside EPCOT back in December. You can also read the statement from Disney below when that photo was released:

“This morning, our project team at Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana welcomed Te Fiti at her position along the trail. This is a momentous milestone for the project team as we continue to bring this experience to life for EPCOT guests in Late 2023. Congratulations to the team of Imagineers and all of our partners that made this happen! Keep following along as we continue to share updates from Journey of Water as part of the World Nature neighborhood of EPCOT.”

For now, the expectation is that the attraction will open in the later portion of 2023.

Disney World monorail at EPCOT during the International Flower and Garden Festival
Credit: Disney

EPCOT Harmonious is on the way out

EPCOT Harmonious had just gotten comfortable. Now, it’s on the way out.

This magnificent show brings to World Showcase Lagoon an innovative combination of floating giant screens, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers in a 360-degree view. Enter amazing worlds inspired by Moana, Aladdin, Coco, Brave, The Lion King, Mulan, The Princess and the Frog and other classic stories. Colorful images and effects dance and change as Harmonious weaves familiar Disney music and stories together. Through unique perspectives as diverse as the world itself, Disney songs hop from language to language as the show brings people from different parts of the world together to unlock the magic of possibility.

EPCOT Harmonious
Credit: Disney

While some Disney fans didn’t mind the nighttime spectacular, most said there was “something missing” with the new show. Disney announced a couple of months ago that EPCOT Forever would be returning to replace Harmonious.

The nighttime spectacular is set to return on April 3, 2023. During the show, you’ll “witness the wonder as the story of EPCOT and its next incredible chapter come to life.” Behold the single “spark of imagination” that started it all. Watch it grow, evolve and transform into a nighttime extravaganza that stirs the senses and captures all you love about EPCOT and all that’s to come––with dazzling fireworks and stunning laser effects set to tunes that have become theme park favorites.

Be sure to check this page, the My Disney Experience app or at a Disney Resort hotel Front Desk for showtimes on the day of your visit. Since this is an outdoor show, it is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather.

spaceship earth lighting
Credit: bioreconstruct

Dreamers Point at EPCOT

An area of World Celebration that is still under construction is none other than Dreamers Point.

We haven’t heard an update on Dreamers Point since the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, when Disney unveiled the statue of Walt Disney that will sit in Dreamers Point.

The new area will be located behind Spaceship Earth. It’s been under construction for quite some time, but we still haven’t gotten many other details on it thus far.

Walt the Dreamer Statue Close Up
Credit: Disney

“As Guests pass Spaceship Earth, in the future they will discover a breathtaking new view of World Showcase from Dreamers Point,” Disney said in a news release. “World Celebration will also feature a new statue honoring the legacy of the original dreamer, Walt Disney, plus beautiful natural environments and global design elements filled with Disney magic.”

Disney actually removed “Dreamers Point” from its website in the last few months, and this has led many to wonder what might be coming to the area and how long it might be before it opens. Still, most indications say that Dreamers Point will open in late 2023.

Walt Disney sits as a golden statue in front of a painting of EPCOT.
Credit: @AshleyLCarter1 on Twitter

Rumored Expansions in EPCOT’s World Showcase

The World Showcase features 11 countries– including Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada– in different pavilions.

The World Showcase is known for giving Guests experiences related to each country, including food and beverages. In addition, there are entertainment offerings in each pavilion, and three fun rides to experience, as well. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in France, Frozen Ever After in Norway, and Gran Fiesta Starring The Three Caballeros in Mexico can all be experienced in the World Showcase.

But, fans are always wanting more.

There have been rumors of a potential 12th pavilion being added. These could include Colombia and feature an Encanto ride, potentially adding a Coco-themed ride in Mexico (possibly as a replacement for Gran Fiesta Starring The Three Caballeros), or even Greece. Rumors recently indicate that a rather extensive refurbishment could be coming to Canada, but Disney has not confirmed this to be true.

For now, it would seem that Encanto is destined for Magic Kingdom (more on that below), but Coco could certainly be a viable replacement if Disney chose to get rid of the classic Three Caballeros ride.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
Credit: Disney

What’s next for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind?

The newest ride in EPCOT, of course, is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind takes Guests on an epic adventure through space, as they join the Guardians on a mission to save the galaxy from a dangerous new threat. The ride features a groundbreaking coaster system that is able to rotate 360 degrees, allowing Guests to experience a variety of thrilling and unexpected movements as they travel through the galaxy. This family-thrill attraction features the first-ever reverse launch on a Disney coaster and is one of the largest fully-enclosed coasters in the world!

The incredible experience of Cosmic Rewind is, without a doubt, unlike any other.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Credit: Disney

While many Disney World fans have been wondering if the EPCOT attraction might no longer require a virtual queue after TRON Lightcycle / Run opens in April. However, for now, Disney says the attraction will continue to have a virtual line that can only be accessed through the My Disney Experience app, or with a purchase of an Individual Lightning Lane pass.

With the addition of Cosmic Rewind, and all the other major expansions and plans for EPCOT, the theme park doesn’t even look like the same Park anymore.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at night with Spaceship Earth in the background at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

Other Disney Park expansions planned

EPCOT isn’t the only Disney World theme park under construction.

The biggest construction project, which is now finished, was none other than TRON Lightcycle / Run. The Magic Kingdom coaster is set to officially open on April 4, 2023, but it is already giving Guests a chance to ride by booking a virtual queue or purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane pass during its “soft opening.”

In addition, Disney recently permanently closed down Splash Mountain to make way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Major construction has already taken place at the attraction, which is set to open in late 2024.

In addition, there are two major expansions that Disney has teased, but not confirmed.

TRON Lightcycle / Run Sign
Credit: Disney

One is an expansion to Magic Kingdom, which has commonly become referred to as “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain.” The leading candidates for this expansion include Encanto, Coco, and Disney Villains. Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Dinoland, U.S.A. is closed, and there are rumors that this could soon be transformed into a Zootopia-themed land.

For now, however, we’ll have to wait to hear official confirmations.

What do you think of the changes happening at EPCOT? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

in Walt Disney World

Comments Off on “Won’t Even Look the Same,” Disney Has Big Plans For EPCOT