Amid Delays, EPCOT Transformation Apparently Still at the Forefront

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Walt Disney World EPCOT's World Celebration Concept Art

Credit: Disney

One of the most anticipated events for Disney fans is the D23 Disney Expo in California every other year. Destination D23 is a similar event that takes place every two years, alternating with the larger D23 Expo. These events are where a lot of news and information is revealed about things coming to the Parks, upcoming movies, TV shows, and other information.

It was recently announced that several major studios have opted out of promoting at the upcoming 2023 San Diego Comic-Con. Marvel, Netflix, Warner Bros., and HBO have all pulled their panels from the event, choosing not to showcase due to the ongoing writers’ strike. Therefore, fans are hoping that more major news may be released at the Destination D23 event.

Kevin Feige at D23
Credit: D23

D23 has recently revealed two of the panels coming to the event, which were shared by @ScottGustin on Twitter, “Disney Cruise Line: 25 years of Innovative Design at Sea” and “EPCOT: Always in a State of Becoming.” The EPCOT panel is described as

A look into the design and ideas behind the transformation of EPCOT and its new neighborhoods, attractions, and experiences. Explore the legacy of the Park and discover more about the collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney World Resort throughout this ambitious process.”

Comments under the Twitter post are skeptical and mocking, with @skyrokket saying, “Should really be “EPCOT: Always in a State of Construction.” EPCOT has been under construction since early 2020 as massive refurbishment plans were announced for the Park under the nickname of the “EPCOT Overhaul.” Seemingly overnight, the Park was shrouded in construction walls, blocking Guests off from the middle of the Park and making the trek from Future World to the World Showcase much longer.

View of Spaceship Earth from World Showcase with buildings and trees in the foreground
Credit: Reinhard Link, Flickr

Originally, the plans for EPCOT were to include a new hotel, splitting Future World into three “neighborhoods” called World Discovery, Word Celebration, and World Nature, and a highly immersive, high-tech “Play Pavilion.” As @DVacationer puts it, “EPCOTs definitely been in the same state of becoming the last 4 years.”

Concept art for the interior of CommuniCore Hall at EPCOT
Credit: Disney

Over the last couple years, it’s become clear that many of these plans will not be realized, including the Play Pavilion and the hotel although permits have continued to be filed. EPCOT is expected to host the Disney100 celebrations at Walt Disney World this year, but still has the walls up around the Park.

Aerial photo of World Celebration at EPCOT with Spaceship Earth in the lower left
Credit: Bioreconstruct, Twitter

Considering the plans were expected to have been completed and the walls removed by now, fans are understandably skeptical about any information coming from the D23 panel. It’s drawn some contention from fans, especially as the Universal Orlando Resort nearest it’s midway point building Epic Universe, the third Park coming to the property.

EPCOT New Nighttime Spectacular Concept Art
Credit: Disney

As The Walt Disney Company has announced thousands of layoffs across the board, it’s unclear how much of that has affected the EPCOT plans, causing the substantial delays. Depending on the scope of the plans laid out in the upcoming panel, EPCOT could be walled off and undergoing construction for many more years to come.

Are you excited for the changes coming to EPCOT or do you wish the walls would just go away already? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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