Disney Confirms Status of Major EPCOT Overhaul

in Walt Disney World

A sneak peek over the construction walls at EPCOT in front of Spaceship Earth.

Credit: T.J. Muscaro, Inside the Magic

Is the era of walking around EPCOT construction walls over? According to a recent Walt Disney World Resort announcement, it might be!

The Walt Disney Company first teased an overhaul of Walt Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow at a Destination D event in 2016. Then, at D23 Expo 2017, the theme park division briefly shared concept art for a reimagined Future World before announcing the construction of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the World Showcase France Pavilion and the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind rollercoaster.

Two years would pass before Walt Disney Imagineering revealed its ultimate EPCOT construction plans. In the week leading up to and at D23 Expo 2019, former Disney CEO Bob Chapek shared that the new EPCOT would be “more Disney, more family, and more timeless.” Its new slogan: “The Magic of Possibility.”

Guests riding Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

Half of the Disney park was to receive new “neighborhoods.” While World Showcase would remain, Future World would split into World Celebration, World Discovery, and World Nature. The “Leave a Legacy” plaques under Spaceship Earth would be demolished, as well as The Fountain of Nations.

Buildings containing the former Innoventions, Mouse Gears, Electric Umbrella, and Disney Character meet & greets would be torn down. In their place, multiple structures and plazas were planned. One eventually became Journey of Water Inspired by Moana.

Spaceship Earth was to receive a modern update, focusing on stories that unite humanity rather than technological advancements. A statue of Walt Disney would welcome guests into “Dreamer’s Point,” a plaza at the center of World Celebration. An all-new Festival Center was planned as the centerpiece of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, International Festival of the Holidays, Flower & Garden Festival, and Festival of the Arts.

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts sign with Spaceship Earth at EPCOT
Credit: Disney

A “Play Pavilion” was to take over the abandoned Wonders of Life Pavilion. This area would focus on experiences younger guests could enjoy with their families. New movies were announced for the Land Pavilion, the Canada World Showcase Pavilion, and the China World Showcase Pavilion. The long-rumored Mary Poppins (1964) ride would finally come to the U.K. World Showcase Pavilion.

Walt Disney Imagineering planned to complete most of the major projects by Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2021, with a few that would be finished by EPCOT’s 50th in 2032…Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction stalled, as did promised updates.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opened on time, as did the new gift shop and Quick Service restaurant. Some short films, like Awesome Planet in The Land Pavilion, were completed. Journey of Water Inspired by Moana eventually opened, though late.

Spaceship Earth in EPCOT
Credit: Lee (myfrozenlife), Flickr

In 2023, construction walls still surround the center of EPCOT. Guests must go the long way to get to World Nature and World Discovery, with little but Spaceship Earth making up World Celebration.

Next month, all that will change. According to the Disney Parks Blog, the “Walt the Dreamer” statue will open at Dreamer’s Point on December 5, marking the end of the most obstructive construction at EPCOT. Walt Disney Imagineering shared this video of its installation:

@disneyparks

Become a dreamer just like Walt Disney 🥹🌐 #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #EPCOT #WaltDisney #Imagineering #BTS #Statue #Dream

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

“This new statue of Walt is one of many areas to visit as a part of World Celebration Gardens where guests will be able to relax, unwind, and connect – to EPCOT, to nature and to each other,” Disney wrote. “Each of the gardens found in the center of World Celebration, including Dreamers Point, will connect back to the areas surrounding them, drawing on the architectural legacy of EPCOT, modern lighting elements and a variety of natural textures.”

“Dreamers Point is named not only for the dreamer that has and continues to inspire us, but also for all of us who visit EPCOT every day to celebrate the endless potential and possibility of our world.”

What recent EPCOT construction project is your favorite? Share your thoughts on the evolving Disney park with Inside the Magic in the comments!

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