We were treated to a flurry of new details about Epcot’s multi-year transformation during the Disney Parks Panel at D23 Expo 2019. Bob Chapek, Chairman of Parks, Experiences and Products at Disney, took to the stage to reveal a little about a lot which we’ll summarise below.
As was leaked earlier in the week, Epcot will be split into 4 neighbourhoods. World Showcase will remain and continue to celebrate different cultures from around the world. But what is currently Future World will be split into World Nature, World Discovery and World Celebration.
So lets break the announcements down by each neighbourhood.
The World Celebration neighbourhood will consist of everything from the newly imagined entrance of the park, right up to the front of the World Showcase Lagoon.
The closure and re-imagining of Spaceship Earth has been rumoured for a while now. Bob Chapek confirmed today that the attraction will be getting a facelift, referring to it as “new Spaceship Earth”. Guests will experience some brand new scenes with a new narrator that they’re calling the “story light”. It will play a central role in the attraction and will follow you through the ride. Unfortunately no closure date was announced, or when we might expect the new attraction to launch.
You’ll leave Spaceship Earth through a brand new exit that will take you into a brand new garden area called Dreamers Point. The new area will feature beautiful gardens alongside interactive elements such as a wishing tree and interactive fountain. Not to mention a brand new statue of Walt Disney.
As you proceed towards the World Showcase Lagoon, you’ll reach a brand new multi-level pavilion that will be the home of Epcot’s festivals. The top level of the new pavilion will provide a view across World Showcase, as well as a great spot to watch the new nighttime shows.
Epcot’s first rollercoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy now has a name: “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind”. The family-friendly coaster will feature some brand new ride mechanics including ride vehicles that rotate to focus on the story being told, as well as the first reverse launching coaster.
The name of the new Mission: Space restaurant was revealed as Space 220. The new dining venue will open for Winter 2019 and will take guests 220 miles above the earth to a space station where you’ll be able to experience amazing views of Earth and space will you eat.
Disney spoke a little more about the Journey of Water, inspired by Moana this will be a lush exploration trail where guests can meet and play with magical, living water. Also coming to World Nature is the brand new film, Awesome Planet. The new film will be housed inside The Land and will showcase the spectacular diversity and dynamic story of our planet. Awesome Planet will begin showing in January 2020 as part of Epcot’s Festival of the Arts.
The new circle-vision show at the China Pavilion will be called “Wondrous China”. It will take guests across China using a new 360-degree digital format.
Over in the Canada pavilion, “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” will launch in January 2020, featuring a brand new story with all new scenes. No word on whether Martin Short will be joining us on our journey however.
The France pavilion has a host of announcements. The previously announced Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along that’s sharing a home with Impressions de France, will launch in January 2020. Later that year in Summer 2020, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open, alongside a brand new table and quick service dining location, La Crêperie de Paris.
Cherry Tree Lane was announced as a brand new neighbourhood of the United Kingdom pavilion. The area will feature the first ever attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. No further details were revealed about the attraction itself however.
Lastly, Disney also announced the show that will formally takeover from the temporary show, Epcot Forever. “HarmonioUS” will be the largest ever nighttime spectacular created for a Disney Park and will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires the world. There’s some nice ideas in this and the music sounded okay but there still looks to be far too many characters involved for an Epcot show for our liking.