By Zach Johnson
As Walt Disney himself once said, Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort is “an experimental prototype community that will always be in a state of becoming.” Walt’s words ring true today, as Disney announced several enhancements for Epcot, including a play pavilion, a reimagined main entrance, and an Experience Center showcasing the park’s future. “Epcot has always been, and always will be, an optimistic celebration of the real world that is brought to life through the magic of Disney,” said George A. Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort. “The exciting plans we have on the horizon will honor Epcot’s rich legacy of creativity and innovation while continuing to exceed the expectations of our guests for decades to come.”
The as-yet-unnamed pavilion in development will include first-of-their-kind experiences devoted to playful fun, inviting guests into an innovative, interactive city bursting with games and hands-on activities. Guests at Epcot will interact with their favorite Disney characters in an energetic metropolis unlike anything ever seen before in the park. The area will come to life under the vast dome of the pavilion previously known as Wonders of Life (more recently the Festival Center) and will be unveiled in time for the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary.
“This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot,” said Zach Riddley, portfolio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “Built on the power of play, it introduces an immersive and interactive ‘city’ where you can explore, create, and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters. This is an experience worthy of our bold vision for Epcot—and another signature element of our transformation.”
New magic is also coming to Epcot’s main entrance, as the plaza will soon welcome guests with new pathways, sweeping green spaces, and a reimagined fountain. This new design will pay homage to the original park entrance with fresh takes on classic components. As part of this new entry experience, Leave A Legacy photos will move into a stunning setting outside the park’s gateway. Significant redevelopment will also commence between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase Promenade; details about that area’s transformation will be announced later.
Guests will be able to preview the exciting plans for Epcot when doors open later this year on a new Experience Center in the Odyssey Events Pavilion. There, they can experience interactive exhibits that showcase the energy, excitement, and innovation driving the theme park’s future.
“Epcot is beloved for its focus on imagination, innovation, fun, food, and family,” said Kalogridis. “It’s a timeless place where the real is made fantastic through the magic of Disney. It has a very bright future ahead and the best part is that we’ve only just begun to dream.”
These new announcements join other projects already underway as part of the Epcot evolution. Larger-than-life Super Heroes will descend upon the park with the opening of a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction. This new experience will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world and feature a brand-new ride system when it also opens in time for the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary.
Other new developments underway that we can’t wait to experience at Epcot include:
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction in the France pavilion, patterned after the No. 1 family attraction at Disneyland Paris
- Beauty and the Beast sing-along in the France pavilion, showing in addition to the pavilion’s current film, Impressions de France
- Circle-Vision 360 film for the China pavilion and updated O Canada! 360-degree show
- Signature Dining experience inspired by the natural beauty of Japan
- Space-themed table-service restaurant adjacent to Mission: SPACE, inviting guests to travel high above the earth for an unforgettable dining experience
- Epcot Forever, a 2019 limited-time nighttime experience over World Showcase Lagoon set to classic Epcot tunes, followed by an all-new nighttime spectacular debuting in 2020