Luminous and "Walt the Dreamer" Statue Now Available at EPCOT

by Tad on December 5, 2023 19 Orlando   Video

‘Sup! Tad here. If you’re in tune with Walt Disney World news like me, you already know that EPCOT is in the middle of a massive, historic, multi-year transformation, and it's all coming toward an end. After years of EPCOT changes, most of the construction walls in World Celebration have come down, as of Dec. 5, 2023!

Over the past few years, we've seen major progress with EPCOT's evolution. France expanded with the addition of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and Le Crêperie de Paris in October 2021. In summer 2022, the toadally awesome Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction debuted!

With just a little bit more to go, the transformation is nearly complete. Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, opened Oct. 16. Both a new statue of Walt Disney in an area called Dreamers Point AND a new nighttime spectacular, Luminous, debuted Dec. 5 in honor of the Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary (and Walt Disney's birthday). All that's left in World Celebration is a new exhibition space called CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza, opening 2024. Read on to learn more about all the changes that EPCOT has undergone over the years!

Overview of EPCOT’s New Neighborhoods

EPCOT used to be divided into Future World and World Showcase, but we've said farewell to Future World. EPCOT is now unified with four neighborhoods — World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery — and each speaks to important aspects of the world and its people.

World Showcase continues to celebrate the culture, cuisine, architecture and traditions of countries around the world. Meanwhile, World Celebration is at the center of the reimagined entrance. The iconic Spaceship Earth remains with its permanent lighting that started with the 50th Anniversary. Disney also planned a reimagining for the ride with a new storyline and musical score, but development has since been postponed (thank the Phoenicians).

World Nature is dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty of the natural world. (The Land and The Living Seas pavilions are part of this neighborhood.) Lastly, World Discovery focuses on science, technology and intergalactic adventures, including Test Track and Mission: SPACE.

The Biggest EPCOT Changes and Additions

It’s definitely a hoppin’ time at EPCOT, so I’ll break down what’s coming (or has been added) to each of the new neighborhoods. If you want to learn more about other future attractions and experiences beyond EPCOT, be sure to check out my separate post about all of the rad new fun coming to Walt Disney World!

World Showcase

EPCOT Changes – Remy's Ratatouille Adventure

Lily and I were most excited about Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in France, and it met our expectations! Similar to the original ride in Disneyland Paris, you are shrunk to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant. A new table-service and quick-service restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris, whips up yummy crepes and other menu items inspired by celebrity chef, Jerome Bocuse. This France expansion officially debuted Oct. 1, 2021 — the same day EPCOT opened 39 years prior!

Harmonious, a new nighttime spectacular, also debuted Oct. 1, 2021, for Disney World's 50th anniversary! The show united the World Showcase Lagoon with Disney music celebrating the stories of the world. It featured massive set pieces, moving fountains, lasers, lights and pyrotechnics. Harmonious ran until April 2, 2023.

EPCOT Forever, a celebration of the park's past and future, temporarily ran until Luminous The Symphony of Us debuted Dec. 5, 2023, in honor of the Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary. The new nighttime spectacular unites us all through fireworks, fountains, lasers, lighting and select Disney songs — including two new original songs. Check out our guide for the best spots to watch these EPCOT fireworks!

In spring 2020, the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along show was added to France. This 15-minute retelling of the classic animated film also features a twist that adds the point of view of an unsuspecting hero. "O Canada!" also got an upgraded story and scenes under a new name, "Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360." The show, which plays on a continuous loop, features a new musical score and narration by Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy.

Disney originally announced a brand-new Mary Poppins attraction to be located in the United Kingdom pavilion. However, development for this new attraction has been postponed for now. Additionally, the China pavilion will be debuting a new 360-degree film called "Wondrous China" sometime in the future.

World Celebration

EPCOT Changes - Spaceship Earth at Night

As I mentioned before, Spaceship Earth still greets guests near the front of the park, but the rest of the entrance is entirely transformed. The exterior of Spaceship Earth has debuted an updated, custom lighting package that makes for a toadally rad nighttime view as it interacts with the new entry fountain! In summer 2021, the transformation of EPCOT's entrance fountain was unveiled. This sleek, modern fountain pays homage to the geometry of the original fountain but brings in new elements, including the liquid-cooled, color-changing light fixture in the center.

Guests can already satisfy all their shopping needs at Creations Shop, EPCOT's flagship store. Replacing MouseGear, the shop features a bold, sleek look with huge glass walls and a large mural of Mickey Mouse. There are lots of original art, bright colors and easy-to-navigate sections. Adjacent to the shop is the revamped Club Cool Hosted by Coca-Cola (they can't get rid of the Beverly that easily!).

Dreamer's Point at EPCOT — Walt Disney statue

A new quick-service restaurant, Connections Cafe and Eatery, also opened in World Celebration in spring 2022. Located across from Creations Shop, this new location offers a variety of dining options inspired by countries all over the world, along with beautiful murals showcasing many different cultures. Connections Cafe is also home to Starbucks, so it's a great first stop for many frogs!

The most noticeable EPCOT changes are at the center of the park. That's right, you can now walk straight from the park entrance to World Showcase! As of Dec. 5, once you exit Spaceship Earth, you'll enter a brand-new area called Dreamers Point. It has a statue dedicated to the original dreamer — Walt Disney! Keep in mind there may be a line to take a photo with the statue; there was not any cast members stationed there when we went so we just politely asked those behind us if they could take our photo.

The rest of World Celebration Gardens feature a large EPCOT logo in the center. The lush greenery provides great shade and ample seating, plus the various gardens surrounding it will change with the different festivals. The gardens have exciting light features at night that also rotate throughout the year. We definitely recommend visiting the area again at night — it's so fun to see the lighting change and correspond to Spaceship Earth!

Concept art for CommuniCore Hall exhibition space

The rest of World Celebration will be completed in 2024 with CommuniCore Plaza, an outdoor event space for musical performances. Inside, CommuniCore Hall will be a flexible gallery space focusing on art, live music and food, complete with a demonstration kitchen. Perfect for the many EPCOT festivals! Next door will be a designated location to meet Mickey and Friends.

World Nature

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana

A major new highlight of World Nature is Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. Open as of Oct. 16, 2023, it's the first experience inspired by the animated hit movie. This walkthrough attraction allows guests to learn the importance and beauty of the natural water cycle. It features a lush trail that contains magical, interactive water elements, including waterfalls, dancing fountains and jumping water. Fans of the film will recognize characters and elements carved into the rocks and waterways, such as the iconic spiral symbol or a large model of Te Feti. Guests can also now meet Moana near the attraction. Learn more about Journey of Water in our splashing guide!

Inside The Land pavilion, Awesome Planet debuted in January 2020. This new film narrated by Ty Burrell showcases our planet and its biomes with beautiful imagery and in-theater effects. Lightning flashes when there's a storm on-screen, and cold air blasts when you visit the tundra. It carries an important environmental message that all frogs should hear — the choices that we make to protect the earth make a difference.

As of Sept. 10, 2023, you're now able to meet Figment in person as he comes to life in a whole new way! Our favorite purple dragon greets guests at select times in the Imagination pavilion.

World Discovery

EPCOT Changes - Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

The Guardians of the Galaxy are here! Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the first Disney ride to feature a reverse launch. It’s also coined as a story roller coaster that uses new technology, allowing the vehicles to rotate 360 degrees (hence its name, the Omnicoaster, much like the Omnimover). That way, you can focus on the action!

The queue includes the Wonders of Xandar, EPCOT's first-ever "other world" pavilion. Xandarians have traveled to Earth to let guests learn more about their culture and technology. All goes well until a certain group of galactic guardians show up, leading us on an exciting intergalactic adventure! The ride features favorite characters from the films, including Gamora, Star-Lord, Rocket, Drax and Groot. Actress Glenn Close also reprises her role as Nova Prime, the Xanderian leader and commander of the Nova Corps.

Cosmic Rewind officially opened in May 2022. A virtual queue may be in use, which means no standby line. We're answering all your frequently asked questions about the new coaster in our new guide. And check out this toadally cool ride POV, including queue and pre-shows.

Recently announced, Test Track will once again be reimagined to a new version inspired by its history and World of Motion. There is no timeline announced yet for this transformation.

The PLAY! pavilion will provide a unique space, including an entire interactive, digital city filled with games and activities. You’ll be able to interact with your favorite Disney characters, both real and virtual. For instance, help Edna Mode with a fashionable quest or compete in a water balloon fight with Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby. The opening of the PLAY! Pavilion is still TBD.

EPCOT Changes - Space 220 Restaurant

Tad to Ground Control ... Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to dine in space? I have ... and it's toadally awesome. The new Space 220 restaurant is next to Mission: SPACE. Board an elevator and look out of the special viewports to get a real-time perspective, like you're actually traveling into space. The restaurant has panoramic daytime and nighttime views of Earth — 220 miles above. Space 220 is now open and reservations are going fast (so we recommend booking 60 days in advance). If you really want to take a peek inside and don't have a reservation, you can wait in a standby line for the Space 220 lounge. Check out our froggy review for more details on Space 220!

What’s Leaving Due to the EPCOT Changes

World Showcase will remain mostly the same, only adding new experiences or revamping old ones. Since the former Future World is facing a more significant makeover, a few spots will be closing temporarily or shutting their doors forever.

Permanent closures:

  • Innoventions East
  • Colortopia
  • Nanooze Break
  • MouseGear (replaced by Creations Shop)

Temporary closures:

  • Fountain View featuring Starbucks — Starbucks now located inside Connections Cafe
  • Character Spot — meet-and-greets appear throughout the park
    • Mickey and Minnie meet at the exit of the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival in Disney 100 outfits
    • Goofy and Pluto appear near Spaceship Earth
    • Joy meets at ImageWorks
  • Art of Disney — now open at The American Adventure
  • Heritage Manor

Which one of the many EPCOT changes are you the most excited for? Share your thoughts on EPCOT's transformation in the comments below. 

Related: What's Coming to Disney World and Universal in 2024 and Beyond

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
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Dec 5, 2023 at 3:40 p.m. Dave Says...

Fun times!!!!!

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Sep 10, 2023 at 3:54 p.m. Chantel Reid Says...

I just left the beautiful Epcot… from 10 years missing. I am quite saddened but hopeful of the future of this childhood obsession (I used to go 4-6 times a year till I was a 16). Epcot is missing the innovations of the future. I get that they closed it because we now have all the technologies that were once displayed. Yet, I used to look FORWARD to seeing the model home with all the future appliances, electronics, or whatever’s. I think that imagineer got kicked off keeping such a wonderful concept. I used to dream of the xbox Kinect system in the early 2000’s, the stove that cool downed to touch instantly, the most impressive washer and dryers in actions. But now we get MONA which is cool! But not quite innovative? Or of the future. I wish more than anything to see the future technologies displayed in Epcot. Walt loved being cutting the edge and saw beyond today. I feel Epcot has lost 45% of its futuristic spirit to impress the mess out of visitors. But this doesn’t mean I’m disappointed, I’m just still longing for innovative technology displays that are just lacking or perhaps forgotten.

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Aug 1, 2023 at 11:10 p.m. Melissa Says...

Where can we find peruvian food

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May 23, 2023 at 11:49 p.m. Yvonne Says...

I think Spaceship Earth needs an updated entry, the film at the beginning is outdated and the ending part of the ride. But keeping the rest of the ride like it is.

And the other Pavillions are in need of family friendly type dark rides like Remy's Ratatouille would be great. The other Pavillions like the UK, a ride similar to Peter Pan's Flight for a Mary Poppins ride would be very popular and family friendly. Instead of ships, horses would work .

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Feb 25, 2023 at 3:02 a.m. Beth F Says...

When will you add Greece to the countries?!

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Feb 27, 2023 at 5:35 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Beth!

Disney has no plans to add any other pavilions at this time. But if you visit during the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival (from July to November), there is usually a food booth that represents Greece!

Stay cool!

Tad

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Apr 13, 2021 at 4:03 p.m. Sam Says...

We are traveling to WDW in October 2021 with our two boys (2.5 years & 9 years old). EPCOT is our family’s favorite park, especially our 9 year old. We usually plan to be in EPCOT for two full days of our trip. With the changes/construction, I’m wondering if one day would be enough this trip? Would you spend a second day in Hollywood Studios instead? We have not been since the major Star Wars addition. Thoughts?

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Apr 14, 2021 at 7:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sam!

While the construction at the entrance is a little complicated to get around, all of the attractions remain open - and by October, you'll likely have a new nighttime spectacular AND Remy's Ratatouille Adventure to enjoy at EPCOT, as well :) We think that Hollywood Studios can be done in a day - but from a strategy perspective, you may want to reserve two days at Hollywood Studios and hop over to EPCOT on that second day (or change your Park Pass if you have base tickets) just in case you find that you'd prefer to have another day at Studios rather than EPCOT (plus, reservations for Hollywood Studios are much harder to come by than EPCOT). Hope this helps - have a great time!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Mar 16, 2021 at 2:54 p.m. Lorraine S Says...

I'm curious if all of this construction will be a hindrance to guests? I'm planning on a trip in November 2021 - but don't want to be bombarded with a mess.... should I wait for another year?

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Mar 16, 2021 at 2:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lorraine!

So far, the construction has been manageable in our opinion (but you will definitely notice it). There's no end date available just yet (and it's expected to continue throughout 2021), so if you think it may negatively impact your vacation and you have the flexibility, there's no harm in changing! The planned 50th anniversary celebration will still be going on in Nov. 2022 as well :)

Stay cool!

Tad

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Feb 17, 2020 at 4:12 p.m. Stacey Says...

We are thinking of going to Epcot after Food and Wine Festival and the week after Thanksgiving. Do you think that the changes would be completed at that time?

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Feb 19, 2020 at 9:38 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stacey!

There are still many details that are listed as "TBD" in terms of completion, so we can't say for certain unfortunately! While some changes and updates may be completed, not all will be. Ratatouille should be open, as well as France’s new restaurant! As soon as we hear more, we'll be sure to update this post to keep you up-to-speed before your trip! :)

Stay cool!

Tad

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Jan 24, 2020 at 12:27 a.m. Sandy Says...

Is there a date for the Marry Poppins area to open?

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Jan 24, 2020 at 9:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Oh my gosh, we are so excited, too, Sandy! We don't have an ETA for this to open just yet, but we've got our eyes and ears open! We'll update this post as soon as we know more :)

Stay cool!

Tad

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Jan 24, 2020 at 12:26 a.m. Sandy Says...

I can not wait to walk down Cherry Tree Lane!!

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Oct 22, 2019 at 5:06 a.m. Bruce Jackson Says...

Is there a target date when Guardian of the Galaxy will open at Epcot?

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Oct 23, 2019 at 10:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bruce!

Not just yet ... all that's been released so far is that we can expect it to open in 2021. We'll be sure to update as soon as more information is released - we can't wait!

Stay cool!

Tad

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Aug 28, 2019 at 4:15 p.m. Andrew Says...

Has Disney announced how they will begin construction? Seems like it will be a major overall and it will be hard have guest there at the same time?

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Aug 28, 2019 at 2:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrew!

A lot of construction has already begun - they've just been doing it in small areas/phases so as not to disrupt the park experience for guests :) If we hear additional details about the process, we'll be sure to update you, either in this thread or in our Refurbishments post!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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