‘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. Progress continues despite some delays due to COVID-19. For instance, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, which was originally scheduled to debut in summer 2020, officially opened Oct. 1, 2021 — which also marked the beginning of Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration!
Over this past year, even within the last few months, we've seen major progress with EPCOT's transformation. France expanded with the addition of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and Le Crêperie de Paris. Harmonious, EPCOT's newest nighttime spectacular, also debuted Oct. 1! We've also seen the opening of the reimagined Club Cool (with the return of free tastings of soda from around the world), Creations Shop (replacing MouseGear) and the Space 220 restaurant. But it's not done yet! There's plenty to continue to look forward to, including Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which is set to open in summer 2022.
If you'll be heading to EPCOT soon, you can better visualize these plans at the Walt Disney Imagineering Presents the EPCOT Experience in the Odyssey Events pavilion. Stop by for an interactive exhibit that includes a 12-minute film that plays on a loop and hypes up the excitement for the park's future.
Read on to learn more about these big changes coming to EPCOT!
Overview of EPCOT’s New Neighborhoods
EPCOT has always been divided into Future World and World Showcase, but we recently said farewell to Future World. EPCOT is now unified with four neighborhoods — World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery — that each speak 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 is expected to remain. 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 recently 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!
Lily and I were most excited for 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, EPCOT's newest nighttime spectacular, also debuted Oct. 1! The new show unites the World Showcase Lagoon with Disney music celebrating the stories of the world. Enjoy interpretations of Disney classics like you've never heard before, performed by 240 artists from around the world. It features massive set pieces, moving fountains, lasers, lights and pyrotechnics. We loved how colorful the show was, and the music was our favorite thing about it!
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. Additionally, the China pavilion will be debuting a new 360-degree film called “Wondrous China” sometime in the future.
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.
Like I mentioned before, Spaceship Earth still greets guests near the front of the park, but the rest of the entrance will be entirely transformed. The exterior of Spaceship Earth has debuted an updated, custom lighting package and makes for a toadally rad nighttime view as it interacts with the new entry fountain!
Eventually, once you exit Spaceship Earth, you’ll enter a brand-new area called Dreamers Point. It will have a statue dedicated to the original dreamer — Walt Disney. I’m excited to trek through an enchanted forest that’s home to a wishing tree and a story 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.
A new pavilion will be introduced as the perfect place to watch the nighttime spectacular. Also serving as a home base for EPCOT’s signature festivals and live events, this three-story structure will provide new elevated views of the park. The new pavilion's completion date is still TBD.
The newest addition to World Celebration is 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!).
A new quick-service restaurant, Connections Cafe and Eatery, will also open in World Celebration.
A major new highlight of the upcoming World Nature will be Journey of Water, Inspired by "Moana." It’ll be the first experience inspired by the animated hit movie. This walkthrough attraction will feature a lush trail that contains magical, living water elements, including waterfalls, dancing fountains and jumping water. Along the way, you’ll also learn the importance of the natural water cycle. Journey of Water's completion date is still TBD.
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.
I think we can all say that we’ve been excited for the Guardians of the Galaxy ride ever since it was announced. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the first Disney ride to feature a reverse launch! It’s also coined as a story rollercoaster that will use 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 ride will feature favorite characters from the films, including Gamora, Star-Lord, Rocket, Drax and Groot. Actress Glenn Close is confirmed to reprise her role as Nova Prime, the Xanderian leader and commander of the Nova Corps.
The new area will include 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!
Guardians was originally supposed to blast off in 2021 but will officially open in summer 2022.
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.
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.
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.
- Innoventions East
- Nanooze Break
- MouseGear (replaced by Creations Shop)
- Fountain View featuring Starbucks — a temporary Starbucks location is in World Showcase Plaza.
- Character Spot — socially distanced meet-and-greets randomly appear throughout the park.
- Mickey & friends appear by the front entrance and Spaceship Earth.
- The princesses appear in their respective countries around World Showcase.
- Joy and Winnie the Pooh can be found in the gardens next to Journey into Imagination with Figment.
- Alice and Mary Poppins can be found at the gazebo in the U.K. pavilion.
- 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.