‘Sup! Tad here. If you’re in tune with Walt Disney World news like me, you already know that EPCOT has kicked off a massive, historic, multi-year transformation by clearing the Leave a Legacy area last summer. Since then, progress has been hoppening, despite some delays due to COVID-19. Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, which was originally scheduled to debut in summer 2020, will officially be opening Oct. 1, 2021 — which also marks the beginning of Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration!
Also debuting Oct. 1 for the 50th anniversary is "Harmonius," EPCOT's newest nighttime spectacular! The new show will unite the World Showcase Lagoon with Disney music celebrating the stories of the world. You'll enjoy interpretations of Disney classics like you've never heard before, performed by 240 artists from around the world.
During the day, the "Harmonious" barges will operate as fountains in the lagoon. All five barges, which includes four identical barges circling around one six-story-tall centerpiece, have been installed. While we anxiously await Oct. 1, you can still enjoy nighttime entertainment with "EPCOT Forever" returning July 1!
"Harmonious" is billed as the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park with massive set pieces, moving fountains, lasers, lights and pyrotechnics. Sounds pretty epic to me!
Recently, 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.
And there's more hoppy news! Several projects received updated timelines at last year's digital IAAPA Expo ... and we got some toadally rad progress pics, including Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind's all-new Omnicoaster vehicles, which will allow riders to rotate 360 degrees while racing through the cosmos!
Here's a full overview of the changes you can expect at EPCOT over the next few years, including the most recent opening estimates and photos. 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’ll soon be saying farewell to Future World. After its transformation is complete, EPCOT will be 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 will continue to celebrate the culture, cuisine, architecture and traditions of countries around the world. Meanwhile, World Celebration will be 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 will be dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty of the natural world. (The Land and The Living Seas pavilions will be part of this neighborhood.) Lastly, World Discovery will focus 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 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 are most excited for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in France. 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 promise to whip up yummy crepes and other menu items inspired by celebrity chef, Jerome Bocuse. This France expansion has been delayed slightly from its summer 2020 opening to Oct. 1, 2021 — both the Crêperie AND Remy's Ratatouille Adventure will debut, the same day EPCOT opened 39 years prior!
Joining Impressions de France is a Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along show, which debuted Jan. 17, 2020. This 15-minute retelling of the classic animated film also features a twist that adds the point of a view of an unsuspecting hero. We sang, we laughed, and then we sang some more. (Everyone in the theater could probably hear our Dad's off-key croaks.) The new animation scenes flow seamlessly into the classic original ones. (No surprise to hear that the original animators worked on this new sing-along film!)
Now that the Disney Skyliner is open, you can get a sneak peek of the construction as you fly by! The entrance to the expansion has also opened so you can walk into part of the new area, but access to the ride and creperie is still blocked off.
Speaking of shows, “O Canada!” got an upgraded story and scenes under a new name, “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360." It also debuted Jan. 17, 2020, and plays on a continuous loop. The show features new musical score and narration by Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy. But we're glad to say the "Canada (You’re a Lifetime of Wonder)" song still remains! 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 will still greet 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 that will eventually interact with other elements near the entrance (and makes for a toadally rad nighttime view as it interacts with the new entry fountain!). 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! Part of EPCOT's entrance fountain has already been put in place (three 4,000 pound pylons were placed in August 2020, to be exact), and is now complete, though the future of Dreamers Point is a little more uncertain.
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.
This summer, the new flagship merchandise location, Creations Shop, will open its doors. Replacing MouseGear, Creations Shop will feature a bold, sleek look with huge glass walls and a large mural of Mickey Mouse. In addition to the mural, there will be original art throughout the space that will surely inspire the dreamer in all of us. Adjacent to the shop will be a revamped Club Cool Hosted by Coca-Cola (they can't get rid of the Beverly that easily!).
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 Jan. 17, 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. We learned the ride’s official name — Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind — from the D23 announcements, as well as the fact that it 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! Guardians was originally supposed to blast off in 2021, but that date has not been reconfirmed. We're crossing our froggy fingers!
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 PLAY! Pavilion was expected to open in 2021, but that target date has not been reconfirmed.
Tad to Ground Control ... Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to dine in space? I have ... and now we'll be able to find out what it's like inside Space 220. This space station-themed restaurant will be located 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 will have panoramic daytime and nighttime views of Earth — 220 miles above. Space 220 was originally supposed to launch in 2020, but it's looking like 2021 is more likely.
What’s Leaving Due to the EPCOT Changes
World Showcase will remain mostly the same, only adding new experiences or revamping old ones. Since 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 — now open at old Innoventions East location
- Club Cool
- Fountain View featuring Starbucks — a temporary Starbucks location is in World Showcase Plaza.
- Character Spot
- Character promenades, featuring Mickey & friends, the princesses and Anna and Elsa, are now taking place 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.