‘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.
Over this past year, we've seen major progress with EPCOT's evolution. France expanded with the addition of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and Le Crêperie de Paris. Harmonious, EPCOT's newest nighttime spectacular, debuted Oct. 1, 2021, which also marked the beginning of Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration! In summer 2022, the toadally awesome Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction debuted!
But it's not done yet! There's plenty to continue to look forward to next year, like Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, opening late 2023. World Celebration will also be complete in late 2023 with a new statue of Walt Disney in an area called Dreamers Point. Other changes in 2023 will be a new nighttime spectacular debut in honor of the Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary. Plus, you'll be able to meet our favorite purple dragon, Figment! 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, 2021! 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. Check out our guide for the best spots to watch these EPCOT fireworks!
Be sure to catch Harmonious on your next visit, as a new nighttime spectacular will debut in late 2023 in honor of the Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary.
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! 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!).
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'll be a great first stop for many frogs!
The rest of World Celebration will be completed in late 2023. 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. The large EPCOT logo in the center will be surrounded by various gardens that will change with the different festivals. The lush greenery will provide great shade and ample seating. And the gardens will have exciting light features at night that will also rotate throughout the year.
CommuniCore Plaza will be an outdoor event space for musical performances. 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.
A major new highlight of the upcoming World Nature will be Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. Opening in late 2023, it’ll be the first experience inspired by the animated hit movie. This walkthrough attraction will allow guests to learn the importance and beauty of the natural water cycle. It will feature a lush trail that contains magical, living water elements, including waterfalls, dancing fountains and jumping water. Fans of the film will recognize characters and elements carved into the rocks and waterways, like the iconic spiral symbol or a large model of Te Feti.
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.
Coming in late 2023, you'll be able to meet with Figment in person as he comes to life in a while new way!
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 rollercoaster 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 is now officially open at EPCOT! A virtual queue is in use, so no standby line is currently available. 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.
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. 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.
- Innoventions East
- Nanooze Break
- MouseGear (replaced by Creations Shop)
- Fountain View featuring Starbucks — Starbucks located inside Connections Cafe
- Character Spot — meet-and-greets appear throughout the park.
- Mickey meets at the exit to the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Minnie appears near the entrance to World Showcase
- Goofy and Pluto appear near Spaceship Earth
- Joy and Vanellope meet 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.