Walt Disney World has a very big birthday coming up soon! We are only a couple of years away from the 50th anniversary, and Disney has announced an impressive amount of new experiences, rides, restaurants, and more coming to Orlando in the next few years. Some of the biggest changes will take place in Florida’s second largest Disney park, Epcot, which will not only see several new additions, but also a reimagining of a few current areas and experiences as well.
There’s already a lot of changes happening at Epcot, and quite a bit of construction is currently underway, so it does seem very likely that many of these new additions will be finished in time for Disney World’s birthday in 2021 – which is sure to be a spectacular celebration year!
A New Future World Pavilion
Disney’s latest announcement includes details on perhaps the biggest addition to Epcot in quite some time. A brand new area, described as a “play pavilion”, will be added to Future World and is said to be an “immersive and interactive ‘city'” located within the former Wonders of Life pavilion. It is also described as a place where guest will be able to “interact with some of [their] favorite Disney characters“, which can be seen in the concept art released with this announcement as it includes several Disney and Pixar characters roaming around the area and featured on several of the building designs. While we don’t know many details or if it will have a name other that “play pavilion”, we think it is a fantastic addition to Epcot and can’t wait for it to open. We’re especially hoping to see Inside Out have a bigger presence in Epcot and for Wall-E to finally come to the Orlando Parks!
A Redesigned Entrance
Epcot’s plaza entrance will also see some changes as the “Leave a Legacy” area will be moved outside the gateway and replaced with “new pathways, sweeping green spaces, and a reimagined fountain”. This area is located between the park entrance and Spaceship Earth, and while it’s not directly stated in the D23 announcement whether or not we can expect to see this change before 2021, it seems likely that they will also try to have this done by Disney World’s anniversary.
“Leave a Legacy” has been at the entrance of Epcot for quite some time, so we think it is nice that this area is getting a bit of a makeover. If it ends up being anything like the current concept art for the entrance, it appears that it will have a more inviting and relaxed atmosphere rather than the more formal look it has now.
Two new rides are currently being built at Epcot, one in Future World and the other in the France pavilion.
What was once the Ellen’s Universe of Energy show/ride building is now currently under construction in order to covert it to a new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster (this new coaster is quite large, so the construction site also includes an expansion added to this original building). Though this photo was taken before the construction on the new ride began, the coaster will be located somewhat near Test Track, which is the silver disk-shaped building between Spaceship Earth and Mexico in this picture.
While the Guardians of the Galaxy have popped up occasionally in Walt Disney World – both at Hollywood Studios and Epcot – the new Guardians indoor roller coaster is the first Marvel-related ride to come to the Florida parks. This coaster will feature new technology and is expected to be up and running by Disney World’s 50th birthday.
The other new ride coming to Epcot will be themed around Pixar’s movie Ratatouille and located in the France pavilion. There are very few rides in World Showcase, so this family ride will be a nice addition. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is currently a guest favorite in Disneyland Paris, and Disney World’s version is said to be “patterned after” their ride.
A New Show
Also coming to the France pavilion in World Showcase is a new sing-along Beauty and the Beast show. The description of “sing-along” is all we really know at this point about what the show will be like, but we are hoping that it includes some similarities to the very popular For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration in Hollywood Studios. This seems like a perfect addition to the France pavilion, and as long-time Beauty and the Beast fans it’s a show that we are really looking forward to watching!
Two New Restaurants
Also coming soon to Epcot are two new restaurants. One of these restaurants will be a signature dining restaurant located in the Japan pavilion, which at the moment appears that it will be the fifth dining option in this pavilion unless something changes.
The other restaurant coming to Epcot will be a spaced-themed restaurant in Future World near the Mission: SPACE ride. From the description and concept art that was revealed last year, it appears that this new space-themed restaurant will feature special window designs that will make guests feel as if they are actually eating their dinner in outer space in some sort of space station-like dining room. It will be interesting to see what technology Disney uses to bring this idea to life and if it will look anything like the inside of the Star Wars resort hotel that is also coming soon to Walt Disney World.
New and Updated World Showcase Pavilion Shows
Two of the World Showcase pavilions will soon have new/updated shows. These are China’s Circle-Vision 360 show and Canada’s Oh Canada! show. Canada’s show in particular has been running for a very long time now, so it will especially be nice to see a more updated version come to the pavilion.
A New Nighttime Show
The final addition to Epcot that we know a little bit about at this time is the Epcot Forever show, which will only be in the park until a more permanent “nighttime spectacular” replaces it in 2020. The Epcot Forever show will include fireworks, lasers, and “classic Epcot tunes” as well as something they are calling “special effects kites”, while the currently unnamed nighttime spectacular coming in 2020 will have floats, pyrotechnics, fountains, and many more elements, all of which are listed in Disney Parks Blog’s article from November of last year.
For the last many, many years IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth has been the nighttime firework show and was quite popular with guests. While the firework portion of IllumiNations was quite spectacular, it did run for nearly two decades, so we think it will be nice to see something different come to the Park. We are also looking forward to seeing what new and interesting technology Disney will incorporate into both of these new shows, especially the “special effects kites.”
There are so many exciting new additions coming to Epcot in the next few years and we can’t wait to see the Park when it is all finished!
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