Disney clarifies some details on the transformation of EPCOT but raises more questions about what will be built

Nov 23, 2020 in "EPCOT"

Last week's announcements during the IAAPA and D23 Fantastic Worlds events gave some clarity to the direction of EPCOT, but raised more questions about some aspects of what was originally announced for the park's transformation.

As Disney moved to confirm that Remy's Ratatouille Adventure will move to a 2021 opening, we did not get a timeline update on the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, or Space 220. Guardians has reached the milestone of vehicle testing, and some show elements are arriving on site, which seems to be a very positive step.

The PLAY! pavilion seems to have completely dropped off the menu, at least for now. In a press release issued this week there is no mention of the reworked Wonders pavilion. PLAY! was planned to be an interactive experience that may just become unfeasible given the current COVID-19 health restrictions. Disney may be waiting to see how things develop and if this could once again become a possibility. 

Another addition that is pending easing of health restriction is Harmonious. The return of nighttime shows at Disney is thought to be considered for Spring 2021, and construction of Harmonious is continuing. Disney also confirmed that the massive show barges will remain on the lagoon during the day, disguised by a daytime fountain show.

Also missing from any recent discussions is the rework of Spaceship Earth. Originally planned to begin earlier this year, the changes were put on hold as the company scrambled to save money and get EPCOT back open to guests in July. We may see this later, but for now Spaceship Earth will remain as is.

At the center of the park, there are more questions about what will become of the central spine.

As work slowly continues on gutting the former Innoventions buildings, the elaborate festival center is gone from the plans, but what will replace it is open to interpretation. New wording in the press release describes a "newly reimagined festival area." Are we looking at an open area of land that will house some event kiosks? It is a distinct possibility. 

Staying with the center of the park, Dreamers point remains, as does the statue of Walt Disney. We also expect the new Starbucks, Mouse Gear and other food, beverage and retail to feature.

The Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana remains in the plans, which means we should see a total demolition of the still standing Innoventions West building.

And finally there is Mary Poppins. The United Kingdom pavilion came so close to finally getting an attraction, but this one failed to get out of the starting gate and was canceled back in July.

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Article Posted: Nov 23, 2020 / 8:24am ET
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marni19716 hours ago

By far. The “three level festival centre“ tag is a load of old tosh too. An empty ground level. A small middle floor. And an “exclusive“ bar on the roof. Idiots. This and the lagoon are two of the biggest mistakes in theme park planning since the wannabes graduated.

marni19716 hours ago

The original plan was to have a matching, revitalised west building until someone got an agenda going.

hpyhnt 10009 hours ago

Eh, even if the festival building had happened as planned, there was still going to be a lot of empty walkway and grass where there once was indoor guest space and exhibits. Plus, hasn’t it been said the proposed building would have less useable floor space than the buildings it replaced? And the Moana area isn’t worth demolishing a perfectly good building in my opinion; should’ve stuck that between The Seas and The Land where it made more sense. Still, pandemic or no pandemic, point is the makeover of East is on track to be done this year(?), open for guests and generating revenue at a fraction of the cost compared to West, which is still years away from completion to maybe get us a less practical building at a much higher cost.

Horizons19 hours ago

What makes it so hard to believe? Look at how they’ve dismantled what was one of the most unique theme parks in the world, just to make it more bland. I’m sorry, I meant more “Disney”.

Figments Friend10 hours ago

That would be......fitting. Still can't beleive they are trashing it. Idiots..... -

SplashZander10 hours ago

For my own curiosity, http://www.strawpoll.me/42454798

MisterPenguin11 hours ago

Well, yeah. The original plan was for them to turn around and see a futuristic three-tiered festival building, not an open plain of booths. But, you know, a worldwide pandemic happened. Incidentally, an insider has said that the 3-tier festbuilding is back in the mix as a possibility. Thus the open field of booths rather than a plain building done on the cheap to leave their options open.

hpyhnt 100012 hours ago

I suspect a lot of folks, after seeing the Communicore East buildings (finally) cleaned up and modernized, are going to turn around and look at the still empty field that was the western half and maybe (finally) realize demolishing that side wasn't such a great idea after all.

aladdin200720 hours ago

maybe? but I worry its going to be no different than town center at disney springs.

Figments Friend20 hours ago

So after all these years, they have finally realized how much better it is to have those glass panels open and exposed....letting in light as the building was originally designed to do. Despite the carnage of seeing these buildings demolished and restructured, seeing those glass panels appear again is a plus. A little bit of Communicore's legacy lives on.... -

gerarar3 days ago

Wall installation begins/continues (I don’t think it’s been pointed or mentioned here yet)

montyz813 days ago

This is the area where the IBM briefing center was next to the IBM Think exhibit. I used to run full day product briefings in that meeting space during the Lotusphere conference. It is very sad to see this space complete removed. I know it isn’t original Communicore, but this experience of working inside Epcot was one that I will never forget. Such a bummer this is gone!