This article may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission on purchases. Opinions are my own.
*Updated April 6, 2020
There have been many announcements lately regarding the multiple Epcot changes happening at the park — and some just in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021. Currently, you can also explore all of the park’s future plans at the Odyssey Events Pavilion (located between Test Track and the Mexico Pavilion) with interactive exhibits. The experience is called “Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience.”
The Epcot Experience looks like something special and will remain open for a long while. There is a seamless 360-degree, floor-to-ceiling screen showing a 12-minute film about the park’s changes on a loop. There’s even a 3D model in the center that transforms with the movie with projection-mapping technology. If that isn’t enough, there are also photo spots, including one where it looks like you’re standing on top of Spaceship Earth, historical artifacts, and attraction posters.
And to help you keep up with all of the upcoming transformations, I’ve created a handy-dandy list that will allow you to keep the updates in order.
First, here is the new logo:
Now for all of the many other upcoming changes…
1. ‘IllumiNations: Reflections Of Earth’ Says Goodbye
At the end of summer 2019, Sept. 30 to be exact, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will officially come to a close once and for all, so you better watch it as many times as possible — and take advantage of the IllumiNations dining package.
2. Limited-Time Experience ‘Epcot Forever’
On Oct. 1, the new limited-time show premiered following in the footsteps of IllumiNations. The experience is called Epcot Forever and is set to classic Epcot tunes. As previously described by Disney, “The show begins with a spark of imagination that quickly grows into an epic spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers, and choreographed, special effects kites.” You can see a photo of the kites below. With the temporary new show, there’s also an Epcot Forever dining package.
3. New Nighttime Spectacular
A new nighttime spectacular (seen below), IllumiNations’ permanent replacement show, is set to debut sometime in 2020. This particular show is called HarmonioUS and will “celebrate how Disney music can inspire people from around the world, featuring massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers.” This is the largest ever nighttime spectacular created for a Disney park.
4. ‘Ratatouille’ Attraction
A new Ratatouille attraction is coming to the France Pavilion and is called Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. The attraction will make riders feel as if they are the same size as Remy as they look for safety across the kitchen of Gusteau’s restaurant. It opens in summer 2020.
5. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Ride
A Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired ride called Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is replacing Ellen’s Energy Adventure. As Disney Parks Blog reported in November 2018, the attraction “will be one of the world’s longest enclosed roller coasters,” meaning the coaster “will be housed inside a building so large that the volume of four Spaceship Earth attractions could fit inside it!” The ride will open in time for Disney World’s milestone 50th anniversary.
The attraction begins in “Galaxarium, a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar. Eventually, you’ll run into the Guardians of the Galaxy and the real adventure begins. The ride is described as a “storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus your attention on the action.” Also, it has the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
6. A New Main Entrance
Epcot’s main park entrance will eventually look very different, because it will soon undergo a major transformation. There will be new pathways, greenery, and a reimagined fountain. The new design has been described as a way to “pay homage to the original park entrance with fresh takes on classic elements.” With the redesign, this means the Leave a Legacy photos will be removed and relocated to right outside the entrance.
7. Space-Themed Restaurant
Between Mission: SPACE and Test Track, a space-themed restaurant named Space 220 will open and is said to be an “out-of-this world experience” offering some amazing views as if you’re actually in space. The dining spot offers daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up with help from a special space elevator.
You’ll even take an elevator up to the space station for dining. The table-service restaurant is set to open in early 2020 (possibly February based on job listings posted by the Patina Restaurant Group, who is operating the restaurant). As for the menu, it will include “internationally-inspired cuisine, more than 1,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines, and a wide selection of craft beer.” Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will also be served. The price scale is mid to high.
8. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Sing-Along
A Beauty and the Beast sing-along opened in the France Pavilion on Jan. 17, 2020. It was created by Don Hahn, the producer of the animated and live action BATB films. The sing-along rotates with Impressions de France, a film that’s long been part of the pavilion’s history. Angela Lansbury is the narrator and there’s also an interesting LeFou twist.
9. A Play-Themed Pavilion
The PLAY! Pavilion is dedicated to “playful fun,” while also featuring an “innovative city,” will be housed under the dome of the former Wonders of Life pavilion. From interactive experiences, to meeting beloved Disney characters, to hands-on activities, to entertainment, the pavilion sounds like it will be quite the unique experience. Edna Mode also joins the pavilion and you’ll be able to help her rid the world of uninspired style. There will also be a water-balloon fight play area hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby. The pavilion will also open in time for WDW’s 50th anniversary.
10. Spaceship Earth & World Showcase Promenade
There will even be a redevelopment on the area between Spaceship Earth and the World Showcase Promenade. Speaking of Spaceship Earth, the attraction is staying, but is getting new narration and a new musical score focusing on moments and ideas that define our story. Spaceship Earth will close on May 26, 2020 for its lengthy refurbishment.
11. O Canada! 360-Degree Update
The O Canada! 360-degree film in the Canada Pavilion has been updated with new scenes and a new story. Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 debuted on Jan. 17, 2020. Schitt’s Creek stars Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy serve as narrators.
12. New Signature Dining Restaurant In Japan
Takumi-Tei is now open for dinner beginning at 4 p.m. daily. The restaurant offers a better understanding of Japanese culture and features a prix fixe multi-course tasting menu and a chef’s table experience. You can make reservations online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE. For the Chef’s Table Dining Experience, call Mitsukoshi directly at (407) 827-8504.
13. France’s New Crêperie
A new crêperie is coming to the France Pavilion called La Crêperie de Paris. The restaurant from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse (he’s also known for the pavilion’s Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul) offers both table- and quick-service options. The dining spot will be located in an all-new location near Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction. It opens in summer 2020.
14. The Land Pavilion’s Film
A film called Awesome Planet is now open in The Land pavilion. The film tells the story of the earth, its many beauties, and why it’s so important to take care of our planet, aka our home.
15. New Barbecue Restaurant At The American Adventure Pavilion
The Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue opened on Feb. 19, 2020 and replaced the Liberty Inn, which closed on July 8. The fast-casual dining location (price range is on the lower side) is described as a “modern barbecue smokehouse, with all the accompanying sights, sounds, smells and flavors you love – including a large smoker preparing fine food every day right on the pavilion’s promenade.” Regal Eagle also has a newly designed patio.
16. Major Future World Changes
Future World as fans know it will soon be a completely different space. As confirmed by Disney, there is going to be a major park overhaul that’s expected to be completed by Epcot’s 40th anniversary in 2022. Here’s everything that’s being updated so far:
*Mouse Gear: Moving to a temporary location on Jan. 5 in Innoventions East.
*Fountain of Nations: Permanently closing on Sept. 8, 2019.
*Pin Central and Camera Center combined location: Officially open by Spaceship Earth
*Art of Disney: Currently open in its new location in The American Adventure pavilion
*Character Spot: Closing on Sept. 8, 2019. Here’s where you can temporarily meet characters after the closure as of Jan. 5, 2020:
- Mickey Mouse: Pixar Short Film Festival queue in the Imagination Pavilion
- Joy: Imagination Pavilion
- Minnie Mouse: World Showcase Plaza Gazebo
- Daisy: Future World East
- Goofy: Main Entrance near Spaceship Earth
- Baymax and Sadness: will stop meeting at this time
*Fountain View/Starbucks Location: Closing on Sept. 8, 2019 and will move to a temporary location in late fall 2019.
*Club Cool: Is said to be closing on Sept. 8 and will be incorporated into new offerings as part of Epcot’s evolution.
*Innoventions East: The pavilion, including Colortopia and Nanooze Break, will close for good on Sept. 8, 2019.
*Electric Umbrella: Permanently closed on Feb. 16, 2020. New dining options will be available in the future.
17. Goodbye Future World, Hello Neighborhoods
The park will be united by four neighborhoods with Future World split into three parts:
- World Showcase: This will continue to celebrate culture, cuisine, architecture, and traditions.
- World Celebration: The neighborhood offers new experiences that connect us to others and the world around us. [Epcot’s entrance, Spaceship Earth, new pavilion mentioned below, Dreamers Point]
- World Nature: This neighborhood is dedicated to the natural world and will include The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilions. [Moana attraction and The Land’s new film]
- World Discovery: The neighborhood brings to life stories about science, technology, and intergalactic adventure. [Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Space 220, PLAY! Pavilion]
18. A ‘Mary Poppins’ Attraction
Not only is the U.K. Pavilion transforming by adding a neighborhood modeled after Cherry Tree Lane, but that street will also feature a Mary Poppins attraction.. Guests will walk down the famous lane past Admiral Boom’s house, enter the Banks family home (Number 17), and then the adventure begins.
19. New China Pavilion Film
The film called Wondrous China will take guests on a spectacular journey across the country and will be presented in a 360-degree digital format.
20. Dreamers Point
This sounds like pure magic. Dreamers Point will be found at Spaceship Earth’s exit and will have a breathtaking view of World Showcase. There will also be a new statue celebrating Walt Disney (shown below), a wishing tree in an enchanted forest, and a story fountain celebrating the power and music of iconic Disney storytelling.
Statue of Walt Disney to Anchor 'Dreamers Point' at Epcot
— BlogMickey.com (@Blog_Mickey) August 25, 2019
21. Another Brand New Pavilion
There will be a new unnamed pavilion offering space for live events and serving as the home base for Epcot’s signature festivals. It will be a three-level structure (a plaza level, a middle expo, and a park that sits in the sky on the top level) that has elevated views of the entire park.
22. A ‘Moana’ Attraction
A Moana attraction called “Journey of Water”will feature an exploration trail inviting guests to meet and play with magical, living water. The experience also gives visitors the chance to learn about the natural water cycle.
How do you feel about all of these changes? Let me know in the comments!
*This post will continuously be updated if or when any new announcements are made.
Images: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort/Disney Parks Blog