Though Disney’s Animal Kingdom has finished its transition to full day park with the addition of Pandora – The World of Avatar and Rivers of Light and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will complete its reinvention later this year with the additions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Disney is pulling together long term plans to reinvent Epcot by 2021, by adding a massive nine new attractions over the next three years…
1. The Odyssey “Experience Center” (Fall 2019)
There are a LOT of changes coming to Epcot over the next five years, and to help guests keep track of everything happening there will be a new semi-permanent “Experience Center” opening in the former Odyssey restaurant later this year that will showcase the upcoming changes to Epcot.
This reimagined preview space will feature engaging and interactive exhibits that showcase the relentless innovation, energy and excitement driving the future of Epcot, and will be open for the next few years while all of the following ambitious projects are in development
2. Epcot Forever (Late 2019)
In case you haven’t heard, IllumiNations is ending later this year, and Disney announced last year that as soon as this show finishes up its run, Disney will debut a limited-time nighttime spectacular, called “Epcot Forever,” which will feature classic Epcot themes. This new show is meant to showcase the best of Epcot while celebrating its unique history, all with classic music and advanced pyrotechnics.
3. Awesome Planet (TBA 2019)
Earlier this week Disney announced Awesome Planet, a brand new original film especially designed for Epcot, which is officially described like this:
An on-screen exploration of the realm we call home, showcases the spectacular beauty, diversity and dynamic story of our earth with all the grandeur guests have come to expect.
With spectacular nature photography, immersive in-theater effects, and space sequences created by none other than Industrial Light & Magic (which provided the cinematic foundation for the Star Wars franchise), “Awesome Planet” will stir Epcot guests and deliver an environmental message that will resonate far beyond its final scenes.
Of course, this description is fairly general and vague, but the concept behind this new film still sounds really interesting and the ecologically-friendly message in Awesome Planet is definitely something that will align with the overall theme of the Land Pavilion, but will hopefully feel more up-to-date than its Lion King-themed predecessor. We’re also excited about the prospect of the Harvest Theater being upgraded to facilitate the special effects detailed above in the description of the new show.
4. Unnamed film in Canada Pavilion (TBA 2019)
he current O Canada circle-vision attraction’s days are numbered as it has been confirmed that a brand new O Canada film will be coming to Epcot’s Canada Pavilion sometime in the near future, though like the Beauty and the Beast show in France, no timeline has been provided for this upcoming change, but we’d expect this new film to debut very soon
5. Unnamed film in China Pavilion (TBA 2019)
The current Reflections of China circle-vision attraction’s days are also numbered as it has been confirmed that a brand new film will be coming to Epcot’s China Pavilion sometime in the near future. Though this was initially announced in 2017, we haven’t heard much about this development. However, Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek has confirmed that this new attraction is still in development, so hopefully we’ll learn more soon!
6. A Celebration of Disney Music (TBA 2020)
Though Epcot Forever will run in 2019, in 2020, a new permanent nighttime spectacular will debut. Called “A Celebration of Disney Music,” this new nighttime entertainment offering will show how Disney music inspires people around the globe, and will feature large floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, kites with special effects, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, and lasers. Confirmed Disney IPs that will be featured in this new production include Coco, Hercules, and Moana. Moving forward, this will be the permanent replacement for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, and the infrastructure for this show is under construction as we speak. ADVERTISING
7. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (TBA 2020)
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the new name for the Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy ride which is being cloned for Epcot is now under construction and is set to open sometime in 2020. This Ratatouille-themed 3-D dark ride will use trackless technology to “shrink” guests down to the size of a rat, and is being constructed in an expansion pad behind the France pavilion.
8. Crêperie hybrid restaurant
The most recently-announced addition to the France pavilion is a brand new unamed hybrid quick/table service restaurant that will feature the cuisine of celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse, the mastermind behind the pavilion’s Chefs de France brasserie and its celebration of gourmet cuisine, Monsieur Paul. This new location will feature a menu inspired by the Brittany region of France, and will have savory crepes called galettes and sweet crepes. And though the France pavilion already has plenty of places to eat (this will be the fifth dining location in this pavilion), this new hybrid restaurant should be a nice addition to the lineup with a simple menu with familiar options.
No opening date for this new location has been announced, but considering this new location will be a part of the France expansion, we’re guessing that it will likely open in 2020, alongside the afroementioned Ratatouille attraction.
9. Beauty and the Beast Singalong
Last year it was announced that a brand new new Beauty and the Beast sing-along attraction would be coming to Epcot’s France pavilion, and will play in the theater that is currently home to “Impressions de France.”This new show will play in addition to the French film, and is being created by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” film.
No timeline has been provided about when this new show might debut, and while we initially thought this new show would debut sometime this year, with Disney perhaps looking to make an “event” out of the full reboot of the France pavilion, we might have to wait until next year to experience this new live show.
10. Space-themed restaurant (TBA 2020)
Back in 2017 during the D23 Expo Disney surprised guests by announcing a new space-themed restaurant that would be constructed in Future World. No name or menu details were provided at the time, but Disney did specify that this establishment would have special “windows” that simulate views of the galaxy as diners “travel high above the earth” during their meal.
And though it has been awhile since this initial announcement was made, construction on the brand new building that will house this upcoming restaurant, which will be built in a newly developed area between Mission: Space and Test Track, began last year.
According to a job posting for this new restaurant, dining room will seat more than 350, and that guests will access the dining room by “two fully functioning elevators with large digital screens to simulate the trip to the space station.” Upon exiting the elevators, guests will enter the restaurant which will be connected to the rear of the existing lounge.
11. New table service restaurant coming to Japan (TBA 2020)
And speaking of new dining establishments, it was confirmed last year that a new signature dining experience will be coming soon to Epcot’s Japan pavilion. Operated by Mitsukoshi, which also runs the pavilion’s other restaurants and retail areas, the restaurant will draw inspiration from nature. Though it is well hidden, construction walls have appeared on the far side of the
12. Unnamed Guardians of the Galaxy Ride (TBA 2021)
It has been almost two years since Disney confirmed during the 2017 D23 Expo in Anaheim that a Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired attraction would be added to Epcot’s Future World, and in this time we’ve only gotten a few little updates here and there about what we can expect from this somehow still-unnamed attraction. However, one thing we do know is this attraction is going to be massive, with the building that will house this ride capable of holding FOUR Spaceship Earth attractions inside it, a truly staggering statistic.
Disney has developed a new ride system for this attraction that will feature elevated roller coaster trains that conceal track underneath, and can also move independently, spinning around to face screens or setpieces, similar to the roller coaster trains used by Universal’s Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction. You can see the prototype for the new ride vehicles above.
13. “Play” Pavilion (TBA 2021)
After more than a decade being used as a Festival Center, it looks like the Wonders of Life pavilion is finally being turned into attraction space once again, and is being re-designed and re-branded as Future World’s new “Play” pavilion (we’re not quite sure if this is the official name or not). This updated space will be designed to look like an innovative indoor city that’ll come to life with interactive experiences, including ones that will include Disney characters. Though no specific IPs or attractions have been confirmed for this new pavilion, the concept art above features Mickey Mouse, as well as characters from Inside Out, Zootopia, the Aristocats, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Frozen, which is certainly exciting for Disney character fans!
Though no specific opening date was given for this area, Disney did confirm that this new pavilion will open just in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021. Zach Riddley, portfolio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering had this to say about this new “Play” pavilion:
“This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot. Built on the power of play, it introduces an immersive and interactive ‘city’ where you can explore, create, and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters. This is an experience worthy of our bold vision for Epcot – and another signature element of our transformation.”