Disney Announces More New Enhancements for Epcot

Epcot Transformation View

In this artist rendering, a new entrance plaza in development at Epcot will greet guests with new pathways, sweeping green spaces and a reimagined fountain. This design will pay homage to the original park entrance with fresh takes on classic elements. (Disney)

A New “Play Pavilion” is Coming to Epcot as Part of Theme Park’s Historic Multi-Year Transformation

This new innovative environment joins a lineup of recently announced enhancements coming our way at Epcot

Epcot has been a beehive of activity over the past several months with new attractions and the Skyliner construction well underway (or nearing completion).

Now, Disney has announced even more exciting new enhancements that are in the works for Epcot. These include a new play pavilion, a reimagined main entrance and an Experience Center showcasing the park’s future. (This takes me right back to a time when the original Epcot Center Preview Center was in place many years ago.) These new additions continue to build on the impressive lineup of new projects already announced for the park, as we approach the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary in 2021.

“Epcot has always been, and always will be, an optimistic celebration of the real world that is brought to life through the magic of Disney,” said George A. Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort. “The exciting plans we have on the horizon will honor Epcot’s rich legacy of creativity and innovation while continuing to exceed the expectations of our guests for decades to come.”

Epcot Play Pavilion Concept Art

In this artist rendering, a new play pavilion in development at Epcot will include first-of-their-kind experiences devoted to playful fun, inviting guests into an innovative city bursting with interactive experiences and hands-on activities. Friends and family will interact with favorite Disney characters in an energetic metropolis unlike anything ever seen before at Epcot. The as-yet-unnamed space will debut to guests in time for the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary. (Disney)

The New Play Pavilion Hearkens Back to Walt Disney’s Original Vision for Epcot

The new play pavilion will include first-of-their-kind experiences that are devoted to playful fun. It promises to invite Epcot visitors to become part of an innovative, interactive city that is bursting with games and hands-on activities. That description sounds like a noble interpretation of a family friendly nod to Walt Disney’s original vision for Epcot. According to Disney, friends and family will be able to interact with favorite Disney characters in an energetic metropolis unlike anything seen previously at Epcot. If you’re wondering what the new play pavilion will be called, you’ll have to wait a bit longer as it has yet to be officially named. This exciting new space will come to life under the vast dome of the pavilion previously known as Wonders of Life (and more recently known as the Festival Center for various major events, such as the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival). As expected, all of this will debut to guests in time for the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary.

“This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot,” said Zach Riddley, portfolio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “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.”

Even More New Projects are on the way for Epcot

There has been a lot of speculation over the past year or so about transformations to the main entrance area at Epcot and today we learned more about we can look forward to seeing.

The plaza at the main entrance will welcome guests with new pathways, sweeping green spaces and a newly reimagined fountain. According to Disney, the new design will pay homage to the original park entrance with fresh takes on classic elements. As part of this new entry experience, Leave A Legacy photos will move into a new setting located just outside the park’s gateway. There will also be additional “significant redevelopment” between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase Promenade.  More details about the transformation of this area will be announced at a future date, but it’s safe to say that we’ll be experiencing a number of construction barriers in this area as soon as work gets under way.

If you’re having trouble picturing exactly how all of the new plans will come together, there is good news on that front. Disney has noted that guests will be able to see the new plans for Epcot when doors open later this year at a new Experience Center in the Odyssey Events Pavilion. Interactive exhibits will showcase the Imagineering innovation, energy and excitement driving the future of the park throughout this unprecedented period of  transformation.

“Epcot is beloved for its focus on imagination, innovation, fun, food and family,” said Kalogridis. “It’s a timeless place where the real is made fantastic through the magic of Disney. It has a very bright future ahead and the best part is that we’ve only just begun to dream.”

These new announcements by Disney are in addition to other projects already underway as part of the Epcot evolution. Larger-than-life Super Heroes will descend upon the park with the opening of a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction. This will be a welcome addition to Epcot and will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world. It will feature a brand-new ride system when it also opens in time for the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary, so that’s definitely something to look forward to if you love roller coasters.

Other exciting new developments underway at Epcot include:

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction in the France pavilion, patterned after the number-one family attraction at Disneyland Paris.
  • “Beauty and the Beast” sing-along in the France pavilion, showing in addition to the pavilion’s current film, Impressions de France.
  • Circle-Vision 360 film for the China pavilion.
  • An updated O Canada! 360-degree show at the Canada Pavilion.
  • Signature Dining experience inspired by the natural beauty of Japan.
  • Space-themed table-service restaurant adjacent to Mission: SPACE, inviting guests to travel high above the earth for an unforgettable dining experience.
  • Epcot Forever, a 2019 limited-time nighttime experience over World Showcase Lagoon set to classic Epcot tunes, followed by an all-new nighttime spectacular debuting in 2020.

Looking forward to the changes coming to Epcot?

As a Luxury Travel Blogger, I write regularly about upscale Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for the latest news and insights on luxury Disney travel.

Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Luxury Disney Travel Expert