For a century now, The Walt Disney Company has built a revered reputation across theme parks, animation, music, and guest experiences. Much of this reputation is attributed to Disney’s leading edge in new technology and developments in art and animation.
As Disney wraps up its 100th anniversary, The Walt Disney Company continues to expand and improve its products and experiences. Recent feature films like Wish (2023), Elemental (2023), The Little Mermaid (2023), and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) have hit theaters this past year and become quick fan favorites.
In addition to animation, Disney Parks across the globe have experienced big changes this year. The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong, China, recently welcomed the opening of World of Frozen. Additionally, significant changes have come to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
We Owe It All to Walt Disney Imagineers
We can’t talk about the changes and updates of the Disney Parks without talking about the Disney Imagineers.
Disney Imagineers are the creative minds responsible for planning and building the Disney Parks, from entrances to attractions. The Disney Imagineers date back to before Walt Disney Imagineering even existed. The first Disney Imagineers worked for WED Enterprises (WED standing for Walter Elias Disney).
One former Imagineer, Jim Shull, spoke out about the new updates at EPCOT. Jim Shull worked with Walt Disney Imagineering for over 30 years, leading projects in four Disney Parks.
Recent Disney Park Updates
At Walt Disney World, guests said goodbye to Splash Mountain last year as the attraction is transformed into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. But, some of the most anticipated changes are taking place at EPCOT.
The remodel of EPCOT was first announced in 2019, and construction still continues today. In recent updates, we’ve seen the openings of Creations Shop, Connections Eatery, Connections Cafe, and now the park’s newest attraction: Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.
Much of EPCOT’s redesign has yet to be unveiled and continues to be hidden behind temporary walls. However, as the project inches closer to completion, aerial photos have surfaced, showing the park’s newest layout developments. The reactions to these updates, however, have been mixed.
Jill Shull Weighs In
Former Imagineer Jim Shull gave his opinions about the recent updates at EPCOT on his personal social media page.
Shull said the function of the updated park layout “works better as a maze than it does as a circulation corridor.” He further went on to comment from his years of experience, “Effective guest walkways have clear views with barriers and this plan has neither. Great place to get lost.”
This design is lovely to look at from above however in its function it works better as a maze than it does as a circulation corridor. Effective guest walkways have clear views with barriers and this plan has neither. Great place to get lost. #Epcot #WDW pic.twitter.com/rKLV7qNQxa
— Jim Shull (@JimShull) November 26, 2023
Now the walls have come down at EPCOT’s newest addition, guests have been welcomed into the park’s new area. But time will tell how the designs work.
It will be interesting to see how EPCOT’s new layout plays into crowd control as guests pass through to visit popular attractions. Either way, we are ready for the walls to come down so we no longer have to circumnavigate the park.
What do you think of EPCOT’s newest updates? Let us know in the comments below!