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Official: Disney World Expanding EPCOT, Theme Park Footprint To Change

world celebration gardens Spaceship Earth EPCOT Disney Imagineers Scoff New Designs
Credit: Disney

The theme park footprint of EPCOT is about to get even bigger with major expansions and updates happening at Walt Disney World Resort.

EPCOT, originally envisioned by Walt Disney as a utopian city, has continually evolved since its opening in 1982, shifting from its original focus on innovation and world culture to a broader theme park experience infused with Disney characters and narratives. This transformation has reached new heights in recent years, with a series of expansions and enhancements that have significantly altered the park’s landscape.

Walt Disney Statue in World Celebration at EPCOT

Credit: Disney

The journey into this new era for EPCOT began with the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France Pavilion. This attraction, based on the beloved Pixar film Ratatouille, allows Disney World guests to experience the thrills of navigating the bustling Parisian restaurant scene from the perspective of Remy, a rat who dreams of becoming a chef. This addition marked the beginning of a transformative phase that would bring more immersive experiences to the park.

Following closely was the debut of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, a state-of-the-art roller coaster that is not only one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world but also features a unique storytelling twist—riders are launched backwards. The attraction integrates the playful and adventurous spirit of the Guardians of the Galaxy films into EPCOT’s narrative, infusing the park with a fresh, youthful energy that complements its educational and cultural offerings.

EPCOT

Credit: Inside the Magic (Luke D.)

The reimagined EPCOT promises a blend of nostalgia for long-time fans and new experiences to attract a new generation. Highlights include the stunning new fountain at the entrance, a reimagined light design on the iconic Spaceship Earth, and new eateries like Space 220 Restaurant and Connections Café & Eatery that offer futuristic dining experiences.

In 2023, the Disney park introduced the Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. This walkthrough experience offers both educational and interactive elements, focusing on the natural water cycle with a storytelling overlay inspired by the 2016 Disney film Moana.

Journey of Water in front of Spaceship Earth

Credit: Disney

Most recently, Disney announced the culmination of these efforts with the grand unveiling of the park’s most extensive transformation, the final stage in construction that has been in place for more than a half-decade: CommuiCore Plaza & Hall. The new location will see its construction walls come down on June 10.

An exciting addition to this lineup is the limited-time show, “¡Celebración Encanto!” set to run from June 10 to September 6. Hosted on the newly opened CommuniCore Plaza stage, this event features songs from the popular film Encanto (2021), allowing guests to engage with characters like Mirabel and Bruno in a festive, interactive environment.

X account @bioreconstruct recently shared updated photos in which we can see the work coming to a close at CommuniCore Plaza.

The transformation also includes structural and aesthetic upgrades such as the new CommuniCore Hall, which will serve as the heart of EPCOT’s festivals and a gathering place for various celebrations. Surrounding this hub will be the World Celebration Gardens, CommuniCore Plaza, and Inspiration Gardens—each offering lush greenery and relaxing spaces for visitors to enjoy.

Concept art for the exterior of Communicore Hall at EPCOT

Credit: Disney

If all that weren’t enough, you have to take into account that Test Track is about to be reimagined, as well. The popular attraction will undergo a temporary closure beginning June 17, 2024. The reopening date for the ride has not been announced.

Additionally, there has been persistent speculation about the possibility of a new pavilion joining the World Showcase lineup. While this has not materialized, the completion of the current renovations might set the stage for future expansions. The theory suggests that EPCOT could extend its global representation and experiences, potentially incorporating a new pavilion.

Spaceship Earth at EPCOT framed from the arch in the Japan Pavilion in World Showcase. At EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Ed Aguila, Inside the Magic

With all the transformations that have taken place at the Disney World park over the last several years, it should come as no surprise that Disney may want to focus on Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom next in the immediate future. However, it still wouldn’t be surprising to see the company elect to give us another pavilion at some point in the next decade as it looks to stay true to its $60 billion promise.

After all, many insiders say that the Disney park won’t even look the same once all this construction is completed.

What would you like to see added to EPCOT? Let us know in the comments!

This post Official: Disney World to Expand EPCOT, Changing Theme Park Footprint appeared first on Inside the Magic.

About Andrew Boardwine

A frequent visitor of Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort, Andrew will likely be found freefalling on Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or enjoying Pirates of the Caribbean. Over at Universal, he'll be taking in the thrills of the Jurassic World Velocicoaster and Revenge of the Mummy

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