What’s the MOST anticipated restaurant opening in Disney World? We bet we know what you’re going to say.
Space 220 is the upcoming space-themed restaurant that should open in EPCOT…someday. Now, this restaurant has been a LONG time coming. Space 220 was announced way back in July of 2017. It was supposed to open this past Winter but apparently ran into a bit of a rocky patch. Even with EPCOT now reopened, Space 220 is still closed — so what gives?!
What is Space 220?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly IS Space 220? This new restaurant is going to be located near Mission: SPACE in EPCOT’s Future World and will take guests on a dining adventure seemingly 220 miles above the park. Guests will take an “elevator” allllll the way up to space for their meal. There, they’ll look out HUGE windows into daytime and nighttime views of the vast expanse of planet Earth.
The menu has not been released yet, but we DO know that this spot will serve up internationally-inspired cuisine along with more than 1,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines and a wide selection of craft beer. Needless to say, we’re pretty excited to see what this menu will have to offer (we know there will be some awesome cocktails!).
The space will feature a rotating wall of produce and will seat more than 350 guests. Space 220 will be run by Patina Restaurant Group, the same group that runs the Italy Pavilion restaurants and some locations in Downtown Disney and Disney Springs, like Morimoto Asia.
Space 220 was originally supposed to open last Winter, but it has experienced several delays.
As we mentioned, Space 220 was originally supposed to open last Winter. For most of 2019, we were stuck with the exciting “Coming This Winter!” note on the official Space 220 page. Two seasons later in the Summer of 2020, with the official page now saying “Coming Soon!”, we’re starting to realize that maybe they missed their mark.
Keep in mind, there were early signs of trouble. In November of 2019, the previously-announced executive chef of the location, Theo Schoenegger, stepped down and the search for a chef to head the restaurant had to be reignited. The listing for a new executive chef has since been removed from the Patina Group Restaurant help wanted section, so the restaurant may have found its new captain.
That month saw another shift as well, when the projected reopening was changed from Winter 2019 to February 2020 in Patina Group job listings. Sure, February is technically Winter, but it’s nearing the END of Winter.
BUT, that timeline actually made sense — Space 220…2/20…February 20th. The correlation was not lost on us! Whether this shift was due solely to the executive chef shake-up or something else was unclear, but February came and went and still no opening or really even any outward signs of progress.
Construction was halted during the lengthy closure.
As we know, Space 220 did NOT open in February and March was not a particularly positive month for most Disney World construction projects, Space 220 included. The global health crisis had a radiating effect on the Walt Disney Company as a whole. With park closures and new financial limitations, the echos of the crisis were felt at Space 220.
As the parks closed, construction was halted on all projects, including the new restaurant. Depending on how far along they were in the construction process, this delay could potentially continue even as the park has reopened and some construction has returned. Plus, to open, the restaurant will need to have staffing and supply chain sorted out.
But the restaurant may be close to completion.
Now, that’s not to say that Space 220 won’t EVER open. As far as we know, construction was pretty far along when the major construction delays kicked in in March. We checked in often and as far as we could tell exterior construction was more or less wrapped up. They had even decided on flatware for the dining room!
What we can gather from this is that Disney has already put a lot of money and months of time into this project. It’s not one that will be easily chopped if they need to cut some projects for financial reasons.
So, yes, Space 220 will probably open soon — we’re just not sure when.
Plus, Space 220 could be a significant draw for EPCOT in the coming months. EPCOT is Disney World’s work-in-progress park. With low capacity and health concerns, Disney might favor projects completing that could keep the park profitable. Especially after recently putting a few big-name projects on hold! If the park needs an attendance push in the future, once it’s safe to begin incentivizing guests to return, Space 220 might do the trick.
Hopefully, we’ve run into every possible delay so far, but we should always be prepared for a new one. It IS 2020 after all.
It makes sense that Disney hasn’t opted to give us an update for the past few months. Hopefully, they’ll update that opening season soon so we can start preparing for our first space meal!
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Are you hoping to get a seat at Space 220 when it opens? Tell us in the comments!