Doesn’t it feel like we’ve been talking about EPCOT’s Transformation for YEARS? Well, that’s because we have been talking about all of the exciting projects in development at EPCOT for some time now — remember wayyy back at the 2019 D23 Expo when we first got a glimpse at all of those retro-inspired posters and Spaceship Earth model that now sits in the EPCOT Experience.
While some projects are full steam ahead, others have either hit the ‘pause’ button or have been shelved altogether. Let’s recap what was supposed to be a part of the EPCOT transformation, but is now on the chopping block.
Cut: The Festival Pavilion
The one project that seems to be all but doomed is the Festival Pavilion. This festival “hub” of sorts was designed to be a building three stories high, which included a plaza level, a middle “expo” level, and a park in the sky on the top level with firework viewing. If you take a look at the concept art, this project seemed really, REALLY cool.
While it doesn’t look like the general concept of a specified part of EPCOT dedicated to the festivals is cut entirely, the Pavilion has been rebranded as a “Festival Area” which seems to indicate that the three-story building is an idea of the past. This could reappear with time, but, given the scale and footprint of this project, it seems possible we may never see it come to pass.
Shelved: Mary Poppins & the Spaceship Earth refurbishment
Now let’s talk about a couple of projects that aren’t cut entirely, but are rather “shelved” for an indefinite period of time. Disney World’s closures in 2020 had already postponed the refurbishment at Spaceship Earth, which was projected to last a couple of years! The refurbishment would bring a new narration, story, and even new scenes to the attraction.
Last summer, however, we learned that not only was the Spaceship Earth refurbishment postponed until further notice, but so was the announced Mary Poppins ride, which was set to be built in the United Kingdom Pavilion in World Showcase.
A released statement noted that “As with most businesses during this period, we are further evaluating long-term project plans. The decision was made to postpone development of [the] ‘Mary Poppins’-inspired attraction and Spaceship Earth at this time.”
“Postpone development” implies that these projects could be picked back up sometime in the future, but for now, don’t plan your Disney World vacations around the prospects of either one seeing the light of day anytime soon.
Click here to read more about Spaceship Earth’s refurbishment and the Mary Poppins dark ride being postponed.
Questionable: Wondrous China
There’s one more project that may or may not be in jeopardy, simply because we haven’t really heard any updates on it in quite some time! World Showcase’s three long-running films (O’ Canada!, Reflections of China, and Impressions de France) were set to receive some sort of update, whether that was with the introduction of an accompanying film like Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along, or with a completely new film, like Canada Far and Wide.
The China Pavilion was set to receive a new film called Wondrous China, but the debut of the film was delayed. Since then, Disney has remained suspiciously quiet on when (or if!) we can expect this film to debut in World Showcase.
Things That are Still a Part of the EPCOT Transformation
Now that we’ve reviewed what seems to be on the chopping block, let’s take a look at some of the exciting projects that ARE moving forward and we should be able to experience soon!
The first addition to the park that we’ll soon see is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France Pavilion, along with La Crêperie de Paris! This new dark ride, along with the hybrid table service/counter service dining location will greatly expand the size of the France Pavilion. Both locations are set to open on October 1st, 2021.
The big headliner attraction coming to Future World is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This state-of-the-art roller coaster will use the latest technology (including a reverse launch!) to bring guests on a thrilling ride through the galaxy (and hopefully have a rockin’ soundtrack to go with it!).
The opening timeline for Cosmic Rewind is a bit up in the air. Originally, it was projected that this ride would open in time for Disney World’s 5oth Anniversary Celebration in 2021, but there’s some reason to believe that we may not see this coaster completed until 2022.
For a different kind of attraction, Journey of Water may be set to open sometime in 2021; however, its exact opening timeline is unknown at this time. This walkthrough attraction inspired by the animated film Moana will be adjacent to the Seas Pavilion (in what will soon be known as the “World Nature” area of the park) and will bring guests a new “lush exploration trail” that allows travelers to “play with magical, living water.”
Another addition coming to EPCOT for its transformation is the all-new PLAY! Pavilion. This innovative pavilion with it’s “city” design and will serve as a “digital metropolis,” complete with interactive experiences, games, entertainment, hands-on activities. The PLAY! Pavilion is still under construction inside the old Wonders of Life Pavilion but was another project originally slated to open in time for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. We will let you know once we know more about its updated timeline!
One of the new offerings that we WILL for sure see in time for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary is Harmonious, EPCOT’s brand-new nighttime spectacular. This show has been in the works for sometime and is set to replace EPCOT Forever, which resumed performances on July 1st, 2021.
The show had been delayed due to Disney World’s closures, but Disney JUST shared that we’ll get to look forward to this new show starting on Disney World’s birthday on October 1st! We’ve been staring at those barges out in World Showcase Lagoon for long enough!
Finally, a smaller but just as touching addition to EPCOT that still seems to be on deck is Dreamers Point. The project will bring a brand-new statue of Walt Disney himself to EPCOT for the first time.
Dreamers Point will be located in what will be called the “World Celebration” area of the park (AKA at the middle of Future Word!). Originally there was mention of a “wishing tree” that was supposed to be part of this area, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s included in the final version. The area is currently under construction, so hopefully we’ll have an exact opening timeline soon!
While EPCOT’s Transformation is taking a little longer than we originally anticipated, it looks like most of what was originally announced is still set to join the park sometime in the near future! Hopefully, by the time EPCOT officially turns 40 on October 1st, 2022, we’ll be nearly completed (if not all the way finished!) with the transformation — that means BYE BYE, construction walls!
What are you most excited to see from EPCOT’s Transformation? Let us know in the comments!