EPCOT Center opened on October 1, 1982. Though Walt Disney World is now home to four parks, EPCOT Center was the second to open its gates to guests outside of the Magic Kingdom, which opened on October 1, 1971. Originally envisioned by Walt Disney himself as an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” these days the park is known simply as EPCOT.
And while the park has seen many changes over the years, EPCOT is currently undergoing a multi-year transformation. The park — which was previously comprised of Future World and World Showcase — now houses four distinct “neighborhoods”: World Celebration, World Nature, World Discovery, and World Showcase. And, in fact, the three new neighborhoods began going by their new names on October 1, 2021.
Click HERE to learn your way around EPCOT’s three NEW neighborhoods: World Celebration, World, Discovery, and World Nature!
New attractions, restaurants, and much more will serve as reminder that EPCOT — as Walt Disney himself said — will “always be in a state of becoming.”
While the transformation will ultimately span a few years, guests can enjoy several results of the work already! For instance, the Leave A Legacy monoliths which used to welcome guests upon entering the park have been moved, and also colorfully reimagined.
And now let’s take a closer look at the three new neighborhoods and explore the many ways World Showcase will also be changed as EPCOT undergoes what Disney is calling an “historic transformation!”
World Celebration and the Entrance Plaza
Entrance Plaza and Spaceship Earth
On December 22, 2020, a new fountain was unveiled which guests can see as they approach Spaceship Earth immediately upon entering the park.
Disney Imagineer Zach Riddley has previously explained that the design team “took special interest in looking back to the original geometry for inspiration and infusing new features with a little bit of added magic to bridge the past, present and future of EPCOT.” The fountain itself is complete with a trio of acrylic pylons that look especially beautiful at night.
Guests will also notice the addition of 12 new flags (six designs, two of each) on flagpoles flanking Spaceship Earth.
The flags feature original EPCOT icons that represent the pavilions and attractions. They arrived at the same time as new music which welcomes guests into the park! Though still a work in progress (as everything is growing!), the newly revealed area presents refreshed landscaping to enjoy as well.
And EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth has also received a truly stunning exterior transformation, as each of the four park’s icon’s become “Beacons of Magic” in the evenings as part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration for Walt Disney World, which kicked off on October 1, 2021!
In the case of Spaceship Earth, the new evening lighting is a permanent addition to the structure! (Note that a ride refurbishment of Spaceship Earth was also previously announced; however, that project has been postponed.)
Creations Shop, Club Cool, and Connections Cafe and Eatery
Creations has replaced Mouse Gear (which closed in 2019 to make way for the transformation). But Mickey Mouse still serves as the inspiration for the new location, as you’ll see him featured in a large mural on one of the walls and in smaller touches throughout the space.
All of the artwork featured is completely unique to the space and intended to showcase “the global, contemporary icon that Mickey has become for generations around the world.” The store features other additional details to make sure all guests feel welcome.
Like the previous spot, Club Cool is complete with lots of Coca-Cola merchandise, a small snack counter, and — of course — free samples for sipping! Look for it next to the Creations Shop.
Connected (if you’ll pardon the pun) to Connections Cafe is the brand new Quick Service restaurant: Connections Eatery!
Connections Eatery officially opened on April 27, 2022; and you can see our first FULL REVIEW of the globally-inspired cuisine at Connections Eatery!
Looking towards the future (as World Celebration is slated to be complete by late 2023), as guests exit Spaceship Earth — the park’s icon and centerpiece attraction — they’ll get a fantastic view of the new Dreamers Point.
Dreamers Point will feature a NEW statue of Walt Disney — “Walt the Dreamer” — which will celebrate the way he always looked towards the future. In September 2022, we were able to see the statue on display at the D23 Expo, and you can take a closer look here.
The area will ultimately include gardens designed to “pique curiosity”, a wishing tree, and a story fountain.
CommuniCore Hall and Communicore Plaza Festival Area — OPENING IN LATE 2023!
We’re especially excited for the addition of a dedicated Festival Area which will serve as the new “home base” for EPCOT’s seasonal Festivals and live events! CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza in EPCOT’s World Celebration will bring EPCOT International Festivals “to the center of Walt Disney World.” (You can see it in the bottom left of the concept art below.)
CommuniCore Plaza is an outdoor space where guests can come to relax and experience all the festivals have to offer. There is also an area that can host large-scale concerts or an intimate performance that extends out into the gardens nearby.
CommuniCore Hall is within the plaza, and will be the first fully-purpose built structure in festival programing, designed with flexibility in mind. This hall will be able to host a wide variety of experiences with food, art, live music, and more.
There will even be a demonstration kitchen, a mixology bar, and exhibition and gallery space here. The hall should also help extend the festival experience and give chefs new ways to connect and experiment.
World Celebration Gardens
As the seasons — and seasonal Festivals — change throughout the year, this will be reflected in a World Celebration hub divided into several different gardens, according to Disney. In the center will be a planter based on the five ring EPCOT logo. The gardens will also evolve with the seasons! These gardens will have a ton of shade and seating for guests, and each one will have its own identity, with the ability to change to go along with the festivals throughout the year.
At night, the gardens will “take on a whole new life” says Disney, where lighting will immerse guests in an evening experience that will also change through the seasons.
The new areas will also have “hero features,” which are big artistic elements like topiaries and sculptures. The pieces will coordinate with the lights on Spaceship Earth.
The gardens will also offer exciting new views of Spaceship Earth!
Mickey and Friends Meet-and-Greet Location — OPENING IN LATE 2023!
As part of this CommuniCore Hall, there will be a new location in EPCOT called “Mickey and Friends” where you can meet some of your favorite Disney characters!
We can’t wait to keep you posted on the “& Friends” greeting guests with Mickey! If it’s anything similar to the previous Character Spot that previously existed in Future World, Minnie Mouse and Goofy were often part of the character scene in the area.
Illuminated Pavement Designs
Do you miss the lights in the ground that used to be part of Future World in EPCOT? For those unfamiliar, sparkling squares and colorful patterns lit up the grounds in the area just behind Spaceship Earth in the evenings.
These lights went away when EPCOT began renovations a few years ago, but Disney has confirmed that they will be coming BACK! Imagineer Zach Riddley states that “guests loved the fiber optics embedded in the pavement at EPCOT, and we’re excited to share that we’re bringing back new illuminated paving designs in World Celebration.”
The new lighting fixtures will incorporate updated technology and “controllability to deliver some fun new lighting capabilities.” Ultimately, World Celebration will have more than 12,000 individually controllable lighting fixtures, which Imagineers hope “will create a dynamic environment that will transform the area every night.”
From the park entrance, guests will move to the left of World Celebration to enter World Discovery.
Guests rocket into orbit 220 miles above earth (via a simulation elevator) to enjoy a meal “in space” aboard the Centauri Space Station.
This new dining experience offers prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner as well as a lounge, and you can take your first look INSIDE this incredible new restaurant HERE!
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
This MASSIVE and thrilling ride (which happens to be EPCOT’s first-ever roller coaster) is located in the new Wonders of Xandar pavilion.
Click HERE to check out PICS and VIDEOS of Guardians of the Galaxy HERE! And we have a SPOILER-FREE Review HERE!
And the new PLAY! Pavilion will allow guests to participate in new adventures with Disney characters in both actual and virtual experiences.
The PLAY! Pavilion will be housed in the former Wonders of Life pavilion.
World Nature is located to the right of World Celebration (from the entrance) and encompasses The Land and The Seas pavilions.
Journey of Water — OPENING IN LATE 2023!
Guests will be able to explore what Disney has described as a “lush exploration trail” that allows explorers to “play with magical, living water” through the Journey of Water, an immersive walk-through attraction. inspired by Moana.
In addition to the trail and living water experiences, Disney has shared that guests will “learn about the importance of the natural water cycle.” But if you’re thinking that maybe that doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing… wait until you see sights along the trail like THIS:
The final figure of the model of Te Fiti you see above will actually be around 15 feet tall and will be made of over 3,000 pieces of foliage. And that’s just one example of what’s to come when this new attraction opens in late 2023!
In fact, The Land pavilion has already debuted one of its new experiences with a new film housed in the pavilion, Awesome Planet.
A new nighttime spectacular called Harmonious bow lights up the night in EPCOT!
This production made its official debut on October 1, 2021.
Guests can now cap off their evening by viewing one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park! Disney music and images have been “reimagined by diverse cultural musicians and artists from around the world” for the spectacular.
But are you ready for MORE? Because…
A NEW nighttime spectacular will make its debut in EPCOT in late 2023 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Walt Disney Company! Click here to learn more!
Several country pavilions around World Showcase will welcome new attractions, dining experiences, and more…
France Pavilion — Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Dining
Riders shrink down to “rat-size” and embark on a journey across Chef Gusteau’s restaurant kitchen in Paris.
The attraction thrills and delights riders with the sights, sounds, and smells from the kitchen as they’re chased through it on their way to safety.
Joining the new attraction in France is a new restaurant! La Crêperie de Paris offers both Table Service AND Counter Service via a walk-up window called Crêpes À Emporter and features a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.
These new eateries also officially opened on October 1, 2021.
These experiences in France joined the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along which opened on January 17, 2020.
The theater for the sing-along shares a home with the classic Impressions de France film, which is still available for viewing in the Pavilion in the evenings.
United Kingdom Pavilion
A Mary Poppins-inspired attraction was also announced for one of France’s neighboring pavilions, the United Kingdom.
It was revealed that this attraction will allow guests to “step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family.” This is where the magical journey will begin. However, please note that since the original announcement, Disney has released a statement that the development for the Mary Poppins-themed attraction has been postponed, and the project is officially on hold. will update this page with any further information as it becomes available.
The China pavilion will soon feature a new Circle-Vision 360° film, Wondrous China. It will join Canada Far and Wide — a new film already playing for guests visiting the Canada pavilion.
Other new experiences already open in EPCOT include Takumi-Tei, a signature dining restaurant in the Japan pavilion, which delivers a dining experience and setting inspired by the natural beauty of Japan.
The American Adventure Pavilion
And the Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue celebrates classic American “backyard barbecue” and beverages as an all-new quick service spot in The American Adventure pavilion.
We invite you to check out our DFB YouTube video talking about several of the new changes coming as part of EPCOT’s historic transformation — and more changes in store for other parts of Walt Disney World — right here!
Disney Food Blog Posts Mentioning EPCOT’s Transformation