Artist rendering of the new World Celebration neighborhood at EPCOT theme park (photo via Disney)
As Disney World continues to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, more details were unveiled about the transformation of EPCOT.
“Walt said that EPCOT will always be in a state of becoming,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said at a recent event celebrating the opening of the new Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster. “And look around at EPCOT, the incredible transformation that’s taking place all around us…it is amazing.”
We have seen a few early stages of the transformation with the newly expanded France pavilion and the Beacons of Magic that light up Spaceship Earth at night. As the anniversary celebrations continue, cast members remain hard at work at EPCOT to complete the full transformation.
Now, Disney has revealed that EPCOT’s layout is rooted in four distinct neighborhoods, each providing guests with unique experiences that celebrate not only our own world but also the imagination of what lies beyond us in the cosmos.
Here’s a little bit more about each of these pods in EPCOT.
Once the transformation is complete, guests will enter EPCOT into the World Celebration neighborhood that will feature multiple gardens.
“This space is nearly six acres of an entirely redeveloped footprint right at the heart of EPCOT,” said Zach Riddley, Portfolio Executive, New Experience Development at Walt Disney Imagineering. “One of our design goals was to bring more greenery and shade into the center of the park, including four gardens, each with their own character and feel. Our landscape design includes over fifty different types of trees and hundreds of species of plants, shrubs and flowers that will evolve seasonally, making this new neighborhood a showcase for our international festival program at EPCOT.”
Additionally, this area will be home to the new CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza, which Disney is describing as a “multi-use facility and outdoor event space.” Guests will be able to see live music here, as well as experience new art and food throughout the year.
Artist concept design of the new CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza at EPCOT (photo via Disney)
Nearby the CommuniCore Hall will be the new Mickey & Friends location for character meet and greets.
World Celebration is also home to the new Connections Café and Eatery. The café area is essentially a Starbucks, but the eatery area is a quick-service dining spot with delicious new menu offerings, including pizza made in house, a variety of fresh burgers, a heaping portion of General Tso’s chicken over a fresh salad, and so many more options.
Just around the corner guests will find tons of merchandise as Creations Shop and a great way to cool off at the refreshed Club Cool Hosted by Coca-Cola.
Lastly, one new feature coming to this World Celebration neighborhood is Dreamers Point, which will feature gorgeous views of the World Showcase area as well as a brand-new statue that honors the legendary, original dreamer himself, Walt Disney.
The World Discovery neighborhood is where science, technology and space all meet.
The Space 220 restaurant opened in late 2021 as part of the expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion. Guests are “transported” into space to dine among the stars, complete with a stellar view of Earth. This dining location can book up quick though, so be sure to book in advance to secure your spot in space.
While there is still great excitement over the fancy new space restaurant (and for good reason too as it’s delicious), EPCOT’s first roller coaster is receiving all the new hype.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open to the public on May 27. The ride is the longest fully enclosed coaster in any Disney theme park and one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world. It also features the first reverse coaster launch for Disney and the first Disney Omnicoaster.
“The ride system itself is an Omni coaster, as we’ve called it, is a system where it rotates you through and pointed to the scenes as you were on a rollercoaster,” Liz Diaz, Senior Ride Development Engineer, Walt Disney Imagineering told TravelPulse. “So much like our Haunted Mansion attraction where you rotate and point to the scenes, we’re doing that same thing, but we put you on a high-speed roller coaster through time and space.”
The ride can feel intense due to so much action happening, but if you can handle Flight of Passage, Space Mountain and Expedition Everest then you will be fine riding Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
You can check out more on the ride experience here.
The World Nature neighborhood is “dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe and balance of the natural world” according to a release from Disney.
Living with the Land has long been giving park-goers a relaxing ride experience to learn more about the ecology of our land and the food we eat.
On that same theme of educating guests comes a new experience debuting soon: Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.
“Journey of Water will immerse guests in a lush environment, and it is here that the story of the global cycle of water will be brought to life in a story completely unique to EPCOT, Riddley said. “We’re creating an outdoor attraction for all ages, where you will be invited to play and interact with water as it travels from our skies to our oceans and back again. The spaces and experiences within were inspired by Moana’s friendship with water and her devotion to protecting nature around her.”
This exploration trail will be the first Disney Parks experience to feature Moana.
Also in the World Nature pod will be the Land pavilion film “Awesome Planet” which will feature an original musical score from Academy Award®-winning composer Steven Price. The 10-minute show highlights “the beauty, diversity and dynamic story of Earth.”
A fan favorite, the World Showcase neighborhood gives guests the chance to eat and drink their way around the world.
What’s new here?
The previously mentioned expanded France Pavilion is a stunning new addition to the area. The new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction dazzles guests, and the new restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris, offers guests tasty crepes via a sit-down experience or a quick service option.
Another still fairly new food spot, the fast-casual restaurant Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue is packed with classic American backyard barbecue flavors.
And lastly, World Showcase is a great spot to close the day out and watch the new “Harmonious” nighttime spectacular show, complete with “massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and more.”
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