On September 8, 2019, we saw many closures at Epcot to make way for construction for the reimagined Epcot that will be ready in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary in 2021. After one side of the Epcot Character Spot closed, Mickey moved to a temporary location with Goofy and Minnie. Disney has announced a new and exciting location for Mickey. Catch all the details below.
Here are all the details from Disney cast member Shawn Slater:
The exciting transformation of Epcot has begun, with groundbreaking attractions and other unforgettable experiences debuting in the coming months and years. Among them will be new places to meet and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse himself!
Mickey will soon be making appearances in a new location at the Imagination! pavilion, as part of the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. Just inside the entrance, you’ll discover Mickey greeting his fans and celebrating his on-screen stardom.
Mickey’s imagination has led to a career in the movies for 90 years and counting, featuring roles in dozens of short films such as “Get A Horse” which you can enjoy as part of the festival. Look for Mickey to arrive at the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival in early 2020!
RELATED ARTICLE: The NEW Epcot – Complete Rundown of Coming Changes
by Mike and Jamie Sylvester
The change has begun Disney fans! The foundation of Epcot as we know it is slowly transforming into a new generation of “immersive storytelling.” A massive overhaul of many areas in the park is currently underway and will last through Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary in 2021. Disney has announced several new experiences and enhancements for the reimagined Epcot which we are excited to share here! Here’s what you need to know about the reimagining of Epcot!
Before we share all the exciting things to come, we must first talk about closures and changes you can expect to find currently or in the very soon. As part of any major redevelopment, change is necessary to bring the great things that are to come!
- On September 8, The Fountains of Nations, Colortopia, Innoventions East, Nanooze Break, Club Cool, and Fountain View (Starbucks) closed. Club Cool will reopen in a new capacity at a future merchandise location. Starbucks will also reopen late fall at a different location.
- One side of the Epcot Character Spot closed on September 8. For now, Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie are currently meeting in a new area of Innoventions just beyond where you enter for Joy and Sadness and Baymax. Click here for photos of the new meeting spot for Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. Since character meeting locations can change at any time, when visiting, be sure to check your My Disney Experience App for the current location of the characters you wish to greet. FastPass options for the Epcot Character Spot greetings with Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie are no longer available.
- In early 2020, Mickey will be moving to a new location at the Imagination! pavilion, as part of the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. Just inside the entrance, you’ll discover Mickey greeting his fans and celebrating his on-screen stardom.
- Electric Umbrella is scheduled to close “this winter” with the last hours of operation on Disney’s website showing for November 30, 2019.
- Mouse Gear will move to a temporary location while the current space will be reimagined this winter.
- Art of Disney will be moved temporarily to a new location while that location is being refurbished.
- The Camera Center will close this fall to become the new home for Pin Central.
- IllumiNations last show was September 30, 2019.
Epcot has had two defined sections for many years now including Future World and World Showcase. Disney’s reimagined Epcot will now have four “neighborhoods”! The “World Showcase” will remain as one of the neighborhoods. Future World will become three separate neighborhoods, including “World Celebration,” “World Nature,” and “World Discovery.” These neighborhoods are said to unify the park’s theme and experiences. Here are the neighborhood descriptions according to Disney:
- World Celebration will offer new experiences that connect guests to one another and the world around them.
- World Discovery features stories about science, technology, and intergalactic adventure coming to life.
- World Nature is dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe, and balance of the natural world. It will include The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilions.
- World Showcase will continue to be a celebration of culture, cuisine, architecture, and traditions – infused with new magic.
We’ve collected the new experiences you’ll find in each of these neighborhoods below.
Neighborhood #1: World Celebration
1 – New Entrance Plaza (2021 – Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary)
First impressions are everything, right? Well, Disney has decided to make a shift right from the start with a new entrance plaza to Epcot. The former stone displays of the “Leave a Legacy” program have already been moved to a location outside of the park entrance. This program that previously allowed guests to leave their legacy by including a photo and names or just their name on metal plaques, closed in 2007. The “Leave a Legacy” plaques have been promised to remain on display until 2027. The removal of these stones will allow for a new first impression into the “World Celebration” neighborhood of Epcot. The new entrance will be a refreshing sight as art renderings feature lush greenery, natural shade, and a reimagined fountain. We believe the new entrance will be a much warmer and welcoming “hello” as guests step foot into Epcot.
2 – Spaceship Earth Stays (but with changes) (2021 – Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary)
We are happy to report our beloved Spaceship Earth (the big Epcot ball) will remain as part of Epcot’s transformation! There will however be changes to the Spaceship Earth attraction (inside the ball). The changes to this attraction are said to keep some of the current scenes with new ones making their way in for a focus on storytelling instead of the current communication development. With new narration and music, we are excited to see the changes! According to Disney:
“Guests will follow a magical “story light” that brings the entire experience to life in dynamic ways, giving each scene energy and beauty that ties the entire journey together.”
We’re fine with these changes and are simply thankful this beautiful icon will remain as the park’s focal point.
3 – Dreamers Point (2021 – Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary)
Continuing right along with Spaceship Earth, there will be a new experience as you exit this attraction! Dreamers Point will be an area for, well, dreamers of course! There will be views of the World Showcase, a new statue featuring the greatest dreamer we know – Walt Disney, a wishing tree, and a story fountain. This area truly sounds like a dreamer’s delight!
4 – A Three-Level Pavilion (2021 – Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary)
As mentioned in the closures listed above, several changes are coming to this area of Epcot. Disney has shared the space between Spaceship Earth and the World Showcase will feature a new pavilion for live events to be held for the many Epcot festivals. Disney has announced this “home base for Epcot’s signature festivals” will be a three-level structure with “a plaza level, a middle expo level, and a park that sits in the sky on the top-level.” The elevated views are promised to offer beautiful sights of Epcot’s nighttime spectaculars, including the new HarmonioUS we mention below.
Neighborhood #2: World Discovery
5 – Space 220 (Winter 2019)
Get ready for an out-of-this-world experience! We’re talking space, and now we get to eat there! An expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion, Space 220 is a set to be a table-service restaurant featuring a dining experience from “space” … 220 miles from Earth to be exact. Guests will board a special shuttle (aka elevator) that will make it feel like they are genuinely leaving Earth in anticipation for an atmosphere and cuisine set to match the experience. This high-tech restaurant will feature daytime and nighttime views of Earth outside of the massive “windows” that look upon the stars. An astronaut may even float by! The restaurant is expected to be two levels and offer 376 seats. It will be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, which we can thank for restaurants like Morimoto Asia and Maria & Enzo’s. Opening in “Winter 2019”, we expect reservations to be available very soon for Space 220!
6 – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (2021 – Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary)
We are most excited about this attraction! Ellen’s Energy Adventure moved out in 2017 (sorry Ellen!), and Epcot revealed a massive Guardians of the Galaxy-themed coaster in its place called Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. By massive – we mean four Spaceship Earth attractions could fit inside of this one building! Construction started quickly, and the structure is noticeable the moment you come near the park entrance. This isn’t just any roller coaster, but one of the longest indoor roller coasters in the world. It’s said to be a unique coaster experience too, as it tells a story in which your ride vehicle shifts to follow the storyline. Disney announced guests will:
“Start in the “Galaxarium,” a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar. Guests will be invited to learn more about the treasures Xandar has to share – until the moment when the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, and adventures across the cosmos ensue.”
And get this! This coaster will rotate 360 degrees and be the first reverse launch Disney coaster. Mind-blown! We’ll be the first in line for this one.
7 – PLAY! Pavilion (2021 – Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary)
Have you ever noticed the large golden-dome in Future World, located near Mission: SPACE? It was formerly known as the Wonders of Life Pavilion and home to attractions including Body Wars and Cranium Command between 1989 and 2006. After it closed on January 1, 2007, this pavilion has been used as the Festival Center for Epcot’s seasonal festivals. Disney has decided to breathe new life into the golden-dome by making it a “PLAY! Pavilion”. So, what exactly is a Play Pavilion? Disney calls this PLAY! Pavilion the first of its kind in the form of an innovative and interactive metropolis. “Play” is the keyword we keep seeing, with promises such as “interactive games, activities, and experiences.” We know Edna Mode from The Incredibles will have a presence in the pavilion to help with uninspired style. We also know the four rambunctious DuckTalescharacters, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby are involved in making a splash with a water-balloon fight. We are super curious and excited to see this one unfold!
Neighborhood #3: World Nature
8 – Awesome Planet (January 2020)
It is an “awesome planet,” isn’t it?! A new film called Awesome Planet is coming to the Land Pavilion. The film will showcase the spectacular beauty, diversity, and dynamic story of our earth. Industrial Light & Magic (which provided the cinematic foundation for the Star Wars franchise) is creating “spectacular nature photography, immersive in-theater effects, and space sequences.” Awesome Planet, debuting January 2020, will deliver an environmental message which we are happy to hear.
9 – Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” (2021 – Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary)
Make way, make way! A Moana-inspired attraction is on its’ way into Epcot’s World Nature neighborhood! Much like Moana took her journey to the water, we expect this one to be a popular destination for all Epcot guests. Here’s what we know so far about this attraction from Disney:
This lush exploration trail will invite guests to meet and play with magical, living water. The water will have a life of its own – just like Moana’s friend, the ocean – and guests will learn about the importance of the natural water cycle.
Very little is known about this attraction, leaving us as curious as Moana was when she began her adventure!
Neighborhood #4: World Showcase
10 – “Epcot Forever” followed by “HarmonioUS” (Epcot Forever – October 1, 2019/ HarmonioUS – 2020)
Epcot’s long-standing nighttime spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, ended its long run on September 30, 2019. Without missing a beat, Disney launched a temporary nighttime spectacular called “Epcot Forever” on October 1, 2019. This limited-time show will be a celebration of the past, present, and future of Epcot, built around the magical soundtrack guests have come to know and love at the park. Epcot Forever features fireworks, lighting, lasers, choreographed special effects, kites, accompanied by a stirring collection of songs that paints a colorful picture of Epcot. Disney Parks Live Entertainment collaborated with noted conductor and composer Don Harper, who produced all-new arrangements of classic Epcot tunes to weave into the soundtrack of Epcot Forever. “‘Epcot Forever’ is a celebration of what Epcot has been and what Epcot is going to become,” said Alan Bruun, show director for Disney Parks Live Entertainment. “Music is the star of the show, and we use songs going back to the very beginnings of Epcot to music in the park today – from attractions, spectaculars, and other shows – and put them into a fireworks spectacular on the lagoon every night. Guests are going to hear music they know and love but in a whole new way.”
Epcot Forever will continue into 2020 when it then makes way for the debut of the next epic Epcot nighttime spectacular called “HarmonioUS,” as part of the park’s multi-year transformation. Disney has shared that HarmonioUS will be the “LARGEST nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park!” As if that doesn’t get us excited enough, HarmonioUS is said to use familiar Disney tunes that have been reinterpreted by artists from around the globe. Much like Rivers of Light in Animal Kingdom, we can expect massive floating pieces and choreographed moving fountains. On top of that, Disney has shared HarmonioUS will have custom-build LED panel, pyrotechnics, lasers, and more!
11 – Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue (“Later this Year” – Unknown, 2019)
Are you a fan of barbecue? Well, then you should be making plans to visit the American Adventure Pavilion around Epcot’s World Showcase. A quick-service restaurant called Regal Eagle Smokehouse will be opening in the former Liberty Inn location which closed on July 8, 2019. This modern barbecue smokehouse will feature American barbecue and brews. The restaurant is said to have a large smoker for food prep which we are sure will make the yummy smell pour out into the pavilion. No menu or opening date has been released thus far. All we know is we can expect to enjoy some barbecue from this joint “later this year.”
12 – France Pavilion – Three New Experiences! (Beauty & the Beast Sing-Along – Jan. 2020 / Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – May 2020 / La Crêperie de Paris – Summer 2020)
Oui, oui! We are excited to share three new experiences on their way into the France Pavilion around Epcot’s World Showcase, including Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and La Crêperie de Paris.
- First up, Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along! Don’t worry Impressions de France fans; this film is staying put. The Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along will be in addition to Impressions de France. Both films will be in the same theater but offered at different times. The most exciting part is it’s being created by the producer of both the live-action and animated Beauty and the Beast, Don Hahn. Debuting January 2020, we for one, can’t wait to sing along to this “tale as old as time.”
- Next, we’re thrilled to invite one of our favorite Disney mice (behind Mickey and Minnie of course!), Remy, for a new attraction called Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure & New Restaurant. This attraction, set to open in May 2020, is said to be very similar to the 4D Ratatouille: The Adventure which opened in Disneyland Paris in 2014. It has been a family-favorite in Disneyland Paris, so the expectation is high here at Walt Disney World! Shrink down to the size of a rat and get ready to scurry from one place to the next (in a seemingly trackless vehicle system) with large props surrounding you and high-tech visual designs that help to submerge guests into the storyline.
- Finally, a new restaurant called La Crêperie de Paris is coming to France in the summer of 2020! It is being built in an all-new location near the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction. La Crêperie will feature the cuisine of celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse, the mastermind behind the pavilion’s Chefs de France brasserie and its celebration of gourmet cuisine, Monsieur Paul. With a menu inspired by the Brittany region of France, the new location will offer table service dining as well as a quick-service stop for guests craving savory crepes called galettes and sweet crepes.
13 – Updated Films Coming to China and Canada (January 2020)
Keeping up with technology, Disney has announced they are working on updated films for both the China Pavilion and the Canada Pavilion. Currently, both attractions (“Reflections of China” and “O Canada”) feature roughly 14-minute films in Circle-Vision 360. These upgrades are said to include new, seamless 360-degree Circle-Vision along with new scenery images.
- “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” will replace the current “O Canada” in the Canada Pavilion.
- “Wondrous China” will replace the current “Reflections of China” in the China Pavilion.
14 – Cherry Tree Lane & Mary Poppins Attraction (2021 – Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary)
What a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious idea! Disney has announced the United Kingdom pavilion will welcome a new “neighbor” within the pavilion featuring Cherry Tree Lane – the icon street where Mary Poppins visits the Banks family. Enter the Banks home at Number 17 and be prepared to experience the first Mary Poppins-inspired attraction. Want to know more about this attraction? We do too! Unfortunately, very few details have been released on this experience. A few rumors are swirling, but yes, they are just rumors at this point.
Whew – that’s a LOT to take in! It’s no joke that this is set to be the “biggest transformation of any Disney park in history.” Want more details and a sneak peek into some of these developments? Be sure to visit the Epcot Experience in the Odyssey Event Pavilion for a fantastic interactive way to learn about what’s coming.We’ll keep you posted as Disney continues to release more news of what’s to come for the reimagined Epcot!
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.