Say goodbye to the classic EPCOT parking lot names such as Discover, Explore, and Amaze. As part of the transformation of EPCOT, the parking lot has received a makeover with new character-themed parking lots. Learn more below.
Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Chelsea Eagle:
You may think the ideal Disney Day with beloved stories and favorite characters begins the moment you set foot into one of our theme parks, but have you ever thought that the journey actually starts even earlier?
The transformation taking place at EPCOT right now is expanding beyond the theme park – from the moment you arrive, you will be greeted with a redesigned auto plaza marquee coming later this month. And starting today, new character-themed parking lots will introduce you to some of the heroes and sidekicks who represent the concepts that live in EPCOT.
The entire lot has now been divided into two themes: the “Earth” side and the “Space” side. Within these two sides, we have chosen to feature a variety of familiar characters: Crush, Dory, HeiHei, Moana, Rocket, Gamora, WALL-E, and Eve!
These changes are part of our ongoing transformation of EPCOT and reflect the identity of the park and its four neighborhoods, celebrating the magic of possibility and stories inspired by our real world made fantastic.
EPCOT has long celebrated art, murals, and mosaics, and these character graphics greet guests of all ages to the park in creative and memorable ways. Savvy EPCOT fans may recognize the unique and beautiful designs—the art style used in these character graphics is the same as the EPCOT posters illustrating past, present, and future attractions.
In addition to the fun enhancements being made to the parking lot and signs, guests also have the new Car Locator feature in the My Disney Experience app to make it easier than ever to keep track of where they parked.
From intimate design details to new attractions and spaces for guests to enjoy, 2023 is shaping up to be a year to remember at EPCOT!
RELATED ARTICLE: EPCOT: What’s New & Coming – The Historic Transformation Continues at Disney World
By Chad and Cindy Nykamp
Walt Disney once said EPCOT “would always be in a state of becoming” as a place that changes with the times. The Walt Disney World Resort theme park is delivering on that promise in a whole new way as it continues the biggest transformation in its history, bringing the next generation of immersive storytelling to life. Since 2019, Disney has been hard at work working on bringing this new EPCOT to life with many projects now completed and many more yet to come. Learn more about what’s new and what’s still to come below.
1 – Goodbye Future World
As of October 1, 2021, Future World is no longer a part of EPCOT. Instead, the park is unified with four neighborhoods that each speak to important aspects of the world and its people: World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature, and World Discovery. These neighborhoods are filled with new experiences rooted in authenticity and innovation that take guests to new destinations, where the real is made fantastic in a celebration of curiosity, discovery and the magic of possibility.
2 – World Celebration
World Celebration offers new experiences that connect guests to one another and the world around them.
Redesigned Entrance Plaza
The EPCOT entrance plaza welcomes guests with open pathways and sweeping green spaces that beautify the entryway. Bridging the past, present, and future of EPCOT is a new fountain at the base of Spaceship Earth with three majestic pylons. The entrance plaza also features new lighting and music, as well as flags flanking the fountain featuring six original EPCOT icons.
As part of the 50th-anniversary celebration, Spaceship Earth now transforms at night into a Beacon of Magic with new lights shining across the geodesic sphere’s reflective panels. These lights connect to one another in a symbol of optimism resembling stars in a nighttime sky.
Connections Cafe & Eatery
The new Connections Café and Eatery is home to a quick-service dining location as well as Starbucks coffee. With show kitchens and a variety of seating options, this new dining option encourages guests to connect with one another over food and drinks. Adding to the park’s rich legacy of original art displays, Connections Eatery features a hand-painted mural stretching more than 160 feet along the back wall, celebrating how food is cultivated around the world.
Creations Shop invites guests to explore and celebrate Disney creativity, inspired by Mickey Mouse. The merchandise location features a bold, sleek design for an open, bright, welcoming environment with large glass walls allowing sunlight to pour in. Artistic homages to Mickey are throughout the shop, including large, dynamic murals that tap into the park’s original artistic spirit.
Adjacent to Creations Shop is a revitalized Club Cool Hosted by Coca-Cola. Celebrating Coca-Cola in a fresh new way, Club Cool invites guests to explore tasty drinks from around the world, bringing the global experience of Coca-Cola to life through new magic and classic flavor.
As guests pass Spaceship Earth, in the future they will discover a breathtaking new view of World Showcase from Dreamers Point. World Celebration will also feature a new statue honoring the legacy of the original dreamer, Walt Disney, plus beautiful natural environments and global design elements filled with Disney magic.
Surrounding this enchanted garden will be new merchandise and dining locations, along with a newly reimagined festival area that will be home to ever-changing events in a unique new environment.
3 – World Discovery
In World Discovery, stories about science, technology, and intergalactic adventure come to life.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Now open, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the first “other- world” showcase pavilion at EPCOT. The family-thrill coaster adventure starts in the Galaxarium, a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar. Guests learn more about the technologies Xandar has to share – until Eson the Celestial arrives and guests must help the Guardians of the Galaxy save the universe on an intergalactic chase through time and space. The attraction is one of the longest fully enclosed coasters in the world, and each vehicle rotates 360 degrees to focus guests on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
In an expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion, the new Space 220 Restaurant is a culinary experience offering the celestial panorama of a space station, including virtual daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles above the planet’s surface. Guests board a space elevator for a simulated journey to the Centauri Space Station, where they experience the “height of dining.” Once they arrive, guests enjoy meals and drinks while taking in views that are truly out of this world. Space 220 is operated by the Patina Restaurant Group.
4 – World Showcase
World Showcase continues to be a celebration of culture, cuisine, architecture, and traditions – infused with new magic.
Expanded France Pavilion
An expanded France pavilion is now open and features the new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction, where guests feel as if they shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant. Joining this family-friendly experience in the France pavilion is a delicious new restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris, offering both table- and quick-service options and a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.
Also in the France pavilion, the classic “Impressions de France” film is joined by “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along,” directed by Don Hahn, producer of both the animated and live-action versions of this tale as old as time.
“Harmonious” is one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney theme park. The new show on World Showcase Lagoon celebrates the way Disney music inspires people the world over, carrying them away on a stream of familiar songs reinterpreted by a culturally diverse group of 240 artists from around the globe. “Harmonious” features massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers, and more.
In September 2022, it was announced that Harmonious will end its run at the end of the 50th-anniversary celebration. Disney has recently stated that it will officially end on April 2, 2023, and EPCOT Forever will return on April 3, 2023. A new nighttime spectacular is set to debut in late 2023 as part of the Disney100 Celebration, which will celebrate 100 years of the Walt Disney Company.
Regal Eagle Smokehouse
Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue is a fast-casual restaurant at The American Adventure pavilion, serving classic American backyard barbecue and home-style craft brews. The restaurant takes its name from Sam Eagle; the beloved Muppet hosts a centennial cook-off – a salute to all cook-offs … but mostly barbecue. Read our Regal Eagle review by clicking here.
5 – World Nature
World Nature is dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe, and balance of the natural world. It includes The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilions, as well as the forthcoming Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.
The Land pavilion film “Awesome Planet” showcases the beauty, diversity, and dynamic story of Earth. The 10-minute show features in-theater effects and an original musical score from Academy Award®-winning composer Steven Price.
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, will be the first Disney Parks experience evoking the hit Walt Disney Animation Studios film. This lush exploration trail will invite guests to meet and play with magical, living water. Just like Moana’s friend the ocean, water will have a personality of its own, helping guests learn how to protect the natural water cycle in a fun and engaging way.
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