After 37 years of operation, Epcot is undergoing a historic multi-year transformation currently referred to as “Project Gamma”. The goal is to refocus the park as a relevant, timeless, family friendly place that “builds on the core mission of optimism and hope to inspire the world”.
Redesigned Park Entrance
The makeover starts right from the beginning, with a brand new redesigned park entrance that pays homage to the park’s original entrance. Some new elements include green spaces, a reimagined fountain, and new pathways. The large “Leave a Legacy” monument photos will be moved into a new area just outside of the the park’s gates. Additionally, the area between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase Promenade will also undergo a redesign as part of the park’s major transformation.
New Experience Center
Because there are so many major developments happening at Epcot over the next # years, a new experience center is being set up in the Odyssey Events Pavilion that will feature interesting interactive exhibits that showcase the park’s future attractions and more. The idea for a preview area actually came about when Epcot was being built in the 1980s, when guests could hop on the monorail at Magic Kingdom for a sneak peek at the construction progress on the park.
New Play Pavilion
Another exciting change is the all-new play pavilion that is taking over the former Wonders of Life building. The first of its kind attraction is all about playing and having fun, with awesome games and hands-on activities for guests of all ages to enjoy. Themed like an “energetic metropolis”, the innovative city play area will allow you to interact with beloved Disney characters like never before at Epcot.
Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster
Perhaps the most anticipated addition to Epcot in the coming years is the Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster, which is scheduled to open in Future World just in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.
The ride building, which is taking over the Universe of Energy Pavilion, is a massive structure that could fit FOUR Spaceship Earth attractions inside. The attraction will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world and will feature a brand new ride system
Based on a unique storyline in development by Walt Disney Imagingeers, the “story telling coaster” will make riders a part of the storyline like never before. Each ride car will be programmed individually to focus your eye on the events happening around you.
Epcot Forever Evening Spectacular
Following the retirement of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth later this year, a temporary replacement nighttime spectacular called Epcot Forever will debut sometime this fall. The limited time evening experience will be a display of lights, lasers and other special effects set to a classic Epcot soundtrack that all leads up to an incredible fireworks finale.
In 2020 an all-new official spectacular will debut featuring giant floating set pieces, custom built LED panels, lights, lasers, choreographed fountains, and pyrotechnics working together to “celebrate how Disney music inspires people around the world”
New Space-Themed Restaurant
A one-of-a-kind space themed restaurant created by the Patina Restaurant Group will open between Mission: SPACE and Test Track in Future World. The Patina Restaurant Group is the creative group responsible for Epcot’s Via Napoli and Tutto Italia as well as Morimoto Asia and Maria & Enzo’s at Disney Springs.
The dining experience starts with an elevator ride up to a space station. In the departure lobby, guests check in for their reservations and board one of two transportation chambers to travel to space. The illusion of travel is made by projections outside of the chambers. Once “in space”, guests are led down a hallway through a space cellar filled with the restaurant’s wine inventory into the main dining area.
The restaurant set -up will be similar to the Coral Reef Restaurant with a two-tiered dining room, but instead of a giant aquarium display guests will look out at a large space projection while dining.
The location can sit around 400 guests and there is a small 12-seat bar toward the back of the restaurant’s upper level.
Signature Dining Experience in Japan
The space restaurant isn’t the only new dining experience coming to Epcot soon. A new signature steak and seafood table service restaurant is coming to Japan, taking over some of the first floor of the pavilion’s shopping and dining complex. The restaurant’s entrance will be located to the right of the Mitsukoshi store along an expanded pathway, and the restaurant building will take over some of the Mitsukoshi Store, merchandise storage, and other backstage facilities. The interior of the restaurant will have a few different themed rooms starting with the Material Room, which is where the check-in and lobby area is located. Other rooms include the Wa Room, Water Room, Washi Room, Wood Room, Stone Room and Earth Room.
Other Changes in the World Showcase
Currently set for a Spring 2020 opening, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is coming to Epcot’s World Showcase between the France and Morocco pavilions. Inspired by the most popular family ride at Disneyland Paris, the wild ride takes guests (shrunk down to the size of a mouse) racing for safety around the kitchen of Gusteau’s Parisian restaurant.
Also coming to the France pavilion is a brand new Beauty and the Beast Sing-A-Long show. The musical attraction will show in addition to the pavilion’s current film “Impressions de France”.
A Mushu narrated Circle Vision 360 film is coming to the China pavilion and the O Canada! film in the Canada pavilion will be updated as well.
Reimagining the Center of Future World
Although details of the remodel in Future World are not totally public knowledge yet, one big change will be the closure of Innoventions West. The West building is currently home to Epcot Character Spot, Fountain View Starbucks, and Club Cool. The character meet and greets from the Character Spot will likely to join Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz at ImageWorks. There is no word yet on what will replace Innoventions West.