Without question, the biggest new announcements at this weekend’s D23 for Walt Disney World had to do with Epcot. It only makes sense: Disney has just completed large expansions at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom with New Fantasyland and Pandora: The World of Avatar, and Hollywood Studios is receiving plenty of attention with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land opening over the next two years. That left Epcot, Disney’s celebration of the world of today and the world of tomorrow, as the sole park without announced plans for major future additions. When Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek took the stage on Saturday, that changed in a big way.
According to Chapek, Disney’s goal is to make Epcot “more timeless, more relevant, more family, and more Disney.” While they didn’t reveal all of Imagineering’s plans for Epcot, Disney shared some significant additions coming to the park by Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
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Guardians of the Galaxy E-Ticket Attraction Coming to Future World
After their break-out hit attraction at California Adventure, the Guardians of the Galaxy are making their way to Walt Disney World. The rumors were true: an E-Ticket attraction based on Guardians of the Galaxy will be replacing Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald promises that the Guardians “will take guests on an out of this world adventure,” while still having the attraction be “rooted in an Epcot story.” Part of this story: Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) visited Epcot when he was a kid.
Personally, I’ve wondered if Disney could pull off a Guardians of the Galaxy ride and have it fit in Future World. The concept art and these little details have me more sold on the concept. Imagineering could use the characters and some meta-humor to create an immensely entertaining ride, while still sticking true to Epcot’s feeling of discovery and wonder.
Ratatouille Ride Coming to New Area in France
Disneyland Paris’ most popular attraction is scurrying its way across the Atlantic. Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy (Remy’s Totally Zany Adventure) shrinks you down to the size of a rat and takes you on an adventure through Gasteau’s kitchen, combining 3D projections, huge props, and a trackless ride system to make for an attraction for the entire family.
The attraction will be built in a new area behind the Eiffel Tower.
The Future of Future World
The front of Epcot is receiving an overhaul. Disney didn’t share too many specific details beyond this concept art, which includes more water features, more green spaces, and less cement. There are also some very intriguing details, including a hedge maze near the Land, the removal of the Innoventions buildings, and entirely new buildings for Fountainview and Mouse Gears.
A more lush, more futuristic Future World? Count me in.
Dine in space at a new table service restaurant
Epcot is known for its unique dining experiences, but most of those are based on the international cuisine of the World Showcase. Future World is now getting a new table service restaurant that promises to be out of this world, literally. Guests can dine in space at this new restaurant that will be located near Mission: SPACE. No word on what the cuisine will be like, but this looks like it could be one of Disney World’s most unique themed-dining experiences.
Mission: SPACE receiving two new films
Disney is overhauling the ride film for Mission: SPACE. The Orange Mission (aka the intense thrill ride version) will be the same mission to Mars, but with enhanced visuals via ILM (the visual effects company that does most major motion pictures, including Star Wars). The Green Mission (aka the gentle version) will receive an all new film that will take guests orbiting around the world. It sounds like Disney is trying to make the Green Mission a bit more relaxed and more approachable to all ages.
The new films will be in Mission: SPACE when it reopens next month.
Reflections of China getting a new film featuring seamless digital 360-degree film
Disney also announced that they have developed a special new camera system to make an entirely digital, seamless Circle Vision film for the China Pavilion.
Disney Skyliner to provide transportation between Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and resorts.
Transportation at Walt Disney World is about to become a bit easier, and a bit more fun. In a semi-comeback for the Magic Kingdom Skybuckets, the Disney Skyliner will provide gondola transportation between Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and the upcoming Riviera Resort. The Skyliner will dropoff and pickup from the International Gateway at the back of Epcot.
Are you excited for all the new things coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Let me know in the comments below!