EPCOT’s center is being reimagined… again. Disney World has released new details about the overhaul of the area behind Spaceship Earth, and there are several dramatic changes from the last time we saw concept art.

As rumored, Disney has dramatically changed the scope of the World Celebration transformation. The Festival Pavilion has been scrapped, and in its place will be the return of Communicore.

Read on to find out what has been replaced at EPCOT, what has changed since the initial announcement, and what has survived the budget cuts.

Update 3-15-2023: Disney World shared several new updates about everything new coming to EPCOT in 2023 as part of this reimagining. We’ve updated this article with new information about the Figment Meet and Greet, Communicore Hall, and the new EPCOT fireworks show.

Fountain of Nations – EPCOT’s Former Central Plaza

EPCOT Fountain of Nations

First, a quick look at what is being replaced at EPCOT, which was the central hub of Future World. The central plaza behind Spaceship Earth has been completely demolished as the park undergoes this renovation. In the center of the plaza was the Fountain of Nations. This was surrounded by Innoventions, the Electric Umbrella restaurant, Club Cool, the Fountainview Cafe (former location of Starbucks), Mouse Gears store, and a character Meet & Greet location.

EPCOT’s Cancelled Festival Pavilion

World Celebration - EPCOT Overhaul Concept Art

At D23 2019, Disney announced a complete overhaul of EPCOT. Future World has been renamed and divided into three neighborhoods: World Celebration, World Discovery, and World Nature. World Celebration, the center of previous Future World, was slated to get a complete makeover, as seen in the concept art above. Besides the lush walkways, the biggest change is the massive Festival Pavilion, located at the former site of the Fountainview Cafe / Club Cool. This three story building would be host to demonstrations and special events tied to EPCOT’s rotating Festivals. The pavilion’s rooftop garden would provide one of the best places in the park to watch Harmonious.

Festival Pavilion - EPCOT Overhaul Concept Art

Additionally, Spaceship Earth would receive new scenes, effects, and narration.

May 2022 – A New World Celebration Emerges

World Celebration Updated Concept Art

Disney World has finally announced updated details about the future Future World. The most striking change is that the Festival Pavilion is completely gone. In its place is a name longtime fans of EPCOT remember fondly: CommuniCore.

World Celebation Updated Concept Art CommuniCore.jpg

There are also some subtle changes to the walkways and the layout of the area behind Spaceship Earth. One nice addition is a massive EPCOT logo in the center of the plaza.

On Twitter, Scott Gustin shared a map detailing the new layout of World Celebration.

World Celebration Map
via Scott Gustin

Communicore Hall and Plaza at World Celebration

EPCOT Gardens - EPCOT Overhaul Concept Art

EPCOT Gardens Concept Art

EPCOT Gardens – The new central plaza is called EPCOT Gardens. According to Brooke Geiger McDonald, this area “will evolve throughout the seasons, will also include immersive lighting packages at night.” In the concept art above, you can see how the gardens will look different during the Food & Wine Festival and the Festival of the Holidays respectively.

CommuniCore Hall - EPCOT Overhaul


CommuniCore Hall – The replacement for the Festival Pavilion. CommuniCore was an opening-day EPCOT pavilion that focused on technology. This pavilion was eventually replaced by Innoventions, which had a very similar goal. CommuniCore Hall has a very different focus: EPCOT’s Festivals. Yes, CommuniCore Hall is the reworking of the massive Festival Pavilion. Also according to Brooke Geiger McDonald, CommuniCore Hall will be a “purpose-built exhibition hall and gallery space,” and  “will include a demonstration kitchen (and) mixology bar.”

Communicore Hall - EPCOT Concept Art

Update March 15, 2023: Disney World shared a new sneak peek at Communicore Hall, giving an idea of what the exhibition hall could look like. Here’s a display themed to the EPCOT Festival of the Arts.

Mickey and Friends - New Meet and Greet Location at EPCOT

 Mickey & Friends – Inside CommuniCore Hall is a dedicated Meet & Greet space, where guests can meet Mickey Mouse and his best pals. Disney World shared new concept art of this location as part of their announcement of new character meet and greets coming to Disney World in 2023.

EPCOT Festival Stage - CommuniCore Plaza

CommuniCore Plaza – CommuniCore will also feature an outdoor space called CommuniCore Plaza, which will include a Festival Stage for live performances. The concept art also depicts copious outdoor seating and possibly a spot for a festival food booth.

EPCOT Overhaul Projects Still On Track

Journey of Water Inspired by Moana - EPCOT Transformation

Journey of Water Inspired by Moana- This outdoor walking trail in World Nature will feature dancing fountains and waterfalls. This attraction will be open in late 2023.

Dreamer’s Point – Located immediately behind Spaceship Earth, this spot will feature a brand new statue of Walt Disney.

Creations Shop – New retail location in World Celebration, now open.

Club Cool – You can still taste free samples of international sodas, now open in World Celebration.

Connections Cafe and Eatery - EPCOT Dining

Connections Cafe & Eatery – New quick service restaurant and Starbucks location, now open.

New additions to EPCOT’s 2023 Reimagining

EPCOT - New Fireworks Show 2023

New EPCOT Fireworks Show: As announced at D23, Harmonious is going away in April 2023. While EPCOT Forever will return, it ironically won’t be forever. Disney World shared the first concept art of the new nighttime spectacular that will light up the sky nightly over World Showcase Lagoon.

From Disney:

A new nighttime spectacular will debut at EPCOT later this year, inviting everyone to gather around World Showcase Lagoon for a show that will unite us through commonalities of the heart in a dazzling display of fireworks, lasers, music and light. Featuring an original composition along with select songs from the Disney songbook, this new spectacular will remind us that we’re more alike than different, connecting our hearts together as one.

Disney100 Celebration: The Walt Disney Company is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. While the Disney100 celebration is currently in full swing at Disneyland, Disney World is still celebrating its 50th anniversary. That celebration ends in March 2023, so EPCOT will become the new epicenter for the Disney100 celebration. Expect to see a special Spaceship Earth nighttime show, Mickey and Minnie in platinum attire, a platinum sculpture of Mickey Mouse, plus other special activities.

Meet Figment: Guests will be able to meet with Figment at the Imagination Pavilion starting in summer 2023.

EPCOT Overhaul Projects that are Cancelled or in Question

As detailed above, the Festival Pavilion has been scrapped, and CommuniCore Hall and Plaza will replace the massive building.

A Mary Poppins Attraction was announced for the UK Pavilion in World Showcase. No details have been formally announced, but it is presumed to be cancelled.

We still don’t know the status of the Spaceship Earth reimagining, but we also presume it to be cancelled.

We want to hear from you!

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