What is coming to Walt Disney World Resort in 2020 and Beyond? SO MUCH. Let’s take a look.
If you love all things Disney, then you have probably heard of D23 The Official Disney Fan Club. At D23 Expo, Disney Parks news from the source. At this years D23 Expo, Disney Parks announced a historic transformation of Epcot that caused me to scream at my phone in the van, scaring my kids. It’s THAT big, friends.
Things to Come at Epcot
This historic transformation of Epcot is major. It felt like they were gutting my childhood as these projects were unveiled.
Now that I’ve had time to regroup and process the changes, I know that the changes are needed for Epcot to be enjoyed for generations to come. The changes will make Epcot a more cohesive experience for guests to enjoy.
Epcot will receive a significant but subtle logo change. The spelling will remain the same, but it will harken back to the origins of the park and Walt Disney’s intended project. Under the new logo, Epcot will be 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.
World Showcase will continue to be a celebration of culture, cuisine, architecture, and traditions – infused with new magic.
The center of Epcot will be World Celebration, the new home of a multilevel festival building with rooftop viewing of HarmonioUS, the new Epcot nighttime spectacular. Future World East becomes World Discovery, and World Showcase remains the same, except for some fascinating additions.
In summer 2020, the France pavilion will offer even more for guests to discover, including the much-anticipated attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, where guests will shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure. Summer 2020 will also see the debut of a delicious new restaurant in the France pavilion, La Crêperie de Paris, offering both table-service and quick-service options featuring a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.
Also in the France pavilion, the classic Impressions de France film will be joined by the new “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along,” debuting in January 2020 and directed by Don Hahn, producer of both the animated and live-action versions of this tale as old as time.
If you walk by the Canada pavilion during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, you will notice that Canada Pavilion is under construction. In January 2020, “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” will debut in the Canada pavilion with new scenes and a new story.
Around the “world” in the China pavilion, “Wondrous China” will take guests on a spectacular journey across the country, filmed and presented in a completely seamless 360-degree digital format.
One of our favorite things to do at Epcot is to watch the shows to learn about the countries represented. My children are SO excited about these new stories!
The United Kingdom pavilion will welcome the first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. Guests will step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family, where their adventure will begin. Details of the attraction have not been revealed.
I’ll admit that all these changes hit me hard. I love the concepts. The changes will make Epcot both more cohesive and enjoyable for all ages. But man. That part of the panel was hard to take.
In 2020, following the limited-time run of “Epcot Forever,” the new “HarmonioUS” will debut as the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park. It will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over, carrying them away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists from around the globe. “HarmonioUS” will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and more.
World Celebration will offer new experiences that connect guests to one another and the world around them. It at least sounds intriguing.
Epcot’s entrance plaza, which is under transformation as I type, will be transformed with new experiences that connect guests with the world around them. A reimagined fountain will welcome guests with new pathways and sweeping green spaces that beautify the entryway. The design will pay homage to the origins of Epcot.
This one hurts me a bit. They are changing Spaceship Earth. The iconic Spaceship Earth, or golf ball depending on who you ask, will remain a journey through time as the trek transforms to reflect the power of storytelling to unite the human experience. New narration (who will it be?!) and an entirely new musical score will focus on the moments and ideas that define the story of humanity. 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. No one does storytelling better than Disney, so I know it will come together and be amazing. But it still hurts.
As guests exit Spaceship Earth, they will discover a breathtaking new view of World Showcase from Dreamers Point. World Celebration will also feature a new statue celebrating the legacy of the original dreamer, Walt Disney, plus beautiful natural environments and global design elements filled with Disney magic and surprises, including a wishing tree in an enchanted forest and a story fountain celebrating the power and music of iconic Disney storytelling. This sounds magical and I am here for it.
A new pavilion will be the perfect place for live events, and the home base for Epcot’s signature festivals. It will provide a stunning elevated view of the entire park and an ideal spot to witness Epcot’s nighttime spectacular. This beautiful three-level structure will have one of the most remarkable architectural designs at any Disney park, featuring a plaza level, a middle expo level, and a park that sits in the sky on the top level.
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.
The Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” will be the first experience inspired by the movie. 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. I wonder if the water will jump like the jumping fountains at Imagination pavilion. I loved the jumping water as a child. It’s fun to watch my kids enjoy the same thing.
The Land pavilion’s new film, “Awesome Planet,” which showcases the beauty, diversity and dynamic story of the planet, will begin welcoming guests in January 2020. I’m excited about this one. The Circle of Life was okay, but I preferred Kitchen Kabaret. Although watching a few videos on YouTube made it look kind of creepy.
In World Discovery, stories about science, technology, and intergalactic adventure come to life.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at Epcot. The 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 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. The attraction will feature a new innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering – a storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus guests on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster. Did you read that?? REVERSE LAUNCH. I am SO excited!!
An expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion (do you guys ever go over there?), the new restaurant Space 220 will be a culinary experience featuring the celestial panorama of a space station, including daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up. Guests will board a special elevator for a journey to a space station that is home to an incredible dining experience. Along the way, viewports will give guests a real-time perspective as they travel high above the planet. Once they arrive, guests will enjoy fantastic meals and drinks while taking in views that are truly out of this world. Opening this winter, Space 220 will be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group.
My children are SUPER excited about the PLAY! pavilion that will open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. In this digital metropolis, guests will discover an interactive city bursting with games, activities, and experiences that connect them with friends, family and beloved Disney characters – both real and virtual – like never before. As part of this new pavilion, guests will have the chance to help legendary fashion icon Edna Mode on her quest to rid the world of uninspired style or make a splash competing in a water-balloon fight hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby. Hello, Incredibles and DuckTales!!
What do you think so far? It’s a lot. So much change over the course of the next year or so. But it’s time.
So long, Club Cool, MouseGears as we know it, and the current Spaceship Earth.
What Else is Coming to Walt Disney World?
Disney Vacation Club
While we know that Riveria is opening in December, plans are already in place for a new DVC property.
The Disney Parks Panel announced the new proposed DVC resort Reflections to an excited crowd at D23. The most significant response was for a unique lakeside dining experience inspired by The Princess and the Frog. That concept art shows a table service restaurant that is overlooking tranquil waters covered with lily pads and fireflies. The lakeside lodge will emit inspiration from Disney Nature and have many details and elements tied to its artwork. Lodging at Reflections will feature A-frame cabins and Treehouses nestled in the woods surrounding Fort Wilderness.
Doesn’t it sound magical?
Cirque Du Soleil
Disney Springs Westside is catching up with its new attractions. First, the NBA Experience and now a new Cirque Du Soleil show!
The collaboration between Cirque and Disney has been incredible. Disney has given the Cirque team access to every bit of inspiration the company could offer, from its studio archives to the Walt Disney Family Museum. The new show will feature memorable themes from Disney classics and is sure to capture the imaginations of Disney guests in a whole new way.
Star Wars Cruiseliner
Disney released more details about the Star Wars hotel at D23. :: cue all the excitement::
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will invite guests aboard the Halcyon, a starcruiser known throughout the galaxy for its impeccable service and exotic destinations. Onboard, they will stay in well-appointed cabins, experience onboard dining, make a planet-side excursion to Black Spire Outpost on Batuu, and much more.
Whew. There is a lot coming to Walt Disney World in 2020 and beyond!
What changes are you most excited about? Are you planning a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort this year?