EPCOT Overhaul: Expectations vs Reality

July 19, 2020, 11:59 AM

With the news of Spaceship Earth and Cherry Tree Lane being suspended until further notice, which announced Epcot projects do you actually think will be reality? Obviously Guardians, Ratatouille and Space 220 are nearing completion so those are happening, but what about projects like Play Pavilion, Moana, Festival Center which haven’t had date announcements yet? Do you think any of those projects will get scrapped?

Replies (10)

July 19, 2020, 12:18 PM

They're all gone.

Ratatouille will open probably early next year. Guardians will be 2022 or 2023. No idea on Space. But the rest are off the table for now.

July 20, 2020, 12:18 AM

The only one apart from the big projects (guardians, etc) is maybe (big emphasis on the maybe) Moana. I remember that they started excavating the ground to get ready for construction before quarantine.

Edited: July 20, 2020, 7:44 AM

Space 220 had just started taking reservations prior to closure of the parks, so it's conceivable that it could open whenever Patina Group is ready. However, the biggest issue with the restaurant is that most important illusion to the experience is a ride in the space elevator, which is highly problematic given current environmental conditions. I doubt Disney would want to debut an experience with such an important part of the illusion missing - skipping the stretch room on HM is a big loss, but 90% of guests have experienced it before so it's not as big in the grand scheme of things, but missing an element of an experience that very few, if any, guests have ever seen would be a huge loss. I think once they figure out how to execute the elevator and Patina is comfortable with staffing the restaurant (another restaurant group that operates all of the locations in the Mexico pavilion significantly cut staff just before EPCOT reopened), Space 220 should finally debut.

July 20, 2020, 5:12 PM

My gut tells me some things will come back on the table in the future, but Disney is just pressing the pause button during all the uncertainty.

July 21, 2020, 12:30 PM

RM: "However, the biggest issue with the restaurant is that most important illusion to the experience is a ride in the space elevator ..."

Me: Ride one party at a time. Clean it between rides. The restaurant (which will already be operating at a lower capacity to accommodate social distancing) does not require the throughput of an attraction.

Edited: July 21, 2020, 12:54 PM

@TH - One party at a time is certainly a possibility, but what if the elevator experience is supposed to take 2-3 minutes or longer (like the experience on One World Trade in NYC or like the former Mars 2112 restaurant)? The flow of guests in (and out) of the restaurant would make it completely prohibitive to operate with just a trickle of guests. Even if the restaurant capacity is slashed to a quarter of maximum, it would still take over an hour to seat the dining room if it takes @5 minutes to seat each table with a 2-3 minutes ride and a minute or 2 to clean and reset the experience for the next party (most dining rooms can be filled in @15-20 minutes even given current conditions). The restaurant's estimated capacity is 350 guests, so a quarter of that would be @90, which would be over 20 4-tops. So, either the elevator ride experience would need to be truncated or eliminated in order to not lose more money, which would be unfortunate for a restaurant that is trying to sell the illusion of dining 220 miles above the Earth.

July 21, 2020, 1:02 PM

Uh-huh ... And what if the elevator experience takes less than 2-3 minutes?

Problem solved.


July 27, 2020, 2:35 PM

My worry about space 220, it's marginally easier for the established dinning options to operate. Opening space 220 now... my concern is: Will even 50% table capacity generate enough revenue to keep it operating? Now is not the time to open new dinning options with existing restaurants are failing left and right...

July 28, 2020, 9:07 AM

"And what if the elevator experience takes less than 2-3 minutes?"

I said that was certainly possible, but truncating or eliminating the experience that sets the scene for the restaurant kind of defeats the point of theming a restaurant orbiting 220 miles above the Earth. Killing a pre-show on an attractions that many people have experienced thousands of times is feasible, but doing so on an experience that nobody in the GP has ever seen would be unthinkable. It's like a song without its hook, and would be akin to skipping the shuttle flight portion of RotR, and just walking through the ship and straight onto the Star Destroyer.

I just don't see Disney doing that, and Patina is probably not crazy about opening a brand new restaurant that took tons of time and money to get to this point to operate at 25%-50% capacity and further hindered by the intricate theme not being properly set.

July 30, 2020, 5:43 PM

I love reading you guys!!! Always. 10 seconds in I'm always saying damn, why didn't I think of that?

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