We've gotten our first look at the reimagined entrance to Walt Disney World's Epcot, as well as news of a new pavilion coming to the park's Future World.
Disney this morning released fresh concept art for the Epcot entry plaza, in which the much-maligned "Leave a Legacy" photo sculptures will be removed.
The concept art emphasizes greenery over the cold, rock-like slabs that now dominate the entrance to the park. It looks like Epcot is getting an infusion of Disneyland's pink-blossomed Tabebuia trees, as well as a new fountain design that calls back to the park's original entry fountain. There's a mass of trees behind Spaceship Earth, as well, but Disney tends to use Bob Ross-like tree "smudges" to obscure stuff around the periphery of its concept art, so I wouldn't take it as a given that the area behind Spaceship Earth will become some sort of forest. Disney says that "more details about the transformation of this area will be announced at a later date."
The Leave a Legacy pictures will "move into a beautiful setting just outside the park’s gateway," Disney said, providing no additional detail on where that will be.
In addition, Disney announced that the park's former Wonders of Life pavilion will become a new, as-yet-unnamed pavilion "devoted to playful fun."
The concept art looks straight out of Ralph Breaks the Internet, in a pop-futuristic style that both evokes and explicitly includes Disney branding. (Check out the building just to left of center, with the Aristocats Marie icon and the unmistakable "D" shape.)
"This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot," Walt Disney Imagineering portfolio executive Zach Riddley said in a release from Disney. "Built on the power of play, it introduces an immersive and interactive 'city' where you can explore, create and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters. This is an experience worthy of our bold vision for Epcot – and another signature element of our transformation."
The new pavilion will open in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary, which comes on October 1, 2021.
If you want an in-person look at the plans for Epcot's upcoming changes, Disney is opening a Blue Sky Cellar-like Experience Center in the Odyssey building later this year. In addition to the new entry and the play pavilion, Disney is building a Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster in the former Universe of Energy pavilion, adding the Remy's Ratatouille Adventure trackless dark ride in the France pavilion, replacing IllumiNations with Epcot Forever and then an all-night nighttime show in 2020, adding table service restaurants in Japan and next to Mission: Space, updating the films in the China and Canada pavilions, and adding a Beauty and the Beast sing-along to run in rotation with the Impressions de France movie.
Specific opening dates are yet to come for all, but Epcot's 40th anniversary in 2022 appears to be the target to wrap these projects, with several — including the Guardians coaster — opening in time for the WDW 50th.Tweet
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