New preview center opens today at Epcot

October 1, 2019, 11:43 AM · Construction overwhelms the entrance to Walt Disney World's Epcot these days, as Disney works to transform the park into the vision it outlined at the recent D23 Expo in Anaheim. But fans now can get a first-hand look at the displays and concepts that Disney has introduced in a new preview center that has opened inside the park.

Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience has opened in the old Odyssey restaurant space between Test Track and the Mexico pavilion. Inside, guests will find the stylized Epcot model that WDI featured in its D23 Expo booth, along with a 12-minute 360-degree film that celebrates the "past, present and future" of Epcot.

Epcot model

The presentation includes information about the Play pavilion that is replacing the old Wonders of Life, the HarmoniUS show that will replace the Epcot Forever lagoon show that debuts tonight, as well as the new vision for Spaceship Earth and new attractions based on Ratatouille, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Mary Poppins.

The new Epcot preview center display also includes photo ops, Epcot-themed merchandise and historical exhibits, including commemorative ticket from the park's opening on October 1, 1982.

Replies (8)

October 1, 2019 at 11:54 AM

Guests can only hope that the concepts presented in the preview center will actually come to fruition on the scale that has been hinted at. I fear that the sagging industry will force Disney to pull back on a lot of these projects to the point where they are barely whispers of what guests are expecting. Obviously Ratatouille and Guardians are already "sunk" costs and don't have any remaining excess to trim, but any project that has not already hit the execution stage is fair game to Disney's bean counters (like Mary Poppins, Play Pavilion, Moana, Spaceship Earth, the lagoon viewing structure, and the long-rumored country addition).

October 1, 2019 at 12:50 PM

It will be a good opportunity to visualise all of the announcements over the past couple of years when over next month as I can't keep up with them. Looking forward seeing it.

October 1, 2019 at 1:34 PM

I agree, Russell. Remember when they were supposed to build a theater on Main Street for live shows? Just an example of a big announcement that quietly never made it past the drawing boards. Budget cuts gave us Camp Minnie Mickey instead of Beastly Kingdom and DCA version 1.0 instead of what we got over a decade later. Budget cuts, when it comes to Disney, are not a pretty sight. Let's hope that they continue to move forward with their proposed ideas. No one wants a Mary Poppins meet and greet and carousel- we want a dark ride!

October 1, 2019 at 2:41 PM

Has anyone seen any evidence of a release of the Soundtrack for Epcot Forever - either digital download or CD? It's hard to imagine they won't release something that has such a potential to appeal to the Epcot Nostalgia this show is banking on.

October 1, 2019 at 5:39 PM

I will be absolutely shocked if this happens as it is presented here. Disney is notorious for mid-project budget cuts. A significant amount of the general disappointment and meh reaction to Galaxy's Edge is due to mid-project cuts that have left us with a shell of the immersive Star Wars land we were publicly promised.

October 1, 2019 at 6:29 PM

I liked the style of the presentation, but the model in the center was disappointingly vague.

October 2, 2019 at 12:01 PM

Have to agree on how much can change. I vividly remember "The Disney Decade" plans in the early 1990s, many of which never happened. That includes that big "America" theme park in Virginia and other rides.

Still, you never know as Imagineers never toss stuff away. Journey to Center of the Earth was supposed to be for the Studio tram and instead made its way to Disney Seas while the Africa Epcot pavilion became the Africa section of Animal Kingdom.

As many an Imagineer can attest, the oldest bit in Disney is how scores of great stuff had to be left behind due to economic issues (perhaps the biggest case being Western River Expedition.)

October 2, 2019 at 12:44 PM

Given the resolution of the photo (rendering?) above, and the faceted texture of Spaceship Earth, it looks rather like the architectural model is built of LEGO bricks.

Hmm. If LEGOLAND parks did preview centers, that's definitely the approach that should be taken. Granted, it would be recursive for Miniland ("this is a mini-model of the new restaurant ... and this a micro-model of the mini-model of a national landmark").

Also, that's clearly not literal Florida terrain, but I'd love to see a park built across a series of cliffsides as pictured -- like Hong Kong's Ocean Park, but with even more topography. I guess you could do it with the terrain tool in the "Planet Coaster" simulator.

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