What's opening when at Walt Disney World's Epcot?

October 16, 2019, 5:31 PM · After completing major transformations at the Magic Kingdom with New Fantasyland, Disney's Animal Kingdom with Pandora - The World of Avatar, and Disney's Hollywood Studios with Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the Walt Disney World Resort now has turned its direction toward Epcot.

Disney World's second theme park will celebrate its 40th anniversary on October 1, 2022 with a line-up of new and refurbished attractions, including a transformation of the park's entrance plaza. To help you plan the best time to visit the park over the next few years, we present this timeline for new attraction openings at Epcot.

Winter 2019/2020 — Space 220 Restaurant, Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts and Barbecue

Two restaurants, on opposite sides of the park, should kick off the next round of changes at Epcot. Space 220, operated by the Patina Group that runs the Italy pavilion's restaurants, is going into a new building next to Mission: Space in what we become the World Discovery land, while Regal Eagle Smokehouse replaces the Liberty Inn in World Showcase's The American Adventure pavilion.

January 2020 — Awesome Planet, Canada Far and Wide 360, Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-long

Three new movies will debut at Epcot just after the new year, with Awesome Planet replacing Circle of Life in The Land pavilion, Canada Far and Wide 360 becoming the new CircleVision production in World Showcase's Canada pavilion, and the Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-long playing in rotation with Impressions de France.

Summer 2020 — Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, French creperie, HarmonioUS

Epcot gets its next "E ticket" ride next summer, when a clone of Walt Disney Studios Paris' Ratatouille trackless dark ride opens in the expanded France pavilion. A new French creperie restaurant will accompany the ride. Then on the World Showcase Lagoon, the new nighttime spectacular HarmonioUS will debut, replacing the limited-run Epcot Forever show.

Sometime in 2020? — Wondrous China

World Showcase's China pavilion is also getting a new CircleVision film, though Disney has not yet announced an opening date, saying only that it will debut later than the other three new movies coming to the park. At this point, a 2020 debut remains our best guess, but as with anything involving U.S. companies doing things with China right now, don't write any dates in permanent ink.

2021 — Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Play Pavilion

We are more certain that 2021 will welcome two more major attractions to World Discovery, the east side of what is now called Future World. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the new rotating "story coaster" that has taken over the former Universe of Energy pavilion (launching into a massive new show building behind that, too), while the Play Pavilion takes over the former Wonders of Life next door.

2021? — Moana: Journey of Water

This new water play area is under construction next to the Imagination pavilion. It's part of a major reconstruction of the center of Future World, which Disney will rename World Celebration. But we expect this attraction to be completed earlier than the immense World Celebration project, so we now estimate sometime in 2021, though a 2020 debut isn't out of the picture if Disney decides to fast track this.

2022 — Dreamers Point and the World Celebration Plaza

As described by Disney Parks chairman Bob Chapek at the D23 Expo last summer, Dreamers Point will be a new, shaded, park-like area beyond Spaceship Earth, including a three-level structure that overlooks the World Showcase Lagoon. You can bet that Disney will do everything it can to have this project completed by the anniversary date on October 1, 2022. But given the amount of demolition that Disney needs to do before then, including the Innoventions building, we're not expecting to walk through Dreamers Point any earlier than the summer of 2022.

Who knows? — A new Spaceship Earth, Mary Poppins attraction

Disney has announced two more attraction projects for Epcot: a redesign of the Spaceship Earth attraction, including a new narration and show scenes, plus a new Mary Poppins attraction on Cherry Tree Land in World Showcase's United Kingdom pavilion. Disney has not announced any timeline for either, and we've not heard enough from insiders to take a guess when these attractions will open.

I'd invite you to read our interview with Walt Disney Imagineering President Bob Weis, who outlined Imagineering's seven-step process for developing new attractions. Our best guess is that the Spaceship Earth project is somewhere in the design phase while Mary Poppins might not even be there yet.

Forcing a guess, Spaceship Earth might be wrapped by the 2022 anniversary date, but we'd be surprised to see a major, multi-scene Mary Poppins dark ride by then. But Disney gave no hints at the D23 Expo as to what its Mary Poppins attraction would be, so if Imagineering is pursuing a more limited project — such as a carousel or "Enchanted Tales with Belle"-type experience — a 2022 debut could be in play.

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Replies (10)

October 16, 2019 at 7:57 PM

Im intrigued by the poppins "attraction". I hope Disney puts a lot of effort into it and not just throw out an immersive meet and greet. Though that would be cool, it's been long overdue for a Mary Poppins ride.

October 16, 2019 at 9:23 PM

Anyone heard from TH Creative? Miss his hype for every new announcement from Disney and haven't seen him promoting the Epcot stuff haha.

October 17, 2019 at 12:52 AM

How about updating the France movie? It hasn't changed since the park opened while China is getting a second update.

October 17, 2019 at 5:44 AM

@Postcott expect a carousel in a box and screenz around it with animation. It will probably be themed to the latest Poppins movie so my hype is zero.

October 17, 2019 at 8:47 AM

I applaud Disney for taking steps to address EPCOT's deficiencies, but I wonder if these moves will make a difference. I think there's no doubt that adding Ratatouille to the France pavilion will have a HUGE impact. The World Showcase has needed more e-ticket level attractions for decades to increase its appeal beyond just older adults. While the concept of World Showcase worked fine back in the 80's when most Americans couldn't afford to travel the globe, access to the rest of the world is easier and cheaper than ever. The cost to travel to and spend a day at EPCOT is often as expensive, if not more so, than to travel to many of the countries represented in the World Showcase. With no rides aside from Frozen and Gran Fiesta Tour, which are right next to each other, the World Showcase becomes downright boring for kids and frequent visitors. World Showcase has been propped up with seemingly year-round food festivals and virtual games (Agent P and Kim Possible) for over a decade, so it's nice to see Disney finally see the value of having rides and renewed attractions to encourage guests to actually walk around the entire World Showcase. I still think more is needed beyond the refresh of the antiquated films, but at least there's movement to modernize the most stagnant Disney park land in the world. I have little faith that the Mary Poppins attraction will be anything more than a carousel and/or walk through, if it even makes it off the drawing board, but even if it's a d-ticket level attraction, the World Showcase still needs more investment (along with filling of the gaping hole between China and Germany).

I really think Guardians Cosmic Rewind is destined to be a massive success. However, the other improvements to what was Future World are nothing more than lipstick on a pig. I'm growing increasingly skeptical that Space 220 will ever get off the ground. While Disney has not announced a specific opening date for the restaurant, the construction progress has been reported from other sources to be stalled or at the very most moving at a glacial pace. When the restaurant was initially announced, it sounded like it would be open in late 2018/early 2019, so Disney/Patina have already blown that timeline by nearly a year. With visibly open walls still needing to be closed up, nebulous announcements about the experience, and a lack of any word regarding a menu for the restaurant leads me to believe that there's no way this place will open in the near future (or even by early 2020). When Disney goes silent prior to an expected opening window for a new addition, that typically means there are significant delays. This wouldn't be the first time a Disney restaurant has missed its expected opening by over a year. Wine Bar George, The Edison, and Spice Road Table all had significant 12+ month delays (in the case of Wine Bar George, it took nearly 18 months longer than anticipated before it officially opened). I'm not sure why this project is taking so long, but it sets a tone of the project to be underwhelming for guests when it finally does open. I again stand by my initial reaction to this restaurant that it won't be any better than Mars 2112, which died a slow death in Times Square.

I feel the same way about the Play Pavilion and the Moana attraction. Both of these seem like they're still in the Blue Sky phase. The Play Pavilion seems to be a rudderless project with ubiquitous statements from Disney about what will be inside. Will this be some type of Void-style experience, or a reinvention of Disney Quest? It's hard to have any enthusiasm for a project where the developers can't articulate what it's going to be like. To see a project with so many unanswered questions make it off the drawing board and into reality by 2021 seems awfully ambitious even when considering how much capital Disney is investing into this EPCOT refresh for its 40th anniversary (and WDW's 50th). The Moana project seemed like a total throw away among the D23 announcements, and I don't understand why Disney would even bother with it if it was not accompanied by a full refresh of the Imagination Pavilion. This really seemed like one of those announcements that Disney throws out there to measure response that ultimately never gets built or the concept gets completely redone based on public reactions to the announcement.

It's clear the reorganization of EPCOT is a top priority for Disney, and they're putting guests through a lot of pain with all of the construction walls, particularly through the entry plaza and central core of Future World. However, I just don't think this will be enough to solve EPCOT's fundamental problems, nor will Disney have the fortitude to follow through with all of their announced projects. I hope to be proved wrong, because EPCOT is still my favorite WDW park, but I've been following Disney's evolution for far too long to believe that their shiny vision for EPCOT's future will truly become reality.

October 17, 2019 at 10:34 AM

Thanks for this post Robert! There's another site that regularly posts construction photos and I kept asking in the comments section when anything was opening and got no response.

October 17, 2019 at 12:20 PM

FWIW, I know that Play pavilion is beyond Blue Sky and is proceeding toward construction, based on permit filings. But the lack of hype for Space 220 is concerning, though I went with the latest timeframe that Disney has announced there.

October 17, 2019 at 12:26 PM

@AngryDuck, Disney Food Blog provides weekly updates for each park, and gives openings.

October 17, 2019 at 12:37 PM

And MMRR was beyond Blue Sky when it was announced in summer 2017, but will have taken close to 3 years to complete (despite utilizing an existing building and infrastructure) assuming it actually opens next summer. I think the Play Pavilion is a different ball of wax from a traditional Disney attraction, because it sounds like it will be like a modernized Disney Quest. So, aside from aesthetic changes to the exterior, and perhaps slight tweaks to the overall footprint of what was the Wonders of Life pavilion, there's very little permitting necessary to bring the concept to life. Disney hasn't been very clear as to what this place will be or what guests will find inside, which leads me to believe that they're not even sure yet.

For all we know, they might simply be shifting the Innoventions concept into the Play Pavilion. I don't doubt that the Play Pavilion will happen, just that what the final product will look like is a very fluid situation and many of the attractions/activities inside are still in the Blue Sky development stage.

October 18, 2019 at 8:49 AM

This article is just what Mrs Plum and myself have been yearning for for a while as I had completely lost track of all the announcements, where they are going to be and when they will be opened. Chapeau Robert!

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