At the foot of Spaceship Earth, a new entrance plaza, with color-changing LEDs and a fountain reminiscent of the one that greeted guests when the park first opened, wrapped up its remodel earlier this year. Now the focus is shifting the areas behind Spaceship Earth.
The former Innoventions West building is now fully demolished. In its place will be a Moana-themed walk-thru attraction that will reimagine the jumping water features Epcot is known for. The attraction will serve as a transition between Future World’s central corridor, known as World Celebration, and the World Nature area, home to the Land and Sea pavilions.
On the other side of World Celebration, work continues in the former Innoventions East and MouseGear buildings. Unlike its sister to the west, the Eastern building will remain, though it’s been gutted to its metal core. Creations Shop will replace the former MouseGear gift shop.
This main gift shop for the park will serve the same role as MouseGear and its predecessor, Centorium, but will switch out the highly themed aesthetics for ones that instead focus on the merchandise. A sleek, modern design with large windows and natural wood touches will give this store an updated feel. Original murals will fill the few walls in the space.
Adjacent to the Creations Shop will be a brand-new Club Cool. The Coca-Cola attraction offers guests the chance to try sodas from around the world. A counter-service restaurant will also be located in the building.
Behind the former Innoventions building in what was Future World East, three highly anticipated new attractions are quickly moving forward.
The Space 220 restaurant is rumored to be near opening. The Patina Restaurant Group, who manage the restaurant, posted an ad for a pastry chef at the sit-down space station-themed restaurant in February.
Next door, there’s been little action at the upcoming Play Pavilion. Some are speculating the slowdown may be due to Imagineers rethinking some of the hands-on exhibits and hoping to shift to pandemic-minded designs.
In March, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn confirmed he still had work to do for “a Disney parks ride,” assumed to be the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. The space-themed roller coaster with a time travel storyline has seen most of its exterior work completed, with cosmetic work to be finished.
The hold-up on this attraction seems to be related to the filmed scenes. Those were to take place on the Guardians 3 set, but the production was delayed. Disney hasn’t given a timeline, but the ride is expected to open during the resort’s 50th anniversary, which will kick off on October 1 and run through early 2023.
The Ratatouille-themed trackless 3D dark ride will also open during the anniversary celebration, with a grand opening currently slated for October 1.
Back in Future World, Spaceship Earth is receiving an LED lighting package. The new lighting will debut on October 1. The attraction redo itself has been indefinitely postponed, with it expected to now take place sometime after the 50th anniversary.
Also postponed is the multi-level Festival Center. It was designed to host fireworks parties and had a working television studio. The Center was to be used for various festivals and special events. Last year’s pandemic-induced budget cuts saw the project delayed along with many across Disney parks. Now an outdoor, beer garden-like lawn, known as Festival Area, will take its place.
With the Play Pavilion replacing the former Wonders of Life pavilion and the new Festival Center indefinitely postponed, that leaves few options on where to host festival events. Disney may be dusting off other plans to help address this.
Previous rumors of a hotel near the entrance plaza at Epcot were revived in recent weeks when a local relator and vlogger, Ken Pozek, uncovered planning schematics for the hotel. In February, the documents were published on a private construction bid site and list Gensler as the lead architect for the project with references to Gensler’s Tampa office.
Even as significant portions of the project ready to open, we’re still years away from the project being fully realized.