Disney World is certainly no stranger to change.
Since first opening in 1971 with Magic Kingdom, the parks and resorts have gone through countless additions and updates — and they just keep coming! One of the biggest changes in Disney World’s history is happening NOW with the EPCOT Transformation. This multi-year project is expected to breathe new life into the park, and we’ve already seen some of it come to fruition. But, not everything has gone according to plan — so here’s what’s going WRONG with the EPCOT Transformation.
Disney’s multi-year transformation of EPCOT has been underway for quite a while now, and because of that, we’ve seen this project evolve and change about as much as the park has. Between scrapped and canceled plans, delays, and the overall eyesore that is EPCOT right now, it doesn’t appear as though things are going as smoothly as one might think — and here’s why.
Projects Have Been Cut or Changed
It’s no secret that Disney Imagineers are some of the biggest dreamers around, but sometimes those dreams just don’t come true. Quite a few projects have been changed or even scrapped altogether, though Disney doesn’t often share the reasoning behind these changes. What was supposed to be a massive new Festival Pavilion was rebranded as a “Festival Area” to include CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza.
Disney announced a Mary Poppins-inspired attraction would be coming to the United Kingdom Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase that would allow guests to “step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family.” But, its development was later postponed, and as of now, the project is officially on hold.
In addition to the Mary Poppins-inspired attraction, plans were announced for a huge refurbishment of Spaceship Earth. Disney did share a few details about the plans for the overhaul, but it was ultimately announced that the project has been postponed indefinitely.
Wondrous China is another project that Disney has been pretty quiet on since it was first announced. This new CircleVision 360 film was slated to come to the China Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase, but we haven’t heard a peep since — though we’re assuming the project is on pause for now.
But, there’s another EPCOT Transformation project that remains in Imagineering limbo for now (at least from what we can tell!). The Play! Pavilion has been described by Disney as a “digital metropolis” located in the former Wonders of Life pavilion — or at least that was the plan.
The Play! Pavilion would allow guests to participate in new adventures with Disney characters, in both real and virtual experiences — but it doesn’t look like we’ll get to do that any time soon. It was supposed to open in time for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, and a revised opening timeline has still not been announced.
It’s Taking a Long Time
Have you noticed we’ve used the term “multi-year” when referring to the EPCOT Transformation? That’s not an exaggeration! Though it’s probably not a surprise that a massive theme park overhaul would take quite a bit of work, there have been some delays and unforeseen circumstances pop up that may have contributed to this.
Many of us were hopeful that all or most of the construction would be completed in time for EPCOT’s 40th Anniversary — but that came and went on October 1st, 2022 without too much fanfare. Of course, the park closures caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic played a big role in this seeing as all work was halted for the four months Disney World was closed.
And although Disney hasn’t said one way or another, there’s a chance that supply chain issues as well as increased material and production costs have played a role in these delays as well. We know that Disney isn’t immune to inflation, as CFO Christine McCarthy previously shared that the company does “pay close attention to all the recent inflationary pressures…That covers everything from merchandise to food and beverage.”
Slowly but surely, we’ve seen the EPCOT Transformation puzzle be completed bit by bit. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has opened, Connections Cafe and Eatery are serving up eats and drinks, and we’ve almost gotten used to the new EPCOT neighborhoods.
There’s Construction EVERYWHERE
If you’ve been to EPCOT in the last few years, you might have noticed that it looks a little bit…chaotic! Almost as soon as you enter the park you’re greeted with black construction walls blocking off the entire center of the park. Getting around is definitely not as intuitive as it once was, and it’s really just an eyesore.
Not only that, but all these changes and updates can just be confusing. World Celebration? What’s that? What’s Creations Shop? Luckily, we’ve been keeping up with every change that’s come so far have plenty of tips and guides to help you plan your next trip to EPCOT.
At the end of the day, though, we ARE excited about the changes that have already come to EPCOT — and those that are yet to come! For now, we can expect Journey of Water — Inspired by Moana to open up in late 2023, with CommuniCore Hall and Plaza hopefully opening sometime soon too. Either way, we’ll be here to bring you all the latest updates.
Planning a visit to Disney World soon? We’ve already got your 1-day EPCOT trip planned right here, and check out the simple planning tips you need to know before your next visit here.
What are you looking forward to most about the EPCOT Transformation? Let us know in the comments!