Walt Disney World’s Epcot has been in an identity crisis for most of its existence. Is it an educational park? A haven for thrill rides? A dumping ground for whatever characters and concepts don’t fit anywhere else? Even those who adore the iconic second gate the Florida resort know that it’s been looking for a clear voice for a few decades now. And it looks like Disney wants to settle on that voice, because the park is getting a number of major upgrades and additions over the coming years.
While we expect to learn more about the future of Epcot in the days ahead, one thing was made clear in the opening night of the D23 convention: Epcot will become “more Disney” than ever before. Starting with a new Moana attraction.
Disney Chairman of Parks, Experiences and Products Bob Chapek told the crowd gathered at D23 (including /Film’s Peter Sciretta) that the next generation of Epcot will be “More Disney, more family, and more timeless.” Take from that what you will, but one thing is clear – Epcot will probably start to have more in common with other Disney parks, shifting away from the science and education-focused attractions of yesteryear and bringing in more recognizable characters and cutting edge experiences.
To make this point clear, Chapek announced a new attraction based on the world of the Disney animated film Moana. Details were scarce, but the experience will be called “Journey of Water” and will allow guests to “interact with water magically.” Here’s the official description of the attraction, along with a piece of concept art:
This first-ever attraction based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios hit film, “Moana,” will let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting.
Also revealed was the Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience. The attraction is described thusly:
Inside this first-of-its-kind offering within a Disney park, guests will discover engaging and interactive exhibits that allow you to step inside the relentless innovation, energy and excitement and see some never-before-revealed details driving the future of Epcot all throughout this unprecedented period of transformation.
In addition to the new announcements, construction is currently underway at Epcot on a new Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster (replacing the old Universe of Energy attraction) and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, a clone of the ride already built at Disneyland Paris. In addition, the park’s entrance is currently in the midst of a massive overhaul, replacing the concrete monoliths that lined the entryway with something a bit more pleasing to the eye. Elsewhere, the long-defunct Wonders of Life pavilion is being revived as a new “play” area, which was described thusly:
“This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot. 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.”
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