Disney unveils plans for a massive overhaul of its Epcot center park at Walt Disney World, transforming it into four neighborhoods. In spite of a rollercoaster week for Disney, with the Sony/Marvel divorce, accusations of Disney falsifying revenue, and live-action Mulan receiving a boycott, the highly anticipated D23 Expo commenced as planned. Hailed as one of the biggest events in the world, D23 has revealed vital nuggets of information for the entertainment industry, including new footage from Frozen 2, the Black Panther 2 release date, Star Wars 9's poster, and much more.
Not limited to unveiling information about film and television, Disney also used the D23 Expo to showcase plans set for Disney’s theme parks. Conceptualized by Walt Disney himself, Epcot was designed to be a utopian city of the future. Located at the Walt Disney resort in Florida, Epcot officially opened in 1982. Commonly referred to as a “world’s fair”, Epcot is represented by the iconic SpaceShip Earth. At the D23 Expo, Bob Chapek, the Chairman of Parks, Experiences & Products, shared how Epcot’s revitalization will embody the original vision for the park, and create unity with four neighborhoods. Epcot will be divided into four main themed areas: World Discovery, World Nature, World Celebration, and World Showcase.
According to a Disney press release, Epcot is going to be a whole new world - or worlds. World Discovery will feature the previously announced “Guardians of the Galaxy” themed roller coaster ride, as well as "PLAY!", a pavilion which will include “games, activities, and experiences...both real and virtual.'' World Nature will offer a Moana-inspired lush exploration trail leading to a sparkling body of water, and treat guests to a new film titled Awesome Planet. World Celebration, home of Spaceship Earth, plans to makeover the entrance plaza to mirror the park’s original 1982 plaza, complete with a wishing tree and statue of Walt Disney. World Showcase will continue to nod to some of Disney’s most beloved films, with a Mary Poppins-inspired Cherry Tree Lane neighborhood, Beauty and the Beast sing-along, and previously announced Ratatouille Adventure attraction. Reportedly, Epcot will sprinkle the openings of each attraction throughout 2020.
Disney will reveal more details about the overhaul at the Odyssey Events Pavilion on October 1 - a date that marks the 37th anniversary of Epcot opening. Epcot is just one of Disney’s parks slated to add new experiences for guests. At D23, Disney unveiled new details about its upcoming Star Wars hotel. Set to be located near Star Wars: Galaxy Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, the hotel is intended to be an immersive resort, complete with Star Wars creatures and a Galactic Starcruiser. As of this writing, an opening date for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hasn't been revealed.
Despite recent news headlines filled with disdain and uncertainty towards Disney, D23 showcased the company’s unparalleled ingenuity, creativity, and longevity. Overall, Disney has major plans in the work,s and has given fans of their properties much to look forward to, and reasons to mark the calendar for a visit to the iconic theme parks.