Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we will get you up to date with all of the major announcements made for Epcot at this year’s D23 Expo. Lots of photos to get to today, so let’s get this party started . . .

Welcome to Epcot!
Plans are underway to transform Epcot’s arrival experience. That should mean a removal of the Leave a Legacy tombstones.

There was concept art released showing this entire area being changed. Say goodbye to this central plaza as you know it.
Future World – Epcot Center – Concept Art ©Disney
Innoventions looks to be getting bulldozed according to the concept art.
The curious thing will be if they bulldoze MouseGear. It is one of the highest revenue generators for this park. So some sort of retail will need to be built in this general area.
Even the fountain will go, but would be replaced with a new fountain in a lagoon setting.
The Starbucks location could also be eliminated or moved. Should be interesting!
The hammer finally came down on Universe of Energy. It will close on August 13th.
It will be replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction just as MiceChat predicted.
AT D23 EXPO 2017, DISNEY PARKS CHAIRMAN BOB CHAPEK ANNOUNCES E-TICKET GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ATTRACTION COMING TO EPCOT — Looking ahead to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek announced exciting plans across Epcot to realize the original vision of the park while making it more timeless and relevant than ever before, including a brand-new E-ticket attraction based on the rockinÕ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy.
AT D23 EXPO 2017, DISNEY PARKS CHAIRMAN BOB CHAPEK ANNOUNCES E-TICKET GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ATTRACTION COMING TO EPCOT — Looking ahead to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek announced exciting plans across Epcot to realize the original vision of the park while making it more timeless and relevant than ever before, including a brand-new E-ticket attraction based on the rockin’ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy.

No word yet on an opening date for Guardians or what type of ride it will be.
Surprisingly, the building will remain. There will simply be a new sign out front. No word on the type of ride experience. Though it is somehow based upon Star Lord’s (Peter Quill) prior visit to Epcot as a child.

Mission: Space is still under refurbishment, but it was announced that when it reopens in August, you will see an updated Orange mission, and a brand new Green mission. Orange will still deal with Mars, while Green will be Earth based.
It was also announced that a table service restaurant will be installed adjacent to Mission: Space. It will simulate being in orbit and will be operated by the Patina group, who already operates the very popular Via Napoli restaurant in the park’s Italy pavilion.
Restaurant concept art ©Disney
This whole area could look very different in a few years if the concept art is seen to reality.
Not much to see at Mexico’s new outdoor tequila spot.

You can see a lot of new blue paint on the pavilion though.

Hasn’t been installed everywhere yet.
This is the mural on the side of the pavilion, still with a teal background. Pretty big change.

Part of what Disney announced at D23 was the injection of more IP at the park. They attributed much of this idea to the success of attractions like Frozen Ever After.

A new film was announced for the China pavilion. It promises to use new technology to create a seamless Circle-Vision presentation.
No title was announced, but this is exciting news!

Crazy to see so few people in the middle of the afternoon in the summer. Not very crowded.
Not mentioned at the Expo are Disney’s plans to possibly bring a Club 33 establishment to the former sponsor space upstairs at the American Adventure. Promo image ©Disney

Food and Wine booths are popping up already.
The festival starts super early this year, August 31st.

Big changes were also announced for the France pavilion. A Ratatouille clone from France is coming, as predicted first on the amazing MiceChat Podcast, but it was announced that it will be part of a new area, so it seems Impressions de France is safe!
©Disney concept art for the new Ratatouille ride. Not much revealed here, but you get the idea of at least an expanded Parisian cityscape-facade at the back of the pavilion.
The new area was announced to be ‘behind the Eiffel Tower’. We’re big fans of adding instead of replacing, so this is a win.
Perhaps this area on the right hand side of the pavilion will introduce a pathway to the new area and attraction?
Empty Epcot.

The pathway from World Showcase to Future World near Imagination is currently walled off. Probably for Food and Wine installations.
Again, this view may not look quite the same in a few years as the area inside the monorail loop becomes a new center part of Epcot. Or as we like to call it “Epcot Center.”
Will these light up walkways go the way of Yesterland?

Bob Chapek said that this is only the beginning for Epcot. We are almost as excited about what hasn’t been announced as we are by what has. According to the MiceChat Podcast guys and Kevin Yee, In addition to the attractions mentioned above, the following projects are also in the works for Epcot’s future:

  • An all-new Illuminations
  • Replacement for Imagination Pavilion as it is today
  • Coco ride for Mexico (likely a retheme to the existing boat ride)
  • A new pavilion for World Showcase, Brazil

Just under 2 billion dollars has apparently been allocated for the transformation of this park. That’s a massive number. Whether you are a fan of the Epcot evolution plan or not, these projects will surely put this park back on track to accelerated attendance.

Time to head out!

Walt Disney World News

“Disney Movie Magic” has made its debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The latest nighttime spectacular is a celebration of Disney films, using special lighting and state of the art projection technology, it is a must see this Summer season.

Disney Springs Marketplace plays host to “ Beat the Heat DJ Dance Party”.
This Summer- inspired dance party takes place between “Earl of Sandwich” and “Once Upon a Toy” and features family friendly music. The party takes place daily from 1pm to 5pm. An evening dance party takes place from 6pm to 10pm.

If you visit Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom park, be on the look out for iCan the Showbot. This robot from another galaxy wants to learn all about us and our culture.
He can be spotted throughout the Rockettower Plaza area, having fun interactions and posing for photos through late August.

That does it for this week! How do you feel about all of the changes? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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