Walt Disney World’s land of tomorrow — Epcot — is about to take a major step into the future.
Additions will include a ride and restaurant based on the movie “Ratatouille” in the France pavilion, a roller coaster based on “Guardians of the Galaxy,” an area themed for the movie “Moana,” a “Mary Poppins” attraction in England, a digital city called the Play Pavilion, and much more.
“We are in the middle of what will be the largest transformation of any Disney park, ever,” said Epcot Vice President Melissa Valiquette. “It’s a multiyear transformation and the future is really bright here at Epcot.”
Epcot, which opened in 1982, was the futuristic vision of Walt Disney, the park’s visionary founder.
A preview of the transformation can be seen at the “Walt Disney Imagineering Presents the Epcot Experience,” a building within Epcot that hosts an epic and visual presentation that showcases what the future of the park will look like.
“Inside this theater we have 31 projectors that all had to be aligned and calibrated to bring this thing to life, right down to the preview experience,” said Michael Hundgen, the executive producer of Walt Disney Imagineering. “They’re all pushing the boundaries as much as we can to marry that great balance between technology and storytelling.”
Coming in summer of 2020 to the France pavilion will be Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This trackless ride will take visitors on a journey through Remy’s kitchen with all of his friends, shrunken down to the size of a rat.
A media preview under a veil of secrecy where cellphones were sealed inside gray pouches revealed mouse-themed cars and a pantry that had ingredients such as two 25-foot-tall fish, a 2.7-ton ham and oranges that measure roughly 4 feet in height.
The ride is based on the already-existing ride in Disneyland Paris.
The France pavilion will also be home to a new film — “Beauty and the Beast Singalong” — slated to open in January.
It will join “Impressions de France” as one of two movies playing in the French theater. Audiences may recognize many of the voices in the new singalong, including Angela Lansbury.
Finally in France, Le Creperie de Paris, a new table service and walk-up restaurant serving crepes, will open next year.
“The whole France pavilion is really getting a makeover and it’s going to be quite the destination,” Valiquette said.
Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind will be a new roller coaster expected to be open for the celebration of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
Valiquette also said families will enjoy an immersive new show that is sure to capture the imagination.
“We’re opening a great new digital city called our Play Pavilion, where our guests, family, adults and kids alike meet live Disney characters, virtual Disney characters, they can interact with Edna Mode who just hates uninspired fashion, and really just have a great time with their Disney friends, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.
To make all this happen, the Imagineering team started creating ideas more than four years ago.
According to Hundgen, an “army of Imagineers” from different disciplines, from architecture and design to project management and construction, is working toward this transformation.
“It all comes down to creating amazing experiences that create an emotional connection with the park itself, the family and friends you bring along with you,” he said. “We do it for that and we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we have here.”
Different parts of the Epcot upgrades will be opening throughout the next two years.
When everything is done, every corner of this park, from the World Showcase to the very front of the park, will have been enhanced.
“When Walt Disney was envisioning Epcot way back in the 1960s, he always said Epcot will always be in a state of becoming, and so we’re really just doubling down on that promise in a big way right now,” Valiquette said.
Walters has been working for FLORIDA TODAY since 2002. Contact him at email@example.com