Closing at Epcot: Club Cool, Starbucks, Electric Umbrella, MouseGear, Fountain of Nations, Etc
Walt Disney World has quietly announced a slew of closures for Epcot as Future World prepares for its massive Central Spine Redesign that was announced at the last D23 Expo. In this post, we’ll take a look at the news of the closures, interim plans, and some of the past rumors about changes coming to Epcot.
Interestingly, none of this news comes from an official Walt Disney World press release or announcement on the Disney Parks Blog. Instead, individual pages on DisneyWorld.com were updated with refurbishment notices, like this one for MouseGear: “As part of the ongoing transformation of Epcot, Mouse Gear will move to a temporary home this winter while its current location is reimagined.”
Subsequent to that, the @WDWToday twitter account has been inundated by questions regarding the closures, and has provided additional details clarifying and elaborating upon what’s happening–and when. We’re guessing that Walt Disney World plans to make a splashier announcement about the future of Epcot at the Parks & Resorts panel at next month’s D23 Expo, but here’s what we know so far…
Character Spot, Innoventions East, Colortopia, Nanooze Break, Club Cool, Electric Umbrella, the Fountain View Starbucks, Art of Disney, and the Camera Center underneath Spaceship Earth will all close at various points later this year, with the earliest closures beginning in September.
As part of the ongoing transformation of Epcot, Innoventions East (which only means the Colortopia and Nanooze Break exhibits at this point) is scheduled to close on September 8, 2019. The final date of operation for this area will be September 7. Note that Innoventions West has already ceased operations.
For many Walt Disney World vacation planners, Character Spot is the biggest closure on this list. It will also close on September 8, with all of its characters relocated to new, temporary, or existing meet & greet locations throughout Epcot. Our assumption is that the permanent replacement for Character Spot will be the Play Pavilion, but that’s simply a guess.
Electric Umbrella will close at a later date, with its official DisneyWorld.com page stating, “As part of the exciting transformation of Epcot, Electric Umbrella is scheduled to close this winter. New dining options will be available in the future, featuring a variety of food and beverage selections.”
Fountain View is another closure without a set date, but we’re guessing it’ll happen on September 8. Per DisneyWorld.com, “As part of the ongoing transformation of Epcot, Fountain View featuring Starbucks will relocate to a temporary location in late Fall.” September 8 is when Fountain of Nations closes, which is the biggest loss for me, personally. I really hope something comparable will be added to Future World elsewhere.
Club Cool will also close on the same date, but Walt Disney World has indicated that its “elements will be incorporated into the new offerings as part of Epcot’s evolution!” Pin Central will also close in September, and will operate temporarily from the Camera Center (which itself will close to become a new home for Pin Central).
Nearby Art of Disney is another September 8, 2019 closure. Its official page indicates that Heritage Manor back in the American Adventure will become the new home for Art of Disney offerings. There’s no indication on Heritage Manor’s page as to when (if at all) it will close to transform into the temporary Art of Disney store.
Phew, that’s a lot of closures and relocations in Epcot’s Future World on September 8, 2019 with even more to follow beginning in the winter! (Hopefully we didn’t miss anything.)
Even though it’s going to be sad saying goodbye to some longtime Epcot favorites, much of that is for what we remember, not these areas of Future World as they exist today. There’s not much love lost for Pin Central, those Innoventions exhibits, or the mid-1990s incarnation of Electric Umbrella.
The original EPCOT Center is gone, and has been for a long time. It’s tough to completely say goodbye (see our “Why Can’t We Let EPCOT Go?“ post for our perspective on that), but it’s beyond time for something new. Only the loss of the Fountain of Nations stings here.
In piecing all of today’s announcements together, the only one of these closures that does not appear to be permanent is MouseGear. That location is “only” being re-imagined, and appears that the physical structure will survive whatever else happens. Everything else is far more up in the air. If past rumors are to be believed, many of these other buildings will be demolished entirely. (Save for, perhaps, Electric Umbrella and Innoventions East.)
Thus far, the only confirmed and announced project we have for this area is the New Epcot Entrance & Play Pavilion. As a reminder, the former project is moving along at a brisk pace, with half of the Leave a Legacy monoliths now removed. Everything else is rumor, or speculation upon the concept art at the top of this post, which has almost certainly changed in the two years since it was flashed at the last D23 Expo.
Absent from today’s announcements is the future of Spaceship Earth. As we shared in our 2-Year Spaceship Earth Closure & Reimagining rumor post from earlier this year, there are (or were?) plans for a prolonged closure and overhaul of that attraction, beginning as soon as this fall.
We have zero insight as to whether that’s still happening, and no credible rumors have emerged since then to either add further credence to that project, or to discredit it. As Spaceship Earth is the iconic attraction of Epcot, it would make sense that Walt Disney World wouldn’t quietly list a multi-year closure in a little blurb on its ride page. Expect to know one way or the other as to whether this is happening come the D23 Expo.
“We’ll see what’s actually going to happen at the D23 Expo” is probably the most sensical refrain we can offer right now. In the last two years, a ton of rumors have made the rounds for the future of Epcot, from the now-unlikely (multiple) hotels near the front of Epcot to the reemergence of the long-rumored Brazil pavilion in World Showcase.
Based upon Parks Blog statements last week, it appears Disney is trying to put a lid on the rumor mill ahead of the D23 Expo. As such, we’re not expecting much else to leak out, and are ourselves a bit more skeptical than normal of Walt Disney World rumors. It should be a fun and interesting D23 Expo, that’s for sure!
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What do you think of all these closures at Epcot come this September and beyond? Excited for Future World’s transformation, or sad to see some of these things go? Other thoughts? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
What are they doing with the Leave A Legacy photos? We have one there and it is sad they are getting rid of them
I am not thrilled with ALL of these wonderful Disney Epcot changes. I realize that new staff has to show that they are doing their jobs by “changing” things in the park, BUT can they NOT just leave some of the classics, like the Fountain of Nations ALONE??? And of course I have been really upset that Illuminations will be no more. All of this, and the prices go up!
I’m unhappy with the Character spot closure, especially since they announced where all the Characters are moving too, exept Baymax, which is the reason my son wants to go. The princesses in Disney far outweigh the more boy centric ones and to eliminate one of the few is disappointing since we had already prepared shirts ans ears for that meet and greet. I hope before October they change and give him a spot.
I am glad to see Epcot getting an update. I felt there was a lot of space for magic to have been created and or reimagined. We love Epcot hoping the peaceful feel to this amazing park remains.
I am more than a bit annoyed that they are closing so many things at once.
I wish this stuff had been announce earlier.
We planned our visit and set our vacation time way back in January for 10/27-11/1.
Back then Star Wars wasn’t going to be open yet and all the Epcot changes weren’t announced. I can’t believe they didn’t know this HUGE project was going to start in September. We will miss the Fountain of Nations.
We waited for the Toy Story crowds to die down (a little) and wanted to see Toy Story Land before the Star Wars crowds took over.
For the price we pay for WDW perhaps we should go somewhere else this year.
If they announce they are closing Spaceship Earth at D23, do you think they’d do it quickly or at least give folks a month or so notice?
We are returning to Epcot in September 2020, and bringing my in-laws for their first ever Disney World trip. Any idea what kind of state Epcot will be in by then?
It will be in the state of Florida still. LOL
Lol! Not super helpful, but great pun! XD
Is Epcot turning into “Florida Man”? 🙂
I really hope they do something similar to the nighttime Innoventions sidewalks in the new space. That’s honestly one of my favorite extras at EPCOT, along with the Innoventions atmosphere music/BGM.
share the same sentiment- nothing announced bothers me at all, except the fountain of nations. my hope is that the new fountain they will be putting back in the entrance plaza will be on a comparable level, hopefully also synced to music, ideally the same soundtrack.
I’m with you Laura! Our kids have loved that since they were little, and I’m sure that will be upsetting to them as adults.
I like the twinkly lights on the sidewalk. Hopefully those remain
that would be nice if they were replaced with updated tech.
I love sitting outside at Electric Umbrella and watching the Fountain of Nations dance!
This is going to be super awkward between Sept 2019 and whenever the new attractions start opening. If you’re a first time guest and you walk straight forward, you will encounter basically nothing but the Epcot ball and construction walls between the main entrance and the entrance to the world showcase. And with all of the small amusements and shops that were there 5 years ago missing, Epcot becomes a firm 1 day max park experience. It reminds me of when Hollywood Studios literally had 3 operating attractions last April and May. Just a terrible time to visit and questionable value in even going to the park.
Travelling in early December 2019. Already wondering how to spend a whole day at Epcot with a young child, now thinking a few hours max… Wondering if our first trip to WDW isn’t going to be all we hoped with closures and SW fans.
I’m so happy you’re going on your first trip! December in all the parks is pretty special. At EPCOT there are special offerings in the various ‘countries’ related to the season. If you can, try booking a dinner package for the Candlelight Processional. It’s awesome. There are special stands throughout the countries where you try various holiday foods. I know there will be a lot of closures and out of everything, I hate you won’t get to see the Fountain of Nations. But that being said, EPCOT is still special. Maybe not a bunch of thrill rides – but a different kind of happy place. I hope you have a wonderful trip.
I’m so sad about the Fountain of Nations being removed.! I absolutely love it!! I will say they haven’t taken care of it and sadly, it just doesn’t work or have the splendor as it once did. I love that when Epcot first opened that every nation represented in Epcot poured water into this fountain.
Do you know if there will be another fountain replacing this? I sure hope so!
Disney tourist blog recap:
“we don’t-believe rumours but boy can we ever use them as cluck bait to get you to read our rambles!”
I liked the post and was sadly informed of the many closures (the fountain is a huge loss 🙁 ) and probably more coming to Epcot. Even tho there’s a lot that is unknown, there was certainly enough evidence to warn me that Epcot will likely be a mass of construction next visit.
I am sad with the replacement of Fountain of Nations and potentially the background music but not on the same scale as the closing of World of Motion, Horizons, Journey into your Imagination (original), Soarin over CA, or Maelstrom.
Hopefully when the characters are moved around, they switch up their costumes to keep it fresh.
Any idea if the background music will change during all these updates? Or once the Central Spine has been reimagined?
the Fountain of Nations is my families very FAVORITE thing Disney – counting all the parks! It’s just so magnificent – and THEN it dances to music!