It’s time for another EPCOT update! This Walt Disney World park report will offer photos & commentary about crowds, plus construction progress on Harmonious, Moana’s Journey of Water, Creations Shop, Club Cool, and more.
Let’s dig right in with a look at more vertical progress on Moana’s Journey of Water. Although Walt Disney World hasn’t offered any official updates on this particular project, Moana’s Journey of Water also has not been removed from the Epcot Experience or anywhere else, so we assume it’s still happening.
Hopefully, Walt Disney World will release new concept art for the Epcot overhaul soon. Much of the “World Celebration” and “World Nature” neighborhoods that will be replacing Future World presumably are going to be dramatically different from what was revealed two years ago at the D23 Expo. Nevertheless, it’s great to see actual progress being made after nearly half a year of stagnation.
Until we have more concrete details from Disney about the Epcot overhaul, we’ll have to settle for near-daily updates from Imagineering regarding the floor and ceiling of the Creations Shop that’s replacing MouseGear. I love digging into the details just as much as the next Walt Disney World fan, but some of this is excessive.
It’s one thing when Joe Rohde obsessed over something truly interesting and unique that he discovered in a remote region of Asia during a research trip. It’s another entirely to wax poetic about some terrazzo that was found on the shelf during a mission to Menards.
In any case, here’s a look at the progress on Creations Shop and the restaurant that’ll be replacing Electric Umbrella.
Looks of construction workers on top of and all around the former Innoventions building.
It’s not construction, but it’s great to see the dancing fountains back up and running in the Imagination pavilion.
I think these were turned back on because Walt Disney World is bringing back play areas, but I could be wrong on that. Either way, they’re back.
Back to construction, programming continues on Harmonious. It seems like this show is inching closer to completion, as last week the full show apparently tested after hours. It’s still my understanding that Epcot Forever will return for a limited engagement before Harmonious debuts, but everything is fluid and subject to change right now.
Taking a stroll around World Showcase, here’s a look at Marimba de las Américas performing in America Gardens Theatre.
As covered earlier this week, Walt Disney World further relaxed its face mask policy, changing the rules from requiring masks in “all theaters” to “all indoor theaters.” I didn’t have time to stop for their performance, but every guest I saw took advantage of that rule relaxation.
Turning to crowds, it was a moderate day at Epcot.
Most attractions had 5-15 minute posted wait times, and even headliners weren’t above 45 minutes. I don’t think anything was over an hour.
Epcot has reportedly reverted to the old rope drop protocol as of today, so we’ll need to return to check that out at some point this week or next.
In case you’re visiting Walt Disney World before that gets published (or in case I slack and don’t get around to it right away), our 1-Day Epcot Itinerary will almost certainly remain unchanged. It’s just a tweaked process.
In a normal summer, we’d see crowds drop off in the next couple of weeks, due to the park going into “Diet Epcot” mode.
That’s probably not going to happen this year, as there’s only a week gap between the end of Flower & Garden and start of Food & Wine Festival. Part of me wonders whether Disney is trying to “thin the herd” of bloggers by starting the latter in mid-July, in a manner of speaking. (Part of me doesn’t blame them!)
Switching gears now that we’ve gotten the obligatory Epcot crowds and construction report out of the way, we arrive at the two true purposes of this post. First, Walt Disney World announced the PhotoPass Tiny World Magic Shots. According to Disney, these “make you feel like you’re on top of the world, and there’s no better fit for a photo op like that than at EPCOT!”
This is really, really cool. It’s also nice to see 9-Eye be called out of retirement from time to time (a little Timekeeper reference for fellow old timers). Unfortunately, our Tiny World Magic Shot with Spaceship Earth did not link to My Disney Experience, or at least has not linked yet. Sometimes it takes a day or two, which is fine. In this case, it’s probably for the best, as this was at the end of our visit to Epcot and you’d likely be able to smell my sweat through the photo. We’ll try again later this week and share that later. For now, enjoy Walt Disney World’s stock photos.
From the press release: “Before you travel the globe, be at the center of it when you capture the brand-new Tiny World Magic Shot from the Disney PhotoPass photographer located near the fountain just beyond the main entrance of EPCOT, available daily from noon to 6 p.m. (weather permitting).
“Want more Tiny World Magic Shots? We’ve got them! Be in the center of the action near Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Or, create a circle of your life near the exit of It’s Tough to be a Bug! at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.”
Finally, the main event: SCUBA MICKEY MOUSE!!!
Today is World Oceans Day, so Mickey made a rare appearance in the Living Seas aquarium to commemorate the occasion.
I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome this was to see.
The Walt Disney World promotional VHS tapes of my childhood all contained footage of two characters in Future World: Figment and Scuba Mickey. (Unless you count the creepy World Showcase dolls, EPCOT Center largely did not have characters.)
Between the Boy Meets World proposal at Coral Reef and footage of Scuba Mickey, the Living Seas pavilion held a special place in my heart as a kid. (It also physically held manatees, which were my favorite animal as a kid.)
If I had a Walt Disney World bucket list as a child, seeing Scuba Mickey would’ve been in the top 5. Honestly, I had given up on it as an adult. It seems like the kind of thing Walt Disney World doesn’t do anymore.
That’s not necessarily a knock. I can totally understand why this is not an everyday occurrence, but HOLY COW WAS IT COOL TO SEE.
Judging by the reactions of literally every single person–kids and adults–in the Living Seas pavilion who saw Scuba Mickey, he was the highlight of everyone’s day at Epcot.
I could gush about the experience of seeing Scuba Mickey in real life for paragraphs and paragraphs, but words don’t really do the character encounter justice. So I hope you’ll take a minute to watch this video put together by Sarah. The video still doesn’t do Scuba Mickey full justice, but it’s closer than my rambling.
Mickey Mouse scuba diving in one of the largest man-made ocean environments on the planet is the kind of unforgettable “little thing” that absolutely defines (or should define) Walt Disney World. It’s seemingly insignificant, but it leaves a lasting impression–an indelible memory that guests will cherish long after they’ve forgotten which rides they rode or shows they saw at Epcot today.
Seeing Scuba Mickey Mouse is the kind of thing that made so many of us Disney fans in the first place, and is the type of experience that keeps us coming back. Don’t get me wrong, I love the blockbuster new attractions and epic expansions, but this is why I’m a lifelong Walt Disney World fan. It made my day/week/month/year-to-date, and I truly hope that more “little things” like this are planned for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, because that’s the best recipe for success and creating more diehard fans.
What do you think about what we’ve covered in this EPCOT update? If you’ve visited recently, what was your experience like at EPCOT? Thoughts about construction progress on Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, Creations Shop, Food Restaurant, Club Cool, Harmonious, Moana’s Journey of Water, etc? What do you think of Scuba Mickey? Do you remember him from the promo VHS tapes as a kid? Or do you wonder “what’s a VHS tape?” 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!