In Future World, expect a lot of construction walls, pinch-points in crowds, and potentially going the long way to reach your destination. Among Walt Disney World fans, this project has been known as the Epcot Central Spine Redesign, and that’s for good reason–it’s primarily going to impact the main corridor of the park, from the turnstiles to Showcase Plaza.
As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, a little over half of Epcot’s entrance plaza is walled off as the pavement is torn up and new planters are installed, as part of the project to restore the original beauty to this entrance area.
However, this is not really an issue here from a crowd-flow perspective, as there’s plenty of room thanks to the removal of the Leave a Legacy monoliths. (Once the other side is finished, this side will be walled off and the pavement will be torn up and the process repeated.)
Continuing under Spaceship Earth and into the area between the Innoventions buildings, we come to our next set of construction walls.
From here, signs point guests towards the Innoventions West Breezeway.
We’re guessing this side of the park is now going to see more foot traffic, at least for now while the Breezeway remains open.
Once guests head to that side, they can access World Showcase directly via the newly-widened walkway that begins near Journey into Imagination.
You can also head the other direction, towards the Innoventions East Breezeway, which leads to Test Track and Mission Space.
Pin Central, MouseGear, and Electric Umbrella all remain open for now. All are expected to close later this winter for refurbishment (in the case of the latter two) or removal (in the case of the former).
You can also access World Showcase directly (for now) via the path between Fountain of Nations and MouseGear.
This path is pretty narrow, and during the post-IllumiNations mass exodus, it gets congested. No worse than the pinch-point near Mexico, but it’s not ideal.
Here’s a look the other direction at the backside of the construction wall pictured a few photos above.
Note that the signage for Club Cool has been removed, as has the Starbucks logo on Fountain View.
I know it’s a bit painful to see Fountain of Nations like this, so I’ll spare you more close-ups.
Looking back the other direction, you can see planters up to block what used to be the path to Club Cool.
The sign here notes that Disney is “reimagining the future of Club Cool.”
As this seems to be one of the things fans are lamenting the loss of most, it surprises me Walt Disney World hasn’t made it crystal-clear that Club Cool will be returning. (And why wouldn’t it? Coca-Cola sponsors the experience in what’s truly a win-win-win for Coke, Disney, and guests.)
The sign on the other side contains no such reassurances about the Innoventions West building.
Expect more walls to go up over here soon, and demolition to begin on this building in the near future.
Backtracking a bit, there’s a new Character Spot in the other half of Innoventions West.
We’ll have a full blog post about this tomorrow–it’s a bit of a hidden gem.
Our main motivation to head over here is to take a look at the construction walls behind this building, which run from Character Spot all the way to Coral Reef Restaurant.
From the monorail, you can see that a ton of land has been cleared in this area already. In part, this will become the Moana: Journey of Water walk-through attraction.
On the other side of this building, Art of Disney remains open.
This is another “winter” closing, with the store setting up temporary shop in the American Adventure.
Chef Figment appears in the window display here for Food & Wine.
It’s silly, but I always love seeing the different ‘seasonal’ Figment window displays here. Hopefully this is continued elsewhere.
Jumping around, here’s a look at progress on the Space 220 Restaurant, which Bob Chapek stated at the D23 Expo is opening “this winter” (the latest Parks Blog update contained the same language).
Note that the “this winter” technically begins on December 21, 2019 and ends on March 19, 2020…which is a clever way of delaying the opening from late 2019 until early 2020 without actually saying as much.
A look at the new color scheme on the former Odyssey restaurant/events pavilion.
This will reopen as Walt Disney Imagineering Presents the Epcot Experience on October 1, 2019. I love stuff like this, and hope everything from the show floor at the D23 Expo is reused here.
We’ll wrap up the photo update on a positive note–the beloved fiber optic pavement is still going strong–for now.
Hopefully a ‘next-gen’ version of this is incorporated into the transformed Epcot. So simple, yet so great.
On a semi-related note, one of the questions that’s come up both in the comments here and via social media is whether it’s worth visiting Epcot right now. There’s no straightforward answer to that, and as with a lot of things, it depends.
I think most of you will probably want to look at the attraction lineup, photos of the construction walls, and decide for yourselves. Only you know how much time you have, your vacation priorities, how much construction bothers you, etc.
However, I’m nonetheless planning a post that tries to answer the question, as a lot of you reading this are first-timers or might simply desire added perspective, even if you end up disregarding it. Accordingly, my question for you all is over what timeline? As in, should we stop the discussion at late 2019 or early 2020, or continue to Summer 2020 and beyond?
We’ve already experienced Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, so I’m comfortable including a recommendation for next summer, and somewhat okay speculating beyond that, but probably not into 2021. Too much will have changed–and could still be announced–between now and then.
What do you think of the current state of Epcot and its construction projects? Are you mourning the loss of Future World and everything that has–or will–close? Looking forward to watching Epcot transform over the next few years? Wondering whether it’s worth visiting Epcot between now and 2021, or if you should skip it? 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!