Epcot Update: Now with 50% Fewer Tombstones!

Epcot is next up in our June 2019 Walt Disney World construction updates & photo reports. As the park continues its massive re-imagining, projects are underway in both World Showcase and Future World. In this, we’ll take a walk around the park and see what’s changed since last month…including the highly anticipated walls coming down around the Leave a Legacy West removal!

June is also one of the final three months of Epcot rumor-mongering before all is revealed at the D23 Expo. In actuality, it’s highly likely that not all will be revealed, and we’ll continue to speculate about what’s unannounced, or the specific details of what does get announced.

Either way, we’ll hopefully be fixated on different things rather than the fate of Spaceship Earth, what’s in store for the Central Spine Redesign/Project Gamma, what other intellectual property is coming to World Showcase, and whether the Brazil pavilion will finally be built…

Part of me is cautiously optimistic for the D23 Expo, while another part is concerned. I realize the version of Epcot that I personally loved is long gone, but at the same time, the park as it exists now needs serious help.

Even if serious thematic compromises occur (and I’m expecting exactly that), I think Walt Disney World management and Imagineers working the project will try to throw fans a few bones. I mean that in more significant and substantial ways than just an old school logo or Easter Egg here or there. Things like updating the films, restoring the entrance plaza, and giving legacy attractions some TLC are what comes to mind.

For now, it’s the “heart” of Diet Epcot season, which means low crowds and short wait times, even for popular attractions:

We’ve started to see Soarin’ Around the World regularly below 30 minutes, and Frozen Ever After right around that mark at the end of the night. Not bad.

For the substance of the update, let’s start in World Showcase…

Here’s a look at the work underway to expand the International Gateway entrance.

There’s still a maze of construction back here around the old turnstiles, ticket booths, and bag check area. With it being Epcot’s slowest few months of the year, this shouldn’t pose much of a problem…so long as it’s done before Food & Wine Festival gets underway.

Shortly after our last update, Walt Disney World announced that the new Signature Restaurant in Japan will be named Takumi-Tei. The design celebrates the relationship between Japanese craftsmanship and nature, while the food is inspired by the wonderful collaboration between nature and takumi, the artisan.

The upscale dinner menu will highlight wagyu beef, plus a multi-course tasting menu featuring traditional tea service. Signature cocktails and premium sake will be available along with a wine and craft beer menu. Takumi-Tei will open in the Japan pavilion at Epcot this summer and will be operated by Mitsukoshi USA, which operates the other dining in the Japan pavilion.

Also in this area, we have a view of the fully-enclosed Guardians of the Galaxy show building at sunset.

Not much of a difference as compared to last month.

Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival is over, but some of the marketplaces remain.

It appears that a few might be repurposed as temporary food & beverage kiosks. The ones in Canada and Germany are now serving beer, having replaced ODVs that were previously at those pavilions. The marketplace booths are a better thematic fit, in my opinion.

Also in World Showcase, “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!” has returned to America Gardens Theater.

It’s a fine summer concert if you can get past the weirdness of it all…and the location.

One thing you probably won’t (or shouldn’t) be able to get past is the bizarre look of the food served in ‘celebration’ of this.

We cover it in our “The Galaxy’s Most Awesome Disney Meal…Or Not” post.

Heading back to Future World, the path that runs between Refreshment Port and Imagination is closed for widening.

I love this walkway, but it’s always a serious pain. If anyone stops, it brings traffic to a standstill.

Here’s a side view of the fencing.

As with the Cinderella Castle pathway widening, I hope this actually addresses the congestion problem, rather than providing guests more available space to fill.

Finally, the walls are down at the Leave a Legacy West demolition site!

We actually originally intended upon posting this update on Tuesday morning. Literally minutes before hitting “publish” I saw a tweet that this side was finished, so we returned to Epcot yesterday.

Shortly after arriving, we got a tornado alert on our phones and managed to duck inside a gift shop for about 20 minutes of a torrential downpour. So that was fun.

The rest of the afternoon was overcast and grey, but at least there wasn’t any more rain. On the way out, I grabbed this shot. Except, instead of leaving, we headed back to FountainView to see if there was anything new there.

On our way towards the exit (take 2), the sky was showing some signs of color.

It didn’t look like it’d be a good sunset, but neither did the day before, and that ended up being an explosion of color, so we decided to stick around.

Bingo.

It’s pretty wild how a little break in the cloud cover is the difference between a dull and grey “sunset” and an incredible one.

I couldn’t resist getting one last sunset shot with the Leave a Legacy in the frame.

Why? I’m not really sure.

Back to the removal of the Leave a Legacy tombstones.

There has been a lot of excitement about half of this being “finished” online.

I was giddy when I entered Epcot to this sight, but it was also a surreal scene.

Right now, it’s not really finished; it’s in an awkward spot where the biggest eyesore is gone, but it’s still not in final form. I’m excited, but not for what’s visible today. I’m excited for what I can envision tomorrow, and that we’re one step closer to that. I really cannot wait for the new version of the Epcot entrance plaza to debut.

Expect walls to go up around the left side of the entrance plaza soon.

It’s pretty wild that even though the Millennium Celebration is long over, we’re just finally getting over the party’s massive hangover. With the wand, hat, and (soon) Leave a Legacy gone, I think that about covers it.

Heading out (or in, as the case may be) of the park, we have fences and construction in the parking lot as Epcot is in the process of transforming its “arrival experience.”

For now, that’s all from Epcot! With many more changes on the horizon and visible projects starting to ramp up, you can expect a lot more about Epcot in future posts, though.

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YOUR THOUGHTS

Are you excited to see half of the tombstones removed? What do you think of the current state of Epcot and its construction projects? Thoughts on the latest rumors of D23 Expo announcements? Do you like the new Figment window display? 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!


31 Responses to “Epcot Update: Now with 50% Fewer Tombstones!”
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