Space 220 Restaurant is one of the biggest new additions to Walt Disney World, opening in 2021 at Epcot’s Mission Space pavilion. This covers everything you need to know: when Space 220 will open, construction photos, concept art, hiring details, and info on WDW’s next table service dining. (Updated June 8, 2021.)
Let’s start with the Space 220 Restaurant’s opening date, as this has become a common reader questions for the last couple of years. Originally, Walt Disney World announced that Space 220 would open by the holiday season two years ago. Once it became obvious that construction was far behind schedule, Disney quietly reworded the opening timeframe to “this winter.” That was all pre-closure.
It’s now been almost a full year since reopening, and Walt Disney World has been mostly silent about Space 220 Restaurant during that time. There have been a couple of teasers for what’s coming in 2021, and Space 220 has been featured, but there is no officially announced opening date or even season when this new Epcot eatery will debut. However, Delaware North and Patina Group, the parent company and operator of Space 220, have started to prepare for the restaurant’s debut…
While Space 220 Restaurant is not owned or operated by Walt Disney World, Patina Group is a longtime Disney partner. The company operates many other restaurants at Walt Disney World, including in Epcot and Disney Springs. The latest development is that as of June 8, 2021, multiple job listings have been posted for “Mission Control” for Space 220 Restaurant. This follows listings earlier this winter for executive chef roles. These new listings include:
These are among the dozens of positions for which Patina Group is hiring around Walt Disney World. Filling these roles could be difficult, as there’s a pronounced labor shortage impacting Central Florida’s hospitality industry. This is being felt at Walt Disney World, with many restaurants still unable to reopen or scale up capacity.
The Space 220 Restaurant job listings reflect this practical reality. Many of these positions are offering $300 to $500 signing bonuses for employees who are hired into the aforementioned positions and remain employed at Space 220 Restaurant for at least 90 days. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal–a bonus and getting to work in outer space!
While construction delays were an ongoing and persistent issue with Space 220 prior to the parks closing, work long ago resumed and is believed to be finished. The entrance and marquee have both been installed, and are simply covered up with temporary wood boxes (see above photo).
Physical work is no longer the main barrier to Space 220 Restaurant’s blast off. Moreover, physical distancing is no longer a hurdle, either. Walt Disney World has gradually relaxed physical distancing throughout the parks, including at some restaurants where there’s sufficient staffing to accommodate more filled tables.
At this point, the only major remaining obstacle to Space 220 Restaurant opening is finding, hiring, and training sufficient staff. As noted above, this is probably going to be a more significant barrier than it would in normal times. While Walt Disney World has gone on a hiring blitz and brought back the College Program to assist with its woes, Patina Group may have a more difficult time with Space 220.
Hopefully the hiring bonuses plus the allure of working in a brand-new and highly-themed restaurant will resonate with many prospective employees. Presumably, it’ll be an attractive location for tipped positions, as Space 220 Restaurant is almost certain to be expensive and popular, meaning it’ll be a fairly lucrative job.
While Walt Disney World has not announced an official date and there are no rumors, our expected opening date for Space 220 Restaurant is October 1, 2021. This is a big date: the kick-off of the World’s Most Magical Celebration for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, as well as the debut date for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France pavilion, and when the 2021 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival shifts into high gear.
It’s entirely possible there will be soft openings of Space 220 Restaurant before then, but barring any major delays with hiring and training, October 1, 2021 is the most likely date. It’s probably already too late for Summer 2021, and it doesn’t make sense to have a grand opening in the off-season months of August or September. October 1, 2021 will be a splashy date, and adding another big debut to the 50th Anniversary celebration would behoove Disney. From the Patina’s perspective, that means the restaurant would be open for the three biggest months of the year.
We will continue to pay close attention to Space 220 Restaurant news & rumors. It won’t be too long now before an official opening date is announced and Advance Dining Reservations are released. This is going to be a hot ticket ADR, and we will notify subscribers ASAP when those reservations go live–sign up for our free email newsletter so you can receive a notification when more Space 220 info is released!
Now, for some more details about the Space 220 Restaurant. Here’s the on-theme pitch: “Mission Control invites you to join the crew at Space 220 for an expedition like no other. The planets have aligned for you to be a part of the latest cutting-edge and out-of-this-world restaurant.”
“Help ensure a smooth departure as guests blast off to enter the International Space Station suspended 220 miles above the Earth’s surface and assist in delivering an unmatched intergalactic dining experience. With stellar views and gourmet menu offerings, Space 220 is truly ‘The Height of Dining.'”
The actual description of the dining experience sounds equally immersive. To begin the voyage at Space 220 Restaurant, guests will board a special space elevator that will ascend to the stars. Along the way, viewports will give you an aerial view of Epcot as you travel high above the planet. Upon your arrival, guests will enjoy a celestial panorama from the space station, with the ability to peer out and enjoy amazing daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up.
If the concept art is accurate, Space 220 will have tiered seating, making it like Coral Reef, but in outer space. Rather than windows into an aquarium, there will be screens and projection technology simulating outer space. (Sorry to ruin the “magic,” but it’s not actually 220 miles up. The actual building is like 3 stories high and doesn’t have windows.)
Space 220 will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner–which is good news because being open for most (all?) of the day should help meet demand. At Space 220 Restaurant, guests will dine from a menu featuring modern American cuisine, more than 1,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines, and a wide selection of craft beer.
We’d love to see a menu similar to Catal, one of Patina Group’s underrated Disneyland Resort restaurants. (If we’re dreaming, pizzas like those served at Via Napoli would be nice…and loaded fries like at the Edison…and…)
While Walt Disney World has not officially announced as much, we expect that Space 220 Restaurant will participate in the Disney Dining Plan (once that returns). Currently, the restaurant’s webpage states “Dining Plans Not Accepted.” This is simply boilerplate/placeholder language that, as we’ve previously noted, is often not accurate.
Our expectation is that it’ll begin as a one-credit table service restaurant. While the concept is novel and demand is sure to be sky-high at first, nothing about Space 220 says “2-credit Signature Dining experience.” Of course, popularity is a huge key to what’s “worth” two credits, and we’ve seen both Be Our Guest Restaurant and Le Cellier both make that jump. Over time, the same could happen here.
In terms of its location within Epcot, Space 220 Restaurant is an extension of the Mission: Space pavilion, tucked away between that and Test Track on a backstage plot of land. Conceptually and story-wise, the restaurant is supposed to look similar to Seattle’s Space Needle, but at a much higher elevation.
In reality, Space 220 Restaurant is a nondescript green show-building (above) that’s tucked away mostly from guest view. It’s only visible while riding Test Track or in that area–but not from Mission: Space.
Those dining at the restaurant will enter through the reworked extended queue of Mission: Space. Some modifications have been observed in this area for the last couple of months, and we’d expect signage to soon be installed off to the side of Mission: Space.
Again, this is reminiscent of Coral Reef, which has its entrance tucked away off to the side of the Seas pavilion. The difference here is that Space 220 Restaurant is in a newly-constructed, windowless building and not part of the existing Mission: Space building.
Overall, we’re really excited for Space 220 Restaurant. Well-designed, immersive environments is what differentiates Walt Disney World dining from its real world counterparts, and this could instantly be one of WDW’s best themed restaurants. We’re hopeful that this lives up to the concept art and backstory to deliver a guest experience that suspends disbelief.
On top of that, the food at Space 220 Restaurant could actually be good thanks to the partnership with Patina Group. While we love Walt Disney World’s themed restaurants, many of those venues coast on the setting and deliver subpar meals. There’s a solid chance the setting and menu will both be well-executed at Space 220, making this a rare Walt Disney World restaurant that excels at both. Our fingers are crossed!
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Are you excited for the Space 220 Restaurant at Epcot? Does the concept of Coral Reef…but in outer space…appeal to you, or will you wait and see how the menu looks? When do you expect Space 220 Restaurant will open? Do you agree or disagree with our 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!