Walt Disney World has announced that Space 220 restaurant at Epcot will officially open in mid-September 2021! This is another milestone in the transformation of Epcot, and happens in the lead up to the World’s Most Magical Celebration beginning only a weeks later. In this post, we’ll share the details from Disney, plus thoughts, photos, and a new video.
In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Space 220 restaurant is located backstage between Test Track and Mission: Space, with its entrance being located off to the side of the latter. In more than a couple of regards, it’s reminiscent to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. For one thing, the Space 220 show building is not intended to be seen by guests.
Your immersive, fine dining experience begins as you check in to the Space 220 Departure Lounge in Future World. From here, you’ll board one of two “Space Elevators” that will transport you in what seems like 220 miles above Earth to Centauri Space Station. As you begin your ascent, you’ll look down through a viewport to see EPCOT shrink away; looking up you’ll see the Space Station come into view.
Once you’ve docked, you’ll head through the Centauri Space Station-themed dining area. Inside the dining area, you’ll experience a panoramic view of Earth below, and a variety of work and leisure activities taking place beyond the windows of the Space Station-themed restaurant.
The views at Space 220 restaurant are just part of the experience. Walt Disney Imagineers are excited to have created this experience for Executive Chef Marc Kusche to showcase his culinary wonders…
The Space 220 restaurant menu will feature stellar dishes and gourmet recipes, with a two-course prix fixe menu for lunch, and a three-course prix fixe menu for dinner. Rounding out the meal will be unique beverages, from fine wine to atmospheric cocktails and more. The upscale, contemporary fare will bring new meaning to “the height of dining.”
Here’s a video that Walt Disney Imagineering has shared offering a look inside Space 220:
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I think this looks absolutely awesome. Previously, I’ve referred to this as Coral Reef: Space Edition, and that still seems apt. My expectation is that this will be even more immersive, with a themed experience and storytelling from start to finish. (Hopefully with better food!)
To me, this also seems like an appetizer for what Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will attempt to deliver, but in a more bite-sized form that’s more accessible–from both a practical and price perspective. Not everyone is going to have the time or inclination to do the live action role playing thing for two days, but two hours is a totally different story!
With all of this said, it’s worth noting this is still not an official opening date–just a timeframe. Anyone who has followed the “Space 220 saga” knows we’ve had this before…more than once.
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.
However, it’s also worth pointing out that circumstances are very different now. Construction delays were an ongoing and persistent issue with Space 220 prior to the parks closing–that’s what initially caused the delays. Much like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, work long ago resumed and finished on the interior of Space 220 restaurant. The entrance and marquee have both been installed, and are simply covered up with temporary wood boxes (see above photo).
Suffice to say, physical work long ago ceased being the barrier to Space 220 Restaurant’s blast off. For a while, the problem shifted to physical distancing–but that’s also no longer an issue. Then it shifted once more to staffing, as Patina Group (the company operating the restaurant) faced the same hiring woes and staffing shortages plaguing virtually every other restaurant in Central Florida. (Space 220 also had its own unique issues on that front, but that was ages ago.)
Two months ago, Patina Group began the hiring process for Space 220 restaurant. The venue is now believed to be properly staffed and set to begin training at one of Patina’s Disney Springs locations later this month.
Suffice to say, it’s a very different scenario now than a couple of years ago when Walt Disney World set an overly aggressive “opening this winter” timeframe for Space 220. Unlike then, it’s not going to be a scramble to get everything finished and ready in time–there’s no race against the clock. Basically, Patina Group just needs to train its employees. Delays are always a possibility, but seem pretty unlikely at this stage in the game.
In terms of when Space 220 restaurant will open…that’s still anyone’s guess. I’m honestly surprised that Walt Disney World announced a “mid-September” opening rather than October 1, 2021. They could’ve soft opened Space 220 in mid-September on a walk-up basis only and had no issue filling tables. (To my recollection, that’s what was done with Takumi Tei for a couple weeks; that was the last table service restaurant to open in Epcot.)
We also don’t know when Advance Dining Reservations will open for Space 220 Restaurant. If my math is correct, mid-September is less than 60 days away (fact check needed), which means they could go live at any point. Our guess is that Walt Disney World will make another announcement very soon, rather than just dropping ADRs at random. That could potentially come later today–Boma and Flying Fish reopening news seems likely soon. Space 220’s ADR drop date is the kind of info that could be bundled with that news.
My guess is that September is forecast to be a slow month at Epcot–hence a full calendar of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure previews–and this is one way to “pull forward” demand among locals, Annual Passholders, and DVC Members. It’ll also be nice from regular guests with September trips booked.
We’re hearing increasing discontent from some of these guests, who are wondering whether they’re being ignored as Walt Disney World gears up for the 50th. (My response to that has been the big benefit of visiting in September v. October will be dramatically lower crowds. Personally, I expect September to be an awesome month at Walt Disney World.)
Ultimately, we’re really looking forward to Space 220 restaurant. Going to space almost certainly will not be cheap–we’re expecting something on par with Be Our Guest Restaurant, albeit with more upscale cuisine and prices to match. Patina Group seldom disappoints on the culinary front, so we have every reason to believe the food will be good.
Beyond that, this is an ambitious concept from Imagineering, and we have high hopes from the atmosphere and overall experience at 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.
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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? Any guesses as to pricing for the prix fixe menu? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? 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!