Change is constant at Walt Disney World, and for this summer's update on all of the big changes happening around the resort we take a look at big changes coming to the resort in the coming years, including the addition of elevated gondolas connecting Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the addition of new lands in 2018 and 2019.
In this fall's update, we take a look at a short-term project at Disney's Hollywood Studios that has hit the fast track, plus plans to revamp both Future World and Tomorrowland before the end of the decade.
13. Grand Avenue set to replace the Muppet Courtyard at Disney's Hollywood Studios
It was announced just a few weeks ago that the Muppets Courtyard, along with a portion of the former Streets of America, is being re-imagined by Walt Disney Imagineering to become a new area called Grand Avenue. If this name sounds familiar to you, its because Disney announced earlier this summer that it would be introducing a new land that would encompass some of the old Streets of America facades as well as a new watering hole in the former Writer's Stop named the Baseline Tap House. However, it new looks like Disney's plans for Grand Avenue extend beyond this small area of the park, as this new land will encompass both this reopening area as well as the entirety of the Muppet Courtyard.
Inspired by the spirit of present-day Downtown Los Angeles, the now-confirmed Grand Avenue "land" (which is actually based by a real street in California) will feature some familiar facades with some new colors designed to recall the look of vintage office buildings and warehouses that are common in Los Angeles.
Now while you may wonder how this is going to fit in with the erstwhile Muppet Courtyard, Disney has actually been making some subtle changes to this land that will help with this transition, including renaming the MuppetVision theater, the "Grand Arts" theater.
12. Future World gets reimagined
After months of speculation, Disney has unveiled a new vision for Epcot's Future World which will bring a lot of changes to this area of the park, including the addition of an all-new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction in the former Universe of Energy building. Disney has said that this franchise makes for a good addition to Epcot’s Future World because it gives guests the chance to experience the excitement and adventure offered by space travel.
Even though we know that this ride is definitely coming to Epcot sometime in the next few years, we actually don’t know what kind of ride this will actually be. Rumors circulated last year that this new attraction would be an indoor roller coaster of some sort, and this still could be possible. However, it is also equally possible that they could create a dark ride of some sort with more of a narrative focus as well. Unfortunately, it looks like we're going to have to wait a little longer to find out exactly what this attraction is, as Disney has not provided even the broadest of details.
In addition, Future World is also getting a new dining location that will bring guests out of this world. Though it doesn’t have a name yet, this new dining establishment will be located adjacent to the Mission: Space attraction and will have special "windows" that simulate views of the galaxy as diners “travel high above the earth” during their meal. No details on the menu have been released, but we do know this new restaurant will be operated by Patina Restaurant Group, which already operates nine dining locations at Disney parks, including Morimoto Asia and Tutto Italia.
However, though there are going to be some interesting additions to Future World, the image above has some notable structures missing as well. Here's a quick run down of everything that would be shuttered according to the concept art above:
- Club Cool
- Joy and Sadness character meet and greet
- Baymax character meet and greet
- FountainView Starbucks
While none of these closures have been confirmed, given everything that is going on with Epcot, we'd be inclined to believe that, even though no announcements have been made, Disney may very well be looking at half a dozen closures in the near future as the front half of the park is reinvented.