Epcot has kicked off its reinvention in a big way in 2019, with the opening of The Epcot Experience Center as well as the Epcot Forever nighttime spectacular. However, Disney isn't done just yet, as two more additions are coming before the end of the year, plus an early 2020 character experience has just been announced for this park as well!
1. Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue (Winter 2019)
Walt Disney World has announced a new fast-casual barbecue restaurant that will replace the former Liberty Inn quick service restaurant in the American Adventure pavilion. This new location, which will be named Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue will open just in time for the holiday season, and will include several BBQ-inspired menu items, including an all-American burger topped with BBQ pork and an onion ring and a plant-based BBQ burger made with a plant-based patty topped with BBQ jackfruit served on vegan garlic toast.
Though no specific opening date has been confirmed yet, Disney has said that this location will open in a few weeks, just in time for the holiday season!
2. Space 220 (Late 2019)
Though Space 220 might seem like a strange name for a restaurant at Walt Disney World, the number actually refers to the number of miles above Earth diners will have to "travel" to get to this new dining location, which will be opening later this year at the Mission: Space pavilion.
Though Disney hasn't shared all the details yet, guests who show up to the entrance of this new restaurant will be able to board a special elevator outfitted with windows that let guests take in the views of the earth below them as they blast off into space and travel from Earth to this out-of-this-world dining location.
Then once guests step into the dining room, they will be able to see amazing views of space with intergalactic scenery in the background, including a space station and a friendly astronaut floating nearby. Diners will be waited on by an international crew, and then, once their meal has concluded, will ride the elevator once again to return to Earth from their space dining experience.
No specific details on the menu have been made available yet, but we do know that this dining location will will offer internationally-inspired cuisine courtesy of Executive Chef Theo Schoenegger (who previously worked at Maria & Enzo's Ristorante) as well as over 1000 bottles of wine and craft beer will be available when Space 220 opens before the end of the year
3. Mickey Mouse Imagination meet and greet (Early 2020)
Because of Epcot's central spine redesign, many of the character meet and greets in this park have had to move to new locations. However, soon guests will be able to meet Mickey Mouse in a new permanent meet and greet area in the Imagination Pavilion as part of the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. Mickey Mouse will be moving in to a new area of the indoor queue space for this attraction and have a special film strip background that will showcase this beloved characters' history.
4. Awesome Planet (January 2020)
Earlier this yearDisney announced Awesome Planet, a brand new original film especially designed for Epcot, which will be coming to the Land Pavilion in the space formerly occupied by Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable. Here's the official description:
An on-screen exploration of the realm we call home, showcases the spectacular beauty, diversity and dynamic story of our earth with all the grandeur guests have come to expect.
With spectacular nature photography, immersive in-theater effects, and space sequences created by none other than Industrial Light & Magic (which provided the cinematic foundation for the Star Wars franchise), “Awesome Planet” will stir Epcot guests and deliver an environmental message that will resonate far beyond its final scenes.
Of course, this description is fairly general and vague, but the concept behind this new film still sounds really interesting and the ecologically-friendly message in Awesome Planet is definitely something that will align with the overall theme of the Land Pavilion, but will hopefully feel more up-to-date than its Lion King-themed predecessor. We're also excited about the prospect of the Harvest Theater being upgraded to facilitate the special effects detailed above in the description of the new show.
5. Canada: Far and Wide (January 2020)
The current O Canada circle-vision attraction closed in August 2019, and will be replaced by an all new Circle-Vision 360 movie at Epcot's Canada pavilion, which will open in January 2020. Using all new seamless digital technology, the new 360 movie, Named Canada: Far and Wide, will include new scenes, story and music.