On October 1, 1982, Walt Disney World ushered guests into the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” otherwise known as EPCOT. This month, the park celebrates its 40th birthday and with it comes some new magic. But before we can celebrate the future of the park, let’s take a moment to recognize where it started.
The first-of-its kind park, EPCOT dropped its acronym name after the death of Disney in 1966 and became a traditional theme park with exploratory experiences designed to “edutain” audiences. The park has brought guests everything from new technologies and ideas to cultural experiences and international festivities. It has inspired curiosity, imagination and wonder. That continues today and will continue long into the future as it undergoes its biggest transformation in its history. As Walt Disney once said, EPCOT will “always be in a state of becoming.”
When EPCOT opened in 1982 it had two sections and still does today: A Future World that invites guests to imagine new technologies, transportation, agriculture, and energy. Meanwhile, World Showcase has spent years connecting us across the globe with the culture and cuisine of countries near and far.
And it’s those cuisines and festivals that keep guests coming back again and again. The park is the 4th most visited in North America thanks to the seasonal festivals. The Epcot Food & Wine Festival, which is currently going on now, The Festival of the Holidays beginning in November, The Festival of the Arts in January and the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival blooming each Spring. Now as we celebrate how EPCOT created such ingenuity, let's take a closer look at how it will continue doing so for 40 more years.
Pre-pandemic, Disney announced an overhaul project that would include new attractions, shows, theming, and dedicated spaces for seasonal entertainment.Although that was pushed back a while, the plan is currently underway. Disney tells us one of the main things that lies behind the construction walls at the park are new and updated themed lands - World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature.
Just as Disney wanted a community of tomorrow, the new lands, which will replace Future World, allows for EPCOT to be a unity of four neighborhoods that point to each important aspect of the world. World Showcase, will be joined by World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery.
We’ve been told, World Celebration is currently scheduled for completion in late 2023. With it will come a new green space, a statue dedicated to Disney and an updated Spaceship Earth. Disney’s newest and biggest spectacular, “HarmonioUS” will also debut at World Celebration. The park’s World Nature land will feature a Moana-themed walking trail full of playful water-based experiences, also scheduled to open in 2023.
Stay tuned for more details about EPCOT’s makeover and 40th anniversary. In the meantime to experience the unique park and celebrate its 40th look for discounted Walt Disney World tickets right here on Best of Orlando.