The New Rides & Attractions At Disney World's Epcot Include ‘Beauty & The Beast,’ ‘Ratatouille,’ And So Much More
Big news for Disney fans: There are tons of new rides and attractions coming to Epcot at Walt Disney World in the near future. At the 2018 Destination D event — a sort of mini-expo that’s held on alternating years with the bigger D23 events — that took place on Nov. 17 and 18, Disney Parks’ Experiences and Consumer Products Chairman Bob Chapek presented a whole host of updates we can expect to see from the park within the next few years. Perhaps most notably, we got a bunch of new details about the Ratatouille ride being built in Epcot’s World Showcase — but that’s far from the only new thing coming to the park soon. Looks like someone’s planning a trip to Disney World soon…
(It’s me. That someone is me.)
Historically, Epcot has been… well, not exactly characterless, but certainly not as heavy on the major Disney franchises as most of Disney World’s other parks. Indeed, originally, Epcot was intended to be an experimental planned community. That’s where the name “Epcot” comes from: It once stood for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” After Walt’s death, the decision was made to move way from the city/community concept and instead build the park as a celebration of human achievement, innovation, and culture. The Future World section covers the technological side, while the World Showcase — which grew out of a never-built expansion for Disneyland Park in Anaheim first called International Street, then later International Land — covers the cultural aspect.
That all changed when the Norway pavilion in the World Showcase received a major overhaul in in the mid-2010s. In 2014, Disney announced that the “Maelstrom” ride, which took guests on a boat journey through Norwegian history, culture, and folklore, would be renovated and replaced with a ride based on Frozen. Like the movie, the ride, “Frozen Ever After,” became a massive hit after its 2016 opening — and in the years since, Disney characters and franchises have become more and more prominent within Epcot.
Which brings us to Destination D 2018’s announcements: More characters are coming to Epcot in the form of both rides and shows. That’s not all the park has on tap, though; here’s everything planned for Epcot over the next few years, according to Bob Chapek.
1. A 'Ratatouille' Ride
This one was the biggie: Chapek both announced the name of a ride based on Ratatouille that’s long been planned as an expansion for the World Showcase’s France pavilion and noted when its projected opening will be. We’ve known since the 2017 D23 event that the ride was on the way; what’s more, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that it was in the works: A similar ride, “Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy” (directly translated, “Ratatouille: Remy’s Totally Zany Adventure,” although the ride is often just called “Ratatouille: The Adventure”) previously opened at Disneyland Paris in 2014.
Chapek confirmed that Epcot’s version of the ride would be called “Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.” A trackless dark ride, it will be “patterned after the number one family attraction at Disneyland Paris,” a Disney spokesperson told PEOPLE. It will open in time for Disney World’s 50th anniversary, which will occur in 2021. The video seen here features Disneyland Paris’ ride; it should give you an idea of what Epcot’s version might look like.
2. A 'Beauty And The Beast' Sing-Along Show
Also coming to the France pavilion will be an interactive Beauty and the Beast sing-along show. Playing on rotation with the “Impressions de France” film which the pavilion has hosted since 1982, this sing-along will reportedly bear some similarities with the “For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” show currently playing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s not totally clear whether the Beauty and the Beast sing-along will feature live actors in addition to movie clips; the Frozen sing-along does, though, so it’s not totally out of the question that the Beauty and the Beast show might, too.
3. New Nighttime Shows
It was big — and somewhat bittersweet — news when Disney announced in September that Epcot’s long-running “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” nighttime show would be finishing up its run in the summer of 2019. Originally taking the stage — and by “stage,” I mean the World Showcase Lagoon — in October of 1999, the show has been a fixture of Epcot for nearly 20 years. (That's a video of it, by the way, in case you've never seen it before.)
Next summer, though, it will have its last hoorah before seeing not one, but two replacements: First, a show called “Epcot Forever” will debut in the fall as an interim show; then, in 2020, a new, still-unnamed show will take up a more permanent place on Disney World’s show schedule. According to Spectrum News 13, “Epcot Forever” will “feature classic Epcot music,” paying homage to the park's history and legacy; the 2020 show, however, will take a slightly different path: Per Bob Chapek via Orlando Weekly, it will be “a worldwide celebration of Disney music” featuring pyrotechnics, fountains, floats, lasers, LED screens, and more. Movies featured in an early preview video shown at Destination D included Moana, Coco, Aladdin, Brave, and Dumbo.
4. Updates To The Canada And China Pavilions’ Movies
There aren’t a ton of details available about those updates yet, but they’re definitely coming. As Orlando Weekly put it, “The previously announced update to the China pavilion’s Circle-Vision 360 that will feature seamless screens was reconfirmed at Destination D, and a brand-new film for Canada’s Circle-Vision 360 attraction was also announced, though few details on either film were shared.” We’ll just have to wait and see what all that actually means.
5. The Skyliner
Remember the Skyway? The gondola lift system that used to run from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom until it was closed in 1999? Well, there’s a new, souped-up version of that classic in the works — and it’s going to do more than just carry guests from one end of one park to another. The Skyliner will join Disney World’s major transportation options, shuttling guests between four of the resort’s hotels — Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and the upcoming Riviera — and both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
News of the Skyliner itself isn’t new — it was originally announced in July 2017 — but at Destination D, we finally got a look at one of the gondolas. That’s it up there — the red thing covered with cartoon-y pictures of Mickey and Minnie with cameras in hand. Thoughts?
6. A Guardians Of The Galaxy Roller Coaster
Chapek actually made this presentation at the International Attraction Expo, rather than Destination D — but it’s definitely notable, so let’s take a look.
Like the Skyliner, we’ve known for some time that a Guardian of the Galaxy ride would be coming to Epcot; however, we hadn’t gotten a look at the ride vehicles before. At the International Attraction Expo, Chapek revealed concept art for the cars, which will “sit on a moving platform with 360-degree movement, [have] four seats per vehicle, and [feature] stadium-style seating with the back two seats slightly higher than the front seats,” according to Orlando Weekly. The ride itself, which will open in a massive show building in Future World, will be a “storytelling coaster,” as Chapek put it per Entertainment Weekly. “On most coasters, the vehicles point straight ahead throughout the ride,” he continued, “but on this attraction each individual cab will be programmed to direct your eye to the story happening around you.”
The Disney parks always have fun, new experiences in the works, but Epcot hasn’t been on the receiving end of many of them over the years. Looks like that’s all changing now, though — stay tuned for more details in the coming months!