EPCOT just unveiled its latest project earlier this week, and despite five years’ worth of hype and construction, the reveal has fallen a little flat with Walt Disney World guests and fans.
Originally called the “EPCOT Overhaul Project,” the massive plan to remodel and restructure the park was first announced in 2019 with plans to include several new attractions, a new CommuniCore Plaza, and the splitting of Future World into World Celebration, Nature, and Wonder pavilions. What was supposed to have been completed by the resort’s 50th-anniversary celebrations last year was halted and significantly delayed by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, which caused several cancellations and changes to the proposed overhaul.
Finally, after nearly five years since construction walls first went up around EPCOT, the park was completely reopened to guests earlier this week, unveiling a brand-new Walt statue, garden area, and fireworks show. However, despite the walls finally coming down, some fans were unimpressed with the grand unveiling.
In a social media post on X (formerly Twitter) user @DSNYNewscast reshared a look at the new World Celebration Gardens area with the caption, “It looks nice and open, and to be honest I’m just relieved to FINALLY see the end of the EPCOT construction walls. But it’s also completely inexcusable that it took Imagineering 4 years to create what amounts to little more than landscaping/hardscaping for Celebration Gardens.”
It looks nice and open, and to be honest I’m just relieved to FINALLY see the end of the EPCOT construction walls.
But it’s also completely inexcusable that it took Imagineering 4 years to create what amounts to little more than landscaping/hardscaping for Celebration Gardens. https://t.co/4QCuzKo2VS
— DSNY Newscast (@DSNYNewscast) December 4, 2023
Under the post, several comments shared similar sentiments and disappointments. “If the walls were up for 6 weeks, most people would be raving about this area. When you make people wait that long, expectations build,” replied @Wraithlaw42. @boatingBonnieC was less neutral, stating, “I love Disney, but it looks like there should be a Shake Shack in the midst of that. Or possibly a Spring Hill Suites. Maybe that’s the rumored hotel that is going to be at Epcot and they already built the courtyard for it?” @mainejeff had a similar thought, responding, “I’m not going to mince words….it’s completely embarrassing….and pretty ugly to boot.”
Other comments drew comparisons to the upcoming Universal Orlando addition of Epic Universe, which was announced around the same time the EPCOT Overhaul was, but is nearing completion and its summer 2025 opening date. “Universal builds an entire new park in less than four years,” commented @kenobi_ow. “It doesn’t look EPIC,” quipped @BabaOTownshend.
While overall the response to the new EPCOT has been pretty positive and enthusiastic, there are still valid criticisms about the final result compared to the original concept art and the amount of time it took for construction walls to come down. The area is completely open now, with tons of new seating and bench areas, tables, and shade, but it’s fair to be disappointed with the fact that it took five years of going the long way around EPCOT only to finally reveal something so drastically different from what was originally promised. Perhaps, with time, the new EPCOT will grow on even its harshest critics, eventually covering any memories of the former areas with the blinders of nostalgia.
What do you think about the new unveiled EPCOT? Is it new and improved or a confusing result of five years of work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
This post is originally appeared on Inside the Magic.