Walt Disney World has formally opened the World Celebration neighborhood of EPCOT, which is able to quickly be house to CommuniCore Corridor and Plaza, the reimagined core of Future World and scaled down competition heart that was beforehand introduced however shelved. This put up shares idea artwork, what’s being promised, and our commentary. (Up to date January 31, 2024.)
EPCOT is now unified with 4 neighborhoods, every chatting with essential features of the world and its individuals: World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery. These neighborhoods are crammed with new experiences rooted in authenticity and innovation that take visitors to new locations, the place the true is made implausible in a celebration of curiosity, discovery and the magic of risk.
The information of 4 “neighborhoods” in EPCOT are nothing new. 5 years in the past on the D23 Expo Parks & Resorts panel, the corporate introduced the overhaul of Future World and flashed idea artwork on display. Three years in the past on the identical occasion, Disney launched new idea artwork and a color-coded “map.” That map stays correct because it was merely a coloured overlay of the then-existing EPCOT. Then in the beginning of Walt Disney World’s fiftieth Anniversary, the three new neighborhoods on the entrance of the park formally changed Future World.
For some time, we’ve been at the hours of darkness about Walt Disney World’s present “imaginative and prescient” for EPCOT’s transformation, as plans have been placed on maintain and altered with out new idea artwork being launched for World Celebration (identified “lovingly” round these elements because the Big EPCOT Dust Pit™️). Newer bulletins shed mild about what’s nonetheless deliberate for Epcot and what isn’t, together with new idea artwork for this space, now referred to as CommuniCore Corridor & Plaza.
Right here’s the newest on CommuniCore Corridor and Plaza, adopted by our commentary…
January 31, 2024 Replace: EPCOT’s Competition of the Arts is now roughly half over, and progress continues on CommuniCore Corridor and Plaza. Walt Disney World has already revealed that CommuniCore Corridor and CommuniCore Plaza are delayed. Though the World Celebration Gardens are actually open, CommuniCore Corridor and Plaza won’t debut till someday in 2024.
The large query at this level is: when in 2024? Properly, the subsequent occasion that may make sense for a goal is the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Backyard Competition, which begins on February 28. Walt Disney World has already launched lots of particulars for that, and none explicitly state and even recommend that CommuniCore Corridor will likely be utilized.
In watching building progress, we’re not in the least stunned. We’ve repeatedly commented on the gradual tempo of that undertaking and the way images taken ~6 months aside have been just about indistinguishable from each other. Our hope was that this may change with the remainder of World Celebration open–that crews might give attention to and fast-track CommuniCore Corridor.
If that has occurred, it’s not obvious from the surface. The images above are from January 2024, and it doesn’t appear to be a lot progress has been made because the begin of the vacation season. With that mentioned, minimal progress to the surface is (probably) meaningless. That is the type of factor that would come collectively in a rush, and conceivably be achieved by late February 2024. It’s actually a query of the place the inside stands.
I wouldn’t be stunned if the primary competition to make use of CommuniCore Corridor is the 2024 EPCOT Worldwide Flower & Backyard Competition. However I additionally wouldn’t be stunned if that occasion was shortened to accommodate a brand new summer season competition, and the plan is to make the grand debut of each that occasion and CommuniCore Corridor unexpectedly. That’d really be fairly savvy and splashy on Walt Disney World’s half.
Now, let’s flip our consideration to the ‘conceptual evolution’ of World Celebration. Beforehand, the center of World Celebration was going to be a multi-level competition pavilion, proven beneath in idea artwork from the D23 Expo in 2019:
As you would possibly recall, Disney introduced that the corporate would “take a unique method” with the multi-level Competition Heart in World Celebration proper because the reopening course of began. This was initially introduced on the final D23 Expo, with quite a lot of idea artwork launched concerning the house. (For these skimming this put up, the above idea artwork is NOT what’s being constructed anymore.)
Right here’s one other angle:
This multi-level competition pavilion was described as follows: “the proper place for reside occasions, and the house base for Epcot’s signature festivals. It can present a shocking elevated view of your complete park and a super spot to witness Epcot’s nighttime spectacular. This stunning three-level construction can have one of the outstanding architectural designs at any Disney park, that includes a plaza stage, a center expo stage, and a park that sits within the sky on the highest stage.”
Under is the brand new idea artwork, from that very same angle:
There are minor adjustments all through, however essentially the most noticeable ones are to the competition pavilion itself, which is noticeably much less vertical.
Now known as CommuniCore Corridor, this house is a brand new out of doors multi-use facility and occasions house, bringing worldwide festivals to the middle of the EPCOT expertise. In keeping with Walt Disney World, CommuniCore Plaza and Corridor would be the first totally purpose-built location with EPCOT festivals in thoughts.
CommuniCore Corridor will characteristic an illustration kitchen and mixology bar to increase the competition programming and permit Disney cooks to share their creations with visitors.
It can additionally characteristic a brand new location known as Mickey & Mates (not the parking construction) for visitors to satisfy characters. Presumably, CommuniCore Corridor is an indoor-outdoor house.
Turning out consideration outdoors to CommuniCore Plaza, which is the out of doors house in World Celebration. This space will characteristic a big central planter primarily based on the five-ring brand of EPCOT.
Radiating from that will likely be quite a lot of gardens, every having its personal identification character, with the power to alter and amplify competition themes. At night time, controllable lighting evolves primarily based on the seasonal occasions and is additional enhanced by the Beacons of Magic on Spaceship Earth.
The idea artwork above exhibits the way in which that the gardens in CommuniCore Plaza will change in the course of the EPCOT Worldwide Competition of the Holidays, for instance.
This all seems very completely different than prior idea artwork. Beforehand, this space was going to characteristic pure environments, a wishing tree in an enchanted forest, and a narrative fountain enjoying Disney music. Until that simply isn’t talked about for some odd purpose (uncertain), it sounds just like the story fountain is being changed by the planter.
On the out of doors aspect dealing with CommuniCore Plaza, it’ll have an out of doors stage for concert events and performances throughout competition season, which is integral to EPCOT. This seems just like what beforehand existed on the bottom of the Fountain of Nations, besides now at floor stage and with out as cool of a backdrop.
I don’t care what anybody says, that is positively an improve from the Big EPCOT Dust Pit™️! Whether or not it’s an improve from the prior central backbone of Future World is debatable, as is whether or not all of that is “price” a number of years of building partitions and a torn up park. Nothing I see within the idea artwork leads me to these conclusions. Maybe it’ll all current higher in individual.
A number of issues stand out from this announcement. First, what’s not talked about in any respect. That features tasks have been already know have been “postponed” indefinitely, just like the Mary Poppins attraction and Spaceship Earth reimagining. The standing of the Mary Poppins undertaking stays unclear, as former CEO Bob Chapek was requested about it final yr and gave a solution suggesting it may not be useless.
Moreover, the Spaceship Earth reimagining will must be revived in some unspecified time in the future, since there are overdue points with the attraction that can must be addressed within the not-too-distant future no matter the reimagining. The journey wants monitor work, amongst different issues, and a prolonged refurbishment will likely be needed throughout the subsequent few years. If a year-plus closure must occur, it’d as nicely embody present scene updates.
One other shock is that the Play Pavilion additionally is just not included within the announcement. Put up-reopening, this undertaking has not been talked about in any respect–neither as one thing that has been cancelled or is continuing as deliberate. At first, our assumption was that Disney didn’t fairly know the right way to deal with the very hands-on pavilion with all playgrounds and interactive displays closed. That’s now not a difficulty, so the continued silence round Play Pavilion is curious.
Now we have no clue what’s up with the Play Pavilion. Our understanding is/was that the undertaking was fairly far alongside pre-closure, and would’ve had no points making its deliberate opening date this yr. Nonetheless, the shortage of something official–and even rumors–makes us ponder whether this mothballed undertaking will come to fruition, or will likely be “restored” to its standing as a competition heart.
In the end, I can’t say that I’m personally enthusiastic about CommuniCore Corridor or Plaza. One purpose I used to be beforehand on board with dropping Innoventions and Fountain of Nations was as a result of the multi-level competition pavilion appeared extremely formidable, and architecturally compelling. Regardless that it wouldn’t have the identical symmetry and clear look of Future World, it appeared like a compelling addition.
This newest idea artwork seems like a knock-off of the earlier core of Future World, with Innoventions changed by the same however incomplete constructing and Fountain of Nations changed with a planter. About the one factor that’s an unequivocal improve is the lushness of the realm. I’m no “tree professional,” however I really feel like that would’ve been achieved with out this complete space engulfed in building partitions for a number of years.
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What do you consider EPCOT’s newly-announced CommuniCore Corridor and Plaza? Is that this an thrilling improvement, or underwhelming as in comparison with the earlier multi-level competition heart? Wanting ahead to any of those tasks coming to EPCOT? Dissatisfied about something that has been delayed or cancelled? Any questions we can assist you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even if you disagree with us–is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!