The list of updates and changes coming to Epcot increased this week as Disney announced an overhaul to the main entrance and a new Play Pavilion that will take over the old Wonders of Life location.
Officially, Disney announced that the Play Pavilion would feature interactive experiences, your favorite Disney characters, hands-on activities and engaging entertainment. The “innovative city” depicted in the concept art has led to plenty of speculation and some new information from Disney insiders.
Here’s what one Disney insider had to say about what’s coming to the Play Pavilion.
“The interior will be one huge IP driven playground. I’m aware of three core IPs. Don’t think attractions as such. More like environments. Expect F&B to be added too. And digital interaction. Work should begin before the fall.”Martin Smith on WDWMagic
The “IP” statement refers to intellectual property, or the infusion of characters from Disney’s immense catalog. Characters are specifically mentioned by Disney and it sounds like all of the experiences will be tailored around Disney films. The concept art alone shows what appears to be characters and references from Zootopia, Inside Out, The Incredibles and of course Mickey Mouse. There may still be some nods to the past as seen in the large WEDway sign (WEDWay refers to the people mover system Disney developed) in the center-right of the image.
The Play Pavilion won’t have any traditional attractions or rides, but it will have interactive / engaging activities and entertainment. This means that though there will be experiences and things to see, you shouldn’t plan on boarding a ride vehicle.
It’s also noteworthy that food and beverage (F&B) is expected to be added to the new Play Pavilion. A new quick service or snack location in Future World would be a welcome addition.
The concept art appears to show that the outdoor sky will be projected on the dome of the Wonders of Life Pavilion, adding a nighttime feel to the indoor area. Disney should have full control of the lighting that’s installed, allowing them to depict a lively and impressive night sky.
Finally, we also learned that work on the location is expected to begin by Fall 2019, barring any delays. That means that the old Wonders of Life Pavilion probably won’t be used as a festival center / location beginning later this year. The new Play Pavilion is expected to open by 2021.