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D23 Fantastic Worlds Celebration: EPCOT and the Magic of Possibility

Zach Riddley

by , Creative Portfolio Executive - New Experience Development, Walt Disney Imagineering

EPCOT holds a very special place in my heart. As a boy, it inspired me to dream of a better future – a place where anything is possible. And now I’m honored to lead the team of Disney Imagineers dreaming up the new future for this park we all love.  

As part of the D23 Fantastic Worlds Celebration, today I joined Melissa Valiquette, vice president of EPCOT, to talk about the park’s historic transformation happening right now. You can watch the entire session by clicking on the video below, but to whet your appetite, I thought it’d be fun to share a few highlights from our discussion.  

It’s been a while since we last talked with you about the new neighborhoods that will unify EPCOT, so we gave a refresher on World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature and World Showcase. 

To that end, we talked a bit about the park’s reimagined entrance, and how it sets the tone for the entire transformation with its gorgeous new color palette and an open, inviting layout. Earlier this year we installed gleaming new pylons as part of the work we’re doing on the new fountain at the base of Spaceship Earth, which I’m excited to share will be completed by the end of this year. The fountain will have a new lighting package that will be joined by new lighting for the iconic geosphere of Spaceship Earth, as well. When we’re done, it will feel like a completely new way to begin your journey into the park.

Our work continues on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the awesome and out-of-this-world new coaster experience coming to what will soon be known as World Discovery. We’ve just recently put a few of the attraction’s vehicles on the track for initial “push/pull” testing, which you can see happening in the photo above. When it’s ready, this is going to be a great adventure for families to take together.  

We have a new nighttime spectacular planned for World Showcase Lagoon – “Harmonious” will be one of the largest shows ever created for a Disney park. But as you can see in this new artist concept rendering, it will provide a new energy to the park during the daytime, too, with fountains out on the lagoon.    

We also heard from Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald and, from Pixar Animation, Roger Gould and Harley Jessup, who gave us a deep dive into the creation of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the fantastic new family-friendly attraction set to open next year as part of a newly expanded France pavilion. They provided a look at the attraction’s incredible marquee we recently installed, and discussed how it plays into the whimsical architecture of this newly expanded area of the pavilion. This session is a fascinating window into our collaborative work with Pixar I know you’ll enjoy.    

This is just a snapshot from our in-depth discussion of all the goings-on at EPCOT right now. Go see the full presentation for yourself below, and then be sure to follow me @thezachriddley for more on the historic transformation of EPCOT as it unfolds! 


  • Really looking forward to construction finishing and seeing all of the new parts!

  • I’m actually very excited about these new additions! They feel true to the spirit of EPCOT and will breathe some new life into the park. Thanks for the updates, Zach!

  • Dear Zach, my husband and I just finished watching the video and we wanted to say thank you and your team so much for undertaking the Epcot transformation. This park means so much to us, my husband proposed in front of The Land pavilion, and to hear and see all the new and exciting things coming but also hearing about the love and care going into every bit of it makes our Disney hearts happy. After seeing the last IllumiNations and the first showing of Epcot Forever we cannot WAIT to see what HarmoniUS will bring. Keep up the great work!!

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