We return to Epcot to continue our walk around Future World. In the last Part, we took a good look at everything that’s happening on the Future World West side and out in front of the Park, with an emphasis on how the current run of construction projects will affect your rope drop plans. As we’ll see shortly, Test Track remains closed for refurbishment until later this week. We’ll return after it opens to reconsider our touring strategy, but chances are that little has changed on that front, even with the walls sending people in exactly two different directions to start. Ratatouille’s opening in the France Pavilion in a few months will likely cause some changes to how we go about our day, and may even change which entrance we prefer to use to enter the Park. The International Gateway entrance is located in between the France and United Kingdom Pavilions, and guests heading in from there should have a substantial advantage due to its proximity to the rat-based attraction. A year ago, the number of people organically entering via the International Gateway would be minuscule, but with the Skyliner dropping thousands of rooms full of guests from the Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera resorts, there’s the potential for a lot of people streaming in from over there. We’ll certainly take a look at it from all angles once the new ride opens.
While construction walls dominate Future World, and will for the next couple of years, the fact of the matter is that little has actually closed in the last couple of weeks. Electric Umbrella and the pin store behind Spaceship Earth are really it. Chances are, you’d walk right by both anyway. There are plenty of opportunities to buy pins, and as we’ll see, much of Electric Umbrella’s menu is available at other locations. The Mouse Gear store also sees a temporary location inside Innoventions East during its closure.
One more thing that’s now closed is the Agent P Adventure, which primarily took place in World Showcase. The interactive game is now inaccessible and will eventually be replaced by “Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure,” which will be part of the Play Disney Parks mobile app. We have about a paragraph of information on it:
“Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure invites guests to join Scrooge McDuck, Donald, nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, Launchpad and Webby in search of priceless treasure. Using the Play Disney Parks mobile app, guests take a trip around World Showcase discovering exotic destinations, exciting mysteries, and maybe even a few thieves, villains and supernatural guardians of ancient artifacts. This will be the next iteration of a popular interactive scavenger hunt around World Showcase guests have enjoyed for years as they experience the magic of possibility at Epcot.”
There is no date on when the new game will debut.
The temporary walkway into Future World East, which is the one that you’ll take if you’re headed towards Test Track or Frozen, is located to the left of Guest Services.
From the front of the Park, you’ll keep left past Spaceship Earth.
With the walls lining the area on the other side, the route may not initially be obvious, but there won’t be anywhere to go other than around.
That’s Guest Services on the right as we take a left through the bypass. In a few days, Test Track will be uncovered on the top of that list on the wall on the right.
Prior to rope drop, you’ll be held in this area.
Turning the corner, the old Universe of Energy building stands tall on the left.
Here’s the same walkway looking in the opposite direction, with the old Universe of Energy building on the right.
At the end of the night, you may want to exit on this side as the pathways and eventual exit are wider than on the other side.
Here come the people at rope drop. Test Track is basically right behind me. It will be interesting to see if an even larger percentage of the crowd at Park open heads to Test Track first, now that you have to blatantly pass by it in order to keep walking towards Frozen Ever After. Prior to the construction walls that blocked off the middle of the Park arriving on the scene, those committed to heading to Frozen first typically walked up the main drag into World Showcase, eventually taking a left towards the Mexico Pavilion. They didn’t walk by the entrances to Soarin’ or Test Track, so it was unlikely that they would change course on the fly. Now, you’ll very obviously have to pass Test Track in order to continue to Frozen. As we know, Test Track is the highest priority rope drop attraction at Epcot, with longer wait times than any other ride.
Typically, arriving at bag check an hour before the Park opens is plenty early to be in good position to rope drop the attraction of your choice. Even over the busy Presidents Day Weekend, we saw about 40 people waiting outside the main entrance at 8am with the 9am open. I doubt that the recommended arrival time will change in the near term. By 8:30am, you’re looking at a lot of people most mornings. But even if you arrived then, you’d be fine to rope drop Soarin’ or Frozen most days. Test Track is the real priority.
Here’s one more look at the walkway into the Park. With the Flower and Garden Festival coming up on March 4th, the Passholder Magnet distribution should return to MouseGear. That’s where the magnets were given out during the Festival of the Arts.
Three major projects on this side of the Park continue. Construction relating to Guardians of the Galaxy is behind those walls on the left as we look towards Mission: SPACE.
Work on transforming the old Wonders of Life Pavilion into the Play! Pavilion also continues. Concept art for the new area lines the walls.
Mission: SPACE remains open.
It’s expected that the entrance to the new Space 220 restaurant will be over here, even though the physical restaurant building is almost touching the side of Test Track in the distance.
Space 220 was supposed to open last year, and still doesn’t have an official opening date, though speculation currently points to early April. Apparently, they lost their head chef to Vegas, among other issues.
Walls line the entire walkway to and from Mission: SPACE.
But you won’t have any problem getting over there…if you want to.
What’s inside the Guardians of the Galaxy building will be a surprise to us all as very little can be gathered from looking at the outside of the buildings.
From the monorail, you can look down at what’s going on out in front of the Universe of Energy, but that’s it. It’s pretty much just dirt and concrete.
Looking in the opposite direction, I’ve highlighted where the wall is that’s blocking us from being able to pass through the breezeway that would have walked us past Electric Umbrella on the right and Mouse Gear on the left.
Here’s a wider shot with the same wall highlighted. The setup is fairly straightforward.
But rarely attractive.
Test Track is supposed to reopen on Wednesday, February 26th.
Since the FastPass+ machines on this side of Future World used to be found along the breezeway, which is now closed off, they’ve moved them over here.
Vehicles have been circling the Test Track…track…for well over a week, which seems like a good indication that some significant work is being done to a ride that remains one of Disney’s least reliable.
Perhaps we’ll see an upgrade to the design software too.
Taste Track, the name of the semi-permanent kiosk that situates itself outside Test Track, is supposed to be open and serving hamburgers right now. Like just about every other project Disney has been working on over the last few years, it’s delayed. But it’s not like most people are going to want to stop here anyway, even after it opens.
There isn’t a whole lot to see over the walls.
And potentially, depending on the direction in which you look, you might not even notice the walls.
And if it’s flatbreads that you’re looking for in Electric Umbrella’s wake, then I have “good news.”
The old Odyssey Building, which now houses the “Epcot Experience,” is also home to some food and drink “opportunities.”
It’s unlikely that you want any of this, but if dad or the kids will die if they don’t eat a pepperoni flatbread in the next 15 minutes, this is it.
A couple of local beers are also offered, in addition to a couple of ciders.
This is what it looks like inside.
Hopefully these switchbacks won’t be necessary. None of the food offerings are worth going out of your way to try. It’s all bland, old, and pre-made.
Sunshine Seasons currently offers a Bacon Cheeseburger on Brioche, so you know it’s worth the fourteen dollar ask. If you’re looking for something straightforward to eat, then you might also check out the new Regal Eagle Barbecue. The chicken there is our favorite.
Another Festival of the Arts will come to a close at the end of the day on February 24th. Here are a few quick pictures of what you would have seen around Future World:
The Festival will likely return next year with similar dates; I would guess from January 15th through February 22nd.
If you’d like to create some art in the meantime, the Ink & Paint line of merchandise is one of the best that I’ve seen. You can color in this backpack with the included markers and then wash the ink off and begin anew:
A lot of it is available online at ShopDisney here.
With Test Track closed, it didn’t make a lot of sense to look into any serious touring strategy, despite arriving in plenty of time to beat the crowds to Frozen or Soarin’. After taking pictures of walls for an hour, I headed to my favorite ride, Living with the Land:
It ended up being a good thing that we basically rope dropped it by getting in line at 9:20am, when we waited about two minutes to board.
An hour later, at 10:20am, the posted wait was 40 minutes and there was quite the backup. Thanks, FastPass+!
You don’t want to visit Epcot on most holiday weekends if you can help it. It might have been more crowded than July 4th as we look at the line for Journey into Imagination with Figment before 10:30am. At least 95% of the time, nobody is waiting outside. Today, we’ve got a couple of unofficial switchbacks.
Even Frozen Ever After looked like it was 2016 with the 2+ hour standby wait before 11am. Test Track’s closure is certainly affecting the length of some of these lines, but I don’t think it would be all that much better if the ride was operating.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends is now more popular with the bypass on that side walking every guest past The Seas. It’s hard to tell, but that’s a 65-minute posted wait at 11:15am. If you were to check FastPass+ inventory on the night before, then you would have seen that Nemo didn’t have any FP+ availability until the late afternoon. That means every single FastPass+ before 2pm was spoken for in advance. With more of the ride’s capacity going to a lot more FastPass+ returners, the standby line suffers. This phenomenon will be considerably worse after Spaceship Earth closes, and ~20,000 FastPass+ experiences per day are no longer available. Scoring Tier 2 FastPass+ at Epcot will then be considerably more difficult. Ratatouille will help with FastPass+ capacity, but it will almost certainly fall under Tier 1, with none of the attractions in that Tier dropping to Tier 2 after the new ride opens.
I’m sure that we’ll be seeing a lot of these walls over the next couple of years.
The good news is that World Showcase remains virtually untouched.
It’s not like they’re building any more Pavilions. No Brazil. No India. No Russia. No Spain.
We’ll be back Wednesday for Test Track’s reopening.