When EPCOT reopened to the public on July 15th, both sides of the newly reimagined entrance area opened as well. This new area, minus the fountain that's still being worked on, is the first big chunk of the proposed renovations to the park that we've seen come to fruition. I thought it'd be fun to stop and take a look around the new area and get a feel for the space.
Just in case you need to refresh your memory regarding the proposed changes to the entrance, the artist rendering that was released at the 2019 D23 Expo is above. In the rendering, the refurbished area just in front of Spaceship Earth featured pathways and abundant flora. Most notable in the drawing is the complete removal of the Leave a Legacy monoliths, which had been housed in this area for years.
The changes begin before guests enter the park. The ticket booths just outside the park entrance have received a new coat of paint, and each booth now sports a different color of the rainbow. I found this addition of color endearing, as it helps to set a whimsical tone right from the start.
The new entrance area is just as you'd expect from the preview sketch: open and spacious. Raised planters of varying heights help to define the individual pathways, and allow for countless angles from which guests can get that perfect picture with Spaceship Earth in the background.
Some of the raised planters feature mature trees, which lends an established feel to the area. Other planter beds incorporate flowering shrubs, perennials, and low-lying annuals that will be cycled out seasonally.
Even during this time of initial reopening, PhotoPass photographers have been stationed in the new entrance area for guests wishing to have a picture or two taken.
The construction walls surrounding the fountain now feature Disney characters and inspirational quotes like we've see on the walls leading to Future World West. The fountain hasn't quite been completed yet, and I can't wait until the walls come down and we get to see the area fully realized.
Personally, I'm happy to see that the new walkways in the reimagined entrance area are extra wide. I know that crowd levels are low during this first phase of reopening, but I have a feeling that these wide paths will help handle the flow of traffic in the months ahead just a bit better than what came before.
Even with construction walls surrounding the fountain in front of it, Spaceship Earth is beautiful at night, and with the addition and placement of the new trees, it's now perfectly framed. Lights placed at the bottom of the trees provide additional ambiance and warmth to the entrance area in the evening.
We'll continue to keep you updated as changes continue to become reality at EPCOT. If you'd like to catch up on the construction updates thus far, click here, and scroll down.