At long last Disney has announced the official end of what we’ve coined the “EPCOT Crater.” For the first time in four years, guests will be able to walk straight through EPCOT at Walt Disney World. The replacement to the former Fountain of Nations area, the World Celebration Gardens, will open on December 5th, 2023.
Inside World Celebration’s garden area is Dreamers Point, featuring a Walt Disney statue seated on the left side of a massive bench. The statue titled ‘Walt the Dreamer’ will also be opening on December 5th, Walt Disney’s birthday.
The new World Celebration area is a notable departure from the former Innoventions space. Innoventions featured state-of-the-art exhibits and demonstrations, as well as a massive fountain containing waters from 29 nations.
Maintenance costs on the proprietary fountain as well as the constant effort required to keep Innoventions up to date gave Disney a financial incentive to upend the area. Now home to little more than pathways and planters, the cost of maintenance and upkeep in this area has been reduced dramatically.
The demolition of Innoventions West has left the center spine of EPCOT asymmetrical. Embracing this new lack of symmetry, Walt Disney Imagineering adopted an “organic” approach to this central area. It features wandering pathways, oddly shaped planters, and an off-center Walt Disney. Whether this more haphazard, Animal Kingdom-style layout will jive in the brutally geometric EPCOT Center remains to be determined.
The World Celebration Gardens and ‘Walt the Dreamer’ statue open to the public on December 5th, 2023.