Bob Chapek Confirms Disney Will Overhaul Epcot

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While no details were provided as of yet, Bob Chapek alluded to an overhaul of Epcot at Walt Disney World today at the Destination D event.


Chapek stated that he was telling Imagineers to “dream big” in fixing the park. Bob also stated that changes and additions will be “Disney, timeless, relevant, and family friendly”. He also stated that Epcot would remain true to its original vision.

More details will be shared at a later time, Disney was not ready to talk about the project just yet.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.


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  • I enjoy the material this site provides. I’m a disney fan and always have been. I was 5 years old when Epcot open, I was there, and it was and still is my favorite park. Now I do understand that Disney is lacking in the thrill ride department, but that is not why people go there. Disney has a special quality that no other park supplies. If I want to go on thrill rides I’ll go to Cedar Point, I only live an hour from there. If I fly to Florida for Disney I want the feelings I had when I was 5 to come back to me and my child. Now I don’t want the same attractions I had when I was 5, but the wonderment and excitement should walk hand and hand with the nestalga. Epcot is not gone and can be the flagship park it once was. Will it happen over night, no. Will it happen before it’s 50th anniversary, let’s hope so. All great things take time, let’s be patient and see what happens. New fantasyland took 5 years and was a great addition to Magic Kingdom. Give them some time. The comments on this site amaze me, everyone claims to be a Disney fan, but only have negative things to say. People claim that these new additions are only gift shops, restaurants and nothing special or awe inspiring, yet the aren’t even open for anyone to experience. Stop the negativity and give them a chance. Disney fans should have imagination and hope for the future. Stop the negativity and bring back the 5 year olds that lives deep inside all of us. Thank you.

    • Goofy213, you do not sound like a fan of Disney AT ALL. You sound like you work for WDW, encouraging the REAL fans to accept less, accept declining services and value, and to just hand over their wallet and shut up. It is NOT NEGATIVITY to report that Disney has ignored it’s customers, and really over cut the staffing, attractions, areas, lack of growth and all very transparently. This didn’t used to be the case, and ironically, WDW made Disney more money when their focus was not on individual inches making profit as they new managers do. Every second of every inch is monitored for profitability and efficiency. How much value or enjoyment for guests is lost, and younger guests who don’t have grandparents who take them on the legacy of when it was much better aren’t returning. It has nothing to do with thrill rides. It has to do with a business management style that only sees Disney characters, rides, and customers as dollars in their theme parks. Nothing more. You mention how long it takes for new area to be built, 5 years, bad news, this is also to extract more money out of guests, and they were forced to do this by competitor parks going and getting all the PR. All the AK, Studios improvements are being dragged slowly, and add NO new space to the park, in fact, they will cut overall number attractions to add stores! Until they get a lot of management fired, including Chapek, Epcot improvements will not have the benefit of us fans in mind. STOP POSTING ON A FAN SITE WHEN YOU’RE NOT A FAN! Thank you.

      • How is your reply of a fan? You’re a disgruntled critic. Do fans ask for the firing of Disney management? Do fans pay for trips that you later complain about? Worse is you make the people that have no problem going seems like they are doing the wrong thing. No one cares about how the park is staffed or if their wallets are made lighter.

        • Yes, he sounds like a fan to me. A lot of their management sucks to be honest. If you don’t care how the places you visit are staffed, how they cut corners in safety, what’s open or closed, that they charge you more for less, than you are just an idiot. That has nothing to do with Disney.

          • I don’t care. You’re the idiot if you think anything you say matters one bit. A fan doesn’t run the company. Anything you think that matters really doesn’t. That has nothing to do with Disney but your idiotic thought process.

    • I totally agree with you! I just found out about this site a couple weeks ago and love it. But I don’t like all the negativity going around in these comments. I know Disney has made quite a few mistakes with their theme parks over the years, and I’m disappointed in that too. But I think there should be a hope that Disney will do the right thing to Epcot. I think Disney should get opinions from their fan base Like people who comment on this site, then Disney might realize the importance of keeping the parks to walt’s vision.

      • Either you’re Disney Public Relations, or a total freakin’ moron who’d buy ocean front property in Kansas at twice the price and stand in a 3 hour line to do it.

      • Welcome Seth! The issue you’re missing is what you interpret as “negativity” are the people who actually want more of what you want…”walt’s vision”. The people who are running the theme parks HATE Walt’s vision. It may win in the long run, but they’re paid on month to month profits only. Chapek doesn’t gain anything long term. That’s why some of the more critical folks here are actually fans, and it’s not negavitity to me.

      • See here’s the problem with your outlook vs the “negativity” that you’re seeing here. You think that Disney is some sort of charity that wants to do nothing but spread joy and happiness throughout the world. If you really want to have hope for the new EPCOT project, just look at the original concept work for New Fantasyland, what imagineering wants and plans for never gets built because it doesn’t improve the bottom line. Disney is a publicly traded company, when I was in business school the thing they preached over and over again was that the #1 goal of a publicly traded company was to make the stockholders money. I do agree with you on the negativity in a certain sense because everyone here is quick to blame management and Iger, but ultimately all they’re doing is what the board of directors and the stockholders want, because otherwise those managers would be out of a job. It’s like demanding a fast food worker be fired because they have to charge you for an extra dipping sauce, they didn’t make that rule, but they’ll sure as hell get fired if they don’t enorce it. As I constantly say on here, if you want to have any impact on Disney, you have to become a stockholder because that’s the only way you can help ensure they’ll keep Walt’s vision.

        • You’re post is somewhat true..but here’s the missing link…wait for it….. Disney has a CEO who 99.9% cares about their media. Bob Iger literally despises the theme parks. Disney will make more money off of just Frozen merchandise worldwide this Christmas than all their theme parks will make all year combined, and for little to no hassle. Here’s the missing link. The parks, EPCOT included, aren’t supposed to be just a cash cow. They’re supposed to generate a feeling, an experience, a destination that makes people WANT to see the movies, and buy the stuff. Sure, it’s always been a business, but a shitty run one in this division. In Bob Iger’s not caring, he put some not fore thinking bozos (Chapek is just one in a line of them) who’s only responsibility is “efficiency” and making the biggest bang for the buck, every second, off of every square foot. The stockholders don’t have a say. But are doing ok cuz of media, the WDW parks have been sucking wind from their loss of focus for a decade or more now.

          • Is that true that they make more off frozen merchandise? That is pretty sad in my opinion. With what’s been happening in the last 10 years or so with the parks, do you think there is any hope left?

          • Its very true. You can read the stockholder stuff that’s public. There’s hope, but probably not until new management comes in who see’s the parks as a way to build brand loyalty, while making some money, and not a way to simply count dollars spend per person per second.

          • #MostAccuratePostEver I work at WDW in Florida and am a Disney freak. They have such unrealistic goals for us in efficiency, sales, and how many people we can put through rides and stores based on our staffing being lowered constantly. That’s all they care about at every level. Sure, we’re supposed to smile and be nice, and if see something that might give the brand a bad name, report it (though little ever done but smoke and mirrors). There is NEVER a concern expressed about how true it is to Walt’s vision. NEVER a concern about the enjoyment or safety or experience for an individual guest. They only care about complaints that result in a loss of money.

            I want to see them upgrade parks, and won’t lie, making money is important, but you’re post …stockholder…is very accurate from my perspective on the inside. Don’t take my post as a Debbie downer, just as a CM freak who knows we can do SOOOOOO much more. We have in the past, and could again if allowed by the corporate gurus. Right now if EPCOT redone, I’d be very worried it would be all for profit, and would expect some closure of attractions and even more entertainment than we have left. Disney lover in me hopes I’m proved wrong one day. Disney PR FYI reads this board, just not anyone high enough to make any changes. Only to post here positive messages. If you have LEGITIMATE park concern, demand money back, it’s all the higher ups will ever see.

          • Tangled Is far better than Frozen and deserves a chance far more than Frozen, which was a really bad film. If Tangled and even Zootopia were given a much better chance in the parks, they’d be enormous successes. But Chapek hates those films and he is the Joseph Goebbels to Iger’s Hitler. Put someone in charge of the company who cares more about imagination and innovation than short term profit and the parks would be much better off.

  • I hope this means more lands in world showcase and not another pavilion conversion like they did with Norway. and also an embracing of the science & Tech side of Futureworld.

  • If Epcot (Center) is “reimagined”, I just hope they keep this Disney quote in mind (if they do it will be alright) – “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”

  • His comments couldn’t get more vague. Yeah we know it needs to get done, we’re listening to you, so I am here to announce we are going to refurbish the park but I am not going to give details, no dates, ride announcements, nothing but the same old Disney Management rhetoric. Thank you, we’ll keep taking your money, keep coming to the park as crappy as it is, and we’ll just make the Flower & Garden & Food & Wine 6 months each so they are longer a special events

    • Yea, I first heard this news and got excited, then remembered this is same guy who has promised many things. They close more than they open sadly. I know a few areas of other parks being renovated, but the more that leaks, the more it’s going to be very popular for people wanting to buy and stand in lines for things, not ride or do things. There’s hardly a company out there giving less for the more that you pay the Disney in Florida. (Their overseas parks excluded) Disney needs to overhaul Walt Disney World staffing AND how the compensate them…all based on short term profit, which makes them cheapen out. They don’t really care about long term. Disney World Park management doesn’t really give 2 hoots about “Disney” nor entertainment/education/value/corporate gain. Their profits are based on short term profits only.

    • Thank you for your input Disney PR person. I am so ashamed of myself for not drinking the pixie dust laden Koolaid and and praising Disney for everything that they do for me. I will thank them by blindly throwing money at them without ever questioning their logic and intentions. Thank you for setting me straight.

  • Tell me about it. I’d like it better if they stop having comments here. This isn’t a forum, but a post. It’s alright to express your opinion, but not to the point of being pessimistic and rude to others. I’d hate to see ‘fans’ like this on smaller blogs.

    • You must be a Trump supporter, you’re too thin skinned to respect other people’s opinions so you’d rather there be no way for them to express those opinions. Who cares if they’re being pessimistic? It’s still an opinion and they have a right to express it regardless of if you agree with it or not. Nobody makes you read the comments, if you have such a problem with them, read the post and then stop scrolling. I’m sure in a few months you’ll be able to go running to your supreme leader Trump and say that this site is harboring Mexicans, Muskims, and other “bad hombres” and he will have this site shut down.

      • Philip is a known troll. There’s NOTHING negative about being honest. Don’t If you don’t like the comments, STOP COMING TO THIS SITE, just like you haters keep saying if you don’t like how Disney gives you less for more money, stop going there. We don’t need you here either. Some of us are fans and like the parks, but not how they’re being pushed down the drain.

  • I’m going to tell you people a little something my uncle told me when I was complaining about star wars episode 1. “To be a true fan you have to love it all, take the jarjar’s with the Obi Wan’s, and have faith that there are better things to come.”

    Now first of all, they’re adding in new gift shops and restaurants in all the parks to squeeze more money out of customers, in the meantime they’ve WIDELY expanded those food offerings from the chicken nuggets and personal pizzas of my childhood. Now when I go to Disney I get a chance to eat a myriad of things I would never get to try where I come from. For both rides and gift shops they’ve created some phenomenally immersive experiences, and yes, the primary purpose is to make money, but most of their restaurants are overcrowded and I’m all for adding more of them so I get the chance to actually eat in one of them instead of waiting two hours and opting out for a hotdog.

    Second, people are beating to death the idea that WDW keeps cutting back rides and other free-with-entry experiences to make a quick dollar. I disagree with that. In recent years they’ve added free christmas entertainment at Disney Springs, and this year added a cutting edge new light show. You don’t even need a ticket for Disney Springs. They’ve taken Hollywood Studios (And btw, do NOT get me started on people complaining about DHS becoming a vessel for IP’s, that is LITERALLY what the park was created for) and bulldozed some of the worst pure cash cows and are adding in a toy story land and a star wars land that both promise to be insanely good, adding 4 new rides between them, and considering that DHS really only ever had 4 rides at most, this is a huge improvement for them that completely fits their movie theme. In the mean time they’ve had to make some show closures but it’s shortsighted not to realize it’s because of construction logistics. Moreover they’re getting rid of star wars weekends which has become completely bastardized in the last 5 or so years, and thank god for that. If new fantasyland is any indication of things to come I’m all in. They took one ride away and added two more in the style of old wdw, plus a realy great interactive experience with Belle. The completely adorable but modern little mermaid ride, and a slightly more fun snow white update that again, had really good theming. They even themed the bathrooms to look really magical and that is again, a free thing. They’ve been adding interactive games to the ques to entertain guests who have to wait, which again-are magical little extras. Sorcerers of the magic kingdom was still free last time I went unless you wanted add on’s as well. They’ve added all kinds of new entertainment at the resorts that are free of charge, like movies on the beach and piping the firework music out to you. Now I can enjoy wishes in full effect with a drink in my hand from the beach without having to buy a ticket. Sure they’re adding more pay for experiences, but they’re adding them because people want less crowded experiences. I pay for MVMCP every year because with half the lines I know I can ride all the rides I care to in 5 hours instead of paying for a regularly priced ticket, and I fail to see where that’s purely to make money when it clearly has a lot to offer in the way of guest experience with extra characters, extra shows, and free goodies for half the price of regular admission. Animal Kingdom is continually getting better and better, taking away what was once an oversized character meet-and-greet and turning it into the land of fantasy animals it was always supposed to be by using an IP (which is IMHO a better concept than finding sponsors and seeing FEDEX and KODAK freakin everywhere) that has a strong focus on conservation and cultural appreciation- the hallmark of AK, and while epcot has fallen dramatically in the last decade, I for one am really excited to see what they have in store. They can ruin it by making everything character and thrill-ride-centric, but I’m more apt to believe that just like New Fantasyland and DHS, that they’re going to keep with the spirit of the park and find a way to marry EPCOT’s true vision with some Disney characters and magic sprinkled about. Afterall, while cutting back on sponsors something has to fund them and IP’s are profitable.

    I’m not going to change anyone’s mind but Disney wanted his parks to be a living breathing experience. He was never against IP’s, some of his greatest films were IP’s like marry poppins and winnie the pooh, and few films really didn’t come from someone else’s stories. Even the “original rides” everyone loves and adores were based largely on segments from his television shows. Disney World is going to keep changing and if they ever REALLY start to lose business they’ll change things again, but from my point of view as a lifelong Disney World fan, they have their peaks and troughs, but they’re a billion times better than any other park on the planet and I’m always excited to experience something new, even if I don’t like it in the end. Eventually all the Stitch’s Great Escapes close down afterall (and thank god for that). True fans don’t have to love it all, but they have to accept it and appreciate it for the growth it brings.

    P.S. Not Disney P.R., but I wish, they didn’t hire me. Shameless plug- Disney- There’s more where that came from and I’ll work for tickets wink wink.

    P.S.S. this was written in stream of consciousness so please forgive the grammatical errors.

    • You must live on drugs kid. If you aren’t intelligent enough how you’re being given MUCH less for MUCH more money, you’ll be the victim of many of scams in your lifetime kid. Did you see the article about new tents at Magic Kingdom to escape the chaos? THIS is what EPCOT becomes, we’re screwed. And current Disney management…this IS what it would become.

      • Thanks for demeaning my intelligence by saying I’m a kid based on my opinions. Law degree holder over here. Not a kid. Been going to Disney since 95. Had’t seen the tent thing, but frankly, you’re the unintelligent one for not understanding how a business works and appreciating how much Disney does for it’s guests in comparison to literally any other theme park. You don’t have to rent the tents. They’re not forcing you to, nor are they taking away any guest experience in lieu of the tents, so I don’t see how it has an effect on any of my points. The parks are getting more crowded, they’re sinking money into updating the parks you love to bellyache about instead of building new ones, and they’re offering people who don’t like crowds a respite-at a price. Not really that ridiculous, but if you hate Disney so much, PLEASE, stop going. One less person I have to wait behind for btm

        • I think Rasheed went light on you. Theres not a chance you’re education made it past the 5th grade, much less law school based on your posts, and especially lack of insight kid. Give us a break. Same on your thin argument about if you don’t like it, don’t go. We can say the same for your arguments here, one less idiot who thinks everything Disney does is for them, or that they’d actually give you free tickets for your idiotic rants. We’re not impressed. Get in rehab and back in school WDW #1 fan.

        • WDW #1 Fan…you say you haven’t seen the tint think and you’re writing like a schizophrenic off his meds. you don’t sound like a Disney fan. It’s fine if you disagree, but when you haven’t even seen it and bitching like a little kid who got his candy taken away, you lose credibility form me. And if you don’t like other peoples posts, stop reading them! You don’t need to visit this site, just like you say people don’t need to visit the park.

          That said, I’m ALL for improvement of Disney. Especially EPCOT, which after Disney Springs came, we seldom visit, because we mainly went for restaurants and atmosphere. Springs bests EPCOT in both of these. Chapek is historically an over-stater and underperformer for Disney. Just sayin’. If he’s running the show, any inch of that park that doesn’t make money is on the chopping block. NOT what a fan would want.

          • darn autocorrect, meant you say you haven’t seen the “the tents” before your rant, not sure how computer changed that to “tint think”

  • How is it going to keep to the vision of the original Epcot? They already ruined it with Frozen and the upcoming Guardians. Because nothing says EPCOT like Frozen and Marvel.

    • I’m hoping the guardians thing is still just a rumor, but Frozen was probably the biggest misfire they’ve had recently and it was BIG. I mean, other than the pull of frozen fans, its basically rocket rods all over again. It doesn’t fit and it doesn’t work. Arrendale or however you spell it =/= Norway.

      • Yea. Disney has mostly had misfires lately. Not just Frozen. You DO NOT SOUND LIKE A FAN by the way, how you stand behind their cutting measures as improvements in so many posts.

    • Good point Jeff. Got me thinking, what has Disney come up with in a number of years that wasn’t bought from other peoples creativity? Would Marvel or Pixar have gotten to where they were if Disney had come up with it, or would the managers have beat it into the ground on short term profit requirements, and not thinking long term. Maybe we should hire people who came up with Pixar and Marvel to design the parks, in EPCOT mindset and goal of course, with goal being long term success and people lining up to get in. Disney never got the complaints years ago that it does now. But, never deserved them before.

      • Good idea!! I bet given a leash to do what they want, they Marvel and Pixar folks could really redesign Epcot. Probably Disney’s own imagineers could help if they had any control. And probably wouldn’t choose to “whore out” their out of place Pixar or Marvel products, but really capitalize on a Epcot being a destination, both future world and world showcase. Chapek at the helm isn’t a good start. It will all be character meet and greets, and he’s going to wonder why people are stopping to “enjoy the park” and not in a store “buying something”, and it will be distend to minimize ‘dead space’ like rides and such that don’t sell products. Spaceship Earth, Soarin’ Test Track included (though Test Track sponsored by GM and Spaceship by Siemens so they might be spared)

      • True Phil. Only lines now are when they close 80% of the entrances, and run rides and restaurants at half capacity (unknown to guests) to save on labor costs. I cannot think of anything that Disney created, yet not bought from someone else. And usually when Disney get’s it lately, it gets same theme they bought churned and beat to death, and growth of new ideas stops. I’m sure creative folks in Disney are stiffled and shut down by the accountants, who very obviously have taken 100% control. I don’t think there’s a company in America who cares less what their customers think than Disney. It’s banker ran. I think optimistically, it will change! It will have to. Generation today not so impressed by it as their parents were.

  • Love that statement. Hope Disney does the right things and trusts the bottom line to take care of itself as a truly quality product will.

    • Yes, hope is a wonderful thing! We hope ISIS ends world hunger, might happen one day. Historically they don’t operate like that and have their own interests in mind only. Unfortunately Disney has lately only looked at their bottom line lately. It’s scary to think what they’d do if refurb it under Bob Iger in my single opinion. If we never thought we’d miss Michael Eisner, this is a time we’d like him back, he was kind to theme parks and their attendees!

  • I haven’t ready every single comment yet but why all the naysayers…Disney f***** up with DCA in it’s first incarnation and spent a lot to fix it . Why not wait to see what they plan with EPCOT ? Are you naysayers already tearing into Pandora at DAK and Cars and Star Wars at the Studios ? I’m not sorry at all with my analogy but it’s like complaining about a birthday gift when not only is NOT your birthday but you have no idea what the gift is is and besides …what kind of jerk complains about a gift .. you didn’t pay for it. Keep it or give it away and move on.

  • I hope in saying to Imagineers to “dream big,” he’s giving them the creative freedom they so deserve (and probably want) in finally producing attractions and experiences that don’t have to be based on branded material. My worry is that the park will only stay true to the original vision in promoting prominent companies’ new ideas and will feel like one giant commercial convention instead of it being a place of wonder and imagination. Spaceship Earth is a masterpiece of Imagineering. I hope they keep the park in that spirit. Imagination meeting innovation. Not just promotion. We shall see… we shall see.. I can also envision them changing the entire to park to one big Stark Expo and defending it by saying “Stark Expo is based on the two New York World’s Fairs and so is still in the tradition of Epcot while being ‘family friendly.'” Sounds crazy, but we’re living in an age where they honestly thought changing one of the most popular and well loved attractions at DCA was a good idea. But time will tell. I’m sure more details will be announced at the next D23.