Some recent permits have shown us some significant detail regarding construction at Epcot, both ongoing for Guardians of the Galaxy at Universe of Energy, and future plans for what we believe is the new hotel being built at the entrance to the park.
The image below shows the entire stormwater basin area that will be affected by the building plans. As you can see, it encompasses all of Epcot, as well as the entire parking lot and additional undeveloped areas adjacent to the park.
The permits provide a nice overview of the current land use in this area. Red is buildings, pink is impervious (paved) areas, light green is pervious (i.e. undeveloped) areas, and dark green is wetlands.
The conceptual plan for the basin shows four main areas where development is or will be occurring. An immense new retention pond is planned for much of the wetlands area in the northwest corner of the map, adjacent to the solar installations. The main reason a new retention pond is needed? Because Disney is planning to develop a large portion of the undeveloped areas, and these new buildings and associated structures will need new stormwater management. In the map below, the yellow area is Zone A, Orange is Zone B, Pink is Zone C, and Gray is Zone D.
You can see in this image a more detailed description of the zones. Most of the current Guardians development is actually taking place in the northeast portion of Zone B, with some encroaching onto Zone C. Of particular note is the “Area 2” designated in Zone C. This is currently a wooded area but is planned to be cleared and leveled for development, according to the permit. It is likely this will be used for additional parking lots. Woodpecker Lane, which is an unpaved road that connects the eastern corner of the parking lot with the backstage areas, currently runs through Area 2, but as you can see, will be rerouted around the perimeter of the new parking lots.
Also noteworthy in this image is “Area 1” in Zone A. This is now a wooded wetlands area, but according to the permit will be cleared and leveled for development. “Area 1” conveniently is located between cast backstage parking across Epcot Resorts Blvd. from the Beach Club Resort and the western edge of the Epcot bus pickup area and parking lot. We are speculating that this will be used for cast parking and backstage support functions for the new hotel to be built at the entrance of Epcot, in the area designated Zone A which is to the east of “Area 1” on the map. Whether the hotel will straddle the monorail beams or be located just to the west, we still don’t know, but either way, it appears the bus stop and bus parking area will need to be relocated.
While these permits reveal two phases of the construction so far, there is more to come! Phase 1 is essentially the Guardians coaster show building and the first part of Pond A. Phase 2 will encompass the hotel and second part of Pond A. Nothing has yet been filed for the massive overhaul of Future World, which is in Zone B of the map. We presume that will be Phase 3 of the project. Concept art for that was shown at the D23 Expo: