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SYFY WIRE Theme Park News

Theme Park News: Disney makes massive Epcot changes and Death Eaters descend upon Orlando

By Carlye Wisel

Season's greetings, fellow parks fanatics! Is it back-to-school season, do you ask? Arbor Day? Secretary's Day? NOPE, we are just already deep inside of Theme Park Halloween despite me driving to Ulta this morning to purchase setting powder so my makeup doesn't melt when I'm back in Florida in *glances at calendar* early October. Remember, they built Disney World on swampland! It's humid!

Anyway, if you did something this week besides rant on Twitter about hotel bedspreads or Beverly, kudos! I'm here to fill your brain with all the autumnal-shaped dreams you missed over the past seven beautiful days. Here's what's happening in the world of theme park news.


If you see me wearing all black and eating rugelach, know it's because I am sitting the traditional Jewish shiva for Club Cool. Yes, Epcot's massive changes are officially underway as of Monday, and if you've ever wanted to drink vile Italian sodas out of a rinse cup from the dentist's office, tough luck, buddy! That dream died as part of Epcot's ever-expanding construction.

It's said that Club Cool will bring its esoteric sticky floor noises to a new location down the line, along with Fountain View (aka Starbucks), which also shuttered as part of the construction, but details are forthcoming. Character Spot as we knew it is done too, but there's already a new temporary spot to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy that's pretty cute, even if the lighting is rough.

Missing media item.

Since our brains are as jumbled on these Epcot changes as yours presumably are, here's a helpful timeline as to what's landing at Epcot in the next two years:

October 2019: New nighttime show Epcot Forever debuts, replacing the nearly two-decade run of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Winter 2019: Space 220 restaurant opens as part of the Mission: SPACE pavilion, while meet-and-greets with Big Hero Six's Baymax and Inside Out's Joy and Sadness will close.

January 2020: Epcot's new Canada 360 Circle-Vision film, The Land's Awesome Planet film, and a Beauty and the Beast sing-along in the France pavilion will all debut.

Summer 2020: Remy's Ratatouille Adventure ride and a new creperie will open in Epcot's France pavilion.

Sometime in 2020: Epcot's new and permanent evening show, HarmonioUS, will debut, in addition to the Wondrous China film within the China pavilion.

Fall 2021: The big celebration lands for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary. Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind roller coaster and new PLAY! Pavilion will open for the occasion, if not sooner.

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No dates have yet been announced for much of D23 Expo 2019's revelations — like the Moana-inspired Journey of Water, Mary Poppins attraction, and Cherry Tree Lane addition to the UK Pavilion — and it's too early to project which parts of Epcot's construction will be completed in time for the 50th. But, given that select openings explicitly state they'll debut "in time for the 50th," it's too early to bank on Spaceship Earth and other changes absolutely opening by then, even if it's feasible.


Did you know Beverly was discontinued *ten years ago* and is only created for three World of Coca-Cola store locations and Club Cool?!? Someone get Hi-C to please just fill a Universal Studios water fountain with Ecto Cooler because clearly anything is possible within The Coca-Cola Company!!!!


Buckle up, my fellow Muggles, because DEATH EATERS are coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. I'm fully imagining this as the "Thriller" video come to life within Hogsmeade because you know Lucius Malfoy's got MOVES!!!!

The baddies will arrive in tandem with the Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle evening projection show debuting at Universal's Islands of Adventure on select nights starting September 14. The Dark Arts show debuted Universal Studios Hollywood earlier this year, and it boasts a showstopping ending that I won't blatantly ruin (scroll to the right to be spoiled). It's a worthwhile display, despite being very different.

Universal Studios Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle fan event

Death Eaters will be part of the show and not, as I hoped, roaming around for so long that I'd be bound to see them slurping a Pumpkin Juice or fiddling with the pick n' mix candy bins inside Honeydukes, but with Hollywood's show clocking in at 8 minutes and Florida's set to last around 20 minutes, there should be some worthwhile creepage prior to the show's start. Would I rather be terrorized by a Bellatrix look-alike while eating fish & chips at Three Broomsticks than waiting in a corral to get a good video of the show? Sure, but I'm game for all of it regardless of how it goes down so Peter Pettigrew come through!!!!

Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle will be performed at Universal's Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort on September 14-22, 24-25, 27, and 29-30 and on October 1-9, 11-23, 25-28, and 30, with November dates still to be determined. Times change nightly, so refer to the daily calendar; note: this schedule is not currently listed but has been confirmed.


I've tried to wrap my brain around every Halloween offering before I hit the parks this Friday and it's proven impossible!!!

I can't embed 70 Instagrams within this post to show you what's happening at Disneyland Resort without likely busting one of SYFY's servers, but there's a pumpkin pie cheesecake with cinnamon whipped cream and spicy chicken grilled cheese with tortilla soup dipping sauce and Haunted Mansion-themed tea service and Cruella de Vil chicken wings and Maleficent Frappuccino and blood orange slush and that's not even a third of the stuff I've been circling like a Halloweentime vulture preparing to snatch its sugary prey.

Disneyland Hot Dog

I'll report back once I make myself ill with a stack of caramel apple churros when I visit next week, but it's an embarrassment of riches I cannot wait to devour through my face hole. So, before my soon-to-be skyrocketing cholesterol overtakes my human form, let's get to the news:


Don't let me pilot the Millennium Falcon if you're on board.

The best antidote to all of Epcot's closures.

— Did Good Morning America just poach Fatima Lakhani's now-viral Evil Queen video?


— You can live like an Imagineer for a cool $2.3 million. Don't have the cash? Take a virtual tour of Tony Baxter's Mary Poppins-inspired backyard instead.

— Biggest things you may have missed on DisTwitter this week: fans reacting to the sanitized redesign of Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, a fetch-worthy color trend debuts, and an anonymous Disney website pays its authors $3 a post.

— I hate most things but this video is pretty cool. (h/t @pizzaplanettruck)

— D23 debuted an in-house Disney podcast.

— Behold, the (true) eighth wonder of the world: Universal's HHN s'mores fries.