We made it out to Epcot recently to take an updated look at what the arrival experience looks like right now. Work continues on a variety of projects, including a big change to how you might get back to your car.
If you’re unfamiliar with the project, Disney is in the process of overhauling the arrival experience at Epcot by pushing the tram drop off area a bit further away from the main entrance, removing the Leave a Legacy monoliths, and likely more. Back in mid-April, Disney installed the walls that we’ll take a peek over today.
We’ll start in the parking lot, with the temporary tram drop off area. This area is still quite a bit of a walk away from the main entrance. If you’re trying to save some time, we suggest just walking from the parking lot.
A change since the last time we took a look at the project is that the walkway from the Journey parking lot to the buses is blocked off. We’ll talk about that in a bit, but here is a look at the signage that points you to the only entrance accessible from the parking lot, the east bag check.
As we made our way to the entrance, we noticed that a bit of foliage has been removed, giving us a pretty clean look at the acceleration tunnel for the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. While we use “acceleration tunnel” to describe the enclosed section of the building that runs between the Universe of Energy pavilion and the massive gravity building, a literal tunnel runs under the track, allowing backstage vehicles to navigate the perimeter road that runs around Epcot.
We also have an elevated look at the tunnel from the monorail.
Speaking of the monorail, we get our best view of the new tram loop from the monorail platform. We can see that Disney will be pushing the tram loop drop off further away from the park entrance as part of the sweeping changes to the arrival experience. We can see the u-turn for the new drop off point below.
Continuing down the old roadway, we can see some plumbing staging as well as the current, temporary, tram drop off loop.
Other work taking place includes completely demolishing all of the hardscape around the old tram drop off areas, including under the monorail platform as seen below. The following two photos are opposite angles of each other.
On the east side of the platform, Disney has torn out just about as much of the existing pavement as possible without affecting their construction wall.
The west side of the monorail platform is the area getting the most attention. We have a couple different vantage points of the same area, showing not only the land preparation taking place, but also what appears to be square holes for footers for a new structure. This was previously the load and unload area for the Epcot parking lot tram.
Continuing down the exit ramp for the Epcot monorail station shows that a bit of foliage has been removed, but Disney seems intent on keeping some of the larger trees.
Here’s a look at the old tram boarding area, all behind construction walls.
We can also see what appear to be some footer mounts staged nearby. It’s too early in the process to know what exactly these will be used for.
Once exiting the monorail platform, we realized that there was no way back to the parking lot without having to first go through bag check again. Previously, you would have been able to walk back out to the Journey parking lot, but as we soon found out, that is no longer an option.
We weren’t the only ones who were lost, the couple below could be heard complaining about how they were just trying to get back out to the Journey lot, but they would have to go back through security again.
Here’s a look at the pathway you used to be able to walk back to the Journey lot, past the bus drop off area.
The pathway is now blocked off for construction.
So the thing to keep in mind here is that if you are parked anywhere in the Epcot parking lot, you must use the east exit when leaving the park. This means walking to the right of the Joffrey’s kiosk (or the monorail ramp) when you are exiting the park. If you walk to the left (towards the buses) you will be forced to go through bag check again.
Unfortunately, we didn’t find a lot of signage for the parking lot. There is a sign warning you that you’re headed the wrong way for ride share/guest drop off from within the security bubble, allowing you to course correct.
The only signage telling you that you are headed in the wrong direction is this sign outside of the security bubble, which means that if you’re reading it, it’s already too late.
We did spot a sign indicating guests should use the east exit for parking, but it was out of the way, and of very little help.
Again, this is just for guests who are already in the park. If you parked your car in the Epcot parking lot and took the monorail to Magic Kingdom, the only way you’ll be able to get back to your car is by going through bag check again.
Finally, let’s take a look at the Leave a Legacy monolith work inside the park. From the ground, you can see that the tops of the monoliths are missing, but nothing else.
From the monorail, we can see that all of the monoliths have been removed and the holes left by them have been smoothed over. This is considered phase one of the project, and will be completed “this summer”. The next phase will move over to the eastern monoliths to remove those. Disney hasn’t indicated when work on those will begin, but work on the western monoliths has moved along at an impressive pace.
For continued coverage of the Epcot entrance overhaul project, keep checking back with us at BlogMickey.com!