We made it out to Epcot recently to cover a couple of different projects going on at the park. While many of the projects, such as the World Celebration reimagination that requires Innoventions West to be completely demolished will take years and years, there is a brand new build that will open in summer 2020! To get the best possible view of the work, we jumped on board the Disney Skyliner gondola system to glide over the construction site to see what’s new. Here’s a look at what has changed since our last visit.
Before we get on the Skyliner, let’s first take a look at some changes that have come to the existing portion of the France pavilion. As you’ll notice in the images below, trees have been removed from the walkway that leads into the pavilion.
Here’s a quick look back at how lush the area use to be.
While Disney hasn’t officially commented on the change, it wouldn’t be hard to think that this was done in anticipation of substantial crowds flooding the pavilion with the addition of a new ride. Specifically, we can imagine that a rope drop will be popular from International Gateway with guests lining up once the Disney Skyliner starts operation for the morning. Unfortunately, the walkways that lead back to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure aren’t very wide, and likely never intended to be used in this way. There are effectively two paths that will take you back to the France pavilion expansion walkway. We’ll look on the other side of the construction walls in a minute, but first, here are the two pathways that guests might be able to utilize.
Essentially, guests will either go left or right of the hedges. It remains to be seen how operations handles rope drop and what volume of guests will actually be interested in this ride at rope drop, but we anticipate it being popular. The left side of the hedge can be seen in the photo above, eventually turning right through the facade towards the walkway.
To the right of the hedges, you’ll walk more along the waterway and it’s a more direct route. Our guess is that this pathway will be used, but who knows?
Ok, with the current walkway situation (hopefully) properly explained, let’s jump on the Disney Skyliner and take a look into the construction site to understand guest flow and take a look at some new construction.
Past the construction walls, guests will walk along the waterway (left to right in the image below), towards the rear of the pavilion where Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure sits.
Here’s a look down the pathway, back towards the construction wall and the existing France pavilion guest areas.
As we take a closer look at the left turn that guests will make towards the new trackless dark ride, note the construction of curbs and more concrete pour preparations.
To the right of the image below, we can see a new structure that guests will walk under as they make their way onto the ride.
Here are a few more photos of the structure. First, as seen from the International Gateway walkway to the Epcot area resorts.
Interestingly enough, we don’t see this structure in the only concept art released for the France pavilion expansion.
Here are some more angles of the new structure.
Here’s a wider view of the work as we pass over the authentic crêperie.
The green structure below is the overflow queue.
As you might have noticed, Disney has begun to paint the facade city skyline and themed some of the chimneys.
Ultimately, the facade is simply flat, but we hope it will look good when your in the streets of France down below.
For a better idea of the path the Disney Skyliner takes over the France pavilion expansion, check out our aerial photos below.
As a reminder to guests on the Disney Skyliner gondola system, Disney has this tarp up as guests arrive from the Riviera Resort station.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to cover the work taking place throughout Epcot and much more from around the Disney Parks!