EPCOT OVERHAUL: Play Pavilion Coming to Epcot (Model, Concept Art, Location, and More)

    As we look towards the future of Epcot, we wanted to create a single space for you to be able to reference for the Play Pavilion. On this page you’ll find facts, descriptions, and photos of not only what the experience will look like, but also a current look at the progress made from on-the-ground reporting from Epcot. (Updated September 2022)

    Announced back in February 2019, the PLAY! Pavilion will be devoted to playful fun and feature an innovative city that’ll come to life under the dome of the former Wonders of Life pavilion.

    PLAY! Pavilion Concept Art

    When it was originally announced, Disney released a piece of concept art that showcased the interior of the PLAY! Pavilion. In the concept art, we can see quite a bit going on. From what appears to be a centralized show area complete with stadium-style seating, to a variety of facades that could either contain an attraction or not, there is a lot to dissect here. We’ll be covering the details a bit more when we look at the model and teaser video a bit closer.

    Play Pavilion concept art

    At the 2019 D23 Expo, Disney released another piece of concept art, this time of the exterior of the former Wonders of Life building that will be repurposed as the Play Pavilion. While the interior concept art had a lot to look at, the exterior is probably less interesting. One thing that the exterior art did confirm is that the name of the pavilion will indeed be: PLAY!

    Play Pavilion concept art

    Opening Date

    Disney has only announced that the PLAY! Pavilion will open in time for the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort. Beyond that nebulous “date”, Disney hasn’t even announced a year or season for the opening of the pavilion.

    Current Progress and Latest News

    September 2022 – The PLAY! Pavilion was not mentioned at the D23 Expo.

    July 2022 – A new round of permits was filed for the space. This is perhaps an indication that work is underway to finally to make some progress on the PLAY! Pavilion.

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    May 2022 – With the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, new construction walls were put in place in front of the PLAY! Pavilion. No progress was visible.

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    November 2021 – Disney reopened a pathway near the PLAY! Pavilion, and a peek into the construction site reveals that the entrance to the pavilion has been closed off. Disney has not provided any updates on the project.

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    With the Disney World theme parks reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney has resumed construction on the PLAY! Pavilion. In early August 2020, we took a look at construction crews removing a panel and speculated a bit on what they might be doing.

    As of November 2019, the land clearing that we saw back in October has been turned into a pathway for heavy construction equipment. We took to the skies over Walt Disney World to get an updated look at the work taking place backstage. In the same story (HERE), we have a look at the front of the pavilion from the monorail.

    As of October 2019, there is land clearing near where the attraction will reside. The land clearing is taking place to the right of the attraction, even though the concept art shows trees in place. In addition to the land clearing, Disney expanded the construction walls from the nearby Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction to include the area in front of the PLAY! Pavilion and adjacent to the walkway to Mission: SPACE (OUR STORY).

    Attraction Poster

    Here’s the attraction poster for the PLAY! Pavilion as seen in The Epcot Experience. The theme of a city that allows guests of all ages to play and have fun seems to carry through here. We once again see the name written as “PLAY!” as well as the logo for the pavilion at the top of the highest building. Different characters, both classic and new, are represented throughout the poster.

    Play Pavilion attraction poster

    PLAY! Pavilion Location

    Unlike some of the other projects, the exact location of the PLAY! Pavilion is easy to establish as it takes over the former Wonders of Life building.

    In March 2019 (STORY), Disney designated the Wonders of Life pavilion as a construction zone, meaning that regular Cast Members weren’t allowed to enter. A permit to gut the Wonders of Life pavilion was filed in April (STORY), and work on the exterior of the pavilion was seen in October. It’s unclear what attractions or exhibits will exist when the PLAY! Pavilion opens in the next two years, or how much of the existing infrastructure of the Wonders of Life pavilion will be kept and utilized.

    PLAY! Pavilion Model

    As part of the expansive model at The Epcot Experience, a stylized version of the PLAY! Pavilion can be found.

    Teaser Video

    As part of the larger 12-minute video preview of the Epcot overhaul project inside The Epcot Experience, the PLAY! Pavilion gets a roughly 60-second segment.

    Here’s a transcript.

    Narrator: Ready to play? A fun, new digital city is coming where you can play with all your Disney friends.

    Peter Pan: Welcome to the digital city, where playing is a way of life. Here we goooooo! A place to snap and share. A place to play and win. A place to play and create. Get ready to play!

    The Bigger Picture

    The PLAY! Pavilion seems to be a natural evolution of the needs of Epcot. The park isn’t very kid-friendly right now, and based on all the info we’ve amassed so far, it seems like it will be the perfect spot for kids to hang out and enjoy when the work is finished. Not only will it be good for the park, but it will be a particularly good addition to World Discovery, the new neighborhood that will encompass Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track. When the World Discovery area is completed, it will essentially be a land with only thrill rides. More importantly, all of the rides will have a height requirement. By adding in the PLAY! Pavilion, Disney will bring some balance to what will very likely be the corner of Epcot that will pull the most crowds at rope drop.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest on the PLAY! Pavilion and much more from the Epcot overhaul and Disney Parks!

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