What’s New in EPCOT: Exciting Progress on an Upcoming Ride and More Characters Return

EPCOT is a popular place to be right now, since the International Festival of the Arts is currently happening, with exciting entertainment, fun activities, and delicious eats.

EPCOT

But the festival isn’t the only thing happening in this park right now. We recently stopped by to check out all the updates, and we can tell you right now that there is a LOT going on. Let’s dive in to see what’s new with construction, snacks, merchandise, character meet and greets, and more.

We’re going to start by checking out a few construction projects going on around the park.

EPCOT Construction Updates

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Construction

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a new ride that’s opening in Disney World sometime this summer.

©Disney

This week, construction began on the huge Nova Corps Starblaster ship, which will be located at the entrance to this ride.

Construction is in full swing today.

The decorative ship (which will be 51 feet tall when it’s finished) is just the latest in a series of updates on this upcoming attraction. We’ve also heard that ride testing has begun inside and filming for the attraction is already in progress.

Skyliner Refurbishment

The Skyliner is a form of transportation that takes guests between their resorts and some Disney World parks in suspended gondolas. There’s a stop for the Skyliner in EPCOT’s World Showcase (between the UK and France pavilions), but this stop is actually closed right now.

Skyliner closed

The Skyliner is still operating between certain hotels and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the EPCOT line is currently under refurbishment.

You can still take the bus!

This line is expected to be closed through January 28th, so if you’re traveling to EPCOT from a Skyliner hotel, you’ll need an alternate form of transportation, such as the Disney buses. Check with your hotel to see what the best transportation option is from wherever you’re staying.

Other Construction

In other construction news, we noticed that there’s a new sign for the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall restaurant over in the Norway pavilion.

New sign

We were hoping that this would mean the restaurant would finally reopen soon, but a nearby Cast Member told us that there weren’t any plans for reopening dates yet. It’s currently being used as a break room for Cast Members.

Akershus

If you’ve been in Orlando lately, you probably noticed the chilly weather! Guests have been bundling up, and hot chocolate is available at a few snack stands around the parks. Another change that came with the cold is that EPCOT covered their flower beds to protect the plants in case of a nighttime frost.

Covered to protect them from the cold

Besides the flower beds, another grassy area was blocked off recently. Tarps appeared around an area near the Pop Eats! Festival Booth that had previously been used for extra seating.

New construction tarps

We’re not sure what’s going on behind those tarps, but we’ll let you know as soon as we see any updates.

Click Here to See 7 Projects that Could Impact Your Disney World Trip in a BIG Way

EPCOT Food Updates

Now, on to our favorite updates: new snacks!

Karamell Küche

This isn’t actually a new snack, but we were surprised to see the Werthers Gingerbread Caramel Cookie Sandwich still in the display case at Karamel Küche in the Germany pavilion.

It’s still here!

This treat is usually just here for the holidays, but it looks like it’s sticking around for a bit!

Gingerbread Caramel Sandwich

We don’t know how long it’ll be here, so hurry in and get one ASAP. They’re $5.99 each and definitely big enough to share.

Read Our Review of the Gingerbread Caramel Cookie Sandwich Here

Refreshment Port

At Refreshment Port, we tried the new Mango and Lime DOLE Whip Swirl, which we thought was the perfect mix of sweetness and tartness.

Mango Lime Swirl

You can get this swirl in a cup or cone (or in a cup with a cone on top) for $5.25.

Read Our Full Review of the Mango and Lime DOLE Whip Swirl Here

Kringla Bakeri

Kringla Bakeri og Kafe is a bakery in the Norway pavilion of EPCOT’s World Showcase.

Kringla Bakeri og Kafe

This spot recently started selling Mickey-shaped Cinnamon Rolls, which were originally covered in colored icing.

Mickey-shaped food is better

Less than a week after we tried the new cinnamon rolls, they got a complete makeover. We like the new version a little better, since they’re softer and more dense, and the icing is also more runny.

It looks COMPLETELY different!

You can get one of these treats for $6.29.

Click Here to Read Our Review of the Mickey Cinnamon Roll 

EPCOT Merchandise Updates

There were a lot of new souvenirs around EPCOT as well.

Creations Shop

The Creations Shop had a lot of the new Alice in Wonderland-themed Dooney & Bourke bags. We spotted a tote bag, a crossbody bag, and a satchel here.

Alice in Wonderland Dooneys

We also saw a new outfit for your nuiMOs, which are little plushes of Disney characters that you can dress up.

nuiMOs

The shirt and pants combination was $12.99.

New nuiMOs outfit

But if you’re looking for clothing for a human instead, you can check out the new Disney World Sweatshirt, which we found for $54.99.

WDW sweatshirt

This gift shop also had a lot of the Heroes Vs. Villains pins, which are part of a collection that was new in Disney World last year.

Heroes vs. Villains pins

There are individual pins and pin sets of classic Disney hero-villain match-ups.

More pins

For all the avocado lovers out there, we saw a new keychain of an avocado with a Mickey-shaped pit! It says “Total Love” and costs $14.99.

Avocado keychain

Or if you’re looking for a blingier option to add to your keys, there was a rhinestone Mickey ears hat keychain available for $14.99 as well.

Mickey hat keychain

And last in our new keychain haul was this Avengers charm, which has symbols of the avengers around their classic “A” logo. It costs $14.99 too.

Marvel Keychain

Our last find in this shop was a new 50th Anniversary Magnet Frame, which you can use to show off your pictures from Disney World vacations.

50th magnet frame

There are all kinds of 50th Anniversary souvenirs in Disney World, but if you can’t make it into the parks, you can also find several options online!

Click Here to See All the 50th Anniversary Merchandise You Can Find Online Right Now

Port of Entry

And speaking of new 50th Anniversary merchandise, Disney recently dropped the latest new merch in the Vault collection. This collection features vintage-inspired items. The newest souvenirs are covered in maps of the Magic Kingdom as it appeared when Disney World first opened. There’s a new Spirit Jersey

New spirit jersey

…and Crocs as well.

These are SO COOL

The Jersey is $84.99, and the Crocs are $65. You can find them at Port of Entry in EPCOT, although the Crocs have recently been sold out at this location. We’ll keep checking back to see if they’re re-stocked, though!

Click Here to See Another New Addition to this Retro Collection

Gateway Gifts

Gateway Gifts had a new t-shirt inspired by one of the most classic Disney World snacks ever: the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar.

Mickey bar shirt

You can get this t-shirt now, which says “All I Need Is a Mickey Bar.”

Sportsman’s Shoppe

In the UK pavilion, we spotted a couple of new shirts starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Sportsman’s Shoppe

There was a red Mickey Mouse t-shirt available for $24.99

UK Mickey Tee

…and a red Minnie Mouse tank top for $34.99.

Red Minnie Tank Top

We also saw a new bag here that was shaped like a double-decker bus, like the ones you’d see in the UK.

Bus Bag

This bag was $29.99.

House of Good Fortune

The China pavilion has a Lunar New Year display right now, which has several souvenirs to celebrate the holiday.

House of Good Fortune

Some of our favorites are these Tiger ears, since 2022 is the Year of the Tiger.

Too Cute

You can get either pair for $15.95 each.

Mitsukoshi

Mitsukoshi in the Japan pavilion had some new plush dolls with a delicious theme: Ice Cream!

Ice Cream Plush

We spotted a few different dolls in this collection, including a pink one

Ice Cream Plush

…and a little blue penguin.

Click Here to See a Surprising Place that Has Disney World 50th Anniversary Merchandise

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Updates

Figment Popcorn Bucket

The famous (infamous? you decide) Figment Popcorn Bucket has been the subject of some major news stories lately.

This little guy caused a LOT of trouble!

It’s not really a surprise that the very popular popcorn bucket sold out within a few days of the start of Festival of the Arts, since people waited in multi-hour long lines to get their hands on one.

Figment Popcorn Bucket Line

Now Figgy has been removed from the Pop Eats! booth menu (where the bucket was previously sold), and there is a sign near this booth announcing that it is unavailable.

No Figgy Here

The distribution tables near this booth have also disappeared, which might mean that a re-stock is not happening in the near future. When we asked Cast Members about possible re-stocks, they said that they don’t know when or if more buckets will arrive.

New Mural

One of the activities that you can find at Festival of the Arts is a color-by-number mural that guests can help paint! You’ll pick up a little container of paint and a brush (for free) and then paint a few squares with the correct number.

Festival of the Arts mural

In the end, there’s a beautiful picture that hundreds of people helped to create.

Interactive Mural at the Expression Section

When we stopped by recently, there was a new mural just getting started.

New mural

Apparently the last one was completed, so they brought out a new picture so that guests can continue to enjoy this activity.

Progress!

The last mural was a play on “Starry Night,” but this one looks like a pop art rendition of Figment.

Click Here to See the BEST Eats and Drinks at the 2022 Festival of the Arts in EPCOT

Other EPCOT Updates

Crowd Levels

Like the rest of the Disney World parks, EPCOT has had a few unusually crowded days recently. We saw a LOT of people in the parks on Monday, January 24th despite the chilly weather.

Lots of people

But oddly enough there was no line for La Cava del Tequila, which is usually a popular spot in the Mexico pavilion. Maybe people didn’t want to hold a cold drink in their hand when it’s pretty cold outside.

No line at La Cava

Festival booths around the park got longer lines towards the afternoon on most days, so the best time to visit these booths is earlier in the morning or just before park closing.

Festival booth line

Some booths get VERY long lines, such as Goshiki in the Japan pavilion. Make sure to hit these ones earlier if you want to try the snacks there!

Character Meet-and-Greets

Some of the biggest news in EPCOT this week is that a few fan-favorite character meet and greets returned! You can now greet Donald Duck in the Mexico pavilion

It’s Donald!

…and Joy from Pixar’s Inside Out and Vanellope from Wreck It Ralph were both meeting guests in ImageWorks.

What a JOY!

The meet-and-greets were still socially distanced, and it was so fun to see these characters again.

Vanellope

Joy has been sighted around EPCOT recently, but now she’s available for one-on-one meets and photos.

Joy in EPCOT

In addition, we saw Minnie Mouse greeting guests in World Showcase…

Hi Minnie!

…and Goofy and Pluto were both out front by the EPCOT entrance in the morning.

Pluto!

It was just a character-filled day in EPCOT!

Click Here to See Another Character Meet and Greet that Recently Returned to Disney World

That’s a wrap on our EPCOT update for this week! Keep following DFB for more of the latest news from Disney World.

See What’s New at Magic Kingdom, Including an Update on the Upcoming TRON Roller Coaster

Want MORE Details About EPCOT’s MASSIVE Transformation?

Click HERE for All the News and Details about EPCOT’s Transformation!

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What is your favorite pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase? Tell us what you love about it in the comments!

The post What's New in EPCOT: Exciting Progress on an Upcoming Ride and More Characters Return first appeared on the disney food blog.

What’s New in EPCOT: Exciting Progress on an Upcoming Ride and More Characters Return