A former Epcot restaurant is getting a makeover that will cement its role as a flexible-use space for the Walt Disney World theme park. Odyssey, the angular building sandwiched between the park's Mexico pavilion and Test Track attraction, will have a wide array of ever-changing purposes as Epcot expands, said Dave Kesting, general manager of Epcot festivals.
"We're going to be evolving Epcot pretty heavily. We've already started," he said.
"We'll look at all our open venues and see what priorities we need to have for the park. So it's going to be flex space for whatever we need it to be," Kesting said. "It could be a restaurant one day, it could be a merchandise shop the next day, it could be character greeting – whatever we need (it) to be."
The Odyssey structure, which opened with the park in 1982, currently is undergoing a "light remodel," Kesting says. The result will be a more permanent solution for temporary tenants. In recent months, the space has been used for demonstrations and exhibits during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and a craft-beer stop for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
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It's dark during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, currently running daily through May 28. But it's not as dark as it used to be. The large black panels on its exterior have been subbed out with less opaque glass.
"Now people can see inside," Kesting says. "So, like in the Festival of the Arts, 'Hey, there's an animators class going on. Hey, there are great displays and artists working and there's programming in this place.'
"And the folks inside will see the beautiful park from the inside, instead of being in what we call a black box."
Among the additions coming to Epcot are a "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride, an indoor roller coaster under construction where Ellen's Energy Adventure operated until last year, and a "Ratatouille" ride in the France pavilion. No opening dates have been announced.