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Epcot welcomes new Walt Disney statue, theme park views

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Walt Disney Co. officials unveiled Epcot’s new statue of Walt Disney during a dedication ceremony Monday. The figure, titled “Walt the Dreamer,” will become available to parkgoers Tuesday morning.

The figure is seated with its back to Spaceship Earth and facing a new, tiered vista toward the World Showcase. Epcot visitors will have easy access to the statue, providing ample photo opportunities.

“I am thrilled to be here at Dreamers Point with all of you celebrating the company’s original dreamer, Walt Disney,” Kartika Rodriguez, vice president of Epcot, said during the ceremony, attended by dozens of Epcot workers and behind construction walls.

“The debut of this new space and beautiful statue of Walt contemplating one of his biggest dreams means so much to transformation and all that Epcot represents,” she said.

The area has been re-imagined as a bowl-shaped space with more seating and green spaces. And once the construction walls are removed, it will provide a clear sightline between the park’s Land attraction and the Mission: Space side of Epcot, said Scott Mallwitz, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering.

“The trick was to create a very new place that sets the park in a new direction, but yet is respectful and works back into the original architecture,” Mallwitz said.

Epcot is symmetrical by design, he said, and the placement of the new statue — detailed down to the knuckles and seams in the socks — was very intentional.

“We had to embrace the symmetry by placing him off-center. He’s a little more casual,” Mallwitz said. “And it’s a very purposeful place. Because now you can gather with him and kind of share that vision and share that beautiful spectacle all the way down to the America pavilion.”

Gift Guide: Rent the Science Center, shirt up, pass the salt and pepper

The Dreamers Point addition is another piece of the Epcot transformation project, which has included new attractions such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. A new nighttime spectacular named “Luminous, the Symphony of Us” debuts Wednesday evening.

“It’s important to put Walt here and to think about his legacy and what he brought to Central Florida, and expanding this idea, making it more than just a castle park, making it more than just a mythological park, rooting it in faith in technology and tomorrow’s going to be better than today,” Mallwitz said.

“That optimism is what we’re trying to grab here and trying to amplify.”