Are Permits a Precursor to New Epcot DVC?

New permit applications suggest Disney has big plans for the area surrounding Epcot...big enough to accommodate a hotel overlooking Future World which has been subject of rumors for the last couple of years.  

Epcot Spaceship Earth

At last year’s D23 Expo, Disney confirmed numerous projects for all the Disney Parks, including new “Ratatouille” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” inspired attractions for Epcot. A new permit filed last month by Disney for major stormwater modifications at Epcot hints that more changes are coming, possibly including a new resort that might have access to Epcot.

Before Disney can begin construction, it must consider how changes in the terrain may impact stormwater management, retention and flow. On January 24, 2018, Disney filed a permit request with the South Florida Management District to upgrade the water basin that includes Epcot and the surrounding area. In the introduction and project background for the permit, Disney states:

The Owner is proposing to upgrade the 403 Basin of the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) master drainage system. Portions of the 403 Basin were developed prior to implementation of water quality treatment requirements and are now proposed for improvements; other areas within the basin that are currently undeveloped, may be proposed for future development. The purpose of this application is to develop a Master Concept Plan for the 403 Basin by identifying water quality requirements for the basin and developing a concept & template for permitting future construction within that Basin. The application requests approval for the Master Concept Plan and Permitting Template as well as authorization to construct the first phase of the proposed Master Concept Plan (pond and weir as outlined below) and certain improvements within the Basin.

The permit includes a map that shows the entire 403 Basin, which includes all of Epcot, Crescent Lake, and the waterway to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The area covers to total of 748.6 acres.

Epcot Permit 403

Since the permit application deals only with stormwater management issues, Disney does not have to document what structures it intends to build in the basin area or when they might be built. However, details in the permit request gives hints of some major changes in the area immediately north of Epcot.

If the proposed changes are approved, the amount of impervious area in the 403 Basin increases 175.43 acres from 296.24 to 471.67 acres. Impervious land means that it has buildings, roadways, parking lots, or other man-made structures that do not absorb stormwater. To accommodate the additional water runoff, Disney plans on increasing the size of retention ponds from 111.38 acres to 150.48 acres.

Of particular interest is what Disney intends to do with section L403-370, a parcel of land just west of the Soarin’ attraction at Epcot and north of the parking lot for Disney's Beach Club Resort. It is currently a wooded pervious area. However, the permit shows that Disney intends to make the entire 23.42 acres impervious, meaning it will build something in this entire section.

Epcot Permit 403-370

Could this be the home of a new Disney Epcot resort? Or could it be an expansion of Epcot itself, perhaps the future home of a new attraction or “Land?” Well, its too early to tell. If Disney intends to place a new resort in this location, guests would have direct access to Epcot by walking by the existing Epcot bus loop and to the main entrance for the Park. If Disney intends to increase the size of Epcot, it could easily accommodate two or three new attractions. Section L303-370’s 23 acres is larger than Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge which, at 14 acres, was touted as the largest Disney theme park expansion ever.

Epcot Permit 403-370

When will all things changes occur? Disney certainly hasn’t released a timeline for any of these changes. Furthermore, just because Disney gets authorization to make these stormwater management changes doesn’t mean that it has to follow through on any improvements in Basin 403 in the foreseeable future. We will just have to wait and see happens.


 Wil Lovato is a contributor to DVCNews.com and has been a Disney Vacation Club owner since 2009. His DVC Home Resorts include Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Villas, and Aulani. He can be found posting on many Disney discussion forums under the username of “wdrl.”

DVCNews Reader Comments:
Re: Are Permits a Precursor to New Epcot DVC? -- denlo
2018 Feb 06 07:09:19 PM
I keep wondering if this is an alternative location for the previously announced Star Wars hotel that was to be located near the Swan and Dolphin. This hotel would be removing the tennis courts and possibly the Fantastia Putt Putt courses in the Swan-Fin location. Maybe with good response to that announcement Disney has decided they wanted to go with a larger hotel. It would place a hotel just across Epcot Resorts Blvd. from the Beach Club.
Re: Are Permits a Precursor to New Epcot DVC? -- JaxFLBear
2018 Feb 07 08:58:38 AM
denlo wrote:
I keep wondering if this is an alternative location for the previously announced Star Wars hotel that was to be located near the Swan and Dolphin. This hotel would be removing the tennis courts and possibly the Fantastia Putt Putt courses in the Swan-Fin location. Maybe with good response to that announcement Disney has decided they wanted to go with a larger hotel. It would place a hotel just across Epcot Resorts Blvd. from the Beach Club.
Marriott reportedly is the one that's going to build near the Swan/Dolphin. It would most likely be on land that's included in the Swan/Dolphin ground lease.

Speculation is that the Star Wars hotel would be built across from DHS between the new entrance road currently under construction (off Osceola Pkwy) and Victory Way (across from Art of Animation).
Re: Are Permits a Precursor to New Epcot DVC? -- denlo
2018 Feb 07 09:23:59 AM
JaxFLBear wrote:
Marriott reportedly is the one that's going to build near the Swan/Dolphin. It would most likely be on land that's included in the Swan/Dolphin ground lease.

Speculation is that the Star Wars hotel would be built across from DHS between the new entrance road currently under construction (off Osceola Pkwy) and Victory Way (across from Art of Animation).

Didn't Disney already replace the Oceala entrance way to DHS?

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Or is another one being built off of Victory Way?

I am a little disappointed that Disney is not going to do the Star Wars Resort hotel.
Re: Are Permits a Precursor to New Epcot DVC? -- wdrl
2018 Feb 07 10:09:27 AM
As with many things for which there is limited information available, there is much speculation about what Disney plans to do with the Epcot area. Some people think that Disney will build a new resort hotel inside the current perimeter of Epcot. It would be in the northwest corner of the Park between The Land (home of Soarin') and the Seas (home of the Nemo ride). Section L403-370, which is currently outside the Park, would become the new resort's parking lot and 'backstage' area for guests and Cast Members.

We may not see any major guest-related construction in this area for 5-10 years. Years ago, I read that Disney and the Reedy Creek Improvement District had 10-year plans that served as a framework for future development. Some of projects on these plans were written in pencil and were changed or died, never seeing the light of day. This major Master Concept Plan for the Epcot Basin lays the groundwork for future development, but we still don't know what Disney will do. In all likelihood, Disney doesn't know for sure what it will do.
Re: Are Permits a Precursor to New Epcot DVC? -- KNWVIKING 2.0
2018 Feb 07 11:37:19 AM
Anyone else feel like "The World" is just getting too big? There was a time when I thought I would eventually stay at every resort, now it seems like an impossibility. New DVC resorts require so many more points than they did in the past, I just can't rationalize spending twice the points for half the time.

Guess I'm just getting old and cranky.
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