EPCOT at Walt Disney World is about to get an extra spoonful of sugar.
On Sunday at the annual D23 Fan Expo, Disney announced that EPCOT, a core part of Florida’s Walt Disney World, will be receiving a major makeover over the next few years — as part of that, a new attraction inspired by ‘Mary Poppins’ is poised to become part of the Disney theme park universe.
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek made the announcement, laying out the projected plan for EPCOT, including an overhaul that will divide the park into four new neighborhoods — World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature, and World Discovery. World Showcase will retain much of the DNA of EPCOT, continuing to focus on the celebration of culture, cuisine, architecture, and more of the countries of the world.
However, it will also welcome new attractions, including the chance to walk down Cherry Tree Lane, a new installation in the United Kingdom pavilion. Guests visiting the pavilion will be able to stroll down the iconic street first seen onscreen in 1964’s Mary Poppins, complete with cherry trees in bloom and the flickering gaslamps that played an essential role in Mary Poppins Returns. Cherry Tree Lane will serve as the entrance to a new Mary Poppins inspired attraction, as guests can wander down the street, past Admiral Boom’s house and through the doors of the Banks family home, Number 17, to begin a new adventure.
Disney brought some Mary Poppins magic to the announcement with a surprise appearance from Dick Van Dyke, who starred as a chimney sweep Bert in the original film (and made a cameo return as Mr. Dawes, the owner of the bank, in Mary Poppins Returns). Accompanied by an electric “Step in Time” performance from some very talented performance, Van Dyke took to the stage to surprise guests before Chapek made the Poppins announcement.
Van Dyke received the longest cheer and standing ovation of anyone onstage at the D23 Expo this year, before making a few brief remarks about the legacy of Mary Poppins and Walt Disney. He called Disney “a creative genius who looked at the world through a child’s eyes” and “would come on set every day…to bring out the child in you.”
Then Chapek made the announcement about the forthcoming jolly holiday guests will one day be able to take.