We know what you’re thinking, did I just read that right? What’s happening to the iconic attraction of Epcot? Rumor has it, Spaceship Earth will be shutting down for 2.5 years. According to WDW News Today the attraction would shut down for an extended period to allow Walt Disney World to make major (and needed) changes. It has taken a few weeks for our shock to wear off enough so we could write this article. We love the Spaceship Earth attraction, is it one of our favorites. As we’re writing this article it’s #SpaceshipEarthSunday and it finally feels right to dive into all things Spaceship Earth.
Spaceship Earth Over the Years
Spaceship Earth is one of the opening day attractions at Epcot. The undisputed icon of the park is the first attraction you encounter past the entrance gates. That glittering, gleaming, some may say glowing geodesic sphere is the focus of many DVC Duo family photos and likely yours too. Over the last 35+ years, Spaceship Earth has gone through four updates, usually due to a change in sponsorship. The last update came in 2008 when the attraction closed for the removal of the “wand” atop Spaceship Earth which was originally installed as part of the 25th anniversary. The update included a change to the “technology” scene with the addition of how the computer was created in a garage in California. As part of the update the narrative was changed and is now delivered by Judi Dench.
What We Know
The biggest surprise coming out of the July 2017 D23 expo was the concept art around the reimaginering of Future World at Epcot. Disney has said the plan is to make Epcot “more timeless, more relevant, more family friendly, and more Disney.” No worries through, as the sphere is still part of the concept art. The details surrounding the upcoming changes are still unknown, however we do know that one of the key pieces will be the new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. Reviewing the concept art it looks as though the majority of the work will come in the center of Future World around the fountain and the Innovations plaza. Finally! For years, Innovations East and West have been not used to their fullest potential and it will be great to see what Disney has in store. Walt Disney has stated the goal is to have the updates completed by the 40th anniversary in 2022.
Outside of the official announcements by Walt Disney World, we know that the sponsorship of Spaceship Earth has lapsed. Siemens was the attraction sponsor from 2005 to 2017. Currently, the attraction does not have a sponsor and the Siemens logos have been removed. It remains to be seen if we will see a new sponsor or if Disney will claim Spaceship Earth as its own.
In mid-October WDW News Today reported that Spaceship Earth would shut down for major renovations, shocking all Disneyphiles, us included! The rumor is Disney is looking to change the end scenes of the attraction, basically everything from the Industrial Revolution (the newspaper printing area, with the newsboy) on. Including new digital projections when you reach to the “top” of the ride. Currently, the top of the ride is a scene from outer space, where you’re looking back at Earth. Additionally, it is rumored that we will see the track extended and a brand new entrance and exit area created.
It would make sense for Spaceship Earth to be updated, as the attraction is showing its age. Recently, the attraction had to close for part of the day due to water leaking into the ride. The part we question is the timing. It is rumored that the ride would close in 2020 to prepare for Epcot’s 40th anniversary. With 2021 being the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, and record crowds expected to descend upon the Orlando area it would surprise us that Disney would look to close one of it’s iconic attractions (and great crowd suck). It is definitely a possibility, as they may be expecting the crowds to be absorbed by the upcoming attractions in Star Wars, the Guardians roller coaster, and Ratatouille ride.
It would be safe to assume if Spaceship Earth got an update we would see a new narrative as well. The obvious choice would be Morgan Freeman, no explanation needed. Thinking outside the box, one person we would like to see tapped as the narrator is Michael Cain.
Overall we are excited to see Spaceship Earth updated, under one condition, that they keep the Phoenicians! What do you think? Are you excited about the rumored changes coming to Spaceship Earth? Let us know below or on our Facebook Page!