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Spaceship Earth confirmed to close May 26th for its transformation

Spaceship Earth at EPCOT concept art

When Disney announced the plan to transform EPCOT’s Future World into three new neighborhoods, work had already begun on remaking the grand entrance to the park back into something with more of a landscaped park aesthetic. Included in that announcement was a bit of news that would be the capstone on the new entrance to future world’s World Celebration neighborhood, a re-envisioned Spaceship Earth attraction.

It was just confirmed that May 26th will be the last day to experience Spaceship Earth as it is now.

As the park’s icon, Spaceship Earth is designed to be the first thing you see when approaching the park. A symbol of all humanity and our shared experience on this planet Earth.

The new Spaceship Earth will serve as the entry point for the new World Celebration neighborhood and the rest of the park. Walt Disney Imagineering has revealed the first major details of their new plan for the attraction inside that geodesic sphere.

Spaceship Earth

The general story for the attraction will switch from its current ‘evolution of communication’ focus to that which follows the way humanity has told stories over its long journey form prehistoric times to today’s technology enhanced storytelling – of which Disney would seem to be near the peak of implementing.

Throughout the attraction you’ll be guided by new narration about how light plays a central role in our shared human experience.

One thing we notice in this concept art of the Egypt scene (above), besides how its using light very differently, is that the screens are missing from the omnimover vehicles. That may just be artistic license, but as the screens are only used in the descent, we hope that means Disney’s Imagineers have figured out a way to make the descent entertaining without relying on screens.

I think there is a strong hint in this announcement that the final scene will feature some of Disney’s own iconic stories highlighting Disney’s own advances in the art of story telling.

It also appears that the attraction will make wider use of digital projections to augment the physical sets. This has been the trend for Imagineering’s recent attractions with the pinnacle of the trade showing off in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

I’m also really impressed with what they’re able to do just in the EPCOT Experience preview center. More of that? Yes, please.

This re-imagining of Spaceship Earth will be the fourth such change since it opened with the park in 1982. There was no official reopening date included in the announcement, so we’ll just have to stay tuned for that.

Update: 3/10 — various Disney rumor sites indicate Disney maybe be rushing this project to get it open in time for a reopening in 2021 instead of the expected 2022. Not sure what that says about any reductions on the level of detail and storytelling Imaginineers had planned for the ride.