If you were unsettled by the news that Spaceship Earth would be undergoing refurbishment as part of Epcot’s major transformation, at the D23 Expo this year, trust us, you’re not alone.
It frankly rocked our worlds to imagine what this could mean for the iconic geodesic sphere that’s graced the front entranceway of Epcot since the second Disney World park opened in 1982.
When we heard changes would be coming soon to Spaceship Earth, our minds were immediately flooded with questions: When is Spaceship Earth closing to implement the changes? Will we still be able to thank the Phoenicians? Is Rome still burning? How will Michelangelo finish the Sistine chapel? Will that little caveman kid still be making a handprint on the wall? WHAT ABOUT THE PAPYRUS?!?!?!
We were hoping the Epcot Experience exhibit would answer some of these pressing questions when it debuted last week. Unfortunately, we walked out of the exhibit scratching our heads. A 12-minute multi-media presentation at the center of Epcot Experience alluded to a possible name change of the classic Disney attraction — Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story — but, yeah, that’s about all the new info we got!
So to try to answer some of our burning (literally?) questions, let’s go back over what Bob Chapek said at D23 back in August when the changes to Spaceship Earth were announced.
What’s Spaceship Earth’s Closing Date? What’s Being Added and Taken Away? Here’s What We Know About Spaceship Earth 2.0:
World Celebration (formerly the center part of Future World) is where the biggest changes to Epcot will be occurring. We’ve already seen a massive overhaul of this section of the park with the removal of the Leave a Legacy monoliths that are being relocated to just outside Epcot’s entrance to make way for the updated fountain area in front of Spaceship Earth.
Chapek told us Spaceship Earth would remain a part of the brand icon for Disney World Resort and Epcot, but that Disney would be bringing “new magic” into the original Epcot attraction.
To quote his speech at D23, “New Spaceship Earth will still feature great moments of human history, but instead of inventions and technology, we’ll focus on something that binds us all together — storytelling.”
“Many of the scenes you know and love will remain, but we’ll bring them to life in amazing new ways…” Chapek stated. Hmmm…. the decision to use the word “many” instead of “all” here has us sweatin’ for the lab coat and yellow leggings lady in the computer room!
Now the plot will revolve around the “power of storytelling to unite the human experience.” And will involve a magical “story light” which “will come to life in dynamic ways giving each scene energy and stunning beauty while creating a narrative that ties your journey together.”
In addition to this new magical story light, Chapek says they’re adding “fresh narration.” Sorry all you Dame Judi Dench lovers, but it looks like Judi’s getting the boot! It’s alright though — she’ll be in good company with Jeremy Irons and Walter Cronkite, two of Spaceship Earth’s previous disembodied guides!
Chapek went on to state, “We’re also adding new scenes to reflect the universal nature of the human experience.” New scenes?!? Does that mean some of the old ones have to go??? Or could it mean they’re just going to tack on a bunch of new stuff once we pass through Woz’s garage? I mean, we really don’t need to be staring at a projection of the Earth for THAAAAT long, do we? Then there’s all that space on the way down they can use?
Chapek concluded his D23 segment about Spaceship Earth by saying their hope was to “…evolve this unique attraction in a way that will resonate with the wide array of guests who visit Walt Disney World,” and that there will be a new exit area as well.
Dreamer’s Point is what this new area behind Spaceship Earth is being reimagined into and from the concept art Disney’s released, we gotta admit, it looks quite breathtaking.
Not to mention we’re excited about this new Walt Disney statue that will be a centerpiece of Dreamer’s Point! Now we get why it’s called that! It reminds us of one of Walt’s famous quotes, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!”
Oh, and if you haven’t been floored by any of this info yet, just take a look at Epcot’s new three-tiered pavilion which you can read more about here! Epcot’s transformation is going to be completely bonkers!
Alright, alright… back to Spaceship Earth, the reason why we’re all here. While we await further news about the fate of this classic Disney attraction, we can be certain of very little other than Spaceship Earth is here to stay and not getting scrapped like Hollywood Studios’ 2 past icons, the Earful Tower or Sorcerer Mickey’s Hat. Unfortunately, we don’t have a confirmed closing date for Spaceship Earth at press time, but based on the timeline of the Epcot transformation, we’d suggest you ride while you can.
While Epcot’s track record with improving classic rides (ahem, Journey into Imagination with Figment!) isn’t reassuring us, we’re making this promise to ourselves: if we don’t smell Rome burning on Spaceship Earth 2.0, we riot!
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What concerns you about the Spaceship Earth refurb? What changes to Epcot are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section!