Whether you grew up asking your parents, “What’s with the giant golf ball?” (…or not), you may feel some pangs of nostalgia when it comes to Epcot’s Spaceship Earth.
And while the ride has been updated several times since its 1982 inception (which is also when Epcot opened in Disney World), we’re not really sure what’s staying and what’s going when the classic attraction gets “reimagined” this time around.
Disney recently announced Spaceship Earth would be closing soon to undergo a lengthy refurb. The release was accompanied by only a few key details such as a new name for the attraction, Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story, along with a reassurance that the story would still follow the history of mankind — but this time, it would be transformed by the “power of light.”
Sounds really vague and ominous, right? In fact, the only real idea we have for how Spaceship Earth will look post-reno is this artists’ rendering of the Egypt segment of the ride. If you were really hoping Spaceship Earth wasn’t going to change very much, you were in Da’ Nile!
It’s hard to imagine what else will be different when we walk up to the ball the first time after it reopens. Will Spaceship Earth be getting a new entrance?
And what about Spaceship Earth’s super-trippy mural showing man’s progress superimposed over the cosmos? This sacred work of art is like the Mona Lisa to some of us — we don’t know how we’d deal with the loss of such a masterpiece. Probably lots of therapy and ice cream for starters.
Even the loading area of Spaceship Earth feels strangely special and familiar to us. “The sliding doors of your Time Machine will close automatically” plays on a perpetual loop in this room, and we still get a kick out of seeing the Omnimover’s doors shut by themselves as our ride vehicle makes the turn — EVERY TIME!
But one thing we wouldn’t mind seeing Disney improve is THAT dang camera! Our heads are almost always misshapen with strange bits chopped off in spite of the fact we’ve located the monitor overhead to the right AND made sure our faces are clearly visible!
But actually, we wouldn’t be surprised if Disney takes this opportunity to update the in-ride film since they’re replacing Dame Judi Dench as the ride’s narrator.
Speaking of that great Dame, this is where Judi Dench’s monologue begins to play: “Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed through the universe of time; and for a brief moment, we have been among its passengers…” PREACH it, Judi!
But despite Judi’s soothing tone, the first part of this ride is WAY harsh! An epic battle between early man and a wooly mammoth rages on the wall projected overhead. This is where many of us first learned the important lesson of teamwork — in one of the weirdest ways imaginable!
As your chariot moves along, you’ll hear that old familiar sound of some “unknown Egyptian” pounding reeds flat! Hey, we know he’s inventing papyrus here — but could he keep it down for his neighbors, the Phoenicians? After all, they’re inventing LANGUAGE, and that can’t be easy.
And while we know it’s kinda morbid, we can’t help but love that smoky aroma of the great Library of Alexandria in Egypt burning. Yes, much of our learning is destroyed, — or so we think, but if the new Spaceship Earth doesn’t have that old Spaceship Earth smell, we’re gonna have bigger problems than the library burning — just sayin’.
This next section of Spaceship Earth is one of our favorite parts! With the explosion of the Renaissance comes advancements in artistry of every kind! Cue the hallelujah choir!
But it isn’t long before the angelic voices are drowned out by the frantic wailings of a 1900s paperboy — all while the scrambling 20th-century operators and radio announcers are completely doing our heads in! Can’t this thing go backwards? We liked it much better during the Renaissance!
All this racket (which we wouldn’t miss, hint! Hint!) eventually leads to the Mid-Century living room OF OUR DREAMS. A family is watching Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon, and if these guys are moving out, can we call first dibs on their furniture?
And just when you thought you’d seen it all, you enter the Computer Room, and there she IS!
Surely nothing will happen to our beloved Computer Lady, right? After all, she’s GOT A NAME and her own Facebook page! She’s practically A REAL PERSON!
And let’s face it — things drop off (quite literally) after the Computer Lady. She’s a tough act to follow, but we fully understand if Disney wants to add anything to the END of Spaceship Earth. (Except Woz. Leave Woz alone.) We’d just be pretty heartbroken if anything up to this point gets taken out! We realize that may be a lot to ask, but the ride has grown to be a classic for us at Epcot.
That’s because in its current state, Spaceship Earth is truly 16 minutes of pure, heavenly bliss. While many of us feel, “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” about this whole endeavor, we’re gonna hold back our final judgment for when the new plans for Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story are fully revealed. Until then, we highly recommend soaking in as many rides as you can — and maybe even bringing a mason jar or two with you to try to “bottle up” some of that burning library fragrance for a rainy day. 😉
Which parts of Spaceship Earth are you hoping will stay intact? Tell us in the comments below!