Disneyland Park Disneyland Resort Epcot Parks & Resorts Walt Disney World Resort

BREAKING: Siemens Ending Disney Parks Sponsorship, Leaves Spaceship Earth & IllumiNations Future in Doubt

This post may contain affiliate links; please read the disclosure for more information.

Siemens AG, who has been a Disney Parks corporate sponsor since 2007, has chosen to not renew their deal.

Siemens sponsored Spaceship Earth and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, as well as “it’s a small world’ at Disneyland Park. In the past, they also sponsored the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (as Sylvania, a company they own) and their technology was used to create the Radiator Springs Racers attraction at Disney California Adventure and used elsewhere in the parks.

The end of the sponsorship comes amidst rumors that Siemens offered Walt Disney World a new monorail fleet for free so long as they were company branded, but Disney reportedly declined.

In the midst of a rather large overhaul of Epcot, this change does make the future of Spaceship Earth a lot more interesting. It was already assumed that IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth would be going away, but this change makes the end of that show all the more likely.

Don't Miss Out on a FREE Disney Vacation Planning DVD

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

55 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Great info, thanks Tom! Disney used to be a great company companies and corporations clamored to be associated with. Though VERY busy, it’s not nearly as profitable nor does it have 1/100th the image it did even a decade ago. A good twitter or Facebook account will do more for a company than associating with Disney, which is probably a negative now. I’m not surprised Disney is losing sponsorships, they have really cut their product to the bone, and then some. I hope Illuminations makes it, the only show left that isn’t 99% sales and self promotion generated.

    • I think you overestimate what social media can actually do in terms of revenue. In terms of brand awareness, maybe, but Twitter is dying.

    • Disney Parks business has never been healthier. And with pixar, Starwars, marvel, avatar, and Disney studio all pumping out consumer hits, I think your assessment is far off.
      I think it speaks volumes to say Disney Parks are healthy enough that sponsors are willing to give them a new fleet of monorail trains just for branding them and Disney is in a position that they can and would say no thank you.

      • I don’t mind the no thank you, as long as they pony up and buy new monorails soon. Same with Illuminations. As long as they keep the show or improve it without the sponsorship and without commercializing it, then that is good. But overall I don’t like the direction WDW is heading. I am seriously considering not renewing my annual pass next year. I have been a premium passholder for 17 straight years.

      • Your facts are wrong. Disney park attendance in USA is down about 10% this year, and profits more than that. WDW is underperforming in every spec for Disney.

    • I think pattys is correct! Corporation’s aren’t beating down Disney’s door to get in. When people used to think Disney it meant “the best, family, innovation, broad appeal, guest experience a priority’. Now it is synonymous with ‘crowded, high priced, run cheaply, money first’. Nothing I’d want my company associated with.

        • Juan isn’t too far off. You obviously have never been backstage before. Disney is on ropes with its employees. How are they going To be able to deliver the magic when they can hardly keep the magic makers on their payroll? Hundreds flock to universal, lego land, and other competitors who offer better treatment, better pay, and better benefits. The charm of Disney is vansishing with the wind, both in its team and in their sponsorship. They’ll come to a point where they’ll have cut off their nose to spite their face.

          • Great companies find a way to give the most to the customer, for the least expense. Disney (and poor companies) operate on principal of giving the least period. If they have 20 entrances, they will close all but 2 and let people wait an hour. The result? It’s miserable. But Disney makes more money that way (short term). I wouldn’t let my corporation be associated with them either. Safety wise they’ve cut back, and spend way more money trying to hide their mistakes than fix or prevent them.

          • So true! Disney used to hire seasonal employees, retired and elderly. But no longer! Upper management doesn’t like snow birds. Took away what little perks we did get and now have to work ungodly hours to get a little. They want college kids that only stay for 4 or 5 months then bring in a new batch. Meanwhile the retired folks don’t call in show up on time and do the job. College kids are too busy socializing and screwing off.

    • people you may not agree with what pattys says, but show some respect! No need to be so rude! Shame on you all.

      • It’s mostly Disney public relations replying like that. Nobody but Disney PR, or suckers would believe things are improving at WDW the last 20 years. Their public image is pretty low. Thankfully they suckered in a lot of vacation club members, let Brazilians in at 1/4 price and give free food and lodging, otherwise, the parks wouldn’t be so full. I love Disney. Wish WDW would be shown a lot more love to guests. WDW just doesn’t care. It’s 100% about short term profit for them.

          • I don’t find them loud, but they come in larger groups at discount. They are profitable, let them in the park free (which I know Disney has, and with discounts on dining and lodge) and they buy a ton of stuff from the stores. Disney has no doubt slipped lately in their product quality, and has to offer a lot of freebies, running almost year round booze tests at epcot to keep people going. Hope it returns to some semblance of guest experience on the top 10 priority list, we like Disney too much for them to run it bare bones just to make a buck with no concern for longer term legacy.

        • I am originally from Brazil, but I lived in England for 2 years and now in Houston for the past 4 years. I have never heard of discounts for Brazilians and I’ve been an AP for the past 3 years and my friends that go to Disney (and still live in Brazil) never mentioned discounts specific for them, so not sure what you are talking about.

          They probably have group discounts if they go in a group, but likely the same discount they would have for American groups…

  • Bring back the Walter Cronkite narration. Loved it… “for eons……”
    Not to say “M” isn’t good, I just like Walter more.
    …..hopefully there is a Spaceship Earth Walter could come back to 8)

    • Yes there’s a source. Just because you’re not seeing it anywhere else, doesn’t mean there’s not a source. It means we have sources that no one else does.

  • Jeremy Irons is my favorite Disney needs to bend at times a new monorail fleet who passes on that for real stupid

    • A company with morals which is suprising and i have a lot of respect for in todays climate. I noticed the seimens brandong on mission space and heard the announcement on the show and thought it kinda ruins the atmosphere and magic. Im an engineer and know how it all works etc but still prefer to not see branding and that side of it etc as the kids also asked what seimens is lol. I appreciate the need for branding as its a huge advertisement opportunity for them but you shouldnt expect something like disney to plaster it everywhere.

  • Perhaps this will help move the update of Spaceship Earth forward. Whilst it does a great job of charting how we communicate up until 1985, it hasn’t kept pace at the rate in which communications have changed. Most of us are getting our news, interacting and communicating via social media. It would be interesting to see Facebook step in and sponsor it. just my two cents.

  • Spaceship Earth was without a sponsor from 2003 to 2005. Global Neighborhood was closed and put behind construction walls at that time.

  • Disney needs to keep Spaceship Earth!
    I have going to Disney for nearly 50 years and this ride in the globe at Epcot is iconic!! Epcot will not be the same without it … please get the world out somehow that they need to keep it .

  • If they get rid of Illuminations Reflections of Earth, I am done renewing my annual pass to Disney. That is the greatest night show they have ever had. Right up there with the MSEP, which is also gone. The people in charge of Walt Disney World now are complete idiots. They need a brand new fleet of monorails. They should have accepted that offer.

  • Unless I am very mistaken, both Spaceship Earth and illuminations predate 2007,so why is this an issue? Yes, I know the game area on the way out of Spaceship Earth are one big Siemens advertisement, but I’m sure they can easily be re-imagined.

  • Illuminations will be replaced with a “grander” version of itself just like it was before this news.
    Anybody who thinks Spaceship Earth is “going away” due to a lost sponsorship is just dumb.
    And I don’t believe for one second that ridiculous “free monorail cars” rumor.
    That just smacks of made up garbage.

    Moving on….nothing to see here.

    • Jeff, Illuminations will unfortunately be replaced with something soon that promotes “DISNEY”, not anything that is just there for the enjoyment of the guests. Illuminations could be enhanced, but not good happen. That would just be fun for guests. That doesn’t matter to WDW. This, as most of WDW management decisions in greed, are what are making corporations flee them. And guests. The USA parks are doing terribly for Disney. in profit and polls. Sure, they are packed, but the have to offer free dining plans, and huge discounts to foreign travelers (Brazil, etc) to come, the give free tickets away for hotel stays like they’re candy to them. Their movies are what’s carrying the company along. And not very well at that considering all the potential they have. They mostly churn out quick money hits, not searching for classics.

  • Just a memory that when Shanghai Disneyland opened last year, it was noted that Siemens was the sponsor of The TRON ride there. The very ride that is among the rumored rides coming to EPCOT Future World revamp. If they stay with that ride for the New EPCOT Build then Disney can seek new sponsorship deals for Spaceship Earth from another Communication Company that will give them the income that will spearhead the overhaul that it needs to bring SE into the future. It will still keep strong Siemens and Disney’s longstanding partnership with new Exposure of a new big E-ticket ride. Time will tell! With so much being announced that affect WDW I really wish they would have D23 here in Florida on the years they don’t have them tn California. One can hope!

    • Shanghai (as anything in China is controlled by them) runs Disney park there, not the other way around, is why they get amazing stuff. WDW is cheap. Epcot 20 years behind Shanghai at least in development, and in desire to grow and make a positive impression for guests. Shanghai is what Disney used to be here. Growing, innovative, and putting innovation ahead of short term daily gains by cutting back the product, like here in the states.

    • Nah. won’t promote or sell anything. Both are just shows for guests to enjoy…that stuff is going bye bye. Every show, every inch, every second makes extra money, or promotes the brand, or it goes bye bye.

      • I go to Disney to see Illuminations and Wishes (which is now gone). I spend about 8K each trip and it’s annual. They drop illuminations, they will lose my 0.0000001% in revenue. Take that.

  • Epcot is getting major overhauls which it desperately needed. They probably need to revise their refresh program to keep things from sitting stagnant this long, but I wouldn’t fault them turning down some major corporations. I know Siemens is huge and touches many industries, but seeing their name puts a bad taste in my mouth. Every project I have ever worked on with them has been a battle where they throw their weight around and stall projects to achieve what they want. I applaud Disney for getting out of bed with this type of company, they can do better.

    While I agree Disney costs have gone up and the experience has gone down some, I also wonder if the long term pass holders have a little bit of perceptual diminished value. It is like children who spend too much time together, after about a week of nonstop contact they are aggravated. Once they take a break they take a break from their friend they come back excited to see their friend again.

    I have some friends on the Disney Imagineer team and they are constantly working on new big ideas for the parks. They also share some pretty amazing stuff that Disney does for training and to constantly work on developing their employees. If anything I would say they, like any company, are spending more on the employees they know are in it for the long haul.