UPDATE: Spaceship Earth Will Close for Over Two Years, Part of Massive Overhaul of Epcot’s Future World

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A few weeks ago, we told you there were rumors that Spaceship Earth at Epcot would once again be reimagined, this time as part of the ongoing overhaul of the park to make it “more timeless, more relevant, more family friendly, and more Disney.” Some new details have emerged on the project that reveal the massive scope of the park overhaul, and that we won’t be able to take a ride through the grand and miraculous attraction for quite some time once things get underway.

Concept art for “Project Gamma”, the re-imagining of the center area of Future World. Note that these plans have radically changed since this was released at the last D23 Expo.

While the concept art is now out-of-date and not accurate to what the project will actually entail, Disney is still moving forward with a complete overhaul of the park entrance and central area of Future World as part of “Project Gamma” (as Walt Disney Imagineering is calling it). Included in this project will be the overhaul of Spaceship Earth, as well as a lot of new and interesting changes for the main thoroughfare of the park that are still very much in development.

As far as Spaceship Earth is concerned, the overhaul will be so thorough that it will require the ride to close from early 2020 until the park’s 40th anniversary in the second half of 2022. That’s basically two and half years without Spaceship Earth in our lives. Why would a project like this take so long? Well, needless to say, there’s a lot to it. Spaceship Earth is aging and it is about time for the entire ride track to be overhauled. As well, Disney will use this opportunity to extend the length of the attraction with new load and unload areas that may not be in the same places that they are now. It also sounds like the current post-show building that houses Project Tomorrow will be removed and an entirely new structure built. It is quite the project in scale and scope, as you can see.

The structure behind Spaceship Earth could look very different in 2022 if the load and unload for the ride are moved and the ride path extended. The ride portion inside of the sphere would remain the same in layout.

As we previously reported, the ride inside of Spaceship Earth will see a refreshing of all scenes leading up to the Industrial Revolution portion (where newspapers are being printed as a young boy sells them steps away), with changes on a grand scale coming to every scene following that, all the way to the end of the ride. Sources also indicate that the scene in the dome at the top of the attraction where guests look back at Earth from space will be drastically reimagined utilizing the latest in projection mapping technologies. As far as the exterior of Spaceship Earth, they will indeed be working on setting-up projection mapping there as well, covering the entire geodesic sphere with projections during the ride’s lengthy downtime and the redevelopment of the area around it. It should make for quite the nighttime display.

So, what do you think? Can you survive 2.5 years without Spaceship Earth in your life?

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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.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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