BREAKING: Spaceship Earth Closure Starts May 26th at EPCOT

As times have changed, the Spaceship Earth attraction at EPCOT has changed with them. Opening in 1982, the ride received massive overhauls in 1986, 1994, and 2007, usually with the departure or addition of a corporate sponsor. With over a decade since the last reimagining, coupled with the 2017 departure of Siemens, Walt Disney Imagineering is ramping up for another round of changes to the park’s icon attraction.

(C) Matthew Cooper Photography – www.thetimethespace.com

Spaceship Earth is more than just the physical icon of EPCOT – it’s a symbol of how the park continues to evolve. The attraction is a crucial piece of the historic transformation already underway at EPCOT, and the team at Walt Disney Imagineering will officially begin implementing their new vision for Spaceship Earth starting May 26.

We first announced the closure back in October 2018, and still expect the closure to last about two and a half years as part of the park’s massive overhaul, which includes a new building for the exit of the attraction, and potentially a new name, as revealed during the 2019 D23 Expo: “Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story.” As with all the changes overtaking the park, this reimagining promises to make the attraction––in newly-appointed CEO Bob Chapek’s words––“more Disney, more family, more timeless, and more relevant.”

The overhaul will be so thorough that it will require the ride to close at least until the park’s 40th anniversary in the second half of 2022, possibly leading into 2023. 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’s about time for the entire ride track to be overhauled.

The current Egyptian scene depicting the first uses of papyrus. (C) Matthew Cooper Photography – www.thetimethespace.com

As we’ve previously reported, the ride inside of Spaceship Earth will also 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 greater scale coming to every scene following that, all the way to the end of the ride. Today’s announcement comes paired with a new piece of concept art, which shows a heavily-altered Egyptian scene from the ride.

Here’s the full announcement from WDI:

This means Spaceship Earth in its current form will close for a time starting that day, and the ideas we are working on inside that geosphere will be well worth the wait. As we shared at last year’s D23 Expo, the next iteration of Spaceship Earth will focus on the story of humanity, following our long journey from prehistoric humans to today brought to life with magic and depth that only Disney can deliver. Many of the moments you know and love will be updated in amazing ways, blended with brand-new scenes to tell a story about our human experience.

Today we’re excited to share a few additional details of what you can expect when this icon returns. You’ll visit Egypt, which is part of the current version of the attraction, but it will be an Egypt like you’ve never seen before, transformed through the power of light.

C:\Users\dxparras\Desktop\Spaship earth\Egypt_SC_v4©.jpg

Throughout the attraction, you’ll hear new narration and see how light plays a central role in our shared human journey, coming to life in dynamic ways in a celebration of the magic that’s possible when we all come together.

Walt Disney once said EPCOT “would always be in a state of becoming,” and Spaceship Earth has lived up to that vision for generations. This will be the attraction’s fourth – and most ambitious – update since the park’s grand opening on Oct. 1, 1982.

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Jeffrey Mirman
Jeffrey Mirman
6 months ago

Did they give an estimate on the downtime?

Ryan
Ryan
6 months ago
Reply to  Jeffrey Mirman

Read the article.

Will
Will
6 months ago

Will they replace the ride vehicles and track? I mean its been the same since like 1982.

PJ1
PJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Will

One would hope so, but with the Chapek announcement, I wouldnt be surprised if all they get is a new paint job. :-(

Paul Zimmerman
Paul Zimmerman
6 months ago

So long old friend :(

Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin
6 months ago

I’m not going to like this!

Austin
Austin
6 months ago
Reply to  Regis Philbin

Why? You literally know nothing about the refurbishment to like it or not like it.

kate
kate
6 months ago

Maybe instead of being a story that follows the journey of humanity, it is rethemed as “Spaceship Disney”. We travel through the history of Disney, climbing through the sphere with the evolution from the cartoons, to movies, to film studio, theme parks, marketing machine, etc. And then at the very end, when we think we have reached the top, we plummet into the fiery depths of Chapek-hell. But I think he’ll get us there faster than 2 1/2 years!

Christine Coblentz
Christine Coblentz
6 months ago
Reply to  kate

That’s an excellent idea!!!

Kristy
Kristy
6 months ago

Here’s my thought. Why shut down a major ride before a new major ride opens (Remy)? Why not wait to close it once Remy opens? We have a trip planned for June 3-10. So Spaceship earth will be down, yet there won’t be an alternative! Glad we are only planning one day at Epcot.

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Kristy

Who says it’s before Remy opens?

Hannah
Hannah
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

Remy’s earliest estimated opening time is the summer.

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Hannah

Memorial Day is considered the start of the summer season for the parks.

Sean
Sean
6 months ago
Reply to  Kristy

Who spends an entire day at Epcot? 1/2 at Epcot and 1/2 at Animal Kingdom is enough for us.

Paul
Paul
6 months ago

I hope Chapek doesn’t turn Spaceship Earth into a t-shirt stand.

sgt. ghost pepper
sgt. ghost pepper
6 months ago

Oh, man. I was silly enough to be optimistic about this, but I can tell from what they’ve put out here that they. Do. Not. Get. It.

Knartker
Knartker
6 months ago

Ok, but can Dame Judy Dench continue to provide narration and tell us to thank the Phoenicians?

Steve
Steve
6 months ago
Reply to  Knartker

“Those window blinds you love? You can thank the Venetians!”

Amy
Amy
6 months ago

Ugh! Seriously disappointed to see this. We have a trip planned at the end of June and were looking forward to riding this for the first time since we were last there in 2003 and with our kids. Why can’t they wait until after summer to start?!?!?!

Coach Fred
Coach Fred
6 months ago

I have fast passes for this ride on the 27th. What will they do about that???

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Coach Fred

Of May? Are you from the future because those aren’t available yet.

Lori B
Lori B
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

Coach Fred could have fastpasses in May if he is staying in a club level room and purchased the extra fastpasses, unless they discontinued that service since last year.

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Lori B

I thought they did.

Sean
Sean
6 months ago
Reply to  Coach Fred

Why would you waste a fastpass on spaceship earth? The line is like 2 minutes long.

Tim
Tim
6 months ago

I hope they dont change too much of the narrative in the first half. There is a great question to ponder during the fall of Rome. “Where would we be if Rome didn’t fall and lose all of that information?” That question always sticks with me.

Judy D
Judy D
6 months ago

Thank you Phoenicians

Neo
Neo
6 months ago

I will judge this refurbishment by one metric: Will Foxy Brown survive the update or not?

PABLO PADILLA
PABLO PADILLA
6 months ago

Just one question, may 26 will still work and the 27 wont?? Thank you

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  PABLO PADILLA

No, May 25th is the last day

John
John
6 months ago

I will miss this ride but am always optimistic about new changes. Glad I got to ride one last time in December. Good bye old friend.

Joe Tierney
Joe Tierney
6 months ago

It’s a shame I don’t get there in time to ride it one last time. But given we knew it was closing this year I made sure to take extra notice of how awesome it is back in August…I’m surprised they are even keeping it open until May TBH.

Steve
Steve
6 months ago

On one hand I am looking forward to a new update, but on the other hand I’m not getting my hopes up. We’ve had other lengthy closures in the past and the versions that followed have been underwhelming. Yes, there have been some cool new scenes added (like the garage), but they also just made pointless changes (like moving the newspaper boy) or removed all the end scenes (which seem to still be there but behind a curtain). Also, getting a new narrator, recording it all over but not bothering to change the script felt lazy. When we get closer… Read more »

Abdul
Abdul
6 months ago

Suddenly I feel something, something I have felt back in January 1999, this dread!!!

Sean Williams
Sean Williams
6 months ago

A much needed improvement but I agree it’s hard to let go of such traditional rides/shows etc. I often think, what if the parks have never brought in new ideas? Just think if every single ride was exactly the same since each park opening? Would we visiting critics ever think “why don’t they add something new?” or for that matter would our love for Disney stay as deep as it is right now? I would move on from Disney if they stopped being creative. Each new ceo/pres/exec who comes in has proven to have great ideas and strengths, I support… Read more »