BREAKING: Spaceship Earth Closure Starts May 26th at EPCOT

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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.

About the author

Jessica Figueroa

Jessica lives in South Florida with her 15-pound cat Gordo and a small army of Tsum Tsums. You can contact her, ideally with photos of your cats, at [email protected]

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Jeffrey Mirman
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Jeffrey Mirman

Did they give an estimate on the downtime?

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Read the article.

Will
Guest
Will

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

PJ1
Guest
PJ1

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

Paul Zimmerman
Guest
Paul Zimmerman

So long old friend :(

Regis Philbin
Guest
Regis Philbin

I’m not going to like this!

Austin
Guest
Austin

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

kate
Guest
kate

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
Guest
Christine Coblentz

That’s an excellent idea!!!

Kristy
Guest
Kristy

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
Tom Corless

Who says it’s before Remy opens?

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

Remy’s earliest estimated opening time is the summer.

Tom Corless
Admin
Tom Corless

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

Sean
Guest
Sean

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

Paul
Guest
Paul

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

sgt. ghost pepper
Guest
sgt. ghost pepper

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
Guest
Knartker

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

Steve
Guest
Steve

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

Amy
Guest
Amy

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
Guest
Coach Fred

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

Tom Corless
Admin
Tom Corless

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

Lori B
Guest
Lori B

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
Tom Corless

I thought they did.

Sean
Guest
Sean

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

Tim
Guest
Tim

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
Guest
Judy D

Thank you Phoenicians

Neo
Guest
Neo

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

PABLO PADILLA
Guest
PABLO PADILLA

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

Tom Corless
Admin
Tom Corless

No, May 25th is the last day

John
Guest
John

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
Guest
Joe Tierney

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
Guest
Steve

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
Guest
Abdul

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

Sean Williams
Guest
Sean Williams

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 »