RUMOR: Lengthy Refurbishment of Spaceship Earth Will Still Happen Soon at EPCOT

EPCOT fans have been on an emotional roller coaster ride with the imminent Spaceship Earth refurbishment as part of the park’s impending overhaul. We first told you about this project a few years back, speculating that it would be a lengthy rehab lasting anywhere from 2 to 2.5 years. Disney then formally announced the project at the 2019 D23 Expo, later providing a teaser and new tagline for the attraction. Finally, in early 2020, a closure date was announced. Then the pandemic happened.

EPCOT Spaceship Earth concept art

With the closure of Walt Disney World lasting through the announced May closing date for Spaceship Earth, it was unclear if we would ever see the current version of the ride again. Then, much to our surprise, it was announced that Spaceship Earth would be open when EPCOT returned on July 15, 2020. On top of that, the project’s segment was removed from the EPCOT Experience preview center show (along with the now cancelled Mary Poppins project for the United Kingdom pavilion). Some suspected the project to overhaul EPCOT’s iconic centerpiece attraction was cancelled, but in fact, it was just delayed.

Spaceship Earth our shared story epcot experience

Mass layoffs at Walt Disney Imagineering did delay the project indefinitely, coupled with the stalling on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It is likely that the France expansion would’ve opened in late-May 2020, counteracting the loss in ride capacity with Spaceship Earth being closed. With Remy delayed and Imagineers on the Spaceship Earth project canned, there was no rush to close the ride. Now, Ratatouille has an opening date, October 1, 2021, paving the way for SSE to be shuttered.

According to several sources, the Spaceship Earth refurbishment is back on schedule and the attraction will close sometime in the next few months. If you’re asking why Disney seems to be rushing to close a ride just as capacity is increasing, well, the rehab can’t be delayed much longer. The updates to Spaceship Earth will not just be in the show, but will focus on rebuilding most of the ride system—which is now almost 40 years old—and repairing the structure itself in some places. This work is long overdue now.

Disney has yet to announce any of this, so as with any rumor, take it with a grain of salt until it actually happens. If it does come to pass, EPCOT will be without its most beloved attraction when its 40th birthday rolls around on October 1st, 2022, but the attraction also missed the park’s 25th anniversary in 2007.

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  1. One would think they would leave it alone until after the MK 50th anniversary, since that will be a ramp up in guests, especially in 2022 when the world will (hopefully) have the pandemic behind us. I’d think they would celebrate Epcot’s 40th and then close the ride down come November for refurbishment. But who knows when it comes to Disney. Hope you had a great trip in France, Tom. The other guy was too happy on the YT show, looking forward to the Bronx transplant cynicism again. =P

  2. It’s about time for the Update Spaceship Earth. I love Spaceship Earth!

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