There are a lot of big questions about what’s going on in Epcot right now. After all, with the Epcot transformation underway and construction barriers at every turn, the park is very much a work-in-progress.
Perhaps the biggest question concerns the park’s icon itself: Spaceship Earth. It was announced that part of the transformation would mean a significant refurbishment for the classic attraction — so, what exactly does that mean?
When will the refurb take place? Will the ride close? How long will it take? What are the changes? And, for goodness sake, will we still be able to smell the Library of Alexandria burning?!
These are all important questions, some of which we know the answers to, so read on for a rundown of what we know.
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening with Spaceship Earth!
The Original Announcement
The first we heard of this was at the D23 Conference in 2019. As part of the Epcot transformation, Spaceship Earth would receive new narration, new music, and a new focus on defining the human story.
This announcement alone wasn’t too surprising. After all, Spaceship Earth has undergone significant updates in the past with changes to the music and the narration. The most recent was the addition of Judi Dench voicing the attraction, which happened in 2007.
Now, the early information about the refurbishment also talked about a new name for the attraction “Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story”, and the additional feature of a magical “story light” that would bring the ride scenes to life.
So maybe the update isn’t the smallest in the world. After all, a change in the focus of the ride could mean some pretty big alterations. At least it was confirmed that Spaceship Earth would remain the park’s icon.
The Expected Changes
So, besides music, narration, and the story light, what are the changes we’re looking at? Well, Disney has been pretty vague, but they have mentioned some all-new scenes that reflect the nature of the human story.
During a panel at D23, it was noted that some of the attractions of classic and beloved scenes would be sticking around. Some. That’s right, we’re not sure who will stay or who will go! Just don’t take our Phoenicians or yellow leggings lady!
We still don’t know much about the mystery story light, but we do know that light will be used as an integral part of the attraction in general to enhance old scenes and tie them together with new ones.
Most recently, Disney debuted the first concept art of what the inside of the attraction will look like with a glimpse at Egypt. Looks like the Egyptians will be sticking around with light highlighting the hieroglyphics in the scene.
The scene itself looks a little different too, with the animatronics in different positions. For instance, who’s that woman in the back? And where is Papyrus Guy? We’re waiting patiently to hear more about what scenes will be staying and how they’ll be changing.
In a new statement, Disney Parks Blog also called the upcoming update the “most ambitious” to date. The 2007 update was pretty significant, so we’re nervously excited to see what tops it.
When It’s Going Down
Now, it was previously unknown when or how long the update would be, but Disney recently announced a closing date of May 26th for the attraction. That certainly doesn’t tell us how long the ride will be closed, but with an ambitious update such as this one, it could be lengthy.
Perhaps Disney is aiming for the reopening ahead of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary in the summer of 2021, or it could be even longer. After all, Epcot turns 40 in October 2022.
Whatever the length of the refurb, we’re preparing to say goodbye to our dear Spaceship Earth for a while! We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop whenever we hear more!
Are you nervous or excited about the renovations to Spaceship Earth? Share your thoughts in the comments!