The iconic landmark Spaceship Earth from Disney's EPCOT will be closing its doors very soon, but not for good. First opened in 1982, the attraction has undergone three renovations in the past and changes throughout the years but now Walt Disney Imagineering will be bringing what they call a "historic transformation" to the ride starting on May 26 of this year. In an official blog post from Disney Parks, the Imagineering team said this update will be the "most ambitious" of the renovations to Spaceship Earth and reflects Walt Disney's quote about EPCOT that it "would always be in a state of becoming." You can see new concept art for the changes below!
"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," Zach Riddley, Walt Disney World Site Portfolio Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering said. "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."
Fresh details about the update were revealed as well with Riddley revealing that riders will get the chance to visit ancient Egypt on the ride, but not like how it currently appears on Spaceship Earth. In the new update, Egypt will "transformed through the power of light" with the role that light had played throughout human history being the driving force behind the update. The new version of Spaceship Earth will also feature a new narration, but who will provide it has yet to be revealed. Previous narrators for the attraction include Vic Perrin, Walter Cronkite, Jeremy Irons, and Dame Judi Dench (the current narrator).
It was previously reported that Spaceship Earth would be closed for two years as part of its renovation, with the new version set to open in 2022 during the 40th anniversary of EPCOT. Disney Parks did not confirm a time frame for the ride's re-opening today.
The upgrades to the ride come as part of a major overhaul to EPCOT as a whole, previously described as a "multi-year transformation" that will bring new experiences to the park. EPCOT will soon be divided into four "neighborhoods" known as World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature, and the ever present World Showcase.
World Celebration will feature the new version of Spaceship Earth plus lush gardens, a wishing tree, an interactive new fountain and a new statue celebrating the legacy of the original dreamer, Walt Disney. World Discovery will include the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride plus an update to the Mission: SPACE pavilion with the new restaurant Space 220.
The World Nature neighborhood will include the update to the Journey of Water attraction, this version inspired by Moana, plus the new film "Awesome Planet." Finally the World Showcase pavilion will welcome the first ride inspired by the film Mary Poppins with several 360-degree film presentations coming to other pavilions in the "neighborhood."