This week Disney announced that Spaceship Earth will be the latest attraction at Epcot to close its doors for remodeling. While many guests have already witnessed some of Epcot’s construction and renovations originally announced at last year’s D23 Expo, this latest announcement confirms the closure of the park’s most iconic attraction. Spaceship Earth’s closure is scheduled for May 26, 2020, leaving May 25 as the last day for guests to enjoy the ride until renovations are complete.
This new remodel will mark the fifth time this dark-ride will have undergone renovations. One of Epcot’s original attractions, Spaceship Earth opened in 1982 as somewhat of an educational attraction, taking guests through the ages of Earth’s human evolution and development. The original Spaceship Earth script was developed by legendary science fiction author, Ray Bradbury, writer of Fahrenheit 451. Just four years later, in 1986 the attraction’s script was slightly modified and famed TV news anchor Walter Cronkite was the new narrator for the ride. Possibly the most well known version of Spaceship Earth came in 1994 which brought on actor Jeremy Irons as the new voice for the ride. The beloved Jeremy Irons version of Spaceship Earth came to an end over 13 years later in late-2007 when the ride was updated to be narrated by Dame Judi Dench.
With the current version of Spaceship Earth being in operation for 13 years and Epcot’s 40th Anniversary quickly approaching, the ride is due for an update. While some concept art for the renovations was released at D23 Expo in August 2019, a new piece of art was released on Monday along with the closure announcement. The concept art depicts the updated Egypt scene which brings various lighting effects to the set.
Disney Executive Zach Riddley made the announcement Monday night on the Disney Parks Blog, telling guests that the new renovations would be a blend of old and new. Many of the well-known scenes will remain but will be updated and reimagined using the power of light. New scenes will also be added to help illustrate the transition of Earth’s humanity throughout the ages. Slated as the “most ambitious” update to the signature attraction, the timeframe for this renovation has not yet been announced. Many frequent guests and insiders believe the new Spaceship Earth won’t re-open until just before the 40th Anniversary celebration in mid-2022. This could mean a closure of over a year.
The remodeling of Spaceship Earth is one of many updates coming to Epcot. In addition to the entryway undergoing major changes, the park will also see a variety of new rides, the restructuring of the park’s three main areas, new restaurants, updates to shows around the World Showcase, and more. To read more about the various renovations planned for Epcot leading up to the 40th Anniversary, read our comprehensive Epcot Expansion update.
How do you feel about the closure of Spaceship Earth scheduled for May 26, 2020? What are you hoping to see in the new version of Spaceship Earth after renovations are complete?