There is a very strong rumor that Spaceship Earth is going to undergo a major refurbishment. The closure has not been officially announced by Disney, but I’ve heard it enough places now (including the local news) that I thought I’d tell you what seems to be going on. I first heard this on WDW News Today, which is a great site if you want to know the latest developments at Walt Disney World.
In a nutshell, it looks like Spaceship Earth will close early in 2020, and will remain closed until the second half of 2022. Epcot’s 40th Anniversary will be on October 1, 2022, so that could very well be the target date. The ride will most likely receive a new track, as well as an overhaul of the scenes. The second half of the ride, starting where you reach the top and gaze at Planet Earth, will probably see significant changes as well. While I haven’t heard this mentioned anywhere, I would not be surprised if the narration is updated.
The work will affect more than just the ride. There will most likely be changes to Project Tomorrow, which is the area that you enter when you get off of the ride. The rumor states that the building could even be removed and a new one built.
While I believe this rumor is true, the timing of it seems a little strange to me. Walt Disney World is going to be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, and it surprises me that one of the icons will not be very iconic during the celebration. Then again, there will be so many new offerings by the anniversary (including two new rides at Epcot) that casual visitors won’t even notice.
I attended the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA in 2016, and during the Disney Parks panel we were told that Epcot was going to become more family friendly and “more Disney” (not a direct quote). What, if anything, that means for Spaceship Earth, I’m not sure. Could Goofy be the new narrator? Gawrsh, I sure hope not!
As I said, this is still in the rumor stage, but I do think that it’s credible. Once something official is announced, I’ll make sure that I update you.