Major news at Disney World today as word that the Star Wars franchise would be moving beyond Hollywood Studios and into Epcot emerged. While not all details are currently known, it appears Future World will be blasting off into a galaxy far far away with a massive makeover and full reimaging of the parks iconic attraction, Spaceship Earth.
During an approximate 18-month refurbishment, Spaceship Earth will receive and incredibly detailed overlay that will transform it from the geodesic dome we know today into a replica of the Death Star featured in Episodes IV and V. Inside, the ride will move guests scene by scene through the story of the original Star Wars trilogy. Starting on Los Eisley, guests will follow the journey of Luke Skywalker from young moisture farmer to powerful Jedi. The ride will culminate at the top of the Death Star (currently Spaceship Earth) with the classic battle between Luke Skywalker and ultimate bad guy and absent father, Darth Vader.
Small nods to the extinct Spaceship Earth will remain such as everyone’s favorite sleeping monk who will be recast as a passed out, drunk space pilot early on in the cantina scene. Ride vehicles will also be getting a makeover. The blue shells will be replaced with models of various spacecraft from the movies. On your way back to earth, interactive touch screens in the vehicles will now feature a short video game replicating light saber training.
Spokesperson Jess Kedding commented, “Surveys have consistently revealed a strong demand from guests for a much larger Star Wars presence in the Disney World parks. Without question, this is the logical next step for the Star Wars franchise. After all, I think most people have probably already realized how much Spaceship Earth resembles the Death Star. Not to mention, the Death Star is a spaceship so the connection is fairly obvious.”
Work will begin in August and will take 18 months to complete. This will be the most extensive refurbishment of a Disney ride to date. Also, with the makeover including the replacement of all exterior panels, the longer than usual construction schedule is understandable. The grand opening of the new Star Wars themed ride will coincide with the anniversary of the release of the original movie, February 30th, 2018.
“This is just the beginning for the march of the Star Wars empire,” Kedding continued. “Fans can expect further demonstrations of the awesome power of this fully operational franchise!” While not official at this point, rumors have also been swirling that Illuminations, the nighttime laser and light extravaganza in Epcot, will also be getting similar Star Wars treatment. The show will be reworked to replicate the finale of Episode IV where Luke and the other rebels engage in an amazing space battle against Empire forces. The show will culminate with the floating globe (now a Death Star replica) bursting open and erupting into flames as Darth Vader and the Emperor’s forces are defeated.
With out a doubt this is the most exciting time to be a Disney World fan. The timing of this news is also perfect. It is April Fools day after all. The perfect day to have a little fun and give our readers a little bit of a scare. Keep the fun going. Share with your friends and enjoy the reaction.
May the Farce be with you!
10 Facts and Secrets About Spaceship Earth at Disney’s Epcot
by Christy Caby
Spaceship Earth was and still is an extremely impressive attraction and successful venture that Disney pulled off. It was created to fulfill some of the designs that Walt had ideas for before he died. He never got to see it, but we feel like he likely would have been very proud of Spaceship Earth. Here are 10 facts and secrets about Spaceship Earth that I know you will enjoy:
10 – How long do you think it took to build?
Spaceship Earth is extremely impressive, as it should be! This one attraction took 26 months to build. That is a long time, but well worth it since it is the icon and main focal point for the park. It is the first thing that guests see when they enter as well. Can you imagine how much it costs in labor alone to pay the teams that worked on the attraction for a full 26 months?
9 – Spaceship Earth is actually not a perfect sphere.
Spaceship Earth was known as the world’s first geodesic sphere. It is also still known as the largest freestanding sphere in the world. The funny thing is that it actually isn’t an exactly perfect sphere! It is a little more oblong than a sphere shape.
8 – There is a built in drainage system.
The way the triangles are put together sync up with an intentional drainage system that actually drain the rain water into the lagoon at the World Showcase. It was designed this way so rain water wouldn’t run right off the sides and onto the guests standing underneath the attraction.
7 – You may recognize some of the animatronics.
If you look closely at all of the animatronics you may notice that many of them are repurposed molds from the animatronics that were created for the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom! It was less costly to just reuse existing models than to have to create completely new faces and molds. Try to guess which ones are particular presidents!
6 – It weighs how much?!?
It is crazy to think about, but all of Spaceship Earth actually weighs 16,000,000 pounds At 180 feet tall (which is around 18 stories), that is about 88,890 pounds per foot of height. That is huge!
5 – Its 150,000 square feet, but still not the largest thing in Epcot
The attraction is an astonishing 150,000 square feet around, and is made of up 11,324 triangular facets. Spaceship Earth towers at 180 feet tall, but still isn’t the largest attraction at Epcot. The Seas pavilion is actually the largest attraction in the Park. The entirety of Spaceship Earth could actually fit inside of the tank at The Seas. It is hard to imagine, but totally true!
4 – Check out the hieroglyphics in the Egyptian area.
Disney always puts extra detail and effort into everything. They spare no expense and consider every single detail when they are building a ride. An example of this is the hieroglyphics in the area are real hieroglyphics that were planned to be images that would have been read at this time to match actual translations for the pharaoh. So cool that this level of detail was considered when most people wouldn’t even notice or think about it!
3 – Spaceship earth is actually built as a sphere within a sphere.
When the attraction was built, the sphere that encases the ride portion was built and then the exterior sphere that we all see was built. So the inside wall you see from the attraction is not the back side of the exterior!
2 – Cast members used to manually turn the cars around at the top of the attraction.
When the attraction first opened and you reach the climb to the top where see Earth, a cast member used to be posted up there to manually turn the cars around so that you can get the view that you see today. Fortunately for the cast members, this has since been automated that vehicles move on their own as they need to turn.
1 – Spaceship Earth has had 4 different narrators over the years, including Scar from The Lion King.
With the various changes to the attraction over the years, it has resulted in 4 different narrators to bring a new life and voice to the attraction. The first was Lawrence Dobkin (an actor from Star Trek and The Ten Commandments). The next narrator whose voice took over was the famous Walter Cronkite. Scar from The Lion King, Jeremy Irons was our third narrator (I miss it!). The current narrator is Dame Judi Dench, who does have a very eloquent voice.