ORLANDO, Fla. – Thank the Phoenicians while you still can.
Six months after announcing a major makeover of Epcot’s icon at 2019′s D23 Convention, Disney confirmed Tuesday night Spaceship Earth will close to guests for remodeling on May 26.
Disney also shared a new concept image of what the revamped ride will look like when work is complete.
The art released Tuesday night depicts what appears to be the set from the existing Ancient Egypt scene with glowing hieroglyphics and other light effects. The animatronic Pharaoh and his queen that have been holding court since 1982 appear to have been handed pink slips.
A closer look at the new art appears to show a female pharaoh making a proclamation to an audience of one.
This goes along with plans announced along with the entire Epot makeover at the D23 convention in August of 2019. Disney CEO Bob Chapek promised a new version of the classic attraction called “Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story.”
The new vision broadens what was first intended to be the story of communications into how humanity has developed culturally through the ages led by a "story light" acting as a guide.
The art shown off in August appeared to reflect changes to two other early scenes in the ride: the caveman scene & the scene with traders arriving by ship who learning how to communicate with a shared alphabet.
The original version of Spaceship Earth had a script developed with the guidance of legendary science fiction author Ray Bradbury. It was updated slightly in 1986 with the addition of CBS News legend Walter Cronkite as the narrator, along with the much-loved song “Tomorrow’s Child.”
Far more people remember the third version of the ride narrated by actor Jeremy Irons that opened in 1994. The current version of the show, narrated by Dame Judi Dench debuted in December of 2007.
Disney announced the newly-planned 5th version of Spaceship Earth would go along with a major remake of the entire front half of the park. Work began months ago on the main entrance area. The central plaza past Spaceship Earth closed to the public for demolition on Feb. 16.
While Disney has now announced the last day of operation for Spaceship Earth will be May 25, it did not announce how long the closure will take. Industry insiders say, given the scope of the work, it could take two years or more. We will keep you posted as Disney reveals new details on News 6 and here on ClickOrlando.com.