ORLANDO, Fla. – As part of the grand announcement for the Most Magical Celebration on Earth, Walt Disney World leaders promised to transform the icons of each theme park into a Beacon of Magic.
They promised the new look for Epcot’s Spaceship Earth will be permanent. Now guests have their best look yet at how the 180-foot-tall geosphere will be transformed.
Until now, Spaceship Earth has appeared basically the same after dark. However, with the park’s transformation, The Innoventions West Building was demolished, removing one of the primary perches for the lights that make the 11,324 silver Alucobond triangles gleam.
Eagle-eyed park-goers have spotted dozens of circular fixtures appearing where the triangular panels meet. The new specialized LED lights illuminate Spaceship Earth in a new way. Imagineer Zach Riddley showed the first one being installed as a test back in March.
Tuesday, on his Instagram page, Riddley announced Installation of the system is nearly complete, and the Imagineering team has been hard at work testing it out. Previously we learned each fixture can shine a beam out from the center, with other lights aimed at the reflective surface of the sphere. Now Disney showed programmers actually trying out this first-of-its-kind programmable lighting system invented by Imagineers.
Imagineers Jason Read, Galen Lande and their team first used a “pre-cueing” system to virtually try out their ideas. Guests are now seeing some of the possible new looks being explored ahead of October first on the actual exterior of Spaceship Earth.
Riddley writes the goal is to respect “the lighting legacy of this grand icon while bringing rich new depth and motion to life - all inspired by colors and textures that evoke stardust and the mystery and wonder of our universe. And we’ll be able to tie this program into the surrounding Main Entrance Plaza and new fountain and pylon lighting to fully immerse Guests with an experience that is ... EPCOT.”
Expect more sneak peeks as that work is finalized. Friday, the Disney Parks blog posted updated concept art for all four “Beacons of Magic.” Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, the Tower of Tower and The Tree of Life are expected to glow nightly throughout the 18-month 50th celebration.