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Spaceship Earth's Big Changes At Disney World's Epcot Are Starting To Move Forward, And The Internet Has Thoughts

Spaceship earth and the Epcot Fountain

Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary is on the horizon this fall and while we still don't know most of the things that will be part of the 18-month long celebration, we do know that many of the resort's theme park landmarks will be getting a facelift that will illuminate them at night in iridescent colors. At Epcot, the iconic geodesic sphere Spaceship Earth will be outfitted with new lights, and unlike some of the other park updates, we know that the lighting package being added to to it will be a permanent new addition. Yesterday Imagineer Zach Riddley revealed that the work had begun on Spaceship Earth, with the first lights being attached to the structure.

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Many Walt Disney World fans are quite excited because there's little doubt that when the sphere is illuminated at night, it's going to look incredible. However, seeing exactly how the lights are being attached, with what will likely be hundred's of little lights affixed all over the structure, some Epcot fans are worried because they're afraid they're going to permanently alter the way Spaceship Earth looks during the day and make the iconic landmark and centerpiece of the park look terrible.

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Considering how creative and surprising Walt Disney Imagineering can be in so many of the things that it does, people are somewhat surprised that adding lighting to Spaceship Earth is as literally simple as sticking a bunch of fixtures all over the outside of the sphere. Many expected the lights to be invisible, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Originally, Spaceship Earth was supposed to be down for a major refurbishment right now, but that was put on hold following the closure and limited reopening of the theme parks in 2020. It's possible that this has actually changed the way the lighting is being done.

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There are a lot of jokes at the expense of the lights themselves, as they look like the sort of battery powered puck lights you might add in your closet or under your kitchen counters. They are more complex than that, of course, but that doesn't change what they look like.

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As far as we know the Spaceship Earth redesign is still in the plan for the future of Epcot, it's simply been postponed due to post-pandemic financial struggle the theme parks are facing. Perhaps this is really only a temporary solution and we'll get a more permanent design once the Spaceship Earth redesign actually takes place. Or maybe the lights won't be as visible as it seems and the sphere will still look great in the light and at night.

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We'll have to wait and see. With the geodesic sphere being so large, it will take quite some time to finish this installation and get an idea what it will really look like during the day, and we likely won't see it fully lit up at night until October 1, when the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World begins.

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.