*Twiddles thumbs. Checks Twitter. Reads a blog post.*
Done? Okay, let’s ‘soar’ right in!
Pick your mode of transportation! Soarin’ is a popular ride that allows you to hang-glide over California, feeling the wind in your face whilst smelling the fragrance of zesty orange trees. (Fun Fact: The first model for Soarin’ was made out of an erector set!) Once you land on solid ground, hop in a Chevy at Test Track. Strap yourself in and brace yourself for the ride of your life! Put on your space suit, join the NASA team and shoot for the stars as you travel to Mars in your rocket via Mission: Space. To ease back into Earth’s gravity, swim underwater to the ‘clamobile’ where The Seas with Nemo & Friends take you “under the sea.” Finally, use those feet and travel indoors to Innoventions where you’ll find interactive and educational games the whole family will enjoy.
My first mid-summer Epcot experience in several seasons started on a sweet note, as I snagged a parking spot along the center aisle; there is nothing worse than having to walk a football field’s length just to get to the tram.
Spending a lot of time at Universal Orlando lately, I’ve been frustrated by how slow their entry procedures are, even after new ticket scanners were recently installed. In contrast, the turnstile-free entry at Disney’s parks has become my favorite element of MyMagic+. Scanning a MagicBand usually seems swifter than swiping a barcode, and the finger scanners at Disney are still far faster and more reliable than Universal’s new biometric readers.
We asked the managers. We asked the CM’s. We asked guest relations. We sent a letter to Siemens and we even annoyed their PR guy.
We have been told enough times to finally accept it: Spaceship Earth is finished in its current state. There are apparently no plans to add anything to the bleak black curtain finale and nothing is just sitting there waiting to be turned on.
We wish it weren’t true, but it is. If anyone would like to present us with physical proof or a statement from Disney or Siemens on the matter we will happily sing a different tune.
In the meantime, please do not email us telling us they have added a blue triangle to the descent in recent weeks – they have not. We have ridden it and seen it for ourselves many times over many weeks and nothing has changed significantly in several months. Sorry.
Reports are coming in that new lighting effects have been turned on in the final descent of Spaceship Earth, bringing the attraction closer to physical completion. Word has it that Disney chose to open the unfinished attraction to meet capacity demands from the operations staff – a whole two months of full closure prior to it being finished. Those two months have now turned into nearly 10 months of guests riding past black curtains and chicken wire. Hopefully the improvements, when completed, will have been worth the wait.
In the seemingly never-ending saga of the Spaceship Earth refurbishment, we have good news to report! The Paper Boy animatronic which for months has sat idle facing a wall is now moving and actually looks quite good.
With the return of the Paper Boy there is further hope of the installation of a real physical finale at the end of the attraction instead of gliding through dark space.
The missing paper boy animatronic is still missing, but this past week the pair of musicians returned to the renaissance scene.
Some are quite happy with the overall result of the refurbishment of the iconic attraction, while others are still disappointed – rumors indicate among those are imagineering and the sponsor Siemens. There is a strongly rumored suggestion that the ride in its current form is incomplete.
When will it be finished? We’re not privy to that information, but if past refurbishment have been indicators it may be months if not years.
Though the Spaceship Earth at Epcot is open regularly, workers are still insisde making changes to the show. In the post show, large rear-lit panels now depict a futuristic cityscape.
A closer view of the cityscape.
There have also been many touch screen information kiosks spread around the Project Tomorrow area so that guests can learn about Siemens and it’s offerings. In the ride itself, the paper boy animatronic has been removed (will he return?) as well as the renaissance musicians.
What the future holds for Spaceship Earth is uncertain. They appear to be working daily, or atleast Mon-Fri, to improve the attraction. Several lines of audio have already been modified or cut to make the narration less patronizing and some new lighting and set pieces are partially installed in the descent.
We will keep you updated on the progress on the attraction.
Imagineering recently revealed the final parts of the new Project Tomorrow post-show for Spaceship Earth at Epcot.
The screens around the ceiling have come to life, showcasing the faces of guests as snapped on the ride itself, and also showing profiles and images of Siemens students scholars who they are recognizing. The large central globe now shows faces of riders and then roughly where they live, as they chose on the touch screen of the ride.
A major new feature is the central kiosk in the space. It allows you to find your image and future as chosen on the ride, as you approach, it recognizes your face and loads you photo and scene – if it doesn’t work you can find it by the choices you made on the ride, and see just how many other people made the same choices recently, which can be mind boggling in and of itself. Once found, that image can be emailed home.
Though it has reopened, the Spaceship Earth ride is not entirely complete and is still be minored refurbished. Several new additions have been added since the first reopening in late 2007, and small bits are still being tweaked.
Notably, after this second closure the lighting has been worked on and the descent has had triangular panels added which are not finished but glow in a blue light. They appear unfinished as of our last inspection but seem to be part of a larger interested effect for the space.
Also, large neon wires now drape over the telephone routing scene, and smokestacks replace the blank wall as you transition from the Sistine Chapel to the Industrial Revolution. Also, the famously backwards paperboy now faces a well painted cityscape.
We are unsure of when Spaceship Earth will actually be finished, but if the Haunted Mansion refurbishment has taught us anything, it will be when they’re good and ready for it to be done and not before then.
Though rumored early during the refurbishment, the option for guests to choose the language of their narration never surfaced during the preview opening of the attraction. According to the latest press releases, the option to choose will be available after the official February reopening.
Rumors also persist that the new ending is getting a long and hard look from Imagineering and may be modified from the current less-then-stellar incarnation.