On February 15, 2008, Epcot’s most famous attraction debuted the tech-savvy, updated, Judi Dench-ified version that exists today. Thanks to sponsorship from Siemens AG, major changes were made to Spaceship Earth’s pre and post-shows, new scenes were added, and the costumes, lighting, and props were refreshed. This fourth version of the attraction also benefitted from a new score by Bruce Broughton (who also composed one of my favorite movie themes, the Main Title score from The Rescuers Down Under), and a new narration from the lovely Judi Dench. While there are lots of things to admire about this version of Spaceship Earth, the most notable one is everyone’s favorite line: “Remember how easy it was to learn your ABC’s? Thank the Phoenicians! They invented them.” (Admit it, it’s your favorite line too.)
The new scenes in today’s version include the Greek classroom, and the latter scenes that depict the creation of the mainframe computer and the invention of the PC.
|Fun fact: It’s standard for female computer scientists
to wear miniskirts and pleather boots.
But the biggest change comes from the 2008 introduction of facial recognition technology. During the ride’s initial ascent, guests are asked to look into a camera while their image is sent “into the future” and identify their home location on a map. After Spaceship Earth’s awe-inspiring summit, which, I’ll be honest, gets me every time ….
|Attention: Your time travel vehicle is now rotating
backward for your return to Earth.
… guests are presented with a personality quiz, asking for their preferences when it comes to home life, leisure, travel, and more. Based on these answers and the photo captured earlier, the ride auto-generates a custom-made future, with guests in the starring role!
After guests disembark from their ride vehicle, they exit into the new (current) post-show area, where each rider’s photo claims its spot on a map of the world, based on the hometown information they input at the beginning of the ride. Guests can also send “Postcards from the Future” to friends back home, as well as engage with a variety of educational, interactive exhibits.
For me, the current version of Spaceship Earth represents a nice mix of Epcot’s past and future. Unlike other Epcot attractions (*cough*JourneyIntoImagination*cough), the integrity of the original ride still exists, but the new scenes and the new technology bring an otherwise dated attraction into the new millennium. As the signature Epcot structure, it’s nice to see that the attraction is continuing to tell the story of where we’ve come, and we’re going next … on this, our Spaceship Earth.
Thank you Amanda- nothing beats a spin on Spaceship Earth; awe-some! Please follow more of Amand’s work on Facebook and on Twitter @thedisneychick.
We’re almost there… Three more days, three more Disney bloggers before the big birthday… Tomorrow, Elizabeth Weaver brings us another year closer to the 30th Anniversary of Epcot.