LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Spaceship Earth, the iconic centerpiece of Epcot, relaunches in February with changes and refinements installed during more than seven months of construction and detailing.
Presented by Siemens, the relaunched Spaceship Earth looks on the outside like it did when Epcot opened a quarter century ago. But on the inside, Spaceship Earth has undergone changes since summer 2007 that will treat guests to an innovative "interactive" attraction with many new scenes, new costumes and set decorations, new lighting and special effects, a new musical score and narration, and a totally re-themed interactive post-show.
On a trip through time inside the Spaceship Earth attraction, guests discover how each generation of mankind has invented the future for the next generation, and how the spirit of innovation has moved people from caves to the cosmos.
During the journey, new scenes depict: a family in the late 1960s viewing the moon landing on television; a massive, two-story computer room of the late 1960s with reel-to-reel-computers; a garage of the early 1970s where the "personal computer" is born; and a "tech tunnel" in which guests become part of a digital data stream.
Even scenes that guests have experienced since 1982 have been touched by the project. "Practically every Audio-Animatronics figure in Spaceship Earth has been updated in one way or another," said Show Producer Bob Zalk of Walt Disney Imagineering. "To make the figures more realistic, they've received a makeover of everything from their hair to their costumes to their movements."
Meanwhile, the makeover of the narration and music benefited from some "star power":
The new narration is delivered by English actress Dame Judi Dench, who earned an Oscar as best supporting actress in 1999 for her role in the motion picture "Shakespeare in Love." While Dench delivers the ride vehicle narration in English, guests can also choose five other languages for their vehicle, a Disney "first" -- French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.
The new musical score was composed by Bruce Broughton, who has won a record 10 Emmy Awards and has been nominated for an Oscar and a Grammy during a career writing in every medium -- from theatrical releases and TV feature films to the concert stage and computer games. A 62-piece orchestra and 24-voice choir brings his latest composition to life.
As the ride-through adventure nears its finish, interactive touch-screens in the ride vehicles light up with a series of questions, soliciting guests' preferences concerning things such as where they'd like to live and work in the future. Then guests are treated to a personalized view of themselves in their idyllic future.
When guests disembark the time travel experience, they are invited to visit "Project Tomorrow: Inventing the World of Tomorrow" presented by Siemens, where interactive exhibits bring to life the ideas and technologies Siemens is developing to help make the world a better place for the future. The space is filled with fun, interactive games and displays that showcase innovative technologies. Here, guests step into the world of tomorrow and glimpse the future of medicine, transportation and responsible energy management across the globe. Project Tomorrow includes:
, a 3-D interactive game that enables users to assemble a digital human body, simulating the Siemens technology developed to perform remote surgeries.
, a driving simulation video game that showcases motor vehicle accident avoidance systems developed by Siemens.
, a view into the future of medical diagnostics in the home.
, a game that demonstrates how to manage power in a growing city.
Epcot is the Walt Disney World discovery park, where guests are immersed in a celebration of both technological accomplishments and international cultural achievements. The 305-acre theme park encompasses two unique worlds -- Future World and World Showcase -- with attractions, shows, entertainment, dining, shopping and architectural wonders. Epcot is part of the 25,000-acre Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando, Fla. For more information, guests may call 407/824-4321 or visit disneyworld.com.
Siemens AG (NYSE:SI) is one of the largest global electronics and engineering companies with reported worldwide sales of $107.4 billion in fiscal 2006. Founded 160 years ago, the company is a leader in the areas of Medical, Power, Automation and Control, Transportation, Information and Communications, Lighting, Building Technologies, Water Technologies and Services and Home Appliances. With its U.S. corporate headquarters in New York City, Siemens in the USA has sales of $21.4 billion and employs approximately 70,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Eleven of Siemens' worldwide businesses are based in the United States. With its global headquarters in Munich, Siemens AG and its subsidiaries employ 480,000 people in 190 countries.