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Spaceship Earth’s new lights will tell a story of connection at Epcot

by Tharin White

Epcot still has a lot to complete before the new phase of the park’s future is ready. We recently looked over the Future World, soon to be named World Celebration, construction. Now, we look to the park’s icon, Spaceship Earth. Imagineer Zach Riddley showcased a sneak preview of the next iteration of this ride’s exterior on his Instagram page. This Beacon of Magic will live beyond the 18-month 50th anniversary celebration as a permanent staple at Epcot. Spaceship Earth’s new lights are built to tell a story of connection.

Spaceship Earth's new lights glow bright.

Spaceship Earth, as well as Cinderella Castle, The Hollywood Tower Hotel and the Tree of Life will all be Beacons of Magic for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration. Imagineers will utilize projection mapping for all but Epcot’s icon. Instead, Spaceship Earth is getting a new permanent installment.

Spaceship Earth will be a beacon of magic during the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.

Riddley states, “Our new lighting system for Spaceship Earth is something entirely original — a first-of-its-kind programmable LED lighting system invented by our very own Imagineers to integrate seamlessly into the iconic Spaceship Earth façade.”

Spaceship Earth's new lights can change color and "connect" to each other.

He continues, “Installation of the system is nearly complete, and our team has been hard at work testing […] We are finding some very cool effects — giving the surface of Spaceship Earth an entirely new feeling and visual identity visible from all corners of the park. We are exploring visual poetry that respects 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.”

@disneyparks

Spaceship Earth Lights, Spaceship EARTH LIGHTS, SPACESHIP EARTH LIGHTS! 🌐✨ #Disney #DisneyParks #EPCOT #WDW #Imagineer #Lights #SpaceshipEarth

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

You can take a closer look at the new Imagineering-designed lights in the TikTok above.

A close-up on the installation of Spaceship Earth's new lights.

You can see the installation of Spaceship Earth’s new lights in the park quite easily. But until now, we have yet to see an up-close view of them turned on and testing.

Disney concept art of new Epcot park entrance.

These hundreds of lights will connect to create patterns and waves that flow over one of the most iconic structures ever created in Disney’s history. This concept feels very much like an Epcot thing to do, using technology to tell a story about togetherness and connection.

Pre-vis software for Spaceship Earth lighting package.

Riddley’s post also showcased Imagineers using pre-visualization software to test out theories and designs before taking them to the big stage on Spaceship Earth itself. The lighting will correlate with the fountain, pylon and new entrance lighting to create a showcase of color and music.


The 50th anniversary is soon arriving for Walt Disney World. This new lighting package, alongside Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Epcot’s Harmonious firework spectacular, Magic Kingdom’s new Disney Enchantment firework spectacular, Animal Kingdom’s Disney KiteTails show and the 50th anniversary golden statue icons are all scheduled to debut on Oct. 1, 2021. What are you most excited for?

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