We know that Spaceship Earth will be undergoing a refurbishment in the future, we just don’t know when it’ll happen. It’s not just the interior of the attraction that will see changes during the refurbishment either, if concept art is to be believed. When looking at the concept art below, it looks like the reverse of Spaceship Earth will also see changes as this section of Future World transforms into World Discovery.
As a reminder, here’s what the back of Spaceship Earth looks like now.
While the closure dates and exact details about how far-reaching the Spaceship Earth area refurbishment will be are still unknown, a couple of projects taking place right now might give us a good idea of what the arrival experience at Epcot might look like in 2020. It’s important to note that the following information is speculation based on observation of construction movements over the past few weeks and months.
We’ll start with an overview of our theory that suggests we’ll have two new bypass routes in 2020 when Spaceship Earth undergoes a refurbishment.
We’ll start at the blue route, and probably the easier of the two arguments to make. We’ll start with a look from the monorail, where the future site of Journey of Water – Inspired by Moana is turning into a walkway more than anything.
As you can see in this final photo, the work gets close to the current guest walkway that passes by the west side of Spaceship Earth. That said, it looks like the curb formed below is actually taking the path much further west than the existing walkway. Further west, even, than the restroom building.
It’s our belief that this walkway will actually connect near a welcome meet and greet area to the right of Spaceship Earth as you enter the park. As you can see in the photos below, a piece of the structure that is under the monorail beam has been torn open, potentially to make way for a pathway that would allow guests to bypass the area under Spaceship Earth that might be blocked off during the refurbishment.
With that theory fleshed out, let’s take a look at the left, or east, side of Spaceship Earth. Over here, things are a little bit less obvious, but still taking shape nonetheless. Over the past few months, we’ve seen the clearing and grading of a space near Guest Relations. What started as a tree clearing project, has turned into a path shaping project, as you’ll see in the photo below. It’s our estimation that this will be a smaller, eastern bypass that will roughly follow the red line in our drawing above.
So, what is the likelihood that this will actually come to fruition? Our best guess is that the western (blue) bypass is all but locked in. Disney has an extensive demolition project ahead of them that will see all of Innoventions West demolished. We’ve already seen the complete demolition of the Fountain View structure, and the portion of Innoventions West that is was connected to is already completely gutted.
Of course, the torn open structure that sits underneath the monorail beam to the west of Spaceship Earth could be a completely unrelated project. With Camera Center set to open in a few weeks, it seems like it would be against Disney’s financial interest to put it behind walls sometime next year when Spaceship Earth closes for refurbishment. So, we’d like to propose an alternate route, as seen in yellow below. While it wouldn’t line up perfectly with the curbing we’ve seen created so far, it allows Camera Center, lockers, and restrooms to remain open and accessible to guests.
As for the eastern bypass that goes past Guest Relations, we’ll have to keep a close eye on that in the coming weeks to see if any other pathways take shape that would support it becoming a guest pathway in the future.
So what do you think? There is a lot of demolition and change on the horizon for Epcot and guests will have to be routed around the work somehow. Do you think that we’ll see both pathways used as bypass routes around construction? Only one bypass? Or are these construction sites completely unrelated to any future guest bypasses completely? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!