Siemens/Disney Deal to Plus Spaceship Earth
April 20, 2007
From the Mouse Lounge Podcast - by Gary Chambers
Fans of Epcots Spaceship Earth were offered a surprising announcement last week. While most fans already knew the post show area of the atTRaction was being updated, Walt Disney World and Siemens AG are also plussing the atTRaction itself and its technologies.
The new post show area, dubbed, "Project Tomorrow: Inventing the World of Tomorrow" is scheduled to open later this month with broader changes, including updates throughout the ride, being phased in throughout the next several months forcing a closure of the atTRaction later this year. The ride has had minor updates since it opened with Epcot in 1982, but no major overhauls until now.
Three of several planned new exhibits in the post show area will be a 20-foot-high globe offering an ever-changing collage of images of the future; a 3-D game called "Body Builder" enabling visitors to assemble a digital human body; and a driving simulator showcasing motor-vehicle accident and avoidance systems.
Those features and others that will be wired into the ride are based on technologies developed by Siemens. The Munich, Germany-based company with operations in Orlando is involved in a variety of technology fields including automobiles, high-speed rail, water, wind energy, medical equipment and light bulbs. Siemens and Disney signed a sponsorship deal in late 2005, in which Disney pledged to spend $100 million on Siemens' technologies over 12 years.
A Disney spokeswoman said the globe renovations will take place later this year, updating everything from the lighting and audio effects to the exhibits themselves. There even will be interactive touch screens installed in ride cars, enabling visitors to create their own visions of the future.