Spaceship Earth’s Permanent Lighting Transformation Revealed

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spaceship earth

All images @thezachriddley

With the Disney World 50th anniversary less than two months away, Disney has been hard at work making sure every theme park has something special going on.

When the theme park icons were announced, we knew Magic Kingdom would decorate Cinderella Castle, Disney’s Hollywood Studios would give the Tower of Terror some shimmer, Disney’s Animal Kingdom would project onto the Tree of Life, and Spaceship Earth over in EPCOT would receive a permanent change as points of light would be added to the ball so that it would shine outward.

spaceship earth
Credit: Inside the Magic

As the months have gone on, many Disney fans have directed their attention to Magic Kingdom as the Park has seen the most noticeable change with Cinderella Castle completely transformed, along with many areas of Fantasyland. Now, Imagineer Zach Riddley (@thezachriddley) has taken to Instagram to let Spaceship Earth steal some of the shine from the castle as the Beacons of Light have finally been lit! 

Last week we shared an exciting new look at all four Beacons on Magic coming to life as part of the WDW 50th Anniversary. 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. 💡🌐 I’m proud to share today a few pics from behind the scenes of the project, led by Imagineers Jason Read and Galen Lande. Take a look!!

Installation of the system is nearly complete, and our team has been hard at work testing. Jason, Galen, and their team are leveraging a “pre-cueing” system to pre-visualize and program this new system virtually – allowing us to test many different ideas before locking in on our best look. And 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.

spaceship earth
Credit: @thezachriddley


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 to fully immerse Guests with an experience that is … EPCOT. We have more work to do before we’re ready to reveal this to the world as part of the Most Magical Celebration on Earth, starting Oct 1st!!‌

Related: Spaceship Earth Lighting Malfunctions Causing Wild Effect 

As Zach noted, it seems Disney is in its final stages of making sure that the Beacons of Light will be ready to shine on October 1! Those visiting EPCOT that day will also see the debut of the nighttime spectacular Harmonious, as well as get to ride the new attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, all while enjoying the International Food and Wine Festival!

Do. you like the new Beacons of Light on Spaceship Earth? Let us know your thoughts below!  

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