Epcot's Spaceship Earth reopens, Steve Jobs pics
Epcot's Spaceship Earth ride has begun its soft opening phase and cast members are now allowing some guests onto the ride. It appears guests are being allowed behind the barriers in small, carefully counted groups, and only at certain times. Lifthill was able to hop aboard the heavily-refurbished ride, and this is our ride report. We were also able to get a couple of photos of the "Steve Jobs" area of the ride, which was rumored to include the Apple CEO.
The entire ride now features new signage, reminiscent of that found in the Project Tomorrow exhibit/post-show area. Changes greet the guests almost immediately in the form of LCD touch screens mounted in the front of each car. Without giving too much away, the ride feels much smoother now, the new audio system and narration by Dame Judi Dench are excellent, and the level of polish restored to the attraction is comparable with other recent rehabs of Disney classics such as the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.
One area worth mentioning is the new portion of the ride dedicated to the rise of computing technology. It was previously rumored that Apple CEO Steve Jobs would appear in a scene depicting the garage out of which Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak launched Apple Computer.
(Click to enlarge)
Because the figure is facing away from the guest, it is impossible to tell which "Steve" is being depicted, but it is worth noting that the figure is dressed much like Wozniak was in a photo taken in the garage during the period. Neither Jobs nor Wozniak is mentioned by name, with the narration stating something along the lines of "In the late Seventies, in a garage in California..."
The end of the ride has also been changed dramatically, with the touch screens mentioned above coming to life, briefly showing facts mentioned previously in the ride before allowing riders to "see" their future based on a series of multiple choice questions answered by tapping the screen. Although it has been reported that the ride would use an image of the rider, captured during the ascent, in the vision of the future shown at the end, on our ride all riders' "selves" looked identical.
Overall, this latest refresh of Epcot's centerpiece ride is a great improvement to a ride that was in need of attention. Mechanically and technologically updated, with an improved, more cohesive, and more up-to-date story, it puts the ride in position to provide another 25 years of service to Epcot guests.