Spaceship Earth – The Iconic Symbol of Epcot

There are two things Spaceship Earth is not. First, it's not a giant golf ball, despite the frequently overheard exclamation, "Hey look! There's the giant golf ball!" Second, it's not a dome. In fact, it's two domes built together to create the largest geodesic sphere in the world measuring 180 feet in diameter and 18 stories tall. The outside of the sphere is covered by 11,324 aluminum facets that, when it reflects the lights at night, is a stunning sight to see.

Spaceship EarthSpaceship Earth

The theme of Spaceship Earth is the history of communications and this was reflected by the pavilion's first sponsor - Bell System. Today the pavilion is hosted by the German engineering company Siemens AG. The "show" presented to guests during the 16-minute ride showcases the evolution of communication from the earliest cave drawings to high tech communications of today and beyond.

During the past three decades the attraction has gone through four renovations, each one bringing with it a new narrator and an updated script. The original script for Spaceship Earth was written by Ray Bradbury - who incidentally also helped with the design of the geodesic sphere.

Spaceship Earth Reflects Beautiful Colors Nightly Spaceship Earth Reflects Beautiful Colors Nightly

The original narrator during the ride was American actor Lawrence Dobkin. In 1986 Walter Cronkite becomes the narrator and held that honor until 1994 when the ride reopened after a renovation period with Jeremy Irons narrating. A fourth renovation in 2007 lasted until February 2008 when Spaceship Earth reopened with new narration by Dame Judi Dench.

Guests on Spaceship Earth board an Omnimover time machine and after inputting some information about your native language and home location, you're ready to travel back in time. In addition to traveling through the time of the Neanderthals, thanking the Phoenicians for our modern day alphabet, experiencing the smells of Rome and Alexandria burning, and visiting the Renaissance, your time machine visits a newspaper in the post-Civil War north, makes a brief visit to the early 20th century, gives you a glimpse of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and shows the first home computer being built.

Creation of the First Home ComputersCreation of the First Home Computers

Finally your time machine soars through binary code and then you're surrounded by stars, looking down on our Spaceship Earth. For an extra bit of fun, guests then have a chance to create their version of the future on the screen in the ride vehicle. After disembarking from your ride vehicle be sure to spend some time at Project Tomorrow: Inventing Wonders of the Future, an interactive play area sponsored by Siemens.

Project TomorrowProject Tomorrow

This attraction is a history lesson accompanied by a great musical score - listen as you travel through time because the musical score changes for each scene. And if you look closely you'll even find some hidden Mickeys. My personal favorite is the Mickey created by paint circles in the Renaissance scene.

Thanks so much to Traci C. for researching and writing this great post, so that we could communicate to you about this classic Epcot attraction. As communication continues to change, one has to wonder what sort of changes might be in store for the future of Spaceship Earth. What is your favorite scene in Spaceship Earth? Leave a comment and let us know.

Gina Clapp wrote on Wed, 04/24/2013 - 16:30:

Gina Clapp's picture

This is always the first thing my family does when we arrive at WDW. Plane usually lands at 11AM or so. We usually hit EPCOT at 2PM and onto Spaceship Earth. Love love love this history of communication.

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:36:

Kristen K.'s picture

It's one of my favorites too Gina!

coreyp wrote on Sat, 04/27/2013 - 18:35:

coreyp's picture

I really enjoy Spaceship Earth, but I've also been known to take a nap during the "show" once or twice as well. Oops

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:24:

Kristen K.'s picture

It's okay Corey, I've got some favorite "nap spots" too!

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