One of the most recognizable structures at the Walt Disney World Resort, it is not only the centerpiece and main focal point of Epcot, but also the symbolic structure and attraction that houses the basic fundamentals of the park. The 18-story geodesic sphere houses a 13-minute dark ride using the Omnimover system that explores the progression of human communications from cavemen to the dawn of the internet and beyond.
- Take a ride through time for a look at the landmark moments that made today’s communications technology possible.
- Travel back to the dawn of recorded history, when early man painted his thoughts on cave walls, the Egyptians invented papyrus and the Phoenicians devised the alphabet. See ideas spread like wildfire with the invention of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press, Greek systems of mathematics, and the inspiring works of the masters of the Renaissance. The wheels of time turn ever faster as we progress to the modern age of media communications, from newspapers announcing the end of the Civil War to the televised broadcast of the moon landing and beyond.
- Lifelike Audio-Animatronics displays and the soothing tones of narrator Dame Judi Dench give you an inspiring history lesson on this leisurely, 16-minute Omnimover-style ride.
- Upon your return to Earth and the present day, you’ll have the chance to design the kind of future you want to live in using the touch screen in front of you. Answer several brief questions then get ready to see what your tomorrow looks like!
There have been four versions of the ride over the years.
The original version of Spaceship Earth debuted on October 1, 1982, on the opening day of EPCOT Center. Though there is some disagreement and no official crediting, the original narrator is commonly believed to be Vic Perrin. This version of the ride ran until 1986.
The current version of Spaceship Earth officially opened in February 2008, after a soft opening in December 2007. Judi Dench is the English-language narrator. For the first time the ride audio became multi-language so audio language can be chosen by the riders on each seat row.
- March 1, 1982
- Spaceship Earth opens with the opening of EPCOT Center.
- Sponsored by the Bell System.
- The narrator is Larry Dobkin.
- May 26, 1986
- August 15, 1994
- Closes for second major renovation.
- "Home Computer", "Office Computer", "Network Operations Center", and "Space Station" scenes were removed.
- New final scenes installed and replace old final scenes.
- Earth Station closes.
- "Tomorrow's Child" ending removed.
- November 23, 1994
- Attraction reopens.
- New ride narration by Jeremy Irons.
- New ride score by Edo Guidotti.
- The Global Neighborhood replaces Earth Station.
- September 29, 1999
- The Mickey Mouse arm holding a wand is dedicated with "2000" over Spaceship Earth.
- November 24, 1999
- The Global Neighborhood is replaced with The New Global Neighborhood, a new exhibit space serving as hands-on playground for Spaceship Earth's post show.
- May 2001
- The Mickey Mouse arm holding a wand is changed to say "Epcot" over Spaceship Earth.
- January 1, 2003
- AT&T sponsorship ends.
- April 2004
- The New Global Neighborhood is removed and the area is boarded up.
- AT&T references removed.
- November 2005
- It was announced that Siemens AG will sponsor Spaceship Earth for twelve years.
- April 11, 2007
- Major changes coming to Spaceship Earth are announced.
- April 25, 2007
- The new exhibit space in Spaceship Earth's post show called Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future opens.
- July 5, 2007
- Epcot Vice President Jim Macphee announces the removal of the wand structure in time for the park's 25th anniversary on October 1, 2007.
- July 9, 2007
- Spaceship Earth closes for a fourth renovation.
- Removal of the wand structure begins.
- August 24, 2007
- Removal of the wand structure completed.
- December 2007
- Guest previews of fourth edition begin.
- For the first time ever ride becomes interactive and multi-language.
- February 15, 2008
- Fourth edition opens to the general public after renovations.
- New narration by Dame Judi Dench.
- March 4, 2008
- Spaceship Earth is rededicated.
- Ray Bradbury, author of the novel Fahrenheit 451 and an avid Disney fan, helped design the 180-foot-tall Epcot ball as well as pen the attraction’s original storyline.
- 10-time Emmy winner Bruce Boughton conducted a 63-piece orchestra and 24-voice choir for his musical score. If you listen closely, you’ll notice that the music for each scene features styles and instruments appropriate to the era, transitioning seamlessly into the next.
- The exterior is very frequently mistaken as a giant golf ball.
- In the Renaissance scene, an artist is painting a still-life - bowl of fruit, bottle, etc. Three of the grapes are heavily outlined to form a Hidden Mickey.
- The geodesic sphere is made up of 11,324 alucabond tiles, and is estimated to weigh close to 16 million pounds.
- The entire sphere could be entirely submerged in the aquarium tank at The Seas!
- Young children often mistake the geodesic sphere for a giant golf ball.
- The top of the dome with the starfield and projection of Earth was originally meant to be a scene depicting a moonbase. The effect was found to be unconvincing, yet many props remained in place and could be seen in the darkness if one looked closely, before being removed during the 1994 refurbishment. Two astronaut figures can now be seen on the lift hill for Space Mountain.
Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future
After your ride, check out challenging games and engaging displays showcasing the latest in high-tech medicine, transportation and energy efficiency in this interactive play area for all ages, sponsored by Siemens AG.