9. Towers above Epcot
Welcoming guests into the park as a shimmering icon. Everyone is familiar with this attraction, even if some guests don’t know its exact name. Serving as a landmark, an easy place to meet up with your group, and the first attraction guests encounter in the park, this ride remains as popular as ever. The line is long in the morning as guests enter the park, but there is a shorter wait towards evening. Reserving a FastPass for Spaceship Earth is also another option.
8. Narrated by Dame Judi Dench
Spaceship Earth takes riders through the history of communication, starting with the advent of written communication with cave paintings. The air-conditioned journey gives guests a relaxing perspective of how far communication has evolved, highlighting chapters in ancient Egypt, the invention of the alphabet, ancient Greece, the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages, the advent of the Renaissance in Europe, and the printing press. The story continues with the transformation of communication with the telegraph, the telephone, movies and TV, and finally the personal home computer. The end of the ride gently rotates your time vehicle around to reveal a stunning planet Earth in a star-filled spacescape. Every guest has their favorite scene in Spaceship Earth, and there is much more to this attraction than you might realize. Here are seven facts and secrets for the next time you take a ride through time and technology.
Building Spaceship Earth took 1,700 tons of steel and was constructed over a span of 26 months. Each of the six legs are supported by pylons dug 120 to 185 feet into the ground. Once complete, the attraction opened on October 1, 1982.
The concept for the geodesic design of Spaceship Earth, as well as its name, was inspired by a 1969 book entitled, “An Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”. The storyline for the attraction was developed with the help of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury.
5. Inside and Outside
Spaceship Earth is not a perfect sphere, but rather a geodesic sphere. At its lowest point, it stands 18 feet off the ground. The inside volume of Spaceship Earth is a whopping 2.2 million cubic feet. The outside surface measures 150,000 square feet and is coated with highly reflective brushed aluminum.
4. A Trapdoor
You might remember seeing old commercials and advertisements with Mickey Mouse standing on the very top of Spaceship Earth. Mickey was able to accomplish this via a trap door at the top of the structure.
Ever wonder where the rain goes that falls on Spaceship Earth during typical Florida summer showers? An intricate drainage system absorbs rainwater into gutters, channeling it to underground drains. The water is eventually funneled to the World Showcase lagoon.
2. Familiar faces
The scenes in Spaceship Earth feature countless Audio-Animatronic characters. Many of these figures have actually been used before in other Walt Disney World attractions. Teddy Roosevelt, known for his presence in the Hall of Presidents attraction in the Magic Kingdom, can also be seen as both an Egyptian priest and Roman senator. Franklin Pierce and John Tyler do double duty as Islamic scholars, and James Buchannan can be spotted as Johannes Gutenberg. Figures from the American Adventure attraction in World Showcase also make appearances in Spaceship Earth as well.
1. Hidden Mickeys
Spaceship Earth is filled with fantastic Hidden Mickeys. One of the easiest to spot is the ink blot Hidden Mickey on the desk in front of the sleeping monk. Another one of my favorites that is slightly harder to spot is in the first part of the Renaissance scene. Three white paint circles form a Hidden Mickey on top of the table near the painter. Keep an eye out in the scene with the Islamic scholars. Three rolled scrolls stacked on the second shelf form a classic Hidden Mickey.