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Theme Park City > Orlando Guide > Walt Disney World > Epcot > Future World > Spaceship Earth

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Spaceship Earth
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Spaceship Earth

You can't miss this huge, 180 foot tall, gleaming aluminum geosphere that forms the very symbol of Epcot. Traffic from the entrance plaza is funneled right under and into it, making it one of the first stops on many a first timer's tour. This means it can get hugely crowded in the mornings, and is often better seen late in the day when the crowds have moved on. Fortunately, the loading platform for the ride inside is just beyond the entrance at its base, so the length of the line is a snap to judge -- what you see is the wait you get. The continuously moving ride cars load quickly, keeping the line advancing pretty fast, so, if the line looks relatively short as you pass, go ahead and see it then.


Spaceship Earth. Inside the geosphere the attraction's slow, continuously moving cars spiral upward past scenes illustrating the history of communications and computing (its sponsor is the technology company Siemens) from the first cave paintings through the invention of personal computers. It may sound a bit dry, but there's enough humor and variety to keep things interesting and it's a ride well worth taking.

Attention to detail is taken to near obsessive levels here as the sights, sounds, and even the smells of the past are faithfully reproduced. For example, not only does the type on Gutenberg's movable type printing press actually move, but that's a carefully copied facsimile of a page from his famous Bible he's studying.

The ride underwent a complete rehab for 2008, with plused lighting, costumes, and programming, and it has never looked better, although the narration has been dumbed down a bit. New scenes were added, including a 1960's era computer room (which appears to have taken its inspiration from sci-fi movie sets rather than actual computers and real workday fashions of the era) and a "garage in California" from whence the home computer sprung. Academy Award winner Dame Judi Dench (Shakespeare In Love) now delivers the ride vehicle narration in English (but guests can also choose French, German, Japanese, Portuguese or Spanish narration if they prefer) and there's a new musical score composed by Emmy winner Bruce Broughton (Eloise at the Plaza, Dallas).

At the top of the dome, as we reach the present, the cars face backwards to begin their descent downward. At this point an interactive video screen in your vehicle asks you a few questions and then builds and displays a custom animated view of your supposed future through technology that looks like a children's cartoon, with the kind of flying cars The Jetsons were promising us in the 1960's we'd have by now). It plays like an afterthought, as if they felt they had to fill that segment of the ride with something to keep you distracted until the cars got back to ground level.

The ride empties into Project Tomorrow: Inventing the World of Tomorrow where various interactive exhibits present the future of technologies in medicine, transportation and energy management. Look up at the screens near the ceiling as you exit and you may catch your photograph, snapped earlier in the ride, inserted into a fanciful future scene.


Just to the west of the attraction entrance, sort of built into one of the sphere's legs, is the Art of Disney store, with animation art, lithographs, and other Disney artworks.


Storage Lockers are just around the corner from the Art of Disney store.

Guest Relations is around on the other side of the sphere.

Where To?

Spaceship Earth is the gateway to Future World, the next step is Innoventions.

Copyright (c) 2002-2008 by Robert H. Brown
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