Spaceship Earth: Hidden Mysteries Behind Disney’s Iconic Attraction Revealed!

I am super excited to chat about one of my absolute favorite attractions at Walt Disney World and a true classic, Spaceship Earth at EPCOT.

Beckoning you to enter EPCOT, a park inspired by a utopia that Walt himself envisioned for the future, is Spaceship Earth.

It can be seen from various parts of Walt Disney World Resort and stands as the icon for the park.

Spaceship Earth represents a huge aspect of the human race, communication, and is a piece of technological marvel.

Today, I will be sharing the ride’s fascinating history, Instagram worthy tip and tricks on how to explore this wonderful and beloved attraction! Let’s take a journey into the past.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival at Disney Spaceship Earth History and Fanny Pack at Night

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History of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT

Spaceship Earth remained the one thing that always remained constant during the time of EPCOT’s creation.

Epcot Spaceship Earth History with black lady in the computer scene at Walt Disney World.

This dark ride that showcased the evolution of mankind and communication was originally sponsored by Bell Systems and was to only house the finale of the ride.

Imagineers decided to place the entire attraction inside instead.

When did Spaceship Earth open at EPCOT?

The ride opened in 1982 with EPCOT on October 1st and took two years to complete. Imagineering would actually consult MIT to assist with engineering studies in order to figure out how to build it.

Epcot Telegraph Scene Spaceship Earth History
Epcot Telegraph Scene Spaceship Earth Photo Courtesy of Florida Memory

The Smithsonian was also contacted to assure historical accuracy for the scenes.

Epcot Drink Around the World Passport

Since it started greeting guests over 40 years ago, it has undergone quite a few changes, including its narrators, scenes and sponsors.

Narrators of Spaceship Earth Over the Years

Below are all of the Spaceship Earth narrators over the years:

  • Vic Perrin was narrator from 1982-1986
  • Walter Cronkite taking over until 1994
  • Jeremy Irons took over until 2007
  • Dame Judi Dench currently holds the title of narrator

There were rumor that said Dame Judi Dench would be replaced with the upcoming refurb which was pushed back due to the 2020 global pandemic.

AT&T, formerly Bell Systems, ended its sponsorship in 2002. Siemens took over in 2005 but ended abruptly in 2017.

Lagoon with Spaceship Earth History at Disney Christmas at Epcot Festival of the Holidays

Since then, there hasn’t been a sponsor. But despite all the changes, it still is a beloved EPCOT classic.

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What to Expect on Spaceship Earth at Epcot

The attraction itself is a geodesic polyhedron supported by 3 legs but it is in fact a dome inside of a dome.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Spaceship Earth History with monorail passing by

It is covered with 11,324 shiny alucobond panels and has a unique drainage system where no rain falls off the sides.

Instead, the rain collects into the system and funnels in World Showcase Lagoon.

How tall is Spaceship Earth at EPCOT?

The attraction itself truly is a architectural marvel with a height of 180 feet along with its diameter of 165. When weighed its 15,520,000 pounds!

The best part is its majorly easy to find as it’s the first attraction you’ll see.

Epcot Spaceship Earth History Bottom View with Mirror

You are greeted by a huge painted mural before you enter created by Italian Artist, Claudio Mazzoli.

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Ride Vehicle

You will be boarded into an omni mover system, which is familiar to frequent guests who have ridden rides such as The Haunted Mansion.

Each vehicle can seat 4 guests and 2 per row but not to worry, everyone has a great view.

Storyline of Spaceship Earth

You are then taken back in time to see how mankind evolved. you are experiencing 15 minutes of this as we see Egyptians and Phoenicians creating written word and the alphabet.

Spaceship Earth with Moroccans History

We also see the rise and fall of Rome, the renaissance of Europe, Post-Civil War Era, the revolution of 20th century communications and a glorious finale where you return to the present.

Spaceship Earth History cinema scene with Jessie Owens

As you descend backwards to the present, the touch screen on your omnimover entices you to share information about yourself and creates a future for you based on the options you picked.

Spaceship Earth History at Epcot Cinema Scene

WATCH NEXT: Top 10 BEST Things to Do at EPCOT Food and Wine Festival!

Project Tomorrow

Once you depart from the omnimover, you exit into the “Project Tomorrow” room that features interactive games and activities that shows the future of energy management, medicine and transportation.

Epcot Spaceship Earth History Lightning Lane Entrance

A special last-minute feature for my Instagram friends is the Bubblegum wall. As soon as you exit Project Tomorrow, it will be right there for you to snap a pic with!

Epcot gumball wall at Spaceship Earth History
Epcot Bubblegum Wall at Spaceship Earth

This ride is a great time to learn, relax from the Florida heat and explore. It’s also a great family ride as the height requirement is nonexistent.

NikkyJ at Epcot in Front of Bubble Gum Wall at Spaceship Earth History

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4 Fascinating Secrets About Spaceship Earth

As you could imagine, this amazing structure has some cool tidbits regarding it.

For example, the original script and storyline of the attraction was done with the help of Ray Bradbury.

  1. Every major EPCOT attraction has a special VIP lounge for the sponsor at the time and Siemens still has theirs there today, despite them no longer being the attraction’s sponsor.
  2. A wand was added to the top of the attraction to celebrate the year “2000” and the wand would represent the Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene in Fantasia. In 2007, the wand was removed in time for the park’s anniversary.
  3. Everything down to the machines, documents and even the hieroglyphs in the Egypt scene is completely accurate and/or perfect replicas.
  4. There is so much to do within these 2 geodesic spheres! Yes, one sphere houses the physical attraction which sits in the second sphere which we see on the outside. There is so much to appreciate, do and see so its worth multiple rides for sure.

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Beginner Tips for Your Spaceship Earth Adventure!

Before we hit the commonly most asked questions, allow me to share some tips for your next EPCOT trip!

EPCOT Spaceship Earth History Golf ball with Wand at the Top
Wand was added to the top of Spaceship Earth to celebrate the year “2000”

1. Plan Ahead

As I always state with my posts, planning is key! Be sure to utilize the My Disney Experience app to keep an eye on wait times.

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This attraction is the icon of the park, meaning everyone is clamoring to ride it, first timers and park veterans alike.

2. Figure Out the Best Times to Go to EPCOT

If this ride is a must do for you, my suggestion would be to rope drop ride. Meaning go to it as soon as the park opens, during the lunch hour between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or an hour before the park closes.

Disney Monorail Transportation at Epcot passing by entrance and Spaceship Earth History. One of the Epcot Rides.

Personally, I usually shoot for the later of the two.

Guests usually have already done the ride towards the end of the day and get it out of the way so they can go straight out of the park on their way out.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Mexican Food Booth with Spaceship Earth History in the Background and Margarita

There are less crowds during lunch hour since families usually return to the hotel to rest and/or other guests are fueling up for the rest of their park day.

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What to Know Before You Go to EPCOT

Now that we have the basics down, let’s go through a few of the most commonly asked questions.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival NikkyJ in front of Spaceship Earth with Margarita from Mexico booth

Is Spaceship Earth Scary?

This attraction is a dark ride and therefore takes place in settings with minimal and dimmed lighting. It could be a bit scary for a small child but for the most part, it is a slow-moving ride with no height restrictions so all ages can ride.

Spaceship Earth history with black lady in the computer scene 1

Should I get a Genie+ reservation for Spaceship Earth?

I wouldn’t recommend getting a Genie+ reservation for this ride unless you’ve already paid for the feature. The line averages about a 25 minute wait and is a walk-on for most days.

Is this Spaceship Earth ADA friendly?

This ride utilizes audio description and handheld captioning. Guests must transfer from a wheelchair to the vehicle in order to ride.

Pluto in fronts of Spaceship Earth mural at Epcot

Guests who use service animals can get in the omnimover with its owner as long as it can walk along the moving conveyor belt to board. The vehicles are a bit snug so larger dogs may be in a tight fit.

Are there Ride Photos Taken?

There aren’t any keepsake ones taken on this ride, but they do take your photo as part of the future building activity done towards the end of the ride.

Epcot Spaceship Earth history Globe  golfball at Night in Disney World

There will be an announcement prior to the photo being taken so you can have a few seconds to say cheese to the camera!

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My Final Thoughts on Riding Spaceship Earth at EPCOT

Spaceship Earth is the perfect family ride, but also a great ride for solo travelers, particularly history buffs.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival at Disney Spaceship Earth and Fanny Pack at Night

Many fans, especially the hardcore EPCOT fans, really enjoy it and see it as a beacon of the utopia that Walt once dreamed of for the future, but never go to see come to be.

Fans appreciate its beauty and its connection to the original conception of edutainment that Epcot once drew its crowds on.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Lion King Topiary with Spaceship Earth in the Background

Others see it as a quick nap or escape from a hot day but one thing for certain is that everyone comes out thanking the Phoenicians.

The best way to discover its wonderful ability to bring comfort and education to all is to go experience it for yourself!

I love riding this attraction alone for the peace and moment of solitude while having the ability to appreciate that Imagineering brought a unique visualization of how far we have come as a society and how much more we have to continue to strive for. Just like Walt always did.

One final tip, be sure to take a moment to look at the new additions to the entrance in front of Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth Beacon of Magic at night at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Photographer Todd Anderson
Photo Courtesy of Disney Co.

They recently brought back the classic Epcot logo pylons and it’s a stunning sight.

Should you ride Spaceship Earth at Epcot
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In the end, whether you’re a first timer, or a solo traveler who’s been there, done that, Spaceship Earth is always worth the time to see.

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

Victoria Wade Disney Writer at ThemeParkHipster

About the Author

Victoria is a professional solo traveler here to make your solo trips as stress free AND enjoyable as possible for you.

She has over 5 years of Disney and Non-Disney travel experience and was featured by POPSUGAR as one of the Top 50 Black Disney Creators you should follow.

She is a Proud Native to Baltimore, Md but always will call Disney World home. You can find her at Disney Tea with V.

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(Original Article Date: September 21, 2020/Updated by Editor on December 30, 2023)

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