Few structures in Walt Disney World are more misunderstood or named incorrectly more often by park goers than Spaceship Earth located in Future World of Epcot. This is a strange phenomena, especially when you consider that Spaceship Earth is the icon for the entire park.
Many newcomers to Disney (and even a few veterans) do not even know that Spaceship Earth is actually a ride. Sure, the exterior is impressive and leads people to believe that it is more decorative in nature, but they would be mistaken. Inside the geosphere (not a golf-ball as some call it) is a slow moving ride that takes guests back in time to visit the advances man has made in the area of communication.
Construction on the attraction began over two years before the park in which it is hosted even opened. Disney needed this much time to complete the icon as well as the ride located within it. The structure itself is supported by six legs that were driven deep into the ground. So much thought went into the details of even the exterior that rain water hitting the structure does not fall to the ground around the edges, but gets collected in a series of gutters on the surface of the exterior that channels it all into pipes leading to the World Showcase Lagoon.
Inside the “ball”, a slow omnimover ride is boarded at the base and starts to lift guests up for their experience into the history of communication. As you would expect, man’s communication started in rough forms in the prehistoric era. From there, several societies are touched upon based on their improvement of communication including the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and the Islamic Empire.
Communication advances started to come at a much faster rate after that period, and so does the rider’s experience as more scenes are provided in a shorter time-frame. Guests are exposed to the Gutenberg Press, the Renaissance Period and the Industrial Revolution before ‘modern-day’ is reached. Now movies, television and computers are all shown signifying our more recent advances before the planetarium scene is reached giving riders a glimpse of Earth from space.
Spaceship Earth has been modified several times over its life with scenes being adjusted as needed. Narration, however, probably provided the biggest changes as the scripts were tweaked and different individuals used. When the ride opened, it is believed that Vic Perrin provided the original voice for 3 1/2 years before famed news anchor Walter Cronkite stepped in in 1986. In 1994, Jeremy Irons took the reigns and his voice remained in one form or another until 2008. The most recent audio track uses British actress Judi Dench to take guests along on the ride through time.
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Thanks to holyRONANempire who provided the video shown above.