Epcot Celebrates 30 years – Spaceship Earth

Epcot opened 30 years ago as the second park at Walt Disney World. To celebrate this impressive anniversary we’ll take a tour of Future World and look at how the different Lands have changed over the last 30 years. If you want to learn more about this innovative park read The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot (affiliate link). World Showcase is also part of Epcot. For a fun tour of that area check out my World Showcase Wonders series. Today we’ll look at Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth is a wienie! Like Cinderella Castle it is a large object that draws you into the park and gives you an idea of what you’ll experience at Epcot. It could be said that Spaceship Earth is Epcot. When you see a picture of it you immediately think “Hey, that’s that ball at Epcot!” and that leads you to thinking about your favorite ride or memory of Epcot.

Along with invoking great memories Spaceship Earth is an amazing structure that houses a fun and educational ride that takes you through the history of communication. From cave paintings to computers humans have told stories in a variety of ways. These stories have helped us navigate along our voyage on “Spaceship Earth.”

5 fun facts about Spaceship Earth:

1) Spaceship Earth is a geodesic dome: Geodesic domes were invented by Buckminster Fuller. The dome is made up of tetrahedrons because of their strength. Click here for a detailed definition of a geodesic dome. It is quite an amazing structure.

2) Spaceship Earth is actually made of two parts. The sphere itself could not be supported by the posts so instead they created a table with six legs. The upper 3/4 of the sphere sits on the table and the lower 1/4 hangs below the table. Ingenious!

3) Spaceship Earth is actually 2 spheres. The inner sphere contains the attraction and is covered in a thick rubber blanket for protection. The outside sphere is the surface made up of 11,324 individual triangular panels. Each one is custom made!

4) Buckminster Fuller coined the word “Spaceship Earth.” He envisioned people as travelers on a cosmic voyage with our planet as the ship. Our destination is the future.

5) You’ll never get rained on under Spaceship Earth. There is a gutter system around the sphere that funnels water to the World Showcase Lagoon. Thanks!

At 180 feet tall Spaceship Earth towers over Epcot acting as a beacon for Guests wandering through Future World. Not sure where you are? Look for the big silver ball and you’ll never get lost. Happiness squared.

Goofy Tip: As the day progresses attractions like Soarin’ get more crowded while attractions like Spaceship Earth have shorter lines. Consider coming back to this ride in the early afternoon when most Guests are farther into the park. Or, if you are coming to Epcot to visit World Showcase, which opens later than Future World, consider riding Spaceship Earth first and then heading over to World Showcase. Either way you do it Spaceship Earth is an attraction that will stir your imagination.