A Guide to EPCOT Spaceship Earth

EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth is perhaps the second most recognized symbol of Disney World. Spaceship Earth is to EPCOT as Cinderella’s Castle is to the Magic Kingdom. At 180 feet high he iconic Spaceship Earth ride can be seen for miles around. It certainly helps to keep you orientated when you are exploring this huge Disney World park.

But what is actually inside the geodesic dome? And what will you find if you journey inside Spaceship Earth? How was it designed? And when is the best time to travel on Spaceship Earth? Take a look at one of Disney World’s most popular rides and climb aboard Spaceship Earth.

What is Inside Disney’s Spaceship Earth?

Spaceship Earth is more than just an iconic structure – it houses one of Disney World’s most popular and beloved rides. This 13-minute ride takes Disney guests on a journey through time from the prehistoric age to the present day. It explores how human communication has helped to make advancements throughout the ages. Sound a bit like a history lesson? Well, I wish my history lessons had been this interesting! Disney uses animatronics, music, and a new commentary by Dame Judy Dench to tell the story in a way that will appeal to all ages.

epcot-spaceship earth history ride

Each guest boards their own time machine for their journey through the ages. It can get dark in parts so beware if you have very small children who are likely to be sensitive to this.

Disney World Spaceship Earth

How Was Spaceship Earth Created?

EPCOT opened in 1982 but the idea for Spaceship Earth dates back a lot further than that. Geodesic domes were created by the architect Buckminster Fuller in his search for a lightweight efficient structure. He designed many geodesic domes the most prominent of which was for the American Pavillion at Montreal’s Expo 67.

Fuller was the one who first had the idea of a ‘Spaceship Earth’ – the idea of humans being the crew on the vehicle of Earth traveling through time towards a common sustainable future. These are the underpinning ideas of EPCOT as it was when first envisaged by Walt Disney himself. These ideas rang true with Disney Imagineer John Hench and were developed into the structure that we now know as Spaceship Earth.

Epcot Spaceship Earth being built

Spaceship Earth was the first true complete geodesic sphere structure. It was no easy design task. Engineers first reported that the task was not possible but was saved by the innovation of Imagineer John Hench.

The problem was a fundamental one that engineers said that the geodesic dome could just never support itself. Hench solved the problem by suggesting that the structure should be treated in 2 parts. The upper three fourths and the lower fourth should be seen as separate pieces. The interior structure consists of a huge table that supports the six legs seen outside the dome, and the upper portion hangs from the bottom of that table.

Spaceship Earth is truly an amazing structure. Construction took 26 months and 40,800 labor hours to build.

How to Avoid the Lines at Disney EPCOT Spaceship Earth.

Disney’s Spaceship Earth is a very popular ride. It is located at the entrance to the park and it is the first ride that EPCOT guests will see when they arrive. Most likely in the morning, they will also see a very long line!

Human nature tends to make people follow a crowd. But you don’t have to be one of those people. Usually, the morning is the worst time to ride on Spaceship Earth – I have seen waits at times of over 90 minutes. this attraction does not offer a Fast Pass. Guests tend to arrive and head straight for the Spaceship Earth attraction. If you arrive in the morning and the line is long you may just want to walk on by for a while and visit some of the other EPCOT attractions.

But there is a simple way to avoid the lines at all but the busiest times in the park. Ride in the late afternoon and early evening when the line may be so short that you can simply get onto the ride with no wait at all.

Epcot Spaceship Earth – A Journey Through Time

What is the story of Spaceship Earth?

The story of this dark Disney ride is how advances in communication have shaped our history and ultimately our destiny. So we start in prehistoric times and journey to the top of the dome to the scenes of the present day. On the way, we visit ancient Rome and Greece, The Dark Ages, Renaissance Italy, The Industrial Revolution to name just a few.

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