Spaceship Earth Review and Information at Disney’s Epcot

by josh on April 17, 2010

Opened: Originally opened October 1, 1982.  Newest iteration opened February, 2008.

Location: Future World, inside of the “golf ball” near the front entrance

Extra Magic Hours: Morning, Evening

FastPass+: Yes, high Tier 2 priority along with Mission: SPACE. Afternoon waits are often 20 to 30 minutes outside in the sun, which is longer than other Tier 2 attractions.

Type: Dark ride

Similar To: Haunted Mansion, Journey into Imagination with Figment

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Minimal.  The ride stops from time to time, not because anything is wrong with it, but because a slower rider needs to get in or out of their vehicle.  Don’t be alarmed.  The ride is dark and at times steep, but you’ll never be traveling fast and there are no drops.  Nonetheless, preschool age children may be antsy or nervous throughout the ride.

When To Go: Spaceship Earth is right along the path from Epcot’s main entrance and many guests entering in the morning and afternoon will ride it on their way into the Park.  It’s best to return in the afternoon or evening, after experiencing most of Future World’s other attractions.  Spaceship Earth is also about 15 minutes long, which is too much time to spend early in the morning when time is more precious.  There’s simply no reason to do Spaceship Earth early in the morning. Most guests will want to use FastPass+ sometime between 11am and 5pm or ride after 7pm when waits are usually nonexistent.

Expect to Wait: FastPass+ has increased waits considerably, particularly between 10am and 5pm. Waits are mostly nonexistent before 10am when most people want to be riding the priority rides and after 7pm, when few people are at the front of the Park and waits are short. Expect to wait 15 to 30 minutes between 11am and 5pm depending on overall crowds.

Length: 15 minutes

What to Expect: Spaceship Earth is a slow moving, dark omnimover ride that takes guests as high as 16 stories inside Epcot’s famous geodesic sphere.  Visitors ride past more than 20 animatronic displays featuring scenes from the past 40,000 years.  The emphasis is on the many ways humans have communicated in the past and will communicate in the future.  Disney has made “improvements” over the past several years and each vehicle now includes an interactive device with a variety of questions that riders answer during their journey.  Your photograph will be taken during the ride and a fun video of how you might end up in the future is played on screen as you descend into Project Tomorrow.

Where to Sit: Each row seats two adults with room to potentially add a small child.  The view is arguably more interesting on the left, but both people in each vehicle will have roughly equal views.

Fun Facts: Ray Bradbury, author of “Fahrenheit 451,” helped design the sphere that encloses Spaceship Earth and co-wrote the original story.  The sphere is made of 11,324 tiles that collectively weigh 15,520,000 pounds.

Embarrassing Fact: When your author was a young boy, he thought that all of Epcot was enclosed inside of the “golf ball.” Thanks Boy Meets World.

Rating: 9/10

Commentary: Spaceship Earth, while not new or particularly thrilling, remains one of the best classic attractions at Disney World and is a must-ride for all visitors.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Terri in So Cal September 11, 2011 at 11:34 am

We like this ride but never ride it first thing in the a.m. We will usually do it on our way out when there is no line. We just call it the Space Ball.

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Theresa October 30, 2011 at 2:04 am

Oh my.. I’m not the only one that thought that all was contained within the sphere. Until I actually arrived at EPCOT for the first time, I thought all the countries were represented inside the golf ball. I’m so glad I’m not alone!

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Ian February 22, 2012 at 10:02 am

I couldn’t agree more with you Josh!! This is definitely one of my all time favs at any Disney location!

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Deirdre July 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Spaceship Earth is a great ride for helping over stimulated and tired toddlers to conk out so they can be snooze cruised. My spouse and I used it often when the kids were little. It was just dark enough, slow enough, and soothing enough that they would fall asleep against their intense little wills. We’d get a brief respite, and we love the ride ourselves, so we were all happy They are now 11 & 8 and love the history. It’s always their first destination at Epcot. Pirates at MK worked the same way.

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