Note: Spaceship Earth is not expected to reopen with Epcot and will likely be closed for a year or more. See the official announcement at the Disney Parks Blog here. It’s possible that Disney will cancel the refurbishment.
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.
Ride Length: 15 minutes
Type: Dark ride.
Similar To: Haunted Mansion, Journey into Imagination with Figment.
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.
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 at the beginning of 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.
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.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
Just the long, boring, outdoor switchback queue.
Total Experience Time with FastPass+: 20 minutes.
4th FastPass+ Availability:
Expect to Wait::
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 late 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.
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.
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.