Spaceship Earth

The most popular ride at Epcot told step by step
May 12, 2009
Hello everyone, It's time for another article, and it's another Epcot article; it seems strange because it appears that I am the only one who appears to be writing articles about Epcot Center and putting them on Retrojunk. I had just recently written an article on Horizons and explained it great detail, I did that because that was a true legendary attraction. I would've written that one second, but I decided to go ahead and do that one instead. Now I'm going to go ahead and write about the best attraction of all time.

This is the most popular Disney attraction yet to date, an 18 story geosphere, weighing in at over 30 tons. There are those who fly over the east coast of Florida that say it looks like a giant golf ball.

Now that I think about it, that is what it looks like to me. Even though I never flew over the east coast of Florida before, I bet that would be a grand sight.

This is me when I first went to Epcot when I was 9 years old, I'm wearing the Mickey mouse visor, that's my father and my sister. This was during Disney World's 15th anniversary, and let me tell you, it was more fun and exciting back then, then it is today. I remember when I first saw Spaceship Earth, it took my breath away; up close I had tried to reach for the top to touch the tile work but couldn't do it, even when I do go back, I still can't seem to reach for the top. This is one of my most favorite shots.

Now, onto the ride itself. Spaceship Earth opened to the public along with Epcot's opening celebration on October 1, 1982; late science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, helped out with some of the plot. The ride tells about the history and dedication of human communication. There have been four versions of the ride, each with a different narrator, Vic Perrin became the first; Walter Cronkite was the second; Jeremy Irons was the third; and Judi Dench is the current one to date.

Making your way inside, you come across a sign that says, "Ride through the history of tomorrow", I think that's what it says, but it looks something like this.

Before entering the ride, you pass by a mural that tells about the history of man's ability to communicate.

Now, you have come to your time machine vehicle and you start to descend up a stairwell or a starry sky and our journey begins.

We first come to see how our early ancestors came to be in small tribes and learned how to survive by viewing holographic images of cave people and mastodons; I have to admit that I was pretty terrified of those images at first.

Now we see a group of cave people up close; their chief is telling them a story of some sorts while someone writes on the wall, we are introduced to writing symbols.

Now we move to Ancient Egypt, and we see a scribe pounding on piece of paper and are introduced to papyrus scrolls and how the word travels faster now. We also see a pharaoh and his wife saying something to his messenger it seems.

We then come across a group of Phoenicians and how they created the first common alphabet.

From there, we pass through ancient Greece, and are introduced to Greek Theatre and how we express ourselves.

We then come across Rome, and are told about the first world wide web, and all roads lead to Rome. We then see a messenger tell a message to a Roman soldier, and we then a see an animated horse take off in the background.

Then we see how the Roman Empire fell and enter the dark ages, the burning smell effect fills this part of the ride and it gives you a feeling like you're there. I think every time I pass this part, my eyes kinda burn a bit.

Now we see some Islamic scholars doing research on what the Greeks and Romans did, we call it the first backup system.

Now we come across the Renaissance era and we first see Johan Guttenberg's printing press, and how books, science, philosophy, and art helped shaped the way we communicate better.

In one of the most comedic scenes of the ride, we see a monk falling asleep while writing something, which has to be the funniest thing I've ever seen.

Then we see Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel.

Now we have come to full speed at about the late 19th century, and how we have better communicated even better.

The one thing I remember about this part was the paperboy who would yell out "Extra, extra, New York daily".

We see inventions like a steam powered machine and other inventions that helped shape the way we communicate like the telephone and the telegraph.

We skip a few years later and see a radio broadcast, a cinema of different screens filming such greats as Snow White and the seven dwarfs, 20000 leagues under the sea, and a few black and white films. Then we see a family watching TV and a few other TV screens adorn them from above.

Now we come to the part where it seems to have changed over the years the first two versions feature a woman in her office working on her computer, a teenage boy in his room also working on his computer. We see a bunch of people at a networking console.

In the third version, the whole scene has been changed to and American boy talking with a Japanese girl via video phone; through translations, they each show them showing about their accomplishments, the boy shows her him getting a black belt in Karate, while the girl shows him about her homerun in baseball. I found this to a bit unusual; it must've been a real vice versa thing going on there.

In the current version, the whole thing is now a computer bank and the creation of the computer itself.

Now we enter a tunnel filled with changing lights and voiceovers. The newer version has the binary text from the Matrix.

We have now reached the very top and we are in a large darkened domain. We get a good glimpse of the Earth as it is. As we start to descend, an announcer starts to tell us all the way down back to Earth. (That was in the third version). In the second version, we hear a wonderful song entitled "tomorrow's child" followed by computer graphics.

The third version as we descend shows us two different video images, one shows a bunch of news broadcasts from around the world and the other shows a classroom where the kids are trying to create a giant insect.

The third version shows a number of people communicating by video phones and is showed one side live version and the other side animated. One depicts a mother singing to her child wishing her goodnight, the second is a student getting her college degree with her grandparents observing the whole thing, the third one shows a boy concerned about his pregnant mother and the doctor says she's going to be having twins and the fourth screen shows a paleontologist showing his boss some bones he dug up. A supplement scene shows two veterinarians tending to a wounded tiger in the jungle talking to a miner of sorts, then we see a shot of a beautiful futuristic city.

Then we close with a close up model of Spaceship Earth floating behind a disarray of lights. This was the best part I liked about this version of the ride, that and the music.

The current version gives us an interactive feel like with Horizons; in front of us is a touch screen where we get to choose our own future by making a number of selections, I still have not yet been on this version yet but I still can't wait to try it. I think here, you can have your picture taken when you first get onto the ride then they show your face in the future. I still have doubts about it but need to see it for myself.

Now we have exited our vehicles and have entered Earthstation. Here, seven screens adorn us from above and give us some information and a more in depth look at some of the rides in Epcot; that was the best thing I've seen to date. There were also touch screen videos that gave guests the opportunity to talk to a cast member to make reservations and give guests a chance to see what the most popular attractions were, I never got a chance to do that but I can see now it was something fun.

When the whole thing got an update, in the center was this huge console where you can ride the AT&T global network, it was you rock back and forth on this cork and you see how the network works on the inside. I'm not up to date on what happened after that so I'm going to stop there.

Well, as you can see, Spaceship Earth was the best thing I ever went on. I don't know if I said this before but whenever I leave the park, I always got to get a picture of myself waving goodbye to it. Anyway, that's all I got to say about that, if there's anyone out there who wants me to keep continuing to do Epcot articles about their favorite attractions, let me know and I might do another one. Take care.
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