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Spaceship Earth

Fun Facts of Spaceship Earth

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You can also find other information on fun facts and secrets of Walt Disney World by consulting with your local independent bookstore or visit our online bookstore. These are real Disney secrets. For more Disney secrets and trivia and bloopers try DISNEY Ever Notice... ?. If you are interested in rumors (some true, most not), checkout Disney Urban Legend Reference Page and Urban Legends Archive.


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  1. Spaceship Earth opened on October 1, 1982
  2. I was on Spaceship Earth today (9/15/01) and toward the end of the ride where the mother is singing the lullaby to her daughter, the NYC skyline is in the background, complete with the World Trade Center. It's just another reminder of what's happened, and gave me another chance to reflect and pray for this tragedy.
    REPORTED: S. Ryan 16 SEP 01
    I had written about a month ago how the World Trade Center was in the background toward the end of Spaceship Earth. I visited the park again this past saturday (10/13/01) and the Twin Towers have been removed.
    UPDATE: Stephen Ryan 16 OCT 01
  3. There is a VIP Lounge in this attraction.
  4. For fans of the original Star Trek, you might recognize the narrator in Spaceship Earth. The voice is that of an actor named Vic Perrin, who also was the voice of NOMAD in the Star Trek episode of the similar name. Mr. Perrin and my father were very close friends, and we occasionally would ask him to say a few lines for us.
    REPORTED: Thomas Bartell 17 APR 06
  5. When Space Ship Earth originally opened, all the cars had to be replaced due to a bad design. Each night they would take several cars out of the ride and replace them with referbished ones. This took some time to complete.
    REPORTED: Paul Wiland 06 NOV 98
  6. When Space Ship Earth originally opened, the mechanism that turns the cars around on top of the ride wasn't working and they had a "person" physically turning each car around.
    REPORTED: Paul Wiland 06 NOV 98
    I was at EPCOT ten days after it opened and they did have a person at the top of Spaceship Earth turning the cars around so we would go down backward
    CONFIRMED: Matthew Fishman 30 DEC 99
  7. The Prism Fountain behind the turnstiles is actually run-off water from Spaceship Earth.
    REPORTED: ECCM 10 JAN 97
    I also wanted to add that Spaceship Earth has a unique drainage system in which the water is channeled and filled to the world showcase lagoon. Did you know that rainwater never falls off the sphere? It's absorbed into the ball, and funneled into World Showcase Lagoon.
    CONFIRMED: Reid Miller 19 JUN 97
    Either the drainage system on Spaceship Earth wasn't working during our visit, or doesn't exist. After a noontime rain shower, there was a sizable amount of runoff from spaceship earth, right into the path that my mother and I were walking on.
    UPDATE: Harry Walker 21 JUN 00
  8. Spaceship Earth can grow and shrink several inches depending on the temperature.
    REPORTED: anon 31 JUL 01
  9. Spaceship Earth is the most popular attraction in the world. More people pass through the ride every year than any other.
    REPORTED: Brett Hicks 31 DEC 96
  10. One of the coolest (literally) places in FutureWorld is under Spaceship Earth. It's shape and the shops to either side create a venturi that causes the slightest breeze to accelerate.
    REPORTED: Jim Gerard 11 NOV 96
  11. The term "Spaceship Earth" was coined by Buckminister Fuller, in his 1969 book, "An Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth." Buckminister Fuller also invented the concept of the Geodesic Sphere, which is the type of structure that the "Spaceship Earth" ride is housed in.
    REPORTED: TR Shaw 02 JUL 96
    CONFIRMED: Susan Ziegler 24 AUG 96
  12. From the Epcot Field Guide & the Feb 15 (vol 26, num 7) Eyes and Ears: The geosphere is 165 feet in diameter, 180 feet high (it stands 15 feet off the ground), encompasses 2,200,000 cubic feet of space, weighs 15.5 million pounds, has an outside surface of 150,000 square feet, and is covered by 11,324-silvered facets on 954 triangular panels. The exterior tiles are made of Alucobond¨ material, a composite of ethylene plastic which has been chemically bonded between two aluminum panels. The name comes from ALUminum Composite BOND. This material can withstand the Florida climate and is self - cleaning. A specially designed gutter system prevents water from cascading off the sphere; rainwater is channeled through the structure and sent to underground drains, where it replenishes the World Showcase Lagoon. The pilings for Spaceship Earth extend far into the ground. It seems to be under debate at times, but the debated numbers are usually between 110 and 130 feet with a range of 110 to 185 feet.
    REPORTED: Michael Littell 04 OCT 95
    Epcot's Spaceship Earth weighs 16 million pounds -- equal in weight to 158 million golf balls. And it can be spotted by aircraft flying along the Eastern Coast of Florida. The outer 'skin' of Spaceship Earth is made up of 11,324 aluminum and plastic-alloy triangles.
    CONFIRMED: Jason MaQuade 18 FEB 96
    CONFIRMED: Brian M. Demkowicz 07 JUL 96
    CONFIRMED: Melanie Emmons 13 JUL 96
    CONFIRMED: anon 03 JUN 97
    CONFIRMED: Devin Dreher 17 JUL 97
    Spaceship Earth took 26 months to build. It took close to 1700 tons of tons of steel to build this gigantic sphere. It is actually two spheres, one inside the other. The inner sphere contains the track and rooms for the attraction, as well as the main entrance areas. The outer sphere is held about two feet away from the inner sphere by aluminum hubs.
    CONFIRMED: Jason Dixon 22 NOV 99
  13. Spaceship Earth weighs 16 million pounds -- equal in weight to 158 million golf balls.
    REPORTED: Jason Dixon 23 NOV 99
  14. Hidden within the panels covering the Geosphere are 17 perfect five pointed stars
    REPORTED: Joy Kovacs 21 JUL 96
    There are definitely 17 perfect five pointed stars on the outer tiles of Spaceship Earth. I personally counted them. (and boy, did it take a while!)
    CONFIRMED: Jennifer Dubin- Future CM 31 MAR 02
  15. From the Epcot Field Guide: If Spaceship Earth were a golf ball, the person using it to play golf would be approximately 1.2 miles tall to be in proper scale!
    REPORTED: Melanie Emmons 13 JUL 96
    CONFIRMED: The Crutchley Family 28 JUN 97
  16. Most of the male audio-animatronics in Spaceship Earth are former presidents. When the Hall of Presidents was first made, they made detailed molds for the faces of the presidents. Then when Spaceship Earth was built, they used the same molds and put different hair, costumes, make-up, etc. to create the different characters.
    REPORTED: anon 21 OCT 96
    CONFIRMED: Alyson Lamble 11 OCT 96
    Regarding the presidents in Spaceship Earth: Specifically, Gutenberg is James Buchanan, and the lute player from the Renaissance musicians is Dwight D. Eisenhower. Rock on, Ike!
    CONFIRMED: Dan Amrich 17 SEP 00
  17. There is an elevator to take Mickey or other Cast Members to the top of the ride. When you are at the top of the ride (when the cars are turning around) you are looking at the top of the dome, including the hatch.
    REPORTED: David Silipigni 25 JUN 96
    CONFIRMED: Brian M. Demkowicz 07 JUL 96
  18. When you go into one of the first scenes of the attraction (the one with the projected images of cavemen), the images seem to wave/fade in and out. This effect is created by projecting the still image onto a polished hub cap which rotates. It's smooth part of the way around, then beaten up the other way, causing the image to waver and disappear. Nifty!
    REPORTED: Allen Huffman 12 MAY 96
  19. From the Epcot Field Guide: The hieroglyphics on the walls in the ancient Egypt scenes are authentic recreations of actually graphics. The words being dictated by the pharaoh were taken from an actual letter sent by a pharaoh to one of his agents.
    REPORTED: Melanie Emmons 13 JUL 96
  20. We found a hidden Donald in the Space Ship Earth ride. On the pharaoh that is seated, look on his apron. There are Donalds closely imprinted to resemble Egyptian tapestry. The design is repeated over and over.
    REPORTED: Julia St. John 14 APR 99
  21. Right after you pass the Phoenician merchants, you round a corner to see a Greek play being performed on your right. If you look to your left instead of looking at the Greek scene, you will see what appears to be just a black wall next to a pillar. There in the wall there are little tiny stars cut out to form the constellation Orion. There are no other stars around it, just the constellation by itself.
    REPORTED: Traci Gregory 18 DEC 00
  22. I took a behind the scenes Cast Member tour of Spaceship Earth. In the scenes where the monks are writing, behind the monk sleeping is a large book on a pedestal. Written in the books are names of Imagineers, Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.
    REPORTED: PlutoMGM 08 APR 96
  23. From the Epcot Field Guide: The page of the Bible that Johann Gutenberg is examining is an exact replica of a page of the Gutenberg Bible on display in the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA.
    REPORTED: Melanie Emmons 13 JUL 96
  24. SSE has an Equator door allowing access to a gangway which allows access to the exterior triangles. The outer ball (the triangles) stand 2' from the inner ball, the gangway runs the circumference of SSE Equator allowing you to see Orlando.
    REPORTED: anon 07 AUG 99
  25. The vehicle audio system is an infrared system beamed to the vehicles as they pass by the transmitters.
    REPORTED: anon 07 AUG 99
  26. After every four cars, there was a triangular box that was about half the size of the cars. I asked the CM what it was and he said that it is the audio control box and it is what actually plays the audio for its group of 4 cars.
    REPORTED: Zan Hecht 31 MAY 00
  27. When you enter the area with the light beams you can hear C-3PO and R2D2 chatting.
    REPORTED: anon 19 FEB 00
  28. In the Radio scene, the old microphones have WDP or (Walt Disney Productions) on them.
    REPORTED: anon 07 AUG 99
  29. In the Television scene, the TV is running clips of Walt Disney.
    REPORTED: anon 07 AUG 99
  30. In the Neighborhood Vignettes (Pepper's Ghost effects), 1st window, at foot of bed there is a Pinocchio doll.
    REPORTED: anon 07 AUG 99
  31. In the Finale Corridor, there is a model of SSE in corner.
    REPORTED: anon 07 AUG 99
    Backyard Imagineering
    Backyard
    Imagineering
    Fireflies
  32. According to a Spaceship Earth cast member and some Disney fanatic friends of mine, they said that when you're going through Spaceship Earth and you're at the part where it smells like smoke, the door on your left with the window that appears to have a fire inside is a lightbulb with a piece of red cellophane to give the effect of there being an actual fire. Also, this is a storage closet where they keep parts for the animatronics.
    REPORTED: Jason 09 JUL 99
  33. In the scene where the teenage boy is communicating with the girl: if you listen carefully, you'll notice that the boy is speaking in English and hearing the girl in English. The girl is speaking in Japanese and hearing the boy in Japanese as well.
    REPORTED: John Emmons 24 AUG 96
    I believe they're talking about the boy's karate class and the girl's soccer game.
    CONFIRMED: Jeff 09 OCT 96
  34. When you are going through the little boy's room, on the surfboard is "TL" standing for Typhoon Lagoon.
    REPORTED: anon 21 OCT 96
    In the Connections scene (boy lying down), the surf board has Typhoon Lagoon on it.
    CONFIRMED: anon 07 AUG 99
    Inside the boy's bedroom, there is a surfboard with the letters 'TL' on it. The letters stand for Typhoon Lagoon.
    CONFIRMED: Jason 29 SEP 00
  35. 6 months after the opening of Epcot, Spaceship Earth was becoming "famous" for not working. The designers had miscalculated the stress on the linkage for the cars as they twisted upward along the tracks which would cause them to bind and lock up the entire ride. The solution involved a ten cent plastic spacer between each car's hookup to provide extra spacing to relieve the stress.
    REPORTED: Art Collier 02 APR 97
  36. Until a couple of years ago, Walter Cronkite narrated the script for Spaceship Earth. At a visit around mid-1995, though, I noticed that Jeremy Irons (or someone remarkably like him -- the name was never announced) was narrating. It seems to give it a spooky twist, since he (to me, anyway) has such an ominous voice. He's the actor who voiced "Scar" in The Lion King.
    REPORTED: Kris 25 SEP 97
    Jeremy Irons is the new narrator on Spaceship Earth but great new narration nonetheless!
    UPDATE: JoeMc 19 JAN 98
    UPDATE: Melanie Emmons 31 JAN 98
  37. Cast Members walk 8-10 miles per shift on the rotating walkways.
    REPORTED: Tom and Renée Shaw 27 DEC 97
  38. At the end of the Spaceship Earth Ride while traveling backwards, right before passing the city landscape and passing underneath the fiber optic wires that are overhead, there are several scenes showing people communicating via video phone at remote locations. The more distant part of these images are produced by the classic "peppers ghost effect", what is being reflecting is really one story above you to your left as you are coming down.
    REPORTED: Kenneth Klingensmith 25 JUN 98
  39. The major effect you see is that of the boy, talking to the girl. There is a sparkling light beam traveling from him to her. This is again a big piece of fiber optics. In one end, Laser light is shown into. It comes out of the other end. By taking 50 or 60 strands of the Fiber, and bundling it together then shining different colored beams into it, you get the effect.
    REPORTED: jojobean 15 APR 97
  40. This is the same as the other effects were there is a big fiber optic set up, that sends the light swirling around you. Here again. Other effects you will see are called "Liquid Neon" This is a Tube, that has Neon in it but the neon is in Liquid form. When the tube is energized you see the drops of Neon traveling through it. Here again, if you have a Bright flash on your camera take a photo.
    REPORTED: jojobean 15 APR 97
  41. On Spaceship Earth, as the cars descend backwards, several TV monitors broadcast news from various countries. The Chinese newscaster is "speaking with an accent--she's probably ABC (American Born Chinese)". [My Chinese girlfriend, who is very proud of her heritage and the accomplishments of China, pointed this out.]
    REPORTED: Paul Terrell 17 FEB 00

Spaceship Earth Facts and Figures

Facts

Figure

Ride Type

Motorized Chairs

Designer

WED

Year

October 1, 1982

Geosphere

2 spheres with 2 foot spearation

Geosphere Size

165 feet in diameter, 180 feet high (it stands 15 feet off the ground)

Geosphere Volume

2,200,000 cubic feet

Geosphere Weight

15.5 million pounds

Ride Time

about ? minutes (varies)

Speed

slow

Ride Motors

?

Length

? feet

Guest Capacity

2 guests per chair, ? guests per hour


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