Spaceship Earth presented by Siemens is the iconic symbol of all things Epcot. Noticeable from miles around Disney property, this silver geosphere (affectionately known as “the golf ball”) inspires awe and curiosity from all ages. Let’s go inside and see just what this attraction is all about.
At first blush, I honestly expected this ride to be a sleeper—nothing more than a cool break from the Florida sun. Disney’s official website describes it as: “Take a ride through time for a look at the landmark moments that made today’s communications technology possible.” Yawn. Not exactly a thrill ride. In fact, it struck me as distinctly educational.
How dare I doubt Mickey?? Even my kids, five and six at the time of our first visit, loved it! The outside queue moves quickly since the ride stays in perpetual motion and we time travelers have to hop into a slowly moving vehicle to begin our journey. A screen in front of you asks your language preference and home location. Nothing like a touch-screen to excite kids—no matter what their age! You slowly climb a ramp and you’re prompted to smile for the camera. When the kids were young, we just got cheesy grins. Now we get peace signs, duck lips, and whatever else the teenage mind finds cool at any given time.
And then the show begins. The distinctive voice of Dame Judi Dench comes through the speakers and narrates our way from when cavemen first banded together to fight wooly mammoths, until an early computer geek tinkers with the first desktop computer in his garage. In classic Disney style, we see, hear and smell the various stages of history. I can’t help but think of Rome burning when we fire up our patio fire pit at home.
But more magic awaits once we leave that computer guy’s garage. I won’t spoil the fun, but the touch-screen in front of you comes to life and asks a series of questions about what you’d like your future to look like. Remember that duck-face picture taken at the beginning of your journey? Well, you are now starring in your own futuristic video!
Upon your return to earth, you exit your time travel vehicle and enter Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. An arcade-like room surrounds you full of interactive, hands-on exhibits and displays featuring technology that will soon be available to us all. Explore digital surgery while building a 3D human body, check out accident avoidance technology already being introduced in the newest automobiles of today, and find out what energy conservation might look like in the future.
But here’s what my kids love—prominently displayed above it all are the pictures you created of your future. We can’t resist visiting one of the kiosks and emailing our customized futuristic video to ourselves and friends back home.
So the bottom line—Disney makes even educational material fun. To the point where even my teenagers insist on riding this attraction each and every visit to Epcot. And I had to chuckle. One evening I was helping my daughter study for a middle school social sciences test. The subject? How modern communication technologies came into existence. That was one night of homework that went quicker than expected.
So to answer the question posed in this post’s title, for us Spaceship Earth definitely falls under the Must Do category.
Please let me know your thoughts on Spaceship Earth. Have you ridden it? Are you Team Must Do or Team Must Miss?