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View Poll Results: How would you rate Spaceship Earth?

62. You may not vote on this poll
  • ***** - One of the best a park could possibly offer.

    39 62.90%
  • **** - One of the better rides around.

    19 30.65%
  • *** - Average but still pretty fun.

    4 6.45%
  • ** - Nothing too spectacular.

    0 0%
  • * - Don't waste your time.

    0 0%
  • 0 - Not even worth it at a carnival.

    0 0%
Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Scranton, PA / Clearwater, FL
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    Thumbs up WDW Rated & Reviewed - Spaceship Earth

    Happy 25th Anniversary, Epcot! Here's a review of one of your most famous rides!

    Spaceship Earth

    Intro: Perhaps the most iconic symbol in all of Walt Disney World, Spaceship Earth is the large sphere (or, as some like to call it, “golf ball”) located just inside the front gates of Epcot. The attraction of the same name located inside existed relatively unchanged from opening day in 1982 up until the summer of 2007 when it was finally closed for renovations. While a love for the attraction is rooted deep in the hearts of a great many Disney fans, a need for updating and renovations has long existed as well. It is not known for sure what will come of the ride’s renovations but what is certain is that Spaceship Earth, in its past form, will live on in the memories of Disney fans perhaps more than any other attraction that ever has or will operate in Epcot.

    Queue: One of the more bizarre queues in all of Walt Disney World, Spaceship Earth’s line winds around the base of the dome and eventually into a tunnel to the inside of the “ball.” Back in the day, this line would get incredibly long very early because it is literally the first thing guests see when they enter Epcot. Today, however, most guests bypass it in favor of rushing towards one of the thrill rides in the back of Future World. From noon on, it’s pretty much a walk-on. This will in all likelihood change when the ride reopens in 2008.

    Ride: We enter one of the always moving ride vehicles and quickly (actually, pretty slowly) begin to ascend into darkness. A female voice-over warns us that “Spaceship Earth is a slow moving journey” and that “your time machine vehicle will slowly rotate backwards.” It would seem that the best time to warn people about a ride is BEFORE they get on it, but whatever.

    Jeremy Irons joins us to narrate as we first encounter a projection of cavemen. In the beginning, these cavemen were the first to communicate. One caveman shouts some caveman babble as Jeremy, himself, babbles about the first spoken language coming about. You know, ABC launching that Cavemen show right at the time Spaceship Earth gets refurbished can’t be a coincidence. I smell a tie-in.

    We move on to the Egyptians, who develop hieroglyphics and build pyramids. Then we come to the Phoenician merchants (read: Lebanese; also, the biblical Canaanites) who develop highways and an alphabet. Then we make it to the Greeks who do something unintelligible because of the really awful sound system on the ride. They also give birth to the theater, as evidenced by the audio-animatronic Greeks performing some type of play while shouting faux-Greek gibberish…something about a gyro, I think.

    Next we move into the Roman Empire, probably the most famous Empire of them all. Which reminds me to ask, who do you think would win in a fight, Julius Caesar or Darth Vader? Common logic says to go with Vader (since he has superhuman powers, spaceships, and a light-saber) but something makes me think Caesar could put up a good fight. Heck, it took one guy to take down Vader but it took the whole Roman Senate to put away Caesar for good. What was I saying? Oh yeah, the Spaceship Earth review.

    It’s now time to cue the most famous scent at Walt Disney World in the “burning of Rome scene.” After Rome gets crispy, the dark ages take over and leave the world of knowledge and communication to Islamic scholars and monks who fall asleep while copying books with hidden Mickey’s in them. Then Guttenberg runs out of grapes to press so he decides to print some books and the Renaissance results. Michelangelo paints while Da Vinci sculpts and writes secret codes.

    Quickly enough, it’s time for the industrial revolution, telephones, radio, and television. It might not have been intentional but the ride seemingly takes forever to get from one subject to another in the beginning but then near the end starts to quickly jump from the printing press to the radio in, like 45 seconds. I’m thinking this is because timeline-wise, they are only covering 300-400 years whereas before they were jumping through thousands of years BC. Of course, it might also be because it takes the ride vehicles longer to travel through the older scenes because of where they are situated within the dome, but let’s pretend that it’s not.

    Now we begin to move through the really goofy part of the ride that depicts “the technology of today” and “the future.” Trust me, it’s not even the quirky campy kind of stuff like in Horizons, it’s just the stuff that’s simply incorrect. For instance, a kid in America (with a mark-out inducing Typhoon Lagoon surfboard in his room) plays video games and talks to a kid in Japan (who, of course, appears to live in a pagoda.) Sure, this kind of technology exists and is pretty common today, but the games and the interface look nothing like the one that appears on screen because the one on screen is what people THOUGHT it would like in 1995. It’s like the virtual reality game in the Carousel of Progress.

    We’ve JUST NOW made it to the top of the dome, so the “time machine” spins around so that we can descend at a much sharper angle than would be doable if we were facing forward. (TRIVIA: Originally, the ride did not have the part required to rotate the cars. It was someone's job to sit on top of the track and manually turn around every car!) While we ride down the side of the globe we encounter more things that never have and never will exist (like kids in a classroom taking a virtual reality ride on a bumblebee.)

    Finally, colorful lights flash overhead and some guests hum “Tomorrow’s Child” in their head as the ride comes to a conclusion. Get up, get out of the car, and prepare for your eyes to hurt very much.

    Thoughts: Spaceship Earth is a classic and served as the only real reminder of the glory days of Epcot in the 80’s. Whatever the changes end up being, remain reasonably assured that the ride will be fundamentally the same but will still cause complaints that it lacks the “charm” of the original. Honestly, though, this ride was in desperate need of a facelift. The narration is barely audible, the sound cues are nowhere near as sharp as they could be, the ride vehicles and animatronics click and clack louder than the soundtrack, and the cars are insanely uncomfortable. Remember it fondly, folks, but look forward to 2008 because, trust me, things are going to get better. Hey, at least they’re not making it a roller coaster.

    The story, theme, and execution of the ride are pretty much perfect for what it is, by the way. Just remember that it’s an educational dark ride so if you’re not into that sort of thing then you’re going to be bored to tears.

    Overall Rating: **** ½
    Walt Disney World:
    93, PO FQ
    94-95, Caribbean
    96, Off Site
    99, Coronado
    00, Caribbean
    03, Poly & Wilderness Lodge
    04, Pop Cent
    06, Contemp
    07, Beach Club
    07, Pop Cent
    09, Pop Cent
    10, Off Site
    11, PO FQ
    12, Coronado
    13, Off Site
    14, PO FQ
    16, PO RS

    Only 1110.89 miles...

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    nice writeup. its a solid ***** in my book, for many reasons, least of which 1) it has helped define what a true dark ride should be. 2) it is highly memorable with all of its short scenes, smells, narration, and music. 3) its in a huge freakin geodesic dome!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    I agree, Spaceship Earth is a true classic and is my absolute favorite ride. I can't wait to see the new changes!
    Too many trips to count since 1986!
    Recent Trips...
    December 2008 - Animal Kingdom Lodge
    July 2009 - Grand Floridian
    October 2009 - Polynesian
    February 2010 - Bay Lake Tower
    November 2010 - Bay Lake Tower
    February 2011 - Port Orleans French Quarter
    Next Up...
    July 2011 - Boardwalk

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    One of my all-time favorites! I was annoyed that I couldn't ride it a couple of weeks back, but it'll be worth it when the changes are done.
    "I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Weird, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, evil stuff. And I want in."
    - Homer Simpson

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    This is our FAMILY FAVORITE... first ride everytime we enter Epcot. We missed when we were there in Sept... and I will miss it when I go in Nobember (it opens the day after we leave...any chance of it opening a day early??) We all definately give it a full ***** !! I can not wait til Sept 07, when we get to ride again and see the changes!


    2x's as a child, 2003 - Music, 2005 - Pop, 2007 - Music (Sept.), 2007- Movies (SSW), 2008-Movies, 2008 - Movies (Nov), 2009 - Movies (June)

    2010- March - not booked but going for youngests 7th birthday!!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    North Carolina
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    The best Disney has to offer can be found in that giant geodesic dome. Truly the crowning achievement of Future World , and for me , the 2nd best attraction in WDW after Splash Mountain. 5 stars all the way !

    " Everybody's got a laughin' place "


    Trips to Walt Disney World : many !

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Ontario, Canada
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    The original definitely was one of the best. Hopefully the rehab will make it even better. Can't wait to see it.
    26 years staying at the Polynesian
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of everyday...
    Twenty six straight years staying at the Polynesian
    Next trip: October 2018

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    I absolutely love this ride! 5 stars! I just hope they're not messing it up as they did Journey into Imagination!
    Jul80 DLR, Dec75 FW, Sept91 offsite, Sept95 ASSp, June00 offsite, June01 ASMo, July02 WL, June03 ASMo, Oct03 POR, Poly, Aug04 Pop,ASMu, Oct04 ASSp, Sept05 CSR,Pop,CBR, Dec06 WL,Pop, Sept07 POP,POR, Dec07 POP,May08 POP, Sept08 CR,Sept09 POP,Aug10 CBR, Feb11 POP, July11 AKL, Nov12 POP, March13 offsite

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Historically, it is the first ride of our trip and the last. My little son wants to ride the big ball!
    It's not 'work' if your doing something you enjoy. Let's just say that I 'work' 5 days out of every 7.

    And why do I work? So that I can take my family to WDW, silly goose!

    00 - Swan
    03 - Caribbean Beach
    04 - Animal Kingdom Lodge
    06 - POR
    07 - Contemporary
    08 - POR
    09 - POR
    2010 - Disney Wonder

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Three stars. (I guess I fail as a Disney purist.)

    It's never wowed me. I'm hoping the refurb will.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Martinsville, IN 15 hrs. 22 min, 970 mi. from WDW
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    This is a must, must, must do for me. For the longest time I was so afraid to ride it. Then a couple of years ago I finally got on and I've been in love since. I have even got me two children on. They both liked it, but said they would like to wait until they get a little bigger before they go again!
    December 2012 - Pop - All Girl I Wanna Go What's One More Trip
    October 2009 - POR - Grand Gathering
    Dec. 2008 - Port Orleans Riverside
    August 2006 - Pop Century
    October 2005 - Pop Century

    Nov. - Dec. 2004 - Port Orleans Riverside
    March 2002 - Ft. Wilderness Campground - Family Reunion Trip

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    My first three trips to WDW, I didn't even know there was a ride in the "big ball". I thought it was just an icon. Once I found out - it has become one of my favorites. Sometimes I can be so observant
    1993 - BC/Cruise; 1996 - BC; 1998 - BC; 2000 - YC; 2002 - FQ; 2004 - Campground/BC; 2005 - POR; 2007 - BWI; 2008 - AKL; Christmas 2010 - BC; 2011 - All Star Sports; 2012 - AKL & WL; 2013 - DL and CSR

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