Everything You Need to Know About Spaceship Earth

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You’re going on vacation to Walt Disney World! The only problem? You’re not sure which attractions are right for you and your kiddos and you have questions. Which attractions are too intense for little ones? What rides do I really need a FastPass+ reservation for? What’s the disability access like for certain attractions? We’re answering all those questions and more in our Everything You Need to Know attraction series with today’s focus on Spaceship Earth at EPCOT!

What is Spaceship Earth?

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Spaceship Earth is EPCOT’s flagship attraction and housed inside of its signature 18-story geosphere. The attraction itself is a slow-moving dark ride showcasing major moments in the history of communication.

Where is Spaceship Earth?

Spaceship Earth is located at the main entrance of EPCOT and inside of the park’s icon.

What is the History of Spaceship Earth?

Spaceship Earth opened with the park on October 1, 1982. To date, there have been four versions of this attraction even though the experience and story has remained largely the same through the years. Changes have typically involved a change in narrator and sponsor, as well as adjustments to scenes, score, and some effects. One of the most substantial changes involved the removal of the ride’s descent scenes leading to the unloading area.

To celebrate the year 2000, a Mickey Mouse arm holding a magic wand with the number 2000 appeared next to Spaceship Earth. In 2001, the number of the year 2000 was replaced by the word Epcot. These additions were later removed in 2007.

What You Need to Know About the Queue for Spaceship Earth

Using a FP+ reservation to ride Spaceship Earth, just tap your band and go.

Much of the queue for Spaceship Earth is outside of the attraction and consists of a series of switchbacks. around the base of the attraction.

What You Need to Know About the Ride Experience

Guests experiencing Spaceship Earth slowly move past animatronic scenes representing major moments in the history of communication as narrated by Academy Award winner Judi Dench.

Guests riding Spaceship Earth will ride through scenes showcasing cave paintings, the Phoenicians using their alphabet to trade goods, Gutenberg’s printing press, and then later the rise of computers. The attraction finale is a projection of Earth from the perspective of space before the ride vehicles gently turn backwards and slowly descend down to the unloading area.

During that descent, guests use an interactive screen to personalize an animated video about their possible future.

 

What You Need to Know About the Ride Vehicles

Spaceship Earth employs an omnimover system–a continuously moving ride system. Guests step aboard a car from a moving walkway. Each car contains four hard seats with two in the front and two in the back. There are no safety restraints.

Each row has a single interactive touch screen which comes into play towards the end of the attraction. There is one controller per row so you may want to seat kids in separate rows with an adult so each child can control their interactive experience.

What You Need to Know About Accessibility

Guests must transfer to a standard wheelchair and then to the ride vehicle. Guests boarding the attraction should be prepared for a small step up from a moving walkway into the moving vehicle.

Due to the nature of the experience, Guests with service animals should check with a Cast Member at the attraction for boarding information.

What You Need to Know About the Health and Safety Advisories

Disney doesn’t recommend this attraction for guests who are made uncomfortable by enclosed dark spaces; but honestly, there are only a few moments where guests might feel discomfort or confined. For those who are concerned, Spaceship Earth is nothing like what guests experience on Mission: SPACE.

Also, a small number of guests with motion sensitivity may experience discomfort when the vehicle slowly rotates and moves backward at the end of the ride. However, this rotation and backwards movement is very slow and gentle in motion.

What are the Height Requirements?

There is no height requirement for Spaceship Earth! Everyone in the family can enjoy this attraction together.

Does Spaceship Earth Offer FastPass+?

©Rikki Niblett

Yes, but it may not be necessary depending on what time of day you plan to ride it.

If you want to ride Soarin’ and Test Track before you head to World Showcase, try to get a FastPass+ reservation for around 1 p.m. Or, if you plan on spending the afternoon in Future World and don’t want to use FastPass+, try to ride after 3 p.m.

Does Weather Affect Spaceship Earth?

A June storm pops over World Drive as a rainy afternoon gets started.

Since this attraction is located indoors, inclement weather will not affect the ride’s operation; however, guests waiting in the extended queue may be exposed to the elements.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Experience Spaceship Earth?

Because Spaceship Earth sits at the main entrance of the park, guests tend to ride it first. Try to check it out before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

Spaceship Earth Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you’ll wait for Spaceship Earth when you visit on a day with a given EPCOT Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average “peak” wait time (that is, how long the line will be at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it’s the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Spaceship Earth Wait Times.

What is the Future of Spaceship Earth?

Spaceship Earth
©Disney

Spaceship Earth was slated for closure and an extensive redo where guests would still travel through time, but the focus would be on storytelling and the human experience.

However, due to the lengthy COVID-19 shutdown, Spaceship Earth is currently scheduled to reopen in its current form on July 15 with its redo rescheduled for some time in the future.

Did I answer all of your questions about Spaceship Earth? Is this attraction at the top of your family’s vacation to-do list? Let us know in the comments.

Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

One thought on “Everything You Need to Know About Spaceship Earth

  • July 1, 2020 at 7:24 pm
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    My favorite ride at WDW. The first time I rode it, when the vehicle started up that steep dark ramp I thought oh no, it’s a coaster! I thought the adult with us had tricked me! And I was scared. But then it became great.

    I was 37.

    Reply

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