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Spaceship Earth

Type: Entertainment Venue
Location: EPCOT, Walt Disney World, United States
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T his giant golf ball has become a Disney icon to rival even Tinkerbell and the Cinderella Castle. Standing on a 15-foot base, the 165-foot tall geodesic sphere is a thrill for both children and parents. When it opened, it was considered revolutionary and to this day the majesty of the building makes up for the only mediocre ride inside. The inside volume is 2,200,000 cubic feet, while its outside surface area is 150,000 square feet. The sphere is made up of triangular panels the poke outward like a pine cone. There are 11,324 of these panels made of something called Alucobond, a contraction of "Aluminum Composite Bond." The most interesting structural detail of the giant golf ball in the sky is what happens when it rains. The water does not run off of the sphere. Instead it is absorbed into an internal gutter system which then filters the water and expels it into the Epcot lagoon. As part of the park's turn of the century celebration an enormous tower has been erected that is faced with the number "2000" and a likeness of Mickey Mouse's hand from the Sorcerer's Apprentice holding a wand. In spite of its huge size and hurricane-resistant girth, this scaffold is only temporary. In fact, it isn't even attached to the Spaceship Earth. It appears to extend over the sphere, but looking carefully you can see that a substantial portion of it leans in the opposite direction, shifting the center of gravity and stabilizing the structure.

  • The name "Spaceship Earth" comes from he Buckminster Fuller book "An Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth".
  • Buckminster Fuller came up with the idea for a geodesic sphere.
  • Spaceship Earth's foundation is between 110 and 185 feet deep.
  • Spaceship Earth weighs 16,000,000 pounds.
  • The distance between the inner and outer sphere is two feet.
  • The original narrator for the journey was journalist Walter Cronkite. He has since been replaced by actor Jeremy Irons, who also does a voice in the Disney film The Lion King.
  • The male robots were made from the same molds as the presidents from the Hall of Presidents, they're just dressed differently.
  • The hieroglyphics in the ancient Egyptian scenes are copies of authentic messages.
  • The call letters of the fictional radio station WDP stand for Walt Disney Productions.
  • The names of the people who designed Spaceship Earth are written on the book the sleeping monk is leaning on.
  • More people ride Spaceship Earth than any other attraction at Disneyworld and since Disneyworld is the most popular tourist attraction in the world, Spaceship Earth is the most popular ride in the world

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Mitch
Monday, April 11th, 2005 @ 8:23pm
Rating: Five stars.
This famous Disney icon is truly one of a kind. Disney has, time after time, created buildings and attractions unlike any others in the world.

Dan Betts
Friday, May 21st, 2004 @ 10:42pm
The Epcot Ball aka Spaceship Earth was a very neat building I've seen and for WDW to build a ride inside of it was very neat.


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