The giant silver ball in the middle of the EPCOT theme park is pretty hard to miss. So hard to miss that even those who have only viewed it in photos are curious as to what this engineering marvel actually is. Many even believe that it looks like a giant golf ball. So what is the EPCOT ball?
The EPCOT ball is the centerpiece of the EPCOT theme park at Walt Disney World. The structure is home to one of the most popular attractions in Disney Parks, Spaceship Earth. In addition, it is symbolic of the innovations made in communication and Walt Disney’s original plans for EPCOT.
What was Walt Disney’s Original Plan for EPCOT?
The EPCOT we know today is much different than what Walt Disney had in mind when he began planning the project. Initially, it was intended to be a fully functioning city that represented what cities would be in the future. He called his idea a “living blueprint of the future.”
In Walt’s original plan, EPCOT was a city that could occupy 20,000 residents. In addition, the residents of EPCOT would be able to work and attend school without leaving the city. The plan included means of transportation that eliminated the need for automobiles.
Disney separated areas for transportation, industry, residential homes, and schools. And while this would have been a city, it would still include the ultimate vacation area for vacationers.
Disney even wanted something similar to a dome over the downtown area to control the climate and weather. Visitors would be able to enjoy their vacation in perfect weather conditions regardless of environmental factors.
Why Did Walt Disney’s Original Plan for Epcot fail?
Unfortunately, Walt Disney died while this plan was still being developed, leaving its future in the hands of the Walt Disney Company. In short, the company simplified Walt’s original vision due to the complications of maintaining and governing the city.
However, the EPCOT of today features many of the ideas in Disney’s original plans. For example, Disney used the acronym EPCOT to name the project, which means “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.”
In addition, Walt Disney World visitors can experience the futurist monorail transportation when visiting the Magic Kingdom.
What Does the EPCOT Ball Represent?
In many ways, the EPCOT ball represents Disney’s original ideas and honors his passion for innovation and inventing the future. Spaceship Earth, the attraction within the EPCOT ball, takes you on a journey in time that begins in the past and ends in the future.
After the Spaceship Earth ride brings you back to the present time, you can create your ideal future, much like Disney did in his original plans for EPCOT.
Does the EPCOT Ball Have a Name?
The EPCOT Ball isn’t actually called “The EPCOT Ball.” Instead, it is called Spaceship Earth.
The name may not make sense at the surface level, given that the ride isn’t space themed. However, it is a symbolic structure that represents how the Earth serves as something like a spaceship to carry us through time, with the destination being our future.
In addition, EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth is not a golf ball, though many believe that’s what it was supposed to be.
Why does the EPCOT ball at Walt Disney World look like a golf ball?
The design of Spaceship Earth is much more complex than a golf ball. This complex geodesic sphere to serve as a centerpiece for the EPCOT theme park took Disney Imagineers, MIT engineers, and even science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. Its design was based on the Expo ’67 Dome in Montreal.
The building is made of two structural domes. The inner dome is the home of parts of the attraction you see when walking inside Spaceship Earth. The outer dome is about 2 feet wider than the inner dome and houses the complex drainage system.
This drainage system absorbs rainwater and channels it into EPCOT’s World Showcase Lagoon, which features cultures from all over the world.
The iconic structure took a total of 40,800 hours of labor to complete. It took 26 months to complete, but the result that exists today was well worth the extensive effort put in.
Can You Go Inside the EPCOT Ball?
You’ll likely be excited to know that you can go inside the EPCOT ball. In fact, if you don’t, you’re missing out on the main attraction at EPCOT, Spaceship Earth. This attraction is one of the most unique experiences found in theme parks.
It isn’t hard to find, as it’s one of the first things you see when entering EPCOT.
The Spaceship Earth Ride
Spaceship Earth, located in World Celebration at EPCOT, adds a new level to the Disney experience. After all, it’s not every day you get to travel through the dimensions of time. This attraction was heavily inspired by the original plans for the Experimental Prototype Community.
Spaceship Earth features a series of animatronic scenes that allow you to witness many of the world’s most famous innovations firsthand. It takes you back in time to a time when cave paintings were the most innovative creations of human communication.
As the ride continues, you will feel as if you were really in the era. The musical score even changes with each period to include music that is relevant to the era being featured, further enhancing the experience.
In addition, you can play interactive games that will allow you to create your own ideal future world. Each choice you make in this game shapes the way your future looks.
It’s important to note that Spaceship Earth is a dark ride, so if you’re taking children, it’s likely a good idea to warn them.
Once you’ve completed the entire ride at Spaceship Earth, you can continue into the future by making your next stop Project Tomorrow. This attraction is conveniently located right beside Spaceship Earth.
This attraction uses interactive games and videos to give visitors a glimpse into the future. This includes a glimpse into the future of energy management, transportation, and medicine.