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The giant silver ball in the middle of the EPCOT 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 Disney World. The structure is home to one of the most popular attractions in the Disney theme park, 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 died while this plan was still being developed, leaving its future in the hands of the Walt Disney Company. In short, the parent company simplified Walt’s original vision due to the complications of maintaining and governing the city as it was an inherent flaw.
However, Disney’s original ideas spread far and wide, and the EPCOT of today features many of those plans. According to Walt’s vision and some new ideas, EPCOT is broken up into neighborhoods that include World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature, and World Showcase.
Disney used the acronym EPCOT to name the project, and Epcot’s meaning is “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 Big Ball Represent?
You must be wondering why was the EPCOT ball built. Many visitors have the question “What is the EPCOT ball supposed to be?” in their mind.
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.
The entire structure is 165 feet and 518.1 feet tall and weighs 15,200,000 pounds. This is just one of the fun facts about EPCOT ball. After the ride, Spaceship Earth brings you back to the present time, and 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 or Ride Spaceship Earth. When the park opened in 1982, it was named EPCOT Center, but the center part was dropped in 1994.
The name may not make sense at the surface level, given that the full 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 Disney World Look Like A Golf Ball?
The design of Spaceship Earth is much more complex than a golf ball. Even though the structure appears to be a perfect sphere, it’s actually somewhat oblong. There are 11,324 tiles covering the exterior. This complex geodesic sphere serves as a centerpiece for the EPCOT Park took Disney Imagineers, MIT engineers, and even science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. The design team based the design 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 worldwide.
The iconic structure took a total of 40,800 hours of labor to complete. It took 26 months to complete, but today’s result was well worth the extensive effort put in.
Can You Go Inside The EPCOT Ball?
What’s in the ball at EPCOT? You’ll likely be excited to know you can enter the EPCOT ball. To go inside the attraction, there’s a queue line which you can hop on to. 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. There is no height requirement to ride this attraction, so that anyone can be a part of this fantastic experience. It isn’t hard to find, as it’s one of the first things you see when entering EPCOT.
The attraction sure does look great from the outside, but there are some great views inside the ride. If you skip EPCOT, you miss out on a lot in Walt’s realm.
How Tall Is The EPCOT Ball?
The Spaceship Earth ball at EPCOT stands 180 feet tall, or about 18 stories high. It’s an impressive sight and one of the most iconic structures at Walt Disney World Resort.
Spaceship Earth has been updated off and on over the course of time. During the year 2000, a gigantic Mickey Mouse arm holding a wand was added to the exterior of Spaceship Earth.
It came down in 2007 in order to restore the huge structure to its original form in time for Epcot’s 25th anniversary. In 2008, the Academy Award winner, Dame Judi Dench, became the new voice of the ride, narrating the entire experience.
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. The original plans for the EPCOT heavily inspired this attraction. A famous architect Buckminster Fuller gave Spaceship Earth its name.
Spaceship Earth features a series of elaborate sets and advanced Audio-Animatronic scenes that allow you to witness many of the world’s most famous innovations firsthand. It takes you back to when cave paintings were the most innovative creations of human communication.
As the ride continues, you will feel like you were in the early humans era, like the Stone Age or the post-Civil War era going to the televised moon landing broadcast—and beyond. Greek and Roman society make appearances, featuring a large scene depicting Rome and Greek scholars discussing mathematics. Michelangelo can be seen painting the Sistine Chapel in one scene during the Renaissance. Johannes Gutenberg operating his printing press is another, just to name a few.
The musical score even changes with each period to include music relevant to the featured era, further enhancing the human experience. The Omnimover vehicles haven’t changed much over the years, and the ride is virtually the same as it was when it first opened in 1982. In addition, you can play interactive video 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.
What Are The 4 Things Inside The EPCOT Ball?
The Disney Parks blog discusses the amazing views inside the EPCOT ball. EPCOT theme park is filled with eye-catching views of upcoming advancements in the modern age. Below are the four main attractions inside the EPCOT ball:
Inside the EPCOT ball, known as Spaceship Earth, visitors embark on a slow-moving journey through time. This dark ride explores the history of human innovation and the evolution of communication from ancient civilizations to the digital age. With audio-animatronics and immersive scenes, Spaceship Earth presents a captivating narrative highlighting significant milestones in human progress, emphasizing the importance of communication in shaping our world. It has had three corporate sponsors over the years: Bell Systems, AT&T, and Siemens Corporate.
Inside the EPCOT ball on the second floor, a versatile event space offers a unique setting for special events. This flexible venue accommodates various events, from corporate meetings and conferences to private celebrations. With its futuristic ambiance and advanced technology, the event space inside the ball provides an extraordinary backdrop for guests to gather, connect, and celebrate amidst the innovative spirit of EPCOT.
The entire ride lasts for about 15 minutes, making it one of the longest Disney rides. Once you’ve completed it, you can continue into the future by making your next stop, Project Tomorrow. This attraction is conveniently located right beside the Ride 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.
A (Former) VIP Lounge:
Previously, there was a VIP lounge located inside the EPCOT ball. This exclusive retreat provided a secluded space for distinguished guests to relax and enjoy panoramic views of the park. The lounge featured comfortable seating, refreshments, and a serene atmosphere away from the bustling crowds. Although the lounge is no longer operational, it remains part of EPCOT’s history and adds to the allure of the iconic structure.
The Iconic Epcot Ball: Spaceship Earth
In conclusion, the Epcot ball, officially known as Spaceship Earth, stands as an iconic symbol within Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park. This monumental geodesic sphere captures the essence of human innovation and progress, showcasing the vision of a brighter future.
Embarking on the Spaceship Earth Ride: A Journey Inside the Epcot Ball
Stepping inside the Epcot ball is an immersive experience like no other. Within its towering structure lies a captivating attraction that takes visitors on a journey through time and the evolution of human communication. From the dawn of civilization to the technological advancements of today, the ride inside Spaceship Earth offers an educational and entertaining exploration of our shared history.
While the Magic Kingdom may be renowned for its enchanting fairy tales and beloved Disney characters, Epcot offers a different kind of magic. It invites guests to embrace the wonders of the real world, inspiring curiosity and a sense of discovery. The World Showcase, surrounding Spaceship Earth, takes visitors on a global tour, celebrating diverse cultures and showcasing their unique contributions to our global heritage.
Spaceship Earth itself is an engineering marvel, designed by the legendary architect and inventor R. Buckminster Fuller. Its geodesic design, composed of triangular facets, creates a robust and visually striking structure. The reflective surface of the geodesic sphere gives it a futuristic and otherworldly appearance, perfectly encapsulating the spirit of Epcot as a celebration of innovation and imagination.
The Epcot ball, or Spaceship Earth, has become an enduring symbol of Epcot and a beloved landmark for visitors from around the world. It represents the park’s core values of technological progress, cultural exchange, and the pursuit of knowledge. As guests step inside Spaceship Earth, they embark on a voyage of exploration, appreciating the milestones of human achievement and leaving with a renewed sense of wonder and inspiration.
Whether it’s the captivating ride inside Spaceship Earth, the immersive experience of the World Showcase, or the striking presence of the geodesic sphere itself, the Epcot ball stands as a testament to the power of imagination and the enduring legacy of Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park.