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Spaceship Earth

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  • The massive Spaceship Earth icon that marks the entrance to Epcot is held up by six legs, each of which is supported by pylons sunk 120 to 185 feet into the ground. At its lowest point, the slightly-imperfect sphere stands 18 feet off the ground.
  • What exactly is Spaceship Earth? – A geodesic dome, a geosphere, a giant golf ball?….
  • Actually, although it was originally conceived as a geodesic dome, Spaceship Earth was eventually is technically the world’s first geodesic sphere, since it is a full (although slightly uneven) circle.
  • Originally developed by R. Buckminster Fuller, a true geodesic dome is a sphere-like structure composed of a complex network of triangles. (Think of cutting an orange in half. Lay the top part down, and there’s your hemispherical dome – half a sphere). The triangles create a self-supporting framework which gives structural strength while using a small amount of material. No other type of building covers so much area without internal supports. The larger it is, the stronger it becomes.
  • Spaceship Earth is 164 feet in diameter and could fit completely inside the tank in The Living Seas, which is 203 feet in diameter.
  • The 180 foot tall (without the hand, wand and glistening “Epcot” addition), Spaceship Earth took 1,700 tons of steel and 26 months to build. It opened with the park on October 1, 1982.
  • There are 11,324 triangular facets on the skin of Spaceship Earth, made up of 954 inter-connected, triangular panels, which are not all the same size and shape. This outer skin is made up of an aluminum and plastic-alloy compound called Alucobond. It is made of a polyethylene core sandwiched between two anodized aluminum plates. The name comes from ALUminum Composite BOND. It is self-cleaning, and is designed to withstand the harsh Florida climate.
  • Spaceship Earth’s estimated weight is 16 million pounds – more than three times that of a Space Shuttle fully fueled and ready for launch!
  • Spaceship Earth’s unique drainage system absorbs the rainwater into its unique gutter system and channels it into underground drains, where it is funneled the World Showcase lagoon.
  • There are many areas of Spaceship Earth that have significant details that warrant attention:
  • For example, in the scene in ancient Egypt , the hieroglyphics on the walls are recreations of actual writings, while the pharaoh’s letter being held by one of the figures is a duplicate of an actual letter sent by an Egyptian pharaoh to one of his agents.
  • During the Greek scene, there is a performance of actual lines from Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex”
  • In the Roman scene, graffiti found in the ruins of Pompeii was duplicated here.
  • he system of conveying paint up to Michaelangelo as he paints the Sistene Chapel ceiling is an exact duplicate of the original.
  • A replica of a tenth century old quadrant, a device used for navigation and astronomy, is used in the Islamic scene.
  • he bible inspected by Johann Gutenberg in the Renaissance scene is an exact copy of one of the pages of the original Gutenberg bibles. Not only that, but the type on the printing press is also actually movable.
  • In the Renaissance scene, the book being read is Virgil’s Aeneid, and the musical instruments are intricately detailed replicas of two instruments from the period, a lute and a lyra de braccio.
  • The 20th Century scene also offers its share of detail: The steam press is an exact replica of one developed by William Bullock in 1863. The Morse code message being received in the telegraph office announces the driving of the golden spike at Promontory Peak in 1869 – the event that linked the transcontinental railroad.
  • In Spaceship Earth, the steam press in the 20th century scene is an exact replica of one developed by William Bullock in 1863.
  • This attention to detail, often overlooked by the casual guest, evidences the Imagineers’ commitment to authenticity in their attractions and throughout the parks.
  • If Spaceship Earth were a golf ball, the person hitting the ball would have to be approximately 1.2 miles tall (using the correct scale). The hole he would be shooting for would have to be about 417 feet in diameter. If the person was playing on the equivalent of a 200 yard hole, it would have to be nearly 134 miles long – approximately the width of Florida . FORE!!!
  • In 1986, Spaceship Earth opened after being closed for refurbishment. When it did, it had a new narrator, safety spiel, scene enhancements, and a new theme song, called, “Tomorrow’s Child.” Written by Ron Ovadia and Peter Stougaard, this popular song was heard near the end of the ride.
  • Part of the chorus to the song is:

“Tomorrow’s child, tomorrow’s child,
shining a brand new way,
for the future world is born today.
Born today…”

  • Although it was originally planned to be a geodesic dome, Spaceship Earth is the world’s first geodesic sphere, with an outside surface of 150,000 square feet, and inside volume of 2,200,000 cubic feet.
  • When Spaceship Earth opened in 1982, it did not have a “theme song,” but an instrumental song at the end of the ride. After a minor rehab in 1986, the second version of the attraction featured a new narrator, and the “Tomorrow’s Child” song which played as the ride vehicles descended down to the exit area. The theme song was removed in 1994, when the ride underwent its second revision.
  • Epcot’s Spaceship Earth weighs as much as 158,000,000 golf balls.
  • During the 1986 renovation of Spaceship Earth, in addition to a new theme song and narrator, other changes took place that are most likely overlooked by the casual visitor. For example, Islamic scholars that appear after the burning Rome scene were modified to represent both Islamic and Jewish scholars.
  • There are over 250,000 sparkling red metallic “eye catchers” in the word “Epcot” next to the sorcerer Mickey arm and wand on top of Spaceship Earth
  • Next time you’re flying to Disney, take a look down… pilots can see the “big golf ball” when flying along the Eastern coast of Florida.

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