History of the Ride – Spaceship Earth

All Good Things Must Come To An End

One of the saddest parts, to me, of the changes has been the ending. As a kid I always loved it. (pre-1994)

There used to be a space station with a woman looking out and astronauts working on satellites. The space station is still there, but it’s painted over and hidden.

The ending has been changed a few times. Originally it was the Tomorrow’s Child version.

But my favorite was the 1994-2008 version.

You spiraled back down while watching various interactions using telecommunications (accurately predicting today) and then traveled past a gorgeous fiber optic city.

Fiber optic city. It was absolutely beautiful to see. It’s really hard to find photos.

This one is from Magic in Pixels

The current renovation added new cars with a touch screen. The ending is a “choose your own adventure” type ending where you make choices to determine your future.


I’m not a fan of this. Mostly because the journey back down is very boring now. IT’s all mirrors and lights and nothing like the previous versions.

Sponsorship

Over the course of the years there have been a few different sponsors for the attraction.  Originally Bell System sponsored the ride from 1982-1984. Then AT&T sponsored the ride from 1984-2004. Then Siemens took over in 2005 until the withdrew last year in 2017.

There have also been different narrators. Usually changing when renovations were done to the ride.

Lawrence Dobkin Opening October 1, 1981-May 25, 1986

Walter Cronkite May 29, 1986 – August 15, 1994

Jeremy Irons November 23, 1994 – July 9, 2007

and finally Judi Dench February 15, 2008–present

Wikipedia has this great time-line up on their site

  • “October 1, 1982: Spaceship Earth opens with the opening of EPCOT Center. Sponsored by the Bell System.The narrator is Lawrence Dobkin.
  • May 26, 1986: Attraction reopens from first major renovation. AT&T is now the sponsor, having signed on in 1984. New narration by Walter Cronkite. Finale music changed to Tomorrow’s Child.
  • August 15, 1994: Closes for second major renovation. “Home computer”, “Office Computer”, “Network Operations Center”, and “Space Station” scenes removed. New final scenes installed and replace old final scenes. Earth Station closes. Tomorrow’s Child ending removed.
  • November 23, 1994: Attraction reopens. New ride narration by Jeremy Irons. New ride score by Edo Guidotti. The Global Neighborhood replaces Earth Station.
  • September 29, 1999: The Mickey Mouse arm holding a wand is dedicated with “2000” over Spaceship Earth.
  • November 24, 1999: The Global Neighborhood is replaced with The New Global Neighborhood, a new exhibit space serving as a hands-on playground for Spaceship Earth’s post show.
  • May 2001: The Mickey Mouse arm holding a wand is changed to say “Epcot” over Spaceship Earth.
  • January 1, 2004: AT&T Corporation sponsorship ends.
  • April 2004: The New Global Neighborhood is removed and the area is boarded up. AT&T references removed.
  • November 2005: It is announced that Siemens AG will sponsor Spaceship Earth for twelve years.
  • April 11, 2007: Major changes coming to Spaceship Earth are announced.
  • April 25, 2007: The new exhibit space in Spaceship Earth’s post show called Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future opens.
  • July 5, 2007: Epcot Vice President Jim Macphee announces the removal of the wand structure in time for the park’s 25th anniversary on October 1, 2007.
  • July 9, 2007: Closes for a fourth renovation. Removal of the wand structure begins.
  • August 24, 2007: Removal of the wand structure completed.
  • December 2007: Guest previews of fourth edition begin.
  • February 15, 2008: Fourth edition opens to the general public. New narration by Dame Judi Dench.
  • March 4, 2008: Spaceship Earth is rededicated.
  • October 1, 2012: Spaceship Earth and Epcot celebrate their 30th anniversary.”

If you are a big Spaceship Earth fan and would like to see an amazing site that takes you through every scene in the ride, and adds fun historical facts, and information check out TikiSpaceshipEarth.com. It is a Fantastic site!

For many people Spaceship Earth is a beloved, classic attraction. My parents shared it with me and I have shared it with my kids. Three generations all love it!

There have been rumors about IP updates, or removal of the attraction completely. I HOPE that Disney doesn’t do either. Instead update what they have here and there. I wish they would change the current ending to something more like the previous one. But keep Spaceship Earth, mostly Spaceship Earth.

Do you love Spaceship Earth? Comment and let us know.

Sources: Wikipedia, Theme Park Tourist, Undercover Tourist, Malloryobryant, TikiSpaceshipEarth,

Image Sources: Tikispaceshipearth.com, Dailydot.com, ingrum, Imagineering Disney, flickr, Wired, flickr, Allears.net, burnsland, Allears.net, JeffLangeDVDamusementauthority, magicalmountain, intercot, Allears.net,