The EPCOT ball, also called Spaceship Earth, is a giant geodesic sphere that looks like a giant golf ball and that attracts millions of visitors to Disney World every year.
If you’re wondering how this spherical structure manages to delight crowds ever since its debut more than 40 years ago, this article is for you!
What’s inside the EPCOT ball? What’s this Spaceship Earth ride that so many people rave about? What makes it unique from other theme parks?
These might be some of the questions you need answers to. Join me as we discover how the EPCOT ball has become the iconic structure it is today.
What Is the EPCOT Ball?
The EPCOT ball is a giant spherical structure standing 180 feet tall and weighing 15,520,000 pounds.
The EPCOT ball, located in the EPCOT theme park, the second oldest theme park in the Walt Disney World Resort, in Florida, USA, serves as the major attraction of the said park.
The other Walt Disney Company parks here are Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
It also stands as a symbol, representing human achievement, technological innovation, and international culture.
What’s Inside The EPCOT Ball?
You may wonder if visitors can enter the EPCOT ball; the answer is yes! At the base of the structure, visitors enter through a ramp that spirals upwards and leads to the center of the sphere.
From there, visitors can ride Spaceship Earth, a slow-moving ride, to experience the attraction. The ride is an immersive and educational experience that teaches visitors about the evolution of human communication.
The Spaceship Earth ride uses advanced animatronics, special effects, and immersive sets that take visitors on a journey through time.
It showcases distinct moments in the history of human communication, from cave paintings to the digital arts and from the invention of the printing press to the creation of the internet.
At the end of the 15-minute ride, guests are transported to a space-age scene depicting a futuristic world. The guests then exit the ball and enter a post-show exhibit with interactive displays about the future of communication.
The EPCOT ball used to have a VIP Lounge, but it doesn’t anymore. It was for the Disney company and guests could rent it out.
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History of the EPCOT Ball
The EPCOT ball rose from an idea envisioned by none other than Walt Disney himself.
Walt dreamt of constructing a fully functional city called the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow or EPCOT that could house up to 20,000 people at a time.
This futuristic city was supposed to provide a technologically advanced environment where people could live and work. Sadly, Walt passed away before this dream could be realized.
Fortunately, this story didn’t end in failure as Roy Disney, Walt’s brother, carried out his dream, albeit for a different purpose.
A stark contrast from the futuristic city that Walt envisioned, the EPCOT ball today symbolizes the progress and innovation we have achieved from the dawn of humanity to the present day
In 1979, the construction of EPCOT began and Spaceship Earth was one of the first structures to be built. The geodesic sphere was inspired by the designs of architect and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller.
The park opened on October 1st, 1982 and the Spaceship Earth was an instant hit. But over the years, it has undergone several renovations, including a major overhaul in 2007 to include the latest advancements in communication technology.
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Fun Facts About the EPCOT Ball
- 11,324 – This is the number of tiles or triangles covering the geodesic sphere, giving it a shimmering and futuristic appearance.
- Dame Judi Dench – The Academy Award-winning actress’s voice has been narrating the Spaceship Earth ride since 2008 to the present.
- Bruce Boughton – The 10-time Emmy award winner composed the 63-piece orchestra that is used in the EPCOT ball. The music style and instruments match the era being presented.
- Alucobond– This is the material that covers the exterior of the ball. It’s made up of lightweight aluminum and plastic.
- Time Machine – Spaceship Earth features this ride that takes riders backward in time before bringing them back to the present day.
- Hidden Mickey Mouse – A tradition in every Disney theme park and the EPCOT ball is no exception. You can find Mickey in the scene that depicts the invention of the printing press.
- Size – Measuring 165 feet in diameter and standing at 180 feet allows the EPCOT ball to be visible from space.
- 12.44 million – This is the total number of EPCOT visitors for 2 consecutive years in 2018 and 2019.
- 40,800 hours – The amount of time it took to build the EPCOT ball
- 30 million lumens – With 35,000 light bulbs switched on simultaneously, that’s how much light the EPCOT ball lighting system can produce.
- Not a full sphere – Looks can be deceiving, and so is the case for the EPCOT ball. The structure is actually composed of two domes.
- Project Tomorrow – A spot inside Spaceship Earth where you can go after completing your ride. This place offers puzzles and mind games.
- EPCOT Festivals – Throughout the year, EPCOT holds four major events: International Flower and Garden Festival, International Festival of the Arts, International Festival of the Holidays, and International Food and Wine Festival.
EPCOT Ball Pricing and Reservations
With Disney’s dynamic ticket pricing system, the exact cost of the ticket varies depending on the dates you plan to visit.
This event space has a view of the World Showcase Lagoon and the World Celebration area (used to be called Future World).
For updated park hours, upcoming events and show hours, and ultimately price, be sure to visit the official Walt Disney World website.
The EPCOT ball may be far from what Walt Disney wanted, but the fame and success it has gained over the years cannot be ignored.
It allows visitors to appreciate and celebrate the ingenuity of our species through a fun and interactive way.
Its unique architecture, history, and the ride it houses provide a one-of-a-kind experience to any visitor. Truly a must-see for any Disney World enthusiast.
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