More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Vintage Walt Disney World: Spaceship Earth

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

There is no mistaking you’re at Epcot when there’s a 16 million pound, 180 feet high geodesic sphere greeting you. Spaceship Earth has been the icon of Epcot since the park opened. In August of 1981, Spaceship Earth was beginning to take shape.


Did you know Spaceship Earth stands on legs 15 feet above ground level? It took over 40,000 hours of labor to build this unique icon covered with over 11,000 aluminum facets.

Epcot, Spaceship Earth

Read on for more posts about Epcot in the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series:


  • Visiting Spaceship Earth as the last ride of the night, just before the park closes, is a tradition for my husband and I. It is the perfect touch of wonder and magic, especially if Epcot is the last park of our visit. Thanks for the look back!

  • Unfortunately, the track system was reportedly built in as part of the basic building structure when it was first designed–
    We’d love for the vehicle system to get an all-new high-tech smooth upgrade like other Epcot rides, but that would mean literally tearing down and rebuilding the entire dome from scratch, and even if that were possible, it’s in a rather awkward place right at the entrance gate to do any construction over three or four years. 🙁

  • Actually, when Herb Ryman was talking about Spaceship Earth, he said that the dome is 100% independent of the show in the building. And when you look at the plans that Disney displayed at Epcot for a while, you could see: The 6 sloped columns support the platform. The dome is supported by the edge of the platform, and the helical show surface is also supported, independently, by the platform. The show surface supports the track. Therefore, the interior of the building can be stripped out completely, or any part thereof, without affecting the dome.

  • Now if we could just get that fountain and sculpture at the entrance back…

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