I am so very pleased to be able to share this piece from Tom Bricker (@wdwfigment on twitter) which not only showcases his writing, but also is ahhh-mazing photography. If you have not seen his blog, please check out the link at the end of the post. His work is just jaw-droppingly stunning. Let’s show Tom a great welcome with lots of feedback so he offers to share more of his work with us here in the future! 😉 (and for the record, I completely agree with his sentiments below – be sure to share your thoughts too!) (Also, please click on the photos below to see them in their full-sized glory!)
Splash Mountain. Haunted Mansion. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Expedition Everest. Pirates of the Caribbean. These are some of the attraction names that are commonly thrown around when the conversation turns to the best attraction at Walt Disney World Resort. While a compelling case can be made for each of these attractions, I think perhaps an even stronger case can be made for Epcot’s flagship attraction, Spaceship Earth.
I’m sure some of you reading this aren’t yet convinced. You might be scoffing at the suggestion, thinking that it’s not even the “flagship” attraction in Epcot, a title that could arguably be reserved for Soarin’, the American Adventure, or even Test Track. (If you think Test Track is the top attraction in Epcot, you might as well stop reading now, as you’re a lost cause!) Since I think one of the best cases for Spaceship Earth is its strong aesthetic, a large portion of my case will be made through photos. So with all of this in mind, let’s delve into the question,
“what’s so great about Spaceship Earth?”
Location – The geosphere that houses Spaceship Earth, the attraction, is undeniably one of, if not the, coolest icons in all of the Walt Disney World. Given how unique it is, I’d place it above Cinderella Castle, which has no attraction on the inside, and definitely higher than the Tree of Life or Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Its scale is amazing, its design is spectacular, and it is absolutely gorgeous all lit up at night.
If there is any question that Spaceship Earth is the coolest looking attraction/icon at Walt Disney World, see below.
Quality – As an attraction featuring an incredible number of Audio Animatronics and incredibly detailed sets, Spaceship Earth is a high quality attraction with an incredible amount of detail. It is quite the contrast to many other attractions, new and old alike. Other older attractions, specifically Fantasyland style dark rides, offer sets with less depth and less complicated characters. Similarly (although by very different means), many newer attractions over-rely on technology and lack actual depth and dimensionality. While Spaceship Earth did adopt some of this technology, quite poorly, in the attraction’s now-darkened descent as a result of its last refurbishment, this refurbishment also refreshed several Audio Animatronics and substantially improved the first two-thirds of the attraction. So overall, it’s a net gain.
Duration – If you’re anything like me, an attraction’s duration is a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, things like Rock ‘N’ Rollercoaster are enjoyable, but if I wait in line even for 20 minutes for an attraction, I’d like it to last for more than just a couple of minutes. At approximately 16 minutes in duration, Spaceship Earth is a wonderfully long and relaxing Omnimover attraction that actually takes time to tells its story. It’s also one of the few attractions where the payoff usually lasts longer than the wait in line for the attraction.
EPCOT Center-ness – Although it has changed some over the years, Spaceship Earth is still true to the original incarnation of the attraction, and accordingly, is one of the last vestiges of the original EPCOT Center Future World. The other epic Omnimover attractions: Horizons, World of Motion, and Journey into Imagination (unless we count the new one which is neither epic or even much of an “attraction,” for that matter), are all gone. It’s one of the last attractions in Future World that still embodies the theme of “edutainment” that was characteristic of all of the Future World attractions at one time.
Spaceship Earth may lack a 6-story drop, inversions, or other thrills that modern park-goers seem to demand, but it excels at offering the rich Disney Details, depth, and almost poetic storytelling (go ahead and roll your eyes at that one, I stand by it!) that so many of its contemporaries lack. Almost ironically, as the future of theme park attractions race past it it terms of technology, it continues to do an excellent job telling the story of the evolution of communications technology on this, our Spaceship Earth, engaging its Guests and offering an extremely compelling argument for it being the top attraction at Walt Disney World Resort.
Tom Bricker and his wife operate DisneyTouristBlog.com, a website featuring accounts of their adventures at the Disney theme parks. He is also a photographer and blogger for TouringPlans.com. You can contact Tom at [email protected].