The Gigantic Sphere
Prof. Rorey Padfoot
When I saw the theme to this issue of the Alte was structure, it didn’t take me much time to know what I wanted to write about. Spaceship Earth!! Otherwise known as the gigantic sphere that sits inside Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park.
The geodesic sphere was an original piece of the theme park and took around 26 months to build. Throughout its forty years of existence, there have been many updates to both the inside and outside of the sphere. The sphere sits on a box-shaped ring of steel and is supported by six legs. The cladding that makes up the outside of the sphere was designed so that when it rains (which is does pretty regularly in central Florida), no water pours off the sides onto the ground. All the rain water is collected through one-inch gaps that are in the facets and fall into a gutter system and then the water is channeled into the lagoon inside the World Showcase. My family and I have been many times during the rain and most people actually duck under the sphere to avoid the rain.
So, that’s the outside of the sphere, but inside there is "Spaceship Earth -the ride". The ride is a slow moving sit down ride, that essentially goes up and around the inside of the sphere. The ride is narrated and shows different scenes of audio-animatronics going through time and showing the many different communications through the ages. The ride ends with a picture being taken of your car’s occupants and the result being emailed to you.
I included my own picture of Spaceship Earth as shown above. This is what night in Epcot looks like. Most nights the sphere has various different colors projected onto it which in my opinion makes it gorgeous. During special events they have projected different characters onto the sphere, I remember seeing Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc talking to guests.
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