One of the most iconic attractions, and one of my favorites, at the Walt Disney World Resort, is Spaceship Earth. This giant geodesic sphere takes guests on a journey through the technological history of humankind. It is very much also an attraction that takes guests on the history of communication. It is a ‘can’t-miss’ attraction when I visit Epcot and one I could ride over and over again. The inside is a beautiful experience and the outside is equally beautiful! It is an icon that is fun to photograph from just about anywhere you can see it!
There are so many fun moments in Spaceship Earth as you travel through time. What is your favorite part of this attraction?
Spaceship Earth – Epcot
Spaceship Earth – Judy Dench
Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed through the universe of time; and for a brief moment we have been among it’s passengers. But where are we going? And what kind of future will we discover there? Surprisingly, the answers lie in our past. Since the dawn of recorded history, we’ve been inventing the future one step at a time. So let’s travel back in time together. I’ll show you how our ancestors created the world we know today, and then it will be your turn to create the world of tomorrow.
Here in this hostile world is where our story begins. We are alone, struggling to survive until we learn to communicate with one another. Now we can hunt as a team and survive together.
It takes 15,000 years to come up with the next bright idea: recording our knowledge on cave walls. There is only one small problem, when we move, the recorded knowledge stayed behind.
Now let’s move ahead to ancient Egypt because something is about to happen here that will change the future forever. This unknown Egyptian pounding reeds flat is inventing papyrus, a sort of paper. Papyrus, in turn, creates better record keeping of plans, designs and unfortunately taxes. But it also brings with it the dawn of great civilizations.
At this point, each civilization has its own form of writing which none of the other’s can understand. But the Phoenicians, who trade with all of them have a solution. They create a simple common alphabet adaptable to most languages. Remember how easy it was to learn your ABC’s? Thank the Phoenicians, they invented them.
The ancient Greeks were great inventors of the future. First, they established public schools, and then begin teaching an intriguing new subject called mathematics. And with math comes mechanical technology and the birth of a high tech life we enjoy today.
With lessons learned from the Greeks, the Romans create a powerful empire. To move their armies around, they build a system of roads all over the known world. Rome built the first world wide web, and it’s leading us into the future.
But then we hit a roadblock: Rome falls, and the great Library of Alexandria in Egypt is burned. Much of our learning is destroyed… lost forever… or so we think.
It turns out there were copies of some of these books in the libraries of the Middle East, being watched over by Arab and Jewish scholars. Call it, the first backup system. The books are saved, and with them: our dreams of the future.
In the meantime, here in Europe monks toil endlessly recording these books by hand, but that is about to change.
In 1450, Gutenberg invents the movable type printing press. Now knowledge can travel as fast as these new books, and travel they do.
Books make it easier to invent the future in every field, and the result is an incredible explosion of innovation that we call the Renaissance.
Books it seems were just the beginning. Now communication technology races headlong into the future, and soon people all over the world are sharing life’s most important moments faster than ever before.
By now, we’re all communicating from anywhere on Earth and in 1969 from somewhere else.
To send a man to the moon, we had to invent a new language, spoken not by man, but by computers. At first very large, very expensive computers, but we see the potential.
What if everyone could have one of these amazing machines in their own house? There’s just one problem: They’re as big as a house. The solution comes in of all places, a garage in California. Young people with a passion for shaping the future put the power of the computer in everyone’s hands. Together we form a super network that goes with billions of interactions, and once again we stand on the brink of a new Renaissance.
After 30,000 years of time travel, here we are, a truly global community, poised to shape the future of this, our Spaceship Earth.
For the first time in history, all of us can have a say about the kind of world we want to live in. The choices we have made for the past 30,000 years have been inventing the future one day at a time. And now, it’s your turn.
Let’s have some fun creating the future, shall we? On your computer screen, answer a few questions for us. Then, we’ll show you a new world, custom made just for you. Ready?
Well done! Now along with your answers let’s add in some amazing new technology that we happen to know about.
And now I believe your future is just about ready. Let’s take a look, shall we?
So here’s to the next 30,000 years on Spaceship Earth. While no one knows for sure what we’ll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we’ll take and make together. See you in the future!