Spaceship Earth – Cave People

The Spaceship Earth time machine blasts ahead 15,000 years to an era of cave-dwelling people.  We enter a dimly lit cavern with men, women, and children in the flickering light of the fire.  Here is where we first see the immense details that went into this attraction.  The original script indicates that a “prehistoric shaman” is speaking to the people about a recent hunt and that the wall paintings help record his tale for future generations.

Copyright Disney

Copyright Disney

The Hunted

During this time of the Upper Palaeolithic (Late Stone Age) there were deteriorating climatic conditions and herds of reindeer, bison, horse, mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, and red deer (1) were hunted by these humans for survival.  You can see various animal skulls in this scene of Spaceship Earth and they were cast from molds of actual animals in the Paleolithic collection of the Page Museum in Los Angeles (2).  Aspects of how the animals were used is seen in this cave scene from how they wear them, eating around the fire, preparing hides and fur, and the shaman headdress.

The Art

Living as hunter-gatherers, these species of human were always on the go – the cave was not a permanent home.  The wall paintings weren’t just to help future generations but would also benefit the next inhabitants who came along needing shelter.  The observation of animals was not merely a pastime, but a matter of survival (3).  Because of this intense connection with nature – the caveman art was remarkably better at illustrating animals than artists today.

a172_lascaux3

Lascaux Cave Painting

In today’s version of the attraction – the art comes to life via video projection and along with the art on the walls of the cave are detailed recreations of what was found in the Lascaux Cave in Southwestern France, the Caves of Altamira in Northern Spain, and others.

The Shaman

Evidence from cave art, daring back at least 30,000 years, suggests caves were used for magical ritual purposes.  There were also many prehistoric ritual burial sites that indicated a shaman might have had a role in this society. According to Jeffrey Mishlove:

They were the earliest professionals. They mediated between the inner life of the tribe and its external affairs. They presided at all “rites of passage” such as births, puberty initiations, marriages, and deaths as well as all “rites of intensification” which attempt to strengthen the tribe’s relation with powerful natural forces in times of crisis such as famine, storm, and epidemic (4).

Copyright John van Es

Copyright John van Es

The shaman outfit includes a headress and a deer bone necklace (5) as depicted in the scene.  In the latest version of the attraction the Shaman’s voice is quieter and he’s had a few standard animatronic updates.   As a tribute to his popularity – Disney launched a “Caveman Vinylmation” character.

s-l1600

Twinsies!

Because animatronics are complex, time intensive to create, and expensive – its common to duplicate the models that are made and dress them differently.   In this scene – the Shaman is said to also be Chief Joe from the American Adventure (2).

Spaceship_Earth_cavemen_scene

Wikipedia

Chief Joe

Photo by WDWMAGIC

 

February 15, 2008 – current (narrated by Judy Dench)

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.

November 23, 1994 to July 9, 2007 (narrated by Jeremy Irons)

With the development of language came a vital key to our survival. For the first time, we could share and learn from one another. We bonded together in small tribes and prospered. No longer isolated, no longer alone.

May 26, 1986 to August 15, 1994 (narrated by Walter Cronkite)

In primal tribes, the skills of survival are passed on to new generations through the art of storytelling. Not trusting this knowledge to memory alone, our ancestors create a lasting reminder with cave paintings. 

October 1, 1982 – May 25, 1986 (narrated by Larry Dobkin)

On cave walls we inscribe our greatest triumphs. A growing record of our deeds, to share with others so they too may greet tomorrow’s sun.

July 22, 1977 – Ray Bradbury script

With soot on stone we left the blueprint of how we killed the Dragon Beast.  From all the caves our brothers came and gathered round a single campfire blaze and learned – learned well from what had been recorded there: a plan to face tomorrow’s noon.


  1. https://ericwedwards.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/prehistoric-art-totemic-belief-and-shamanistic-practice/
  2. https://www.mouseplanet.com/10075/Some_Secrets_of_Spaceship_Earth
  3. ttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/cavemen-were-much-better-at-illustrating-animals-than-artists-today-153292919/
  4. http://www.williamjames.com/History/SHAMANS.htm
  5. http://www.ancientcraft.co.uk/reenactment/prehistoric_shamans.html
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Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 4

Day 4 – Jawa Issues

I can’t tell if I was overwhelmed later in the day from all the fun I had the night before at Trader Sam’s, or was depressed to have to leave the Polynesian, or if meeting Kylo Ren was that overwhelming but I wasn’t feeling magical on day 4.

waffle

The day started out great – I got breakfast from Captain Cooks and brought it back to the room.  We stayed at the Poly till check out time at 11am and walked around the resort.  The new pool looks so relaxing!  I hope there is a chance for me to experience it in a few years.

polypool

We left our bags to be delivered to Beach Club and took the bus to Hollywood Studios AGAIN.   We had to see the Jedi Training again and we also checked out Watto’s Grotto and Launch Bay.

I got the BB-8 soda cup I had been eyeing since we got to the parks and within an hour almost lost it to a Jawa!

jawa

After the Jawa encounter I was already excitable but then we did the Disney Visa Character Meet and Greet.  I didn’t ask who we would be meeting and they have it all hidden around corners.  When I walked in and Kylo Ren was there I almost crapped my pants.   I had so much fun I can’t wait for the park ‘s full concept to be put together.

We finally got to ride Tower of Terror and for the first time in forever (no, not Frozen) I was able to take the queue to the left side of the bell stand and could see parts of the lobby I haven’t been able to check out for years.

tower

It was starting to get hungry and a bit tired so we took the boat to Beach Club to find out what was up with our room.   For some reason the online check in didn’t work and we got a text that we needed to see the front desk.  They fidgeted with our magic bands for about 15 minutes then gave us the room number.

Before going to the room we had lunch at Beaches and Cream which was the definite highlight by far of our stay at Beach Club.  We got to our room and it was so run down looking it was depressing.  ESPECIALLY after a stay in the brand new Poly Villas.  It was actually uncomfortable.

We walked around World Showcase and had a light dinner at the Boardwalk because I wasn’t feeling it.

mexico

And check it!  You can see the Star Wars fireworks from the Boardwalk!  Although you need to really be there to experience its full effect.

boadwalk

Its always hard to say goodnight to your last night in the Park.  But the excitement about the Egg Hunt I had for the next day kept my spirits up!

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Spaceship Earth – Navigating a Hostile World

The Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old.   The first human ancestors appeared between five million and seven million years ago and Neanderthals emerged  250,000 years ago (1).  The Upper Palaeolithic (Late Stone Age) dates between about 40,000 to 10,000 years ago and during this time (about 35,000  years ago) modern Homo sapiens (Cro-Magnon man) replaced the Neanderthals. (2)

Cro-Magnon people left no evidence of written language – but they did have a spoken language to communicate as evidenced by long distance trade, and ritual burial ceremonies.

By studying the skeletons of the Cro-Magnon people, notably the physical features associated with spoken language, such as the vocal tract, the structure of the brain and the size of the spinal cord we see they are identical to humans living today.  This means that Cro-Magnon people would have been capable of producing the same sounds we use in speech. (3)

They also learned to hunt as a team. The mammoths referenced in the images provided the hunter/gatherers with meat, skins, and building materials for their huts.(4)

The Spaceship Earth time machine moves into this time where we see the Cro-Magnon people in a battle against a Mammoth beast.   The images have been updated in the most recent version to a CGI scene depicting a team fighting a Mammoth in winter weather with blustering winds.  The previous version had images of our ancient ancestors and a Wooly Mammoth appearing and disappearing in a purple haze similar to the nebula we saw earlier.

Spaceship Earth 52

February 15, 2008 – current (narrated by Judy Dench)

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.

November 23, 1994 to July 9, 2007 (narrated by Jeremy Irons)

Across a lonely, hostile planet, our early ancestors spread out in search of food and shelter. 

May 26, 1986 to August 15, 1994 (narrated by Walter Cronkite)

We have reached the dawn of recorded time, an age when mammoth creatures roam the land. But with spoken language, the ancient hunters learn to work together and meet the challenges of this hostile world. 

October 1, 1982 – May 25, 1986 (narrated by Larry Dobkin)

Now, suns reverse, moons re-phase, let us return to ancient caves where first we learn to share our thoughts and to survive. Where are we now? It is the waiting dawn where vast things stir and breathe. And with our first words and first steps, we draw together to conquer the mammoth beast. It is the dawn of a new beginning, the dawn of recorded time. 

July 22, 1977 – Ray Bradbury script

Now we, ape creature becoming man, learned new ways to fight the ancient beast and met the challenge — to survive! We picked its bones, and cooked its meat to make us strong and changed midnight, with fire, to Noon and lived another day.

And now that the stage is set – we move on to our first act in the epoch of communication – the recording of information.


 

  1. https://ericwedwards.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/prehistoric-art-totemic-belief-and-shamanistic-practice/
  2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/dating
  3. http://australianmuseum.net.au/how-do-we-know-if-they-could-speak
  4. http://mammoth.psu.edu/society.html
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Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 3

This gallery contains 22 photos.

We checked out of Bay Lake and brought our bags to the Polynesian where we stayed for one night.   We had breakfast at Kona then took the Monorail to EPCOT.  It was two days before the start of Flower … Continue reading

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Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 2

Day 2 – Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

The view of the sunrise from our room at Bay Lake was amazing!  It was 44 degrees so there was also some mist over the water.

sunrise

Since we were at Bay Lake we had a quick breakfast at Contempo Cafe then took the monorail to Magic Kingdom for opening.   They opened 20-30 min early and since it was a Sunday and my fast passes were for Hollywood Studios later in the day – I was nervous we wouldn’t be able to do what we wanted.   We did almost EVERYTHING!

On this trip – I found a new favorite thing.  Tinker Bell in the Peter Pan queue actually feels  magical.   It is details like this that make all the difference and this is now a must see for me on my next trip.

Then onto our favorites:

  • Pirates
  • Thunder Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion

On our walk to Be Our Guest for lunch – we happened upon a babbling brook on a beautiful spring like day without a cloud in the sky.

brook

Hollywood Studios for a Star Wars Experience!

After a nap we took the bus to Hollywood Studios.   We put our fast passes to use and hit the Great Movie Ride.  This is where we encountered an unexpected character.

“Yah get no show?”

We roll up to the iconic yellow brick road ready for action – and nada.  No munchins, no sound, just a lifeless yellow brick road.   Our show guide was great and tried to keep the show going with Wizard of Oz songs but then a maintenance guy shows up from under the well and breaks the flow and like its nothing special and says “Ya get no show?” and then a few other dudes show up and shrug their shoulders an push some things and we move along.

I rejuvenated my spirits by becoming an Honorary Disney Citizen at One Man’s Dream. We then used fast passes to get on Tower of Terror but only half the elevators were moving  and the line came to a standstill.  After a few minutes we turned around.  This is a cautionary tale because once you tap to use a fast pass but don’t tap the second time you are in some fastpass limbo.   It was the technical version of…The Twighlight Fastpass Zone.

We got some dinner at Backlot Express – a surprisingly good “galactic” salad with black beans and avocado along with some “Corellian Spice Fries”.   While we ate we watched the Jedi Training show that got us pumped for the Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party.

party

The party was cute – my only complaint is that I wish there was seating.  The Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks were SPECTACULAR!   The coolest firework shapes – strobes, bees, star shapes, Saturn shapes and the MUSIC!  You get the chills from the music and the drama of the fireworks combined with other Star Wars sound effects.  It was also, hands down, the LOUDEST firework display I have ever witnessed.

You can see the full show online but it doesn’t do it justice.

We watched the Electric Light Pageant before going to bed.   The music is just too ridiculous to ignore.

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Introduction to Spaceship Earth

300px-Epcot_Spaceship_Earth_Logo_svg

 

This is the start of a series on Spaceship Earth.   I will showcase the differences between each of the versions of the story and highlight the importance of the details we see on this beloved attraction!


 

We start with the introduction from the narrator.   We see nebulous purple and pink clouds with white lightning as we ascend in our time machine.  A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases.  Its also known as a “stellar nursery” – the birthplace of stars.  A call back between the time of the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago when the Universe began to the birth of our Sun and our Earth about 4.5 billion years ago.

NGC 7023: The Iris Nebula Jimmy Walker

The early atmosphere of Earth was tumultuous.   Storms and lightning had an impact on the Earth’s atmosphere and lightning’s energy may have even had a hand in the creation of life.

Eyjafjallajokull eruption april 17 2010 – photo: Marco Fulle

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” ― Carl Sagan

“There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” ― Marshall McLuhan

Each of the script versions below reference how we are all a part of the Universe as crew members of Spaceship Earth – setting the stage on an even tone for what is next in our history.

February 15, 2008 – current (narrated by 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.

November 23, 1994 to July 9, 2007 (narrated by Jeremy Irons)

Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed through the universe of time. And for a brief moment, we have been among its many passengers. From the very beginning, we have always sought to reach out to one another … to bridge the gaps between us … to communicate. 

May 26, 1986 to August 15, 1994 (narrated by Walter Cronkite)

For eons, our planet has drifted as a spaceship through the universe. And for a brief moment, we have been its passengers. Yet in that time, we’ve made tremendous progress in our ability to record and share knowledge. So, lets journey back 40,000 years to the dawn of recorded history. We’ll trace the path of communications from its earliest beginnings to the promise of the future. 

October 1, 1982 – May 25, 1986 (narrated by Larry Dobkin)

Where have we come from? where are we going? The answers begin in our past. In the dust from which we were formed, answers recorded on the walls of time. So let us journey into that past, to seek those walls, to know ourselves and to probe the destiny of our Spaceship Earth. 

July 22, 1977 – Ray Bradbury script

Where did we come from?  Some of this we know. Where are we going? Some of this we dream.  How do we get there? Let me chart the ways.  The future has many arts, many sciences, many paths, many doors. 

What are we? Where did we come from and where go?  What is our past that lies beneath us like the dust?  Let us sink into the past, that dust, to find — Ourselves!  Let us bury ourselves like the Five Billion year Locust and then burst forth with wings – to plan tomorrow’s noon! 

Now that the Universe has begun we are ready to see how we started to communicate on our planet.

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Last Annual Pass Extravaganza!

As a way to honor our first and likely last annual passes we used up the remaining days of our passes along with some DVC points to check out a few resorts and the parks on a 5 day trip.   There was lots to see with the new Star Wars stuff along with the start of the Flower and Garden Festival.  This was one of the BEST TRIPS I’ve ever been on – mostly because we didn’t over plan and went with the flow (I also had the best company you could ask for – my Mom!).  The next few posts will go through each of the five days on the trip.

Day 1 – Magic Kingdom and Bay Lake

Now that Uber picks up at MCO we decided to avail ourselves of this service.  Word of caution – this was pricey.   I’ve taken UBER TO the airport from the parks and it was about $22 (and this proved to be true with this trip too).   Since a regular cab is about $60 from the airport to the parks, I figured that even though UberBLACK is more expensive it would still be worth it.   I was NOT expecting $20 in airport fees alone.  Uber does offer fare estimates that did indicate it would be this expensive so I recommend checking that out.

contemporary           room confirmation

 

We dropped off our bags at Bay Lake and went to the Contempo Cafe for lunch.  The Contempo Vegetable Salad had tofu and quinoa and was actually quite good!

Since we did online check-in we got the message that our room was ready via text and headed there and ordered our bags.

 

Since the perk of Bay Lake is the quick walk to MK we went there even though it was mid-day on a Saturday.   The lines were NUTS but we were able to visit the Enchanted Tiki Room.   The weather was perfect so it was nice to just walk around.

fez case

Since it was the last day of the trial of same day reservations for the Skipper
Canteen
– we were able to get a reservation for dinner.  The place is pretty big, has an eclectic but really good menu and a great amount of detail in each of the themed rooms.  There is fez case in the corner near the bookcase!  I wish I could spend the whole day with a Jungle Skipper.

After dinner we rode the Wedway People Mover and for the first time in years we had a ride with no issues!  I was almost bummed because it made the trip shorter.   We capped off the evening at the Top of the World Lounge then ran back to the room so we could watch the Electric Water Pageant.

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Days 7 and 8 (FIN)

Day 7

I spent the last full day in my two favorite parks – MK and EPCOT, doing most of my favorite things:tikitocki

  • Thunder Mountain
  • Jingle Cruise (again)
  • Orange Swirl Break
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Wedway People Mover
  • Monorail to EPCOT to have lunch at Germany

Back to the hotel for a break then on to the evenings festivities:princesses

  • Trader Sams Grotto
  • Captain Cooks
  • Shopping at Mitsukoshi Department Store followed by Peach Sake
  • Resiling at Germany
  • Gran Fiesta Boat Ride

I love spending the night in EPCOT.   The details of the pavilions come alive.

Day 8 – Final Morning

We had an afternoon flight but still spent the morning in EPCOT.   For some reason I was hell bent on seeing O Canada!  There had unfortunately been a private function that morning in Canada of all days so there was a delay in their opening but I finally got to see it.   I just like the song.  I can’t watch the movie without falling over.

bridge garden

How much walking?

Now that we have nifty devices we can get an idea of how much walking is involved in a trip to Disney World.   On this trip I walked about 61 miles in total!  If only I didn’t take in 500,000 calories – it could have been a healthy adventure.

PARKS AND MILES

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November 2015 Trip Report! (Day 6)

Day 6 – Mistakes and Memories

Day 6 started out great at Animal Kingdom!  Got to visit the Gorillas and see how much Lilly has grown and see some of her new little friends too.  I really could spend an hour there watching them – unless something gross happens.

After standing around for a while we went on the Safari.  Maybe I got bit by something because at this point my decisions are questionable.  I decided it would be a great idea to ride the Kali River Rapids.  If you’ve been on this then you know the soaking isn’t proportional to the amount of ride time.

http://themermaidgrotto.tumblr.com

http://themermaidgrotto.tumblr.com

That’s when I had to get a ride back to Beach Club to change my clothes and put my sneakers in the dryer then went back to Animal Kingdom/Kidani Village to eat lunch at Sanaa.

After spending some time at the hotel room, still drying out my sneakers I decided to make my next horrific mistake.   I decided I wanted counter service Mexican food – I went to La Cantina.  It was 100% crowded, not a table to be had, and the one that did open up didn’t have a single corner of shade.  I also didn’t have a lot of success with the vegetarian side of things.  I’m still ashamed of myself.whispering

We walked around the China Pavilion including the two shops and the House of the Whispering Willows Exhibit featuring replicas of the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang. I didn’t give this the attention it deserves – I didn’t even know anything about this major archaeological event.

To shake the shame from Mexico we went to the Stave Church Gallery in Norway and then finally took some highly recommended advice and tried the Norwegian School Bread.  I would say it lives up to the hype! We paired it with a Linie Aquavit Glacier Shot which I did NOT care for because it reminds me of licorice (anise/fennel).

schoolbread

For dinner the family wanted to try Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs and I’m really glad we did.   Everything was very good, very fresh and the Singapore Sling was fantastic.  Even if the place reminds you of Kill Bill.

Next post features the finale of the trip with all my favorites back to back!

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November 2015 Trip Report! (Days 3-5)

Day 3 – MK!

I had three firsts on this trip to Magic Kingdom!   We couldn’t get Fastpasses to the Mine Train which I had been on before so that was the first thing we did with no wait.  The ride was faster this time too! Then – two first time attractions for me!

  1. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – This is hallowed ground of course and so I have always avoided it but I finally did it.  The “hopping” was neat.  The AC was appreciated.
  2. Princess Fairytale Hall – to meet Anna and Elsa.   I was IMPRESSED. These are private staging areas that really make you feel special. I think they should have princes in there.

Then I went for a few tried and true attractions – Small World, Haunted Mansion, a stop for an Orange Swirl then onto my third new adventure!

  1. Jingle Cruise – Absolutely did not disappoint.   The details make this amazing from the queue to the river.  Even if Santa is a tarantula.

santa

Even though it was HOT I still couldn’t resist the call of the potato leek soup and quiche from Be Our Guest before heading back to Beach Club for some R&R for most of the afternoon.  Dinner was low key – Chefs de France mac & cheese.

We closed the night out with our first, and apparently last, visit to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights!  (Double click to play movie)

Day 4 – 90 Degrees by 10am

It shouldn’t be this hot in November.   We started out at Cape May for Mickey Waffles and then went to EPCOT.   Walked all the way to Spaceship Earth and that was about all the heat I could take for the day.   We poked around in the Art of Disney store and meandered to the Living with the Land.  Then I called it and spent most of the day at the Beach Club cooling down!

For dinner we went to Jiko and unfortunately we were less impressed with the service this trip.   Took an hour for our dinner to be served.   At least the view before hand was nice.

animals

My folks had driven to Jiko so we had them drop us off at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto!  This was our first time and we had so much fun!  We took home the Nautilus.

Day 5 – Making up for lost time

Since the day before wasn’t fit for any outdoor activity I spent this day of the trip making up for lost time.  We started out at Hollywood Studios – did you know about this Splash Statue?  It was a pleasant surprise to come across.  I wonder if it will last though all the renovations.

fountain

We visited One Man’s Story, Watto’s Grotto (where I bought a Star Wars scarf), Tower of Terror then on the way out stopped at Starring Roles Cafe for my favorite chocolate peanut butter cupcake for later.

Next up!  EPCOT Food and Wine for some snacks!   We went to Greece and had the Vegan Moussaka and Spanakopita followed by the Dole Whip with Rum from the Refreshment Port.  Then we went to Chew Lab to try the “Smoking Hibiscus“.  We checked out Captain Eo (and found out when we got home it would be our last time).

I'm going to miss this.

I’m going to miss this.

To stay cool we went to Nemo, Living Seas, and Spaceship Earth. 

The night ended at the Very Merry Christmas Party (a perk given to us by the hotel for a microwave malfunction that almost ended in a fire) where we rode Pirates, Splash Mountain, the Wedway People Mover and saw the “Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” Fireworks.

My next post will talk about the last three days which include a big mistake and alcohol, the two of which are not actually related!

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