Spaceship Earth – Ancient Greece (“Inventors of the Future”)

In the 2008 refurbishment, the theater scene was abandoned and replaced with a scene depicting a philosopher lecturing a number of students.  Far away/little dude is still in the back!  Two young dudes/students were added to the scene.  The handwriting we learned about with the Greek alphabet changed from an aid to oral performance in antiquity to the vital component in education (1).  A few statements from the narration are important to note:


“First they established public schools…”

Education in ancient Greece was for practical training and to become a nobel Grecian citizen which includes reverence, loyalty, and temperance in word and deed.  Public school was referred to as public because it was subject to state supervision whether it was school was held in homes or private schools.  Typical subjects included gymnastics for beauty and grace, music and reading and writing (3).

Plato was born in 428 or 427 B.c. Originally interested in poetry and music he fell under the influence of Socrates  but also the Pythagoreans and devoted to the study of philosophy, mathematics, and kindred subjects.   In 386 B.C. Plato began his continuous formal teaching. In a private home and garden adjoining the sacred garden and gymnasium of Academus, Plato established his school, the first of the permanent philosophical schools (3).

At the start women had less available education, especially if they already had a family/home.  Women were trained in domestic duties about securing food, shelter, and clothing. Those women that did seek literacy education lost their status as head of household. You’ll notice in this scene, its only dudes!


Who are those dudes?!   Some say the two new students are from the World of Motion!

“…and then begin teaching an intriguing new subject called mathematics.”

They aren’t saying the Greeks INVENTED math, they are saying the the subject and overall discipline as a course of study was lead by Greeks. For example, surely The Egyptians built the pyramids at a very early period and must have known something of mathematics—at least of practical mathematics.

It was left for the Greek philosopher to give these truths, which others saw, but did not formulate into words, an explicit, abstract expression, and to put into scientific language and subject to proof that which others merely felt to be true (4).

Most of these proofs were based in geometry. A list of the well known contributors to the field of Mathematics are:

  • Pythagoras(c.570 – c.495 BC) raised mathematics to the rank of a science.
  • Archytas (c.428 – c.347 BC) reputed founder of mathematical mechanics
  • Plato  (c.424– c.347 BC) founder of Academy of Alexandria
  • Eudoxus (c.390 – c.337 BC) the father of scientific astronomical observation and proportions
  • Aristotle (c.384 – c.322 BC) reasoning and logic
  • Euclid  (c.330 – c.275 BC)  “Father of Astronomy”
  • Archimedes (c.287 – c.212 BC) proved that the value of π lies between 3 + 1/7 and 3 + 10/71pi
  • Apollonius (c.262 BC – c. 190 BC) Conic Sections
  • Hipparchus (c.190 – c.120 BC) Astronomer who originated the science of trigonometry
  • Ptolemy (c.100 – c.170 AD) Earth centered model of the Universe.

The Greeks had so much influence in the early concepts of science that most symbols often used in physics and higher math equations are derived from the Greek alphabet.

This philosopher in this scene appears to be holding an Armillary Sphere or early form of an astrolabe.  Hipparchus is credited with its invention although it was also known to the ancient Chinese (6).


An Armillary Sphere has welded circular bands representing the celestial sphere.  Usually a ball representing the Earth is placed in its center. It is used to demonstrate the motion of the stars around the Earth.  Its remarkable that around circa 100 BC that people were able to use trigonometry.   With little light pollution they were able to see the vast night sky so its no surprise they were able to make these advancements.

Armillary Sphere


Modern Celestial Sphere








Or its entirely possible that the philosopher was just telling jokes…

“And with math comes mechanical technology and the birth of a high tech life we enjoy today.”

You can have mechanical technology without math but math applied to this technology helps us apply the field to multiple applications.  The Ancient Greeks had lots of technology developed such as weightlifting technloogy, pneumatics, ballistics (for throwing projectiles), spheres, calculators, measuring instruments, surgical machinery, hydraulic implements, time-measuring devices, musical instruments, and devices for their theatrical shows (5).

The balance and the lever (pulley, wheel, wedge, rudder, forceps, mast, oar) from Archimedes are most known during this time.

I’m not sure what “little dude” is holding in this scene.   Perhaps its a model to discuss architecture.   I’m hoping its a model of Heron’s mobile automatic theatre.


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

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.

  1. Nellhaus,T (2010). Theater, communication, critical realism. New York. Palgrave Macmillian
  3. Monroe,P.(1915). Source Book of the History of Education for the Greek and Roman Period. New York, Macmillan Company
  4. Cajori,F. (1919). A History of Mathematics. Macmillan
  5. Berryman,S. (2009). The Mechanical Hypothesis in Ancient Greek Natural Philosophy. UK, Cambridge University Press
Posted in Astronomy, Spaceship Earth | 1 Comment

Spaceship Earth – Ancient Greece (“The Theater is Born”)

’82-’97 Version

We move slightly West and on to the 5th – 4th Century BC to find ourselves in Ancient Greece amidst a performance of “Oedipus Rex” written by Sophocles circa 428 B.C.    There are two gentlemen in the forefront with a 3rd in the back holding his mask awaiting his role (1) (he’s actually wicked close, check out the forced perspective, I refer to him as “little dude” in the next post).

Athenian society as a whole was inspired with a sense of event and the things were done in a theatrical fashion. Communication modes were limited limited during this time and it was drama that played an effective role as a mode of communication to the citizens of the ancient Greek world (2).  The Greeks had adapted the Phoenician alphabet around the 8th Century BC by using five of their consonants as vowel sounds (3).

Phoenician  Greek  ABCs

85px-Phoenician_aleph  α Alpha =    A

85px-Phoenician_he  ε Epsilon =    E

85px-Phoenician_yodh   ι Iota =    I

85px-Phoenician_ayin   ο Omicron =    O

85px-Phoenician_waw   υ Upsilon =    U or Y

During the 4th century, the transition from orality to literacy solidified (4).  Literacy was becoming increasingly important as more and more Greeks were able to better understand and adopt the alphabet compared to logographic scripts. Writing lead to changes in rhythm and diction.  Writing lead to more well rounded character development that was first seen in the play depicted in this scene.  As literal culture developed, more actors appeared on stage. In fact it was Sophocles himself who introduced the third actor to the stage (5).

Costume Masks Spaceship_Earth_Classic_034_072006

Now that we have three actors on stage there are more people to play the parts, but these dramatists would often still have to play multiple people in the course of the play.   This is one reason for the greek masks that were worn in this scene.  The greek theaters were large, seating 10’s of thousands at a time and so the masks were also exaggerated so that audience members in far away seats could understand what character they were seeing (6). The shape of the mask also amplified the actor’s voice, making his words easier for the audience to hear (7).

Greek Columns

When turning the corner to this scene on the right the first thing we see are the greek columns on the left.  The actors on the stage are also standing in front of greek columns.   These columns are designed with the Doric order of architecture.

Orlando Theme Park News

Backward View of Greece – Orlando Theme Park News

In the Doric Order, the column shaft is simple and tapered, meaning it is wider at the base than the top. Each column has 20 parallel, vertical grooves called flutes. Columns in the Doric Order did not have a base but rested directly on the pavement of the temple.  The top of a column has a wide, flat section (8).


This scene has a lot of shrubbery.  Based on the region and time period they appear to be either Juniper Shrubs (also found in Egypt and Phoenician areas) or Cypress evergreen.


I’m sure you Disney regulars will know where I’m going to go with this.  Are these the same shrubs Disney uses to cover up areas they don’t want you to see?  Is it possible that this scene is under construction?!

February 15, 2008 – current (narrated by Judy Dench) – see the next post about the major changes made in 2008 that focus on Greek communication outside of the theater.

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

In ancient Greece, the spoken word was elevated to a fine art. Philosophers debated with one another in plazas and storytellers found a new forum for personal expression. The theater was born.

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

In classic Greece, the alphabet grows and flowers with new expression and a new stage of storytelling emerges. A stage on which we examine our world and ourselves. The theater is born.

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

Deep in the shadows of Mount Olympus, our alphabet takes route, flowering with new expression. Hail the proud Greeks: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides. The theater is born.

July 22, 1977 – Ray Bradbury script

And now for all, the printed word! With ink and press we made new walls, bound volumes of Ecclesiastics and Plato! Of Galileo and Homer! Scholar! Scientist! Philosopher! WE caught your should in type and printed you forth in mobs. By the hundreds! By the thousands!

  2. Bamunusinghe,S (2012).Drama as a Mode of Communication in the Ancient Greek World. Sri Lanka. Journal of Human Resource Management Vol.3, No.1.
  4. Nellhaus,T (2010). Theater, communication, critical realism. New York. Palgrave Macmillian
Posted in Disney, Spaceship Earth | 1 Comment

Spaceship Earth – The Phoenicians

From Egypt we move North to the Mediterranean Sea where over the next 1,000 years the Phoenicians were the prime sea merchants of the region.  These Semitic sea-traders were not strictly defined to a specific region and were ruled by various empires in the region including the Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks (1).

Spaceship Earth Concept Art by Claudio Mazzoli

Spaceship Earth Concept Art by Claudio Mazzoli


A rough map of their trade route below illustrates how vast their commerce spread.


The Phoenicians offered many imports and exports throughout the region:

  • Copper, silver, gold and tin trade
  • Decorated metal bowls
  • Pottery (bowls, plates, flasks, jugs, pitchers, storage jars, lamps)*
  • Lead, textiles, jewelry, perfumes, glass (2)

*Displayed prominently in the ride scene.

Some of these were created by the Phoenicians and others were part of the regional trade.   Some more noteworthy exports include the following:


The Phoenicians were skilled craftsmen with carving in wood and in ivory.  The carved ivory would be made for inlaid furniture.  You can see ivory tusks very clearly in this scene where the two ships meet for an exchange.



The Egyptians had no wood but needed cedar for coffins and other woods to build their temples.  Since the Phoenicians had the ships and were able to get the lumber from areas such as Byblos they became major lumber exporters.

Tyrian Purple

One of the most prized exports of the Phoenician people is the red/purple dye known as “Tyrian Purple” as most of it was produced in the city of Tyre.   This dye was the mark of royalty and worth much more than its weight in gold.  Its made by breaking the shells of the munex (mollusk species), and extracting their glands which are processed with the side effect of a horrific stench.  A single ounce requires thousands of mollusks (2).  It was commonly used with wool and these colored textiles were also part of their trade. 

You can see the captain of this ship in the scene is in purple, and therefore royalty or rich!


Copyright Jennifer Lurie


Perhaps the most important export of trade for the Phoenicians was the alphabet.  When the Phoenicians created their new alphabet, they worked from symbols that were already in use among the Semitic-speaking peoples of Canaan and Mesopotamia (1).  We know from the previous Egyptian Scene that the Egyptians had the writing system based on pictograms (hieroglyphics).  


The Phoenicians took the pictograms and added the acrophonic principle – naming of letters of an alphabetic writing system so that a letter’s name begins with the letter itself.  For example, the pictogram/symbol  for a house which was in north west Semitic language is pronounced as “beth” would now just represent “b”.  They did this for 22 consonants and no vowels.

The writing was used across the region in trade to document their transactions.  The agreements for purchase were typically fixed term agreements and pacts.  Ironically, the very folks responsible for sharing these 22 letters have barely any written evidence that remains.   The new portable methods for text were also perishable so the materials such as wood, papyrus and parchment from antiquity did not stand the test of time.  Just imagine your park map after the first day of Food and Wine without the glossy coating!

 Thank the Phoenicians…

“Thank the Phoenicians” from Judy Dench’s narration  has become one of the more quotable lines from EPCOT.  So much so that its started a bit of a cult following.  The Phoenicians even have a Twitter Feed!

Remember how easy it was to learn your ABC’s? Thank the Phoenicians, they invented them.






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 – Phoenician Sea Captain is said to also be the Store Owner in the Great Depression scene in American Adventure (3).



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

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.

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

Phoenician merchants established the earliest commercial highways trading goods and information at distant ports of call. To aid in record keeping, they created the first common alphabet and shared this new tool across the Mediterranean..

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

The value of writing for accurate record keeping appeals to Phoenician merchants. They create an alphabet, simple enough for any to learn, and share this new tool at ports along the Mediterranean. 

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

On fine Phoenician ships, we take our scrolls to sea. Real scrolls simplified by an alphabet, eagerly shared at distant ports of call.

July 22, 1977 – Ray Bradbury script

And then we put our walls on ships – sailed out across the seas to share what we had learned…how to plant – and grow – and build; To trade our goods and exchange our good ideas with far and distant lands.

  2. Markoe, G.E. (2000). People of the Past: Phoenicians. California. University of California Press.
Posted in Disney, Spaceship Earth | 2 Comments

I LOVE a good info graphic!!

These info graphics from Nature are on point!



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Spaceship Earth – Ancient Egypt

The scene after the Cave People has us transition from cave drawings to hieroglyphics as we move into an Egyptian temple (representing the New Kingdom approximately 1567 – 1085 B.C.) on the right.  On the left is a man sitting in front of the reeds along the Nile making papyrus. (1)  Further ahead an Egyptian pharaoh is dictating a message to a scribe.  All of this is done with careful detail.


Temples during the New Kingdom were constructed as places of religious worship and dedicated to certain Egyptian gods. The temple scene depicted here reveals an hypostyle hall – a common element of Egyptian temples.  Below are three examples – the concept art for the ride, the actual scene (looks better without a flash), and an actual hypostyle hall from the Kom Ombo Temple in Egypt.

egyptian temple concept art

Spaceship Earth Concept Art by Claudio Mazzoli

Spaceship Earth Egyptian Temple - Undercover Tourist

Spaceship Earth Egyptian Temple – Undercover Tourist

Kom Ombo Temple from Planetware

Kom Ombo Temple from Planetware

The hieroglphyics depicted in the temple scene are reportedly accurate.  The word hieroglyph literally means “sacred carvings” and the Egyptians first used them exclusively for inscriptions carved or painted on temple walls (2).  Eventually the hieroglyphics were used in documents but in order for that to happen – they needed something portable and lightweight to write on.


The scene on the left depicts a man sitting among the reeds along the Nile, pyramids in the background, pounding papyrus.   The gentleman got a makeover in the 2008 Siemens refresh with more realistic movements but the message being portrayed is the same.

Papyrus Pounder - Original from The Magic In Pixels

Papyrus Pounder – Original from The Magic In Pixels

Papyrus Pounder 2.0 from The Magic in Pixels

Papyrus Pounder 2.0 from The Magic in Pixels

The Cyperus Papyrus plants are used to make papyrus. The root from these plants is triangular in shape which makes it easy to cut into strips.  The basics of creating papyrus are to place the strips side by side on a hard surface with their edges slightly overlapping, and then another layer of strips is laid on top at a right angle. The two layers are hammered together, mashing the layers into a single sheet. The sheet is then dried under pressure. After drying, the sheet is polished with some rounded object, possibly a stone or seashell or round hardwood.

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Djeba Marketplace

Djeba Marketplace

A single roll of papyrus is about 20 sheets glued together.  Papyrus were reused in many ways such as pasting strips of papyrus over cracks for patching and repair.  New papayrus was available for administrative and ritual use while the private user obtained second hand papyrus (3).  The Jeremy Irons script indicated that papyrus was the first paper but this was since updated with the Judy Dench version calling it a sort of paper.  This is more accurate as the credit for inventing paper goes to the Chinese.

As Dame Dench states Papyrus in turn creates better record keeping of plans, designs and unfortunately taxes. It is true that the need for documentation was administrative in need such as to track laws, farmers needed to track the land they owed and how much food produced, or merchants needed records to show goods sold and debts owed to them (4). Ultimately, the Cavemen’s writing  and Egyptian temple hieroglyphics were stationary.  Papyrus made it transportable.

A pen and papyrus were seen as symbol of authority.  The scrolls in the following scene, including the hieroglyphics are said to be duplicates of real documents written by a pharaoh (5) .


The scene after our papyrus pounder is a pharaoh and his court, the pharaoh dictates a letter to his scribe, who is recording the words on papyrus scrolls.  The hieroglyphics are said to be accurate.

Copyright Matthew Cooper

Copyright Matthew Cooper @


Better folks than me have tried to translate the hieroglyphics to determine which Pharaoh this is.  I remember a unit in grade school where we “studied” hieroglyphics and I thought it would be fun to revisit.  Let’s just say this is work to be left to he professionals.  Here is what I was able to figure out:



A – Duck and sun, also known as Son of Re’ (6) is the normal title for the birth name of the king, written outside the cartouche (royal name ring) as in the example to the left.  This symbolizes a direct connection between the earthly king and Re, the ruling force in nature (7).

B – The cartouche is the oval ring or a protective rope that encloses but also protects the personal name of a king.

So we know that this symbolization is something that would be seen in Ancient Egypt but what I couldn’t figure out is what the name in the Cartouche is.  The closest I was able to get was to Seti I.

If this is indeed King Seti I, that would make his spouse Queen Tuya!

Seti I Cartouche

Seti I Cartouche

Pharaoh and his Court

So let’s say this is King Seti I and Queen Tuya – who is this other guy with a scroll?  Based on today’s depiction of the scene he appears to be an official also known as a “vizier”who helped the king govern. The viziers acted as mayors, tax collectors, and judges.  In a past portrayal – this gentlemen appeared to take on the role of a servant fanning the king and queen with an ostrich fan as seen below:

Original Egyptian Scene - Walt Dated World

Original Egyptian Scene – Walt Dated World

The Scribe seen transcribing the decree is no slouch. Scribes were the only people in ancient Egypt who could read and write the sacred hieroglyphs that would appear on temples and in tombs and they were also the keepers of government records and wrote letters for the pharaoh.  The scribe is essentially the most important person in this room – they can read, write, and know where the mummies are entombed.  

King’s Royal Regalia


Another change overtime was the King’s headdress.   In the original scene the King is wearing what appears to be a  Nemes headdress which would be a cloth covering a crown. It was later updated to the Double Crown or Pschent we see today – a combination of the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and the White Crown of Upper Egypt. It symbolised the joining of the two lands, and the pharaoh’s control over the two lands (8).

In both versions the King has his staff (long pole), one of the most ancient symbols of authority.  A cool detail added later was a crook (heka) – a sceptre in the shape of a shepherd’s crook normally made of gold and reinforced with blue copper bands.  The crook symbolized that the pharaoh is the shepherd or the carer of the people (9).


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 vizier is said to also be President Taft in the Hall of Presidents (10).

Copyright Mathew Cooper Photography

Taft in the Hall of Presidents

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

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.

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

Ages later, the Egyptians invented the first written communication – a complex language of hieroglyphic pictures and symbols. With the creation of papyrus scrolls, came the world’s first piece of paper. Now, without ever leaving their palaces, pharaohs could deliver proclamations and decrees to subjects across the land.

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

Ages later, stories and knowledge are transcribed in complex pictures and symbols. Hieroglyphics mark the rise of written language and, soon with papyrus scrolls, the written word begins to travel out across the land. 

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

Ages pass and more walls rise in the valley of the Nile. Man-made walls of hieroglyphics. Then with new symbols, we unlock our thoughts from chiseled walls and send them forth on papyrus scrolls.

July 22, 1977 – Ray Bradbury script

We planted crops – took root! Worshipped gods who brought the wind and rain and sun. We built new walls – and chilled marks on stone to live through endless time. Recorded now – old tales once told by word of mouth alone.

  3. Eyre, C. (2013). The Use of Documents in Pharaonic Egypt. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  4. Woods, M. (2011). Ancient communication technology : from hieroglyphics to scrolls. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publishing Group.
  7. An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs By James P. Allen
Posted in Disney, Spaceship Earth | 2 Comments

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.


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.



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).



Chief Joe



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.

  3. ttp://
Posted in Disney, Spaceship Earth | 2 Comments

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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 3

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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.


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.


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.


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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