Is Spaceship Earth Scary? Assessing the Scare Factor

Spaceship Earth – EPCOT” by Josh Hallett licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re planning a trip to Epcot in Disney World, and you’re taking a look at all of the park’s attractions, then you might be wondering a simple question: is Spaceship Earth scary?  Well don’t fret—we have you covered.  In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into this long standing Epcot attraction to find out if you have anything to worry about when it comes to Spaceship Earth, especially as it pertains to this dark ride’s speed, story, and whether or not it has any drops.

How Scary Is Disney’s Spaceship Earth?

Now this slow-moving ride was designed to take you back to the dawn of humanity to learn about the innovations that made today’s communications technology possible. Although this ride was designed without any jumps or scares, some parts may be scary for the little ones because it is so dark inside the Epcot ball (where the entire attraction is housed).

Theming: Scary Level – 3: This ride is the signature symbol of the park and was designed to allow you to travel through time and explore the remarkable history of communication from the Stone Age to the present-day computer age. 

On this 16-minute journey through the history of the world of communications technology, you will see some of the greatest advancements in communications history that are brought to life using elaborate sets and advanced Audio-Animatronics figures. 

I would rank the theming of this ride as a 3 on my scary scale, with 1 being the least scary and 10 being the scariest, because the ride is very dark and there are some video clips with loud noises and large animals that may be scary for your younger kiddos. 

Speed and Drops: Scary Level – 2:  Well, if you’re new to Disney World and have ever wondered what is inside the Epcot ball, you now have your answer: the Spaceship Earth attraction! As for speed, rest assured that this is one of Disney’s slow rides, so there is no need to be concerned about any sudden drops or scares as you would on Mission: SPACE

During this ride, you essentially travel to the top of the Epcot ball so keep in mind, what goes up, must come down. I rank this ride a 2 on my scary scale in terms of speed and drops because of how you travel down from the top of the Epcot ball. At the end of your journey through the history of communication technology, your ride vehicle with rotate and you will travel backwards back down to the present day. Although you travel slowly, I would not recommend this ride for anyone who very sensitive to motion sickness!

Darkness: Scary Level – 5: The scariest part about Spaceship Earth, at least in my opinion, is how dark the ride can be. You know your child the best, and so if they are still scared of the dark, I highly recommend avoiding this attraction. I would rank this ride a 5 in terms of darkness on my scary scale, simply because being in a very dark environment may make the younger ones feel a little uneasy!

Best Age for Spaceship Earth: The good news about Spaceship Earth is that it was designed for everyone in the family to ride. Any age and any height are allowed to ride Spaceship Earth and is a nice break from walking around the parks. However, as I mentioned before, it is a very dark ride, so if your kiddo is easily scared in the dark, I highly recommend avoiding Spaceship Earth!

What Can You Expect On Spaceship Earth?

Untitled” by Theme Park Tourist is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As the very first attraction you’ll encounter at Epcot, Spaceship Earth is your chance to travel back to the dawn of humanity, when early man painted on cave walls. You will watch these paintings transform as new ideas spread like wildfire with the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press. As you continue your journey through time, you will reach the modern age of media, including the first newspaper announcements to watching the first man land on the moon in a real-life televised broadcast. 

Once you begin your descent to return to the present day, you will have a chance to design a futuristic world that you want to live in. Your vehicle will be equipped with an interactive touch screen that will ask you several brief questions about what it is you would want to have in your very own town. With your answers, the computer will generate the world you want to live in before taking your picture to allow you to travel around the town you designed.

During this ride, you can expect a very dark environment, potentially making it scary for your younger kiddos. As you return to the present day and build your future world, you can also expect to travel backwards down the track in the Epcot ball. I highly advise skipping this ride of you are very sensitive to motion sickness!

Spaceship Earth Speed

Spaceship Earth is considered one of Walt Disney World’s slowest rides. You will never reach a speed that has you falling out of your seat or bouncing around, even as you are on your backwards descent. In fact, this ride practically crawls at a snails pace.  I’d put it on par with the speed of the Haunted Mansion ride.  If you can do the Haunted Mansion, you can definitely survive Spaceship Earth.  

During your journey through the past, you will slowly move past animatronic scenes that represent major moments in the history of communication while listening to a narration that tells you everything you need to know about the time period you are visiting. In terms of speed, I would rank this as a 1 on my Spaceship Earth scary scale

Jump Scares On Spaceship Earth?

Since this ride was designed for the entire family to enjoy, Disney’s intention was to not have anything jump out and scare you on Spaceship Earth.  However, I would rank this as a 3 on my Spaceship Earth scary scale because even though nothing jumps out to scare you, there are a few moments where you come up close to some pretty big animals on video. 

More specifically, as you begin your journey through time, there is a stormy video clip with some very large images of woolly mammoths. This part of the ride is probably the scariest in terms of theming because it is loud, and you come very close to the projections of the animals. If your kiddo is afraid of anything like this, I would recommend skipping this ride.

However, this is such a small part of Spaceship Earth, so if you think they can handle a moment of loud noise and big animals, your whole family will do just fine!

Ride Vehicles On Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth employs an omnimover system. This means that it is continuously moving, even as you board. Do not worry, however, it moves very slowly, and you and your kiddos will have no trouble jumping on from the moving walkway. 

Each car contains four hard seats, allowing two to sit in the front and two to sit in the back. The cars are without safety restraints, but do not let that deter you. This ride moves incredibly slowly and there is no need to buckle up on your time travel journey!

Lastly, each row of the vehicles contain an interactive touch screen which will allow you to build your own futuristic world at the end of the ride as you descend from the top of the Epcot ball. A bit of advice: If you have more than one child, seat them in separate rows. The vehicles only have one controller per row, and this will help avoid any arguing over the type of world they want to build!

How Dark Is Spaceship Earth?

If it is not clear just yet, Spaceship Earth is very dark and may not be suited for your youngest kiddos or anyone who is hypersensitive to enclosed dark spaces. Throughout your journey, majority of the ride is almost completely dark with a few dim lights on each of the animatronic sets. 

There are a few “brighter” moments during the ride, but you can expect to be traveling in the dark for majority of your journey. I rank how dark Spaceship Earth as a 5 on my scary scale, simply because many children are afraid of the dark and may not do well in this environment! Just remember, you know your kiddo the best, so use your own discretion when deciding if this ride will be okay for them. 

Who Will Spaceship Earth Scare The Most?

Although there is no height or age requirement for Spaceship Earth, it does not necessarily mean it is made for everyone. As I have mentioned previously, Spaceship Earth is very dark and has a few moments that are quite loud with images of large, scary animals. If you or your child are scared of the dark, I highly recommend you skip this ride. 

If your family really wants to experience Spaceship Earth, I recommend seating your child with an adult they are most comfortable with. There are very few scary moments on this ride but being there to hold their hand in those scarier moments may be the best way to allow your entire family to enjoy Spaceship Earth!

Who Is Spaceship Earth Suited For?

Disney does not recommend this attraction for guests who are easily made uncomfortable by dark and enclosed spaces. There truly are only a few moments where you may feel confined or uncomfortable, but I definitely recommend not riding Spaceship Earth if you are extra sensitive to these conditions. 

Also, if you are sensitive to motion sickness, you may experience some discomfort on your descent as your vehicle turns and travels backwards. This rotation and movement does happen slowly, but again, if you are more sensitive to motion sickness, avoid this ride at all costs!


So, at the end of the day, is Spaceship Earth scary at Epcot?  Hopefully, after reading this article, you will agree with me that Spaceship Earth is one of the more tame rides in all of Disney World.  

Personally, in my opinion, the scariest things about Spaceship Earth are:

1) The ride takes place in a lot of darkness, or at least fairly dark scenes

2) The name of the ride itself conjures up an unpredictable, galactic experience, which can be scary for some people.

Yes, while the ride is very dark, and the overall structure of the ride may be too enclosed for some people’s taste, Spaceship Earth is truly the perfect ride for your entire family to enjoy, learn something new, and escape the hot Orlando sun.

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