Spaceship Earth is EPCOT’s iconic attraction and it is one that has changed very little especially when compared to some other Walt Disney World attractions. The attraction has been in EPCOT since opening day on October 1, 1982. During that time, the roughly 15 minute ride through history has only undergone two face-lifts. The first was in 1994 and the second came in 2007. The first face-lift saw some scene changes. The second face-lift saw more scene changes and the removal of the Fantasia Magic Wand. This article doesn’t focus on the changes to the scenes. It will focus on the narrators.
In 33 years, Spaceship Earth has had only four narrators. The original narrator was Lawrence Dobkin. Mr. Dobkin narrated the story of Spaceship Earth from October 1, 1982 until May 26, 1986. Dobkin was best known as a voice actor on both radio and television especially on the TV show, Naked City, “there are eight million stories in the naked city and this has been one of them.”
Walter Cronkite took over for Lawrence Dobkin in May 1986. Mr. Cronkite had an eight year run as the Spaceship Earth narrator. Mr. Cronkite known for his anchor work on the CBS Evening News. His narrator run went from May 26, 1986 until the attraction closed for a major refurbishment on August 15, 1994.
Spaceship Earth reopened on November 23, 1994 (the day before Thanksgiving). It reopened with a new narrator….Jeremy Irons, the Academy Award winning actor from the Isle of Wight in England. Jeremy Irons had the longest run as the Spaceship Earth narrator. His run lasted almost 13 years (November 23, 1994 to July 9, 2007). Like Walter Cronkite, Mr. Irons run as narrator ended when the attraction closed for refurbishment.
After attraction reopened on February 15, 2008 (well ahead of the spring busy season), the first female narrator for Spaceship Earth debut. That narrator (and the current narrator) is Dame Judi Dench. Known for her work on both the stage and the movie screen, Judi Dench is the only narrator I remember from the the attraction. I went on the attraction as a child when Lawrence Dobkin was the narrator but don’t remember it all. I missed up on the Walter Cronkite and Jeremy Irons versions of the attraction.
The only thing that has been more consistent than the narrators has been the sponsorship of the attraction. Bell Systems/AT&T sponsored the attraction for 22 years from 1982 to 2004. The current sponsor, Siemens, took over the sponsorship in 2005.
I hope you enjoyed this look through the narrators and different scripts of the Spaceship Earth. As always, thanks for reading!