LivingTravelEpcot's Exciting Mission: SPACE

Epcot's Exciting Mission: SPACE

From the beginning, Disney theme parks have teamed up with technology and storytelling to take guests to fantastic places. And since the early days of Disneyland, the Imagineers who design the attractions have been on a quest to take us to the far reaches of space. They have had varying degrees of success, from the impressive flight sim-powered Star Tours to the ridiculous vibrating seats of Mission (in dismantling) to Mars.

Now, Disney’s Imagineers have aspired to the sublime; Mission: SPACE is an innovative and impressive ride that provides sensations unlike anything you’ve ever experienced (unless you’re an astronaut) and reproduces space travel with a surprising degree of reality. Figuratively, and literally, it takes your breath away.

Mission: SPACE at a glance

  • Emotion scale (0 = Wimpy! And 10 = Yikes!): 7.5. Sustained G-forces can be puzzling; simulated take-off and flight are very realistic; The capsule is quite limited.
  • Type of attraction: motion simulator with centrifugal technology
  • Height requirements: 44 inches
  • Tips: Use M yMagic + to get a FastPass for this popular attraction. Also, consider using the single-rider line for faster boarding.
  • If you are prone to motion sickness, consider taking Dramamine.
  • If you think Dramamine won’t do the trick, or you’re too scared to even consider riding in a centrifuge (though you should buckle it up and give it a spin if you’re on the line), Mission: SPACE does offer non-spinning capsules, in what it calls. the “Green Team.” The effect is not as wild as the normal “Orange Team” capsules, but at least you will have an idea of the attraction.

Spaced history

If Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion represent the epitome of classic Disney theme park rides, Mission: SPACE is their new-age successor. Transport guests to an alternate reality for a magical and captivating experience. From the moment you see the elegant facade with its metallic tones, curved lines and planetary spheres that line its courtyard, you are immersed in the immersive attraction and its promise to launch you into orbit.

Here’s the story: You have arrived at the International Space Training Center (ISTC) in the year 2036 (apparently, NASA and the Russian Aerospace Agency will merge in the not too distant future), and deep space flight has been become commonplace. Your mission is to join a team of fellow apprentices and learn how to pilot a spaceship to Mars.

The narration gets a bit confusing. Most of the time Mission: SPACE reinforces the theme that the guests are recruits preparing for a ground training exercise; occasionally, the attraction seems to imply that students will launch into space and travel to Mars. Our assumption for the continuity lapse explanation could be that the ISTC training program wants to make the experience as realistic as possible.

Bucks? Roger

At the attraction entrance, guests can choose from queues, single driver, or Fastpass. Mission: SPACE is one of the first attractions designed expressly to accommodate Disney’s line management options. If guests are traveling alone, or if they’re keen to end their parties, the single-driver queue can significantly reduce wait time at the popular attraction.

Just inside the entrance, a model of the XT training pod shows guests what’s in store. Around the corner in the Space Simulation Laboratory, a huge gravity wheel turns slowly. Evoking 2001: A Space Odyssey , the wheel includes a eat-in kitchen, bedrooms, exercise room, and other areas to help students adjust to a weightless environment. The sheer scale of the structure shows the luxurious budget (estimated at $ 100 million) that Disney showered in the historic Mission: SPACE. Other set pieces in the lab include a real Lunar Rover courtesy of the Smithsonian.

The queue passes through an operations room similar to mission control and enters the dispatch area. Guests are divided into teams of four and proceed to the prepared room. Here, they receive their assigned roles and learn about the capsule communicator (Capcom) training flight. Hello, it’s none other than Forrest Gump’s Lieutenant Dan! (Aka actor Gary Sinise, who also appeared in Mission to Mars ).

From the prepared room, the recruits, now designated as commanders, pilots, navigators, and engineers, continue into the pre-flight corridor. After some additional instructions, the doors to the hallway open and it’s time to board the X-2 training pods.

Disney has not tried to hide the technology behind the magic. When climbing in and out of the capsules, guests can clearly see the large centrifuge in the center of the room and the ten capsules arranged around it. There are four of these promenade bays in the Mission complex: SPACE. The unpretentiousness plays into the story; Imagineers based the centrifuge and simulators on actual NASA training methods.


Once cleared for takeoff, the capsule is tilted back. The crew members view the launch pad through the capsule windows (actually high definition flat panel LCD monitors), the countdown begins, and yes! – the capsule rumbles, the G-Forces create a strange and dizzying feeling, and you are ready, up and away. It is an amazing illusion. Even though you know the cockpit spins and is tied to the ground, everything conspires to convince you that it is moving skyward.

By pinning guests down to their seats, the powerful lift-off Gs diminish as the capsule “pulls” the moon to accelerate toward Mars. At various points, crew members are instructed by Capcom to perform their specific tasks, and the capsule responds convincingly to their interactive input.

At one point, Capcom informs the crew members that they have reached 0Gs or weightlessness. The centrifuge slows down or stops spinning. While the capsule and its occupants are experiencing Earth’s normal gravitational force of 1G, the sudden drop in sustained higher G-forces causes the body to feel a pang of suspension time – or, at least, that’s our theory.

Inevitable amusement calamities do occur in theme parks. Before reaching Mars, the crew must defend themselves against an asteroid field. And a safe landing goes horribly wrong when the ground beneath the capsule crumbles. Crew members must use their manual joystick controllers to navigate through some harrowing maneuvers.

Is Mission: SPACE for you?

Speaking of tearing guts apart, Disney has gone to great lengths to warn guests prone to motion sickness or sensitive to motion and spin simulators that Mission: SPACE may not be for them. Is for you? Only you can decide, but it is an innovative attraction with an experience unlike anything you have encountered. If you’re on the line, you might consider popping a Dramamine for a spin.

The centrifuge mimics a spinning ride, like the Scrambler, Tilt-A-Whirl, and other amusement park staples affectionately known in the industry as “spin and toss” or “spin and puke” games. The difference to the Epcot attraction is that guests have no visual cues that they are spinning. This may be good news for people who are easily annoyed with such trips (visual feedback is what usually causes nausea), but it is bad news for people who have a hard time with rides on motion simulators like Star Tours. The disconnect between what you see and the kinetic movement your body experiences can trigger an adverse reaction in some people.

While not part of any of the prerecorded information, Mission: SPACE cast members (that’s Disneyspeak to employees) tell guests not to close their eyes and to keep them focused forward. Ignoring any of the warnings can cause passengers to feel the sensation of turning, which can lead to nausea. However, it’s difficult to keep your eyes ahead with the capsule monitors, flashing lights, and other crew members on either side.

The journey does not turn at a fierce pace. While Disney will not officially release any statistics, a representative for the Mouse House disclosed that the centrifuge never exceeds 35 MPH. And while Disney press releases state that G-Forces are less than typical roller coasters, they last considerably longer.

We’ve experienced momentary bursts of positive G’s on many roller coasters, but we’ve never felt anything like the sustained G’s in Mission: Space. For our reviewers, it was an otherworldly sensation, almost ethereal. While everyone we spoke to seemed to experience it differently, we especially felt a slight tightening in my chest and some pressure on my internal organs. Others said that the muscles in his face supported the weight of the Gs. The unconfirmed buzz around Mission: SPACE is that the ride doesn’t go above the relatively benign 3G.

Again, it is the duration that makes the difference.

Not much space

For all the warnings, and for all the untested waters Mission: SPACE sails, hardly any pilot actually misses their lunch at the attraction. Many feel a bit dizzy both during and after the trip. There are bags of airborne diseases on board. Remember that you can opt for a non-spinning travel experience.

However, if you’re claustrophobic, keep in mind that whether or not the pods spin, Mission: SPACE places guests in extremely tight spots. One of our team members has a little problem with confined spaces, and she got a little queasy when our team’s mission was delayed for about four minutes. Once the walk sequence started, however, she was fine. The capsules circulate a lot of cold air, which helps keep claustrophobic feelings at bay; in any case, the cabin was too cold.

After the training mission, guests move to the post-show area of the Advanced Training Laboratory. Activities include a sophisticated video game called Expedition: Mars, Mission: SPACE Race interactive multiplayer game, Space Base play area for children, and Postcards from Space, a computer program that allows guests to email images of themselves. frolicking around the galaxy. Beyond the training lab is the mandatory retail store.

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