Mission Space is the fastest ride in Epcot, or maybe the slowest, whichever you decide, it is an intense thrill ride that you'll never forget.
Get ready for a thrill a minute ride to Mars. Disney even expects you to work for your flight. Each person that enters the ride is given a task that must be performed at just the right time for the trip to be successful. Think you're up to it?
It's amazing that you can get all the way from blast off on Earth to a almost smooth landing on Mars in just 4 very long minutes. It's amazing but Disney finds a way to pull it off.
Want to see how it feels to fly to Mars? Want to feel a real lift off? Want to loose your lunch? Sit back, strap in, listen to the instructions, put your seat backs and tray tables in the upright and locked position, and blast off for the red planet.
Great picture of the sign outside the ride - Joe Penniston
When you get to the door for Mission Space you are confronted with three options. There is the Green Line, the Orange Line and the FastPass Line. Once you get in the door you walk through an exhibit that looks like a NASA training area.
The Green Line
The chicken's, oops I mean the green line, is for wimps (like Dad) who can't handle the G forces that are generated on this ride. This line is usually shorter than the orange line.
The Orange Line
The orange line leads to the ride vehicles that are put into the centrifuge and spun around. You will experience G forces just like real astronauts. You will get the full effect. You might get sick...
FastPass Return Line
The FastPass Return Line leads to an Orange Line experience. It's the full deal.
When you actually enter the International Space Training Center (ISTC) area you will be divided into teams of 4. Gary Sinese (the actor who plays your trainer) appears via video to tell you how to carry out your assignments.
When you enter the ride area you will be directed to line up in front of a door. Each entry has 2 lines. There are 4 places (positions) at each line.
As you enter the ride vehicle, you take one of 4 seats. Each seat has has a responsibility during the flight. The seats are Commander, Pilot, Engineer, and Mission Specialist. (Don't worry too much about the titles, all it means is that you punch a button or two at a pre-determined time.) The Commander is in charge of the flight and so on.
Once everyone is strapped in, you are given instructions and loaded onto a launch platform. Countdown commences and you blast off into the wild blue yonder. You feel the full effect of launch including G forces. After launch, you reach orbit, where you experience weightlessness. Finally you reach your destination where you experience G forces again on the landing. (Both of them.)
The G forces on this ride are real. This ride works on the old centrifuge principal. (Think James Bond in Moonraker.) When you launch you will really feel acceleration and G forces of up to 2.4 G's. MANY PEOPLE GET SICK!
You've been warned (some people just can't take a hint).
No I'm not talking about the restroom which, by the way, is located back toward the center of Epcot.
There is a really interesting area after the ride. You can have "Mission Control" experience in the Advanced Training Lab where you "control" an X2 on a flight to earth.
Children's Play Area
If you have children that are too short, or young for Mission Space, don't despair. Disney has created a play area just for them. It's located at the end of the ride so you can wait for other family members that are riding the ride. You can access the play area through the gift shop.
The Crowd Factor
This is one of Disney World's headliner attractions. It draws long lines from the time it opens until closing time every day. Mission Space does have some options that can shorten your wait. There is FastPass, and the Green Line usually has a shorter wait. (You will not experience G forces but you will be shaken not stirred. Get it, shaken not stirred. Dad's so funny.)
Here's a video from the Disney Resort TV Channel about the ride.
Here are some interesting tidbits -
- Disney's first space based ride was Mission to the Moon that was an original ride at Disneyland.
- Fans (the kind that go round and round) blow air on faces. Apparently this helps with motion sickness.
- Motion Sickness bags were added to the ride vehicles shortly after the ride opened.
Mission Space opened in 2003.
- The opening was attended by the NASA administrator, astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the shuttle program. Also 2 astronauts aboard the International Space Station attended via satellite hookup.
- Compaq was the original sponsor of Mission Space, but when the company was purchased by Hewlett-Packard they took over the sponsorship.
- Disney and the ride vehicles designer squabbled over payment for the design of the vehicle. They finally settled in 2009.
Dad's Ride Information Table
|Description: Take a rocket ship ride to Mars|
|Height Requirement - 44 inches||Fastpass: Yes||Length of Ride: 5 minutes 38 seconds|
|Type of ride: Enclosed cabin put into a centrifuge|
*If you are prone to motion sickness, or if you suffer from claustrophobia, ride the green side or just skip this one.
The Fine Print
Here is Disney's list of cautions for Mission Space
- May cause motions sickness
- "For your safety, you should be in good help and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure.
- Guest may rent translation devices at Guest Relations
- Assisting Listening Receivers may be used at this attraction, they are available at Guest Relations
- Guest must transfer from a wheelchair, motorized scooter or ECV to enjoy this attraction.
- Expectant mothers SHOULD NOT RIDE.
- Due to the intense nature of the ride, service animals are not permitted.
- Video Captioning is available on selected monitors.
Whew. That's a bunch.
Dad's Bottom Line
Disney has been on the cutting edge of theme park ride technology since Uncle Walt started Disneyland all those years ago. Mission Space continues Disney's dominance of new ride technology. Uncle Walt's boys have found a way to blend the old spinning rides of the fair with mind-blowing video to make an attraction that's unique and breathtaking (sometimes literally).
Even if you can't take the G forces, ride the Green side of this ride. You won't be sorry.