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+--Forum: Walt Disney World tips, trip reports, comments and questions
+---Topic: Koster 10/03 WDW Trip: SPACE, MicPhil, & Halloween started by RichKoster

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 05, 2003 10:28 am/pm

Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars!

I'm back from a short trip to WDW to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Friday, 10/3/03, with DW Carol and DS Michael. I also got to ride Mission: SPACE with Bruce/Rufus, and saw Mickey's PhilharMagic with Carol and Michael.

Here are two video postcards I sent to all the Disney EchoEars from the IBM ThinkPlace in Epcot's Innoventions:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 05, 2003 10:45 am/pm

Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars!

Here's my Mission: SPACE video postcard to all of you:

Greetings from the ISTC Communications Center at Mission: SPACE, a thrilling new adventure opening at Walt Disney World's Epcot in 2003. We would like to confirm that Rich has transmitted a video Postcard from Space created especially for you.

To view your Postcard from Space, simply click here!


Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 05, 2003 10:50 am/pm

Note: The video files here use RealPlayer, which you'll need to play back these sound and video movies. There is a free version of RealPlayer here.

This is not streaming video... The movies will first download completely to a temporary area and then RealPlayer will be launched to play the movie.

If you have any problem playing these files and you've installed the current version of RealPlayer, instead of clicking on the movies with your left mouse button, click the right mouse button on the link instead and then save the file to your hard disk and play it using your RealPlayer software from there.

Here's take 1 of Video D-Mail from INNOVENTIONS at Epcot at Walt Disney World to all the Disney EchoEars!

< >

Time ran out on me, so here's take 2:

< >

Posted by: swall918 on Oct. 05, 2003 11:11 am/pm

Hey Rich - watch that first step!

Welcome back. Looks like you had a great time as always.

28 days to go!

Do nyou know if Mission Space is wheelchair accessible? I cannot leave the wheelchair. My daughters (15,15,12) will love that experience. DH and I may have to watch them blast off.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 05, 2003 11:59 am/pm

Yoo Hoo, Susan!

Now you tell me! Next time I'll be more careful on that ladder.

If you can't leave your wheelchair, then you won't be able to ride. Here's what the WDW website says about Mission: SPACE - - "Guests must transfer from their wheelchair/ECV to the attraction/ride vehicle."

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 05, 2003 3:50 am/pm

Here are some more pictures from our trip - - details to follow...

I had a great time in the Quicksilver Tours & Transportation towncar getting to and from the airport to the Polynesian Resort.

My, oh my! Those Lapu Lapu's sure are tasty! Here I am with my first one, from the Kona Cafe.

This is what Space Goofy looks like. I found him in the Innoventions breezeway across from Mission: SPACE. Since he was smart enough to stay in the shade, I guess he's not so goofy after all! I didn't see Space Mickey.

This is how Town Square was decorated for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. The thing that looks like a giant box is a gigantic luminary, which at night showed a glowing face on the other side of it. It looked even more Halloweeny at night. This was taken when we arrived for the party, at 4:30 pm. Even though the tickets say they will let you in at 7 pm for the party, at 4:30 pm they said we didn't need any Magic Kingdom passes and could go in just with our MNSSHP admission at that time. Maybe you can even go in a little before 4:30, but that's when we went in so your mileage may vary.

Pretty scary, kids! That's the hearse at the Haunted Mansion on the night of our MNSSHP, shrouded in fog. Funny, but except at the Haunted Mansion, the night was clear and delightful.

Stitch is eager to replace that other alien in Tomorrowland's Alien Encounter!

Here's another view of Stitch. He sure can climb up high!

We ate at the Liberty Tree Tavern right before MNSSHP started and these souvenEAR glasses were complimentary with two of the drinks we had.

More details coming...

Posted by: Goofyteer on Oct. 05, 2003 10:43 am/pm

Wow Rich, it would appear from your MS video that you have an extra hand! Wow what a cool talent, I had no idea you were so dexterious, no wonder you're able to do all the mods on here so quickly! I'm jealous :laugh: LOL

I love the photo of Space Goofy. If you have a slightly higher quality image of that photo can you please sent it to my email? I'd like to make a printout of it and put it on my wall. Also did you happen to notice if they were selling any stuffed Space Goofy toys there? :coolgrin:

Posted by: Liv2CdWorld on Oct. 06, 2003 9:20 am/pm

Welcome back, Rich!

Great pics/video's.  

I have a few questions.

1.  Since they let you in the park early (4:30), was everything open still since the party didn't start until 7?  If so, how do they 'weed' out the Non-Party crowd?
2.  What time were your PS's for Liberty Tree Tavern?   I ask because we have PS's for Crystal Palace at 5:40 before MVMCP.

3.  Fill me in on the scoop for Quicksilver tours!  

Glad you had a good trip (how could you not in WDW) LOL

Posted by: dizneluver9 on Oct. 06, 2003 4:26 am/pm

Yes Mission Space is wheelchair accesable....make sure you get your Guest Assistance Pass at Guest Services which will make sure you can get back to the ride in your chair :) Do you have somebody that can help you transfer from the chair to the ride?...not necessarily needed but it would help :)

PM me if you have any more questions :)

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 07, 2003 9:40 am/pm

Yoo Hoo, Chris!

---------------------QUOTE BEGIN-------------------
Wow Rich, it would appear from your MS video that you have an extra hand!

No, but when you're on Mission: SPACE look for the "Disarm" button which allows you to take your arm out of the space suit sleeve while it continues to perform its last action. Very handy when you have to scratch your nose.

I love the photo of Space Goofy. If you have a slightly higher quality image of that photo can you please sent it to my email? I'd like to make a printout of it and put it on my wall.

Well, even better: Here are 3 views of Space Goofy (all original size) which all the Disney EchoEars can download:
  • < Space Goofy signing autograph - 1 >
  • < Space Goofy signing autograph - 2 >
  • < Space Goofy giving back autograph book >

Also did you happen to notice if they were selling any stuffed Space Goofy toys there? :coolgrin:

Sorry! I was too busy looking for mouse-eared hats.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 07, 2003 10:02 am/pm

Yoo Hoo, Beth!

---------------------QUOTE BEGIN-------------------
Welcome back, Rich!


Great pics/video's.

It's my pleasure! There's more to come, too.

I have a few questions.

Well, as Mickey says, I'm all ears!

1.  Since they let you in the park early (4:30), was everything open still since the party didn't start until 7?  If so, how do they 'weed' out the Non-Party crowd?

Everything that was open in the park that day was still open, because for the regular park Guests they were still allowed to be there and enjoy the Magic Kingdom attractions that afternoon. When you enter the park with your MNSSHP ticket that early, they put a MNSSHP wristband on you (which makes a nice free souvenEAR) and you're also allowed to keep your MNSSHP ticket (which also proves you have a right to be in there that night, and also makes a nice free souvenEAR).

The park got very empty as the afternoon progressed, because the regular park Guests knew it was closing early. But the party itself didn't start until 7 pm so although all the attractions remained open (except the attractions that closed at certain times such as the train and the riverboat) there were very few lines. You couldn't get your MNSSHP picture taken before 7 pm, for example, even though at one location we walked by at 6:50 pm they seemed all set up and ready to go. We did ride Aladdin's flying carpets in Adventureland a few minutes before 7 pm, though: When we walked up to the ride it was spinning around with no one at all riding on it! We said to each other that the ghosts were enjoying it. We walked into the empty queue area and the CM let us board as well as another couple of Guests who followed us. It was just Carol, Michael and me along with those two other Guests for that ride!

At 7 pm there was a spooky announcement made throughout the park about that night's MNSSHP activities, which was the signal that the party had begun.

2.  What time were your PS's for Liberty Tree Tavern?   I ask because we have PS's for Crystal Palace at 5:40 before MVMCP.

Ours were for 5:45 pm, to which they recommend you arrive 5 minutes prior.

3.  Fill me in on the scoop for Quicksilver tours!

Quick answer: I recommend Quicksilver very highly! Click on their ad at the bottom of this page. Detailed trip report about Quicksilver will be appearing here soon.

Posted by: Liv2CdWorld on Oct. 07, 2003 1:21 am/pm

Thanks for the info Rich!

I'm glad we'll get to keep the tickets.  I was wondering that when I got ours in the mail. :)

I look forward to the trip report including Quicksilver Tours.  I told Gregory I'd call him back shortly after your trip.

Posted by: Goofyteer on Oct. 07, 2003 2:03 am/pm

Thanks for the pictures Rich! :)
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 08, 2003 3:17 am/pm

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Wake up and fly!

The time: 3 a.m.

The place: My bedroom at home.

My Mickey Mouse alarm clock just went off and woke me up. The forecast is for clear skies, cool and breezy for New Orleans, and that prediction turns out to be true. Today would the first time I've flown since before 9-11. At 4:20 a.m. I had gotten dressed, had breakfast, and finished packing the car so I drive to an off-airport-property parking lot run by I pull in there at 5:15 a.m.

Five minutes later I've parked in section D-2 and unloaded my luggage from the car into the shuttle van parked nearby which is waiting for me. On the way out of the lot we pick up 3 more passengers, then we cross the street and head into the airport. I arrive at Southwest Airlines curbside check-in at 5:25 a.m. and tip the shuttle van driver $1.00.

Curb-side check-in

There were no other passengers at curbside check-in but there were two helpful employees who took the two suitcases (1 large bag and 1 small bag) I was checking in. I was given my boarding pass after one of them checked my ID and the print-out from buying my airline tickets online. I had no trouble with my one carry-on suitcase and my camera bag inside the airport at the security check area.

Southwest Airlines boarding gate

Soon after going through security I was at Southwest gate B-5, about 1 hour and 25 minutes before flight 376's scheduled take-off time of 6:55 a.m. I sat down and started writing these notes and filling out an application for Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards while waiting. There was only one man and a little girl there at the gate when I arrived and they were talking about going to Walt Disney World.

About 5 minutes later another family arrived: 3 adults and 2 children. They all started playing "Go Fish." That family answered my question about tipping at curbside check-in. It was my first time using curbside check-in and I didn't check the men there, thinking that they were like the airline's check-in clerks that I've used before in the airport lobby, and nobody tips them. One of the women in their group told me that you are supposed to tip the person at curb-side check-in one dollar per bag. Now that I know, I'll do that the next time I use curbside check-in.

At 6 a.m., another family arrived, a Mom and a boy. I turned in my Rapid Rewards application to the Southwest clerk at the gate's desk and she gave me my temporary Rapid Rewards card. She said a permanent one would be mailed to me and that I should use this one when I check in for my return flight home. However, when I checked in for my return flight, I forgot all about that card in my wallet.

Carol and Michael wouldn't get credit for their flights without the card unless Carol applied separately, but the next time we all fly together we can use my card.

At ten after six I phoned home, using my Wal-Mart phone card. The automated reply told me that extra credits are used when calling from a pay phone. What a rip-off that is!

More to come, as I get time...

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 11, 2003 11:02 am/pm

Thursday, October 2, 2003 - continued

R.K., phone home!

I was able to talk to both my DW Carol and DS Michael. Michael wouldn't need me to call him live that afternoon when he got home from school because we came up with a different plan for him to know I was all right: I would call home when I arrived at the Polynesian Resort and leave a message on our answering machine. Carol would listen to it herself but wouldn't erase it until Michael was able to hear it, too.

Michael told me to make sure and leave word on the message that I arrived safely and "that the plane didn't crash into a building or something." Poor guy, this is the first time all of us will have flown since 9/11. Even though he's 7 1/2 years old, he is aware of terrorism and is worried about it.

Jumping ahead here, after Carol and Michael arrived at WDW (taking a later flight after he got off of school that day) he said that we should always fly to Disney World from now on and never fly again because it takes too long that way.
:rolleyes:  :dollar:

We tried to tell him how much more expensive that is for us than driving over...

So, the plan is that after I get to Orlando I'll use the cell phone in the Quicksilver Tours & Transportation towncar to call Carol and Michael at home (leaving a message on the answering machine). Carol suggested that I also call my Mom to let her know I arrived safely. One of the free perks of using Quicksilver Tours & Transportation is a free cellphone call. If I'm allowed to quick ones instead of one long one I'll phone home and call my Mom on the towncar's cellphone. If I can't do that, then I'll use my Wal-Mart phone card for one of the calls, using the pay phone in the Polynesian Resort's lobby. I had read that even if you use a phone card in your room that you are charged at a high rate on your hotel bill, so I always avoid using the phone in the room, no matter what Disney resort I stay at.

At 6:20 a.m. I finished talking to Carol and Michael, using a pay phone at a Southwest Airlines gate next to my flight's gate. I came back and noticed that two more families had arrived. Still not many people at all for this flight. I decided to just make a note when it was time to board the plane and stop noting when people arrived from now on, putting more attention to this trip report.

Twenty minutes later, at 6:40 a.m., boarding started. There was only about a dozen or so passengers, so we were told that everyone could board immediately, no matter if  you were assigned to group A, B, or C -- but families were asked to board first.

With my PassPorter Deluxe in one hand, my camcorder bag over my shoulder, and pulling my wheeled carry-on luggage behind me, I boarded the plane. The carry-on bag had just been bought along with a bigger one and another one the same size as this one (both of which I checked to go in the baggage compartment). We had trusted the folks at the luggage store when they said this bag was carry-on size, so when I picked out my seat I lifted the bag up into the overhead storage compartment. It was a snug fit to get it in there! I gave it a firm push and was able to get it in and close the hatch. The camera bag went under the seat in front of me and the passporter in the back pocket of the seat in front of me. I was able to get a great seat: next to the window 3 rows back from the front bulkhead, in front of the wings and on the right as you face the cockpit. There were so few passengers there wasn't anyone in my entire row, even across the aisle from me. It was nice to have room to spread out. It was announced taht we'd be taking off on time.

I noted where the emergency exits were and fastened my seatbelt. I took the air sickness bag from the pocket of the seatback in front of me and stowed it in my PassPorter for possible use on this flight or the "flight to Mars" I'd take later this morning at Epcot's Mission: SPACE.

At 6:50 a.m. we were still at the gate, but our scheduled take-off time was 6:55 a.m. The plane swayed slightly as luggage was loaded into it below.

At 6:54 a.m. the cabin door was secured and we were told to turn off cellphones and all electronic equipment. Good thing the pen I was using to write my trip report is powered by ink and me!

At 6:58 a.m. we begin pulling back from the gate -- pretty much right on time. We were given safety instructions and told the flight will be one hour and 35 minutes gate to gate. Then, as the flight attendant said, that was "the end of the do's and don'ts." I said some prayers while we all waited for the plane to be given the go-ahead to head towards the runway.

7 a.m.: We started moving forward away from the terminal building and towards the runway. The plane shakes side to side, as if waiting with built-up anticipation to start flying into the air. We're still moving very slowly or not at all, heading towards the runway. Four minutes later we turned and took our place behind a United Airlines jet, ready in line for take-off. At 7:05 a.m. we taxied to the west, heading towards the end of the runway which was on our right. I saw other planes taking off heading east into the sunrise. The skies were perfectly clear with just a bit of haze.

7:08 a.m.: We paused while the United Airlines plane in front of us made a u-turn onto the runway, then our plane started moving and we did the same thing. After the United jet took off, we moved to the end of the runway. I got out my "Ear Planes" (ear plugs sold in drugstores to help lessen the popping of ears on airplanes) and I inserted them. This was the first time I've ever used them -- and I found that they do work! On the trip to WDW I left them in for the entire flight (taking them out after we arrived at our gate at the Orlando airport) but coming back I took them out for about 20 minutes mid-flight.

At 7:13 a.m. we were off! As we climbed up into the sky I saw the Mississippi River and how close the watery marshlands ahve come to the city due to coastal erosion. After the plane levelled off, I set my watch forward one hour for the Eastern time zone. I was given a bag containing four "Chips Ahoy!" cookies ( Mmmmmmm... chocolate! ), a cup of orange juice, and a cup of coffee.

I kept looking out my window, noting the Mississippi coastline, then Dauphin Island in Alabama, and after that I made out Pensacola, Florida and could clearly see cars & trucks on the I-10 bridge across Pensacola Bay. The next landmark I recognized was the cloverleaf intersection of I-10 and I-75 far below us, near Lake City, Florida. Hey! We're taking the same route we use when driving to WDW! I kept watching I-75, trying to see if I could spot the Disney Information Center in Ocala, Florida. Low clouds obstructed my view when we were over Gainesville, so I missed Ocala.

At 9:22 a.m. I recognize Universal Studios below us, then looking further along I-4 I saw the familiar hotels along Hotel Plaza Boulevard on Walt Disney World property. From there I found my bearings and quickly spotted the Contemporary Hotel, the Magic Kingdom with Space Mountain, and to the left of that I saw the unique shapes of the Swan & Dolphin Resorts and all of Epcot including Spaceship Earth. I didn't see the Big A-- Hat at the Disney-MGM Studios from the air, so maybe it isn't so big after all!

We touched down on the runway at 9:27 a.m. with a perfect landing. Right on time!

Next up: I get a surprise after landing, then find Quicksilver Tours & Transportation and get my luggage for the trip over to WDW.

Posted by: ValUK on Oct. 21, 2003 3:48 am/pm

Hi Rich

Wow, this is one of the most detailed trip resorts I have read.... and it's great!!!!  It's fascinating hearing how air travel in the US is so different than from here  in the UK.... (different perspective!! )

Please where is the rest?????  I want to hear about WDW and the Polynesian Resort!!!!!  :bowdown:



Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 21, 2003 3:56 am/pm

In due time, Val -- and I know I'm overdue. ;)

Currently I'm trying to upgrade the Disney Echo's database to make the system run faster and with fewer log-in errors for new registrations. That will benefit more people than another installment in my trip report.

But I promise to keep writing my report soon. I have a lot of it jotted down in hand-written notes and I add to them as I type it into the reports seen here.

Thanks for the encouragement, Val!

Posted by: ValUK on Oct. 21, 2003 4:18 am/pm

No Hurry Rich, honest!!!!  :wink2:

I am just so impressed you are up and about at this hour!!!!  It's alright for me. it's 9.15am here!!!!!!

Right, I'm off just now, have a coffee and do some work...will check back soon!!!!  Can't wait!!



Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 03, 2003 6:24 am/pm

Thursday, October 2, 2003 - continued
I get a surprise after landing, find Gregory of Quicksilver Tours & Transportation, get my luggage for the trip over to WDW, arrive at the Poly and check-in, make phone calls and head to the TTC

After landing I pulled the "Ear Planes" out of my ears as we approached the gate. When we were given the "all clear" I unbuckled my seatbelt and gathered my belongs. As I pulled my carry-on bag down from the overhead bin, I was surprised to see a former boss of mine coming down the aisle past me towards the exit. What are the chances of that happening -- having not very many people in the airplane and then meeting up with someone I knew on the same flight, the man who hired me for my current job no less! It turns out he was in Orlando for an even shorter period of time than me -- just coming in that morning for a film festival then he'd be flying back home that night.

I always enjoy taking the airport's monorail and hearing the announcer that also has done work for Disney. It really makes you feel like you're already at Walt Disney World! It was a breeze getting on and off the monorail with my new wheeled suitcase with expandable handle -- a first for us. When I got off the monorail and moved through the main terminal building I stopped and checked my PassPorter to see if I was supposed to get my luggage on the "A" side or the "B" side... it was the "A" side. I wheeled my suitcase onto the escalator and when I got to the bottom of it I saw a very nicely-dressed man who turned out to be Gregory Nicholas of < Quicksilver Tours & Transportation >, waiting for me with my name on the sign he was holding. We introduced ourselves and walked to the nearby baggage caroussel, where we both were surprised to find that my two other suitcases were already waiting for us. Gregory said that was very unusual. After I pointed out which bags were mine he took them to his towncar which was parked right outside. It was a very nice, clean, brand-new black Cadillac town car.

Gregory took my picture there just before we got into the car at 9:45 am. As I settled into the roomy leather seat and stretched my legs in the back of the car, we were soon on our way to WDW.

The drive was very comfortable and there was no traffic. He is very pleasant and we both talked the whole time we were on the road. Gregory is the owner of < Quicksilver Tours & Transportation > as well as being my driver that day. I found out that he used to work for another Orlando airport transportation company before he bought it and changed the company's name. We chatted about how many times I've been to WDW, the Disney Echo, and his sponsorship on the Disney Echo which had just begun.

When we got to the Polynesian Resort I was getting my PassPorter and camcorder, making sure I wasn't forgetting anything inside the car, and Gregory opened the door for me even before I reached for the handle. Nice service! We got my bags out of the car's trunk and had a CM take care of them until after check-in. I thanked Gregory very much, tipped him $12, and we compared notes on when my wife and son would be arriving that night (also being picked up by him) and that I'd meet all of them right there in front of the Polynesian's lobby as they pulled up. We confirmed that I'd also see him on Saturday for him to take me back to the airport. In all the excitement I forgot to take him up on his offer to use his cellphone to phone home to say I arrived okay. Instead we said goodbye until we'd see each other later that night when he'd bring my wife and son there. It was 10:15 am: the trip from the airport to the Polynesian Resort only took 30 minutes -- 35 minutes from when I had gotten off the airport's monorail! That's the fastest I've ever gotten from the airport to the Poly. I recommend < Quicksilver > very highly -- ask for Gregory (and mention the Disney Echo! ), although I'm sure any of his drivers will give you great service.

The bellhop CM outside the Polynesian Resort told me he'd be holding the bags for me while I went into the Great Ceremonial House and checked in at the front desk. I gave him $3 for taking care of my 3 suitcases.

It was 10:17 am and I felt like I was "home" again as I walked next to the waterfall and stepped into the lobby, which continues the lush tropical vegetation theme. I only had a 3 minute wait on line at the front desk! I was greeted by Fili who checked me in starting at 10:20 am. It took ten minutes to check in because the room in Fiji I had requested was not available -- in fact no rooms at all on that side of Fiji were available. He offered me my choice of a 2nd floor room (no balcony) on the Luau Cove side of Fiji, a room in Tuvalu that didn't have a good view at all (facing Fiji), or a third floor room in Samoa facing the quiet pool. Fili said if I wanted to move after one night, there might be a better room available but I told him that we'd be there for such a short vacation this time that we'd just take the room in Samoa and stay there. The room wasn't ready that early in the morning, so he gave me the keycards and told me to call back later and they would let me know the exact room number when the room was ready.

I put my lei around my neck and took two more so I could present them to Carol and Michael when they arrived later, then stepped over to a bench near the lobby's central landscaping to collect my things before going back outside to get some items out of my luggage. In doing so I must have forgotten their leis because later I returned and Fili gave me two more. It took a long time outside unzipping my luggage hunting for the various things I needed for my day at WDW -- I had been hoping that the room would be ready for me when I checked in. After getting what I needed I noticed the two leis were missing... the bellhop CM told me they'd happily give me more inside and in fact if we wanted to get more each day that would be okay -- each day the leis are a different color! Back inside the GCH I took a pitstop in the restroom and then went to the pay phones nearby to call home and also call my Mom at her house to let her know I arrived okay. I used my Wal-Mart phone card to phone home -- and heard at the start of the call that there weren't very many minutes left on the card plus the recording informed me that calling from a pay phone uses up more credits. Uh-oh! I left a message for Carol & Michael, telling them I was fine, and also telling Carol that if she had time before picking up Michael from school she should try and refresh the phone card. Well, I tried to make another call on the card to reach my mom, but it was out of minutes after that short phone call home. So I tried to make a collect call to my mom, but she wasn't home. One more attempt at a phone call: I wanted to call Bruce (Rufus) Metcalf and his wife Marta to let them know that I was finished checking in and was about to take the monorail over to Epcot to meet them at Mission: SPACE as we planned. But that phone wasn't working with his number! I tried multiple times, even on different pay phones, but no luck. So, I headed over to a desk next to the kid's lounge area where I saw some CMs standing and let them know about the problem I was having with the pay phones in connecting to a local Orlando phone number. They let me use their regular phone and wouldn't let me give them the money for the call. That was very nice of them.

By now it was 11:15 in the morning. I thought I'd have been in the parks long before now! I left out the back of the GCH, following the path towards the Transportation & Ticket Center to take the monorail to Epcot to meet up with Bruce and Marta. It was a very pleasant walk and I didn't even need to consult the map Fili gave me at the front desk because the signs along the walkway clearly show you the way to the TTC. Walking past the quiet pool I wondered which of those rooms we'd be staying in -- and I remembered back to April when we last stayed at the Poly and how we all met at that pool early on Easter morning for an Easter Egg Hunt with Lilo, Stitch, and the Easter Bunny. It didn't take too long for me to arrive at the edge of the resort where it meets the TTC. It was 11:25 am and I stopped there to offer to take a picture of a couple there along the walkway who had just found there personalized brick. They were an elderly couple from Canada who said they came to WDW quite often. I took a picture for them using their camera which showed the two of them and their brick, then continued on my way to the TTC. At the entrance gate of the TTC behind the ticket booths, a Cast Member asked to see my ticket before letting me through the gate. I pulled out my Annual Pass and she let me enter. When I got to the top of the ramp up to the monorail station I glanced at my watch and noted that it was 11:27 am. Even with the stop to talk with the Canadian couple and take their picture, it only took me 12 minutes to walk from the GCH to the waiting area for the monorail to Epcot. A monorail had been pulling out of the station as I walked up the ramp, so I stood there wondering how long I'd have to wait for the next one to arrive. Three minutes later Monorail Gold arrived. Hooray!

Next up: A monorail to Epcot and a rocketship to Mars!

Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 17, 2003 10:30 am/pm

Trip report continued: A monorail to Epcot and a rocketship to Mars!
Thursday, October 2, 2003 – 11:27 am

After getting a seat on Monorail Gold I had a 5 minute wait until I needed to stay clear of the doors as they shut and we glided out of the TTC on our way to Epcot. We left at 11:35 am and arrived at 11:43. Since I was by myself I was able to swiftly walk out of the monorail and be the first one down the ramp and head to the entrance plaza. This took 4 minutes of swiftly walking. There was no line at security so after a quick check of my camera bag I was able to go on through. It was 11:47 am and I could smell the entrance plaza fountain – Ah, the aroma of chlorine!

Pal Mickey told me about Spaceship Earth. This was the first time he wanted to talk to me on this trip. He didn’t convince me to stop my foot-powered journey because I was on my way to meet Bruce “Rufus” Metcalf and his wife Marta at Mission: SPACE for my first ride there.

It was ten minutes to noon when I was outside of Innoventions on its Mission: SPACE side when I spotted Future Goofy and took this picture of him.

Two minutes later I was walking past the big temporary stage set up in front of Mission: SPACE for the media event that week.

I looked around at the impressive entrance plaza of Epcot’s newest attraction, but there was no sign of them yet. I walked to the FastPass area where we were to meet, but they weren’t there.

It was 11:55 am and the ride was a walk-on but I decided to get a FastPass anyway as a souvenEAR. You can’t beat the price!

It said I could return between 12:39 and 1:39 pm and that I could get another FastPass at 11:57 am – two minutes later!

I made note of the wait times listed on the electronic signs near there – Standby line: 5 minutes, Singles: 5 minutes.

I’m very impressed with this high-quality attraction. The theming is very well done, from the overall architectural design to the details in decorating and “plussing” Mission: SPACE.

I’m very impressed with this high-quality attraction. The theming is very well done, from the overall architectural design to the details in decorating and “plussing” Mission: SPACE.

The entrance plaza immediately sets the tone of this attraction, with its soaring lines and large moon and planets. Many facts and quotes about previous space missions are found here – not just the U.S. ones but all the Russian ones, too.

The FastPass machines are well arranged. You reach them after passing warning signs and a video about the attraction displayed on a flat-panel screen. Perhaps those who opt not to ride won’t waste a FastPass and won’t take one after seeing the video if they decide not to ride Mission: SPACE after all.

Although it was a walk-on when I was there, I can imagine the FastPasses all being given out early in the day like they are for Test Track.

While continuing to wait for Bruce & Marta, I examined all the information in the entrance plaza. It all adds up to a high quality presentation and introduction to the attraction. The overall layout of the entrance plaza works well: A Cast Member welcomes you and makes it clear that you are to go to your left to enter, except if you are using a FastPass, in which case you enter to your right. You won’t miss any of the theming if you are going to get a FastPass because to pick one up you also enter to your left to get your pass and see the same presentation as those entering to ride the attraction, and then you leave the FastPass distribution area going out its own exit back to the front of the plaza before you enter the rest of the attraction. When it is time to use your FastPass, you head to your right as you’re entering the plaza and once you enter the attraction you’ll see all of the themed areas that standby riders see (but without the waiting line). I’m impressed at how very well thought out and orderly everything is at Mission: SPACE.

After walking past the large model of the moon and planets in the entry plaza you approach an introduction area. There are signs over the entry way showing the wait times for Standby, FastPass lines, as well as what FastPasses are active at that time. From here if you keep walking straight ahead you come to the covered introduction area and beyond that are the FastPass machines arranged in a row from your left to your right. In the introduction area you’ll see warning signs about the attraction, a large flat screen monitor, and another CM who can answer any questions you may have about the attraction. He told me when I asked about whether the ride had been toned down or not that the ride was not toned down. If you turn left instead of going straight for the FastPass machines, you’ll enter the ride’s fully-enclosed pre-show area (heated and/or air-conditioned, depending on the weather).

When Bruce and Marta arrived, we greeted each other warmly and then Marta headed to the post-show area where we’d join her later after Bruce and I rode the attraction. It would be the first ride for both Bruce and me.

In the first pre-show room there was no need to walk through the snaking queue area since on that day it was a walk-on. The CM’s had wisely enabled the Guests to be able to walk straight towards the ride rather than zig-zagging through the empty queue area. As we passed by the spinning cross-section of a space station, Bruce pointed out to me the logo from Horizons which was put there as a tribute to the attraction which previously occupied this location in Future World. From the online reviews of Mission: SPACE that I had read, I got the impression the space station would be spinning much faster. I can’t see how the snail’s-crawl rotation speed it has would make anyone watching it sick. Bruce and I walked slowly to be able to see all the details. We joked about “Mr. Johnson” moving up in the world when we saw the Mission Control area, which reminded me of the similar control room which used to be at the Magic Kingdom’s “Flight to the Moon” and “Mission to Mars” attractions. In fact, there is a video monitor which occasionally displays an “Intruder Alert” of a bird landing in the flight area which was also used in those older attractions.

In the next pre-show room we lined up on the floor markers which divided us into 4-member crews, although because attendance was light that day we actually had only 3 people in our crew instead of 4. Everyone in all of the crew lines saw another introduction video on more flat-screen displays and then one crew group at a time were brought into the next area: a circular-curved hallway with many entrances to the various pods of the ride. We found more floor markers to stand on in there, based on the crew number we were assigned in the previous room. This time when another video played there were spotlights which illuminated each of us individually as we were told what crew member job each of us was assigned to.

I was navigator and would be firing rockets at the proper time. The door opened to let us get to our spacecraft and we each took our assigned seats. No one was sitting on my left, so the computer would handle that position automatically. Bruce sat to the right of me and another Guest we didn’t know sat on Bruce’s right. I had enough time and just enough room to stow my PassPorter, hat, camcorder bag, and Pal Mickey in the storage area in front of me and then close it. A CM checked to make sure we all had our seatbelts fastened and then closed the capsule. When that happened the control panel came closer to us, but I didn’t feel claustrophobic at all.

There was a large vertical “window” (flat screen monitor) in front of me and a joystick below it. To either side of the joystick were convenient areas to rest my hands. This control panel setup is duplicated in front of each of the four crew member seats.

Sometimes I kept my hands in my lap while waiting for when I was supposed to fire the button on the left, the button on the right, or control the joystick to help “steer” the craft when needed.  Under my left thigh I had put the air sickness bag I got on the airplane, keeping it close by just in case I would need to use it.

At lift-off I didn’t feel any spinning or and I didn’t have a dizziness sensation, although the g-forces pushing me back into my seat were quite impressive during our “vertical takeoff” while we were lying on our backs.

Once in outer space I fired a rocket to release parts of our space vehicle and we passed by the Hubble telescope. Then were on our way to the moon as we traveled further away from earth. The sling-shot maneuver around the moon pulled me to the side, but it wasn’t jarring like a rollercoaster. The ride was quite smooth.

My stomach had butterflies in it, but that might have been caused by a few factors other than the ride itself: the stories I had seen from other Guests who had gotten sick, the newness and unknown qualities of the ride for me, and the feeling of anticipation mixed with anxiety from reading others’ trip reports. I never got to a point where I felt like I was going to be urpy and have to use my air sickness bag and I also didn’t feel dizzy at all. When the ride was over Bruce and I told each other we were feeling fine. After exiting the space capsule I used a nearby bench to get my possessions in place on me (hat on head, camera bag over my shoulder with Pal Mickey clipped to its strap, PassPorter in hand) but neither one of us needed to sit down or drink from the nearby water fountain.

I’d like to ride Mission: SPACE again to see if the anxiety I felt would still be there or not on my second ride. If I feel fine on my second ride then I’ll know what I was feeling the first time was basically the fear of the unknown combined with anxiety after reading reviews of the ride from other people who happened to get sick on it.

Bruce and I met Marta in the post-show area and told her how the ride had been for us. Bruce thought she’d be able to handle it. I’m not sure if my DW Carol and DS Michael would be up to it or not, but I’d recommend to them that if they want to try it then they should. After all, I still have an empty air sickness bag they can use!

We didn’t try any of the games in the post-show area because they were all in use and we didn’t feel like waiting. One of the Expedition Mars surface explorer games was broken, with the animation on its display screen moving way too fast. Marta and I agreed that just looking at that could make people feel sick.

I did wait in a line (with only one person in front of me) to send the video postcard from Mission: SPACE which is here.

One of the 4 computer kiosks for the video postcards was broken.

Marta and I chatted about our disappointment in not seeing more educational information in the post-show area. There weren’t any of the facts and quizzes I had seen in Innoventions back in June when I was in the Mission: SPACE preview center. I don’t mind the games and I like the video postcards, but I think the post-show area should be bigger with more space activities and learning opportunities included in it.

Mission: SPACE is by no means a substitute for the Kennedy Space Center. People should still take a day off from WDW to see Nasa if they are on a week-long vacation. In my opinion, seeing Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a worthy substitute for going over to Tampa to see Busch Gardens, but Mission: SPACE – although a great attraction and certainly an E-Ticket, cannot be compared to the experience of being at the Kennedy Space Center. Do both if you can schedule a day trip outside Walt Disney World!

After seeing enough of the Mission: SPACE post-show area and the gift shop (which is also nicely-themed and has some easy to find Hidden Mickeys), we walked towards what used to be called the Communicore, and along the way we examined the temporary stage that was set up for that week’s media event. Temporary short-height ramps had been placed at Mission: SPACE’s exit and the walkway nearby in order to be able to have power cords and audio/video cables go to the stage.

Next part: Eating at The Land / Mickey takes a lemonade shower

Mission: SPACE images Copyright 2003, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY


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