Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Joined: Aug. 2001
||Posted: Nov. 17, 2003 10:20 am/pm
Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars!
I'm reposting part of my October 2, 2003 trip report here -- the part that is my review of Mission: SPACE.
I was walking past the big temporary stage set up in front of Mission: SPACE for the media event that week, on my way to meet Bruce "Rufus" Metcalf and his wife Marta.
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.
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.
All images Copyright 2003, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator