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35 To Epcot 35: Day 10 – Mission: Space

Epcot Center 35th Anniversary on October 1, 2017

Mission: Space opened in 2003 and was build on the site of the Horizons pavilion at Epcot.  Sponsored by Hewlett-Packard, now HP Inc, this ride is meant to simulate a trip to space.  The backstory of Mission: Space is that it’s the 75th Anniversary of Space Travel and guests are training for the first manned mission to Mars.  There are photos on the wall of various real missions to space, but as it catches up to modern day and moves beyond, the pictures become fictional versions of the future.

The ride consists of four centrifuges, with each holding 10 cars of four riders.  So 40 riders per centrifuge or 160 riders if all four are full.

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(photo WDWTourGuide)

Recently, the ride shut down for about a month and re-opened in August with a new host and changes to the missions

Queue

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When you enter you can see a large centrifuge and a Mission Control area.

The original Mission: Space

Mission: Space is a ride that uses a centrifugal motion simulator to simulate what astronauts might feel going to Mars.  Hosted by Gary Sinise (2003-2017) the ride would allow guests to divide into four “positions” for the “flight”: Pilot, Navigator, Commander or Engineer.  Your assigned position depends on which seat you are in.  This allows for guests to take a more active roll in the experience.  Then guests would “take off” from the ISTC (International Space Training Center) to head towards Mars.  Originally there was only one mission, but due to the intensity several people had to be taken to the hospital and two guests died after riding.  In 2006 Disney then split the ride into two missions.  The Green Mission, which is the less intense, no spinning, version and The Orange Mission, which is the original with spinning.

The New Updated Mission: Space Attraction

In the updated version, that opened on August 13, 2017 has a new host Gina Torres, and a new Green Mission and an updated Orange Mission.  With this new update the Green Mission takes guest from the ISTC into an orbit around the Earth and then back to ISTC where riders have to navigate a thunderstorm to land.

(photo presented at D23 with changes to Green Mission)

The Orange Mission takes guests from the ISTC into a slingshot around the moon, a brief simulated hypersleep as they get to Mars, and then a landing on the surface with unexpected twists to make it more exciting.  The Orange Mission is basically the same but the graphics have been updated.

Advanced Training Lab

(Photo Disney Parks)

When guests leave the ride part of Mission Space, they can go to the Advanced Training Lab area to participate in other activities.  There’s a group game called Mission: Space Race where guests can pretend to be Mission Control techs and help two spacecraft return to Earth.  There is also an arcade type game called Expedition Mars, where an astronaut explores Mars with a jetpack, a toddler play area, and a kiosk where you can create and send postcards via e-mail.

(photos Disney Parks)

Mission: Space Cargo Bay

(Photo Disney Parks)

This is the store full of awesome Disney, space, and Mission: Space merchandise.

Fun Facts

Originally Compaq was the sponsor, signing on in 2000, but when it merged with Hewlett-Packard, HP took over and has been the sponsor to this day.

There are several tributes to the original Horizons throughout Mission: Space including:

  • The Horizons logo is on the center of the rotating “gravity wheel” in the queue.

  • The Horizons logo can also be found on the front of the cash register counter in the gift shop.
  • The planter at the front of the building formerly contained the Horizons marquee.

There is also a tribute to the Magic Kingdom’s Mission to Mars and Flight to the Moon rides. In the mission control room in the queue, you can see footage of the bird landing, that was used in the previous Magic Kingdom attractions.

Sources: Wikipedia,

Image Sources:  Disney Parks, WDW Tour Guide,

 


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