Description And Comments

Mission: SPACE was one of the hottest tickets at Disney World until two guests died after riding it in 2005 and 2006. While neither death was linked directly to the attraction, the negative publicity caused many guests to skip it entirely. In response, Disney added a tamer nonspinning version (Mission: SPACE Green) in 2006 and dubbed the old and intense version Mission: SPACE Orange.

Disney's lawyers probably clocked as much time as the ride engineers in designing the "lite" version. Even before you walk into the building, you're asked whether you want your ride with or without spin. Choose the spinning version and you're on the "orange" team; the "green" team trains on the no-spin side. Either way, you're immediately handed the appropriate "launch ticket" containing the first of myriad warnings about the attraction, as this Unofficial Guide reader discovered:

Since I hadn't done Mission: SPACE before, I chose the more intense version and was handed the orange launch ticket to read. Basically, it explained that if I had ever had a tonsillectomy, or even a mild case of male pattern baldness, I should take the less intense ride.

We've had a good deal of reader mail about the no-spin version. The following comment is typical. A couple from Chicago had this to say:

For Mission: SPACE in Epcot, I tried convincing my husband to take the less intense version of the ride but he didn't think it was going to be that bad. Oh, but it was! I felt sick to my stomach after that ride.

Guests for both versions of the attraction enter the International Space Training Center, where they're introduced to the deep-space exploration program and then divided into groups for flight training. After orientation, they're strapped into space capsules for a simulated flight, where, of course, the unexpected happens. Each capsule accommodates a crew consisting of a group commander, pilot, navigator, and engineer, with a guest functioning in each role. The crew's skill and finesse (or, more often, lack thereof) in handling their respective responsibilities have no effect on the outcome of the flight. The capsules are small, and both ride versions are amazingly realistic. The nonspinning version doesn't subject your body to g-forces, but it does bounce and toss you around in a manner roughly comparable to other Disney motion simulators. A Bradenton, Florida, mom found motion sickness to be the least of her problems:

At Mission: SPACE, I’d like to see more warnings about claustrophobia—I had no clue until the capsule closed that it would be so tight in there. I immediately went into full panic mode, and I looked for a stop button (which they should install immediately, just for me . . . ha-ha). I could hear my daughter laughing, so I pulled it together enough to finish the ride (like I had a choice).

Touring Tips

In minutes, Disney can reconfigure the ride's four centrifuges to either version of the attraction based on guest demand. In general, the kinder, gentler version of the attraction has a wait time of about half that of its more harrowing counterpart.

Having experienced the industrial-strength version of Mission: SPACE under a variety of circumstances, we've always felt icky when riding it on an empty stomach, especially first thing in the morning. We came up with a number of potential explanations for this phenomenon, involving everything from low blood sugar and inner-ear disorders to some of us just not being astronaut material. Understandably disturbed by the latter possibility, we looked around for an expert opinion to explain what we were feeling. The number of organizations with experience studying the effects of high-gravity ("high-g") forces on humans is limited to a select few: NASA, the Air Force, and Mad Tea Party cast members were the first to come to mind. As NASA is a co-developer of Mission: SPACE, we called them. Amazingly, the NASA spokesman said NASA no longer does much high-g training these days. And the agency was reluctant to pass along anything resembling medical advice to the general public.

Fortunately, a longtime friend put us in touch with a real NASA astronaut who was willing to share (anonymously) some ideas on what causes the nausea, as well as tips astronauts use to prevent it. Our astronaut guesses, as we do, that low blood sugar is the culprit behind the queasiness, and suggests eating a normal meal 1-2 hours prior to experiencing the ride. Try to avoid milk and tomatoes beforehand; they're difficult to keep down and, as our contact noted with the voice of experience, particularly unpleasant if they make a return trip. A banana, we hear, is a good choice for your preflight meal. Also, we were told, one trick astronauts use to avoid sickness while in these simulators is to keep a piece of hard candy or a mint in their mouth. It's not clear whether the candy helps keep blood sugar levels high, or is just a placebo. If all else fails, there are airsickness bags in each simulator.

Make a restroom stop before you get in line; you'll think your bladder has been to Mars and back for real before you get out of this attraction. Fastpass is generally needed only during times of peak attendance, and then only if you intend to ride during the middle of the day; mornings and dinnertimes should have shorter waits.

There's nothing our readers enjoy more than kibitzing about rides that can make you puke, and Mission: SPACE has vaulted to the top of this particular heap. First from a Yakima, Washington, reader:

Mision: SPACE is awesome, the best attraction yet. It didn't have nearly the wait Test Track had. We spoke to a number of people who didn't ride as they were intimidated by the number of Disney warning announcements regarding motion sickness.

From Wilton, Connecticut, this 12-year-old's mom had a somewhat different experience:

It was the worst motion sickness my mom ever had at a theme park - airsick bags are available on the ride, and Mom had to use one 20 minutes after leaving the ride, then had to return to the hotel to lie down. Warn future readers!!!

On a lighter note, a woman from Lisbon, Connecticut, used Mission: SPACE as her own personal relationship lab:

We now understand why husbands and wives will probably never go to space together after I (the "navigator") pushed his (the "pilot's") button during the flight. I couldn't help being a backseat driver. He wasn't pushing the button - we could have crashed!

Mission: SPACE Orange Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for Mission: SPACE Orange when you visit on a day with a given Epcot Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Mission: SPACE Orange Wait Times.

Special Comments

Not recommended for pregnant women or people prone to motion sickness or claustrophobia; 44" minimum height requirement; a gentler nonspinning version is also available.

Special Needs

May cause motion sickness. Please see Cast Member at the attraction for further cautionary information.

Other Attractions in Future World

Touring Plans with Mission: SPACE Orange

What is a Touring Plan?