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  • Disney World

    Mission: SPACE Green

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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 in 2006 and dubbed the old and intense version Mission: SPACE Orange (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:

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.

This San Antonio reader says you don’t give up much by choosing the Green option:

I am 65 and have ridden the Orange version a number of times. On our latest trip, we went on the Orange version again and felt a little uncomfortable. My wife suggested that we try the Green version, which I mistakenly believed was some sort of boring mission-control exercise where we would sit behind a computer. We were pleased to discover that the Green version was the fullblown ride but less intense—it gave us a great experience, including the feeling of lift-off and zero gravity, without the nausea.

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:

I’d like to see warnings here about claustrophobia—I had no clue until the capsule closed that it would be so tight in there. I went into full panic mode.

Touring Tips

Disney can reconfigure the ride’s four centrifuges to either version based on guest demand. In general, the kinder, gentler version 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, so we looked around for an expert to tell us why. Because NASA is a codeveloper of Mission: Space and an authority on the effect of g-forces on the human body, we called them. Amazingly, a spokesman told us that 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 some tips for preventing it. Our expert guesses, as we do, that low blood sugar is the culprit and suggests eating a normal meal 1–2 hours before experiencing the ride. Avoid milk and tomatoes; they’re difficult to keep down and, as our contact noted with the voice of experience, particularly unpleasant if they come back up. A banana, we hear, is a good choice for your preflight meal. Another trick of the astronaut trade is to keep a piece of hard candy or a mint in your mouth; it’s not clear, though, 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.

Hit the john before you get in line—you’ll think your bladder really has been to Mars and back before you get out of this one. We recommend securing a midmorning FastPass+ reservation for Mission: Space (Orange).

Few things delight our readers more than kibitzing about rides that can make you puke, and Mission: Space is at the top of this particular heap. From a Yakima, Washington, reader:

Mission: Space is awesome. A number of people we spoke to didn’t ride because they were intimidated by the warnings about motion sickness.

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—we could have crashed!

Attraction Photos

Special Comments

Not recommended for pregnant women or people prone to motion sickness or claustrophobia; 44" minimum height requirement.

Special Needs

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

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