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 Review of Mission: Space (Orange) @ EPCOT
0 Rating Posted by: Canobie Coaster on 1/11/2009 3:12:00 PM
Did you ever dream or imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut, soaring through the abyss that we know of as space and the sensations astronauts endure? Realistically almost none of us will be fortunate enough to experience the real thing, but I bet one would be hard-pressed to experience a better simulation of space travel than EPCOT’s revolutionary and incredible Mission: SPACE. Just the unique ride experience combined with the powerful Gs Orange provides makes this a memorable experience and one of the best attractions at EPCOT by far.

Astronauts begin their space travel by entering the very well themed, iconic Space Pavilion where Horizons once stood. Once inside the space themed queue, riders are bombared with safety warnings, especially of the orange side due to many unfortunate deaths and hospitalizations that it has caused since opening in ’03. But those safety warnings aside, Disney did a great job as usual theming the queue to a space training facility, highlighted by massive “gravity wheel.” Eventually astronauts are sent for mission briefing.

Personally, I really dislike the pre-show on this attraction since it just had a far more serious tone (which is expected due to the ride’s theme) than the more playful and comical tones of other Disney pre-shows. It’s especially annoying after seeing it 8 or so times after many re-rides. Eventually though riders board their 4 person capsule and are assigned one of four positions: navigator, pilot, commander, or engineer- each with a series of buttons that perform various actions related to their position (though in all actuality the on-board-self automated pilot will automatically initiate them if they are not pressed). One seated, the countdown begins: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Blast Off! Instantaneously my body was subjected to some of the most intense, sustained G-forces I have ever experienced. Just the undeniable intensity of that launch was incredible and definitely the highlight of the attraction. But the Gs don’t just terminate there, as they are very well coordinated with the film, rapidly increasing and decreasing whenever necessary. Not only are the Gs incredible, but all of the simulated motions during the landing are flawlessly coordinated with the film and the computer generated imagery on the screens are excellent and certainly some of the best I’ve seen. Not only is the ride very fun, but it’s also pretty long (around 4 minutes or so).

But while there are a ton of the positives with the attraction, there are some glaring negatives that hampered by ride experience. First and foremost, while the plot of a mission to Mars certainly is straightforward, I honestly believe that Disney could have thought up a better solution to condense the ride time than “hyper sleep.” But my primary gripe with the attraction is the lack of interactivity. As I mentioned earlier, the ride automatically initiates the commands if they are not performed, leading to an identical ride experience each time. Honestly the ride could have been so much more enjoyable and unique if not pressing the buttons or not steering well enough during the landing had various consequences and offered different ride experiences.

Despite those flaws, Mission: SPACE Orange is a memorable and entertaining experience. Really my only major gripe with the attraction is the lack of interactivity, but just the raw power and intensity of the ride definitely are enough to make this a great attraction and my second favorite at Epcot behind Test Track. Of both sides I like Orange dramatically better thanks to the intense Gs that are missing from the Green side. Thrill-seekers definitely shouldn’t consider skipping Mission: SPACE Orange while at Disney since it’s arguably the most intense ride experience ever engineered by Disney. Space travel has become a reality for astronauts at Epcot thanks to this unbelievable simulator.
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