If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be an astronaut (and who hasn’t?), then you’ll want to check out Walt Disney World’s Mission: SPACE, in Epcot’s Future World. The ride was revamped in the summer of 2017, and guests can now enjoy a new and improved experience in space, whether they opt for the Green or Orange Mission! Here are some decidedly cool things about the relaunched Mission: Space.
1. HD Video
If you’re brave enough to tackle the more intense Orange Mission, you won’t be disappointed. The mission itself remains the same, but it’s been enhanced with HD video, which makes all of the details much more vivid than before. So while you’re dodging meteoroids and landing on the moon, it’ll feel like you’re actually in space! Just a reminder that the Orange Mission is not for the faint of heart! Do take note of the warnings posted to decide if this is the mission for you.
2. Mission: Earth!
For those of you opting for the gentler Green Mission, you now have an entirely new adventure to enjoy! The Green Mission now launches from the Earth, and then orbits around our planet, giving you a fantastic view of well-known locations (the “boot” of Italy, the islands of Hawaii, and even the Northern Lights) from orbit. It’s along the lines of Soarin’, but from space!
3. Centrifuge vs Simulator
The technology behind Mission: SPACE is pretty incredible. Orange Mission guests will experience the effects of a centrifuge that simulates the G-forces you’d experience if you were actually taking off and entering space. You’ll feel forces up to 2.5G (more than double the gravity of earth), which is why it feels like a weight is pressing on you at points during the ride. Green Mission riders experience the effects of a motion simulator, but not the G-forces of the Orange Mission, so if you’re worried about motion sickness, Green is a go for you!
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Walt Disney World has made it even easier for Epcot’s youngest guests to experience life in space. The relaunched Mission: SPACE now has a lower height restriction, for the Green Mission. This version now uses special booster seats which allow young astronauts from 40-44 inches tall to ride! It’s never been easier for the whole family to enjoy the feeling of being an astronaut.
5. New Faces and Voices
Orange Mission astronauts will notice that there’s a new audio track for the ride, even though the Mars mission itself remains the same. You can now hear Gina Torres (of Firefly and Xena fame) voicing the narration. And for those of you who were fans of the original Gary Sinise vocal track, we have an insider tip for you. Listen carefully to the background radio communication, and you may just hear bits and pieces of his narration from the earlier version of the ride.
6. No “i” in “Team”
Whether you opt for Green or Orange, you’ll be divided into teams before boarding the ride. We love that each rider is given a specific role (either a navigator, commander, engineer, or pilot) – this makes every guest, especially young ones, feel like they have a role to play during the ride! Every member of the team will be given specific tasks to perform at a specific time, adding to the illusion that you really are integral to the mission to space. And don’t worry, if you press the wrong button or don’t press anything at all, nothing will actually happen! (There are lots of buttons and knobs that guests can play with throughout the ride – no “DON’T TOUCH” signs here!)
7. Queue Excellence
We have come to expect great things from queues at Walt Disney World. And Mission: Space doesn’t disappoint! While you’re in line for the ride, check out the Simulation Lab, home of a massive (35-feet tall) gravity wheel. (You can’t miss it.) It’s like the gravity wheel used by NASA to simulate gravity in space, and it’s pretty impressive. You also won’t want to miss the replica of the Lunar Roving Vehicle used by NASA from the Apollo Program. You’ll also notice lots of plaques and memorabilia along the way from actual and fictitious space missions, including some props from the film Mission to Mars, to get you in the mood for your launch.
8. Advanced Training Lab
Post-mission, there’s still more space fun to be had! Head to the Advanced Training Lab, which features lots of fun, interactive space activities. You can create a space-age postcard, compete with other astronauts in a rocket race, and use a jetpack button and joystick to find some lost astronauts on Mars. Disney’s youngest astronauts can play to their hearts’ content in the space-themed, interactive playground. This is a great place for non-riders to wait for their party’s astronauts to return from space!