All About Mission: SPACE in Disney World’s Epcot
Facts at a Glance:
|Park: Epcot. Location: World Discovery. Height Requirement: 40″ (102cm) or taller for Orange Mission. 44″ (122cm) or taller for Green Mission. Genie+: Yes. Individual Lightning Lane: No.
|Quick Notes: Space-flight simulation with two versions (Green and Orange).
|Disney Warnings: Thrill ride, Spinning, Dark. There are two versions of this ride, designated by the colors orange and green. They have separate Disney warnings.
For both versions, Disney says you should not ride if you are made uncomfortable by enclosed dark spaces or simulators. Expectant mothers should not ride either level. The seating and restraints on this attraction may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes and sizes from riding.
Orange Side Warnings: WARNING! For safety, you should be in good health and free of high blood pressure, hear, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride. You should not ride if you are prone to motion sickness or made uncomfortable by enclosed dark spaces, simulators, or spinning. Orange Team – More Intense Training is a highly turbulent motion simulator thrill ride that spins and creates G-forces during launch and re-entry sequences and includes intense maneuvers that can result in nausea, headache, dizziness, and disorientation even if you have never experienced motion sickness before.
Green Side Warnings: You should not ride if you are prone to motion sickness or made uncomfortable by enclosed dark spaces or simulators. Pregnant women should not ride. Green Team – Less Intense Training is an exciting motion simulator ride that does not spin and is less likely to cause motion sickness.
|Our Additional Cautions: Both versions of this ride are simulators that include turbulent movement, darkness, loud noises, and flashing lights. Both versions take place in a small capsule with tight space and a ‘control panel’ that will come toward you, making the space smaller. Disney reports that the Green Team is the non-spinning version (see explanation below in the Overview section). The Orange Team version spins to simulate an actual space ride with an intense lift-off, Mars landing, real G-forces and actual weightlessness. This is very physically intense and great care should be used in deciding whether or not to attempt this version. Please read the details below for more cautions for both versions, and if necessary, talk with a cast member before trying either side.
|Length: Time for pre-show is approximately 7- to 8-minutes. The ride lasts approximately 5-6 minutes.
|Special Needs & other info: You must transfer from your wheelchair or ECV to the seat in the space capsule. Service animals are not allowed on either version of this ride. Video Captioning, Attraction Translation. Automated External Defibrillators. Ears to the World, Disney’s Show Translator, is capable of translating this experience into French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, or Spanish. The service is complimentary and devices can be picked up at the Guest Relations service counter. Children under age 7 years must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older.
Overview of Mission: SPACE in Epcot
This attraction was designed in partnership with NASA to come as close as safely possible to a real space mission experience. The lift-off is exhilarating, and I can imagine that it’s close to what a real lift-off feels like. This ride doesn’t seem to be designed to scare. It’s more of a thrill experience.
There are two different versions of this ride. The Orange Team version includes spinning that gives you the experience of G-forces and weightlessness. In 2006, they added a ‘Green Team’ version; at that point, it was almost the same, just minus the spinning from the centrifuge. In 2017, Green Team changed to an earth mission, which is much less jerky and intense.
According to our Peer Reviewer Sue Mickelson, Team Orange makes multiple spins at points where astronauts would experience G forces. It simulates 2.5 G (2.5 times the force of gravity). Team Green makes a single spin during the entire ride; it needs to do that to reset for the next ride. Since it’s only a single revolution and it’s timed to the parts when things are happening like during take off and landing, many riders don’t experience it as a spin.
Queue and pre-show information for Mission: SPACE
When you approach the queue area, you’ll be asked if you wish to go on the spinning (Orange Team) or non-spinning (Green Team) version. A cast member will give you a ticket with your team on it, and will direct you into one of two queue lines. Your party will be split if you choose different versions because the lines are separate, but you can reunite at the end of the ride. Cast members will check your ticket several times during the wait, to be sure you’re in the right line. Your ticket will be collected at the point of boarding.
The long and winding queue is space travel themed, with so much to see that you may want to go through it even if you’re not riding. For example there are areas that look like the inside of a space station. Guests stand to watch the pre-show movie hosted by actor Gina Torres. She’s been in many sci-fi movies and TV shows including some in the Star Wars world, and her Firefly fans will recognize her. (closed captioning). After the video you’ll be placed on a team of four for your ride. At this point, those who don’t wish to ride can be escorted out of the attraction.
Boarding information for Mission: Space
Each rider is assigned a position during the preshow boarding instructions (commander, navigator, engineer, pilot). Based on your position, each rider has a certain task to complete during the ride. If a rider fails to complete his/her task in time, the lights will flicker and sound effects will play to simulate an impending disaster. At the last second, the computer will perform an automatic override (according to the synthesized voiceover) and the ride will continue as planned. So while you can’t influence the ride sequence, each rider has a small bit of control.
You’re placed in a small, enclosed four-person chamber, which is likely to be a problem for people with claustrophobia. When the ride is about to begin the chamber doors close and the front panel moves in closer to you, increasing the potential for claustrophobia. When you’re sitting in your capsule, you’ll face your own control area and viewing “window” (video screen). It’s quite close to you, since you’ll need to reach for the controls in front of you. Here’s a suggestion from one of our fact checkers:
“I have only borderline claustrophobia, and I nearly panicked the first time. Breathing deeply and taking a moment to look around (before the ride starts!) helps a lot.”
Wheelchair/ECV & accessibility information for Mission Space
Guests using wheelchairs and ECVs can bring them right into the boarding area. Wheelchairs can be placed right next to the ride car if necessary. It’s not the easiest transfer because of the small space. There’s about a 6 inch step up over the side of the ride capsule. A Cast Member will move the wheelchair or ECV to a safe place after boarding and you’ll exit at the same place you boarded.
Plus size information for Epcot’s Mission Space ride
Although the seats are plenty large for most plus-size people, the feeling is of a tight fit. The seat has a roller-coaster–style harness restraint that is padded, goes over the shoulders and is locked (If you can’t lock your harness because of size, you won’t be permitted to ride).
Additional details about Mission: Space
At the start of your trip to Mars, a countdown to liftoff begins, and you’re seat adjusts so that you’re tilted on your back facing upwards looking out the window in front of you at the sky. Just as you’ve seen on TV, the rockets roar and the cabin shakes.
Orange Team spinning version: This simulates a real space ride with an intense lift-off. You’ll feel G-forces putting pressure against your body, and then you’ll experience actual weightlessness. It’s amazing but very extreme, physically. The G-forces can create a feeling of pressure, particularly in the chest and abdomen. Have you ever seen the movie clips where astronauts are training for space by rapidly spinning at the end of a centrifuge? The spinning version really spins like this to create the sense of weightlessness. Although you don’t feel like you’re spinning, you certainly are.
While the spinning version of this ride is very exciting, it can be much too physically challenging for some people. We strongly recommend that you don’t attempt the spinning version of the ride if you have any conditions that could be an issue. Even if you only have a mild problem and may get away with it, be aware that you’re taking a risk. A number of people have been taken to the hospital after going on this ride, and there have been at least two deaths reported at the time of this writing. One was a four-year-old child and the other an adult (they apparently had pre-existing conditions). You may wish to consult your doctor in advance to determine if this attraction is okay for you, and always pay attention to the posted Disney warnings.
The attraction provides motion sickness bags for guests—that tells you that there may be a higher-than-normal incidence of motion sickness. Regardless, many folks love the spinning version and have no problem whatsoever, including children. Still, as this Disney guest explains, we’ve heard over and over that full vacation days were ruined by motion sickness from the spinning version of the ride:
“I don’t normally have a weak stomach and I felt fine during the ride. It was when I got off that I was really ill – super nauseous and a little off-balance. From the time I went on the ride for about 3-4 hours after I felt so sick.”
Green Team non-spinning version: Despite the fact that this version does not have the same spinning action, weightlessness and G-forces as the Orange Team version, some simulation motion is still there. Sickness bags are also available in this version of the ride. Although the signs indicate the Green Team version is less likely to cause motion sickness because it doesn’t spin, it’s still a simulator with motion. If your condition could be impacted, please use caution when deciding whether or not to ride this version of the attraction.
Both Versions: For either version, there are multiple warnings and opportunities to leave if you decide not to ride, even if you decide after you’re are in the actual boarding area. Just let a Cast Member know and they’ll show you how to get out safely.
It’s hard to predict who’ll experience motion sickness on either version of this ride. We find that there are people who get motion sickness on other rides, and don’t get it on Mission: SPACE. Conversely, there are those who really never get motion sickness but do get it from Mission: SPACE. Also keep in mind that the Green Team version is a simulator and as with all simulators, even without the spinning, motion sickness may be an issue. Particularly for the Orange Team, and to a lesser degree the Green Team, in addition to motion sickness, we’ve also seen reports of headaches, feeling disorientated and chest pains.
Tip: Disney strongly recommends the following to minimize motion sickness on the spinning version of this ride. Keep your head straight and in one place throughout the ride with your eyes forward and opened at all times. Avoid leaning forward and keep your head back against the headrest. Focus on the screen, and don’t close your eyes or look to the side. Try not to look at the person beside you. We’ve heard several accounts of people who gave in to temptation, looked to the side and became severely nauseated. Also, make sure not to hold your breath. Take nice, deep breaths.
Tip: The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World reports that according to a NASA astronaut, it’s possible that low blood sugar can contribute to motion sickness on the spinning version. He suggests eating a normal meal 1-2 hours before the ride, but to avoid milk and tomatoes since they’re hard to hold down. For greater comfort he also suggests emptying your bladder before getting in line for the ride. These techniques may also help on the non-spinning version.
In both versions of the ride the entire chamber moves and there’s motion. In the Orange version it’s much more turbulent. Though most of the motion is generally smooth, there’s a lot of motion that happens fast and frequently. To give you an idea of what this is like, picture yourself in an actual space vehicle and imagine how you would be positioned as the ship changes angles. The ship rotates forward as if you were diving downwards, and also backwards as if you were flying up into space. It moves side to side—such as when you’re passing through a meteor shower trying to avoid the meteors. This is especially true of the Orange ride car will be like.
There are some jolting motions, mainly during the “landing” phase of the ride. In my opinion it’s not severe jolting, but your experience will depend on your condition. There’s also some vibration when the ship first takes off into space. I found this to be a light vibrating.
When diving downwards, I felt the restraints putting pressure on my chest area, but not on my shoulders. However, this may be different for those with different body types. There’s one point at the very end when you’ve landed and the ice below the ship starts to crack. This is very brief and not all that scary, except to the very sensitive. The overall experience can be similar to the commercials Disney put out when this attraction first opened. There’s a lot of excitement and amazement.
Each seat has its own sound system. The ride can be very loud and dark at times. At one point there’s a sudden alarm sounded, which can be startling. There are some small lights on the “control panels” that can blink, and there’s a small flash of light when the “hypersleep” begins in the Orange ride.
Tip: There’s an interior of a ride simulator that you can see inside the entrance to the ride. Let a cast member know you wish to view it, and they’ll lead you there. They’ll also answer any questions you have.
Tip: If you’re still unsure about going on this ride, you can go through the queue and look at the actual ride vehicle. Let a cast member know that you want to just look at the ride vehicle and make your decision from there. If you don’t want to go on the ride once you get there, they’ll lead you to an exit.
Tip: If you’re looking for input to help you decide if this ride is okay for you, cast members can help. However, make sure the cast member has gone on the ride. The last cast member we questioned made it sound like a walk in the park. When we asked if he had ever gone on the ride, he said, “No way!” He had claustrophobia. When we asked the same questions of another cast member who had been on the ride, we got a very different answer.
The Advanced Training Lab at the Mission Space exit
At the exit of the Mission: Space ride, you’ll find several games for adults and kids, as well as an interactive crawl area for kids. If someone in your party isn’t going on the Mission: SPACE ride, this is a good location for them to wait.
Space Race, a live video game competition, is particularly fun if you like video games. You must be able to use very simple hand controls. It may be hard on your hands if you have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. The game is accessible. There are two positions for guests to play from. Eight players will go up a ramp and play as the main players, and the rest will play as support players at stations on the ground floor. At times we’ve been told that we can’t take an ECV or wheelchair on the upper level, but it’s actually permitted. When we’ve been stopped, we just mentioned to the cast member that we’ve been permitted up there with a scooter in the past, and we’ve been let through.
Check out this video showing the Mission: Space Green Team ride:
View the Mission: Space Green Team ride:
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