Disney World’s Mission: SPACE opened in EPCOT in August of 2003. We’d already visited Walt Disney World before then that same year so I was looking forward to our trip in 2004 so that I could ride this new attraction! When we visited in early Summer of 2004, my parents opted to just hang out in the room while my two sons and I, my sister, her husband and their twin daughters went to the parks during our vacation.
I don’t think we bothered with park hopping at that time because three of the four kids were under two years old with my oldest son only being six, plus my sister was pregnant, so we felt like the little ones would get too tired trying to do more than one park per day. Maybe it was more that we thought it was too much for the adults…especially my sister. In any case, during our EPCOT day, we hit a point where my sister needed to sit down and take a break so I decided this would be a good time to ride Mission: SPACE. My brother-in-law decided he wanted to ride it too so he and I set off to check the wait time.
When we got to the ride location, we were happy to see that the wait time was very low so we got in line. Keep in mind that when this first opened there was no Green version. There was only the version that used a centrifuge and had riders hitting a G-force of 2.5, which, as I understand, is more than twice the force of gravity at the Earth’s surface (thanks Google). Also keep in mind that I get motion sick pretty easily. I stopped watching the Circle Vision shows in World Showcase previously because those made me so nauseous. Turns out my brother-in-law also gets motion sickness so this really was doomed from the beginning.
Let me be clear, I hardly remember anything about the queue at Mission: SPACE. I’m sure it’s well themed and really cool looking, and as someone who used to love all things space, I probably thought at the time that it was awesome. I even vaguely recall that there was a pre-show of some sort that probably gave back story and some instructions. BUT…all of that got pushed out of my memory and all that remains are the warning signs we encountered all the way leading up to the ride vehicle.
Warning sides for rides are not unusual at all and in my experience, they all say roughly the same thing (and clearly I’m paraphrasing):
* Make sure you’re this tall
* Make sure you don’t have these ailments
* Be in good health
* Don’t be pregnant
* Don’t ride this is you’re scared of these things
* Oh yeah, you might get motion sick
The list can go on and on but it’s pretty basic stuff. So at the entrance of the ride when we saw a sign similar to this one,
my BIL and I glanced at each other and decided it would be fine. The wait time was maybe around 20 minutes or less and I recall that the line was moving pretty quickly. We noticed right away that at regular intervals there were warning signs again. Basically the same signs but maybe in different sizes and mounted differently, but all of them still reminding us what we’re signing up for.
By this time, we’ve commented on how many warning signs there were along the queue and kind of nervously joked about maybe not riding this after all. But nope, we kept on going all the way up to the room where the Cast Members were now repeating some of the warning sign info as they told us where to stand to wait for the next launch group. By now, my brother-in-law and I are standing on the numbers or letters waiting to get onto the ride and there right behind us on the wall was one more warning sign letting us know that this is possibly the worst idea we’ve had today and are we sure we’re gonna ride this and puke on the ride or somewhere else after we’re done riding this? Do you really want to ruin the day just because this is a cool looking new ride that you just HAVE to get on even though you BOTH get motion sickness and will probably hurl the rest of the day and freak out the kids and others who might see you because you’re bent over in the bushes cuz you can’t get it together and all of this could have been avoided if you just didn’t ride this? (pauses to take a breath)
Now, the people who just finished riding are getting out of the cool looking ride vehicle, and it was at this moment that I hear my BIL say he’s not going to ride. He tells a cast member that he’s decided against riding this and they show him how to exit the building. I made the split second decision to go ahead and ride and I entered the ride vehicle. I remember most of everything from this point on.
There are only 4 people to a vehicle and since my BIL decided not to ride, I was riding next to an empty seat and there were 2 kids on the other side of the seat, presumably brother and sister. They were so excited and they gave me a wave or a thumbs up right before the ride began. During our instructions from Cast Members, it was pointed out that there was a barf bag if needed and we were shown exactly where it was. This was the actual moment when I thought to myself… OH.CRAP. Maybe this is a bad idea after all. For whatever reason, the barf bag is what made me realize that I was about to get all kinds of motion sick…but I still didn’t try to leave. This is when I began trying to focus and breathe in an attempt to control my motion sickness before it even began.
I don’t have a play by play of the ride but basically you are launched into space and have a rough landing on Mars. There are buttons and a joystick that each person in the roles of navigator, pilot, commander, or engineer can push at the given times (the buttons don’t actually do anything, but it adds to the fun…if you aren’t about to throw up). I started to feel nauseous right from the beginning as the ride simulated a shuttle being launched from Earth into space. I was holding on to the bars on my seat for dear life and trying not to get sick. I really did NOT want to ruin this for the kids who were so excited to ride this.
I don’t remember which role I was given but I remember that I was the last one who was supposed to push buttons and the kids in the ride vehicle were happy and having a great time and they didn’t realize I was not having a great time until they were yelling for me to push my buttons. The girl must have looked over at me because she told the boy that she thought I was scared. They were saying stuff like, “It’s ok! It’s not real, you can do it!” and if I hadn’t been trying to hold back my Mickey snacks from making a messy reappearance on the ride, I would have thought they were the cutest things. Instead, I was gauging whether or not to go ahead and grab the barf bag or not. Again, I did not want to ruin this for those kids by barfing during the ride. I threw up years before on a Disney bus going to Animal Kingdom in front of kids and everyone and I still feel bad about it to this day, so I was determined not to do that again.
I’m sure the ride was only a few minutes long, but it seemed like it took forever to end. Once it was finally done, I was sweaty and nauseous and probably some unnatural sickly tone of green. I wanted to get to a restroom as fast as possible in case I couldn’t hold back the puke anymore but as I exited the ride and the building I began feeling better and didn’t think I’d end up barfing after all. I got back to where my family was waiting and let them know I was gonna need to sit down for a minute. My brother-in-law ended up being glad that he didn’t end up riding Misson: SPACE and I spent the rest of the day sipping on Sprite and light snacks to keep my stomach from reminding me that I shouldn’t have decided to take on that ride with my motion sick self.
I’ve only ever been on that ride one other time after they added the Green, less intense version. I took my boys on it and it was just ok for them and even though I still got a little motion sick on the Green version, it was nothing like when I rode the original. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t try to become an astronaut… °O°