Mission: SPACE is a popular ride at EPCOT. It’s located near the main entrance in an area previously known as EPCOT’s Future World East. Walt Disney World Resort has rebranded this part of the park. It has undergone multiple construction projects and refurbishments. Today it’s known as World Celebration. Four spheres can be seen within the Planetary Plaza, which represents Earth, Mars, the moon and Jupiter with the red planet containing the entrance. Mission: SPACE and Test Track are the biggest attractions in World Celebration’s World Discovery area.
Mission: SPACE is an intense thrill ride that uses centrifugal forces to simulate space flight. The attraction uses four separate centrifuges with 10 capsules that hold four riders. The ride exposes them to forces up to 2.5G. If that sounds a bit intimidating to you, you are certainly not alone. However, the good news is that there are two versions of this ride. Although the same ride vehicle is utilized, the missions differ greatly in terms of intensity. And each experience features a unique and exciting space mission.
How does Mission: SPACE at EPCOT work?
At the beginning of the ride, guests enter the International Space Training Center (ISTC) and choose their mission, watching an introduction video with Gary Sinise, the star of popular films like “Apollo 13” and “Mission to Mars”. The briefing explains your mission and provides detailed instructions for boarding the ride vehicle.
Each crewmate will be assigned a role: Engineer, Pilot, Navigator or Commander. And you will be tasked with duties related to these roles during the mission. My family members are big fans of the ride. My husband is an engineer in real life. As a result, he always insists on being the engineer when we ride Mission: SPACE. My oldest son loves to be a Pilot. Thus, I usually end up quietly assuming the role of Commander. I think that tells you everything you need to know about who wears the EVA suit at our house.
What is the difference between Mission: SPACE Orange and Green?
The orange team version is a more intense experience and takes crew members on a mission to Mars. The green version takes astronauts on a milder training mission in which they orbit the Earth. But make no mistake, the green version of this ride is still an exciting and immersive experience. It just puts significantly less physical stress on the body, and you will still have the ability to move joysticks on the control panel without the intensity of orange.
I love that Disney offers different versions of the ride. It’s an inclusive option that makes the experience accessible for younger kids and less adventurous adults. In other words, go for green if you love the idea of experiencing space travel but can’t handle the G force! Also, the green version is the better option for anyone prone to disorientation, headaches, nausea, dizziness or sensitivity to simulators.
How do they simulate G Force on Mission: SPACE?
Mission: SPACE simulates the force of up to 2.5Gs by spinning the ride vehicles. The ride building houses four centrifuges. Each centrifuge has 10 capsules arranged in a circular pattern around a massive rotor. Each capsule houses one four-person crew. To illustrate, picture spokes on a bike wheel. The capsules are spun around the centrifuge to simulate the feeling of a rocket launch for the riders inside. During the launch phase, it can feel like more than twice the force of gravity at the Earth’s surface.
In other words, it feels like your weight is multiplied by 2.5. You’ll feel your head being forced back against the headrest. At other points during the orange mission, the motion of the capsules is manipulated to simulate the feeling of weightlessness. If it is your first time experiencing this ride, I STRONGLY recommend joining a green team for your first mission. Mission: SPACE is not like a roller coaster. It is an intense training experience designed to simulate space flight. As my husband loves to point out, it’s the only ride at Walt Disney World with motion sickness bags in front of each rider.
How long does the Mission: SPACE ride last?
The ride lasts for a little over four minutes.
Does Mission: SPACE go upside down?
Nope! Mission: SPACE doesn’t go upside down. The space ride’s tilting capsules recline riders backward during the launch phase of the mission. The orange version, however, spins rapidly to create the illusion of acceleration. Riders who do not typically experience motion sickness might encounter some iffy moments on their four-minute mission. If you’re asking whether Mission: SPACE goes upside down to gauge whether it will make you feel queasy, it may be the wrong question.
Who can ride Mission: SPACE?
Guests with certain risk factors or medical histories will decide whether or not to abstain from this ride by reading a large board that lists specific warnings. For example, if you are pregnant or have a history of high blood pressure or chest pains, you should not ride Mission: SPACE. A cast member will also be posted there to answer questions. Once you process through the queue, a cast member will organize riders into crews of four.
What are the height requirements?
Kids must be 40 inches tall to experience the green version of the attraction. If you have kids between 40-44 inches, a cast member will provide them with a booster seat for use in the ride capsule. This will ensure that the restraints fit properly and that your little astronaut can reach the controls and see the display screen. He or she will be tasked with performing assigned tasks during your trip to outer space.
You have to be 44 inches tall to ride the orange version. However, I would suggest trying out the Green Mission for young kids’ first experience with Mission: SPACE. If they have a negative experience with this ride, it may leave them hesitant to try other rides. If you opt for the less intense version first, you likely won’t have to wait for a long time to try out the Orange Team Mars mission afterward.
Each mission takes you on a different journey, so even if you find the experience to be a piece of cake, your overall experience will be positive. Plus, Disney is super-efficient in loading each of the four centrifuges like clockwork. And the lines tend to move quickly.
Mission: SPACE Easter eggs
Did you know that Mission: SPACE is the attraction that took the place of Horizons? Tributes can be found at Mission: SPACE today. Horizons was a dark ride that took guests on a journey with visions of the future. You can still see a Horizons logo on the wheel in line. It can also be spotted in the gift shop.
What else can you do at Mission: SPACE?
After the mission, guests can visit the Advanced Training Lab for other activities, including the:
- Space Race: A game in which teams Titan and Orion send a rocket from Mars by fixing technical problems
- Expedition: Mars: A game in which guests control an astronaut trying to find their team
- Space Base: A space-themed play area
- Postcards from Space: A kiosk where guests can send messages from space
Adults who aren’t up for the Orange Mission and young kids can also hang out in the mission control space pavilion. It’s located between the ride exit area and the gift shop. My kids could easily spend an hour exploring the space-themed indoor playground there. And the older kids and kids-at-heart will enjoy trying out the arcade-style games. Finally, in keeping with Disney’s M.O., you’ll pass through a gift shop on the way out of this ride. The Mission: SPACE Cargo Bay gift shop has a selection of space-themed souvenirs, apparel and snacks.
My kids particularly love that they can get freeze-dried ice cream just like NASA astronauts enjoy on a real space station. Remember to check Tripster for discounts on packages and tickets when planning your Disney vacation. Also, are you planning a trip to Disney? Be sure to check Tripster for discounts on a 3-day or more visit to the parks!
Have you experienced Mission: SPACE at EPCOT? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!