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These are a few of my favourite things – Mission Space

No doubt many of you will have read scary things about this ride, but as a Class ‘A’ wimp I can tell you that it is awesome, and not to be missed! Having said that, you should always take notice of the warnings that Disney give before you embark on this ride, and if you have any health problems, then do think twice before you do it.

After ‘Soarin,’ it is my second favourite ride, and, whilst offering a very extreme experience, for some unknown reason I just love it – which is strange as I cannot bear even the most gentle of roller coasters. Perhaps it is the fact that it is a simulator, and I know that whatever happens I cannot be thrown out, turned upside down or sent hurtling down a steep slope at 60 miles an hour or more! I also know that, as long as I follow the instructions to keep looking out of the spaceship’s ‘window,’ then I won’t feel ill either. My only grumble is that it is much too short.

I love everything about Mission Space, from the beautiful exterior of the building, with its stunning architecture, to the 3 orbs dominating the Planetary Plaza. The first is, of course, Planet Earth, with the Mission Space logo and a spaceship taking off. The second is the moon, with markers showing the 30 landing sites of moon missions between 1959 and 1976. The third is a large coloured globe. All around this area there are plaques with quotes from people involved in the space race, for example, from John F Kennedy – ‘We set sail on this new sea because there is knowledge to be gained,’ and ‘Dare to Dream’ by Kalpana Chawla, the US astronaut who died on Columbia in 2003, as well as ‘Reach for your dreams…..the sky is no limit,’ spoken by Barbara Morgan, a teacher/astronaut.

As you wait inside you can see the fascinating interior of the Space Simulation Lab, an enormous gravity wheel which spins continuously, and where you can see how astronauts live and work, whilst you queue. I am all too impatient during the pre-flight briefing, and can’t wait for the doors to open, and to stand on our allotted space before we lead the way to our space capsule. Once inside, you must settle into your seat and pull down the over-the-shoulder harness restraint, and then the whole thing tips you backwards ready for blast off.

Looking out of the ‘window’ it is fascinating, and a little scary, to see the launch platform in front of you – then you hear the roar of the engines and you appear to travel up the ramp until you are pressed into your seat by enormous G-forces – up to 2.4G. You are literally pinned to your seats, and the pressure on your chest is quite scary, but absolutely brilliant! It’s an astonishing illusion, and feels utterly real. They even manage to simulate a brief period of weightlessness before you are on your way, helped by a slingshot around the moon, to a landing on Mars.

All four of the crew have certain jobs to perform, and as you can imagine, with Disney there is always a trick up their sleeves – but I won’t spoil it by telling you what that is. Needless to say it is a heart stopping moment, and something nearly goes horribly wrong.

Now if you think this would be too much for you then you can join the Green Team, and take part in a much tamer ride, where the centrifuge does not spin. But it is a bit too tame for me!

Some wits have named this ride the ‘spin and puke’ ride, and Disney has provided sick bags just in case. But honestly, thousands of people ride it every day, and incidents are few, bearing in mind the huge numbers who experience this ride. If you are worried, don’t do it, or maybe take a couple of travel sickness pills before you embark on your flight to Mars. In fact, claustrophobia is probably more likely, as the capsules are quite small and tightly packed.

But don’t feel bad is you ‘chicken out’ at the last minute – you can always go through to the Advance Training Lab, where you can play various video games, while you wait for the rest of your party.

Rita Fraser

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