Mission: SPACE is one of those attractions that guests either really love or totally hate. Though this attraction was originally designed to inject some thrills into Epcot in the early 2000s, the intensity of this space simulator was too much for many guests, and gave this attraction a bad reputation right from the start. And even though Disney lowered the gravity on this attraction just a few years later, Mission: Space has yet to really find a fanbase, barely garnering more than a 30 minute wait time on most days, even when Epcot is moderately crowded.
And while we’re sure that there are a number of factors contributing to this ride’s unpopularity (the fact that it replaced a beloved attraction surely doesn’t help) it looks like Disney may have a rescue plan ready for this attraction that could be kicking off in just a few weeks!
Mission: SPACE and the mysterious refurbishment
One of the unique things about Mission: SPACE is that this attraction has separate ride bays, which means that most refurbishment work that doesn’t involve the ride queue can be done without a complete closure of the ride, as work can simply be done bay by bay.
However, it was revealed just a few days ago that Disney has taken the unusual step of completely closing this ride for a nearly two-month refurbishment this summer. Kicking off June 5, and lasting through to the end of July, Disney has not announced what changes we might be able to expect from this refurbishment. However, based on a few well-sourced rumors (which have been circulating for some time) we do have a few ides about what changes could be coming to this attraction during this extended downtime…
Could new missions be on the way?
Ever since last year’s subtle changes in the Mission: SPACE queue, we have been wondering if Disney could be working on the long-rumored new missions for this attraction behind the scenes. And with this new refurbishment, it is looking more and more likely that guests who board this attraction this fall will have new places to go when they board this attraction, with new storylines and simulations to experience.
Now while this may seem like an intriguing idea, a lot will depend on how Disney implements this concept….
A galaxy of possibilities
While no official details have been released on the Mission: SPACE refurbishment, if rumors about the alternate missions prove to be true, there are a few possibilities for Disney when it comes to implementing this (potentially) new feature.
The most obvious idea would be the use of a randomization system similar to that in use at Star Tours and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Not only would this be an simpler system to install (from a practical standpoint), but it would also encourage guests who do enjoy this attraction to ride and re-ride so they can experience all of the different missions available.
However, it is also possible that Disney could decide to create different missions for the green and orange sides of the attraction, and split things up by “intensity” level, creating entirely different simulations for either side of the ride. Though possible, this option seems less likely as Disney has always tried to portray the “less intense” and “more intense” experiences as roughly equal (with the exception of G-Forces) so guests who experience the Green side of Mission: SPACE don’t feel shortchanged. If Disney created different storylines for different intensity levels, that feeling of equality would be gone, which may not be a good thing for those who like simulator rides, but do not enjoy the additional G forces.
Though there are several different ways Disney could implement multiple missions for Mission: SPACE, there’s one option we can definitely rule out entirely: guest-chosen missions. Though longtime Epcot fans who are still missing Horizons may wish for a “choose your own adventure” system, similar to that erstwhile attraction, such a change would require much longer than two month refurbishment, making that option simply not possible given the current projected downtime.
Other changes that could be coming
While it looks very likely that this refurbishment will bring multiple new destinations to Mission: SPACE, while this attraction is closed for almost two months, there are also some other things we’d like to see improved at this ride as well.
Though Mission: SPACE probably looked cutting edge when it first opened nearly two decades ago, this attraction has not aged well in the interim. Not only does the video with the training flight to Mars look quite dated, but some of the actual hardware as well is in dire need of an upgrade. The most immediate need is the screens in front of the simulators, which have grown dark and dull in recent years. Replacing these outdated monitors with some new, LED screens would definitely help brighten up this attraction, and is one improvement that is definitely on our “wish list” for this refurbishment.
In addition to sprucing up some of the equipment on the actual ride itself, it would also be great if Disney could revitalize the post-show area too. This dark and dusty area is too often simply run through as guests look to exit this attraction, and if Disney could simply brighten it up with some new lighting (and potentially some upgraded equipment as well), it could keep guests occupied in this pavillion just a little longer.
While Mission: SPACE does have its fans, this attraction unfortunately also has its problems as well. However, it looks like Disney has a plan in place to try and re-ignite interest in this attraction. How do you feel about the possibility of multiple missions at this attraction? Would you ride over and over to experience them all? Let us know in the comments below!
-originally in Theme Park Tourist by Amanda Kondolojy, Tuesday, March 28, 2017 05:30
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