Is Disney’s Mission Space Scary? Assessing the Scare Factor

Mission: SPACE” by Steven Miller licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re about to book a trip to Disney World, and you have plans to visit the Epcot theme park, then you might be wondering to yourself: is Disney’s Mission Space scary?  Well, in this article, we’re going to answer that question by truly assessing this ride’s theming, speed, storyline, drops, use of G-Force, and overall intensity for every age group.

How Scary Is Disney’s Mission Space?

How Scary Is Disney’s Mission Space?

The first thing, and most important thing, to know is that when you approach the Mission: Space attraction, you’ll immediately have a choice of joining the Orange Mission Team (intense!), or the Green Mission Team (less intense). Both versions feature an exciting story, but the big difference is the movement of each ride. You’ll experience rocking and tilting during either mission. However, the Orange Mission ride capsules are on a multi-armed centrifuge that spins rapidly to simulate gravitational forces. 

If we were to rate how scary Mission: Space is overall on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being “not scary at all” and 10 being “absolutely terrifying,” it would probably rate a 9 for the Orange Mission and a 6.5 for the Green Mission. Here’s a breakdown of the scary factor for different aspects of this ride:

Theming – Scary Level 5 (Both Missions): Regardless of which Mission you choose to experience, the overall theming is the same. Once you enter the ride building, you are entering a training facility for your mission.

You’ll see plaques describing future deep space missions, and will watch a training video that explains the mission objective as well as ride safety information. All of this is designed to increase excitement levels, and it accomplishes that very well.

Story – Scary Level 8 (Orange Mission): Both missions have a good story. If you choose the Orange Mission, you’ll be training for a manned flight to Mars. The Orange Mission story has much more of an element of danger emphasized, as well as repeated warnings about the importance of following all safety protocols during the ride. 

Scary Level 5 (Green Mission): Conversely, if you choose the Green Mission, you’ll be training for an orbital tour around the Earth.

Ride Speed – Scary Level 10 (Orange Mission); Scary Level 7 (Green Mission): This is where the biggest difference between the two versions of the ride is most obvious. The Orange Mission is on a large centrifuge, so the ride capsule you’re sitting in is spinning at a high rate of speed. While it doesn’t feel exactly like you’re spinning, many riders feel dizzy and a bit nauseous on the Orange Mission. The Green Mission doesn’t spin at all, but ride speed is simulated by the video screen in the ride capsule, as well as the rocking and tilting motion.

Drops – Scary Level 7 (Both Missions): 
Since this ride is a simulator, there aren’t any actual big drops. However, riders watch a video screen and the ride capsules move forward, which gives the feeling of a steep drop-off. The simulation feels more intense on the Orange Mission, because of the centrifugal force.

Best Age for Mission Space –
For either the Green or Orange Mission, this ride is probably best for guests at least 12 years and older. Walt Disney World rates this ride as appropriate for kids, tweens, teens, and adults. Guests must be at least 40 inches (102 centimeters) to ride Mission: Space. 

If you’re still undecided if you should ride Mission: Space, let’s dive a little deeper into the weeds of both “Missions” on this thrilling ride.

Mission Space Theming and Premise

Like all Disney attractions, the attention to detail on this ride is quite impressive. Outside of the ride building is an area known as “Planetary Plaza”. There is a huge sculpture with spheres representing Earth, Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter. Around this sculpture are plaques featuring inspirational words from many people throughout the history of space travel. It’s an impressive display and helps set the mood for the Mission: Space experience.

Once inside, you’ll have the opportunity to choose either the Green Mission Team (less intense) or the Orange Mission Team (much more intense!). There are plenty of signs to make sure you’re in the correct line you want.

In the queue area, you’ll learn that you are part of a group of trainees at the (fictional) International Space Training Center. Guests will be divided into groups of four, then you’ll watch a training video. This video is important to pay attention to; it will give you the mission objective, as well as ride safety information. 

Just before boarding your capsule (ride vehicle), each rider will be assigned the role of pilot, navigator, commander, or engineer. During the ride, each role will be asked to press a button or move a joystick to “control” the spaceship. These controls don’t really do anything, but they add some fun to the overall experience.

After viewing the training video, your group of four will be led to the ride capsule. The capsules are identical whether you choose the Orange or Green mission. The seats are padded, with overhead safety harnesses. The capsule itself is a small, enclosed space with a video screen meant to simulate the capsule’s window and various buttons and controls in front of each seat. If you feel claustrophobic in small enclosed spaces, this might be uncomfortable for you.  

Orange Mission Premise

On the Orange Mission, your spaceship simulation begins with lift-off from the International Space Training Center, then a “slingshot” around the moon for a propulsion boost. The ride calms down for a few seconds at this point, for a simulated period of hypersleep. 

Once you begin the descent to the surface of Mars, you’ll hear commands for each crew member to push a button or manipulate a joystick. This has no influence on the ride, but since the Orange mission is actually in a spinning centrifuge moving your arm is a surprising challenge! 

Lifting your arm to press a button in front of you requires noticeably more effort than normal. It will feel like you’re moving against some kind of resistance, even though you don’t really notice that the capsule is, in actuality, spinning. Of course, the mission doesn’t go quite as planned and there are some unexpected events that add to the excitement of the story.

Green Mission Premise

On the less intense Green Mission, your crew isn’t going to Mars. You’ll liftoff and orbit around the Earth, making note of several visible landmarks, then navigate back down to the training center.  

During the descent back to Earth, some excitement is added to the ride as you and your crew will have to navigate through a thunderstorm before making a safe landing. You’ll still have the opportunity to press buttons and move joysticks on the control panel, but without the intensity of the centrifugal force found on the Orange Mission.

Mission Space Orange vs Green

The the G Force for this attraction (for the Orange Mission, to be specific) is where you’ll find the biggest differences between the Orange and Green Missions. So in a battle between Mission Space Green vs Orange, let’s see how these two unique experiences compare.

Mission Space Orange G Force

The Orange Mission is the most intense choice on Mission: Space. It has a reputation for causing headaches and nausea, so if you’re prone to motion sickness you might want to take medication for it beforehand.

If you’ve chosen the Orange Mission (intense), you’ll be cautioned to keep your eyes on the video screen and keep your head back against the headrest in your seat. There is a fan that blows cool air throughout the ride. All this is to help prevent motion sickness and headaches. You’ll also notice that there are motion sickness bags in pockets in front of each seat.

The ride capsules are powered by a multi-arm centrifuge that, along with the tilting and rocking of the capsule seats, helps create the illusion of acceleration. You don’t really feel like you’re spinning, but you do feel a sort of internal pressure, and you’ll probably feel like you are forced back against your seat. When it is time to press buttons on the ride, you’ll notice some resistance when moving your arm; almost a “floaty” feeling. While some find this experience uncomfortable, it’s an impressive and effective simulation of what it might be like to travel through space.

The centrifugal force on the Orange Mission exposes riders to forces up to 2.5G. That’s a little over twice the force of gravity on the Earth’s surface. This effectively means that for a brief moment, each person’s weight will be multiplied by 2.5 times what it normally is. This is why you’ll feel a bit of resistance when you have to push buttons or joysticks on the control panel; your arm is literally heavier than normal! 

Green Mission Ride Speed

On the Green Mission, the ride capsules aren’t spinning at all. The seats will still move around to simulate the events on the video screen, but you won’t feel the pressure or resistance like on the Orange Mission. The movement is still fun, and the story is exciting.

Mission Space Drops

For both the Orange and Green Missions, there technically aren’t any big drops. However, because this is a space flight simulator, it will feel like you’re moving in accordance with the action happening in the capsule window (video screen). When the capsule is lifting off from the launch pad, the seats will tilt backward to give the feeling of moving upwards.

When navigating through storms, the seats will tilt back & forth and rock a bit to simulate the capsule’s movement through space. If you keep your attention on the video screen, it’s very effective.

The feeling of drops and movements is intensified on the Orange Mission, due to the centrifuge that is spinning the capsules during the ride. 

Conclusion

So, at the end of the day, is Mission Space scary?  Well, it certainly can be.  Now, to be fair, Mission: Space is an exciting ride that is sure to be fun for anyone who enjoys a thrill, or is a fan of all things related to space travel. 

With that said, it’s not the story or the theme that makes this a scary ride. It’s the physical effects of the ride that make this ride potentially frightening. Whether you choose to ride the less intense Green Mission or the super-intense Orange Mission, the capsules are in small enclosed spaces. If you don’t like to feel closed-in or have been known to experience claustrophobia you’ll be uncomfortable on this ride.

You’ll experience the feeling of your capsule moving through space on either mission. But the Orange Mission, where you’ll experience centrifugal forces, is known to induce feelings of motion sickness in some. Headaches and dizziness are also complaints many people have after riding the Orange Mission.

The ride is exciting no matter what Mission you choose. If you’re worried about motion sickness, taking medication for it before riding will be helpful. There are non-drowsy motion sickness medications available that work effectively with little to no side effects.

Even if you ride the less intense Green Mission, it’s not unusual to feel a little bit dizzy coming out of the ride capsules. Taking a few minutes to sit quietly before moving on to another part of the park will help with the dizziness.

As you exit Mission: Space, you’ll pass through an area with benches and several interactive games to enjoy. This is a nice spot to relax and get your bearings after a trip to Mars, or a spin orbiting the Earth.

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