Archive for the ‘Mission Space’ Tag

WDW Report: March 9   Leave a comment

Trip Report Covering Epcot and Studios, But Mostly Epcot


Flower and Garden is now open. This year’s entrance display is rather lackluster compared to last year’s impressive Fantasia display. Really none of the displays this year were anything special. All of them -save the Monsters University set (which, by the way, were some of the best ones this year)- were reused pieces from the last years’ fests. I know that’s typical of Flower and Garden, but I’ve seen these same topiaries for years. Worse yet, many of them (especially the entrance ones) seem thrown in last minute without any real theme or thought.

The Festival is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. I can’t help but think the candle and cake are homages to the Castle Cake from WDW’s 25th.

Still painting Mission Space

It’s that time of year when Wonders of Life re-opens! Too bad it’s only Festival Center. It’s looking a little less 80s in there. The work they’ve been putting into it seems to make it a little less awkward and tacky. The trees and planters look a little more lush and permanent. The stages don’t look re-used. There are still a lot of curtain walls and awkward areas, of course.

Flowers! Gardens! Festivals!

Here’s all the butterflies! It’s too early for the garden (now themed to the fairies) to be covered with the butterflies.

Dadgumn! It’s everyone’s favorite! TOW-PIARY MATER! The placement of the Cars topiaries makes sense by Test Track, but there isn’t much space. Mater is a popular character and everyone was clamoring to get a picture with/of him. The walkway is too small for that.

Peter Pan hides on the roofs of the UK Pavilion. This is really clever, but hard to notice. There’s nothing drawing your eye up there, making him easy to miss.

Walls are up at Norway. As you readers know, the waterfall has been off for months now and the water turned green. Assumingly this wall and tarp is up while they fix everything.


There’s a new Cadillac parked out in front of the Great Movie Ride.

We always love it when they leave cars out- especially pretty old ones. They add life to the seemingly vacant areas.

Rockin’ Roller Coaster’s iconic guitar is being painted. Also, I finally rode Rockin’ Roller Coaster for the first time. Absolutely loved it.


What do you guys think about Flower and Garden this year? How about that new car? Feel the need to make fun of me for waiting this long before going on Coaster? Leave your comments below!


Epcot Expedition: September 15, 2012   1 comment

Welcome everyone! Our quick little trip to Epcot yesterday has brought us some new photos and updates!

Today we’ll be starting with exciting news from The Land. This past week, they cleared out many of the trees that once created a forest in front of the pavilion.  The removal of these trees is fantastic, as it now allows you to see the beautiful architecture. Much like the architecture of the other pavilions, the volcano-like glass atrium has always been The Land’s weenie. But during the 2005 overhaul, the simple and sparse landscaping was removed and replaced with a forest of trees. While the new landscaping looked nice and fit the pavilion, it blocked the atrium. Over time, it began to look cluttered and overwhelming. With many of these trees now gone, you can yet again get a great view of the wonderful atrium.

And for comparison:

Quite a transformation, don’t you think?

Over at the Seas, the new shade cover wave thing is up and shading and covering things. It’s been up since last month, but I haven’t had chance to cover it yet. I really don’t like it. Much like the trees did to The Land, this wave cover covers the entire facade! The Seas’ weenie was the mural (and the rocks, but the mural leads you in). From nearly every angle, this new structure doesn’t let you see the mural. Shame, really.
This new cover, by the way, was built to hold wait and fastpass return times once The Seas gets Fastpass/Fastpass+ implemented.

Mission Space is looking worse every day. The fading and possible rusting is now visible from the Innoventions breezeways.

I think we’ve put up with this poor upkeep of pavilions for long enough. Imagination is dark and dirty. Space has been fading for over a year. It’s not just poor show, it’s really nasty to look at. It wouldn’t matter of this was Disney World or New York, buildings need to stay cleaned. Windows need to be washed. Facades need to stay painted.

And now, Test Track updates.

Not very much to see from the ground. Smelled like paint, but that’s about it.
My parents rode the monorail that day, and told me that they saw a portion of the exterior track removed.

Meanwhile, in World Showcase:

Food and Wine Booths are already in place, including the country of Cheese. I’m not certain where Cheese is located, but I think it’s an island between Ham and Lettuce in the Sandwich Islands.

The France pavilion is being expanded! Sadly, it’s for a Meet and Greet. This, to me, is a poor move. The France pavilion already does MnGs on the Lagoon waterfront, in front of the Morris column, and now even between the column and construction wall. There was no need for another dedicated space for them.

Over in Norway, work has finished up on the waterfall area. There is now a sword attached to the rock work. Assumingly, this sword is for the Agent P World Showcase Adventure. It looks a little strange to see a sword just randomly placed in a cut-out of the rock work, so hopefully there will be another waterfall to cover it up.

Leaving the park, we see that nearly half of the turnstiles are closed.

Why are they closed? Remember earlier this year when they tried out the RFID entrance? As RFID becomes more prevalent through the parks (many hotel doors have been converted to RFID, some cash registers now have RFID scanners, Annual Passes have RFID built into them, Fastpass+ about to start another testing phase), it was only a matter of time before Epcot converted.

As we head out into the parking lot, we see that they still love using the flower logo. #Epcot30

That does it for this week. Don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. If you want to check out more artsy non-news pictures, you can go check out my Flickr page.
Until next time, so long!

Posted September 16, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in News, Parks

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Mission: Shuttle Launch   Leave a comment

A Comparison of Kennedy Space Center’s “Shuttle Launch Experience” and Epcot’s “Mission:SPACE” Attractions

AND: a Brief Update on the Construction Taking Place at Kennedy Space Center

I’m sure I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again: The Shuttle Launch Experience at Kennedy Space Center is better than Mission Space. But why?

1) The Shuttle Launch Experience is far more accessible to people than Mission Space.

People go into the Launch Experience and don’t worry about their hearts exploding. Mission Space has an unfortunate history and bad rep. Many people are scared of it just because of the copious amount of warning signs. The extent of the Launch Experience’s signage is your standard “you must be in good health..” sign, and a few blueprint-like images of the sim at a ninety degree angle. The ride itself isn’t the same intensity as Mission Space, either. But that isn’t to say it’s not intense. Even with the comfy seats, the shaking can be quite a beating to those not prepared. Of course, some people have gotten off and said “It’s like a really good massage!” Contrarily, I’ve heard people get off Mission Space saying they felt ill. Mission Space has quite a bit of punch, since you’re experiencing the real G-forces.

Although both rides are intense, and many opt-out of both, I think people are more willing to ride the Shuttle Launch Experience. Mission Space’s bad rep and harsh thrills render many too afraid to ride. Meanwhile, the far less intimidating sounding “Get Vertical” peaks the interests of even non-thrill seekers.

2) The Shuttle Launch Experience is better edutainment.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure what Mission Space is meant to teach you. Space travel? Mars? Training?
In some ways, Mission Space’s experience was built around the way the simulator looks. I don’t think WDI was happy with the guests’ ability to see the simulator pods, and thus decided to have the guests act as trainees. A smart move, yes. Even the Shuttle Launch Experience calls the flight a simulation. And so, Mission Space themes the entire attraction around this ‘flight training’ idea, including the educational parts. Unfortunately, the real educational parts are in the pre-show, and very brief. And sadly, it’s a rather limited point of discussion, so much so that the post-show focuses on what it’s like to be in mission control (though yes, it does have a minimal training theme).

The Shuttle Launch Experience does away with information on how astronauts train. In it’s place, it teaches you about how the Space Shuttles were powered, what each of the giant rocket things and orange tower were there for, how the ships escaped the Earth’s pull without crushing, and how powerful the ships were. Sound boring? Well, between the amazing lighting and smoke effects, and nifty mobile screens it’s really cool looking. On top of that, former astronaut and current NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. hosts the attraction, delivering a fantastic and humorous script the whole way through. Compare that to Gary Sinise and the ‘meh’ script of Mission Space. I learned more from the Shuttle Launch Experience than I did with Mission Space.

3)The Shuttle Launch Experience is different…in a better way.

Though both attractions are, more or less, one-of-a-kind experiences, I think the Launch Experience’s is much more unique. Mission Space, though a centrifuge, is a simulator for most of the attraction. Launch Experience is vertical the entire time.
The Shuttle Launch Experience may not take you to Mars (or anywhere, really) like Mission Space, but it’s conclusion is far more impressive. I’d take the Earth orbiting above me in space over the overused ‘Don’t move! We’re going to fall!” bit. It’s much more awe-inspiring, grand and, in a word, big.

Of course, Mission Space certainly has it’s advantages over the Shuttle Launch Experience.

Mission Space is an interactive experience. You’re sitting in the cockpit, pressing buttons, and moving the joystick (I lied about the joystick part). It’s first-person and individualized.
Perhaps Mission Space’s greatest advantage is that Mission Space is s fully fleshed out environment. As I said before, it appears that Mission Space’s story was built around the pods. And it works so very well in that regard. When Disney has an idea for a theme, it can’t go wrong ( at least 95% of the time). When entering Shuttle Launch, the queue gives you no hints as to what the attraction is. You just kind of know what it is after reading all those signs. The pre-show is, as I said, an info drop. It does mention this is a simulation, but that’s it. During the ride itself, Bolden continues to explain what is occurring (though you cannot hear a thing over the shaking, so it’s somewhat pointless). Beyond that, there is no real storyline. You’re just there to ride.

Shuttle Launch is very sterile and industrial. Plenty of bare walls and scaffolding. The old exterior queue was almost intolerably ugly (Of course, the entire Space Center is built this way. Whether it’s to make it look like the launch towers and such or to save money is up to you to decide). Mission Space wins out for it’s exterior….for now.

As great as Mission Space looks from the outside, it’s no Journey into Space pavilion. And it certainly isn’t anywhere near being the new Atlantis Space Shuttle complex! Once complete next year, this building will be transformed into a modern, sleek, and rather large building. Not only will it house the retired ship (which will be moved into the building this November!), it will cover up the ugly facade the Launch Experience originally had.

As great as this new structure will be, it’s construction has taken a serious toll on the Launch Experience. Instead of entering through the main entrance (which is now a construction zone), guests enter through the emergency exits and crew member corridors, and queue in what was the boarding area of the now unused Simulator 1. This leaves only 2 sims avalible for use (and only one was running while we where there. As we exited the ride, it had closed. Assumingly, both sims went down), and an awkward entrance/exit.

Here’s a construction picture! The large gap will be where the main entrance will go. Scale replicas of the Solid Rocket Boosters and Fuel Tank will stand erect before it.

This isn’t the only area of the Visitor Complex benefiting from the new Atlantis structure. There’s construction going on everywhere at the Visitor Complex! A large area in front of the ticket booths, previously unused, has some new structures under construction (hopefully a new, larger entrance). The showbuilding previously housing an exhibit on the wildlife living on the grounds seems to be undergoing some modifications, with walls stretching all across the boarder of it and Rocket Tower Garden around to the front of the Complex.

If there’s one thing I really hope they could do during this very nice face-lift, it would be to paint the Saturn V model in Rocket Tower Garden. It’s rusting beyond belief.

Anywho, that’s that. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post, even though it isn’t exactly all about Disney. But I really enjoy Kennedy Space Center, and I think more people need to get on out and see it. It’s out of this world. A blast. Stellar.

***Remember you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.***

Posted August 13, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, Opinions

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Grab Bag Post   Leave a comment

Well, there are a few things I’d like to talk about this week. So why not just throw them all up in one post right now before they get old? Let’s get started.

Design Track?

This week, it was posted on WDWMagic that Test Track would soon be going down for an extensive 6-month refurb. According to these rumours:

  • The new attraction will have a different name, but it still be sponsored by GM (who apparently made the call on it’s creation)
  • It will include a new fleet of vehicles (yea right)
  • Some track modifications will take place
  • And, most interestingly, be focused on the creation of new cars rather than testing.

More info has surfaced since posted. These rumors indicate that the queue would become an new NextGen experience in which guests would create the cars to be used in the attraction. Think of it as Sum of All Thrills, but designing the cars and not the track.

So. People have began to argue that this refurb would bring education back into the Transportation Pavilion. I strongly disagree. Test Track is a very educational experience. Though yes, it is a thrill, it does teach guests about the various technologies put to use in automobiles to enhance their resilience to whatever is thrown at them. The queue and postshow (certian areas of it, at least) contain many many exhibits where guests can learn. Sure, this new attraction would be an educational experience, but is it really any more than what Test Track is? Both would seem to discuss how cars are developed to withstand the environment.

UP and Out, Please.

About 2 weeks ago, Disney announced that characters from Disney-Pixar’s “UP” would be headed to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Disney California Adventure. This was rumoured many weeks before it was announced, so it was really no surprise. The area has since re-opened with the updates.

It’s really a very nice change from the out-dated and forgotten ‘Brother Bear’ franchise. But I don’t like the addition of yet another Pixar film in DCA. DCA currently has:

  • Bugs Land
  • TSMM
  • Up in Redwood Creek
  • Cars Land
  • 4 scenes in WoC (Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Up, Bugs Life)

That’s 2 whole Pixar lands in one park! And a park they keep telling us will be more about Walt’s California, at that! Disneyland alone has only 2. So why must we add Pixar to yet another attraction? It  is possible to have original theming in this attraction, as proven when it opened (the Brother Bear overlay was added later on).

Yes, I do appreciate the update. Yes, it’s a nice fit. But I don’t want any more Pixar in this park.

Separate Spaces

Last weekend, I went to Kennedy Space Center. It’s a very nice place with plenty of  things to do and see. It was quite amazing (and historic) to see Space Shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad for the last launch.

STS-135, the final space shuttle launch in history.

I tried out the Launch Experience while I was there. This isn’t Mission Space at all. Mission Space is more of the G-force experience while this experience is the more realistic and educational experience. This experience puts riders totally vertical, as though they were really in the shuttle. Unlike Mission Space, the ride explains exactly what is happening. As well, this experience utilizes rapid back and forth seat vibration to replicate the G forces….and the power of the Solid Rocket Boosters. The finale is quite amazing. The bay doors above you open, revealing the massive planet Earth floating above you in the vastness of space. Had me thinking of DisneySea’s ‘Stormrider’ and it’s in-theatre effects.

It’s really unfair to compare Mission Space and the Launch Experience simply because of how very different the 2 are. But I can say that the Shuttle Launch Experience teaches much more than Mission Space does. The entire pre-show is an explanation of what goes on during the launch, why certian things are done, and what certain things can do. The exit/post show is rather educational as well. A 2 story circular ramp covers the story of the Space Shuttle program on plaques.

So yup, that’s this week. Bit of this and that. I really wanted to hit on some points before they became too old to discuss. Happy Fourth of July!

Don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter (@Imagineer2017) and Facebook. Also, you can subscribe to my blog.  See ya next week!