Mission: SPACE Review and Planning Info
Mission: SPACE originally opened on: October 1, 2003.
Pull up a list of all Epcot attraction planning reviews here.
Location: The far side of what is currently Future World East, to the left of Test Track.
Eventually, the entrance to the Space 220 restaurant should be here to the right of the entrance to Mission: SPACE.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning and Evening.
Ride Length: 5 minutes.
Type: Motion simulator.
Similar To: A unique, intense experience. Imagine Star Tours if there was just one row of four people with small individual monitors and the simulator was much, much smaller.
Requirements: Must be 40” tall to ride.
Mission Space has more warnings than any other ride at Walt Disney World. Here’s the card that you’ll be handed if you elect to ride the Orange Team Mars Mission:
There are now two different versions of the ride. The Orange Team is the same mission to Mars that it has been since the ride debuted nearly 20 years ago. The Green Team version now takes you into orbit around earth instead, and is an entirely different experience. More on that later.
Above is a picture of the ride vehicle, where you’ll spend at least seven minutes. It actually gets even more cramped than this. A cast member will move the monitors and joysticks that you see on your left closer to the seats on the right after the ride starts. Most people will be fine with the close quarters, but if you’ve felt uncomfortable on any other attraction, including simulators like Star Tours and Flight of Passage, then you’ll likely want to skip Mission: SPACE altogether.
Scary Factor: The Orange Team Mars Mission itself is not particularly scary. There are some iffy moments, but such is life with space travel. You are never in any real danger inside the capsule and any “feeling” of danger will come from the small monitor in front of you. However, the stories about people getting sick have caused a lot guests to be apprehensive about riding for the first time. For many first time riders, the bark is much louder than the bite, meaning that it isn’t as “bad” as most people are expecting. There are four or five times during the ride that you’ll experience G-force, which basically feels like someone is pressing against your chest for a few seconds. The first time it happens is right at the start of the attraction with liftoff, which may prove problematic. The ride does ease up shortly thereafter.
The Green Team Earth Mission is far less intense. You’ll be in the same space capsule, but there are no G-forces to be concerned with, and the ride is relatively gentle. You’ll bounce around a bit, but you’ll be jostled much less than something like Star Tours.
What to Expect: Mission: SPACE is a space flight simulator, where riders board small four person capsules that are intended to mimic the inside of a space shuttle. There are two versions of this ride. The “Orange Team” features a takeoff with G-forces up to 2.5. As a comparison, Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom has a G-force that maxes out around 2 for much less time. After the initial takeoff, the rest of the ride is rather tame with only slight movements by the simulator while you watch a small screen in front of you. The intense aspects of the Mars Mission last for about 15 seconds at takeoff , again for a short amount of time when the spacecraft travels through an asteroid field, and then upon (hopefully) landing.
Each person in your capsule will have a job to do during the ride. This equates to little more than pressing a button a couple of times. The mission is unaffected, whether each member presses the button or not. For a number of years, this seemed unfortunate, as it would theoretically be fun to see what would happen if someone failed to do their job. After Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019, and the buttons people press actually affect the ride, I think we’re all thankful that the flashing buttons here are just for show. Disney enhanced the quality of the on-ride video in 2017, so it does look better now. You can watch a video of the Mars Mission experience here.
The Green Team Earth Mission takes you around the globe from tens of thousands of feet in the air. There are no G-forces to concern yourself with and the capsule will only occasionally shake or stir as you make your way around the world. You can watch a video of the Earth Mission here.
Where to Sit: It doesn’t matter. The sensation and view are the same from any of the four seats. If someone in your party is more likely to get sick, sit them on the end of the row, or as far away from you as possible.
Is the Orange Version Really That Bad? This is a difficult question to answer because no two people experience the ride in the same way. Overall, it may be the most intense attraction at Walt Disney World. The claustrophobia-inducing capsule, coupled with a substantial G-force, is enough to make most people at least a little uneasy. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the people who do ride enjoy it, or at least aren’t negatively affected by it.
Unless you have severe motion sickness or claustrophobia, try riding the Orange version unless it will cause too much anxiety. You may also want to “test the ride out” by riding the Green Team first. Then, ride the Orange Team after. Most people who ride the Green Team version get off the ride saying, “That was it?” Now that the Green and Orange Team versions are different, it may make even more sense to start with Earth and then try Mars after.
The Trick: To avoid motion sickness, it is imperative that you keep your eyes on the screen.
Don’t look away, close them, or try to console someone else in your capsule by looking at them for more than a moment. Looking away from the screen will make the sensation intolerable for almost anyone because the brain can’t process the different sensations. If you keep your eyes glued to the screen, you should be just fine. Like most people, I was apprehensive about riding the Orange Team, even though I haven’t had motion sickness problems on other attractions. I finally worked up the nerve to ride and didn’t have any problems. It was actually more fun than I was expecting.
FastPass+: Yes, it’s the highest Tier 2 priority.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
You’ll likely have less time to look around the queue, which isn’t the end of the world. I’m looking at the standby queue from the FastPass+ line in this picture. To be backed up that far in standby, you’d be looking at about a 25-minute total wait, which is too long. If looking around the extended queue room is important, you should be able to let people walk past you as you take a minute to look around.
Those using FP+ will see the majority of the queue and take in the entire pre-show. FastPass+ users likely won’t have much of a view of the room above as those waiting in standby block it.
Total Average Experience Time with FastPass+: 25 minutes. While the ride is only about five minutes long, there’s walking the lengthy queue, the pre-show, the wait after the pre-show, the ride, and the long walk back to the entrance through the gift shop.
4th FastPass+ Availability: Surprisingly limited. It may take a lot of refreshing to get a 4th or subsequent FastPass+.
Expect to Wait:
Disney purposefully posts shorter waits for the less intense Green Earth Mission so people don’t feel like they need to subject themselves to the more intense experience in order to save some time in line.
Each of the ride vehicles can be set to the Earth or Mars missions. Disney ramps up the number of Earth Missions/vehicles as demand increases. That, in turn, pushes up the Mars Mission waits.
When To Go: Before 10:30am, after 7pm, or with FastPass+ is your best bet most days. Those who visit in the late evening should wait less than the posted time. Morning wait times can sometimes be longer if Disney lowers the capacity, either due to staffing or technical trouble.
Rating: 6/10 on the Mars Mission. 3/10 on the Earth Mission.
Josh’s Take: Mission: SPACE arrived with a price tag well over a hundred million dollars in 2003. A refresh followed in 2017. The overall experience is a neat one, particularly with a queue that’s probably Disney World’s most-underrated. The ride itself likely shows its age, particularly with newer simulator rides like Smugglers Run proving more engaging, whether you want it to be or not.
Those expecting a truly wild ride may be disappointed by the Mars Mission, which offers moderate thrills. The Earth Mission is a little on the boring side, particularly with the video looking like it was made digitally. A “real” earth flyover, where you can make out more of what you’re seeing, would likely be more engaging. With little to do on the Test Track side of Epcot at the moment, Mission: SPACE is certainly worth experiencing. No matter what you’ve read about it, your own experience will likely differ a bit. Personally, I tolerate the Mars Mission, but I’m always happy when it’s over. The Earth Mission is a bit of a snooze.