Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mission Aborted



Yet another tear down to make room for something vastly inferior.

How can you compare Epcot's Horizon's pavilion with the recent replacement? Horizons, though showing a little kitsch around the edges shortly before it was bulldozed, was a return to the golden age of imagineering when it opened in 1983; a full fifteen minute ride thru showcasing how visionaries imagined the future, how current technologies were dreaming about it and what it all was going to look and feel like when it all came true. It was Epcot's theme show, an incredibly entertaining summation of the ideas that inspired Epcot and Future World from the get go. It was also the first ride in theme park history that both dangled you in front of an Imax film frame (years before DCA's Soarin') and let the rider call out their own ending to the attraction. As for everything else, it was all pure class, from set dressing to lighting to show writing to music. Everything worked.

But somehow Disney pencil pushers decided guests were tired of fully immersive theatrical environments and wanted more thrills, ignoring the fact that The Haunted Mansion and Pirates were still raking them in even after 40 years. In it's place, yet another threat to keeping lunch down in a park that was supposed to be about ideas, the one shot wonder 'Mission Space'.

Granted, this was an interesting step towards innovative new theme park technology as this sort of centrifuge simulator had never been seen before. But once guests squeeze into their tiny simulator pods and experience the feeling of an invisible buddha sitting on their face while watching low rez video it's doubtful they'll turn heel and get back in line. Either that same day or years later. And of course who'd want to suffer through Gary Sinise obviously reading from cue cards in the opening pre-show again anyway?

With virtually no re-rideabilty value whatsoever it's little consolation that the onboard motion sickness bags double as free souvenirs. But go ahead and take one anyway.

15 minutes of immersive theatrical bliss replaced by 5 minutes of chest pain and nausea. You do the math.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

this was so true. the ride leaves people sick, nauseous, and leaves with one not wanting to ever ride it again. i will always miss Horizons. It was great.

Barry said...

I have to take issue to this one. I rode M:S once when my family was at WDW 2 years ago, and felt no nausea, no chest pain, no motion sickness. I enjoyed the ride immensely.. As I was with small children on the trip, I only got to ride it once but would have gladly gone a couple more times had circumstances allowed. And I fully intend to ride again on our next trip.

I'm not saying nobody feels the symptoms you describe - obviously the facts bear that out. But the facts also bear out that a lot of people don't have any discomfort, and enjoy the experience. That fact alone negates any claim of "absolutely no re-rideabilty value whatsoever".

I could probably name 2 or 3 other rides around WDW that I might put into that category, but they would only apply to my own opinions - not the rest of the world's.

Klark Kent 007 said...

I rode it in the preview stage, and that was enough. Standing in line for an hour (even at that point) for such a short experience was not worth it.

Once, in this place, there was an experience that was magical, clever and charming (not to mention it's re-rideability)... Horizons. Ward Kimball & George McGuiness' work was brilliant and even timeless, which is interesting to find in an experience that deals with the future.

Like its poor neighbor, World of Motion, it was replaced with a thrill ride. It would have proven more beneficial to actually take advantage of the unused space around these attractions to build these add-ons, and increase the time spent in Future World.

Of course there is not much "future" left in Future World anymore, but that is another topic.

Circus Ringmaster said...

Mission space is a joke. Hello 1980s Gravitron, and at least we have "space" on a Gravitron. I feel like IM hiding from the Nazi's in The Diary of Ann Frank while on Mission Space. I say tear down Mission Space (No one will miss it, except people who enjoy vomiting) and make a new state of the art Horizons. Send Mission Space to the Middle East to torture the Al-Qaeda. I know what your thinking...if we really want to torture people, why not build California Adventure? ....Come on people...we can be somewhat civilized. =)

David said...

I recently took a class at UCLA taught by Walt Disney Imagineering and the Horizions ride that was described sounds very much like it had seen better days. One of the concepts that was emphasized through the class was "storytelling" which, is how Horizions was criticized. It failed to have an engaging story, especially caping it off with a "choose your own adventure" style ending that had zero payout.

Now, obviously the folks who came in and spoke from Imagineering had an agenda and see things very different than most of the old guard and the loyal Disney AP holders, etc. At the same time, Horizions simply doesn't sound like something that is engaging in the 21st century. It sort of sounds like holding on to nostalgia (sometimes though, not a bad thing... see 80% of Disneyland outside of the god awful Tomorrowland). Just because Mission: Space wasn't the most fantastic replacement in your opinion doesn't mean that Horizions was a better idea, if you ask me.

And again, I'll apologize right now if it seems like I have no idea what I'm talking about. My only WDW experience came in visuals and dialogs in my imagineering class. Disneyland on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

I remember that they replaced Horizons because nobody rode it. I liked it, partly, because it didn't have a line.

So they tore it down, and spent $140,000,000 to replace it with a ride....that never has more than a 5 minute wait.
(Ok, probably not never, but at least the the dozen times I've been at Epcot)

I remember being miffed at the realiziation that I wasn't looking at $140,000,000 in cool stuff. Rather, they spent that much making 4 duplicates of the ride to keep the lines down.

Epcot82 said...

It's fascinating to see what has become of Epcot.

It started out life as EPCOT Center, and while the concept was a far cry from what Walt Disney had envisioned in his original plan, based on his own description delivered two months before his death (seen on the Walt Disney Treasures "Tomorrowland" DVD), EPCOT Center did embody some of the ideas Walt had hoped to create:

* A "world showcase" of different countries that brought cultures together in a shopping area that also showcased different nations;

* A "proving ground" for new concepts and technologies from some of the leading companies (such as the "working" pavilions of The Land and The Living Seas);

* Working displays of new "near-future" ideas that we ultimately would see become commonplace -- don't forget, EPCOT Center was one of the first places in the world where touch-sceen panels, two-way telecommunications and interactive computer programs were demonstrated to the public;

* A place to exchange ideas and information.

It was admittedly unlike anything anyone had ever seen, and for the first 12 years of its life, that was both its blessing and its curse. Ultimately, though, the MBAs and Hollywood suits who came to run Disney regarded it as problematic. It was "boring." It wasn't "high concept."

Exactly.

EPCOT Center was truly unique. No company had ever attempted anything like it, and no one ever would, because at its core it really did spring from some of the ideas Walt was espousing in his final years. (Had Walt Disney lived just a few more years, I'm convinced we would all be living very different lives -- he had moved far beyond animation and theme parks into the realm of urban planning and social exploration ... he was truly revolutionary, almost radically so.)

The big irony is that what became "The Walt Disney Company" turned its back on the very things that made it stand out from any of its so-called competitors. EPCOT Center embodied that. It was boldly, almost brazenly different and unusual. It was a hard concept to sell, but those who "got it" really loved it.

Today, it's not a terrible place, but it's completely "Disney-ized" (not the WALT Disney sense of that word!) and overcome by a need to be just like everyone else. Thrill rides, high-concept attractions and expensive (botched) makeovers have replaced the attractions that attempted what no one else ever tried ... or has since: to educate a mass audience, to inspire visitors to learn more about their world.

Mission: Space may be a good ride, but does it truly inspire its guests to learn about space? Does it even offer a glimpse into the extraordinary, er, horizons that space travel opens to mankind?

It just spins you around a lot.

The lower-case Epcot has become what the makers of EPCOT Center probably feared most: Mundane. It may be more exciting than the old version, but ... "The Da Vinci Code" is more exciting than "A Tale of Two Cities." That doesn't make it better or more meaningful. It only means that Dan Brown is fun, while Charles Dickens is illuminating and inspiring.

Epcot is fun. EPCOT Center was unique. It mattered.

My own plea to the new heads of Imagineering is this: Go back and really examine what Walt Disney wanted to do, what the folks at WED tried desperately (and, perhaps, not terribly well) to at least hint at with EPCOT Center. Walt Disney wanted to change the world, not just entertain it.

While you're at it, can you PLEASE get rid of the Mickey hand? We know we're at Epcot. We don't need a big neon sign telling us so. It's a visible sign of what's wrong with today's Epcot -- it treats its audience as if they're dumb. At least EPCOT Center imagined that people cared and were curious, even if they weren't.

Epcot CAN be great again. With some vision.

Danny and Jackie said...

This is actually the first thread I have to take issue with.. Mission Space is perfectly formed is a prefect experience and is uniquely Disney. As barry says there may be issues with it being a ride that not everyone can survive (lol) but in my opinion its a ride (along with test track) that draws a huge new demographic that can be shown a thrill ride can be done with a little bit more show and panache than a six flags park.

Pierluigi Fasano said...

I'm an Italian who loved EPCOT like any other else Disney creation. I've visited WDW 6 times (and from Italy it's a big proof of love) and EPCOT has always been my very first choice. I'm using the past because I'm loosing the magical feeling as long as Disney is replacing attractions. I agree on the need of a renewal, but the concept of storytelling against riding attractions it was the core concept of the entire park, and likely the main reason to love it or hate it. In both cases it was well standing outside of the "mass". Now it's just a strange (and poor I would say) mix of identities with no points of excellence in any of two. I really hope in a big re-thinking about EPCOT mission and identity. Sorry if my English it's not up to the task.

Anonymous said...
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Cameron said...

I am frequent visitor to Disneyworld, and a huge fan of the classic attractions. I was sad to see Horizons go, but I think Disney got this change right. People are looking for thrills at theme parks and thrills were lacking at Disney World. In my opinion, Mission Space was put together well and is a great attraction. I have never felt sick on the ride which is odd since every other "spin me around" ride makes me nauseous.

Tom Frauenhofer said...

Horizons was a superior ride to Mission: Space. I didn't get sick on Mission: Space, but Horizons had more of a Disney feel to it. I think the "dumbing down" of Epcot has a lot in common with the "dumbing down" of America with respect to science, math, and technology, due to the need for instant gratification. Mission: Space is a thrill now; Horizons was about the thrills decades from now.

Horizons wasn't perfect, and we could see that Disney needed to spend some money to keep it up to date. That's the challenge of trying to have a dialog about the future - the future becomes the present, so you have to keep looking forward. Turning that into an experience for today is not cheap, but it obviously was a different experience. There was no other place where you got the feeling of excitement about the future, and Horizons captured it better than most (and it's amusing to me that it tied into the Carousel of Progress, which is a celebration of America's past, and did it so well.)

(And what I love about Epcot is the juxtaposition of the world of the future with the nations of the world. That was one of the truly brilliant legacies of Walt Disney.)

Imagineer-in-Waiting said...

I mourn the loss of Horizons, but I enjoy Mission: Space.

Several nauseated guests ignored warnings to face forward. Turning your head in a centrifuge sloshes the brain to one side. I suffer from labyrinthitis from middle ear infections. I suffered no post-motion motion sickness. I did have to employ a technique I saw a fighter pilot use in G-force training. He clenched his teeth and made like he was angry to force blood to his face.

The biggest loss to me from Horizons was the smellitzer at the orange grove. The closest I can get now is the virtual chocolate factory ride at Hersheypark.

blenblarton said...

Very mixed emotions here. I really liked Horizons and I really like Mission Space. The new ride I have issues with is Test Track. A GM test facility? Talk about a lame concept coupled with a ride that's not that thrilling. In my ideal world we'd have MS, Horizons, and WoM.

Ghostbuster626 said...

This article is totally true. I am the "target market" for Mission: Space and I think it is totally lame.

Ken said...

Like so many of the things Disney has done lately, Mission Space is a testament to focus groups and clueless management dominance over creative story-telling and emotional impact.

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that you can combine thrills with an emotionally charged story? It doesn't have to be a choice between one or the other. Splash Mountain and the Indiana Jones ride are two examples. But even as good as those attractions are (and I was at WDI for both), we can take it so much further.

My question regarding Mission Space is, if the technology only costs $35 Million as reported by ETC, where did all the rest of the money go? If you believe the news reports that leaves over $100 Million that went into this waste of space (pun intended). Not a good value for the money.

With respect to Horizons, it had heart and soul. It did inspire. The music was nice. It broke new ground. It had all the ingredients of what makes the Disney experience special.

I remember when there were always lines to get into Horizons. I can't tell you why the lines stopped, but I can tell you how we could have gotten them back. What could have been accomplished if they had decided to use the same $140 Million that was spent on its lackluster replacement and instead built upon what made Horizons work? Yes it needed to be updated. A $140 Million update could have easily brought them through the turnstiles...a $70 Million update would have. A brand new, bold Horizons for the real 21st century. Could have been tied in to the year 2000.

Space is a worthy theme for an Epcot pavillion. It deserves a much better presentation.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you how Horizons WAS revolutionary and Mission: SPACE has taken a step backwards. Interactivity. Right now, the themed entertainment industry is spending millions of dollars trying to figure out how to draw in the "gaming generation." These are the kids that would rather spend their $50 on a new console game than admission to a theme park.

In Horizons, the guest had the ability to choose his/her own ending. This was a tiny step towards the guest having agency, the ability to affect change in their experience, which is the central draw to gaming. This control over one's environment is essential to capturing this new generation of consumers.

What's to do now in Mission: SPACE besides sit back and have a passive experience? Your only interaction is trying to keep your cookies down.

Colin said...

Perhaps Horizons can be re-imagineered for a new location. Say... Tomorrowland.

With the recent closure (for good this time) of Timekeeper, a lot of space has opened up to place a new attraction. What better place then the "future of the past" Tomorrowland to place a New Horizons which carried almost the exact same message?

Barry said...

I suppose the real heart of the matter is comparing M:S to Horizons. I don't recall visiting Horizons the 2-3 times I went to EPCOT before this past visit. I guess either it didn't make that big of an impression, or it didn't have enough of a draw to hook me in. But then this past trip was the first time I'd visited The Land or Journey Into Imagination. Usually at EPCOT I'd see Energy, Living Seas and Innoventions, then on to World Showcase.

Dizneyguy said...

Hmmm - I could be wrong but I was under the impression that Horizons HAD to be torn down because it was having major structural problems.

I don't have any problem believing that either. Our family rode it for the last time about 3-4 months before it closed. We kept wondering what the heck all the clunking, banging and scraping noises were as our 'car' moved through the ride. We all commented on the noises.

Horizons was 'cute', but not terribly interesting past the first few times. Do I wish they had just rebuilt it from the ground up? No.

Mission Space may not be for everyone - but it is an immersive experience. Not everyone would find the experience of a shuttle launch 'entertaining'. Don't expect everyone to enjoy Mission Space.

And I agree wholeheartly with Narkspud. Not all new = bad. If WDW never changed - it would lose money and close forever.

Eichler & Eames said...

While I had my doubts about Mission Space before going in, I have to say I enjoyed the ride itself - and re-rode the attraction 2 more times that day, and another time a few dats later. I fully intend to re-ride each trip to WDW.

The Storytelling and video imagery could certainly be improved, but overall an enjoyable experience.

RogerRmjet said...

While I, too, miss Horizons, I do enjoy Mission: Space, though I do feel that there's something missing. The show building is certainly cooler, but the story doesn't engage me and the ride (like Rock n' Roller Coaster and Kali River Rapids) is too short. The sensation you feel is like nothing else, which is what I think is its major plus. Last time, I made sure to grab a barf bag as a souvenir (they could use a logo, though). I think better visuals in the ride movie would help -- I was amazed that they spent so much on the thing and yet the ride "movie" graphics were no better than an average episode of Jimmy Neutron (and Jimmy Neutron has more heart).

Multiple ride videos (like Horizons' choose your own ending) would help (ditto for Star Tours). With better graphics, of course. That would certainly make me want to ride it many times over. And if they could introduce the threat earlier in the story, that would help, too.

As for that sick feeling, I only really felt it for an hour after the first time. Next year when I came back, it didn't bother me as much, and then last year, it was a cake walk.

John said...

I've have not had a chance to ride Mission: Space as of yet, having not been to WDW in about 9 years. The last condition in which I saw EPCOT's pavilions was World of Motion just having been closed, and Horizons on the verge of experiencing the chopping block.

Horizons was my all-time favorite attraction at EPCOT, and was thus very close to the top of my list as the most endearing experience WDW had to offer me - even when I last saw it in 1997. At that time, the cars were vibrating and the ride ending was temperamental.

But even then the ride contained the most spectacular and inspiring use of mixed-media (omnimax-style movie sequences, stylized scenes addressing various decades, etc.), to convey its subject matter, and for such a long ride time.

Experiencing Horizons in '97 made me really recognize where Disney was perhaps wrongly directing its focus on arguably more sterile thrills.

The music and scenes were so enjoyable - even the dated-ness of the latter added the feeling that Horizons was actually a subtle showcase of the successful way WDI presented its ideas for it's first three theme park decades.

The symphonic music piece "Space" was really triumphant and well-used in the first space scene, and was definitely a solid highlight of Horizons. I'm stunned this piece hasn't been used ambiently elsewhere in EPCOT or where applicable in any of the other Disney parks.

I agree that the money spent on Mission Space (or maybe even that used for Test Track instead - I also haven't ridden that attraction) should've been used to fully renovate Horizons. I think the expeirence would've been more attainable and inspiring for all park patrons.

Michael Crawford said...

I just wish I could cut and paste "epcot82"'s comments and leave it at that.

Horizons was my favorite Disney ride, ever. It was the one ride at EPCOT that tied together all the themes from Future World in one experience. In a way, it was the thesis statement of the entire park. It 'really tied the room together'.

Mission:Space is a Gravitron. With barely a preshow, and no postshow. It does have a playland and a shop. Families line the planters outside, sitting in the Florida sun waiting for their companions to come out.

It is not 'themed to a shuttle launch'; it is themed to going in a simulator. You're at the training center, you go on a simulator, you leave. Tomorrow's horizons are here, today!

Horizons certainly needed a bit of plussing. The finale, in particular, could have benefited from more modern technology. A very moderate investment could have produced huge gains, and a space pavilion could have been built separately as were the original EPCOT plans.

On a purely personal note, M:S gives me a splitting headache. I don't go to theme parks to spend a few hours of my day feeling absolutely lousy. My friends, who are all still dare I say in the 'target demo' for this sort of attraction, all hate this ride. No one likes to feel like crap at WDW.

EPCOT has been focus grouped to death. A lack of imagination and a surplus of spreadsheets have killed it. We now have two 'thrilling' experiences side by side: having a cerebral hemmorage in M:S and the excitement of driving on a bumpy road in Test Track.

If that's what the future holds, you can keep it.

alan said...

I partially agree here. While I do enjoy Mission Space, I miss the experience that Horizons brought. Horizons alongside Journey into Imagination were the two attractions that put EPCOT on the map for me when I was younger, and the the force behind my "why don't they make more attractions like they used to?" comments now that I'm older.

Was it a different philosophy for Imagineers back then? Or does it boil down to park politics or a new target audience?

I miss the music, I miss the art, and overall I miss the feelings that these two great attractions brought out. Mission Space is a nice, albiet short thrill ride - but I'd rather see something more inspirational next time around.

For me Disney has always been about the experience.

Enjoying the blog, keep posting.

Anonymous said...

The problem with mission space isnt so much the actual attraction...
Its a good one, but thats all there is...
Mission space the ride should have been part of mission space, the pavillion....
You leave mission space, un satisfied...
Space mountain, with its utter clunkiness, old special affects and chocalate chip cookie asteroids is a complete space experience.

Even the lack luster Test track, has more to do after your 5 minute spin. I realize not all the attractions at epcot have exibits . But the ones that dont (spaceship earth/ and universe of energy) are at least long enough to feel complete ...

Joe A said...

I really miss Horizons, it was my favorite attraction at Epcot. I really wished they would have preserved it and taken it to another park.

Dan said...

I can't sit here and say that the loss of Horizons was a horrible thing. Yes, it was a unique attraction. Yes, it was something that I always rode while I was at the park. Yes, it was memorable. But I didn't find it to be that much different than many of the other EPCOT rides -- You had Horizons, the World of Motion and Spaceship Earth that were all very similiar attractions. Getting rid of one or two and updating them with newer things is a fine idea to me.

The problem how I see it with Misson: Space isn't even that it is a bad ride. Personally, I'm never going to ride it, but it looks neat. The problem is that they spent all that time and money on a ride that was just that -- a ride. And an intense one at that. There is no reason for a person like me who doesn't want to tempt fate and sickness to stop at the Mission: Space building at all.

And again, this is where I see the failings of the modern Epcot.

For Mission: Space to have been truly successful, it should've been part of a larger building. To save money, maybe purchase less of the centrifuges. The entire building could've been built around how technology to get us into space has changed. The Mission: Space portion could've been themed then as a simulated rocket ship take off. The ride itself could've been showcased perhaps from a viewing platform that would show other guests (who like me, didn't want to ride) how it worked and perhaps explain why these forces felt like they did.

The rest of the inside of the pavillion could've offered things to do for the people waiting for those brave enough to ride Mission: Space. Maybe a video on space exploration (Again, that could be updated regularly). A place with interactive displays about how shuttle systems work.

There is so much that could've been added to make this more attractive to just the crowd it was aimed at. Instead, a very fascinating ride was built that attracts a select amount of people, but misses a large portion too. It doesn't add to the original Future World mission.

Walt Disney once said that he wanted a park where families could ride things together. While I am a huge proponent of great thrill rides like Mission: Space, if that means that the family has to break apart and tour the entire resort seperately so each part can experience the things that are right for them, a big point has been missed. EPCOT could use more rides like Mission: Space... but it could use them in pavillions that are attractive to everyone.

H.P. Hovercraft said...

I have had the pleasure of riding Mission: Space twice in my lifetime, both times in 2004. My first experience was extraordinary - there was awe and wonder and all of the things I would normally expect to find at WDW. My second ride on M:S was pleasant enough, but about as exciting as watching a film whose ending you already know. A mediocre film, to boot.

A Horizons, updated to be current with the modern day, would capture my interest far more than a demonstration of centrifugal force.

As for Test Track - bulldoze it. There's neither content nor thrill to this "thrill ride" that I can't get on the freeway any day of the week. Shame, guys. Get rid of the carny trash - I want my EPCOT back.

Jon said...

I never saw Horizons but I've got to say I'm on the side of Mission Space, it was a good ride, but even though I don't think I can do it more than once in a day, I will be re-riding on the next visit. The post-ride activities were great, just could of done with more of them to avoid queues. All I think it needs is a better pre-show that actually teaches something a bit more.
I also think test-track is great, very re-rideable and it does teach in the way Epcot should do. However I noticed that on my 2nd trip to WDW there was a lot of maintenance needed to test track, the cones that are supposed to drop on the failed ABS test were permanently down, the screens in each car didn't work and it just didn't feel like a Disney ride any more as things just didn't seem to work properly.

Anonymous said...

Look - Horizons was an interesting but lame ride. M:S maybe could be executed better in some ways, but you have to be pretty stinkin' jaded to pooh-pooh (ha) its advanced technology. The combination of the centrifuge with the screen images makes for a very realistic simulation. The launch sequence is INCREDIBLE in my opinion.

It's a definite improvement to Epcot. The idea that it's not a great attraction is, IMO, nuts (for lack of a better word).

Anonymous said...

Who says that mission space is not interactive!
You have to push those two buttons during the ride, or something will go horribly wrong, right? And remember to hold onto that vibrating joystick!

But seriously,

My favorite thing about Horizons was that the ride system was so well designed for sightlines. It was the only ride where you only got to see what the designers wanted you to see. No drop tile ceiling like in Spaceship Earth, no crappy ceiling like in Energy. No exit signs or emergency exit platforms. No light fixtures and speakers hanging out around shredded black drapes. You only got a close up view of what they wanted you to see. And the transitions - like the one from undersea to space - were just brilliant. I was sad to see it go.

Timbo said...

I'm surprised the traffic from this article didn't shut down the site. ;) In my opinion, the major difference between Horizons/WoM and M:S/TT is Show versus No-Show. In fact, I would even put TT ahead of M:S in the show department.

Horizons and WoM had a show. They had Hollywood-style movie sets, they had realistic audio-animatronics that brought you into the story, made you happy/laugh/sad/empathize. M:S has none of that. It is a video game on steroids (with very unrealistic animation) that is geared for the video game generation that blindly walks around the mall playing their Gameboy. You've seen 'em. Heck, I've seen 'em walking around Epcot playing their Gameboys, oblivious to their surroundings. Admittedly, I've seen video games with better graphics than M:S.

Even TT has show. It has elements that immerse you in the activity. It has that "gee-whiz" factor. M:S does not have it and it never will. It will be a 20-year testimony to the stupidity of some Disney executives who have since left the company and don't care and it will likely end up without a sponsor and fall into disrepair.

Watch out people! The last of the audio-animatronics at Epcot are in the crosshairs. If you thought Horizons was getting a bit rough towards the end of its life, Spaceship Earth is in no better condition. I fear that it will be the next attraction to feature bad computer animation to depict the wonders of communication through the ages.

MonkNoiz said...

horizons was without any doubt my favorite ride disney ever had to offer...

i can't agree more with what a lot of the people on this site are saying...

Rooney said...

It boils down to this: Imagineers of the past era designed attractions that made me want to do things better and bigger. They made me see that my dreams can come true because their attraction design combined a little bit of "kitchy" reality with a little bit of "float-in-space" dream world. Imagineers as of recent times seem to just see the bottom line and want a to show a quick, and sometimes detailed, thrill and get you to the gift shop or snack shop as soon as they can. Don't get me wrong, I still love my disney but the Imagineers of old have been replaced by managers that try. I can't wait to see what "Uncle John" from Pixar will do. I am feeling a renaissance coming on..

Shrunken Ned said...

As subjective as these boards should be, I find some of the references to recent Imagineers inaccurate and offensive (Rooney's comments on Imagineers of today). As an ex Imagineer that quit instead of being fired, I was mentored by the old men always gave 200%. I left because I saw the creative light was fading at the end of the tunnel, not because i wanted to cheapen the experience.

The old Imagineers you revere so much operated under a different system of authority. They actually had some. Attractions like Horizons were removed because they were so lowly rated by guests. I saw the report. EPCOT as a park was in huge trouble with a large percentage of the guests saying they had little or no desire to return. We may all love the show, but the audience didn't and neither did GE. Like Mr Lincoln, we all want it to be there, but no one shows up. MS was never meant to compete with the material Horizons covered, but rather to fill the need to give the guest the expereince of space travel with real G forces. The results are mixed.

Granted, MS was edited down to it's bare minimum and much of the preshow elements were tossed in the process, but overall it delivers on it's EPCOT science fact mission. Just an opinion.

As for the sickness factor,I heard that the actual instances of that are now very low since the programming of the pods was fine tuned.

Lidstrom said...

Maybe the vast masses were not able to understand EPCOT Center and appreciate it. I went in 1987 and fell in love with it. I enjoyed it more than the Magic Kingdom.

I would ride Horizons again and again. I have been on Mission: SPACE 3 times, all almost 3 years ago, and won't ride it again until my son decides he wants to give it a shot. I can enjoy a simulator just as much as the next person, but the entertainment factor just isn't there for me.

I know I'm not the kind of person that usually goes to Epcot, based on what has happened to my favorite attractions. World of Motion was a favorite and it is long gone. I loved Horizons and it is long gone. I loved the original Imagination, and it is long gone. I really enjoyed the Wonders of Life pavilion and that has been mothballed.

I hope the company turns back and gets down to what Disney did better than everyone else. That is telling a great story and, especially in EPCOT, finding a totally new way to tell it. I don't see what is so Future World about Test Track. It is an attraction for Present World, isn't it?

John said...

First off, let me say that I really do appreciate this blog and its intent. As a life-long fan of the Disney parks, and theme/amusement parks in general, I look forward to positive changes coming from the Pixar creative surge within Disney.

That said, I have to say that I feel that this post does display a few flaws that I find with the blog. Namely, it seems at times to be overly negative and to not be grounded in reality. Look, Horizons was a good ride, but the reality of the situation is that it needed either to be replaced or refurbished. In an ideal world, Horizons would have been plussed and M:S would have been built in a separate location. But, that couldn't/didn't happen and blaming M:S for the lack of Horizons doesn't really help anything.

The fact of the matter is that times, technology, and people change. While plussing existing rides is an important part to keeping the parks vital, the fact is that a key demographic (preteen, teen, and young adults - primarily males) enjoy "thrill rides" and WDW has been sadly lacking in those regards. Before TT and M:S, Epcot had a grand total of "0" name thrill rides. That doesn't mean that the existing rides were crap, but there is significant market that would not be "excited" by the offerings Epcot had.

While WDW should not be Six Flags, Magic Mountain, etc., those parks have upped the bar for thrills. And with the opening of Islands of Adventure, WDW has real competition in the theme park category. IMHO, for the market it is primarily aimed at, IOA is a huge success that incorporates Disney style theming with many quality thrill rides. The Spiderman ride is still probably the best ride going in Orlando, if not everywhere.

So, I guess my point is that if WDW is going to thrive as a vital full family vacation destination, it needs to adapt and change to the wants and desires of all of their customers. The push to put in more thrill rides at WDW is a reaction to this, and in my opinion, a necessary one. Don't blame Disney for the changing desires of their customers. Now, the execution of said attractions on the other hand...

Stinger Report - Editor said...

Hey 'Shrunken Ned' is that who I think it is! - its me Kevin!

Anyway... Likewise I' too am an ex-Imagineer that left rather than watch the crash (rat leaving the sinking ship).

M:S is the right attraction at the wrong location if not park. A solid idea based on DisneyQuest learning, but lost in execution. I had heard about the missing $millions, and that whole ETC legal row just proved the management indifference in what WDI really offered (also ensured no TDW, DLP or HKDL M:S attractions for the forseeable!)

The Story of M:S technology and the whole Post-Ride-Nausa issue needs to be added to the Blog.

Doug said...

I can't agree more. I remember my first ride on Horizons. Wow. It was my favorite ride. Horizons was a MUST ride. I rose M:S once. It was ok, but I have no desire to ride it again. Horizons, R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree about the re-rideability factor of Mission Space. I ride it every time I visit, mind you, but mostly because Epcot is pretty thrill-less. Were Mission:Space in any of the other parks I think I would skip it in favor of another ride.

Part of my problem with Mission:Space is that, other than the "that's cool" factor of how they accomplish the g-forces, the only thrill I get out of it is hoping I don't get sick. Compare that to any of the other WDW E-ticket rides. With each one, there's the thrill of the ride itself (roller coaster), and, with few exceptions, incredible story-telling and detail. I've ridden Splash Mountain and Dinosaur an obscene number of times, but I always see something new- they keeps me entertained on more than just the "dear lord, here comes the drop" level.

I compare it to the Universal Studios versions of the same ride. Dudley Do Right (the equivalent of Splash Mountain) vs. Splash Mountain, etc. etc. I have to hand it to US/IOA-- rides like Spiderman and the Mummy keep that re-rideability interest despite the fact that, beneath it all, they're small coaster rides.

Brian Evans said...

I want to echo what barry said in Comment #2. I never visited Epcot until 2004 so I was denied the pleasure of experiencing Horizons. But M:S was a thrilling, interesting attraction that was worth the price of Epcot admission alone for me. I grew up watching the Apollo missions on TV in the 60's and 70's, and being in a real space mission was always a dream for me. To experience even a simulated blastoff, slingshot around the moon and trip to Mars was a thrill! The whole attraction struck me as just what I should expect from a Disney attraction: immersive theming, a pre-story and, to top it off, a ride with a tremendous finish.

I'm sorry that some have experienced nausea and discomfort on this ride. Personally, I have the problem with Star Tours and Body Wars, but never though that was a reason to knock those attractions. And I'm sorry they had to remove Horizons. It sounds like I really missed something special. But it doesn't make the case any stronger for an attraction by knocking another one, IMHO.

Brian Evans said...

I want to echo what barry said in Comment #2. I never visited Epcot until 2004 so I was denied the pleasure of experiencing Horizons. But M:S was a thrilling, interesting attraction that was worth the price of Epcot admission alone for me. I grew up watching the Apollo missions on TV in the 60's and 70's, and being in a real space mission was always a dream for me. To experience even a simulated blastoff, slingshot around the moon and trip to Mars was a thrill! The whole attraction struck me as just what I should expect from a Disney attraction: immersive theming, a pre-story and, to top it off, a ride with a tremendous finish.

I'm sorry that some have experienced nausea and discomfort on this ride. Personally, I have the problem with Star Tours and Body Wars, but never though that was a reason to knock those attractions. And I'm sorry they had to remove Horizons. It sounds like I really missed something special. But it doesn't make the case any stronger for an attraction by knocking another one, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

While M:S does cause motion sickness in some...it is far less than a typical roller coaster. Compare barf at M:S and Rockin Rollercoaster or Tower of Terror...not bags...barf.

Since when does a gravitron make you feel like you are going up and forward? Does a gravitron carry 10 pods with four people each? Does a gravitron have 40 LCD screens, music, and pitch/roll? Do people gasp and say things like 'it's so beautiful' and 'wow' when they ride gravitron?

The pre-show of Mission: Space starts outside and there are plaques with quotes from numerous astronauts and moves inside with a huge gravity wheel, lunar rover, and mock up of the space vehicle.

There are four rides systems to keep the lines down and the ride is as intense as anything Disney has done. Let's compare Space to Hulk at Universal and not Lost Horizons.

The post show of Space has a kids crawl space, space race family game, post cards from space photo booth, and interactive mars game...then you exit to a shop.

Space and Soaring are the two best rides Disney has done in years. I like the idea of this blog but if you want to out imagineer the imagineers, you'll have to come up with something better than 'bring back the past'!

Anonymous said...

Mission Space is a great attraction to me. I was totally immersed in the story as soon I've entered the building. Some things could be tweaked, but do'nt say it's a failure because you don't like it. I've never felt sick on this ride, and enjoyed it immensely. It is one ride I can re-ride as soon as I exit, because the feeling you get is so unique, and because of the story.

Amouse said...

I am frequent visitor to Waly Disney World and a BIG FAN of EPCOT - it's my favorite park. I was sad to see Horizons go, as I liked the attraction, but Mission Space is a great attraction - better than the outdated Horizons. I do sympathize with those who are made sick from simulators, but I have never felt sick on this ride.

As far as re-rideability goes, I ride it every time I'm there, And both by 12 year-old cousin, and my 60 year-old Uncle had the same reaction when they visited on 2 seperate occassions: "That was great! Let's do it again!"

Anonymous said...

I think it is a mistake of this post to compare Horizons to Mission Space. For whatever misgivings people have about Mission Space, it is a genuine attempt at creating a worthwhile experience. It carries on the classic Epcot vision for an optimistic future. It's just that it has the unfortunate consequence of being the replacement for an attraction that many consider to be the pinnacle of immersive Disney experiences -- (and yes, M/S could have been much better).

But what should be focused on here is what made Horizons such an incredible show when it opened, and use that knowledge to create even better attractions. We also need to understand the dysfunctional nature of a company that dismisses achievements such as Horizons so readily. It's only when that sick culture is healed, that we will once again see great shows from Disney.

-DL5263

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Mission:Space is a decent ride, but it pales in comparison to what I believe was one of the greatest rides ever. If dreams really do come true, maybe Horizons will be revived someday.

Until then, I'll tell my kids about yet another great attraction I enjoyed "when I was a kid". An attraction that someone thought had no future and no one else deserved to enjoy.

Professor Pink said...

I loved Horizons so much as a child and then again as a adult. I was very lucky to ride it just before it closed in the late 90's and I didn't think it was dated.

I'l always remember how it smelt like fresh orange groves, was always the best maintained and everyone smiled when they left it.

Slightly different to what has replaced it.

Anonymous said...

Everyone I know would never ride Mission Space again after riding it the first time....and for people who return over and over to WDW, it's a total waste of space. The Horizons attraction can never be replaced. If Disney HAD to have this new ride why not KEEP the other and then develop something new? EPCOT is being destroyed piece by piece.

Anonymous said...

I loved Horizons, and I miss it, but I like Mission Space and I think it could be improved very easily.

What I find interesting is that NO ONE here (or anywhere else I've seen) mourns the loss of Wonders of Life. However, I know that people used to complain when Horizons was closed because I saw them. So my question is, why didn't they spend part of that money rehabing Horizons, and build MS in the WoL pavillion?

My other point is that the only thing my husband and I don't like about MS is the stupid Mars plot. We would rather have more of the weightless feeling and go "cruising" at that speed than be jerked and crashed around Mars. The best part of the ride is the take off and the weightlessness. If they could build a story around that, and also give us a sense of what re-entry into Earth's atmosphere is really like, I think it would greatly improve the experience.

This, by the way, is what it sounds like they are trying to do at NASA in their simular simulator. Can't wait!

Sean said...

I have not ridden Mission Space, but Horizons was a favorite of both me and my wife. We actually would get right back in line (usually three times just to get all three endings). My wife was particularly fond of the DNA portion of the IMAX movie. Prior to the demise of Horizons was the demise of World of Motion...my favorite Epcot attraction. Thanks for the continued write ups.

Anonymous said...

dizneyguy was correct, it is rumored that Horizons was closed due to major structural problems. It appears as though a sinkhole had opened up under the structure's foundation and was the cause of the building being torn down, rather than being gutted and refurbished (as was the original plan). This was also used as an explanation of why the price of the new M:S structure was so expensive--they had to fix the sinkhole before they could anchor the massive structure of the new ride. The Horizons fansite that had all of this well documented (including aerial photography of the supposed sinkhole) has since been shut down under threat of legal action for "factual inaccuracies".

http://www.horizons1.com/

Although, wikipedia still has a small blurb about the final years of Horizons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizons_(Epcot_attraction)

ehagerty said...

This is a copy of my impression of Mission:Space, which I posted to teh disboards.com and sent a copy of to Disney in July, 2004. This single post as copied here lacks some of the "context" of the overall trip report - large sections of which would be of interest to the re-imaginners, since I am a customer, yet share many of the same impressions. I don't see a framework here for forwarding said trip report, but if you want a copy or link, let me know...
-------------------------------
Mission:Disney 6/18-7/2/04 - Part #12 – First Time Attractions – Mission Space

As previously noted (Part #2), I was unable to experience Mission:Space last August (2003), even though the option (soft opening) was available. I’d already received 5 pints of blood over that preceeding months, and wasn’t interested in seeing what the gravitational forces might do to healing blood vessels. Knowing it would certainly be available in 2004, and despite its reverse-peristalsis reputation, I waited with anticipation. DS16 and DS14 both had thought it was terrific, and since I have no, known negative reactions to rides of any kind, the posted trip reports warning of motion sickness did not deter me.

First day at Epcot, I could hardly wait to get in line. The crowds were thick in this area. Test Track and Mission:Space are both stellar attractions, and they also happen to be the only two attractions open this morning on this side of town. Wonders of Life is on indefinite hiatus and Universe of Energy was down, please try again later. So, the crowds were all hovering in the street.

We picked up fast passes for TT and got into the singles line for MS. It was nice to be in a queueing area that was designed with fast pass and single riders in the mix. All three lines queued well and merged well. The Queue Masters were completely in synch with the Ride Loaders; pre-boarding and boarding were virtually seamless. More on the operational efficiency of other rides / parks later. I think our total wait was less than 15”.

The ride itself was extremely well done, the details of which have been documented extensively in other posts. I completed the ride and encouraged DH47 to give it a try, since he likes space and had prepped with a Dramamine (very vulnerable to motion issues). I noted to him that the “gravity” part is offset by a “Star Tours”-like ride through the asteroids; that it wasn't 4 minutes of non-stop spinning. I returned with him, a back-to-back ride; 2 rides within 30”.

Oooooops!!

DH47 Impressions – was glad he did it, loves spaces, BUT was in a complete, cold sweat when the ride was over and spent the next 2 hours at “Mission:Space Recovery Center” (First Aid) sleeping it off.

ME49 Impressions – thought it well done; never felt dizzy or nauseous, but I didn’t feel as well after the ride as I had before the ride. I can’t articulate fully what the “feeling” was, but my phrase was “I need a nap to reset my internal gyroscope.” And I didn’t feel the urge to go on again, and again (like I had with RnR and ToT when they were new). Most closely resembled my reaction to post-surgical morphine, not nausea, just a deep sense that something is really “off”. I prefer pain to that sensation.

Of course, I didn’t actually TAKE a nap; I had miles to go, kids to shephard – and a reservation at Al Fredos for later in the day. Kids & I went on TT while DH took a nap, then we moved on.

Summary:
- This ride is intense, unique. Wasn’t actually fun, though.
- Wouldn’t want to ride repeatedly or often.
- Next ride will be end of day, then off to bed (to reset my gyroscope…). But I WILL ride again!!!
- A "must do" - once.

Concern:

1. Hopefully, this attraction will develop enough of a core following that will insures its longevity, or at least a healthy (recoup investment) run.

2. My recommendation (in case any imagineers are listening) for developing future attractions is to balance the use of “fun factors” with intensity. After all, the bottom line isn’t whether you have a critical theming or technology success, but whether the customers want to ride (and ride, and ride) it.

P.S. I thought Mummy was rather lame for story / theming, but the ride (technology) was a blast (I.e., FUN). I know that isn’t exactly an apples:apples comparison between ride themes / technology, but it IS an orange:oranges comparison of two new E-ticket attractions and one person’s reaction to them…..
________

Anonymous said...

Horizons was my favorite Disney ride ever. I love your blog!

Greg said...

I didn't get sick on Mission Space. I didn't get inspired either. I have no problem with the spinning, which is a technical innovation, although simulators like Star Tours have no problem creating a believable sense of motion without it. I do have a problem with the cramped, closed ride vehicle. I am not claustrophobic, but I prefer Horizon's room sized dioramas or wrap-around screen, where my field of view is filled to the peripheral.

Mission Space is the most accurate simulations of space travel in a theme park, right down to the itty bitty living space. But no thanks, I'd rather have an expansive vision of what the future could be than a safe prediction of what it will be. Imagination should beat simulation at Disney parks.