Sunday, April 30, 2006

On Mission: Space

Mission:Space presented me with a few complicated hurdles to get over before we left on our trip. You see, not three or four days before leaving, a lady died from a stroke shortly after riding M:S. The autopsy and a short investigation proved that Disney wasn't at fault, but that didn't help my overactive imagination one bit. My brain kept yelling 'OHHHHHHH ALLLLLLLLEX, WHAT IF YOU HAVE A BLOOD CLOT SOMEWHERE, LURKING IN YOUR BODY, JUST WAITING FOR MISSION: SPACE TO UNLOCK IT AND ENABLE ITS DEADLY, DARING ESCAPE DIRECTLY TO YOUR BRAIN?' Yeah, my brain is kind of a jerk sometimes. But after rationalizing it about a hundred thousand times, I realized that I was being incredibly silly, that statistics were unbelievably on my side, and I'm a healthy young fellow that probably has nothing to worry about. I was right. Mission: Space is unbelievable. Mission: Space is ALSO probably the most unique ride that Disney has ever built. It's part motion simulator, part centrifuge, all awesome.

First off, I can TOTALLY understand why a lot of people have their knickers in a twist over Mission: Space. If you are at ALL prone to motion sickness, M:S will give you a whuppin' worthy of Mr. T, and then some. Most of the people howling over how M:S should be closed because it killed two riders with pre-existing hazardous medical conditions probably fall into this category. It is, hands down, the strangest spinning sensation I've ever felt. It's SIMILAR to rides like The Gravitron and The Roundup. Things that you find at carnivals that spin round and round and ultimately make most you throw up. The Mission:Space difference is that it tricks your brain into thinking you're moving in different directions by having you stare at a screen that is not giving you any indication that you are spinning at all. The only time I ever perceived a 'spinning' sensation was at the very beginning, when the centrifuge started to spin, and then WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, look out. It is honestly the strangest sensation I've ever felt, and I've been on all the carnival type spinners. The real difference is that the pods on Mission: Space can twist and turn on different axes to move the g-forces to different places -- which is a very unique sensation, indeed. It also has the added brain-tricker of giving each person in the pod a role (commander, pilot, etc), and each person has a task to do. You press buttons at certain times to fire second stage rockets, put the crew into hypersleep, etc. Having something to focus on really helps, I'm sure. Plus, there are tons of little switches and buttons all over the cabin, and some of them make noises when you press them. We were actually stuck in the pod for a little while while the ride was down, and I amused myself the entire time by doing 'pre-flight checks' and the like. Just hittin' buttons like there was no tomorrow.

We went on it twice, it never made us feel queasy -- just... weird. But fun! The second time, we rode with this elderly English couple who seemed to really get a kick out of it, which was really awesome.


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