Weightless at Disney
November 26, 2002 11:40 AM   Subscribe

"A placid boat ride past sets of harmonizing, doe-eyed dolls just doesn't cut it for kids raised on Quake and MTV." Epcot's new Mission: Space to feature intense g-force and weightlessness simulation. How is this possible and still be Disney-safe? Even though that caught my attention, the article is really about how Disney's creative engineers are having trouble staying a few steps ahead of the tech-savvy kiddies.
posted by archimago (15 comments total)
I know it's showing my hokey undershirt, but I have to say, if you're a kid at heart, there's still no place in the world like DisneyWorld.

We saw them constructing Mission: Space last February when we were down there with our kids. It looked pretty impressive even then, and it was still only a shell of a building.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:45 AM on November 26, 2002

For increased g-forces, you just have a fancy centrifuge; there are lots of rides that already do such things. For zero-g, you have to have the ride in free fall -- you can toss it ballistically or just drop it from a height. Not trivial to do, but not impossible. (And dropping from a height has been done before, if I recall correctly.) Probably about as risky as a high-tech roller coaster.
posted by ptermit at 12:01 PM on November 26, 2002

Needless to say this has been talked about ad infinitum on the various Disney fan sites. The best information on Mission Space can be found here, including specific information on the ride system.
posted by IndigoSkye at 12:10 PM on November 26, 2002

Forget the kids, *I* want to go on this thing. NOW!
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:33 PM on November 26, 2002

I want to play Quake on an IMAX screen.
posted by bunktone at 1:09 PM on November 26, 2002

bunktone: A 52 inch hi-def TV works pretty well, too.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:27 PM on November 26, 2002

I've been to DisneyWorld five times as a kid/adult.
It's still the first place I would go if I won a lottery (and take my friends that have never been before).

Anything new and significant they add to DisneyWorld just makes me want to go again. Does that make me a sheep? Well, "baaaaaah".

It's fun, it's entertaining (but I was very upset to hear they closed the Carosel of Progress when I went last time, but was happy to ride Test Track) and it's just friendly fun.
posted by grum@work at 2:00 PM on November 26, 2002

It astounds me how I have gone from being so strongly pro-Disney to so anti-Disney over the past ten or twelve years. I'd really like to see them go broke and shut down the parks--does this make me a horrible scrooge?
posted by rushmc at 3:13 PM on November 26, 2002

Yes, you are a Scrooge, rushmc.
Just let them take you through the park a couple of times and you'll see how wonderful it is to love Disney. It's really quite fun and not in the least bit painful. I did it, and I have no more anti-Disney thoughts.

None at all.

posted by grum@work at 5:34 PM on November 26, 2002

rushmc, you are an evil man.

I've been to Disney World seven times. The minute I can, I'm going again. Disneyland was quite a disappointment though.
posted by owillis at 5:58 PM on November 26, 2002

I spent a week at Disney World last month with my wife and 10 year old daughter. Although the cynic in me would love to scoff at the corporate greed thing...yadda blah blah.....I can't deny I was knocked out by the quality of the experience. The attention to detail and level of customer service was inspiring.

It's pretty damn hard to stroll through any of the 4 parks and not feel good about life. It was a wonderful week for my family and worth every dime.

And don't get me going about those cherry turnovers at the bakery on Main St.
posted by davebush at 8:02 PM on November 26, 2002

One of my favourite stories about customer service and friendliness is one my dad told me on our last visit.

He went out for a jog at 6am around the Disney hotel grounds (we've stayed on-site for the past 4 visits). He observed a group of construction workers busy repairing/building a small utility shack. They seemed hard at work. When he started to pass by them, they stopped and all said "Good morning sir.", Have a good day." Hope you're enjoying your stay." and then went back to work. My dad could barely get a "Morning." out of his lips, he was so surprised.

Like davebush says, it is really hard to have a cold heart after spending a day or two in DisneyWorld. I remember trying to be the prototypical cynical 16-year-old but it just didn't work when we were on the grounds. You just ended up happy.

I suspect some sort of gas-release at the entrance booths or tainted food in the restaurants.
posted by grum@work at 8:20 PM on November 26, 2002

It's a pretty common paradox to have evil/happy thoughts about Disney. In other words, I understand and know a handful of people that despise the Disney Entertainment Machine and all its greedy monopolistic tendrils, but love a disney park experience to death.

Maybe it's because I've spent the last few years focusing on user experience, but Disneyland is like Mecca to me. I try to get there at least once every five years to remind myself of what limitless possibilities and total perfect experience are like, even though I pretty much hate every piece of crap (non-Pixar mind you) disney film ever released and forced on children in leiu of parenting that really exists to be a marketing machine to sell more disney crap.

But a day at Disneyland is a great day indeed. I'm actually heading there next month for the first time since I think 1995 or so. I haven't had a vacation in about a year, I've been working on the same web project for nine months, and getting burned out on everything web related. The first place that came to mind when I was thinking of ways to recharge my creative batteries was a couple days at Disneyland.
posted by mathowie at 11:32 PM on November 26, 2002

Check out Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World by the very good Florida writer Carl Hiaasen for a different perspective.

On second thought, whatever keeps Matt happy is fine by me.
posted by Vidiot at 6:08 AM on November 27, 2002

rushmc, you are an evil man.

Fair enough.

I haven't been to DisneyWorld since 1975 (disclosure: I loved it then), and have never been to DisneyLand, so perhaps I am missing something. I am willing to concede that there may be more to the experience than long lines, screaming children, $5.00 Cokes, and tedious rides. But I shall continue to deride the corporate practices and creative bankruptcy of the mother ship.
posted by rushmc at 9:57 AM on November 27, 2002

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