Mission To Mars - A History
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    Mission To Mars - A History

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    Description: The first space-flight attraction at Disneyland, Rocket to the Moon, opened in July of 1955. It was a simple attraction, in which guests were loaded into a small cabin that was, after a 10-second count down, flung from one side of a large showroom to the other by a gigantic catapult.

    Rocket to the Moon was updated with new technology, renamed Flight to the Moon, and reopened in August of 1967. The updated attraction was, at that time, considered to be the most realistic simulation of a trip to the moon ever constructed. During the exciting journey, the guests' ship (actually just a specially decorated theater) was fired from a gigantic cannon, sped through clouds on the way to Earth's satellite, landed softly on the moon's dusty surface, and were invited outside into its thin atmosphere to interact with friendly "moon men." Unfortunately, this happy occasion was interrupted by an attack of mole people and Morlocks, who have to be fought on the way back to the ship. During the return flight, the ship fends off Ming the Merciless and his evil hoards before landing safely at Disneyland.

    After the real (and, in comparison, pretty boring) moon landing in 1969, Imagineers, feared that Tomorowland itself would begin to look dated. Moving quickly, they replaced Flight to the Moon with Mission to Mars six years later.

    The best scientific minds from the fields of rocketry, astronomy, exobiology, and astrology were called together to produce an attraction that was realistic to the finest detail. From the detailed graphics, to the robotic mission-control staff, to the acceleration-simulating inflatable seats, Mission to Mars was a triumph of realism. And that was its greatest fault.

    Mission to Mars officially opened in March of 1975. Its first show was to a packed theater, and guests watched with wide eyes as their simulated ship was locked, fueled, and launched. Darkness (representing hypersleep) gave way to a view of the approaching red planet -- and this is where the trouble began.

    As the planet's surface neared and Martian canals came into view, some guests were startled to see gigantic tripod-like vehicles walking through Martian cities, apparently armed with enormous heat ray devices. Although these elements of the experience had been added by Imagineers in the hope of depicting a plausable alien civilization, they were so realistic and imposing that some guests forgot that they were experiencing a simulation.

    The show closed its doors in Walt Disney World at the Magic Kingdom in Florida on October 4, 1993. It re-opened as the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter as part of the Magic Kingdom's New Tomorrowland on June 20, 1995, along with The Timekeeper. Alien Encounter became unpopular due to its dark content, and was shut down; this also led to the attraction never being opened as planned at Disneyland. Stitch's Great Escape!, which retooled many of the Alien Encounter elements in a more comical context, was opened in its place.

    To check it out, rate it or add comments, visit Mission To Mars - A History
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    Last edited by Ryan C.; 01-30-2009 at 11:58 AM.


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