Way back in my post talking about the thrill rides I experienced in Disney World during our September vacation, I mentioned I’d say more about a couple of the rides.
The most horrible ride experience I have ever had was with Mission: Space in Epcot. I went to see this ride by myself, while the rest of the family went back to our resort rooms for a break (Calfgrit4’s naptime). There’re two versions of this ride: Less Intense and More Intense. I figured I should try the less intense version first, so that’s the line I got in.
At the end of the line, I waited for my “mission team” to be assembled, and then we stepped into a “preparation room” where we were given the “pre-flight briefing.” When the “ship” was ready, we were directed to the flight simulators. There are four people to each ship crew, and each person has a “job” to perform (firing the rockets, turning on the cryo-sleep system, firing the break rockets, etc.), so it’s a bit of an interactive ride as well as an experience ride.
The whole mission is blasting off from Earth, flying through space (with a sleep mode to hand wave the long distance), and landing on Mars. The mechanics of the ride are your basic flight simulator –- the sealed capsule leans back to give the feeling of blasting off, rotates about to give the feeling of steering through asteroids, and leans forward to give the feeling of breaking. The only view out of the capsule was through the “window” in front of me which showed directly out the front of the “spaceship.” The ride takes 4 or 5 minutes from blast off to crash landing, and it’s a decent experience. But it’s definitely “less intense.” When I got off, I was thinking, “Meh, it was OK.”
But since I had plenty of more time left to kill at Epcot, waiting for the family to return from their siesta, I wanted to give the more intense version a try. Everything looks pretty much exactly the same for both versions, but along the line, and in the prep room, there are signs warning about the intensity. One major warning is to keep your head against the seat back at all times.
I got on this more intense ride with two Mexican teenagers who didn’t speak much English. They asked me if the ride was really hard, and I told them that I didn’t know, as I’d only ridden the less intense version. I’m not sure they completely understood me.
Once we were strapped into our flight seats, and the ride started, it became apparent what the difference between the two versions was – the more intense ride is a centrifuge. Way cool! Blast off was much more intense, with a real feeling of increased Gs. When it came time for me to perform my crew functions (push buttons), I found my hands and arms incredibly heavy. I had never experienced anything like that before. I was excited.
About a minute into our mission, one of the Mexican boys in the capsule with me said, “Aye, mommy!” It made me chuckle, and I turned my head to look at him. The capsule seats don’t let you look directly to the sides, so I lifted my head (not easy in the centrifuge) and looked to my left.
UGH! It felt like my brain was hit with a bat (bypassing my skull). My head immediately fell back against my seat, and I was more intensely dizzy than I have ever been in my life. My vision spun, my head ached severely, and my stomach felt liquefied. My head and stomach felt more horrible than any illness has ever made me.
To be continued . . .