OpEd: Disney Should Work With Elon Musk on Mission: SPACE Revamp

Mission: SPACE
Credit: Disney (left); The New York Times (right)

Mission: SPACE is one of the coolest attractions at The Walt Disney World Resort. Even though it is well over ten years old, the simulator ride is a must-do for every Disney Vacation and provides an experience that is arguably closest to a real space launch experience that Guests can get outside of a place like Kennedy Space Center.

EPCOT’s mission to Mars is steeped in real-world Space Exploration, blending almost seamlessly the historically accurate past with an inspiring fictionalized future using the Touchstone film Mission to Mars starring Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle, and Tim Robbins in the theming. But Mission: SPACE has moved further and further away from its movie origins, and people like Elon Musk work to make space access an ever-closer reality.

Mission Space _ exciting changes

Credit: Disney

I think it’s time that Disney partners with SpaceX founder Elon Musk to revamp Mission: SPACE to show the young and young at heart a preview of the exciting realities that lie ahead.

Replace Fictional History with Fact

Mission: SPACE patch

Credit: Disney

Whether Disney uses SpaceX or not, Mission: SPACE needs a bit of an update historically. Mission to Mars takes place in the year 2020, and it appears that we step into the year 2036. A look at the pictures up on the wall will show that the “history” is a little outdated. While we have a highlight reel of the Space Race, we don’t really have anything historically accurate beyond the Space Shuttle era. It’s time to update the attraction‘s foundational history, including missions like CrewDragon 1, Inspiration4, and even the upcoming Polaris missions.

The Green Mission, Less Intense (g-force free) Training to Earth orbit can include soon-to-be realized properties like Starships, private earth-bound space stations, and the Orange Mission, More Intense Training to Mars can include sightings of the lunar space station, Lunar Gateway, and SpaceX’s lunar landers. The Orange Mission can also include a concept of Musk’s city on Mars.

Updating the Queue

Mission: SPACE

Credit: D23

Related: Space 220 Officially Opens

While the giant centrifuge from Mission to Mars is very cool to look at, along with the spacesuits worn in the movie, we can further replace Fiction with Fact by incorporating a look at the interior of SpaceX’s Starship as well as models of other SpaceX rockets.

Instead of fabricated fiction, we will get a legitimate plan for the future already in motion, and isn’t that what EPCOT is supposed to be about?

Update the Advanced Training Lab

Mission: Space is a very thrill ride, not for the faint of heart. Even if Guests choose the Earth Mission over the Mars Mission, it is intense and as close one can get to simulating space travel. So, for those too short or with any other legitimate reason to bypass the experience, there is mission control training.

A partnership with Elon Musk and SpaceX could make this consolation experience all the more incredible, so Guests might even choose to send people to outer space over their own space flight.

Pre-Flight Video Starring Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Credit: CNBC

Related: Video: SpaceX Launch Spotted at Disney World

If any of the stuff above didn’t convince you Disney should give Mission: SPACE a SpaceX revamp, perhaps this will.

Imagine you and your party line up for astronaut orientation, and you see the Mars-bound man himself on the screen telling you about his plans for colonizing space for the benefit of all mankind. Then imagine Elon Musk as your CapCom taking you through your space flight from mission control.

The ride itself doesn’t have to change all that much. We can still ride the X-2 Deep Space Shuttle and board the same ride vehicle, but the briefing and communication are recorded by Elon Musk himself.

Continuing the Disney Tradition of Space Inspiration

Walt Disney with Wernher von Braun and his team.


The name Disney has been associated with space for decades. Walt Disney himself gave Wernher von Braun a platform to get the American public excited about outer space. A real astronaut was recruited to help build Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom. Today, Disney’s fascination with space has taken a step further into fantasy with Star Tours, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, and Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser in and around Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Related: 5 Attractions That Take You to Faraway Galaxies at Disney World

I have no doubt that giving Mission: SPACE a new exciting sponsor like SpaceX will give Walt Disney Imagineering the chance to show Theme Park Guests that dreams to space are closer to reality than they may think. And partnering with Elon Musk to give him the platform to get people excited about real space opportunities will be a full-circle moment for Disney as a whole. 

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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