Close to death on Mission: Space

Today in the comments Ellen shares her near death experience while riding Mission: Space at Epcot just two days ago:

I retched. I frantically looked around the cabin for a button to push
to halt the ride, and found none — and didn’t see the barf bags
either, though my husband later told me there were some. My head
jittered against the back headrest as I heaved. I "ralphed" violently
though did not vomit. I was faint, breathless and have never felt
sicker in my life. My husband told me I was ghostly pale and clammy
when I got off the ride … and I didn’t even begin to feel better for
hours afterwards. I honestly have never felt as close to death as I did
when I was on M:S.

Why did Ellen get on this ride? Well possibly because she missed the serious warnings as entered via a bypass queue as her husband uses a wheelchair. The warnings she did see she felt didn’t apply to her as she doesn’t have motion sickness.

I rode M:S with my husband two days ago (Nov 4, 2005) and honestly, saw no warnings posted, other than a video message that warned guests away who might be uncomfortable in "dark, enclosed spaces," "motion sickness",…and "spinning." Why were we not warned of greater danger? Ironically, because we were bypassed to the head of the line out of view of any signs or videos, because my husband is disabled and rode up in a "scooter chair."

Looks like Disney still needs to do a few fixes with signage and other warnings. Let’s hope they figure this out before another family is tragically affected by the ride.

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22 thoughts on “Close to death on Mission: Space

  1. Scott Shields

    We were at Disney this June with family, literally days before the first M:S death. I personally love the ride, though I even found that back-to-back trips really messed me up. While we were waiting on line, a little boy kept telling his father he didn’t want to go on. His father and the other adults they were with kept telling him to be quiet, that things were going to be fine. Not only did his father ignore the warnings that suggested it might not be the best ride for his son, he ignored his own son!

    Finally, we said something to the father about the intensity of the ride, and suggested that if his son didn’t want to go on, they really ought to rethink it. We were afraid he’d be mad at us, but we were even more afraid of the experience the poor kid was going to have on the ride. Rather than being mad, he seemed genuinely surprised. Fortunately, his wife was also there (on a different line), and took the boy outside. She didn’t seem to want to go on herself.

    Point being, no matter how many warnings, height restrictions, age restrictions, signs, etc. people hear, some are just not going to listen. There are disclaimers on everything nowadays and people just seem so numb to them. It seems that only something out of the ordinary — like a personal warning from a fellow park-goer — can get through to people. How can the park formalize such warnings? I have no idea.

  2. Some Guy

    Not to minimize this lady’s suffering…ok, I’m going to minimize this lady’s suffering. Honestly, I gotta say that the symptoms she described are simple motion sickness. Just because she never experienced motion sickness before doesn’t mean she didn’t on this ride. A totally enclosed space with no visual cues that you’re rotating is not a situation most people have encountered before. This woman is lucky she’s never been closer to death than “ralphing and cold and clammy”. Sounds like every time I’ve had the flu. And shame on the otherwise excellent The Disney Blog for sensationalizing this ridiculousness with that headline.

  3. John Frost

    To me the lady’s suffering her experiences sounded very similar to heat exhaustion. But it might have been motion sickness or it might have been a combination of things. The fact remains that some people’s constitutions aren’t suited for a ride like Mission: Space that the fact that people continue to experience sickness after riding it tells me Disney isn’t doing enough to prevent these people from riding it in the first place.

    As for sensationalizing with the headline, you may see it that way, but I was simply quoting her comments and frankly I hope that by keeping up a little pressure on the mouse regarding this subject might effect some changes.

    -John
    The Disney Blog – http://thedisneyblog.typepad.com

  4. Jen

    I’m a grad student at UCF working on this issue from a crisis management perspective. How do you feel Disney did with this? Should they begin posting stats on how many have died or had serious health problems from certain rides as a precaution?

  5. Irish Wake

    Should Disney do more?

    Today, the Disney Blog posted about another near-death experience on the Mission: Space ride at EPCOT. (In June, a 4 year-old boy died while/after riding the attraction.) As a mass communications grad student, I’m currently working on a project reviewing

  6. CC

    She is a moron. “I frantically looked around the cabin…” well that is what made her feel bad. You can’t look around the cabin. That is what through her inner ear all out of whack and what caused her motion sickness (although she doesn’t think so).
    Plus even if she did bypass the main queue- she still had to see the pre-boarding video where they talk about all of this stuff. If she loaded early, then she still would have had to sit in the cabin and see the barf bags hanging RIGHT in front of her.
    It sucks that she got sick, but it is all her fault. People won’t listen. You can’t prevent a moron from being a moron. I bet she lost her car too.

  7. EG

    I’ve been on Mission:Space a half-dozen times, including consecutive trips . . . I love it. Disney just needs to post more explicit warnings, e.g. “Little old ladies of every age and sex and those who can’t follow ride instructions, please stay off this attraction.” It’s enclosed so people can’t see what they’re getting into, so make sure they know–but DON’T change the ride.

  8. Greg Maletic

    >As for sensationalizing with the headline, you may see it that way,
    >but I was simply quoting her comments and frankly I hope that by
    >keeping up a little pressure on the mouse regarding this subject
    >might effect some changes.

    If you’re simply quoting her comments, I’d suggest you put the title of the blog post in quotes as well, i.e., “Close to Death” on Mission: Space. Though I don’t doubt this woman felt bad, I think calling it a near-death experience sensationalizes it to the point where it trivializes what’s being communicated.

    (And how could someone who reads this blog not understand that Mission: Space is a super-intense ride?)

  9. jaxzin

    I agree, the title and link within the text are truely sensationalizing this lady’s experience. Was she carted away by the paramedics? Did they need to resusitate her? Did she even lose consciousness? No, no and no. So she wasn’t even close to ‘near death’. You’re doing your readers a disservice by sensationalizing it. It degrades your blog to nothing better than the National Enquirer.

  10. LE

    WARNING!! And I wasn’t adequately warned. The Mission:Space Ride was unexpectedly very challenging physically and emotionally for my two young girls. We did not see an exclamation point on the Disney pamphlet which denotes a potentially frightening experience for young children for a particular ride. It wasn’t there! My six and eight year old, very much over the height limit, were screaming and crying during the ride…all the while I was feeling my heart race and pressure, and I searched desparately for some escape button to turn the thing off…and there IS NO ESCAPE! We walked off the ride shaken, AND stirred, for some time afterwards. The day at Epcot was muddled with worries from my kids as to what would be unexpected again….my eight year old can’t stand the thought of “space” ever again. Is that the intent of Disney? It seems so counterproductive. In my humble opinion, someone, sometime, is going to have an unfortunate experience on this ride that will lead to heart attack and death…and they will NOT have a pre-existing condition. It is a matter of time. And I’m in the health care profession, and I can tell you it is a matter of time.

  11. Jeff

    The problems with the Mission Space ride warnings are that other rides have warnings and if you’ve been on most or all of the other rides, including Tower of Terror, and did ok, you could easily think you would be alright on this. And you may be.
    I was part of a group of ten. Eight went on Mission Space and six of us (ages 7 to 50) were sick for maybe 4 hours.
    I recommend you ask or listen to comments from people exiting this ride. For some reason this is the most intense ride I have ever been on.
    I would not go on a second time and think Disney should consider toning this ride down some.
    No one should die on a ride.
    If there is a lawsuit over these deaths, (ya think), everyone on the jury should ride Mission Space first.

  12. Chloe Smith

    I went on Mission Space twice while I was in disney, the first time I thought it was great but my brother-in-law who came on with me felt all the blood rush to his head and didn’t feel at all well. I went on a second time by myself and felt very sick after and it takes a lot of work to make me feel sick. I think the ride has plenty of warnings but should make it clearer that you should be in perfect health to ride Mission Space.

  13. DukeRL

    OK, I just got back from Disney yesterday and was curious after talking to someone after exiting the ride about the death of the 4 year old on this ride. I googled “mission space Disney death” and came across this blog.

    WARNING>>> THE FOLLOWING MAY BE UPSETTING IF YOU CAN NOT READ SIGNS OR FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!!!!

    So, I was down at the WDW for the week of May 20. Most of the time was spent on rides like Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, Small World, etc (I have a three year old daughter). My parents who joined us on the trip went to EPCOT one evening and tried this ride. Neither of them tried the orange ticket M:S ride, but rather opted for the green ticket. Both of them had rave reviews for the ride. Being that they are in there upper 60’s, they paid attention to the MULTIPLE warnings, and had a great time. The next night, my wife and I went out to EPCOT without my daughter while the folks watched her. I opted to do the full version of the ride. I am a big fan of roller coasters, drop rides, etc., and just had to try. Well, the wait portion wasn’t all that great, but I am a fan of Gary S. and I understand that it would be much more boring without the buildup. However, once on the ride… I have to say without doubt this was the best simulation I have ever experienced. I understand that not everyone is up to this, and therefore all the warnings. But on the other side, just about every roller coaster, drop, and such has affected me much more severely. The centrifugal (centripetal, can’t keep them straight) effects did not seem severe at all. It truly seems like there is more positive and negative G-force during takeoff and landing on a 737. This may not (and probably isn’t) be true because I was enjoying the ride so immensely. But enough of the “WOW that was great!” portion.

    The reason I am even writing this is after reading other posts, I have to say I am dismayed with the human population in general. Even if you missed the warning at the very beginning, missed the warning at the first stop while viewing a few minutes of video, and missed the warning at the second stop with more video warning, there is still even more warning once you board the ride. Have you ever been on a ride with more “Watch out, we put the legal team to work writing disclaimers.”? Even with my predilection for these types of rides I was a little worried about getting on. If I had been there with my little girl, or had had any doubts about my abilities, I would not have boarded. I really can’t see how anyone can miss out on the warnings. And if you are a responsible adult, it is not even imaginable that you would consider taking a young child or someone with medical conditions on this ride. Please get the point, if there is even one warning on the ride it means that please think seriously before boarding. I would hate to have my enjoyment of this type of adventure ride be ruined by the person beside me dying of stupidity.

    Keep your head back on the headrest and eyes on the screen and join me on Mars. And please – I know that we live in a society that has instructions on how to use toilet paper, but still pay attention to what’s going on around you.

    -Duke

  14. Ray L

    My wife and I JUST returned from Disney and found this blog while searching for the actual number of “Gs” pulled by Mission.

    After reading many of the posts, I just have to say “People should take responsibility for themselves and quit blaming others for their own lack of consideration.”

    The ride was GREAT and yes it made me a tad queasy too. BUT if it hadn’t, I would’ve been complaining about it being a Kiddie ride! As a thrill ride lover, even I was a bit concerned about getting on this ride after all the warnings.

    Disney has done their part. Now people should do their part and take responsibility for their actions.

    By the way, does anybody know for FACT the actual number of Gs this ride pulls?

    rlistenbATcoxDOTnet

  15. devoidx

    the height requirements for this ride are 44″. The 4 year old boy that died on there was taller than that. I believe I remember seeing his height at 48″. That is 4 feet tall. A 4 foot tall 4 year old ? Doesn’t that seem like kinda odd ? 4 year olds aren’t that tall normally are they ? kid sounds like a freak, maybe if he wasn’t he wouldn’t have died on there. as for the “near death” experience, she needs to get over it. omg I got motion sickness and throw up! people never do that on a ride…

  16. Brice

    I worked at Disney for over four months on an internship and during that time I rode mission space many times, sometimes two or three times in a row. The sensations are unique and interesting, something that no other ride I have been on has given me. Some people get sick on rides thats a very common occurance lady, it happens all the time. Mission Space does an EXCELLENT job of posting warnings. There are at least 3 warnings before getting on the ride. And about the barf bags when you get on the ride if you actually would pay attention they tell you where they are. Also they tell you not to turn your head in any direction to look for anything…or to close your eyes. So let this be an example of stupidity, listen to the people and maybe none of that would have happened. I have no sympathy for someone who cant listen. However, to the three people that have died on mission space I feel bad for, no one should die for any reason on a ride. However, Disney has also done an excellent job of making an alternative for people that arent sure of their abilities. So instead of complaining about the intensity of the full ride go on the other ride.

  17. me

    I rode this ride a couple weeks ago. I went on the less intense and found it to be enjoyable. My father began to feel claustophobic (just a little) but felt better when the ride actually started. We went on it again later that night and he decide (right before going on) that he didn’t want to anymore. So the rest of us went on ( as we laughed streching across to reach all the buttons during the ride) and he waited. As we got off and met with him, he asked a worker “Can you all really put people in that small room? Does anyone panic?” and the worker responded “It is common to have people panic on here. The doors have pressur sensors so if you feel nervous while on the ride, just press on the doors and they will open and the ride will stop immediately.”

  18. sally

    my 11 year old daughhter(now 12) died in 6 flags last year it wasnt on the news we didnt want her personal business she dien because she 70 lbs she was too small i had 3 other kids with me and another one on the way i am suposed to have 5 know but i only have four 13,9,,4,1

  19. kassie

    oh that is terrible i am so sorry sally i have a 15 year old girl and a 13 yr old boy twins

  20. Walt

    If I were still alive, I would never have offered up a ride where visitors to the Magic Kingdom would risk their lives…

    What are the numbers? Three and counting….a four year old boy and two adults? Perhaps more…

    It’s not worth risking people’s lives for entertainment…

    It amazes me of those who have posted here who have no realization of the seriousness of the loss of life and and who seem to think it is no small matter…

    It doesn’t matter how many postings of warnings Disney may make, if a ride endangers anyone, then they should take heed and remove that ride from their offerings…

    An earlier posting mentioned how adults, parents, were exposing their children to this ride, even when the children expressed fear of the ride, and this points out that children are being exposed to this ride and placed in harms way.

    That people, including a four year old child, have actually died on this ride, and that children are being exposed to this ride, perhaps without their consent, says a lot about today’s parents and perhaps children should be excluded from this form of “entertainment” just as they are excluded from X rated entertainment…some forms of entertainment are simply not suitable for children…

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