Is the Millennium Falcon ride Mission: Space 2.0?

Unless you’ve been stuck in a sarlacc pit, you’ve probably heard about the Star Wars themed lands coming to Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019. Official information is slim, but we do know the expansions will be anchored by two incredible new signature attractions. The first is an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The second attraction will let guests take the pilot’s seat in the iconic Millennium Falcon, navigating through space on a customized, secret mission.

The Millennium Falcon Ride

The Millennium Falcon ride concept sounds awesome but how is Disney going to let millions of fans fly the famous “hunk of junk” without them waiting in year-long lines? Disney Imagineers actually solved that problem fifteen years ago. Thanks to some new aerial shots we can speculate on the ride system being used on the Millennium Falcon ride. And I have a feeling some fans are going to be disappointed. 

A news helicopter recently got the rare opportunity to fly directly over Disneyland and they continued shooting video as the flew over the Star Wars Land construction site, providing us our best view yet of what’s going on behind those walls.

What really stood out to be was the construction of the Millennium Falcon ride and how familiar it looked. Here’s the aerial construction image from April 2017:

aerial view of millennium falcon ride disneyland

The Millennium Falcon ride under construction at Disneyland looks eerily similar to Mission:Space. Here’s the blue prints of the Epcot attraction:

Source: http://www.wdwthemeparks.com/photos-disney/2014/09/07/r-1410139496-MissionSpace1.jpg

Now here I’ve rotated and flipped the Mission: Space diagram to more closely align to the Star Wars setup.  In the top left corner, the triangular shape of the gift shops are also very similar.

The red spot on the Mission: Space plans is where I envision the Millennium Falcon will sit outside the building for great photo opportunities. For another reference, here’s an aerial image of Mission: Space under construction. Notice the same circular patterns for the centrifuges:

mission space under construction aerial view

 

How Mission: Space Works

For those not familiar with how Mission:Space works, it’s actually a centrifuge by ETC/The Ride Works with ten arms stretched out from the center. A cabin at the end of each arm holds four people each and can pitch (+45, -55°) and pivot (±25° roll) thanks to two electric actuators. The centrifuge spins around the center axis resulting in up to 2.5Gs felt by the riders, simulating the acceleration of lift-off. Each capsule seat is equipped with a transducer to provide vibration effects to the individual seat. Each centrifuge bay has a segmented, retractable floor located below the capsule’s path of travel. The floor is raised and locked in position during loading/unloading, and retracted and locked in the lower position during operation.The capacity of all four centrifuges combined is ~1,600 people per hour. It looks something like this:

mechanics of mission space

The biggest difference so far is there are only two centrifuges at Disneyland instead of the four used at Epcot (though two of them don’t rotate anymore anyways). But having only four passengers per cabin would allow a very intimate and more personal experience. Before boarding the Mission: Space centrifuges, each rider is assigned an on-board role (navigator, pilot, commander, or engineer) and given two tasks to perform during the mission (pressing a specific button when prompted).

In case I have to remind you, the Millennium Falcon cockpit seen in the movies also seats four people.

Imagine Han Solo instructing you to “make the jump to lightspeed!”  You pull the throttle back and you’re pushed back into your seat, feeling the G-forces as the stars turn into streaks of light. How cool would that be?

Interestingly, Disney recently announced Mission: SPACE will be closed June 5th through July 31st, 2017. No exact reasoning was given for the closure. Perhaps they are using this time period to test some new features or footage that will be used on the new Star Wars rides?

What do you think? Will the Millennium Falcon ride actually be Mission:Space 2.0? If that is the case, how do you feel about that? Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE 7/15/17

Quick update, I don’t think the Millennium Falcon ride is exactly Mission Space 2.0 anymore, but rather like the sketch below. It will be more similar to Star Tours simulator but on a rotating turntable as you can see in the early construction pictures. The experience of feeling like you’re actually walking into the cockpit of the iconic ship is going to be incredible either way!

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2 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    I was hoping the MF ride would be similar to the Dome’s used on HPATFJ. In that case, you could control and fly your own space ship within a private mini-dome and mix in a few practical effects as well.

    If it is a re-skin of MS, I hope the technology has gotten better and that Disney finds a way to increase the hourly capacity with only two launch bays.

  2. Zombies_Grace says:

    No. No. No.

    The rotating simulation pods are just for loading and unloading so you only see one door leading to what you believe is just the one Millennium Falcon and it doesn’t break the illusion by having many “Falcons” that you see other guests boarding.

    The centripetal force of the rotation won’t be felt… especially over the jostling of your pod.

    Also, Mission:SPACE is closing this fall to updated it with better screens and an extra mission (or more?).

    For the latest and best insider information at WDW, go to: http://www.WDWMagic.com

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