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Disney's Mission: Space -- another incident

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Published: July 11, 2006 at 11:57 AM

News has broken that yet another rider on Mission: Space at Epcot has become ill.

This time a 35-year-old woman lost consciousness when she got off the ride Monday night.

She was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center after experiencing tingling in her arms & hands.

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on July 11, 2006 at 12:40 PM
Not again!!!
From Randy Scott on July 11, 2006 at 1:37 PM
I hope she recovers fully. I also bet that she had one of the conditions listed on the ride warnings and didn't opt for the "kinder, gentler" Mission Space experience. Just a guess though. I hope the press will be diligent enough to do a follow-up report on her condition and facts behind the incident. It sounds more like heat exhaustion to me.
From Gareth H on July 11, 2006 at 2:07 PM
I have an update regarding this incident now:

The "local" woman apprently got off the ride and, while talking to bystanders, fell and hit her head.

She was briefly unconscious.

When rescue crews had arrived she had regained consciousness but was not completely alert and had tingling in her hands and arms.

As she was being flown to the hospital she was improving, becoming alert and the tingling sensation was dying off.

She was released from Hospital late last night/early this morning.

-Obviously as this was a concussion Disney took no chances, hence the airlift- Gareth

From Terri Thomas on July 12, 2006 at 7:27 AM
I think that having, "one of those conditions" becomes more important when you're not aware you even have one.

Maybe it's just the way the news is being reported, but out of so many rides, MS seems to have the ability to bring out a hidden condition in some that may never have been brought out otherwise. If routine (and sometimes more advanced) physicals don't pick up on an abnormality and yet it is exacerbated by the intensity of the ride, then it is still a very unfortunate occurrance.

You would not necessarily opt for the kinder, gentler MS if you weren't aware you needed to - hence the question: Is MS so great? Is this ride worth it? I've been on it with my husband & my kids. Personally, we didn't think the ride was worth the wait or the nausea and NO ride is worth the risk if you even remotely suspect you have "one of those conditions."

I'll take Space Mountain over Mission Space any day (unless you throw in Mount Everest - then I'll have to take that one. Love, love, love that ride).

From Austin Hess on July 12, 2006 at 7:40 AM
Poor Disney and the lady. Bad for the lady but Disney is not having a good year at all. What are they going to do?
From Adrienne McDonald on July 12, 2006 at 10:37 AM
I wonder if this ride will be shut down due to so many instances. Surely this is a sign to do something whether it's close it permanantly or make it safer. I heard there were improvements made but this is rediculous. Like the previous poster said, some people just don't know they have a condition til they get off the ride. I agree w/that also but if there's a minute chance, they should stay off.
From Randy Scott on July 12, 2006 at 2:51 PM
Terri,

I appreciate your post and your view on MS. If I were you and your family didn't enjoy going on MS, I would not ride it. WDW has lots of rides and no one is forced to go on any of them. It's a Small World personally nausiates me and I don't ride it. I don't feel that it is a "worth it" ride. The music and PC makes me want to give back my lunch to the technicolor yawn god's. Where are the warning signs on that ride?

Seriously though, by the time a person is thirty-five they should be pretty in tune with their body. Any type of motion sickness or claustraphobia should already have set in. As far as pregnancy, HBP, Heart arithmias or back problems should have given a person clue by then also. All these things plus a host of others are warned against before riding MS.

I don't know what WDW could do other than giving each rider a full physical (EKG, pregnacy test, MRI for neck and back problems, cancer screening, and hyperbaric chamber to name a few) before riding the "less kinder and less gentler" MS. I'm not sure but that may increase the wait time for the ride a bit and increase the cost of a ticket.

If a person "remotely" thinks that they have a pre-existing condition they should not go on MS. They should also not go on Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Rock'n'Roll Roller Coaster, etc, etc, etc. All these rides have pretty much the same warnings and many more that I can't think of right now.

Maybe WDW should be a two acre petting zoo. Someone would come down with Mad-Cow disease though, so there goes that idea.

It's all about personal responsibility. In our litigous society though we don't consider that. And there in lies the rub.

Is it a Disney problem or a guest problem? Like I tell my two sons "Follow the money". Anything bad that happens to you has to be someone elses fault, especially if they have deep pockets.

From Jayson Myers on July 13, 2006 at 9:51 AM
How many times have you heard Walt say, "I wanted to create a place where I could ride rides with my girls". A million?

This is the place you go where families can ride rides together. Where families don't have to take turns. Disney is reaching out from their target audience (Walt's target audience: families) and people are getting hurt. I for one don't like big rides (Space Mtn is my limit) and I used to ride any Disney ride b/c I knew it would be a family ride. This is not true anymore.


I think there is some repsonsbility by Disney b/c they have created a brand name that screams FAMILY, and when they make rides for teenagers in a family park, people get confused.

From melissa faulkner on July 13, 2006 at 5:47 PM
Thank you Randy, you said EXACTLY what I was thinking. No one is forced to ride any ride. I get ill on the swinging ship type rides, my mother and husband don't. I sit on a bench while they enjoy the ride. I went on MS last year knowing I get motion sick very easily. I came off fine. If I had come off sick, it would be MY fault. My mother can get motion sick and she will not ride it. I am 33 and do know my limits, I pushed it with MS, but it was my decision. People need to stop blaming everyone else when they get sick on a ride. There are things I can ride easily and some I won't go near, I know myself. As for maybe dying on a ride because of an "undiagnosed" condition, it happens. I have known a man driving down the road, had a massive heart attack and died behind the wheel. He never knew he had a heart condition. He wrecked the car he was driving. Should we pull all cars because someone may die while driving and wreck the thing?
From Daniel T Hines on July 13, 2006 at 9:07 PM
I agree with Randy and Melissa. The rides clearly define who should and who should not ride the ride, and if you have a medical condition and you choose to ride, then if you get injured, the blame lies not with Disney, its employees, or the engineer who designed the ride; it lies with YOU.

I personally am 50 or 60 pounds overweight and suffer from high blood pressure and chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain. Technically, I should not ride these rides. However, I enjoy them, and I take the risk, willingly, for a cheap thrill, and am willing to accept the unlikely consequences. To this day, I've not had any injuries (unless you count headaches the days I have ridden the roller coasters and thrill rides several times). I am a 24-year-old adult and I have no wife, children, or pets. I am completely responsible for what decisions I may make, for good or ill, and I exclusively will be affected by it. And in reality, what is the risk? How many MILLIONS of people visit Disney every year and ride these rides? I have a much greater chance of death or serious injury from activities I do every day than I do riding a thrill ride at a theme park, including driving my car. I am not morbidly afraid of driving my car, in fact, I enjoy it, and it does not phase me one bit. In fact, I see driving my car as a neccessity. And yet 50,000 people die in tragic automobile accidents annually. Compare that to probably fewer than 100 for roller coasters and thrill rides in theme parks. And how many of these millions of people ride these rides multiple times? Another Disney park, MGM, has two awesome rides, Rock n Rollercoaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and I know I've ridden each at least 70 or 80 times, as I go on each several times each day I go, and I'm a season passholder. I think most people will agree, theme park rides have a phenomenal safety record. Blaming Disney for someone dying or getting sick on a thrill ride is like blaming a major automobile manufacturer for a tragic accident with a drunk driver.

Unless one has a SERIOUS mental challenge (I say serious because I personally suffer from a minor or moderate one I have been forced to conquer in order to live my life, I'm referring to much more serious conditions than mine where the individual literally cannot think for themselves), anyone over the age of 12 should be intelligent enough to read the sign and know whether or not they should be on the ride. And if one is under 12 or seriously mentally challenged, they should be accompanied by a responsible and intelligent individual who can make the decision for them.

Disney does not owe anyone ensuring all their rides are gentle, slow, and family-friendly. Quite the contrary. Disney has a variety of guests of all ages, walks of life, AND RIDE INTENSITY PREFERENCES; and not everybody likes to ride the kiddie rides in Fantasyland. I personally think Disney needs MORE high-thrill adrenaline-pumping rides for those of us who enjoy them. Disney has the land area, all it would have to do is modify one of the fences of one of its parks, or even create a fifth major park. I personally would like to see a flying rollercoaster (one that you are lying face down on the car and your face, arms, and legs are free and are not restrained) with a 500+ foot near-vertical drop (natural acceleration due to gravity at the top of the first lift hill), a series of at least 15 good loops and corkscrews, a top velocity of 150 mph or so, and two or three tunnels, all on two or three miles worth of track. Will they do this? Very unlikely, because they are afraid of a lawsuit because of the idiots who cannot read signs and gauge, for themselves, the intensity of the ride; and many repugnant individuals have this assinine mindset that Disney's rides should be gentle, slow, boring, tame, and child-friendly; suitable for the most cowardly of guests with the very weakest of stomachs, the kind of people who make Monty Python's Brave Sir Robin (from The Quest for the Holy Grail) look like a decorated war hero who has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, numerous silver stars, and numerous purple hearts. Hell, if it gets any worse, the parks may need to hire more attendents (raising prices higher) to force guests to sign a waver before they ride merely to protect themselves!!! When will the lunacy end? Call me insensitive, but I feel absolutely no remorse for any of the guests who died or got sick on the rides at Disney this year. They CHOSE to ride the ride in their condition despite the warnings clearly stated on the sign, and by doing so, they sealed their own fate. If you lose the contents of your stomach, pass out and become unconsious, or if the Grimm Reaper decides to escort you to heaven (or hell, whichever you deserve), the person at fault can be identified merely by looking in a mirror. In the words of the greatest rock band of all time:

"The evidence before the court is incontrovertible, there is no need for the jury to retire. In all my years of judging, I have never heard before, of someone more deserving of the full penalty of law."

In which in this case, the law in question is the law of survival of the fittest, in which case failure to read a sign leads to the penalty of illness, injury, or death. Physics is an excellent and very predictable judge, and she does not take kindly to the ignorant.

I say long live the good thrill rides such as Mission Space!!! I applaud Disney for giving us it, as well as Rock n Rollercoaster, Test Track, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and numerous others, to enjoy!!!

From Erik Yates on July 14, 2006 at 1:56 PM
I really find it funny that a lot of people have attacked disney for going outside of their sphere and creating a ride that isnt for the whole family. They tried something, and it worked. It is a little suspicious that it has taken the lives of two people, both of which had pre-existing conditions, and from what I've read they both knew about it, and had family that knew about it. It was the boy on RRC that did not know about it. Example, the 4yr old, let that sink it, 4 yr old, had a history of seizures. His mother knew this, and yet she had him go on it. I dont see anyone to blame but the family there. I am, as someone else said, a few pounds overweight. I did three hours on a coaster for charity. Should I have done it? Probably not. But I did it, and I felt the after effects of it later.
My point is this, you choose to go on a ride. You choose to let your children to go on rides. You dont expect them to die, or should you, butif that happens and the ride is at normal operation and you or your child dies because of some unforseen condition, I really dont see that as the parks fault. I see no fault really....how can you see the unforseen? On another board someone accused MS of being a deathtrap and being a flawed design. Thats a little harsh. But I will say that a Centrifuge puts G-Forces on a rider much longer than a coaster does. That is one thing to ponder.
In short disney is not at fault, you will all continue to visit, and the world will get greener with the money they make. I'm just worried, being a coaster junkie, that this will stir more parks to tamer rides.
From Jayson Myers on July 14, 2006 at 5:51 PM
I think the point is not being taken. I fully realize this is a "thrill park" ride type of site. But the same "warnings" that are on Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain are the same warnings on RNR, yet these rides are all very different. I realize there are a lot of warnings on Mission Space, but the reality is people expect "small" thrills from Disney. If they want to be king of the thrills (something I give to Six Flags right now, which is a reason I never go there), then they need to change their advertising. Yes, Disney could be all things to all people, but they will still lose people. The thing is Disney markets themselves as a family park, much like "Holiday World". I have never been to Holiday World, but I fully expect all rides to be "family friendly". The extra danger in a ride like Mission Space is the "ride" cannot be seen. I can see Hulk and know I don't want to ride it. I cannot see Mission Space. Their ads show small children on the ride, so I think the ride must be okay for small children. But sadly, it is not.


There is two sides to this issue. You can't market yourself to families and small children (ads I've seen show small children riding Mission Space) and then say it is dangerous for them.

From Erik Yates on July 14, 2006 at 8:30 PM
No one really said that disney wants to become king of thrills, they just want to try and do something different. And I must step up to disneys defense (something I rarely do) and say that the warnings are MUCH different on MS then they are on Space Mountain, BTMRR, and even TOT. This one specifically says, over and over, through all points of the queue that if you are prone to motion sickness, are affected by strobe effects, and all of the others that you should not ride. It also states that you will sustain exposure to maintained G-forces, etc. etc. And let the record show that since its inception, EPCOT has not really been too much for the family fun ride as Magic Kingdom has. It has always been the City of Tomorrow, from the Living Seas, to the World Showcase. You went to MK to have fun, you went to EPCOT to learn something.
Now I know you want families to reign supreme with disney, but I feel thats the reason it has four different theme parks. I feel it a shame that people feel the need for disney to change all of their parks to be exactly the same for "brand name association", especially when EPCOT started out with such a good purpose. And as far as kids, my son is 8, he first experience MS when he was 6, tall enough to go on it and having been on other rides such as Rockin Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror....and loving to ride them twice because of the child swap option for our daughter who is now 5. Some rides should not be ridden by smaller children hence the need for safety measures such as riding with an adult, and height requirements. It is ultimately upto the parent as to whether the child can handle the ride or not. I will not put my daughter on Tower of Terror.....why? Because it is a creepy ride, its in the dark and it drops you 13 stories. She is too "little" to handle that....but yet she loves Jurassic Park River Adventure. My whole point is just because you have a rep for family fun, doesnt mean you cant thrill a little too.....and btw...I dont see disney going for any new big innovative rides such as Kingda Ka....just rides that not only keep the little kids happy, but also us big kids as well.
From Chris P. on July 15, 2006 at 9:06 AM
I have never ridden Mission Space myself, I haven't been to Epcot in the longest time, but I would really love to ride it. I just hope all these incidents dont force the closure of the ride before I get to ride it.

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