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Mission Space
By: Douglas R. Johnson

© 2005 by Douglas R. Johnson.


For the first 25 plus years of my life, I never got to Florida. Well, after I was married, I went to Florida for the first time as a "Band Parent" with my wife, Peg as chaperones for our daughter's marching band trip. They marched in competitions and actually participated in the parade in Disney World.

Peg and I came back to Disney World now many times. When our kids were small they came with us. But as they grew, they developed other interests. We have since come with business groups and now we come mostly for vacations.

Peg and I now come down to Disney World twice a year. We love the shows, the fine dining, and the many rides.

But Peg is a little upset with me because she has to go on many of the rides without me. I have this small problem with motion sickness. More than once I have thrown up after coming off of a ride. Generally, though, the queasiness passes shortly after I come out of the ride.

Most of the problem rides have a little car with some sort of movie or television screen. The car moves in sync with the picture.

Coming down to this last visit. Yesterday we opened Epcot at about 8:15 AM just to go on the new ride, Soarin'. I was very apprehensive as all I could remember were those unpleasant experiences of a very upset stomach. But it turned out so pleasant that we immediately repeated the ride. Basically you sat in a chair that was like a swing where your feet dangle. You are then moved in front of a full field of vision screen. The chair moved a little to coordinate with the picture to simulate flying at great heights over mountains and such.

I really felt good that Peg and I were able to share such a motion ride together. It was like something in our relationship got fixed. We spent the rest of the day doing other things together including miniature golf, some shopping, and of course, some fine dining.

So today we returned again to Epcot for some more husband-wife bonding by doing fun things together. Having had the recent success with the motion ride, Soarin', I felt it was time to build on that bonding experience.

In the past, I had chickened out on the Mission Space ride because I had succumbed to my fear of motion rides. I had Peg go alone while I just sat and waited. I was a real cad. No wonder she was upset with me for that.

But I had conquered my fear. So I said to Peg, "Let's see how long the lines are for Mission Space". Well Tuesdays in the beginning of November are very light days at Epcot so the ride was a virtual walk-on...no waiting.

Now there is a clearly posted warning on the outside concerning motion sickness but there was a similar sign by Soarin' and I did that and enjoyed it. But there are multiple signs on the inside of Mission Space saying that if you are prone to motion sickness, you can exit here. But I had conquered my fears and I would bear a little discomfort for the sake of being with my wife and sharing with Peg's enjoyment.

The way the ride works is that you go into your own simulator with three others where each is given a different task of pushing buttons at various points on the trip through space. I wound up as the pilot where I had to push the button for separating the second stage and later firing a booster rocket. Seemed like it was going to be fun.

Everything was so realistic. All the buttons and the individual display screens. They even had those little bags they have on airplanes. That seemed a little strange.

Well they started the countdown and I was ready for the anticipated movement of the room to simulate the motion. But the feeling you get in an elevator kept increasing. I said to myself, "How are they doing this?" and all the skin on my face started pushing back. Then I realized that the whole building was spinning! I think we got up to 6g's!

Well when it came time for me to push my buttons, I did my job. We would not lose our mission because of me! But when it came time to grab the manual controls to keep us from crashing, I did not do it. I was too busy filling my little bag! I just figured at that point that we might as well crash!

Well the ride was over. I deposited my little bag in the appropriate receptacle (garbage can). I drank some water and sat down for a while. It took quite a bit longer to return to normal.

While I got most of it in the bag there was some spillage. I needed a new shirt anyway so I wore the new one the rest of the day. I guess I need to find another bonding technique.


Douglas R. Johnson.


Doug currently resides with his wife of 37 years in rural Central Virginia. He enjoys having his three daughters live nearby along with his six grandchildren. He has a successful internet wallpaper business and retail store, and has been active in local politics for the past several years.



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