Tosche Station Goes to Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty castle might have been tiny, but it was all blinged out for the big 60th anniversary celebration.

Sleeping Beauty castle might have been tiny, but it was all blinged out for the big 60th anniversary celebration.

It’s no secret that Brian and I love going to Disney World. We live about 10 minutes from the resort, have annual passes, and usually visit at least once per month — usually more. When Celebration Anaheim was announced, I knew we’d have to stay in town an extra day so I could visit Disneyland for the first time in forever. Yes, you heard that right. My Disney-loving self had never set foot in Disneyland; in fact, prior to Celebration I had never even set foot in California!

I was eager to see all the differences between the Land and the World, and did a lot of research so I could make the most out of my one-day visit. I learned which rides were different, which rides were the same, and what food to eat. I went in with the intention to compare and contrast the parks, but deep down I knew Land wouldn’t truly be able to compare to my beloved Disney World. I’m very, very biased, and I know it. Plus, Land’s castle is way too tiny.

The first thing I saw when we walked into DCA. I knew it was going to be a good day.

The first thing I saw when we walked into DCA. I knew it was going to be a good day.

That said, I truly enjoyed my time at Land and am so glad I had the chance to visit after Celebration Anaheim. It was a blast running into fellow con goers, and I have to give a big shout out to Amy Ratcliffe for returning the favor from when she visited Food and Wine Festival and being our tour guide and helping make the most of my trip. It’s always fun to do Disney with people who understand the magic.


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So You Want To Go To Disney World – Mission: SPACE

Introduced to Disney’s Epcot resort in 2003, Mission: SPACE instantly became one of the most intense attractions at Walt Disney World. Teams of four enter a flight simulator strapped to a centrifuge to embark on an interactive mission to Mars where not everything goes quite as expected.

The Geek Appeal

Ever daydreamed about being an astronaut or blasting off into deep space?

Mission: Space is the second of Walt Disney World’s two space-themed thrill rides. The difference between this attraction and Space Mountain, however, is thirty years of technological advances, and those innovations have translated into an extremely geeky ride.

The fun starts in the waiting room where you’re greeted with a video of Gary Sinise of Apollo 13 fame (Or Lieutenant Dan if you prefer) acting as your CAPCOM and explaining what you’re in for. From there you’re ushered into another holding area where you’re given your assignments for the mission. Depending on where you’re standing prior to entering the ride, you’ll be assigned the role of commander, engineer, pilot, or navigator.

Inside the ride itself, you’re treated to a simulator full of all sorts of knobs and dials and switches designed to look like the interior of a space shuttle or Apollo era capsule. Ever wanted to pretend you’re an astronaut? You’ll get your wish on this ride, because after playing with the instrument panel, the centrifuge spins up and simulates a launch experience so real your entire body will get pinned back into your seat. Trust me, you won’t even be able to lift your arms.

Attraction Strategy

Unlike Space Mountain, Mission: Space is an extremely efficient ride and can move guests through the line in a hurry. Even on the worst days, the longest you’ll typically wait in line as a standby is thirty minutes. In the off-season months, it’s often a walk-on ride. With that in mind, a fastpass isn’t usually necessary for this ride, so don’t feel compelled to use one unless there’s nothing else that interests you as an option at the park.

Is This Attraction For You?

Mission: Space is a violent and very spinny ride, but here’s the other interesting part of this attraction: There are two intensity options. The most intense version known as the Orange Line features a centrifuge that simulates rapid acceleration. There’s also the Green Line that features the same simulator but locks the centrifuge in place, only moving the cabin about in a manner similar to the likes of Star Tours and flight simulators seen throughout the country at various theme parks and museums.

If high thrills and spinning work for you, the Orange Line will prove exceedingly entertaining. If you can’t handle that but can deal with a more traditional flight simulator, the Green Line is the ticket.

So You Want To Go To Disney World: Space Mountain

Welcome to the first installment of our ongoing series on traveling in the Orlando area, home to numerous theme parks and attractions. This series is intended to provide geek-focused recommendations for places to visits, events to see, and attractions to ride. 

­­Space Mountain was introduced first at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in 1971. Like the Matterhorn Bobsled ride at Disneyland, it’s a steel-tube coaster but with a twist: it’s indoors and in the dark. Two separate tracks send cars and riders down a fast-paced course with sudden twists, turns, and drops that you can’t see coming. The best part? You’re riding through a starfield as if you were in a starfighter.

Over forty years later, it’s still one of the most popular attractions in all of the Disney parks.

The Geek Appeal

Space! Let’s say that again. SPACE! You’re flying through a projected star field in a car designed to look like a rocket with dramatic music blasting in the background. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in the cockpit of an X-Wing and caught in the middle of a wild run through asteroids and obstacles, this is the ride for you.

Even the queue is full of geeky and spacy charm. The line leading towards the loading area is modeled like a space station corridor you’d expect to see in the likes of 2001. Additionally, the standby line features team-based mini video games that task you with stocking space freighters or blasting away dangerous asteroids. It’s a clever feature, and a life saver since Space Mountain will feature some of the longest lines in all of Disney. Which brings us to…

Attraction Strategy

The easiest thing you can possibly do is grab a Fast Pass+, which you can book online with a MyMagic+ account or at the park the day of. If you can book online, do that, because the available slots can vanish in a hurry the day of and FP+ will allow you to book weeks in advance of your arrival. With FP+, you can expect to be blasting through the ride within 10-15 minutes of entering the line.

If you don’t want to use one of your available FP slots on Space Mountain, or if you’ve already used up your allotted amount for that day, plan on getting to the park as close to rope drop (opening) as you can and doing this ride first. Later in the day, you can try riding during one of the bigger night time events like the Electrical Light Parade or the Wishes fireworks show. Otherwise, you can expect to be in the standby line for anywhere from 60-90 minutes.

Is This Attraction For You?

Ask yourself a few quick questions. Are you okay going downhill really fast? Are you okay with quick turns and drops you can’t see coming? Are you okay being strapped into a car and doing all of that in the dark? If the answer is yes, go for it!

So You Want To Go To Disney World

It’s no secret that Brian and I are fans of the Disney parks. We live ten minutes from Walt Disney World Resort (henceforth abbreviated as WDW) and are card-carrying premium annual passholders. We visit the parks at least twice a month, usually more than that, especially if there’s a special event or family is visiting.

We’re often asked if we get bored of Disney. The answer to that is an enthusiastic NO. WDW is huge. Our annual pass grants us unlimited admission to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Disney Quest, and Disney’s miniature golf courses. Because we live so close, we can go for an hour or two after work on a Friday as a fun way to start off the weekend. We can go for a few hours on a Saturday when we’re bored. We can laze around a water park during the dog days of summer on a Sunday afternoon. I love being able to go to Disney for a few hours and not have to run myself ragged. I can’t imagine being a tourist and having to pack everything in WDW into only a few days.

(Plus, it keeps me from getting too annoyed with the tourists!)

Disney is ever-changing, and it’s not a place you can just pop into and expect to get the best experience. To that end, Brian and I are here to help! We’re starting a column called “So You Want To Go To Disney World,” highlighting WDW’s geeky attractions, history, and strategies to help you get the most out of your trip. We’ll also be discussing other theme parks, like Universal Orlando Resort, and Kennedy Space Center.

Why should you care about Disney World, you might ask? First of all, Disney World is home to Star Wars Weekends, a month-long celebration of Star Wars held every year in May and June. Most importantly, Disney is now our lord and master, owner of the Star Wars IP. My first thought upon hearing that Disney had bought Lucasfilm was “ahhhhh more Star Wars in the parks! Gimme my Star Wars Land!” It’s taken awhile, but it looks like our wishes will finally come true soon enough–Bob Iger recently stated on a conference call that more Star Wars will be coming to the parks, and to stay tuned for an announcement next year.

Let’s clear up some misinformation first, because there’s a lot of it going around:

  • Disney is not building a Star Wars theme park.
  • At most, Disney will create a Star Wars Land inside of one of its existing theme parks, most likely Hollywood Studios (home to Star Tours).
  • There is no Harry Potter theme park. There are two Harry Potter “lands,” located inside the Universal Studios (Diagon Alley) and Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade) theme parks.
  • The Avatar expansion is already under construction inside Animal Kingdom.

Got it? Good.

We look forward to sharing our love of Disney an other Orlando theme parks with you. Stay tuned for our first column, covering Brian’s favorite ride–a classic Disney attraction in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. Can you guess what it is?