As was true of many of Tomorrowland’s attractions, Flight to the Moon (though nearly identical to its sister attraction in Disneyland) wasn’t ready for guests when the park opened in October of 1971. The attraction finally opened on December 24th of that same year.
After a brief introduction in a holding area, guests would enter the preshow room: Mission Control. Here guests got an inside look into their upcoming flight and met the director of operations, Mr. Tom Morrow. After welcoming everyone to Mission Control, Mr. Morrow explained the purpose of Mission Control and introduced the vehicle for the upcoming flight to the moon. Guests exited Mission Control to head to the launch pad and their flight vehicle. This section of the attraction hasn’t changed much over the years. If you’ve ever ridden one of its predecessors, you are familiar with the layout of the room; a circular space with rows of seats surrounding a recessed center of the room. On the walls were multiple viewing screens as well as one on the ceiling and floor.
Once everyone was seated, the flight’s captain welcomed everyone, a countdown began and then it was launch time. As the craft launched into space the entire room, including the seats, began to shake with audible force. A few moments later as the craft exited Earth’s atmosphere, the seats changed to simulate the change in gravity.
From this point on the “show” took over. In addition to meeting one of the astronauts working on the moon’s surface and learning how it was possible, guests were treated to a flight over the moon’s surface which they saw from the bottom “window” of the craft. While there, they were directed to look at the sun. As the importance of the mass of burning gasses was discussed, the craft suddenly becomes the victim of a meteor shower in space. The craft began to shake as sirens blasted but luckily, everyone is unharmed. Unfortunately, to keep guests from any more danger, it was then time to go back home to Earth.
After just under 4 years of operation (and the end of Americans’ fascination with manned missions to the moon), Flight to the Moon sent its last guests on the journey in Spring of 1975. Just a few months later, the attraction re-opened with a similar premise and ride experience as Mission to Mars.