In June of 1975, just a few months after Flight to the Moon closed, Mission to Mars opened to guests. The story line premise and ride experience was very similar to that of its predecessor. In fact, many people remember them as a single attraction.
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. Johnson. After a quick welcome, Mr. Johnson explained the purpose of the area and introduced the Mars flight vehicle.
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.
Guests were treated to a flight over the Martian surface which they saw from the bottom “window” of the craft. Along the way, 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.
Mission to Mars closed in October of 1993 after an unheard of 18+ years of operation. Its replacement, Alien Encounter, used the same main show area with modifications to the technology used to create the simulation. This is also true of the space’s current attraction, Stitch’s Great Escape.