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Good morning! This day in Disney history, March 21st, 1975: Mission to Mars opened in Tomorrowland.
Mission to Mars opened less than eight years after the opening of Rocket to the Moon. Rocket to the Moon was an original 1955 opening year attraction sponsored by Trans World Airlines. It’s name changed in 1967 to “Flight to the Moon” as part of the new Tomorrowland.
The Moonliner in the 1955 model at Disneyland - The First 50 Magical Years.
The Astro-Jets are adjacent to Rocket to the Moon
From July 1969, through December 1972, six manned missions of NASA’s Apollo program landed on the Moon. The present had finally caught up with Tomorrowland. So in 1975 Disney decided flying to Mars seemed more futuristic and therefore fitting better within the Tomorrowland theme.
In the Mission to Mars attraction, Guests entered a viewing area known as Mission Control, which was modeled after a typical mission control center featuring seated Audio-Animatronic "technicians" whose backs were to the audience. Facing the audience was an Audio-Animatronic flight director named Mr. Johnson who hosted the show with film clips about space travel. The lecture was interrupted once per show by an intruder alarm caused by a large bird crash-landing near the spacecraft launch pad. After the pre-show, guests boarded their spacecraft, a circular theater with stadium-like seating featuring circular flat screens on the ceiling and floor. There were also side screens that showed film clips or graphics.
Below, the theater room at the time of Flight to the Moon
Then how it looked for Mission to Mars
A short clip of the Mission to Mars attraction at night
According to yesterland.com, Mission to Mars closed in November 1992. But this time, the closing wasn’t to make way for a major update or brand new attraction. Except for a short period in 1996, when part of the building was used for the temporary Toy Story Funhouse, the former Mission to Mars was simply abandoned. It was part of a lonely little corner of Disneyland with several other closed attractions that weren’t replaced until years later, some, not replaced at all: America Sings (closed 1988), the Skyway to Fantasyland (closed 1994), and the PeopleMover (closed 1995).
Of course, you all know in 1998, the building that once housed Mission to Mars was reinvented into Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port restaurant. The Rocket that stands on top however isn’t the original. It’s about two thirds the height and “landed” near the entrance of the restaurant. It’s painted red and white like the original, except it’s Coca Cola themed, not TWA.
Do you remember Mission to Mars? What did you think of it?
Thanks for reading and watching! Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!
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My first software project launched in 2003 as an experiment in online productivity. TIMEJAR was one of the first online/mobile time management systems with thousands of users including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and families. In 2015, we completely rebuilt the TIMEJAR time management system and made it free for everyone to use on their desktop and iOS. Seize control of your todos and accomplish the impossible today!
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Disneyland unFORECAST (BETA) is here! Top MouseWaiters giving you the rundown of what's happening at the Disneyland Resort. The unFORECAST now has its own page on the web www.unFORECAST.com
unFORECAST for the week of May 18, 2015
24 Hour Day this Friday, expect big crowds! Both Parks will close early this week to prepare for the kickoff of the 60th Anniversary Celebration. Should be quiet leading up to this Friday, and the weekend should be PACKED! Watch MouseWait for real-time Crowd Index updates.
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