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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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Peter Pan closed through May 7
Matterhorn Bobsleds closed through May 15
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh closed Jan 12-April 2
Haunted Mansion closed Jan 12-22
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes closed Jan 12-April 2
Splash Mountain closed Jan 12-April 2
DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE:
Soarin' Over California closed through May 14
Taste Pilot's Grill closed through March 12
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail closed Jan 20-March 12
Grizzly River Run closed Jan 20-Mar 19
Luigi's Flying Tires closed through Dec 1
Credits Hall of Fame. This real-time list honors the top Credits purchasers by showing the total number of Credits purchased. These MouseWaiters play an integral part in helping us maintain and innovate. Thank you to everyone who buys Credits in the MW iOS app, TRIVILATOR, and Goat Effect!
Taste Pilots Grill in DCA will reopen as Smokejumpers Grill on March 13 as apart of the new-themed area, Grizzly Air Field.
Attraction Closures: Critter Country (opens 4/3), Fortuosity Jewelry Shop (opens 3/13), Magic Eye Theater (TBD), Matterhorn (opens 5/16), Peter Pan (opens 5/8), Snow White Grotto (opens 5/1), Starcade (TBD), Soarin over California (opens 5/15), Grizzly River Run (opens 3/20), Luigi's Flying Tires (2016), World of Color (TBD).
unForecast Crowd Prediction: This week is the unofficial start of the Spring Break crowds, so expect the parks to be a little more crowded than normal. Also with only one showing of Fantasmic during the week, expect FPs for the show to go quickly along with it being crowded around the Rivers of America close to showtime. Throughout the week, expect CIs to be in the high 60s to low 80s for Disneyland Park and in the low 70s to low 80s for DCA.