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Flight to the Moon

Flight to the Moon

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Flight to the Moon and Mission to Mars theater Walt Disney World

 Flight to the Moon opened on December 24, 1971.  It was already an outdated attraction since most park guests had watched a real moon landing only a few years earlier on television and NASA's moon project was winding down at this time.  The preshow featured Mr. Tom Morrow explaining about Mission Control.  Mr. Tom Morrow interacted with a live cast member as they asked him questions about space flight.  Flight # 92 traveled to the moon for the last time on April 15, 1975.  This attraction used to require a D ticket.

Flight to the Moon Script
(This transcription is courtesy of Eric Paddon)

Mission Control Preshow

Cast Member (Live):  Ladies and gentleman, may I have your attention please?  In a moment, when we leave this area, please be sure to take along all of your personal belongings, including your imagination.  Our Flight to the Moon takes place sometime in the future, when travel to outer space will be an everyday adventure.  Now, if you will all follow me, our first stop in the World of Tomorrow will be inside our Mission Control Center.

(Note:  The cast member spiel in Disneyland would have plugged sponsor McDonnell-Douglas, but they never sponsored the attraction in Florida until after the change to "Mission To Mars".  Guests are led from the waiting area, where the clock announcing the departure of Flight #92 has now gone down to zero, by a cast member to the area looking into Mission Control.)

Cast Member (Live):  Ladies and gentleman, this is our Spaceport Mission Control.  While we're waiting for clearance to board Flight #92, I'll try to get our operations director to explain what's going on. Oh Mr. Morrow?

Tom Morrow:  Yes?  (George Walsh voiced Mr. Tom Morrow, just as he would later voice Mr. Johnson for "Mission To Mars".)

Flight to the Moon Mission Control

Cast Member (Live):  Mr. Morrow, could you spare a few minutes to explain Mission Control to our passengers?

Tom Morrow:  Of course, glad to.  Welcome aboard space travelers.  The small TV monitors you see are keeping track of various activities here, and out in space.  The men over here are watching operations on the Spaceport itself.  We have tracking and traffic control, and space mission monitoring.  And also, we're receiving pictures from various Earth observation satellites.  Let's have the repeater monitor please.  The small pictures can be repeated up above for an overall view.  But in addition, any one can be put on the large monitor for a closer look.  Base Operations, give us your picture please.

(New image comes up on the main screen of a giant spaceship on the launch pad.  This was likely the same image that passengers would see in the final portion of the "Mission To Mars" briefing before boarding their spacecraft.)

Tom Morrow:  Here, we see a space vehicle that's leaving for Mars next week.  It's almost forty stories high and weighs over six million pounds. Incidentally, the round trip takes something over two and a half years.  I hope no one in the crew leaves the water running in the bathtub!

Base Operations:  Base Operations here.  Pad 21 is T-minus ten seconds and counting.

Tom Morrow:  Good, may we see it?

(Main screen now shows a rocket ready to launch.)

Tom Morrow:  This small rocket is about to launch a scientific satellite into orbit around the Earth.  Let's watch the liftoff.  (The filmed liftoff takes place.) At peak times here, we have a launch or landing every three or four minutes.  And as you see, we handle all sorts of missions.

Controller #1:   Attention.  Flight # 704 has retrofired and is starting re-entry.

Tom Morrow:  Let's see it.  (New image on screen.) This is a picture you don't see very often.  We are looking back from a spacecraft entering the Earth's atmosphere at about 17,000 miles per hour.  The greenish glow is air being ionized by the tremendous heat generated through friction with the spacecraft.  Also, as you can see, the ship is rolling as it comes in.  It's all quite normal for this method of re-entry.  Which was proved out by the Gemini astronauts back in the 1960s.

(Warning alert sirens suddenly sound as the pictures on all monitors grow snowy.)

Controller #2:  Emergency, emergency!  Unauthorized approach on Runway #12!

Tom Morrow:  All stations.  Emergency standby!

Controller #2:  Picture on B Channel.

(One-by-one, each monitor shows an image of an albatross coming in for a landing.  This moment would be repeated again in Mission To Mars.)

Tom Morrow:  Ahem (chuckles dryly).  Well, at least this is one UFO we can identify!

Cast Member (Live):   Mr. Morrow, isn't that a Saturn rocket I see on the Operations monitor?

Tom Morrow:  Yes, as a matter of fact, it is.  Give us a picture of the 2-5-1 mission, please.  This spacecraft is just about to be launched on a prospecting trip to the Asteroid Belt. Stand by.

Controller #3:  T-minus, five seconds.  Four, three, two, one.  Ignition!

(Main screen shows this spacecraft launch.)

Tom Morrow:  As your hostess mentioned, this rocket is one of the old Saturn series, developed back in the late sixties.  They were so dependable, we're still using them.  In fact, they've become the real workhorses of space.  In a moment, we'll have first stage separation.  Then, we'll see a rare sight.

Controller #4:  First stage separation.

(Main screen shows an in-camera perspective of the first stage dropping away from the second stage.)

Tom Morrow:  This picture is coming from a camera in the first stage.  The second stage is moving out into position for firing.  (Monitor shows second stage igniting.)  That was the second stage engine igniting.  And as you can see, the spacecraft is on its way.  Just as you will be, shortly.

Controller #5:  Flight #92 is now ready for boarding.

Tom Morrow:  On the large monitor, you can see your lunar transport.  The countdown is in progress, and all systems are go.  Have a pleasant flight.
Cast Member (Live):  Thank you, Mr. Morrow.  Ladies and gentlemen, please follow me to the boarding area.

Flight to the Moon Main Show

Cast Member (Live):  Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard Flight #92.  We are now ready for departure.  During our trip, the cabin atmosphere will be air-conditioned and controlled by internal systems.  So please remember, there will be no smoking.  Hostess to captain, passenger cabin is now secured.

Captain:  Welcome aboard, ladies and gentlemen.  This is your captain speaking.  During our flight, I'll select pictures from television cameras mounted outside our spacecraft, and put them on various screens in your cabin.  We're on final countdown now, so I won't be speaking to you again until we're well on our way.

Tom Morrow:  T-minus five, four, three, two, one.  Ignition!

(As with Disneyland's "Rocket To The Moon" ride of the 1950s, and "Mission To Mars" later, on the lower screen we see the liftoff and feel our seats sink, simulating the g-factor.)

Captain:   Attention, please.  We have just passed maximum flight dynamic pressure.  We're climbing at about one thousand feet per second on our assigned escape trajectory.  We're still under traffic control because as you know there are hundreds of objects in Earth orbit today.  With our telescopic cameras, we can see some of the traffic in our vicinity.

(The upper screen shows a satellite passing by.)

Captain:  On the upper screen is one of the weather satellites that send back hundreds of pictures of the Earth's atmosphere every day.  Now observe the lower screen please.  We're bringing you a picture of a space commuter bus.  These craft take men and supplies back and forth between Earth and various orbiting space stations.  We'll see one of those stations on the upper screen.  This one carries a crew of fifty men and circles the globe every two hours, moving at a constant speed of 16,000 miles per hour.

(Beeping sound.)

Captain:  Earth control has advised us that we are now clear of traffic.  In a few seconds, we'll begin mid-course maneuvers, and we will experience partial weightlessness for a short time.  There's no cause for alarm, but by the way, hold on to any loose belongings, and no floating about the cabin, please.

Flight Control:  Flight Control to Captain.  Gyro control on.

Captain:   Ladies and gentlemen, please turn your attention to the middle screens now.  We've arranged a live telecast from the surface of the moon for you.  Stand by.  Go ahead, moon.  You're on.

(The side screens reveal a scene of a group of astronauts on the moon.  One of them faces the camera and raises his visor.)

Astronaut:  Hello.  Welcome to the moon.  We're up near the rim of a good-sized crater on a geological survey.  I've been taking pictures of the area, and these men are collecting rock samples and recording a description of each one.  As you can see, it isn't easy to work in these spacesuits, but we couldn't survive without them out here.  For example, this faceplate is all there is between me and an absolute vacuum.  If it suddenly popped out, my blood would literally boil.  We carry our air in these backpacks, and our suits are temperature controlled.  In fact, they're the latest thing in moon fashions.  But enough of that.  Now, let's look at the moon.

(A panning shot as the astronaut points to a lunar base consisting of multiple structures that look to be mostly assembled from lower stages of old rockets.)

Astronaut:  Out on the plain, there, you can see one of our moon bases.  Most of the living quarters and laboratories have to be underground for protection from radiation and meteorites.  Of course, the moon does have its advantages, too.  For instance, it's a perfect observatory, because there's no air.  Also, gravity is only one sixth that of Earth, and that has some very interesting effects.  Now let me give you a little demonstration of something you may have read about.

(The astronaut lowers his face-plate and then makes a leaping bound off the ridge to the plain surface below.  He then raises his face-plate to talk to the audience again.)

Astronaut:  I know my kids back home would sure get a kick out of that.  And that's not all.  Watch this.

(He lowers his visor and then picks up one of his fellow astronauts, and taking advantage of the one-sixth gravity, tosses him in the air to the third astronaut in the group.)

Astronaut:  Actually, these tricks are dangerous here.  There's too much chance of ripping your precious suit and losing air, and that would be the end.  And speaking of air, mine's getting a little low.  I'll have to go in for a fresh supply.

(We follow him up to one of the old rocket sections now acting as a moon base.)

Astronaut:  This is our traveling laboratory, sort of a super mobile home we live in when we're away from the base.  Inside, we have enough air and supplies for about a week.  It's a little cramped, but after walking around in a spacesuit for a couple of hours it feels like a mansion.  Drop in for a visit some time.  So long.  (Some versions of audio for this attraction feature this line of dialogue before the line "Now let me give you a little demonstration of something you may have read about." and omit the lines about tricks.)

Captain:  Ladies and gentlemen, the moon now appears on the lower screen.  It will remain there during our passage near the surface.

Copernicus Control:  Flight 92, this is Copernicus Control.  Radar contact.  Your altitude at closest approach will be zero-four-five miles.  Velocity 6,020 miles per hour.  Control clear.

(While this was meant to be the voice of a controller based on the moon, the voice was the same as Tom Morrow's.)

Captain:  As you can see, the moon is riddled with thousands of craters of various sizes.  Most were made by meteor impacts, but there are some caused by volcanic activity.  Right now, you can see a telescopic shot of the moon base we were in communication with.  They're sending us a bon voyage by laser beam.  In just a minute now, we'll pass into the lunar night, and flares will be launched so that you can see some of the surface.

Copernicus Control:  Fire one.

Captain:  Whether it's night or day, this side of the moon is always turned away from Earth.  For centuries, it was a mystery.

Copernicus Control:  Fire two.

Captain:   But as you can see now, it's about like the other side.  Ladies and gentlemen, we're now leaving the dark side of the moon and moving into the sunlight again.  You can see the Earth on the upper screen.  Right now, we're in a good position to look at the sun.  It's always a dramatic sight from space.  We'll use the middle screens, since this requires special filters and telescopic lenses.

(A telescopic view of the sun appears on both side screens.)

Captain:  Those huge dark areas are sunspots.  Actually, they're cool patches on the sun, a mere 7,000 degrees.  The giant eruptions of incandescent gases you see bursting from the sun's rim are probably over a million miles long.  If the sun were to burn out suddenly, our Earth would freeze, and all life would come to an abrupt end.  But don't worry.  It's supposed to last another two or three billion years, at least.  By that time- (a crackling noise erupts) stand by!

(Warning sirens blare as the images on the screens go wildly awry indicating the ship has gone off course.  By the time the tumult dies down, the Earth is now visible again on the lower screen and rapidly drawing close.)

Captain:   Attention, please.  We've just passed through a shower of meteoroids, sometimes called "shooting stars.   We took a few hits, but we'll make it home all right.  Traffic control has given us a priority re-entry clearance.  As you can see on the lower screen, we're almost back to Earth, and in a few seconds we will increase power for terminal deceleration.  Please remain in your seats until all rockets are shut down.

(Final sounds of deceleration as the surface now fills the lower screen.)

Captain:   Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived back at the spaceport, and you may now leave the spacecraft.  We're happy to have had you aboard, and we hope you'll fly with us again.

(Cast member gives instructions for exiting.)

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See ya real soon!