Behind the gorgeously swirling planetary facade is a ride that approximates, with intense accuracy, the experience of a rocket launch. Although technically a whirl in a giant centrifuge, the skillful design tricks the mind into believing the body’s actually lurching backward in a launch for Mars (although my eyeballs seem to know—they wag uncontrollably for the first 30 seconds). Gary Sinise, oozing gravitas, issues so many preshow warnings against motion sickness that I honestly think it psychs people out and primes them for illness, although sufferers of sinus problems have reported discomfort. Each passenger in the extremely tight four-person cockpits is assigned two buttons to press at given cues—it doesn’t matter if you don’t, but at least hold onto your steering joystick, because it gives force feedback as you travel. Ultimately, it’s a ride that’s all brains and no heart—I’m deeply impressed at what they’ve done, but I don’t feel like doing it twice. The Advanced Training Lab postshow area (through the gift shop) is worthwhile even if you don’t ride. There, you can play interactive group games and send free postcards home via computer. Strategy: Whereas Mad Tea Party makes me want to hurl, I do just fine on this ride. You’ll be given a choice when you enter the building: There’s a second version (color-coded green) with easy motion-simulator effects but no troubling centrifuge action, but in my opinion, the missing element renders the ride pointless.
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