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Mission: SPACE

Mission SPACE grand opening ceremony report

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Thanks to Dr Albert Falls for this report:

"As soon as we walked it, there was food everywhere. Big shrimp cocktails, pastas, and a bunch of other stuff. All of the buffet tables had the most amazing spinning video screen above them (kinda like those text message things you swing around to see lighted words, only these were shaped like perfect globes!)

The bars were PACKED with neon martini glasses with glow sticks lighting up the drinks. Disney even brought in futuristic-looking clear plastic tables that were lit with neon lights from below.

We made our way over to Mission:Space for the Grand Opening ceremony and piled in front of the news cameras. Seeing that building lit up at night cannot be described. But even more amazing-- just before the ceremony a full moon appeared above the attraction (we literally caught ourselves questioning whether it was a Disney special effect, but it was the real thing)

The stage area darkened and Walter Cronkite's voice boomed over the loud speakers. As he described the early days of astronomy, two giant hot-air balloons floating above Mission:Space began showing video images of what he was talking about. The images shifted from early dreamers and astronomers, to the first rockets and shuttles, all the way up to video of Mission:Space itself. As Cronkite described the stars and rocket launches, single fireballs would streak across the sky.

The ground began to rumble and a loud roar could be heard. A man wearing a jetpack rose into the sky and flew around the building. (It was the same type of jetpack that can be seen in some of those 60's era Disneyland shows)

When the lights came up, Michael Eisner welcomed everyone. He thanked the Imagineers for dreaming up this new one-of-a-kind attraction, and he talked about Walt Disney's love of space exploration.

The president of HP then spoke about one of their company's first major equipment sales-- to a young Hollywood animator.

The head of NASA took the stage and talked about the need to inspire young people to pursue space. He then introduced several famous astronauts, including the 2nd man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin.

The most amazing moment came when a video image was projected on the wall in front of the building. It showed the two astronauts aboard the International Space Station. At first we thought it was just a videotape, but then it became clear Eisner and the NASA guy were talking to them LIVE!!!!!!!!!

Eisner, with the help of the 2 astronauts orbiting above, urged the crowd to do a "countdown to liftoff". When it reached zero, a huge flame shot out of the roof of Mission:Space, and then the skies lit up in the most amazing fireworks display I've EVER seen!!!!! It was like daylight!!!!!!

Afterwards, the crowds were let inside to ride it. We chose to go to the other stage, which was set up in front of the big fountain. Sugar Ray performed a few songs. It was amazing how close-up we could stand! Just as we were leaving, the B-52s took the stage.

As you can tell, it was an amazing night. My descriptions can't even compare to what it was like being there."

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