“Controversy is part of the nature of art and creativity.” – Yoko Ono
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” – PT Barnum
The Walt Disney Company is one of the largest corporations in the history of the world. And one of the downsides of standing so squarely in the public eye is that all mistakes are infamous. They also get blown out of proportion at times. This happens because people are so passionate about Disney’s creations, which oftentimes represent a key part of our youth.
When Disney messes up, many of us care enough to speak out. The outcome of such discussions justifies Yoko Ono’s quote, while Disney hopes that PT Barnum’s philosophy is also true. Which theme park issues have evoked such strong feelings among theme park tourists? Well, it’s a long list, but my goal today is to discuss the most inflammatory issues. Here are the biggest controversies in the history of Disney theme parks.
Mission: Space is too intense
Unfortunately, many of the greatest headlines involving Disney parks stem from dangerous incidents. One of the most famous situations occurred on Mission: Space, although it wasn’t an isolated example. This attraction, which Disney rebooted in August of 2017, originally had rare intensity. It proved to be too vigorous for a few unlucky riders.
The roots of Disney’s broadcast television programs are steeped with love of outer space travel. It was a passion of Walt Disney, and the company paid many members of NASA to liaise on potential space-based park additions. With Mission: Space, Imagineers constructed the most realistic astronaut simulator ever built.
Early in the ride, guests experience the centrifugal force of escape velocity. It’s a powerful sensation that reinforces the underlying strength of astronauts. It’s also too much for some park guests. Disney posted warnings about the impact that Mission: Space could have on the human body, but it sadly wasn’t enough. Several different riders suffered maladies in the throes of escape velocity. Two of them even died, although both parties had pre-existing conditions that were the true cause of the tragedies.
Given what happened, Disney had no choice but to change Mission: Space. They added a Green Mission, which was less intense. It stripped out the G-force pressure of the ride, basically negating its specialness. The Orange Mission was the original ride, only with more warnings. Due to the scary reputation of Mission: Space, it never did as well as Disney hoped, which is why they eventually rebooted it.