Want to Get a Little Bit Spacey?!
by Daniel L Rappaport
Please read to the bottom, as there is a surprise!
"Of course, kids believe it to be completely authentic and excite them to want them to
do something with space in their lives, in the future. Inspire the next generation, you know, to
build a better tomorrow, which was Walt's [Disney] original dream for EPCOT."
- Tom Fitzgerald Portfolio Creative Executive
Walt Disney Imagineering "Well, finally, a blog post about our home!", complained Morgana. "EPCOT is nowhere near where we reside. Surely, you know that!", said Grenadiya. "I mean, specifically, yes. It's just that we never get any representation!" "Morgana, Morgana, Morgana.... Contrary to what you might think, all that makes up space does not revolve around you!", said Kabire, curiously. "Are you sure about that, Kabire? You haven't seen my work lately, because you have been too busy focused on yourself." "Witches! We have a blog post to move forward with! Later!", exclaimed Grenadiya.
**Please note** As far as I could piece together, the restaurant staff and food are all ran by the Patina Restaurant Group, while the venue was designed and built by Walt Disney Imagineering. So, while obtaining a table, as well as any Disney discounts are concerned, are similar to other Disney ran restaurants on property, it isn't the exact same.
If you aren't totally and absolutely emotionally moved and life changed, after experiencing this truly awesome Disney attraction, I am wondering if you are even human.
Strong words, yes, but this is exactly how I felt after dining here. Space 220 is a restaurant years in the making, and, like most all of the other attractions that have either recently opened, or are about to open around Walt Disney World, this one was plagued by the pandemic.
This is a total and absolute complete idea.
Getting in can be no easy task, unless you know a trick, which I will get into later. With that being said, this "trick" isn't really a trick as it's how most restaurants, around the world, work.
It takes place at the current Mission Space pavilion (where Horizons used to be), and is an add on.
Quite obviously, every single part of the experience is themed. From the placement of the check in desk, to how you get around to the lobby, to how you enter the space elevator and then, ultimately, to where you eat. It's a seamless journey and one that most definitely brings people together. It is really great that they offer two areas of the restaurant, that serve two different kinds of food. One is the lounge, where you will have your bar bites, and the other is the main restaurant, that features two prix fixe menus. One for lunch, and the other for dinner. I don't care what you pay here, it's worth every penny. One might wonder why you would pay in and around $50 - $150 per person (that's about what you might average, no matter where you sit, and at what time of day) for a meal and and attraction, especially since you already paid to get into the park. This is definitely a premium experience. The details and quality of the theming is so much more pristine and larger than life than, say, what you might find (although, I truly do love this place) at Connections Eatery or even Coral Reef Restaurant (which are just steps away).
WIth that being said, every Disney restaurant offers up a totally unique experience, that you can't really find, unless you go to that one singular, particular place. Sure. There are a lot of places out there that offer pizza. But, how many offer gourmet flatbread, while overlooking "it's a small world" (Pinocchio Village Haus)? This is my very point, and, largely, is a good amount of what you are paying for, when you enter a Disney theme park; intensely rich experiences that you can't find or do anywhere else. I digress. "He does, indeed. Way, way too much.", interrupted Morgana. "SHUT IT!", shouted the rest of the coven. After you check in, and enter the lobby area, you must wait for the space elevator, but, a handful of minutes (at least, my party had to). This is a blessing in disguise, because as you look around, you are immediately made aware that this isn't just any restaurant lobby. It feels like the best parts of Star Trek and Star Wars combined. The music and sound effects, along with the space, inspirationally hit you in the gut, as if to say that this is as positive as it gets, in terms of humanity's' future, and that feelings is absolutely carried throughout the entire experience. Okay! Our space elevator has arrived, and we are transported two hundred and twenty feet up into space (thus, the name of the restaurant. Surprise!). I have to say.... The illusion is perfect. When you get off of it, you definitely feel like what was just simulated actually did happen. It isn't really all that big or flashy, in the way that maybe Splash Mountain or even Expedition Everest are. That wasn't their point. The ratio of economy of attraction machinery to final delivery, in terms of pay off, is amazing.
When you leave the space elevator, you walk by a gigantic display of rotating space lettuce, that is reminiscent of the Living with the Land attraction. At the end of your meal, if you have had any alcohol whatsoever, don't stare at this thing for too long, unless you want to wind up on the floor (which I may, or may not have done). More on their top tier drinks a bit later (yes... I haven't forgotten about the aforementioned "trick").
When you are taken to your table, and go through the hallway, right before the dining room, do take a moment to see how wine is displayed, in space. For wine enthusiasts, it's quite the sight. The person that I was with doesn't even drink alcohol, and he loved it.
When you first enter the dining room, it can be quite overwhelming. Obviously, the main event are those gigantic windows that look out into space. This is, in and of itself, quite the technological miracle, as I am personally unaware of any monitor that is the size of a film theater screen. I wouldn't be surprised, in the least, if Disney had these custom made. Indeed. They could be rear projections, but, they certainly don't look like it.
The food is downright divine and the service was miraculously on point. There were things that happened, in the service, to where I have no idea how they did it, or how the server even knew, because most of the time, he was out of sight, but seemed to be with us, at just the right moments.
For the complexity of the food created, the food came out incredibly fast.
I will say that there are many, many restaurants out there, to where the same value of what I paid for the meal, is in the food alone, but, of course, without the attraction element. So.... economically.... Well done, Disney.
Where could they possibly go from here?
Well, for one.... (and they know this), Tomorrowland, in Disneyland is, and has been due for an overhaul for far, far longer than anyone would like to admit. Could we see a next level attraction, ala Guardians of the Galaxy : Cosmic Rewind and Space 220 make its way over there? I would definitely hope and assume so. It's in Disney's culture to outdo themselves with every level and iteration of any attraction that they create, down to ones that are even apparent "duplicates".
It's my understanding that Mickey's Runaway Railway will have some new additions, in Disneyland's version of it.
I could definitely imagine an indoor roller coaster that incorporates 3D glasses technology. How about a visit to the International Space Station? Create an attraction that goes on a deep dive into how our modern rockets and satellites are created and deployed? There are so many options, and, likely, Disney has thought of many of these.
How does Space 220 inspire Pazzaria Productions?
We are most inspired by the level of detail, story and immersion of the whole thing and we will absolutely seek to incorporate that into experiences that we will create. Of course, we, definitely want to ask the question... "What happens when you leave the space restaurant? How does your story continue?" This is as per our mission statement.
Oooohhhh yes..... I promised you an answer to that trick!
Thank you for reading to the end, and, here you go! Even though Space 220 was and likely still is totally booked in the app, they set aside a certain amount of reservations for walk ups. This is how I got in. In and around 11:30 A.M., they had some tables open, and we dined at 7:30 P.M. We were also given an option for 8 P.M. I have done this a number of times, at various restaurants across property.
Also.... Many restaurants offer lounges that are first come, first serve and have either the full menu, or similar food.
If you do go, please enjoy. It's worth all of the effort to try and snag a table here, and, may you be changed and inspired!
"Wow. I never knew that human achievement is almost akin to our magic.", said Lazul.
"See, see, see, you putrid three! This is the work that I was referring to! Me, me, me!", yelled Morgana. "Uuuuhhh.... Ssssuuurrreee....", said Kabire. "I think that I hear your doorknob collection calling you, missy."
"Listen, everyone! We had little to do with this! In this instance, all we did was aid in controlling the seasons. The Horned God and the Crone were most grateful, for sure.", exclaimed Ariel.
"Bye all! I need to shake up a certain, uh... Space elevator!", said Morgana. She vanished.
"So mote it be!", said the rest of the coven, and then, they all vanished.
© and TM 2022 Pazzaria Productions © and TM 2022 The Walt Disney Company