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  • Disney and Space Tourism

    I was just watching one of my "Tomorrowland" DVD's that presents the "Man in Space" episode from the "Disneyland" television series, and I started speculating about how close we are to space tourism.

    In a recent thread about the queue to Space Mountain, I mentioned a space elevator as a possible fictitious means to transport guests to Space Station 77. But, considering that the technology and materials to create a space elevator are now available and that the cost of such a thing is estimated to only be about $10 billion, regular and affordable travel into space may be something possible within our lifetimes.

    Is the space elevator something Disney should be exploring? And, if so, how close do you think the general public is to actually visiting space?

  • #2
    Re: Disney and Space Tourism

    While an interesting idea, I doubt it will ever be a reality. There's no reason to live in space. There's so much undeveloped land on the Earth that could be reclaimed with the resources that the elevator would require. Maybe when the world's socio-political problems are solved, and we find a cure for the major diseases that kill us, we can move on to living in space.

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    • #3
      Re: Disney and Space Tourism

      While Disney may not ever become the provider of space travel by elevator, it would intrigue me for Disney to partner with people like Richard Branson/Virgin One and bring replicas of Space One to Disneyland.

      Also each year a competition is held for inventors/engineers on the concept of building a space elevator, it would be amazing to bring the exhibits to DL, which usually offer high end graphic dramatizations of how the elevators would work.






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      • #4
        Re: Disney and Space Tourism

        Originally posted by PragmaticIdealist
        Is the space elevator something Disney should be exploring? And, if so, how close do you think the general public is to actually visiting space?
        I don't think - but I am biased - that Disney would need to be involved in space elevators any more than they are involved with terrestrial airlines or freight companies. Being in the business of moving people around doesn't seem to be their core expertise.

        That said, if a nice man from Disney were to cut a check I doubt we'd turn him down ...

        The last question? Soon - within my working lifetime.

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        • #5
          Re: Disney and Space Tourism

          Originally posted by Sosai X
          While an interesting idea, I doubt it will ever be a reality. There's no reason to live in space. There's so much undeveloped land on the Earth that could be reclaimed with the resources that the elevator would require. Maybe when the world's socio-political problems are solved, and we find a cure for the major diseases that kill us, we can move on to living in space.
          People choose where to live - or where to settle - based on a number of reasons. Lack of undeveloped land is usually pretty low on the list. Political reasons, adventure, making money are all up higher than that.

          But really - the 10 billion estimate is an optimistic low end. It might well be twice that. And so? 10 billion is an aircraft carrier. They're estimating 17 billion to rebuild New Orleans. For the price of two aircraft carriers or one New Orleans you could have a space elevator (if we're lucky). That's cheap.

          Also please note that the world socio-political problems will never be 'solved' - and cheap access to space will relieve a number of crisis problems we have right now.

          But I am biased. Sorry for the interruption - back to things Disney now.

          Brian Dunbar
          Liftport

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          • #6
            Re: Disney and Space Tourism

            Hold it... space elevators are NOT not possible w/ current technology. (For example,
            we don't know exactly how to build really long wire out of nanotubes). It is however,
            very close if we decide to invest in the R&D (I mean next 10 years).

            $10 b is really optimitic and doesn't take into account building the technology & infrastructure.

            Also people wouldn't have to "live" in space. There are a lot of technical advantages from a low gravity environmet (production of bubbles/spheres/drugs/chemicals/plastics). There would/could be a large number of people that work/live there temporarily (like on off shore oil derricks).

            Finally, I don't think Disney has any interest in involving itself in anything like this (at least initially). Now, a DL on the Moon or one at a Lagrange point, I'll bet on it eventually (and that's w/o solving the world socio-political problems!)

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            • #7
              Re: Disney and Space Tourism

              Originally posted by bdunbar
              I don't think - but I am biased - that Disney would need to be involved in space elevators any more than they are involved with terrestrial airlines or freight companies. Being in the business of moving people around doesn't seem to be their core expertise.
              Disney is currently operating cruise lines. And, the company should probably be involved with an airline on, at least, some level, even if it is just licensing the Disney name and providing management services in order to better control the marketing environment for the Disney travel destinations.

              While the risk-averse Disney of late is probably not wanting to undertake any major capital expenditures, I have a feeling that the Disney of 1966 would have been much more inclined to investigate the idea.

              Disney was instrumental in popularizing the American space program through the "Disneyland" television series. And, hearing Wernher von Braun on that series explaining rocket science to the general public fifteen years before human beings landed on the moon is a pretty incredible thing.

              Disney has been willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development to simulate space travel through attractions such as Mission: SPACE at EPCOT, so the leap to actual space travel is now much more realistic.

              The economics of the space elevator seem more attractive to private industry than Space One and some of the other proposals and projects I have seen. Focusing research dollars on this idea, for applications that include tourism, may be wise. The potential cost-effectiveness of the elevator is far greater than other competing means to escape Earth's gravity. And, the method also appears safer and more versatile.

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              • #8
                Re: Disney and Space Tourism

                Originally posted by PragmaticIdealist
                Disney is currently operating cruise lines. And, the company should probably be involved with an airline on, at least, some level, even if it is just licensing the Disney name and providing management services in order to better control the marketing environment for the Disney travel destinations.
                But the technology of cruise ships is well known. :-)

                Originally posted by PramaticIdealist
                While the risk-averse Disney of late is probably not wanting to undertake any major capital expenditures, I have a feeling that the Disney of 1966 would have been much more inclined to investigate the idea.
                I doubt it. This is a whole different ball of arena than entertainment, education or
                communications which Disney specializes in to space travel or in this case, nano-technology, microwaves (or lasers) and space propulsion&systems.
                Companies who build submarines (real) have more ready experience than
                Disney does. Not saying that Disney can't, but it'll be a tough sell. Disney
                would have to build/buy whole divisions and acquire huge chunks of technology
                to pull this off.

                Originally posted by PramaticIdealist
                Disney was instrumental in popularizing the American space program through the "Disneyland" television series. And, hearing Wernher von Braun on that series explaining rocket science to the general public fifteen years before human beings landed on the moon is a pretty incredible thing.
                Yes. But so did magazines (Life) and newspapers, but you're not asking them to
                do this. i.e. it's a light years difference from popularizing and actually doing.

                Originally posted by PragmaticIdealist
                Disney has been willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development to simulate space travel through attractions such as Mission: SPACE at EPCOT, so the leap to actual space travel is now much more realistic.
                Well, there's orders of magnitude difference between $100M and $10B. And
                simulation is radically different than actual space travel (in technology).

                Originally posted by PragmaticIdealist
                The economics of the space elevator seem more attractive to private industry than Space One and some of the other proposals and projects I have seen. Focusing research dollars on this idea, for applications that include tourism, may be wise. The potential cost-effectiveness of the elevator is far greater than other competing means to escape Earth's gravity. And, the method also appears safer and more versatile.
                All true.

                Anyway, my 2 cents...

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                • #9
                  Re: Disney and Space Tourism

                  Obviously, tourism may not be the principal application for a space elevator, so I do not expect Disney to bear the major part of the research and development costs of such a thing. Nor, do I consider Walt Disney Imagineering, by itself, capable of undertaking such a project.

                  One has to project a couple of decades into the future, though, and predict how commonplace this technology may soon be. Other travel and tourism companies are looking to space. Should Disney do so, as well?
                  Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 01-11-2006, 12:32 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Disney and Space Tourism

                    Originally posted by PragmaticIdealist
                    Obviously, tourism may not be the principal application for a space elevator, so I do not expect Disney to bear the major part of the research and development costs of such a thing. Nor, do I consider Walt Disney Imagineering, by itself, capable of undertaking such a project.

                    One has to project a couple of decades into the future, though, and predict how commonplace this technology may soon be. Other travel and tourism companies are looking to space. Should Disney do so, as well?
                    Absolutely. In fact, I would be surprised if Disney isn't in "space" or have a "space cruise" line when this happens.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Disney and Space Tourism

                      Disney's conceivable involvement in the development of a space elevator would, I'm sure, be similar to Walt Disney's intentions to build the city of EPCOT through strategic alliances with companies in more specialized industries.

                      Walt Disney Productions in 1966 was nothing if not visionary.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Disney and Space Tourism

                        Disney is an entertainment company. Perhaps when space cruises are possible.....

                        Space Cruises? hang on a second.....
                        St. Elizabeth, Patron Saint of Themed parks. Protect us from break downs, long lines, and used gum. Amen.

                        "Dance like it hurts, love like you need money, and work when people are watching" - Dogbert




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                        • #13
                          Re: Disney and Space Tourism

                          Yes. that WAS absolutely true.

                          WD Productions in '66 was extremely visionary and willing to push the 'envelope'.
                          In fact, Walt basically put *all* "his marbles in the basket", several times. The man
                          was definitely someone who stood by his convictions. In some ways THAT was his greatest achievement.

                          To change the subject a little bit, a "space eleveator" could make a pretty interesting ride (or a part of one). And having a ride for it could really "propel" (pun intended) this along.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Disney and Space Tourism

                            Originally posted by nish221
                            Hold it... space elevators are NOT not possible w/ current technology. (For example, we don't know exactly how to build really long wire out of nanotubes). It is however, very close if we decide to invest in the R&D (I mean next 10 years).
                            Point taken; we're reasonably certain that the ribbon material (think braid not really long single strand wire) is the only bit of tech that is not available commercially or has had a prototype built for other reasons. One reason Liftport was started was because of this.

                            Originally posted by nish221
                            $10 b is really optimitic and doesn't take into account building the technology & infrastructure.
                            Agreed on both points. Yet when Edwards came up with that figure he claimed that it did. We'll see. Tom Nugent (Dir of Research at Liftport) is supposed to be working on a detailed estimate of costs for publication this quarter. At his first pass he came up with a figure twice that.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Disney and Space Tourism

                              Marty Sklar, in the interview he gives Leonard Maltin, says that we do know that President Dwight D. Eisenhower saw the series on space exploration and that the episodes were impetus to begin the American space program after the acquisition of German rocket science following World War II.

                              I was not aware of this fact, although I did know a similar piece of historical information, which is that Winston Churchill saw Walt Disney's "Victory through Air Power" and that the British Prime Minister insisted that all the other leaders of the Allied Powers view the same filmic essay, which, ostensibly, shaped the strategy that helped win World War II, itself.

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