I am fascinated by Disney World fun facts in the Disney parks, and these Space Mountain fun facts do not disappoint. This is not a popular opinion, but I don’t love Space Mountain. The shaky roller coaster leaves me feeling achy when I get off the ride.
My husband loves Space Mountain. Thank goodness his brother lives nearby and will ride it with him so I don’t have to!
A Tomorrowland favorite, Space Mountain always has Guests racing toward it like the pull of gravity. Disney fans love Space Mountain as one of the most iconic attractions. Fans love it because of it’s futuristic music, the beaming stars, sharp turns and the sudden drops.
Dive straight into the orbit of Space Mountain. Discover the most compelling Space Mountain fun facts about this legendary Disney attraction.
From its conception by Walt Disney and an astronaut’s touch to its global variations and hidden Easter eggs. Each tidbit adds to the rich tapestry of Space Mountain’s legacy.
Get ready to be propelled into a constellation of surprising insights with this Space Mountain trivia. Hop aboard this classic roller coaster that rockets through space.
1. History of Space Mountain
Opened in Magic Kingdom in 1975, the original Space Mountain was the first roller coaster completely enclosed. This allowed for total darkness on the attraction!
This accomplishment set the bar for many roller coasters in the future. Now, 5 out of 6 Disney resorts showcase their own Space Mountain attractions. Would we experience the electrifying thrills of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster today if this hadn’t happened?
Space Mountain, the first indoor roller coaster of its kind and one of the most popular rides in Disney parks. It has a history as thrilling as the ride itself. The idea of Space Mountain developed from Walt Disney’s imagination.
2. Walt Disney’s Vision
Space Mountain was a pioneering indoor coaster dreamt up by Walt Disney himself. It was influenced by the success of the Matterhorn Bobsleds and perfected with the help of astronaut Gordon Cooper.
The project was postponed due to Walt Disney’s death and other challenges. It was eventually realized in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, marking a new era in roller coaster design.
In 1964, Walt Disney approached designer John Hench with the idea for an indoor dark roller coaster. This marked the beginning of a significant collaboration between the two. The concept, later known as ‘Space Mountain,’ was a revolutionary idea for its time. It aimed at recreating the thrill of a roller coaster and space travel.
However, the journey to bring Space Mountain to life wasn’t smooth. The original concept faced several challenges, including technological limitations.
It also had space constraints at Disneyland during the 1960s. As a result, the realization of Walt Disney’s vision was delayed, but it was never forgotten.
3. Matterhorn Bobsleds Influence
The success of Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds had a profound impact on Space Mountain’s genesis. This first-of-its-kind ‘mountain’ attraction demonstrated the public’s appetite for thrill rides.
This Shaped Walt Disney’s vision for a space-themed roller coaster. It also inspired the creation of more space mountain attractions.
Drawing on the groundbreaking approach of the Matterhorn Bobsleds, the design of Space Mountain integrates thematic storytelling with roller coaster exhilaration. It established a new standard for Disney attractions to follow. This includes the innovative use of ride vehicle technology.
4. First to Completely Rely on Computer Technology
This accomplishment was impressive for the 60s and 70s! With computer technology, the system can detect the weight of each vehicle and control the speed at which they move on the track.
Track sensors ensure that each vehicle is at least one brake away from each other; if they’re not, the computer systems will slow down the vehicle. (Ever notice this happen when you’re in the middle of riding an attraction? Cast Members call this “cascading.”).
This technology prevents collisions to keeps Guests safe. It also increases the efficiency of loading and offloading. Good thing this procedure is commonplace today!
5. Astronauts Consulted During Construction
To bring authenticity to the Space Mountain experience, astronaut Gordon Cooper was invited to serve as a creative consultant during the design phase. Cooper’s involvement was pivotal in creating a realistic portrayal of a space flight, based on his first-hand knowledge and experience.
Imagineers at Walt Disney World have a reputation to completely immerse themselves in research and theming in order to create authentic, accurate attractions. For Space Mountain, Imagineers reached out to Gordon Cooper.
Cooper was a real-life astronaut who was the first American to spend 24 hours in space. Imagineers researched in order to understand how it felt to travel through space and replicate that feeling. Cooper was welcomed back, along with his other fellow Mercury astronauts, when Space Mountain opened in Disneyland.
Cooper’s input played a pivotal role in shaping numerous facets of the attraction. It guaranteed a genuine representation of both the technology and the experience.
His continuous collaboration throughout the project significantly influenced the ride’s technological components. It also influenced the overall astronautic feel, making Space Mountain a truly immersive space voyage.
6. Space Mountain Around the World
Space Mountain’s original triumph in Magic Kingdom paved the way for its replication in Disney parks worldwide. This includes Disneyland’s Space Mountain.
From the single-track layout in Disneyland to the hyperspeed tunnel in Tokyo Disneyland. Each incarnation offers its unique spin on the classic space voyage. Each park showcasing different versions of Space Mountain.
Variations of Space Mountain exist across Disney parks worldwide. Each with unique features like Tokyo’s hyperspeed tunnel. Paris’ has inversions and launch. Hong Kong’s has international accessibility. Hong Kong also has a single rider line.
In a unique construction feat, Space Mountain at Disneyland, Anaheim, was built 15 feet below ground level in compliance with local building regulations and to preserve the park’s aesthetic balance. This impressive feat of engineering resulted in a distinct version of Space Mountain with a single-track design, offering a unique ride experience.
One of the standout features of Disneyland’s Space Mountain is its unique seating configuration, where guests are arranged two by two. Additionally, an on-board music track was integrated into the ride in 1996. The music adds an extra layer of fun and excitement to the interstellar ride experience. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, it’s time to ride Space Mountain.
Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland echoes several elements from the original Disneyland version, including identical track layout and rocket designs. However, it also boasts a unique feature – a hyperspeed tunnel at the end of the ride where guests have their photo taken, adding an extra thrill to the experience.
The ride underwent a significant refurbishment in 2006, and when Space Mountain opened again in 2007, it featured a more futuristic theme and new effects. The space port now showcases a futuristic spaceship hanging from the ceiling, enhancing the overall space voyage feel of the ride.
Distinct from all other versions, Disneyland Paris’ Space Mountain features inversions, a launch, and a track section that leaves and re-enters the interior, offering a singular ride experience.
The original version of the ride, ‘From the Earth to the Moon’, featured a unique on-board audio track composed by Steven Bramson, inspired by John Williams’ film scores. This unique blend of music and space adventure added an extra layer of excitement to the ride, making it a standout experience in Disneyland Paris.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Space Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened in 2005, mirrors the layout and soundtrack of the revamped version at Disneyland. However, it also includes a unique ‘hyperspeed’ tunnel, adding an extra layer of thrill to the ride experience.
Unique to Hong Kong Disneyland, Space Mountain offers a Single Rider line, allowing individuals to experience the ride more quickly when willing to ride separately from their group. Furthermore, ride safety instructions are delivered in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin, catering to a diverse audience.
7. The Evolution of Space Mountain
Space Mountain’s evolution didn’t halt at its inception. It has continually developed over the years with seasonal overlays such as Ghost Galaxy and Hyperspace Mountain, and plans for a future comprehensive refurbishment, reflecting the ride’s ongoing adaptation and dedication to innovative ideas.
The ride has evolved over time, offering seasonal overlays like Ghost Galaxy and Hyperspace Mountain to keep things fresh, and its queue enhances the experience with interactive games and a thematically rich environment.
Rockin’ Space Mountain
In a unique transformation, Rockin’ Space Mountain turned the classic attraction into a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in space. This overlay featured concert-style LED lighting and other unique special effects to enhance the rock concert atmosphere.
However, despite its initial success, Rockin’ Space Mountain was discontinued after its original run and was not brought back in subsequent years.
Ghost Galaxy began as a Halloween overlay for Space Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland and later made its way to Disneyland during Halloween Time. This spooky overlay transformed Space Mountain with new lighting, ghostly images, and a haunting atmosphere, adding a new dimension to the ride.
The Ghost Galaxy entity, the main antagonist of the overlay, manifests as a nebula-like figure with a human face. This spectral nebula interacts aggressively with guests, attacking their rockets and overtaking the ride’s technology, creating a truly thrilling Halloween experience.
For Star Wars fans, Hyperspace Mountain is a dream come true. This overlay transforms the classic Space Mountain ride into a Star Wars-themed adventure. From the soundtrack peppered with selections from John Williams’ iconic score to a mission towards the planet Jakku, Hyperspace Mountain offers guests an unforgettable intergalactic journey.
- Has been featured during special events
- Has run seasonally at Disneyland Resort in California
- Provides a unique and evolving Star Wars-themed experience for guests
- Includes updated projected scenes and effects
8. Queue Experience
The experience of Space Mountain begins even while you’re still in the space mountain queue. The queue features an area where guests can play interactive video games as they wait, serving as a fun diversion during long waits and allowing them to play Disney parks attractions like Space Mountain.
Not just that, the queue surrounds guests with an immersive atmosphere, punctuated by themed music and sounds that enhance the overall space-themed experience. It’s all part of the journey, building anticipation for the thrilling ride ahead.
9. Secrets and Easter Eggs
Join us on an interstellar treasure hunt as we unravel the hidden secrets and Easter eggs within Space Mountain. From the entrance of the ride, where the Moonliner pays homage to Disney’s history, to the queue where galaxies named after real star systems are presented as destinations, every corner of Space Mountain is filled with hidden gems.
Paying homage to Disney’s evolving history, the ride’s exit showcases a console that lists ‘closed sectors’ for past Disney attractions and ‘open sectors’ for the current ones. Even the robotic dog seen in the exit show scenes ties back to the ride’s original sponsor, RCA, making Space Mountain a treasure trove of Disney history.
In addition to historical nods, Space Mountain also pays tribute to the Imagineers who brought it to life. John Hench, the ride’s designer, is honored in the queue line, where details in the design give a nod to his envisioned future. Even within the rocket’s ascent by the lift hill, a tribute to Senior Imagineer John Hench and the ride’s opening year is visible on a spacecraft.
10. Spaceships Used to Be Glow in the Dark
Many adults swear that Space Mountain had glow-in-the-dark vehicles in the 80s, 90, and through the 2000s. That’s because it was true!
While there isn’t much research to suggest what made the spaceships glow in the dark (most guess blacklight), Guests could glow on their trip through outer space.
Unfortunately, in 2009, the decal was faded out with its scheduled refurbishment. Many Guests agree that they prefer almost complete darkness, as it feels more like they’re in outer space.
11. The Top Speed Is Only 28 mph
Seriously? It feels like we’re going so much faster! This speaks to how much our mind builds up situations when our senses are distorted. The dark aura and the constant jerks left and right make us feel like we’re going a lot faster than we actually are.
Would you believe that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s top speed is actually higher at 36 mph?
Did you know Space Mountain is only 28 mph? Will that convince you to go on now? Let us know in the comments if Space Mountain at Walt Disney World is one of your favorites!
From its inception in Walt Disney’s imagination to its various incarnations around the globe, Space Mountain has remained a timeless attraction. Its thrilling journey through the cosmos, the immersive queue experience, and the numerous secrets and Easter eggs make it more than just a roller coaster. It’s a testament to Disney’s commitment to innovation and storytelling, offering guests a unique adventure that continues to evolve and inspire.
So next time you find yourself at a Disney park, don’t miss out on the chance to blast off on this cosmic voyage. After all, as Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Space Mountain is one such door, leading us on an unforgettable journey through the stars.
Read Also: Secrets About Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion
Why is it called Space Mountain?
It is called Space Mountain because it was inspired by Walt Disney’s vision for a space themed roller coaster, originally conceptualized to be called “Space Voyage”.
Why is Space Mountain 90 feet tall?
Space Mountain is 90 feet tall to avoid overshadowing Cinderella Castle, which is 183 feet tall.
What was there before Space Mountain?
Before Space Mountain, there was the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, which opened in 1959.
Is Space Mountain closing in 2024?
Yes, Space Mountain is scheduled to close in 2024 for a complete rebuild as part of a wider redevelopment of the park’s Tomorrowland area, with the new version expected to open in 2027.
What was Walt Disney’s original idea for Space Mountain?
Walt Disney originally envisioned a space-themed roller coaster inspired by the Matterhorn Bobsleds, aiming to create a thrilling experience in a space-themed setting.