Space Mountain: History of this Fast Tracking Ride to the Future

Space Mountain: History of this Fast Tracking Ride to the Future

Everyone’s favorite fast-moving, star-filled, roller coaster ride located at the Disney parks is the one and only Space Mountain.  What draws us to this old school style roller coaster?  It is nothing like some of the other rides that require special tracks, cars, or boats that make the ride special and unlike any other.  Instead, this roller coaster is an old school style roller coaster that sends you spinning quickly through space as you bump around in your rocket ship.

I will be honest.  If you have back or neck problems, this isn’t the best attraction at Disney for you.  I often get off and feel like I need to be realigned.  However, that doesn’t ever stop me from riding this ride.  It is absolutely the best ride to go on if you are looking for a fast and thrilling ride.  Let’s find out more about this attraction!

This is the first ride I am reporting to you that opened at Magic Kingdom Park first, rather than at Disneyland and then moved to Walt Disney World after it was successful at Disneyland first, but don’t get too excited.  The attraction, even though opened at Magic Kingdom first, was modeled after Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds.  With that being said, Space Mountain was first opened at Magic Kingdom Park on January 15, 1975.  Walt Disney really felt as if thrill rides did have a place at Disney parks, but the Imagineers weren’t exactly on board with the idea.

Disney felt as if Space Mountain, originally called Space Voyager, was to be the centerpiece of the renovated Tomorrowland.  It wasn’t until after Disney’s death that Imagineers realized that Disney may have a point.  They began to notice the Magic Kingdom was full of teenagers and young adults who often crave thrill rides.  Disney Legend John Hench designed the attraction in the early ’60s, more than a decade before the technology needed to make it come to life was available.  After more technology and land became available on the perimeter of Tomorrowland, Imagineers set to work on Disney’s idea.  Imagineers used computers to create the path of each track, making the ride feel as much like flight as possible becoming the first roller coaster in history to be controlled by computer.  Fun Fact: The roller coaster is set completely in the dark and tops speeds at 30 mph.

Space Mountain officially opened in 1975 complete with a marching band performing upon the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover tracks with Colonel James Irwin, the pilot of the Lunar Module on Apollo XV, as the guest of honor. The attraction at Magic Kingdom standing 180 feet high and 300 feet in diameter.  However, Disneyland’s Space Mountain is actually a smaller scale of the ride standing at 118 feet tall and 200 feet in diameter.  This is due in large part that if it was any bigger it would have towered over Main Street and ruined the scale of illusion.  Fun fact: Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain’s logo “Star Port Seventy Five” is a clever nod to the year the attraction opened.

Disneyland’s Space Mountain opened two years later after Magic Kingdom’s.  By the time Disneyland officially opened on July 17, 1955, the final price tag was $17 million. Twenty years later, the construction of the Space Mountain complex cost $18 million, including an arcade and a permanent amphitheater.  Disneyland Paris opened its own version of Space Mountain on June 1, 1995.

Since opening day Space Mountain has gone under a few refurbishments, but the most notable refurbishment for the Walt Disney World attraction was in 2009.  During this refurbishment the attraction replaced some of the track, placed a ceiling above the loading area, interactive games and new space rocket ride cars! Also included in the refurbishment was the addition of Starry-O-Phonic music, plus the roller coaster’s post-show was also changed to feature a baggage claim, lost and found, and more.

Do you enjoy this ride just as much as we do?

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Jessica Jones

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