Florida’s Walt Disney World and California’s Disneyland both offer a magical theme park experience like none other – rides, characters, food, music & atmosphere that many have tried (and failed) to replicate. Disney is so good at what they do that they keep millions of people coming back to their parks every year – and many of us Disney Addicts go there as many times a year as our banks accounts will allow!
For those who have been to both the Florida WDW and California DL versions of Disney Parks, you can attest to the fact that they have many similarities – but that as a whole, they are VERY different from each other (check out more on the differences between the two locations to determine which place would be best for your next vacation Here). Some MAJOR differences between the two Parks can be found in their Space Mountain rides – in fact, they are so different that people debate over which is better. So read on for the Info on Space Mountain – DL vs WDW:
Size Matters: The Florida version is over 180 feet high and 300 feet in diameter, and since Disneyland is built on a much smaller scale than the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland’s Space Mountain would have towered over Main Street and ruined the illusion of scale had it been copied exactly from the Florida model. Oh and – An exact copy also wouldn’t have fit, as WDW’s Magic Kingdom is a bigger space. Because of all this, the California Space Mountain is smaller at 118 feet tall and 200 feet in diameter
Ride cars: Disneyland’s Space Mountain offers sets of two side by side seats with headrests for its riders, whereas Walt Disney World’s version has three single rider seats per car. Many believe that Disneyland wins when it comes to comfort on Space Mountain – as the seats have more support for the head and neck, and are also easier to climb in and out of
Music: On Disneyland’s Space Mountain, there are speakers located right next to each rider’s head on either side. The music was added to the California ride in the mid-1990s, and it makes a big difference in the ride experience. As you fly through the dark building, upbeat music keeps you hyped up and builds anticipation as new turns and drops come up. The Florida version of the ride doesn’t have any music at all – which personally never mattered to me, but to many is considered a negative
*Disneyland has been known to switch up the music too – they will change the ride’s soundtrack for special events and holidays (like Halloween when it transforms into “Ghost Galaxy”!)
Timeline: WDW’s version of the iconic ride opened in 1975, and its DL counterpart opened two years later in 1977 – but unlike WDW, the California version has undergone some facelifts since then including a major one in 2005 (astronaut Neil Armstrong was there to help reopen the ride after this major refurbishment!) which contributes to the smoother, less jerky experience riders feel in the Disneyland version
Ok so now that we have talked about some differences between the DL and WDW versions of Space Mountain, it’s time to answer that burning question – So which is better – the WDW or DL version? Based on actual facts, the Disneyland version wins – it offers a better overall rider experience and is more modern than its Disney World counterpart.
That being said – I have ridden both – And I personally prefer the Disney World version. Mostly due to nostalgia – as it’s the first “roller coaster” I ever rode, and it’s something my dad and I always do together – even as adults (as my mom and husband don’t like it, and my son is just a bit too short still!). But of course that is just personal preference, and I would love to hear from those of you out there who have ridden both – which Space Mountain do YOU prefer?
At the end of the day, it’s a classically amazing ride through Space – no matter which Park you’re riding it at!
Fun Facts About Space Mountain:
-Early name ideas for the ride were “Space Port” & “Space Voyage” – personally I am glad they went with “Space Mountain” over those other ideas!
-Disneyland’s Space Mountain ride cost $18 million to build, which is more than the cost of the entire rest of the Disneyland Park when it was built and opened in 1955 (the cost of that was $17 million)
SPOILER ALERT: Ever wondered what Space Mountain looks like with the lights on? Wonder no more…check it out here if you dare…