Space Mountain

May 1977 – present

LOCATION

Tomorrowland – when entering from Main Street USA, follow the main path until it opens up in front of the Innoventions building. Turn right, and you’ll see the entrance to Space Mountain.

BACKGROUND

Disneyland was originally a much tamer park than it is now, with no real thrill rides or roller coasters. Walt and his team took a huge chance with the Matterhorn Bobsleds, the park’s first roller coaster, and it paid off big time. The overwhelmingly positive response to a coaster in Disneyland convinced Walt that Disneyland could incorporate thrill rides without losing its charm or uniqueness.

In the early 1960’s, Walt and designer John Hench worked together to create a completely dark roller coaster, but after Walt’s death, the project was scrapped due to technology and space limitations. However, Disney World in Orlando was gaining major popularity among teens and young adults at this time, and Disney revisited the idea of the coaster. Space Mountain debuted in Disney World in 1975, and was an instant hit. Designer Bill Watkins immediately created plans for a smaller version in Disneyland, which finally came to fruition in 1977.

EXPERIENCE

Details:

  • Single Rider Line – no
  • Fast Pass – yes
  • Height Requirement – 40″ (102 cm)
  • Duration – 2:40

After walking through the Disneyland space station and hi-tech loading area, guests board onto rockets set for an adventure through the stars. The rockets ascend high into the atmosphere, begin preparations for take off, and then make one final climb into the stars. As the engines rev, guests blast off for a crazy ride through outer space! The ride is full of twists, turns, small dips, and lots of acceleration through the constellations before guests make a safe landing back on earth.

Space Mountain

MY RATING – ★★★★★

Space Mountain is fantastic, and in my opinion, the best roller coaster in Disneyland. It’s fun, fast, and I personally love rides that are in the dark. Every time I ride, I’m surprised by how fast you are flying by the end! I almost always ride Space Mountain at least twice each time I visit the park, and I think it’s a must-see in order to have the full Disney experience.

At Halloween, Space Mountain changes into “Ghost Galaxy”. The ride is mostly the same, but there are projections of ghosts among the stars. I really don’t like ghost galaxy, but it’s not at all scary. I’m just not a fan because the lights that create the projections brighten up the interior of the ride somewhat, and at times you can see the track. It feels a lot less like a wild ride through space when you can see that you’re safely on the ground!

VISITING TIPS

If you’re not one of the first groups on Space Mountain, your wait will be consistently long all day. My advice is to either race for it right at park open, or grab a fast pass. If you’re willing to wait in line, head to Space Mountain right before the park closes. So long as you are in line when the park closes, you can still get on whatever ride you are waiting for.

On days when I’m there right at park open, I make Space Mountain my first stop. After going on, I stop on the way out to grab a fast pass and come back later. While I love Space Mountain, I won’t ride without a fast pass unless everyone else in my group really wants to. Fast passes for this ride can cut over an hour of wait time.

TRIVIA

Space Mountain is 173 tall, and is the tallest building in Disneyland! (The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the tallest in both parks)

All of the original Mercury Astronauts (minus the deceased Gus Grissom) attended the opening of Space Mountain in Disneyland.

Space Mountain has an original score, intended to mix sci-fi themes with horror and surf music.

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