There’s no doubt that Space Mountain is one of the most iconic rides in Disneyland. Enclosed in a white dome, this roller coaster is unique in that it propels riders into what feels like a journey through space.
Given how popular it is, it’s not surprising to know that it almost always has a long lineup. For the most parts, you’ll have to wait for at least half an hour. As soon as you step off the ride, though, you’ll agree that it had all been worth it.
For your curiosity, we’ve compiled a list of some interesting facts about the ride below.
- 1. The First Space Mountain Opened in 1975
- 2. The Original Space Mountain Cost $10 Million to Build
- 3. NASA Astronauts Attended the Opening of Disneyland’s Space Mountain in 1977
- 4. The Ride is Different Depending on the Park
- 5. Neil Armstrong Helped to Re-open Space Mountain in Disneyland
- 6. Space Mountain is one of the Slowest Rides at Magic Kingdom
- How Do You Feel About the Ride?
1. The First Space Mountain Opened in 1975
Space Mountain had actually been “in the works” as early as the 1960’s. Due to limitations in technology, however, imagineers were forced to abandon the project; the concept was further set aside following Walt Disney’s death in 1966.
In the end, it wasn’t until after the opening of WDW in Orlando, Florida, that designers returned to the idea. Two years of construction later, the first Space Mountain opened on January 25, 1975, in the Magic Kingdom.
2. The Original Space Mountain Cost $10 Million to Build
As you can probably expect, building the Space Mountain was no cheap ordeal. In terms of actual numbers, the project had cost $10 million in 1975 (nearly $47 million today after adjusting for inflation).
Fortunately, the company had been able to land a sponsorship with RCA, who agreed to finance the attraction. As part of the deal, the ride featured a variety of RCA products—including their Mascot at the entrance, from 1975 to 1993.
3. NASA Astronauts Attended the Opening of Disneyland’s Space Mountain in 1977
In 1977, six of the astronauts from Mercury Seven—Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, Alan Shephard, Wally Schirra, Deke Clayton, and John Glenn—were invited to Space Mountain’s opening ceremony in Disneyland.
As part of the festivities, there were also fireworks, as well as a 2000-member marching band!
4. The Ride is Different Depending on the Park
Despite the fact that they all have the same exterior, Space Mountain is not exactly the same across the different parks.
For instance, they have completely different layouts in Magic Kingdom and Disneyland; while the former has more drops, the latter seems to feature more abrupt turns.
Not only that, but the cars are different as well. While the ones in Disneyland feature two-passenger seats, the ones in WDW require you to be seated alone.
Other notable differences:
- The Space Mountain in Disneyland Paris features different inversions
- There is no ride audio in the seats in Tokyo Disneyland and Magic Kingdom
- The boarding area is noticeably smaller in Hong Kong Disneyland
- The ride consists of a single track in Disneyland whereas it has two in Magic Kingdom
5. Neil Armstrong Helped to Re-open Space Mountain in Disneyland
In 2003, Space Mountain closed abruptly in Disneyland, much to the disappointment of fans. For the purpose of renovations, it would remain closed until the park’s 50th anniversary two years later.
In 2005, the attraction re-opened with a ceremony that featured none other than Neil Armstrong—the first man to walk on the moon. After giving a speech, he was presented with a plaque, one that read “it’s kinda fun to do the impossible.”
6. Space Mountain is one of the Slowest Rides at Magic Kingdom
The darkness and special effects definitely add to the ride. For one thing, they contribute to the feeling that you’re actually careening wildly in space.
Despite how fast it feels, however, Space Mountain is actually one of the slowest rides in Magic Kingdom with a top speed of 28mph. In comparison, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reaches up to 30 mph whereas Splash Mountain reaches up to 40mph.
How Do You Feel About the Ride?
Is Space Mountain your go-to ride at the parks? Which version do you prefer—the one in Disneyland Park or the one in Magic Kingdom?
Let us know in the comments below!