Space Mountain is the name of a space-themed indoor roller coaster attraction located at five of the six Disneyland-style Disney Parks. Although all five versions of the attraction are different in nature, all have a similar conical exterior façade that is a landmark for the respective park. The original Space Mountain coaster opened in 1975 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. There are two tracks within this attraction, Alpha and Omega, which passengers can choose from. Other versions of the attraction were built at the other Disney parks (all except for the Shanghai Disneyland Park).
Space Mountain entrance in the Hong Kong Disneyland version prior to Star Wars "Hyperspace" retheming
|Opening date||January 15, 1975|
|Opening date||May 27, 1977 (original) |
July 15, 2005 (reopening)
|Closing date||April 10, 2003 (original)|
|Opening date||April 15, 1983|
|Disneyland Park (Paris)|
|Name||Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain|
|Opening date||June 1, 1995 (De la Terre à la Lune)|
May 7, 2017 (Hyperspace Mountain)
|Replaced||Space Mountain: Mission 2|
|Hong Kong Disneyland|
|Opening date||September 12, 2005 (as Space Mountain) |
June 11, 2016 (as Hyperspace Mountain)
The Space Mountain concept was a descendant of the first Disney "mountain" attraction, the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, which opened in 1959. The Matterhorn's success had convinced Walt Disney that thrilling rides did have a place in his park.
WED partnered with Arrow Development Company, the same company that had helped design the Matterhorn's roller coaster systems years before. The initial concept was to have four separate tracks, but the technology available at the time, combined with the amount of space required versus that which was available within Disneyland, made such a design impossible. Walt Disney's death in December 1966 and the new emphasis on preparing for the newly announced Disney World project forced WED to put aside the design of Space Mountain indefinitely. The Magic Kingdom's early success, and its unexpected popularity with teens and young adults, prompted WED to begin planning thrill rides for the new park shortly after its opening in October 1971.
A new Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction was considered, but it wouldn't fit within Florida's Fantasyland. Ultimately, designers returned to designing Space Mountain. The Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland had the right amount of available land, and computing technology had improved significantly since the initial design phases. However, it was decided the mountain would be built outside the park, on the opposite side of the train tracks that act as the perimeter of the park. To help cover the cost of developing and building Space Mountain, Card Walker, the CEO of Walt Disney Productions, convinced RCA chairman Robert Sarnoff to sponsor the new attraction; RCA was contracted by Disney to provide the communications hardware for the Walt Disney World Resort, and their contract stated that if Disney presented an attraction of interest, RCA would provide US$10 million to support it. Space Mountain then opened on January 15, 1975.
The success of Walt Disney World's Space Mountain prompted designers to revisit their original plan to build one for Disneyland. After two years of construction, the $20 million complex opened on May 27, 1977, including the roller coaster, 1,100-seat Space Stage, 670-seat Space Place (fast food restaurant) and Starcade.
Six of the original seven Mercury astronauts attended Space Mountain's opening: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Senator John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton. The lone exception was Gus Grissom, who had died in the Apollo 1 fire ten years earlier. Due in part to the opening of Space Mountain, the Memorial Day day attendance record was set, with 185,500 guests over the three-day period. Space Mountain at Disneyland was designed by Bill Watkins of Walt Disney Imagineering, including a tubular steel track design awarded U.S. Patent 4,029,019. Due to space limitations, Disneyland's Space Mountain consists of only one track as opposed to the Magic Kingdom's two, and is of a completely different layout than either track of the latter park's.
Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland opened with the park on April 15, 1983. It was the first version of Space Mountain to open concurrently with the park. From its opening in 1983 and until late 2006, Tokyo Disneyland's Space Mountain was an almost exact clone of Disneyland's Space Mountain. The ride was then redesigned to have a more sci-fi futuristic look to it similar to refurbished Walt Disney World version, with new effects, and a new spaceport which features a futuristic spaceship hanging from the ceiling. Like its Walt Disney World counterpart, there is no ride audio to the seats.
The version at Disneyland Paris opened on June 1, 1995, three years after the opening of the park. It was originally called De la Terre à la Lune, and was originally designed as a view on space travel from a Jules Verne-era perspective, based on the novel From the Earth to the Moon. The track is significantly different from the other four, as it's the only one to include a launch and 3 inversions (Sidewinder, Corkscrew, Horseshoe). It underwent modifications in 2005 and became Space Mountain: Mission 2. This journey was slightly different to the first as it took riders beyond the Moon, to the very edge of the universe. In January 2015 the ride closed for yet another refurbishment and was reopened in August 2015. The ride temporarily closed in 2017 on January 8 and was replaced with Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain on May 7. Mission 2 will return sometime in 2019.
Hong Kong DisneylandEdit
Space Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland was based on the refurbished Space Mountain at Disneyland, with a similar soundtrack and the same layout. It also featured new show elements not presented in the refurbished California version (i.e. a "hyperspeed" tunnel). It did not feature the Rockin' Space Mountain configuration that was featured in Disneyland's Space Mountain in 2007.
Unlike most Space Mountains, the boarding area for the attraction is quite small. Not present is a Space Station of its two most similar counterparts at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland. Instead, a dark queue featuring neon earth-tone colored planets along with star patterns decorate the area. Lining the walls of the station are colored neon light bars that are used for lighting and decoration.
Similar to the Disneyland Paris version of the ride, its Star Wars "Hyperspace Mountain" overlay theming, originally meant to be temporary, has become the permanent theme of the ride. The queue area has been fully refurbished with the addition of a full-sized replica X-Wing, a Character meeting area as well as a grey and white Star Wars queueline theme, although some elements of the original queue have also remained intact such as the planet models and star patterns. The ride's storyline is identical to the Disneyland Paris version.
- 1964: Walt Disney originally planned a roller coaster for Disneyland called Space Port, which would have featured four separate tracks. However, the plan was shelved due to limited space and the death of Walt Disney in 1966.
- 1970-1972: The Imagineers return to the idea of Space Port and it later became Space Mountain for the new Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
- 1973: Construction begins on the ride.
- January 15, 1975: Space Mountain officially opens at the Magic Kingdom.
- Late 1975: After the success of the first Space Mountain, construction begins on the ride for Disneyland.
- May 27, 1977: Space Mountain officially opens at Disneyland along with a space stage, a space themed restaurant, and the Starcade.
- April 15, 1983: Space Mountain officially opens at Tokyo Disneyland, and is the first version to open when the park did.
- 1989: New trains are introduced in the Magic Kingdom.
- June 1, 1995: Space Mountain officially opens at Disneyland Paris. It is significantly different from the other versions as it is the only one to feature a launch and inversions.
- April 10, 2003: Disney announces that Space Mountain at Disneyland would close for a 2-year refurbishment which includes new trains, a new track replacement, and a new soundtrack by film composer, Michael Giacchino. It was expected to open by Disneyland's 50th Anniversary.
- January 22, 2005: After an external refurbishment, Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris closes to be changed to Space Mountain: Mission 2.
- April 9, 2005: Space Mountain: Mission 2 reopens at Disneyland Paris.
- July 15, 2005: Space Mountain reopens at Disneyland.
- September 12, 2005: Space Mountain officially opens at Hong Kong Disneyland along with the park.
- Late 2006: Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland closes for refurbishment.
- April 28, 2007: Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland reopens.
- September 24, 2007: The seasonal Halloween-themed Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy opens at Hong Kong Disneyland.
- October 2007: Space Mountain: Nightmare Nebula opens at Disneyland as part of Halloween-Time. It was considered a failure and never returned for the Halloween season.
- April 19, 2009: Space Mountain at The Magic Kingdom closes for an extensive refurbishment.
- September 25, 2009: Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy opens at Disneyland for the Halloween season.
- November 21, 2009: Space Mountain reopens at The Magic Kingdom.
- August 2010: Space Mountain at The Magic Kingdom receives "Starry-O-Phonic" sound.
- January 11, 2015: Space Mountain: Mission 2 closes for a major refurbishment.
- January 15, 2015: Space Mountain celebrates its 40th anniversary at the Magic Kingdom.
- July 24, 2015: Space Mountain reopens at Disneyland Paris after a few days of soft opening. The refurbishment included a huge technical overhaul.
- August 2015: At the D23 Expo, Hyperspace Mountain is announced as part of the Season of the Force celebration at Disneyland. The overlay will put riders into the Star Wars universe in X-Wing battles.
- November 16, 2015: Hyperspace Mountain, the overlay at Disneyland based on Star Wars, opens as a part of the Season of the Force celebration.
- June 11, 2016: Hyperspace Mountain opens at Hong Kong Disneyland.
- January 8, 2017: Space Mountain: Mission 2 in Paris closes indefinitely.
- May 7, 2017: Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain opens in Paris as part of the park's 25th Anniversary. The revamped ride also includes new trains.
- May 29, 2017: Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland closes and on June 1, 2017, the 2005 version of the attraction returns.
- May 4, 2018: Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland temporarily reopens as part of the Star Wars Nights.
- June 3, 2018: Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland closes permanently and the 2005 version is again reinstated.
Screenwriter Max Landis wrote a feature film based on the Space Mountain attraction, which was developed for a short time at Disney. The film was based in a 1950s retro-future. This idea of the future wouldn't contain the internet or cell phones but would be powered by many large contraptions and robots. One key plot point of the film involved the idea of people getting sent into hyperspace and, upon their return, realizing their souls had gone missing from them and they would eventually transform into terrifying monsters. The film was ultimately scrapped.
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- Surrell, p. 37.
- Surrell, pp. 38–40.
- Surrell, p. 40.
- Surrell, p. 41.
- Surrell, pp. 41–44
- Surrell, p. 43
- Yee, Kevin. "The Space Mountain Homepage (unofficial)". Ultimate Orlando. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- "Disneyland Resort: Space Mountain". Disneyland official site. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- Assael, Shaun; Mooneyham, Mike (2010). Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. Crown/Archetype. p. 99. ISBN 9780307758132.