Space Mountain is one of the most famous Disney rides of all time. It’s exciting, fun, and sometimes even a bit surprising. Therefore, it IS definitely a must-ride for all thrill-seeking Disney goers. That said, there is one way to make this amazing ride even more fun: learning awesome little tidbits about it. Learning the facts and history behind Space Mountain will give you some fun conversation topics when you’re waiting in the eternally long queue, and will also give you something interesting to think about as you zip through space and in between stars and planets. Here are 8 of our favorite interesting things about Space Mountain.
1. A Ride Full of Firsts
There’s a first time for everything, and apparently Space Mountain wanted to be the first time for two very important milestones in theme park attractions. Not only was this amazing Coaster the very first to be built entirely indoors, it was also the first computer-controlled roller coaster. Clearly, Disney imagineers aren’t afraid to pave the way!
2. Duffle Bag Baby
Ride height restrictions can be frustrating, especially when you’d really like your family to be able to ride together. Still, we know those rules are for our safety, so we follow them. Unfortunately, not everyone is so happy to comply. In fact, there was once a couple that was discovered trying to smuggle their tiny baby onto Space Mountain in a duffle bag merely to avoid the height restrictions and ride as a family. Fortunately, they were discovered before they could carry out their terribly dangerous plan.
3. Outside Support
Have you ever noticed the enormous beams outside of Space Mountain? These are actually the supports for the roller coaster. It’s very unusual for designers to place the coaster supports outside of a ride building, but this particular roller coaster needed this strange design in order to work correctly. You see, the stars inside the Space Mountain building are actually projections, which need a flat surface to look right and pull off the outer space effect. Exterior support beams made it possible for the projections to work correctly.
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4. Astronaut Help
To create the best experience possible, Disney imagineers actually brought on astronaut Gordon Cooper as creative consultant. He helped with the design, making sure it was as close to reality as possible. Additionally, Disney brought in NASA astronauts as part of the grand opening in 1975. Then, after 30 years, Neil Armstrong was brought in when the ride reopened in 2005 after a two-year closure.
5. Ahead of Its Time
The idea for Space Mountain originally came about in 1960. However, it had to be put on hold for 11 years because the technology needed to create such a ride simply didn’t exist yet. Fortunately, when the necessary technology was created, Imagineers picked the project back up and the first Space Mountain opened in Florida in 1975, with Disneyland’s version not far behind in 1977.
6. Several Sisters
Because of its incredible popularity, versions of Space Mountain can now be found all over the world. In fact, 5 of the 6 Disney resorts have some version of this quintessential Disney ride. Each version is well loved by guests, proving that the Disney company made a wonderful choice when building them.
7. Surprisingly Slow
Space Mountain may feel like the fastest thrill ride in all of Disney World, but that is far from the truth. In fact, the only Magic Kingdom thrill ride that goes slower than Space Mountain is the kiddie coaster, Barnstormer. Space Mountain clocks in at a surprisingly slow top speed of 28mph. Meanwhile, Barnstormer’s top speed is 25mph and Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain both beat out Space Mountain with speeds of 40mph and 30mph, respectively.
8. Astronomical Cost
When Disneyland opened, a total of $17 million had been spent to complete the park and all of its opening-day attractions. This may sound like a lot of money, especially for 1955, but that total pales in comparison to the total cost of the Magic Kingdom Space Mountain complex, which cost the Disney company a total of $18 million—a full million more than the entirety of Disneyland.
Clearly, Space Mountain is as interesting to learn about as it is fun to ride. We hope this article helped pass some of the time you have to wait before riding it again. Be sure to share these fun facts with your Disney fan friends!