Space Mountain opened at Magic Kingdom on January 15. 46 years later, the ride is still one of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions. You already know the ride is awesome, but here are ten things you might not know about Space Mountain.
- Real-life astronaut Gordon Cooper assisted Disney Imagineers in bringing the Space Mountain vision to life. Because he had actually been to space, Gordon advised the team on making the attraction as authentic as possible.
- Space Mountain wasn’t an opening day attraction simply because the technology for the ride wasn’t available yet. Disney Legend John Hench designed the ride concept in the ’60s. His vision included very advanced twists and turns. However, Imagineers had to wait until 1975 for the technology needed to bring the intergalactic adventure to life.
- The Tomorrowland attraction was the world’s FIRST computer-operated coaster! Computers were used to create the path tracks and to control the actual ride.
- In addition to being the first computer-operated attractions, it’s also the world’s first indoor coaster.
- The thrill ride’s original name was not Space Mountain. During the planning process, Imagineers tested out a few other options, including “Space Port” and “Space Voyage”.
- This ride may not have ever come to life without the help of The Matterhorn at Disneyland. At first, Disney executives weren’t sure a thrill ride would fit in with the family-friendly environment at the parks. The success of the Matterhorn, the first theme park roller coaster, paved the way for Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom.
- Believe it or not, it is not the fastest thrill ride at Magic Kingdom. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reaches 30 mph and Splash Mountain’s descent gets up to 40 mph. Space Mountain’s rockets only reach a top speed of 28 mph.
- Similarly, the steepest drop is only 39 degrees. The complete darkness of the ride tricks us into thinking the speed and drops are so much more intense!
- There are two different tracks on the Magic Kingdom ride: Alpha and Omega. If you want to spend a little more time on Space Mountain, opt for the Alpha track. It’s ten feet longer than the Omega track!
- Space Mountain is operating at five Disney parks around the world! Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney, and Hong Kong Disneyland all have their own versions of the thrill ride.
Which of these Space Mountain facts did you find most surprising? For more Disney trivia, check out these things you might not know about Animal Kingdom!