Space Mountian, or as it is periodically called Hyperspace Mountain, is one of Disneylands Headline attractions. An indoor dark rollercoaster set in space, that appeals to most age groups old enough to pass the height restriction. This is a thrill ride but it’s not a terrifying white knuckle ride, more a fun jaunt through space with some nice drops and turns thrown in. But as a headline attraction, Space Mountain needs to be a top-quality attraction, not some old relic from the past that pails in comparison to modern-day rides and have nothing going for it but nostalgia. So does Space Mountain cut it? Can it still stand out against the competition or does Disney need to rethink this legend of a ride? Find out in our Space Mountain Review.
- Location – Disneyland Park – Tomorrowland
- Type – Dark Rollercoaster
- Duration – 2 Mins
- Height Restriction – 40 Inches
- Average Queue Time – 40 Mins – 120 Mins
- Fastpass – Yes
- Single Rider – Yes
- Additional Info – Best Space Mountain in the World!
What is Space Mountain
Space Mountian is an indoor Space themed dark rollercoaster. The Entire Tomorrowland area is based around Space Mountain as a Centre point and the hugely recognizable dome of the ride dominates the skyline.
Unlike most attractions, Space Mountian was actually first opened in Magic Kingdon Orlando and only after its successful opening there did the ride get its California debut. Walt imagined a Space Mountian ride from the very inception of Disneyland but budget cuts forced it to be shelved only reemerging after the success in Orlando.
Its Orlando forbearer is bigger, faster, and on paper a better ride. Disneyland Park has far greater planning and space restrictions than the Orlando park with its seemingly unlimited amount of swamp to build on. However, bigger is not always better and we along with most people much prefer the smaller California version of the ride.
From time to Time Disney rolls out a Star Wars overlay to Space Mountain and renames it HyperSpace Mountain. Honestly, we were very negative about this. It reeked of selling out and dishonoring a legend of a ride. We were deeply critical before taking a ride on it.
By the end, we were completely sold. The Star Wars tie-in fits the ride perfectly. It is honestly hard to believe the ride was not intentionally constructed with the Star Wars overlay in mind. We thought the Star Wars content would be shoehorned in and seem corny and forced but it really doesn’t as you fly around the track doing battle with Tie Fighters and make jumps to lightspeed, it is all perfectly timed and combined with the original route of the track. It’s quite brilliant!
Honestly, it pains us to say it but we prefer the HyperSpace Layout! It adds a whole extra dimension to an already great ride. That’s not to dismiss the original it’s still brilliant so whichever is being used when you ride you can be sure of a great experience.
Queues can be really big for Space Mountain. It’s the headline ride of the park and is mild enough most people can enjoy it, it’s not an adrenaline junky only ride. The 40 In Height limit means quite young kids can still get on board what appears to be a more grown-up ride. The outside area of the queue is little to get excited by and is only used as an overflow. The first indoor area is bland as you work your way up to the second level. Then you enter the dark area of the ride and the theming ramps up as you enter a space station-themed area, consisting mainly of long futuristic corridors with faux space effect windows.
The Final part of the queue finally gets the theming the ride deserves. As you enter the ride loading area you start out on the second floor overlooking the dock below. A large spacecraft/satellite thing hangs above the loading bays and the whole place takes on a kind of busy shuttle port sort of feel. You also get to see the really cool disabled loading area where the track moves out of place to allow disabled riders to board before shifting back into position.
The Ride vehicles are themes to be spacecraft and you sit 2 across with 3 rows in each car. The cars are paired up so 12 riders per car. These load and unload pretty quickly so the throughput is pretty good. However, the ride is perpetually busy and queues are always at least 30-40mins unless it’s really early in the day. This is definitely one to get Fastpass for and we recommend this being your FIRST fast/maxpass reservation, as it will become unavailable really quickly.
There is a single rider line at space mountain but it is not an option we always recommend. The ride has a fairly long uphill section that is pretty fun to experience with friends. However, probably not enough to endure a 60+ Minute queue. But really Space Mountain is one of the best rides in the park and well worth getting a Fastpass or MaxPass for!
The Single rider queue is great for repeat rides though, or regular visitors who just want to hop on again and again.
The Ride Experience is pretty simple. After the loading, you head up the first short lift hill After this head down a tunnel lit with pulsating light effect. You then enter the main lift hill contained in a tube, here the strobe light effect gives the impression of warp style travel or hyperspace jump towards a large galaxy ahead.
Now you enter the main ride building and the impression of being in space begins to take over and the feeling of being on a rollercoaster diminishes. On more lift hill leads to the launch of the spacecraft as you make your way down the track, From here it is hard to really decern what exactly is happening but the ride feels far faster and intense than it really is. The Ride is seriously smooth and all backs, turns, drops, and crests are progressive and do not take you unaware.
The space effects and starlight all add to the impression this is more a space journey than a rollercoaster. At times you quite forget where you really are as you zoom through the starlit main dome.
We can be quite hard on some Dark Coasters. We think a lot of Ride designers think you can take a crappy coaster stick indoors, turn the lights off, chick in a few effects and it makes it a good ride. We think the EXACT opposite. Dark Coasters are seriously hard to get right. If they are not smooth and jerk-free the lack of vision means and jolts and bangs are not prepared for and as such become much more violent and unrewarding. We have ridden many Indoor Dark Coasters and have gone away horrified at the experience.
If you want to fully understand this you also need to ride a good one. The best two we can think of? Aerosmith’s Rock and Roller Coaster in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Orlando and Space Mountain Disneyland!
Space Mountain is everything a Dark Coaster should be! In fact, it never even feels like a dark coaster at all. The effects, onboard sound, and track Layout all make it feel like you really are careering through the cosmos. The Turns, hills, and drops are all progressive so you feel them coming and can brace adequately and they feel like a craft changing direction.
The Ride is not a complex piece of engineering, it’s dead basic in fact. But it’s a real example of taking something quite basic and applying seriously clever effects and theming and turning it into something quite phenomenal. The in-car sound system ensures the fantastic score and ride sound effects are perfectly delivered and
The Space Mountain Rides at other Disney parks all fall well short of this and the Disneyland Attraction far outshines the other versions and holds up fantastically to any other ride in this class. It’s a great experience for Rollercoaster enthusiasts and more general park goers too. The theming and ride experience really do excel and the ride does not feel anything like it’s nearly 50 years of age!
Have Your Say
What did you make of Disneylands Space Mountain? Is it as great as we suggest or were you underwhelmed? What do you think of it compared to the Magic Kingdoms version? Or any of the other Disneyland Versions. Let us know in the comments below if you have anything good or bad to say about the ride. And please if you have any questions just fire away.