A Coaster That Everyone Knows…
Seriously. Ask anyone what Space Mountain is and I guarantee they’ll say “oh it’s that big white dome at Disney World!”. It’s an icon that can be recognized from all across the world (literally, because almost every international park has a version of the ride). That said, just because a ride is popular doesn’t mean it’s good. Space Mountain is quite the old ride (it was built in 1975), so it’s obviously got some mileage on it. Does the ride come still off as charming and exciting as it did years ago? Let’s find out.
Retro Space Expedition
One of the initial positives about Space Mountain is its exterior and queue theming. As you walk through the queue tunnels you are greeted with various space pictures and broadcasts that make it feel like you’re in a 1980’s space station (it’s cooler than it sounds). It really gives you that classic Disney immersion, which is always a bonus.
As you approach the station, you are asked to go to either the Alpha side or the Omega side. This is because Space Mountain is actually two roller coasters. I’m pretty sure the tracks are mirror images of each other, so the ride experience is pretty much the same, but it still is nice to have a little bit of variety depending on what side you’re on.
The vehicles are one of the best parts of ride. They are themed to look like a space shuttle, which of course adds to the immersion. The best part about them though is that they are only 1 person per row. This means that if you are sitting in the front you are going to feel extremely isolated with nothing but darkness ahead of you. Although the front is probably the best seat, the back is also pretty nice due to it having the most airtime and intensity.
Fun, but Dated…
The actually roller coaster is pretty enjoyable overall, with lots of dips and sharp turns that are thrilling enough for both coaster enthusiasts and casual theme park goers. That said, because Space Mountain was built in the 70s it lacks any outstanding elements that modern roller coasters have today. Pretty much the entire ride is just a bunch of turns and about 4 drops (the last drop is amazing in the back though). The dueling aspect is kind of cool, but there are only a couple points where it’s noticeable. Those moments are when you are going up the lift hill and during the drops next to the lift hill, because they are the only times where it isn’t pitch black around you. The darkness isn’t a negative though, as it makes the ride both feel faster and seem more terrifying. You can slightly make out support beams during the ride, which only adds to the scare-factor because you don’t know if you are going to hit them or not. Putting your hands up is very daunting, especially if you are tall. Basically, if it weren’t for the ride being in the dark, it probably wouldn’t be nearly as fun as it is.
Space Mountain is an above average roller coaster due to its pitch-black atmosphere and nostalgia factor. Sadly, it does suffer from being a bit rough and uninteresting due to its age. It is definitely a must do when visiting Walt Disney World, but that is because it is an awesome Disney attraction–not because it is an awesome roller coaster. Honestly, I hope that once the Tron roller coasters opens next door Disney will temporarily shut Space Mountain down to either retrack it or put a completely new track layout in. If they redid the coaster to be something more like Space Mountain: Mission 2 in Disneyland Paris, it would breathe some new life into an otherwise simplistic roller coaster. I definitely like space mountain, I just don’t love it.
Coaster Grade: 6/10
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