Opened in 1975, Space Mountain has been an iconic attraction in Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland for 41 years to the day. In that time, millions of exhilarated guests have enjoyed Space Mountain’s thrilling attraction — hurtling through deep, dark star-filled space. Like many attractions throughout the Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain is not only an E-ticket attraction but it also serves to further the over-arching Tomorrowland story. In its original incarnation, Space Mountain fit nicely into the Space Age Tomorrowland of the late 70s. Similar to 1970’s Tomorrowland, the attraction backstory focused on space exploration. However, when Tomorrowland underwent an extensive retro-futurism refurbishment in the 90s, Space Mountain received a new backstory that supported the land’s new theme of a bustling spaceport.
Regardless of attraction backstory, themed land or Walt Disney park, Space Mountain is truly an Imagineering wonder full of fascinating history and lore. In honor of this mountain’s 41st anniversary, let’s take a look at some entertaining trivia tidbits:
- There are a total of 30 rocket ship attraction vehicles number 1 through 31. There is no rocket ship numbered 13.
- Space Mountain opened at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on January 15, 1975. It is the oldest operating roller coaster in Walt Disney World.
- Space Mountain first opened in Walt Disney World. There is now a Space Mountain in every Disney theme park.
- Space Mountain took 10 years to develop and three years to build. It was truly a case of the idea coming before its time. Walt Disney Imagineering had to wait for developments in technology in order to build the attraction.
- Space Mountain was the world’s first computer controlled coaster.
- In order to effectively capture the feeling of flying through the cosmos, Mercury 9 and Gemini 5 astronaut Gordon Cooper was hired as a creative consultant.
- At a cost of roughly $17 million to build, Space Mountain cost as much as the entire construction of Disneyland park.
- Space Mountain has had a few sponsors over the years with each new sponsor changing the exit show experience. RCA was the original attraction sponsor from 1975 until 1993. Fed Ex took over sponsorship until 1999. Currently, there is no sponsor.
- The track for Space Mountain was developed by Arrow Development Group (the same company involved with Matterhorn Bobsleds) and assembled indoors.
- The 300-foot diameter of Space Mountain’s base took two years to build.
- There are two tracks: Alpha and Omega. As many Walt Disney World fans know, Alpha is slightly longer at 3,196 feet while Omega is 3,186 feet long.
- The Space Mountain rockets reach a top speed of 28.7 miles per hour. The intense darkness of the attraction, moving galaxy projections and drops make the attraction seem much faster.
- The steepest drop is 39 degrees.