Welcome to Extinct Attractions. Today, we’ll be going on a blast to the past with a few musical overlays from Disneyland Resort past.
As we’ve been stuck inside for the past few weeks, one area of entertainment where we have still gotten a decent amount of content is music. Many celebrities have been posting videos of them dancing or singing to help cheer people up, and there have also been some new music videos from people like Olivia Rodrigo of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. It’s been cool seeing all of these videos coming out, and they inspired this week’s look back at a more musical time in the Disneyland Resort’s history.
During the 2006 Grad Nite period at Disneyland, the park began to experiment with the idea of putting in overlays of Space Mountain. For those few months, they would add in some extra lights and a new soundtrack during Grad Nites, but it wasn’t available to the general public.
With the success of these Grad Nites and the popularity of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort decided to go all in on bringing this idea to their parks. To provide the music, they recruited the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That may sound like an odd choice today, but the band was fresh off of their first ever No. 1 album and is a California-based band, which was especially appealing considering that California Adventure would also be a part of the fun.
Via Disney Wiki
Rockin’ Space Mountain opened on January 4, 2007. As you rode the attraction, you would hear the Red Hot Chili Peppers cover Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” which made a lot of sense in this situation since the idea was that you were at some kind of space concert.
So I actually have some distinct memories of this attraction from when I was younger, but I don’t know if this video was really able to catch the essence of the attraction because it felt different than I remember. To be fair, it’s been thirteen years since I rode the attraction, so the problem is almost definitely in my mind.
That being said, I thought they did an awesome job with this being the first major overlay that they had ever completed for Space Mountain. They added in a lot of red concert-style lighting that really fit the feel of the ride. It was like a party in space, and unlike anything that we’ve really seen since then with Space Mountain overlays. Looking at it now, I wish that they had incorporated a few more projections as opposed to primarily lighting, but eleven-year-old me wished Rockin’ Space Mountain would stick around forever.
Disneyland itself didn’t have a stranglehold on the Rockin’ theme, though. On that same January 4, 2007, California Screamin' transformed to Rockin’ California Screamin’. This time around, the Red Hot Chili Peppers provided one of their own songs, “Around the World,” an interesting choice considering that the overlay was in a park themed around California, and the band even has a full album called Californication.
I don’t really remember if I ever went on Rockin’ California Screamin’, but knowing how much I loved roller coasters as a kid, I would be highly surprised if I never went on it. Anyway, watching the video of it, I cannot say that I was super impressed. The way that California Screamin’ was set up, there wasn’t much of a reason or ability to set up special lights and effects, so the only way the attraction was different was the song. Compared to the in-depth work that had gone into Space Mountain, this overlay was a bit disappointing and left me wanting much more.
Of course, these rockin’ overlays were only temporary with both ending April 26, 2007. It was a good run, but it’s always nice to see the original versions come back.
While these overlays never returned in any form, Space Mountain’s did pave the way for a staple of Disneyland, the annual Halloween overlay as Nightmare Nebula and Ghost Galaxy (though those have gone extinct now, as well). So no matter how the Rockin’ overlays were received, they played an important role in Space Mountain’s now overlay-laden history.
Well, that brings today’s story to a close, but here’s what we’ll be looking at next week.
- This attraction was an opening day attraction at Universal Studios Florida.
- This attraction was the first motion simulator at Universal Orlando.
- The characters from this attraction didn’t actually belong to Universal.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.