Space Mountain (sometimes themed as Hyperspace Mountain) is an indoor, space-themed roller coaster in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Opened on May 27, 1977, it was the second roller coaster built at Disneyland, and was the second of the five versions of Space Mountain built by The Walt Disney Company. Its exterior façade is one of Disneyland's four "mountain" structures that serve as park landmarks.
Walt Disney originally conceived the idea of a space-themed roller coaster for Disneyland following the success of the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which opened in 1959. However, a number of factors including lack of available space, Walt Disney's death, and the Disney company's focus on building what would become Walt Disney World led to the project's postponement in the late 1960s.
After the early success of the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World, Disney revived the Space Mountain project and opened the first Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom in 1975. Soon after, Disney began plans to build a smaller version of Space Mountain at Disneyland, and opened Disneyland's Space Mountain in 1977.
Space Mountain has undergone a number of major upgrades and refurbishments over the years, including the addition of an onboard soundtrack in 1996, repainting of the exterior in 1997 and 2003, and a complete replacement of the original track and ride vehicles from 2003 to 2005. It has also been given a third roof up the mountain during late 2013 and early 2014. Every September and October during Halloween Time at Disneyland, starting in 2009, the dome is given projections for the Ghost Galaxy event.
Space Mountain opened in 1977, invigorating a decade-old Tomorrowland as Disneyland's second roller coaster. The $20 million complex opened May 27 including the roller coaster, 1,100-seat Space Stage, 670-seat Space Place restaurant, and the Starcade video arcade. Six of the original seven Mercury astronauts attended Space Mountain's opening – Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton. The lone exception was Gus Grissom, who had died along with two other astronauts in a tragic launchpad fire ten years earlier. Largely due in part to the opening of Space Mountain, the Memorial Day day attendance record was set, with 185,500 guests over the three-day period.
The attraction continued operating without much change: sponsors would come and go, and various minor changes, including the addition of a Goodyear "Speed Ramp" (moving sidewalk) in the entrance, happened without fanfare. In 1995, FedEx (which sponsored Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain at the time) became the official sponsor for the ride, sparking a number of significant alterations. The queue area was revamped with television monitors looping safety videos, the loading station had a new Audio-Animatronic robot FedEx worker, and other scenic areas were modeled to include FedEx trademarks.
In 1996, composer Aarin Richard and show producer Eddie Sotto teamed up to create an on-board music track. The creative vision was to fuse two iconic musical forms of the 1960s – sci-fi horror music and surf music – into a sensory ride experience. All of the music written for the 1996 version was based on "Le Carnival Des Animaux: Aquarium" (The Carnival of the Animals), written by Camille Saint-Saëns. The first section of the ride's music was synthesized and entirely devoted to the sci-fi aspect as the rockets left the station to begin their slow climb to the top of the mountain.
After the vehicles crested the third lift hill, a rocking surf rendition of the piece kicked in as gravity pulls the vehicles down through the ride's interweaving turns, hills, and dips. (Guitarist Dick Dale was brought into the Disney Imagineering recording studio to play his famous surf guitar riffs for this section of the music.) As the rockets reentered the loading station, a brief musical finale concluded the experience with a soft, synthesized rendition of "Aquarium."
In 2005, the Dick Dale soundtrack was replaced by an original composition by composer Michael Giacchino that is synchronized to the track. Like the former soundtrack, the opening portion has a sci-fi sound with theremin influences during the ascent switching to a beat-driven score during the high-speed sections of the attraction.
Top speed 28.7 MPH
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".