Former Disney Imagineer, Disneyland’s Space Mountain designer takes one “last ride”

in Disney, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks

87-year-old Bill Watkins did something very special just over 40 years ago. He designed Disneyland’s Space Mountain, one of the most iconic and popular attractions in the history of Disney and all other theme parks.

In 1977, Watkins, then a Disney Imagineer, took the very first ride on Disneyland’s Space Mountain. Yesterday, before the park opened to the public, he took what he says will likely be his last.

Bill Watkins, who helped design Space Mountain, takes a ride in the 1970’s. (Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

Watkins recently met 29-year-old Kyle King, who had learned that Watkins hadn’t ridden Space Mountain since 2005 and asked him if he would be interested in riding it again. When Watkins said he would, King contacted Disneyland and yesterday the park opened early just for them.

Bill Watkins, who designed Space Mountain, takes one last ride on Wednesday, Feb. 7. 2018 at Disneyland in Anaheim. (Photo by Rob Sparacio, Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

The attraction’s staff turned the lights on before Watkins and King rode it, allowing Watkins to admire his work.

When the ride had finished, Watkins asked one simple, yet very moving, question:

“Can we go again?”

The staff turned the lights off for Watkins and King to take one more ride, as the attraction was meant to be enjoyed.

“It’s better in the dark,” Watkins said.

Watkins acknowledged the thought that he will likely not be riding Space Mountain again, bidding a fond farewell to his masterpiece that millions have adored over the past 41 years.

“This will probably be my last ride,” Watkins said. “I suppose it’s goodbye.”

Source: OC Register

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