Happy Birthday, Space Mountain!
Magic Kingdom’s iconic thrill ride first opened at Walt Disney World on this day in 1975. 45 years ago! To celebrate the anniversary, let’s look back on some of the most impressive facts about our favorite Tomorrowland coaster.
The First Fully-Indoor Coaster
Walt Disney wanted to build Space Mountain a lot sooner than in 1975. But the technology wasn’t available to make it happen. When it was built, it was the first completely indoor roller coaster and the first completely computerized coaster. A significant innovation for a ride meant to display life in the future.
But, because it’s inside and always in the dark, riding Space Mountain with the lights on has become the “Holy Grail” of Walt Disney World experience. So, here’s what it’s like to actually ride it with the lights on:
Disney has always been about quality and “accuracy.” So, if you’re going to build a ride that takes people speeding across outer space, you want the approval of someone who’s actually done that, right? Gordon Cooper, one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and the first American to spend more than a day in space, was brought in as a creative consultant.
Walt Disney World got the First Space Mountain
Space Mountain joined the ranks of rides like “It’s a Small World” in that you could find it at every single Disney park around the world. But unlike “It’s a Small World,” each Space Mountain is unique to its theme park.
Walt Disney World was the first to set the trend opening the original Space Mountain in 1975. Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was next, adding Space Mountain to their Tomorrowland in 1977. Space Mountain then became an opening attraction for each new park, starting with Tokyo, then Paris, and Hong Kong. But the trend was broken when Shanghai Disney Resort declined to install its own Space Mountain.
Space Mountain Cost a Mountain of Money
In 1975, it cost the Walt Disney Company $18 million to build Space Mountain. Back in 1955, it cost $17 million to build the entirety of Disneyland. Once you factor in inflation from 1955-1975, Disneyland’s construction cost $34.1 million in 1975. So if Disney decided to build Disneyland in 1975, the entire Space Mountain complex would have consumed more than half of the total budget. Totally worth it, in our opinion.
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Are you a fan of Space Mountain? Let us know in the comments!