First Splash Mountain, Now Space Mountain: Disney Parks Officially Begins Removal of Opening Day Attraction

in Tokyo Disneyland

Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland with a red 'X' overlay

Credit: Inside the Magic

The Disney Parks brand is about to lose another iconic attraction, and the countdown begins effective immediately.

Crowds gather around Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland
Credit: ARICAD via Wikimedia Commons

“Hey, Big Spender!”

Development is afoot in the Disney Experiences sector of the House of Mouse. Across the globe, The Walt Disney Company is heavily investing in its theme park offering–although not enough, some guests think. On the homefront in Florida, where the company’s behemoth premier Walt Disney World Resort sprawls across Orlando, major changes are underway at most of the parks. EPCOT is finalizing its World Celebration area, which will see the likes of CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza arrive in June. Meanwhile, Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are readying for some of the biggest expansions in resort history.

Guests in front of Spaceship Earth inside of EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

The changes at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom come as Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger injects $60 billion into the Mouse House, with half of it being utilized for parks and resorts. Magic Kingdom’s “Beyond Big Thunder” expansion is officially coming, with permit filings being made available to the public in the near future. As for Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney Imagineering recently shared on-location updates for the soon-to-be Tropical Americas that will replace DinoLand, U.S.A.

Outside of the Sunshine State, Disney is also working hard to bring new experiences to their industry-leading theme parks. At Disneyland Resort, Walt’s original park, an Avatar-themed area akin to Pandora — The World of Avatar at Disney World is under development. At Disneyland Paris, Bob Iger’s €2 billion investment into Walt Disney Studios Park sees the location gaining a major new area with the inclusion of World of Frozen.

Bob Iger at the construction site for the new Frozen land
Credit: Disney

And Frozen isn’t only taking a spot in France. At the end of last year, World of Frozen opened at Hong Kong Disneyland, and in June 2024, Tokyo Disney Resort will welcome the Frozen Kingdom to Tokyo DisneySea’s eighth port, Fantasy Springs. Fantasy Springs has an opening date scheduled for June 6, 2024. And while it is an exciting time for the Disney resort, April 9 sees one of the park’s iconic opening day attractions begin its “final ignition.”

Rapunzel's Forest concept art from Tokyo DisneySea's Fantasy Springs expansion
Credit: Disney

Space Mountain Removed

In 2022, The Oriental Land Company, which owns and operates the Tokyo Disney Resort under a license from The Walt Disney Company, announced it would be ushering in a major change for its Tokyo Disneyland theme park. The development will see Tomorrowland undergo a massive, multi-year refurbishment, with its opening day Space Mountain attraction closing forever.

The OLC has stated that Space Mountain will be unveiled as a whole new attraction in 2027, three years from now. This is, of course, an upsetting time for diehard Disney park fans, but a new ride will also excite plenty. Commencing April 9, 2024, through July 31, 2024, when Space Mountain will close for good, the resort will mark the countdown of the attraction’s closure with an exclusive event called “Celebrating Space Mountain: The Final Ignition!”

Disney concept artwork for the new Space Mountain expansion coming to Tokyo Disneyland.
Credit: Inside The Magic

“For a limited period, guests can enjoy decorations themed to the event in the area surrounding the attraction, as well as a space-themed photo location,” the OLC said in a February press release. “Additionally, special merchandise and menu items will be available.”

Crowds for Tokyo Disney Resort are often high, with recent videos showing a wave of guests rushing the gates. The commencement of this three-month event will surely cause a spike in attendance, and July 31 looks set to be a busy day for the cast members at Tokyo Disneyland. If history dictates anything, when something goes dark forever (read: Splash Mountain and Country Bear Jamboree), then guests will show up in droves.

Mickey riding Space Mountain with "Before the Future Begins" written on the left
Credit: Disney

Related: New Photo Reveals What Will Be Destroyed in Record-Breaking Magic Kingdom Expansion

Space Mountain was an original opening day attraction for Tokyo Disneyland, the first Space Mountain to open concurrently with a Disney theme park. Ever since April 15, 1983, Space Mountain has operated inside Tomorrowland. But by July 31, 2024, it will be shuttered forever.

“This entirely new Space Mountain attraction will maintain its original concept as an indoor coaster but will have enhanced performance and immersive special effects that will provide guests with even more thrills,” the same February press release claimed. “Guests can look forward to the newly evolved Space Mountain at Tomorrowland and the fun that awaits them.”

Tiana's Bayou Adventure, which replaced Splash Mountain, at Disney World.
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney World Makes Vital Crowd Change at Magic Kingdom

The shutdown of Space Mountain in Japan comes as both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in the United States of America prepare for the opening of the transformed Splash Mountain attraction. After being slated for a late 2024 opening, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will officially open this summer and see the ride once inspired by Song of the South (1946) rethemed to The Princess and the Frog (2009). Splash Mountain still operates at Tokyo Disney Resort, the only one left in the Disney park collection.

Are you sad to see Space Mountain vanish at the Disney park? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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