Walt Disney originally envisioned the idea for Space Mountain (originally referred to as “Space Port” or “Space Voyage”) in 1964 to be built at Disneyland. However, Disneyland’s version did not open until 1977, two years after the opening of Disney World’s Space Mountain).
Space Mountain construction began on December 15, 1972, and cost approximately $20 million. Disney partnered with Arrow Development Company, the same company that had helped design the Matterhorn Bobsleds, the world’s first tubular steel track coaster, at Disneyland in 1959.
Astronauts Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper and Jim Irwin took the first ride during the grand opening of RCA’s Space Mountain on January 15, 1975 (Disneyland’s version actually opened two years later in 1977).
“A Journey Through Time and Space” – Between 1975 and 1993, Space Mountain was sponsored by RCA, followed by FedEx (1994-2004).
At 183 feet tall, Space Mountain is the second tallest structure at Disney’s Magic Kingdom (Cinderella is first at 189 feet tall).
Space Mountain features two tracks: Alpha on the left-hand side and Omega on the right-hand side. The tracks are nearly mirror images of each other. The top speed of Space Mountain is only 28 miles per hour and the ride takes two minutes and 47 seconds.
Space Mountain is the oldest operating roller coaster in Florida (that distinction previously went to The Starliner, which was built in 1963 and last resided at the now-defunct Cypress Gardens).
Part of a major refurbishment in 2009, Space Mountain now features the addition of “Starry-O-Phonic Sound” – “Space was once a silent voice, but now, every twist and turn on your galactic journey will be accompanied by a zippy musical track, the whoosh of passing asteroids, and the rush of interstellar traffic, making your space voyage an all-encompassing cosmic joy-ride.”
The original Space Mountain post-show featured RCA’s “Home of Future Living,” which was replaced in 1985 by “RVCA-1: Dream of a New World.”
According to an old urban legend, a Disney World guest was decapitated after standing up while riding Space Mountain. There is no truth to this rumor. In fact, according to some reports, it was actually a “test dummy” that had its head severed during testing (the test dummy was placed standing up in order to test clearance) by Disney Imagineers before Space Mountain was opened to the public.