And now we get to my favorite ride in all of Disneyland–Space Mountain! Space Mountain is one of four Mountains at Disneyland, each corresponding to a thrill ride. Space Mountain is an indoor rollercoaster (as is Big Thunder Mountain and Matterhorn Mountain, while Splash Mountain is a log ride). The cool thing about being inside is that it’s dark so you can’t see the tracks.
According to Standard Research Methodology, Space Mountain opened in 1977. One of my earliest memories of Space Mountain was when I was little but finally tall enough to ride it (I was a very small child), I was really chicken, but I wanted to ride it, so my mom kept saying, “are you sure? are you sure?” and I was like “yeah yeah yeah, I’m totally sure.” So we waited for hours (it seemed, it was probably about an hour) and then at the very last second–very last second meaning sitting in the car–I freaked out and started bawling and refused to go on it. My mother had to stay behind with me and she was livid that we had wasted all that time standing in line for me to chicken out. LIVID.
Ah, the joy of Disney magic.
Anyway, somewhere along the way I found the guts to ride it and it quickly became my favorite. This visit I was with my mom’s group for “Mom’s Night Out” (see Mothers in the Mouseland). We were all keen to go on Space Mountain, since it’s a difficult ride to go on with toddlers (difficult = impossible unless you have someone to ride switch with). Well, not all of us. One of us was pregnant, so SM was out for her. Still, this was that last picture of the whole group before we parted ways.
Look familiar? Thanks for reading!
Space Mountain was completely shut down in 2003, and they dug all the way into the ground to rebuild it. I was hoping they’d put in a new track, maybe something with a loop, but they ended up with the exact same track. That’s kind of the only disappointing thing about Space Mountain, once you learn the track. You bank to the right a LOT.
In the 80’s and 90’s, Space Mountain had this moving walkway that went right to the roof of the mountain. It was all futuristic and cool and stuff, but totally useless because it backed up the queue and they always had it turned off. After the re-do, you walk around the side and schlep yourself up to the roof. You can get some cool pictures up there
Oooooo, it's all glowy and stuff!
One baffling thing about the re-do is that it gets unbelievably hot up there on the roof while you’re waiting. You’d think they would take the opportunity to put in misters, or even just cover the whole thing, but no. In July, you bake.
After a thoroughly uninteresting queue in which you zig zag a number of times, you finally reach the actual mountain building. They let you through in groups, presumably so you don’t back up inside.
What ride are we waiting for again? Oh that's right--Space Mountain
Once inside the building, you descend. So yeah, you climb up to the roof to wait, and then descend to board. There’s not really space at the base of the building for a line, so there ya go.
Inside, there are various monitors with loops talking about the ride and how if you’re pregnant or you don’t like high-speed adventures or shooting into space or whatever, this isn’t the ride for you. Which kind of bites because by the time you’ve made it to the building, you’ve already invested a huge amount of time in line. The inside looks a lot like this:
Kristin attempted to entertain us with some ballet and yoga moves.
I almost killed myself trying to imitate her. It was bad.
Again with my awesome photography skills.
Back in the olden days, there were darkened windows in the queue where you could actually look into the ride and see space shuttles go shooting by. There was also a viewing area from the Peoplemover. Both of those things let in a lot of light, so originally Space Mountain wasn’t completely dark.
It is now.
Which is pretty awesome.
In lieu of the windows, they installed the above-mentioned monitors. They try to give you a clue as to what your riding experience will be like, but trust me, it’s nothing like this.
Are they shooting lasers or something?
You finally open onto the space port area and get a nice aerial view before you board.
You're almost there--hang on!
After being seated, you move to the launch tube. This is all futuristic and there are black lights, so when you insist that everyone in your group turn around and smile so you can take a picture, their teeth glow.
It's like a freaky Crest commercial
You approach Mission Control, and then off you go.
We haven't actually started yet. Monica needs to get out more.
In the launch tube, the lights start flashing and spinning until you get to the inside of the coaster where it’s completely dark.
This starts spinning and stuff and it's kind of nauseating, actually
When you get to the actual track, the music goes all “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!” and then you get a countdown from 10. At 1, you shoot through the entire track, completely gravity-fed. It’s really awesome. There’s also this cool soundtrack that just kicks it up a notch.
At the end of the ride, you get your picture taken. I always try to think of something clever to do, but tend to fall short. However, this time I attempted to take a picture of my own. This is the part where you get your picture taken:
Flashy streamy lights and stuff
When you get off, you can buy your picture for $14.95 for a 5×7. Or you can go all ghetto and take a picture of your picture, like I did.
You're actually supposed to buy this
So there I am, taking a picture of the part where they take a picture of you. I mistakenly thought that the camera was off to the left a bit, so my camera is pointed off to the left, but I later realized that the camera is directly overhead and it’s just the flash that comes from the left.
This is a picture of me taking a picture of the camera taking a picture of me
That is so postmodern, my head exploded.