Space Mountain, one of the most innovating attractions at Disneyland® Paris and a favorite of the public, opened to the public on 1st June 1995 after a grand opening on May 31. It is now celebrating its 20 years of space travel, towards the moon and well beyond. It is one of the icons of the destination, with a history worthy of adventure novels full of climatic moments, and has allowed Disneyland Paris to break all attendance records for numerous years.
Though it is inspired from the attractions with the same name at the American Disney Parks (1975 and 1977), and Japanese Park (1983) – and inspired the one of the Chinese Park(2005)-, Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris is far from being their exact copy. When it opened, this interior roller coaster was the most innovating in the world. The Disney Imagineers went beyond the limits of imagination and of technology and created an iconic 36m tall and 61m diameter-wide symbol at Discoveryland. It gave a new impulse to the whole destination. Among the major innovations there is the on-board music, perfectly synchronized with the ride; three reverse flips in total darkness, and of course an inclined catapult, inspired by the launching technologies on aircraft carriers. But that’s not all! The inauguration on 31 May in the presence of the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, or the marketing campaign of the time, are fresh in our memories. And 20 years later, this attraction is still unique to Disneyland Paris!
From concept to reality, the Space Mountain adventure lasted almost five years for the teams in charge of the project
For ten years Space Mountain carried guests to the moon, in a wonderful adventure based on the novel by Jules Verne published in 1865, From the Earth to the Moon. In April 2005, for the attraction’s tenth anniversary, the Columbiad cannon was recalibrated and reset to propel the guests into a new adventure at the farthest limits of the universe, through clouds and fields of meteorites up to a supernova in Space Mountain: Mission 2! Brand new special effects and a new sound track were created for this new phase. For the first time the light effects and the special effects are synchronized with the passage of the vehicle.
But the success of Space Mountain also lies in its impressive architecture that reflects the remarkable research work and the sense of detail the Imagineers worked on: Space Mountain is the 21st century representation of a technology imagined two centuries earlier. Its design, part-architecture, part-machine, reflects the Victorian era’s fascination for science and the wonderful mechanical devices. Metal beams, reinforcements and plates bolted and riveted to a mountain with copper-colored reflections are decorated with stars, moons and other celestial images. On its summit, energy collectors and communication antennas are directed towards outer space. The 22-meter long cannon, Columbiad, is placed on the side of the mountain. At the base of the cannon, Luna, the Moon goddess, aims her bow and arrow towards the sky: a symbol of the eternal dream of the space journey which continues to be offered daily to guests in search for adventure*!
*Space Mountain is currently closed for renovation works for its twentieth anniversary. It will reopen by the end of July.