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Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure Park

Walt Disney World’s Classic Space Mountain Attraction to Reopen with a Few Surprises

posted on November 10th, 2009 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

When renovation work finishes on the Space Mountain attraction at Walt Disney World Resort, it’ll be the same classic experience with a few new surprises. And now, Walt Disney Imagineering is offering an early peek at some of those surprises and the first images from inside the attraction.
Space Mountain
As you know, with any Imagineering project, the story comes first. And the updated Space Mountain attraction at Walt Disney World Resort is no exception. With the update, the storyline is being extended – and you’ll be able to take part.

Passengers will be able to immerse themselves in unique game play as they prepare for blast off, becoming part of the space station adventure. During a recent walkthrough, we deflected asteroids to keep runways clear as part of the story.

The interactive experiences are based on duties you’d find on board a long-traveling space craft, according to Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Show Designer Alex Wright. Each game lasts about 90 seconds with a 90-second interval and the games can accommodate 86 players at one time.
Video Games in Space Mountain Stand By Line

As you move along on your journey, there are “insider” touches typical in projects created by Imagineers. For example, if you’re up on your Disney trivia, you’ll recognize a sign bearing the logo “H-NCH 1975″ as a tribute to late Imagineer and Disney legend John Hench. There are also other “Disneyphile” references hidden throughout the attraction.

Space Mountain celebrates the Golden Age of Rocket Travel – inspired by the jet age of the early 1960s. The attraction highlights excitement around the endless possibilities regarding space travel. It did back when it opened in 1975 and I think you’ll agree it still does.

We wanted to share these images now but check back for more updates. Also, please let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort



Lou from FL on November 10th, 2009 at 11:30 am

LOVE the photos of the new queue! I especially like not just the fact that it is now interactive, but that what you see and play is part of an overriding storyline. Looking forward to experiencing it firsthand soon, and looking for some of those hidden tributes!!



Jennifer on November 10th, 2009 at 11:37 am

Looks great! Can’t wait to try it out. I guess we’ll be making a day trip soon :)


Alexandra on November 10th, 2009 at 11:38 am

I was somewhat gutted not to be able to introduce my husband, a Disney newbie, to Space Mountain when we came for our honeymoon (and what I worked out was probably my 10th trip!). But there was the newly spruced up Haunted Mansion to visit instead and the temporary disappoinment is always worth the results. Really impressed with the improvements in queuing areas over the years; Soarin’ was clearly very well thought out!


Britain on November 10th, 2009 at 11:41 am

No firm confirmation yet, but I’m hoping to hear an in-rocket soundtrack when I ride it in a few weeks. :)


MousDad from VA on November 10th, 2009 at 11:42 am

Thanks for posting these queue pictures. Alot of us are really happy to see there has been some show work done in this refurb.


Thomas Smith on November 10th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Sure…thanks for the kind words.


Evan on November 10th, 2009 at 11:48 am

THAT looks fantastic. Really hope the rest of the ride does too, but kinda nervous since I had heard it’s budget was slashed. However, if that’s what it’s like, for the most part…I’m SOLD.

Even more so if we get some nice thematic lighting, like on DL’s SM. And Tokyo’s. And Hong Kong’s. 😀 😉


Bob from NC on November 10th, 2009 at 11:49 am

Wow, great photos! Like Lou said, the new queue really looks nice! A new queue with games will really be fun to interact with too. And the hidden gems will of course be great to find! Can’t wait for Space Mountain to open and to experience it for myself sometime next year (I hope).

Bob ºOº


Richard from FL on November 10th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Looks fantastic! It’s always nice to see a classic attraction getting a great update. Space Mountain’s queue has always been one of the longest and while the ambience was always nice and peaceful, it seems like these additions will add some fun to an already exciting ride.

Orlando Attractions Magazine


Beth on November 10th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Can’t wait to try it out. I’ve already got a Disney World vacation booked for January!


Maria on November 10th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Great pics! So excited with the new interactive queue! I am headed to the Kingdom tomorrow(11-11) & can’t wait to see the progress! Hoping they are doing “test launches”..I might have a few teenage “volunteer critics” :) A girl can hope!



Patrick from VA on November 10th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Great work on the queue and storyline, but I have one odd question…

Is the majority of the queue still in that long hallway or is it now closer to the ride? If still in the hallway, did you guys happen to work on the ventilation in there by any chance? Most of the time when Space Mountain has a decent wait time it gets very hot and stuffy in there, not very comfortable at all.


Simon on November 10th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Oh for interactive queuing back in 1990, when on our first visit we spent hours in line for Space Mountain. I can see people wanting to queue now :)



Anthony on November 10th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

It’s amazing how some TLC can rejuvenate an attraction. I dig it.


Simon from West Yorkshire on November 10th, 2009 at 12:19 pm

This looks very nice, it’s good to see that there has been some positive progress on this type of attraction. I will look forward to seeing it first hand.


Mike on November 10th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

I’ll be down for D23’s Magic & Merriment in December and while I don’t think I’ll have much time for rides with the packed schedule, I will be making an exception for Space Mountain! I’ve heard the budget got slashed and we didn’t get a brand new track and on-board audio like Disneyland, but in a way I’m almost kind of glad that we get to keep our rickety old Space Mountain with some added bonuses. After all, it is the original!


Jackie from WA on November 10th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Wow ~ that looks incredible! We really missed Space Mountain back in September! We are so excited to come back so we can try it out! How fun that you are giving us fun things to occupy our time throughout the ride line! :)


Tim on November 10th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Does this mean there are going to be new “SlowPass” kiosks not far behind? :-)


Morgan from TX on November 10th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Looks like fun! Although, there’s something to say for tradition, I like the new updates! Can’t wait to try it out (hopefully) in December for my 26th Birthday!


Tom on November 10th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Wow, this already has exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to experience it firsthand. I’m really curious as to what was done with the post show, too. Great work!!!



Matheus on November 10th, 2009 at 1:08 pm

That is a really fantastic job! Congrats to all who worked in this project! I have no idea when I will go to WDW again, but this makes me much more excited for my next trip.


Heather on November 10th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Can’t wait to ride next month!


John from NE on November 10th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

The new que looks great. I like the new lighting, makes you feel like you are in a space port waiting for your space ship/shuttle. The interactive games will be fun while waiting to get on the ride. Looking forward to more pictures hint hint :)


Scott on November 10th, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Thank you for posting these teaser photos. I love the way you’re using the Disney Parks blog to relay this kind of information.

And I must say that I’m sad to see the pseudo-3D galaxy and planet images disappear from the queue, but I hold out hope that the “interactive elements” are enjoyable. I just hope that the Asteroids Game performs better than 14.0 frames per second once the installation is complete :)

Can you comment on changes the queue music and effects? The Space Mountain queue had an ambiance like nowhere else on the planet, and while I can certainly appreciate change, I hope it’s just as good!


Mark from GA on November 10th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Looks great!

Thomas, why didn’t Imagineering retrack Space Mountain? And why no audio in the rockets?

We traveled from Atlanta to the west coast to visit Disneyland and thought the Space Mountain experience in Anaheim was excellent, if not better than our Florida version! We loved the smoother ride and the onboard audio was perfect!

How come FL never gets the love that CA does?

Still can’t wait to ride again!


Chloe from GA on November 10th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Love the new queue but will always miss the big chocolate chip cookies that swept overhead (I think they were cookies or meteors!). Great job Disney. Will be there in 32 days to check it out. Not that I am counting.


Shannon from FL on November 10th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I LOVE queue-tivities! I can’t wait!


Travis from NH on November 10th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Nice update, liking the inside and the new lime green signs outside! I would also love if (on the outside) the SM show building gets repainted/cleaned then a new color changing light system added – similar to Disneyland, that would ROCK! Maybe someday we could expect on-ride synced music, but I’m guessing it won’t be in this update though.

Still loving the look and feel of this refurb, well done! :)


charles on November 10th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

We all know what Imagineering can do…look and listen in the Haunted Mansion.Just hope the ride is smoother.


Carla Rae from TX on November 10th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I can’t wait to ride. SM was closed when we were there in July. Being more involved in the ride! Yowza! Yowza!


Jacob on November 10th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Why isn’t there any on-board audio?


Austin on November 10th, 2009 at 6:39 pm

I’m excited. Too bad it’s not probably not going to be half of what it could have been. Space Mountain is still my favorite and hopefully this will help it merge into the 21st century.


Austin on November 10th, 2009 at 6:40 pm

also, why is the exterior of the mountain two-toned? The top is white, but the majority is more of a tan. Looks like a primer that never got painted to me.


William from ON on November 10th, 2009 at 6:51 pm

As I rode the Tomorrowland Transport through and around the construction on WDW’s Space Mountain in September I grew more and more eager to learn details of it’s transformation. The new astetic and interactive changes look impressive, but the quote “The same classic experience” seems to shatter my hopes for this rides’ new premiere.

Spectulation ran rampant about the rehab, and after visiting Disneyland for the first time in July and experiencing THEIR Space Mountain I was hoping for a similar upgrade to the WDW version (Sorry guys, Disneyland’s ride rocks the doors off of Magic Kingdom) I’m heading down in December for a special proposal and thrilled that S/M will be reopened by then…got my fingers crossed for at least some ride improvements beyond just the bells and whistles.


James on November 10th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Kudos to not only the great photography shown of Space Mountain, but also to your wonderful banner heads. I like to reload the page just to see the images.

All the best,



Barbara on November 10th, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Looks fantastic…. thanks for posting them. Now here is hoping a soft opening next week while we are there…. It brings back a lot of memories for our family…


Mike from FL on November 10th, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Looking at this some more, I hope that first photo of the queue with all the blue neon is an HDR photo or has had some sort of post production done to it resulting in amped up lighting. It’s so bright! I sure hope none of that neon blue leaks into the ride area. It would shatter illusion of flying through space (in the dark) if there was a big blue nightlight underneath you! The wait is killing me! Just a little over a month until I can finally ride it!


Gary from GA on November 11th, 2009 at 10:09 am

Sooooo giddy over these sneak peak pics…can not wait



Douglas from MD on November 11th, 2009 at 11:45 am

The more I look at these pictures, the more excited I am about our upcoming trip! Looks great and keeps the classic feel of Space Mountain.


Brett from SK on November 11th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Cannot wait to ride Space Mountain!! Looking great WDW Imagineering! Keep it up!


Pia on November 11th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

You guys are SO lucky! Here in California, we don’t have it (yet – at least). The game is a blast!!


Jessica on November 11th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I am going in 9 days and am very excited for this ride!


Jonathan on November 11th, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Wow! Video Games. That seems so 20th century and obsolete. Why not holograms?


Jonathan on November 11th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Are the graphics going to be HD? If not, shouldn’t Space Mountain be retired since it will be using obsolete technology?


Jonathan on November 11th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

I remember being a kid and actually playing games with my family while standing in lines. Why is Disney helping drive families even further away from each other by providing video games to play while standing in queues?


Jonathan on November 11th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Thanks for upgrading Space Mountain technology.

Hopefully, it won’t take so long to upgrade the technology for Lights of Winter.


Zev from NJ on November 12th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Looks great! I really think the trend of increased interaction, while waiting on line, is a fantastic way to make those slightly longer wait times fade away.
My problem is, I won’t want to walk by them when there isn’t a line. :)

Look forward to seeing the changes up close!


Jeffrey from NY on November 12th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

We are WDW regulars (3-4 visits per year) and went to Disneyland for the first time last month. I was saddened to find out that Space Mountain on the West Coast is FAR superior to our version on the East Coast. In fact…everything seemed superior there except the amount of space they had to utilize. Sorry but an interactive queue is not going to get me excited over riding the same ride we have been for over 30 years.


Tim from NC on November 13th, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Can’t wait to see the new renovations. Rode it on the last day it was open back in April. Going back Nov. 23rd.


Jonathon from MA on November 17th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

I am VERY disappointed you did not make the improvements that you did in Disneyland. Very disappointed! Was it really worth closing down for such minor improvements when you could have done those little improvements one step at a time and not closed down the ride?


Jeremy on November 18th, 2009 at 11:46 am

I have to say that Im very UNDERWHELMED at this refurb! From what I understand, we are not even getting anexterior light show/package. I also was looking forward to having onboard audio, Disney missed the mark on this one! At least I have my IPOD with DL Space Mountain score which syncs up quite nicely with the track layout at WDW.