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Space Shuttle Discovery Soars Over Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Space Shuttle Discovery Soars Over Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World
If you’re heading to Walt Disney World today, you’ll see some amazing things — but nothing like this. This morning, photographer Kent Phillips captured Space Shuttle Discovery as it soared over Cinderella Castle on its mission to the space station. After the shuttle’s climb to orbit, Kent also photographed Discovery’s exhaust trail catching the first rays of sunlight.
Space Shuttle Discovery Soars Over Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

Kent said he snapped the images near Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland and that seeing the liftoff and amazing light show were definitely worth getting up early for.


  • Love this wish my family could have see it in person keep all the info comeing Thomas.

  • Thank you for such magical pictures:) I can see the hidden Mickey and the hidden Donnald, only in Walt Disney World do the clouds look like the cast members:)

  • Without doubt, these are some of the best photos I’ve ever seen connected with a Shuttle launch. Terrific photography, Kent!

  • This is an amazing picture. I’ll definitely tell my friends about this. Let’s just hope Tink doesn’t get jealous… 😉

  • in this photo the far right smoke in the sky looks to be a hidden mickey:) just a beautiful photo!!!

  • The photos are great! But did you watch the featured video? That was awesome!!!

  • We just returned from Disney last weekend. Sorry that we missed this spectacular sight. It reminds me of driving into Disney with my family when I was young and seeing one of the last Apollo missions taking off.

  • Any chance you might release higher resolution versions of these two images?

    They would make great scrapbook images…..

  • OMG I wish that I could’ve seen this myself… My husband and I forgot to set our alarm clock to watch it take off. I don’t know if we would’ve seen it because we aren’t facing the right direction. But this is awesome!!!!


  • I had a chance to see the Shuttle Discovery launch from Main Street on March 15, 2009, my birthday last year. My pictures from that launch are not near as spectacular as this one. I grew up watching most of the shuttle launches and my dad still works at the Space Center and I still get goose bumps.

  • Simply…..MAGICAL!

  • All I can say is “Wow!”

  • This is a beautiful photo, and very clear. Kind of looks like something we might see in Epic Mickey…

  • We were at the Cape for this specific lift off and it was incredibly beautiful. This is picture is just the icing on the cake. Great photo!

  • Absolutely Gorgeous


  • Beautiful!!! was just at Disney last week and already miss it would have been awesome to see that.

  • Will these photos be available to purchase anywhere? I would love to have them framed and add them to my various Castle photos I have!

  • Stunning pictures! It looks like the castle caught one of the rings in the sky.

  • The first time I visited Walt Disney World with my family in 1993 when I was 6 years old, we saw the space shuttle Endeavour lifting off in the distance while on the parking lot tram to The Magic Kingdom.

  • My daughter and I were visiting Epcot in the year 2000. To our amazement there was a night launch right above us. We were so excited and never did we think we would ever see anything like that again. Well, a few years later……… Epcot, standing in the same exact spot was another launch! All unplanned!! Disney Magic all over again! I still think of those times with my daughter as pure DISNEY MAGIC!

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