Unlike the 7-Dwarves Mine Train, or Toy Story Mania, this is not a new or even relatively new attraction. So, why do people wait up to 4 hours just to get a seat on this attraction? Simple – it’s fun!
When it opened in 1975, this towering structure captured the very essence of what Tomorrowland was intended to represent. Futuristic lines that come to sharp points which reach skyward invite your adventurous spirit to explore new heights. Once you enter the mountain itself, your journey upward begins. Even Fast Pass riders have a hike to the top. From 1975 – 2009 this was a relatively boring wait. Essentially waiting in a long tube with other tired guests swelling with anticipation. Although you were exposed to one of the most memorable sounds in all of WDW – the Space Mountain “Starry-O-Phonic” soundtrack. In 2009, the latter part of the queue was retrofitted with interactive games in the stand-by line. The games are similar to those found in the Mission Space Race Advanced Training Lab. They provide a welcome distraction to those waiting and are a great thematic fit for the attraction.
The original attraction queue featured a space port at the top of the mountain where guests could view projections of meteors, comets, asteroids, and the earth itself. Since 2009, however, updated projections can be viewed from the neon clad space station.
Finally, you get your chance to board space ships on either the Alpha (left) or Omega (right) track. Unlike Space Mountain in Disneyland, these accommodate only 1 rider per seat, and 6 riders per ship. After making a quick turn, you are set for launch. The Blue lights swirling around you are slightly reminiscent of what it looks like to jump to light speed in a Star Wars movie. Suddenly, you are off – into the darkness of the universe. In my opinion, this is what makes this ride so special. Unlike other “dark” rides, this one is truly dark – and remains that way until you enter the red worm hole just prior to completing the ride. The complete darkness makes every twist, turn, and hill a thrilling surprise. The darkness fools the mind into thinking the ride is much faster. Prior to 2009 the ships were lined with a glowing stripe. That stripe was removed in the 2009 refurbishment, making it impossible to see where other cars may be on the track.
90 seconds later, you find yourself at the end of the ride. A quick unloading and viewing of the photos taken in the take-off tunnel, and you are off to a moving sidewalk that takes you past a futuristic look at the world you’ve now arrived in. Those who love Disney nostalgia will be happy to see the reference to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea noted in this area.
If at all possible, get a Fast Pass to this attraction. Regardless of how good the ride may be, a 4-Hour wait is hard to justify when you have limited time in the parks as a whole and there are so many other amazing things to see and do. Nevertheless, this is an all-time classic and should definitely be on your itinerary for the trip.
How long have you waited for this attraction? Was it worth it? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.