Pros: Fun roller coaster ride in the dark across the universe
Cons: Long lines; Ghost Galaxy in October
The Bottom Line:
Dark roller coaster
With projected stars for a
Thrilling race through space
Atmosphere Totally Makes This Ride
Atmosphere Totally Makes This Ride
Disney may not be known for their thrill rides, but when they create one, they do it right.
is the perfect example. This ride would
be nothing if it were an ordinary roller coaster. But since it is mostly in the dark, it
becomes a cool experience you can't experience anywhere else. Space Mountain
Mountain is located in the
Tomorrowland portion of Disneyland. Just look for the big white dome in the back
corner of this area. Or you can follow
the people streaming toward the attraction.
This is a very popular ride, with wait times of an hour being pretty standard
most days. This ride does have FastPass,
an option that lets you get a ticket to come back during a pre-set hour window
later in the day. They only offer a
limited number of those each day, and the FastPass on this ride is usually the
first in the park to run out for the day.
The ride vehicles hold six people each, and two cars are connected together, meaning that twelve can go on this ride at the same time. The only restraint is a lap bar, so that gives you some idea how scary the ride really is. But before you get on board, look at the ride vehicle carefully for a very clever hidden Mickey.
Those under 40 inches aren't able to ride, but the ride is disabled accessible as long as you can transfer from a wheelchair. And, of course, there are the standard warnings about being in good health since this is a roller coaster (or roller coaster type ride as they call it in the signs).
All aboard? Then keep your hands and feet inside the car as we race across the universe. That's certainly what it feels like as we race across the track. Surprisingly, the top speed of the ride is 32 mph. I would have guessed it was much faster than that. The ride is almost completely in the dark, which is what makes it so special. There are projections on the underside of the dome of stars and galaxies, and as you proceed down the track, they keep those projections along the walls. It is light enough you can see bits and pieces of the track, but they aren't enough to ruin the effect that you are in space.
Back in 2007,
added songs from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to two of their roller coasters,
this one and California Screaming over at California Adventure. During the spring, they had some new effects
in the ride. Part of that meant that it
wasn't dark inside. Not only could you
see the track, but you could see what was around you. Trust me, that's not a good thing. The ride is basically a big steel coaster
with nothing around it. Frankly, if you
can see what's happening, it's kind of boring.
The ride felt plenty fast, but it wasn't nearly as fun. You want to do this in the dark.
The ride does normally have a soundtrack, composed by Michael Giacchino, known for such movies as The Incredibles and
III. It's perfect for the ride and
greatly adds to the fun experience.
The ride was shut down for a couple years starting in 2003, and as part of the massive overhaul, the track was completely rebuilt. As a result, it's very smooth. My parents find it a bit rough, possibly because they can't see where they are going. They actually prefer the
which I find rougher (although I love both of them).
For Halloween 2009,
changes the ride up slightly, haunting it.
I heard pretty much all negative things about this change. They brought it back for 2010, and I finally
got to experience it this last Saturday.
I, too, was underwhelmed.
Outside the ride, you'll occasionally hear a ghost or somebody give an evil laugh. I didn't notice too many differences in the line or loading area. But as you go through the ride, you find at various times that ghosts appear on monitors on the ceiling or beside you. They look horrid, like a skeleton draped in skin that doesn't fit them. They point at you and act like they are going to grab you. It's definitely not fun, like the
is across the park. There are big
warnings that the ride could scare kids.
It didn't scare me, but it certainly didn't thrill me. They should just leave the ride alone. After all, if a ride already has the longest
wait in the park, you don't need to do something different to get people
interested in it, do you? Haunted Mansion
By all means, visit
Mountain on your next visit to Disneyland. You'll
love it. If you happen to be there
during Halloween Time in the future, still ride it. You'll enjoy the ride in the dark; just ignore
the strange, grotesque ghosts and you'll be fine.