Opened: Originally opened January 15, 1975 and reopened after a major refurbishment on November 22, 2009.
In the back of Tomorrowland in between Tomorrowland Indy Speedway and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning, Evening.
Ride Length: 3 minutes.
Type: Roller coaster.
Similar To: Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster.
Requirements: Must be 44” or taller.
Scary Factor: Medium. Space Mountain has a top speed of less than 30 miles per hour, but it seems like it’s going faster because the ride takes place inside of a nearly-pitch-black dome. The recent refurbishment made the ride even darker so it’s now more difficult to see where you’re headed most of the time. Overall, the course itself isn’t scary or intense, but the darkness may be enough to scare youngsters. Also, the ride vehicles are single-file with three to a car, which makes it difficult to reassure the nervous once the ride starts.
What to Expect: The queue for Space Mountain is indoors and air-conditioned and a refurbishment brought interactive games for riders to play while they wait. While it’s nice to have the option of something fun to do while waiting, it’s not uncommon for people to play the games more than once and “hold up” the line. While there’s really nowhere to go other than inching up a bit towards the loading bay, you’re likely to hear some complaining and annoyed people. Once you move through the queue, you’ll be placed in the loading bay where a six-person, single-file, rocket-themed vehicle will emerge from the darkness.
The seats are now better padded and the sides of the car are sturdy enough that they can support riders’ weight getting in and out of the vehicle. This makes Space Mountain considerably more comfortable than it was pre-refurbishment. Still, many people (your 30-year-old and otherwise mostly healthy author included) find the ride too rough. I always disembark in some sort of pain, so this is one that you may want to skip if back/shoulder/neck/etc. pain is even a nominal concern. I like to joke that even if you don’t have neck trouble now, you will after you disembark your rocket. And I’m only half kidding.
Space Mountain’s track and overall feel is similar to a “Wild Mouse” type coaster, but the darkness coupled with the space theme make the ride more fun and exciting than it would be if it was outside at your local fair or carnival. The ride doesn’t feature any major drops, but there are sharp turns and surprising dips throughout.
Can We Handle It? Skip if you have any kind of chronic or triggerable neck, back, or body pain or were uncomfortable in any other ride vehicle. The vehicles are low to the ground and there isn’t a whole lot to hold onto to get in and out. It’s also more difficult to get in and out with bags or cameras. There is not a lot of storage space around the seat.
Where to Sit:
Each rocket seats three with two rockets attached to each other making a train, for a total of six people per vehicle. The seat in the front has the most room, but all are still pretty tight. Consider seating kids in front of you so you can at least reassure them by holding onto their shoulders if they get scared.
FastPass+: Yes, high priority. Consider making it one of your three pre-selected experiences or visit a kiosk early to secure a slot later on the same day.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
You’ll miss the games, but most people have more exciting apps on their phones.
Total Average Experience Time with FastPass+: 25 minutes.
4th FastPass+ Availability:
Expect to Wait:
When To Go: First or second thing in the morning, in the final hour of operation, or with FastPass+.
Rating: Space Mountain is well reviewed by most people and the general consensus is somewhere around an 8 or 9 out of 10. For your author, this is the only attraction at Disney World that he doesn’t enjoy riding. It’s too rough.
Commentary: A classic Disney attraction, it emphasizes family fun over speed and thrills. Heed the warnings about how rough it can be.