Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Blast From The Blast - Space Mountain

Welcome to Walt Disney World, circa 1974, and the construction site of the original Space Mountain. Walt Disney was known for taking time to fully develop projects and as early as 1964, Walt and designer John Hench kicked around ideas for "Space Port," including a roller coaster style, in the dark attraction. This attraction would also include lighting and other special effects. Over the next few years the concept was refined by WED Enterprise, working with Arrow Development.

In June of 1966 "Space Port" was called "Space Mountain" for the first time. The initial concept was to have four separate tracks, but technology and the amount of space available at Disneyland, made that concept impossible.
The Space Mountain dome is 300 feet in diameter, with two roller coaster tracks in side the iconic mountain structure. The tracks are mirror images, with only minor variation,s allowing them to cross one another as needed. The left side is called Alpha and the right is called Omega. Effects are duplicated, so they offer the virtually the same experience. Although, Alpha's track is about 10 feet longer.

So, why did Space Mountain take so long to get built? In December of 1966, Walt Disney died and the emphasis switched to the newly-announced Disney World project. This forced WED to shelve the Space Mountain idea indefinitely. I sure glad after 18 years they decided to sweep the dusk off of this old project! Those trekking to Florida for a ride might want to wait, WDW's Space Mountain is currently closed for renovation and not scheduled to reopen in November 0f this year.