Concept Design

Space Mountain in Tokyo Disneyland Closing for Major Refurbishment

The iconic Space Mountain indoor rollercoaster at Tokyo Disneyland will be closing permanently on July 31, 2024 for a major multi-year refurbishment, Tokyo Disney Resort announced. The attraction has been a guest favorite since Tokyo Disneyland first opened on April 15, 1983. To give the coaster a proper send-off, Tokyo Disneyland will host a special event titled “Celebrating Space Mountain: The Final Ignition!” from April 9 through July 31, 2024. This will allow guests to ride the current Space Mountain one last time before it closes.

Details of the Refurbishment

The refurbishment will completely transform Space Mountain and the surrounding Tomorrowland area, with a budget of approximately $400 million. Here are key details of the project:

  • Space Mountain will be rebuilt from the ground up with a new exterior and ride experience, but maintain the original thrilling indoor rollercoaster concept.
  • The new coaster will feature enhanced performance and immersive special effects to amp up the thrills.
  • Tomorrowland Square will be redone to better complement the Space Mountain area with a sleek, futuristic look.
  • The goal is to create a future world where humans live in harmony with nature, with beautiful scenery and places to relax.
  • After dark, Tomorrowland will come alive through spectacular lighting and soundscapes.
  • Construction has already begun on the project, which broke ground in May 2023. Scaffolding and early site work is visible behind the current Space Mountain.

The new Space Mountain and Tomorrowland area is slated to reopen in 2027, so will be closed for around 3 years.

Impact on Park Visitors

The closure and refurbishment of one of Tokyo Disneyland’s most iconic attractions will have a significant impact on guests:

  • No ability to ride Space Mountain from August 2024 through 2027. For repeat visitors and diehard fans, not being able to experience this classic coaster will be disappointing.
  • Potential for increased crowds and wait times at other thrill rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as guests seek substitutes during the closure period.
  • Possibility of construction walls disrupting views, walkways, and sightlines in Tomorrowland during the refurbishment. The scaffolding already up behind Space Mountain gives a glimpse of what could expand.
  • However, the ambitious nature of the makeover and the special farewell event may also draw enthusiastic visitors who want a last ride or sneak peek at the future plans.

Disney is building major excitement and buzz for the project, especially among loyal Tokyo Disney Resort fans eager to see a reimagination of their beloved Space Mountain. The short-term pain of losing the ride for 3+ years seems worth it for the epic new version that will eventually reopen.

History of Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland

As context around this refurbishment, here is a brief history of Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland over its 40-year tenure:

  • 1983 – Space Mountain opens on Tokyo Disneyland’s opening day as an almost identical clone of the Space Mountain at Disneyland in California. This includes the iconic domed white exterior guests see when approaching Tomorrowland.
  • 2006 – After 23 years, the original Space Mountain closes for refurbishment and reopens in 2007 with a sleek new sci-fi look. The indoor coaster itself is mostly unchanged, but queue and effects are updated to be more modern and futuristic.
  • 2022 – Disney announces a complete rebuild of Space Mountain with a cutting-edge new ride system and special effects. The dated white dome exterior will also be replaced with something more thrilling.
  • 2023 – Construction begins on the full demolition and rebuild of the coaster and Tomorrowland Square.
  • 2024 – Current Space Mountain closes permanently on July 31st to complete the refurbishment.
  • 2027 – The next generation of Space Mountain debuts with the rest of the new Tomorrowland area after 3 years of renovations.

Concept Design

Saying Goodbye at The Final Ignition Event

No beloved Disney ride would close without a proper farewell party, and Tokyo Disneyland has planned a special 3-month long event for Space Mountain’s last hurrah. From April 9 through July 31, 2024, “Celebrating Space Mountain: The Final Ignition!” will give riders the chance to enjoy the iconic coaster’s current incarnation one last time. Disney is building up excitement and demand for what could be an emotional experience to bid this groundbreaking rollercoaster adieu before its long slumber. The event will likely feature special food, merchandise, and entertainment throughout Tomorrowland paying tribute to over 40 years of interstellar launches from Space Mountain’s loading bay.

Special decor will transform the land with even more stars, rockets, aliens, and space theming. Expect launch countdowns, Star Wars walkaround characters, a dance party in front of the mountain, and more immersive photo ops. The coaster itself will also offer fun surprises for guests during The Final Ignition. Rumors point to special effects like added fog and lighting being turned on just for the event. It wouldn’t be shocking if Disney brought back classic 1980s music or effects to recreate what that original 1983 Space Mountain felt like.

Diehard fans will undoubtedly flock to Tokyo Disneyland and wait in epic lines for one last launch into the cosmos aboard Space Mountain before it closes in August. Tears will surely be shed as the rollercoaster goes dark, awaiting its epic transformation. But the promise of an even more incredible Space Mountain 2.0 just a few years down the road should give fans hope. The beloved icon of Tokyo Disneyland’s Tomorrowland is about to be catapulted to the next generation.