Space Mountain ride in Disneyland
Last updated:

Space Mountain is an iconic indoor rollercoaster located in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Opened on May 27, 1977, it was the second incarnation of the Space Mountain concept after the first version debuted at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in 1975. The ride takes guests on a thrilling rollercoaster ride meant to simulate traveling through space. As it is completely enclosed and dark, you never know which way the track will twist and turn next. Space Mountain reaches speeds up to 35 mph as you zip through the darkness filled with stars, comets, and other space effects.

At night

Ride Details

Average Wait Times: As one of the most popular rides in Disneyland, Space Mountain often experiences substantial wait times. On peak days, expect to wait anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.
Height Requirements: Riders must be at least 40 inches (102 cm) tall to experience Space Mountain.
Single Rider: Space Mountain has a separate Single Rider queue that often has much shorter wait times. Guests using the Single Rider line will be paired up with other parties to fill empty seats.
Ride Duration: About 3 minutes
Genie+ and Lightning Lane: Space Mountain is available to book through the Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane paid services. This allows guests to schedule return times to bypass the standby queue.
Rider Switch: Rider Switch is available for Space Mountain. This system allows groups with riders both above and below the height requirements to take turns riding without having to wait in the full line again.
Disability Access Services (DAS): Guests unable to wait in the regular line may utilize the Disability Access Service to receive a return time equal to the current standby wait.
Best Time to Ride: Best times to ride Space Mountain are typically after Park open, during fireworks or parades, and late evenings. Check out our crowd calendar for the best times to visit!

Attraction building on rooftop

History and Design

The idea for Space Mountain originated from Walt Disney himself in the early 1960s. He envisioned a space-themed thrill attraction based on the excitement around the Space Age at the time. However, technology had not advanced enough yet to make Walt’s vision a reality before his death in 1966. The concept was revisited in the early 1970s as the technology started catching up. The success of the Matterhorn Bobsleds rollercoaster at Disneyland showed the demand for thrill rides in the park.

The Space Mountain at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was given the green light and built first, opening in 1975. The popularity of that version made constructing one at Disneyland a priority. Disney Imagineer Bill Watkins was tasked with designing the tracks and ride system for both Space Mountains. He used the latest computer-aided design technology to layout the complex tracks and vehicles. The Disneyland version cost $20 million and took two years to construct before opening in 1977. The building itself became an iconic part of the Disneyland landscape.

Architect John Hench designed the unique conical mountain structure with beautiful spires and futuristic touches. The facade was meant to anchor Tomorrowland while appearing like a gateway into space. Inside, riders walk through the winding queues of Spaceport 77 before boarding trains of rocket vehicles in the launch area. As you leave the station, a light tunnel creates the illusion of speeding off into space.

People boarding Space Mountain ride

Ride Experience

The ride experience begins even before boarding the coasters. Guests walk through themed queues decorated like a space station. Ambient space music plays as you pass by windows looking out into the starry universe. The vehicles are trains made up of rocket cars, each holding 12 riders. After leaving the station, your train seems to accelerate into hyperspace thanks to a spinning light tunnel effect. Suddenly you are plunged into darkness and whipping around tight turns and small drops. With no idea which way the invisible track goes next, every twist and turn becomes a thrilling surprise.

As you race through the darkness, the blackness is filled with twinkling stars, distant planets, and flashing comets. The ride reaches exhilarating speeds, even if only topping out at 35 mph. Space Mountain manages to feel much faster since you cannot see the track or anticipate each move. The ride lasts nearly 3 minutes from launch to return to the station. Disembarking, guests can view screens playing on-ride photos taken during the thrilling coaster.

Signage

Seasonal Overlays

Space Mountain receives special seasonal overlays to transform the ride periodically throughout the year:

Rockin’ Space Mountain (Jan-Mar) – Features alternative rock music soundtrack and new lighting effects.

Hyperspace Mountain (Apr-May) – Star Wars theme with X-Wing battle projections and John Williams music.

Ghost Galaxy (Sep-Oct) – Halloween overlay with ghost projections and other spooky effects.

Fun Facts

  • There is only one track at Disneyland’s Space Mountain, unlike the dual tracks at other versions
  • Over 1,100 lights and effects are built into the ride
  • The facade mountain structure stands over 75 feet tall
  • Space Mountain at Disneyland was one of the first rides to utilize on-ride cameras to capture guest photos

Conclusion

From its groundbreaking design to the modern amenities like Genie+ and Lightning Lane, the ride continues to evolve while maintaining its status as a timeless classic. Whether you’re a seasoned space traveler or a first-time explorer, the cosmic thrills of Space Mountain are a must for anyone visiting Disneyland. So buckle up, embrace the darkness, and let the stars guide you on an unforgettable journey through the cosmos.

Location

Location Map

Nearby Rides

  1. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  2. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  3. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  4. Astro Orbitor