Warning: You may want to have a tissue handy before reading this story. This week one of Walt Disney’s Imagineers who helped figure out the engineering requirements for one of Disney’s most iconic attractions – Space Mountain was invited back to Disneyland for a final ride on the iconic roller coaster.
The first Space Mountain opened in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in January of 1975. A descendant of The Matterhorn coaster, which was the first steel tube roller coaster, Space Mountain doubled the fun by adding a second track and then upped the thrill level by putting the coaster inside a dark building where guests wouldn’t know where the track was taking them next. Although it’s not the tallest, fastest, or features high G forces, Space Mountain is iconic Disney experience that is the first roller coaster experience for generations of Disney theme park fans. A version of Space Mountain now exists in 5 of Disney’s 6 Magic Kingdom style theme parks.
The story in the OC Register catches up with one of the Imagineers who worked on both Walt Disney World and Disneyland’s Space Mountain. Bill Watkins is now 87 years old and his days of designing and riding coasters are long over. But he recently made a new friend who shares his love of designing coasters. The new friend reached out to Disneyland to arrange one last ride on Space Mountain for Watkins. That ride happened yesterday, Feb 7.
Read the whole story at the OC Register. Just have that tissue handy.
Do you have a favorite Space Mountain version? I personally think Disneyland’s version with the on-board soundtrack edges out the original in the Magic Kingdom, but I haven’t been on any of the other versions.
The Hong Kong Hyperspace Mountain is amazing. It keeps the spirit of Space Mountain but uses the Star Wars music and story to really immerse the guest into the ride. My first thought getting off was “they finally figured out what to do with Space Mountain!”