Space Mountain is a Disney staple, sending budding astronauts and galactic fans “to the moon and back.”
With its galactic ambiance and iconic exterior design, the dark roller coaster is a must-ride for Guests at Disney Parks seeking a wild trip to space.
But Space Mountain has a big “headache,” one that leaves many Disney Park Guests calling it anything but an “interstellar ride.”
Located directly next to TRON Lightcycle / Run, Space Mountain has been a fan-favorite roller coaster at the Walt Disney World Resort since 1975. The Magic Kingdom attraction has recently had a refresh and with TRON’s eagerly-awaited opening, Tomorrowland has become a popular area in the Walt Disney World Park.
The TRON Lightcycle / Run construction has been a headache for Disney Cast Members and Disney Guests for a few years, with the building process of the new roller coaster taking longer than the construction of the Magic Kingdom Park itself.
But that’s not the big Disney headache we’re talking about. This headache is the Space Mountain located in France, an indoor/outdoor roller coaster in Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris.
It’s actually not even called Space Mountain in Disneyland Paris – it’s called Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain. Formerly known as Space Mountain: Mission 2 and Space Mountain: De la terre à la lune, its recent name change came about for the Disneyland Paris Resort’s 25th anniversary.
Originally themed around Jules Verne’s 1865 novel “From the Earth to the Moon,” the attraction first opened on June 1, 1995, three years after the Park’s debut.
And this Space Mountain is completely unlike other Space Mountain attractions at Disney theme parks across the world. The Disneyland Paris version has a steampunk theme and is the only one to feature a launch, a section of track that exits and re-enters, and a synchronized, onboard audio track. It is also the largest Space Mountain ride at any Disney Park.
But there’s one major difference that causes the big Space Mountain headache – the inversions.
This version of the beloved Space Mountain Disney ride is extravagant. We’re talking about the steampunk decor and 1.3G catapult launch (from 0 to 44 mph. in 1.8 seconds). It’s the tallest and fastest version of any Space Mountain. And it’s the only one to have inversions.
Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain has three places that Guests go upside down: a sidewinder, a corkscrew, and a cutback. These loops might make this Space Mountain unique, but it causes headaches for many Guests visiting Disneyland Paris.
The roller coaster has been described as “rough” and “nauseating” by riders and we would agree. We don’t usually sit out on Disney rides – not even Mission: SPACE or the Mad Tea Party teacups – but this attraction is one we just can’t ride.
The inversions shake the rider in the vehicle, often causing the Guest’s head to move from side to side. Evidently, this is a very different ride experience to that on the Space Mountain we know in Disney World, which is predominantly a smooth ride with no inversions.
The original Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune closed in 2005 and later reopened as Space Mountain: Mission 2. This version of the ride used the same track layout but without the Jules Verne theme. When Space Mountain: Mission 2 Along closed for refurbishment, it reopened with Star Wars projections and new trains with shoulder vests.
Whether these shoulder vests have decreased the intense head shaking and dizziness on the ride is up to debate, but we know that the only Space Mountain adventures we’ll be having are in the Disneyland Resort in California or the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Space Mountain itself was the first thrill ride to use computer-aided design and has two tracks in the Walt Disney World version: the Alpha track and the Omega track. The Alpha side is slightly longer, but the ride experience is identical for both.
From Magic Kingdom’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Guests who seek thrills have many options, but Disneyland Paris’ Space Mountain is out of our comfort zone!
The official description of Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain reads below:
Star Wars Takes Over Space Mountain
Launch yourself into Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain for a thrilling takeover of a classic space attraction. Enlist in the Rebel Alliance and attend a briefing from Admiral Ackbar. Your mission – to pilot a reconnaissance vessel and spy on an Imperial Star Destroyer.
It’s a Trap!
To the Admiral’s despair, the Empire is expecting you, welcoming your arrival from hyperspace with open armaments. It’s down to you and your X-wing escort to blast through a swarm of deadly TIE fighters and blow up a menacing Star Destroyer. Will the Force be strong with you?
With a frenzy of red and green blaster fire, the wicked whirr of TIE fighters and a stunning Star Wars™ score, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain is a jaw-dropping experience fit for the most fervent followers of the Force.