Head-to-Head Challenge: Space Mountain Disneyland vs Disney World!
When one thinks of a Disney Park, you most likely think of a few classic attractions.
Maybe it’s Haunted Mansion or it’s a small world. But usually, one of the first attractions you think of is one of the “mountains.”
While there are five versions of this iconic coaster, today we will be discussing the key differences in Space Mountain at Walt Disney World and Space Mountain at Disneyland.
It will be up to you ultimately to determine which is the best in the country!
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What are the Disney Mountains?
For those who aren’t familiar with Disney Mountains, these are Disney roller coasters that have mountain facades.
There is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain ( which will left Walt Disney World on January 23rd 2023 and soon to be Tiana’s Bayou Adventure).
There’s also Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, Matterhorn at Disneyland and then there’s the topic of conversation for today, Space Mountain.
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Space Mountain Disneyland vs Disney World: The History
To start, we would not have any of these space mountain incarnations without Matterhorn Bobsleds inside Fantasyland at Disneyland Resort.
Matterhorn was the first Disney Mountain and opened to rave reviews in 1959.
Because of the success of it, Imagineering got to work with Arrow Development Company to bring Space Mountain to life.
Early Challenges with Space Mountain
However, several complications came about. For one, the technology for what they envisioned simply did not exist yet.
Followed by the devastating loss of Walt Disney, leading the company to hyperfocus on getting Walt Disney World opened and operational.
Space Mountain was placed on the back burner temporarily.
Walt Disney World Opens
Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, and was highly successful, surprisingly with teens and young adults, just like today.
This made the company question if they should add Matterhorn to Fantasyland in Disney World, but it simply didn’t fit.
However, there was just enough land in Tomorrowland.
Space Mountain Opens at Disney World and Disneyland
With computer technology finally advancing and a sponsorship by RCA secured, Space Mountain went into construction. It opened on January 15, 1975 and has been a must do at Disney World ever since.
Now believe it or not, Space Mountain at Disneyland opened 2 years after the Walt Disney World version in May 27, 1977.
This only happened after seeing how wildly popular the first version was at Walt Disney World, thus convincing them to revisit the original plan of placing it in Disneyland.
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Space Mountain Construction
The Disneyland project was headed by Imagineer Bill Watkins and took 2 years of construction to complete.
Including the roller coaster itself, the 1,100-seat space stage, Starcade and 670 seat fast food restaurant, the entire project cost $20 million to bring to life at Disneyland.
For comparison, Walt Disney World’s version only cost $18 million to build.
In fact, the construction of Disneyland’s version cost more than what it cost to build Disneyland Park as a whole!
Space Mountain Disneyland vs Disney World: The Roller Coaster Stats
With all that being said, let’s briefly go over the roller coaster stats for each attraction!
Disney World Space Mountain Stats
Starting with Space Mountain at Walt Disney World, there are two different tracks unlike Disneyland’s, named Alpha and Omega. Alpha side stats are as follows:
- Top height: 90 feet (ft)
- Drop: 26 ft
- Length: 3,196 ft
- Speed: 27 miles per hour (MPH)
- Time: 2:30
- G-Force: 3.7
When it comes to Omega side, everything is the same except two key differences.
The track length on omega is 3,186 ft and you don’t experience any G forces on it.
There are 13 trains per track for a total of 30 with 2 cars on Space Mountain in Disney World. Plus, you can have a total of 6 riders per train with 1 across in 3 rows.
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Disneyland Space Mountain Stats
For Disneyland’s version, unlike its sister, its launch system involves a chain lift hill.
As mentioned before, it only has 1 track so here are the stats a follows:
- Top height: 76 ft
- Length: 3,459 ft
- Time: 3:00
The Disneyland Space Mountain features 12 trains with two cars, and you sit 2 across in rows of 3. When all rockets are used, capacity can hit 2,057 riders an hour.
Space Mountain Disneyland vs Disney World: Key Differences
Besides the differences already stated, there are a few key differences of note between the two sisters.
What to Expect on Space Mountain at Disneyland
Disneyland’s version closed suddenly in 2003 as the ride had become unstable.
It has since had its entire track completely redone by Dynamic structures and had the same Bill Watkins layout.
The foundation was laid 30 feet deeper to allow for easier evacuations when necessary.
It also benefits from having different experiences depending on the season or if there is a special event.
During Halloween, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy is what riders will expect, featuring a spooky ghost experience in deep space.
Another version debuted in honor of “The Force Awakens” debut called “Hyperspace Mountain.”
Hyperspace Mountain is so popular with visitors that the park switches between this version and the normal version quite often.
The theme “Spaceflight” was originally conducted by Dick Dale up until the 2003 refurbishment in which Michael Giacchino replaced him.
Fun Fact: Something of note is that the grand opening for the Disneyland version was attended by 6 of the seven original Mercury astronauts. The space mountain exit is also very lackluster.
What to Expect on Space Mountain at Disney World
Walt Disney World’s version got its own $12.3 million dollar refurbishment in 2009. This included the most changes being made at the loading station.
Gates were added, along with a roof to make sure light did not come in and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority exit was extended with a wall.
The score for this version is “Mount Bop” by Mike Brassell and features components of the Giacchino score for Disneyland.
The skyway terminal was also partially destroyed to expand the entryway. Of note, special sound effects were added to the tunnels and an on-ride camera.
Main Difference Between Space Mountain Disneyland vs Disney World
One of the biggest difference between the two Disney Space Mountain rides is the post show exit.
Guests exit on a moving walkway at Disney’s Magic Kingdom which showcases various vacation spots that you can visit via the Tomorrowland Transit Authority on Space Mountain.
This gives a futuristic looks at what you can experience. It also has nods and references to now defunct attractions, “Horizons” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
While the Disneyland Resort Space Mountain exit is unremarkable and just leads you through a few hallways back out to Tomorrowland.
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What to Know Before Your Space Mountain Experience
Now that you gone through the Space Mountain Disneyland vs Disney World battle, let’s go through a few of the most commonly asked questions.
is space mountain scary?
Based on my experience it’s more thrilling than scary. It’s a great beginner roller coaster for kids with the most intense thing about it is that it takes place in the dark (since we’re traveling through space.)
does space mountain go upside down?
Space Mountain does not go upside down for Disneyland and Disney World. Neither version has loops or inversions in their current designs.
What is the height requirement for Space Mountain?
The height requirement for Disneyland is 40 inches and Disney World’s Space Mountain is 44 inches.
Is Space Mountain wheelchair accessible?
Both versions of Space Mountain are accessible but require transfer from wheelchair.
Can Disney Genie+ be used on Space Mountain?
Yes, both Space Mountain versions are available for this option. Price varies by date and specific park.
Does Space Mountain have a single rider line?
Both versions currently do not have a Single Rider Line.
Is Space Mountain an outdoor or indoor coaster?
Both versions are indoors. In fact, the Walt Disney World version was the first ever indoor coaster in the world!
How Fast is Space Mountain?
Disneyland’s Space Mountain reaches speeds of up to 35 miles per hour while Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain reaches a max speed of 28 miles per hour!
I know that sounds slow for a roller coaster, especially since the ride feels so much faster.
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Space Mountain Disneyland vs Disney World: Who Wins?
As you can see, while both different in their own way, there were truly never such devoted sisters.
But Space Mountain is a staple at any Disney Park, that’s why there are so many versions.
In fact, Tokyo Disney plans to demolish their current version in 2024 to completely rebuild a brand new version in 2027.
It is usually a child’s first “big kid” coaster at a Disney Park. Plus, it is truly beloved as one of Walt’s ideas.
So basically, you can’t lose by experiencing both!
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About the Author
Victoria is a professional solo traveler here to make your solo trips as stress free AND enjoyable as possible for you.
She has over 5 years of Disney and Non-Disney travel experience and was featured by POPSUGAR as one of the Top 50 Black Disney Creators you should follow.
She is a Proud Native to Baltimore, Md but always will call Disney World home. You can find her at Disney Tea with V.