Riding Through Disney World’s Space Mountain With The Lights On

Riding through Disney World’s Space Mountain with the lights on seems like it would be incredibly dull.  And once you see it then you understand a lot more about the ride and it’s kind of diminished to tell the truth. Once the lights go off it becomes the ride that a lot of those that have been on it multiple times remember from their youth. Space Mountain at both Disney World and Disneyland was for a long time one of the main draws that people wanted to see and ride on when they came to the parks, and as a result it had one of the biggest lines out of all the rides. I’ve heard tell of people that have gone on Space Mountain so many times in a row that the record still holds to this day. Of course that’s a rumor, I think.

The biggest part of Space Mountain, which opened in 1975 at Disney World and 1977 at Disneyland, was at one time one of the most dynamic rides in the entire park. You would seat yourself in the small contraption bound to the rails and wait for the ride to start. Once exiting the ‘terminal’ you would then find yourself in an ascent through a tunnel of pulsating light that continued to flash and flicker as you made your way up. The brightness of it was so great that you could have squinted or stared straight forward into what could only be deemed as the eye of the waiting voyage you were about to go on courtesy of Disney World. Before that takeoff however you would turn the corner and make another ascent towards flight command, where you would pass between the control station and yet another shuttle that was being prepped for takeoff. After that you were on your way down.

Leaving the lights on though robs any mystique the ride had to offer. You can see the back of ‘flight command’ and realize that it’s a very shallow feature as it’s designed just to capture your attention before the ride really starts up. Once you’re in the dark and the stars start to whiz by most people would forget they even passed a flight station or another shuttle. Some might focus on the screams they hear in the dark, while others might focus on the passage of structures that you could just barely divine that were so close that sticking your arms up or out seemed like a poor idea.

With the lights on though it’s just another rollercoaster and far more mechanical than magical. The inside of the dome that serves as the star field showing the different galaxies, nebulae and such is just a white screen devised in such a way as to heighten the experience. And in the light you can see clearly the many overhanging rails and other support structures that would make it a very bad idea to throw your hands up with wild abandon.

Now this clip below is how it’s SUPPOSED to look, and it brings back the magic of the ride as it was originally intended.

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