Perhaps the most famous of Disneyland rides, Space Mountain is both a landmark and a legacy. The roller coaster races through the dark, alongside the stars, and has been a major thrill ride for generations. It first opened in January of 1975 at the Magic Kingdom Park and stemmed from the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride. Due to the Matterhorn’s success, Disney thought thrill rides really did belong at his parks.
At first, Disney thought the thrill ride should be the epicenter of the new (at the time) Tomorrowland, thanks to the “space port” vibe. Before the moniker “Space Mountain” was picked, the Imagineers dubbed the coaster “Space Voyage.”
A Legend is Born
When Walt passed, Space Mountain was put on hold temporarily. However, it was soon clear that Magic Kingdom was seriously lacking in the thrill ride department. Young adults and teens were starting to flock to the area, and as land and technology become more available, Space Mountain was put back into motion. Originally, it was meant to nest on the south side of Tomorrowland but was soon moved to be situated on the perimeter berm.
The official opening of Space Mountain included a marching band playing the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover tracks. There was also a special appearance by the pilot of the Lunar Module on Apollo XV, Colonel James Irwin, and the rest is history.