Is Space Mountain scary? The answer is that it depends on who you ask.
For all intents and purposes, Space Mountain isn’t designed to be a scary ride. It has no horror or paranormal elements, as there is with Haunted Mansion or The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Instead, Space Mountain is scary to some because it’s in the dark.
Here’s what you need to know about Space Mountain and if you should consider it a family-friendly ride.
What is Space Mountain?
Space Mountain is a rollercoaster themed to outer space. It is located in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom.
What makes Space Mountain so unique is that it is in the dark, so guests will be unable to see the track.
This is similar to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith over at Hollywood Studios. However, instead of seeing iconic Hollywood signs, you’ll be whizzing past shooting stars, comets, and meteors.
How Long is Space Mountain at Disney World?
In total, Space Mountain is two minutes and 30 seconds long.
Read more: What is the Longest Ride at Disney World?
Space Mountain Height Requirement
In order to safely ride Space Mountain in Walt Disney World, guests have to be at least 44” tall.
While you will still (and should) measure their height upon entry, this rollercoaster is usually suitable for guests ages 6 and up.
However, keep in mind that guests 7 and under must be accompanied by an adult in order to ride.
Is Space Mountain in Disney World the Same as Disneyland?
For guests who like to visit multiple Disney theme parks, one of the most common questions they ask is if Space Mountain in Disney World is the same as Disneyland’s and the answer is no. But it does have many similarities in terms of theming.
One of the most notable differences is that Space Mountain in Disney World has two tracks, whereas the one in Disneyland only has one. This is because the Magic Kingdom has more space than Disneyland.
However, because Disneyland’s version only has one track, it’s also about 15 seconds longer than the one in Magic Kingdom.
Another big difference is that the rocket design in Disneyland can fit two guests side-by-side, whereas the ones in Magic Kingdom can only fit one person per row.
Other notable differences between the Disney World and Disneyland versions include size, both in terms of guests who can ride and the attraction itself. Disney World guests have to be at least 44” tall to ride Space Mountain, whereas Disneyland guests only have to be 40” tall.
Likewise, Space Mountain in Disney World is 180’ tall compared to Disneyland’s, which is only 118’ tall.
What’s the Back Story/History of Space Mountain?
Because Space Mountain opened not that far after the parks, many guests believe that it was built to mimic the one in Disneyland. However, that’s not true. Instead, the Imagineers – like John Hench – drew inspiration from the Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland and later constructed Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain.
The inspiration drawn from the Matterhorn Bobsleds can’t be overstated, as it was the first tubular steel coaster in the world when it opened in Disneyland in the 1950s. This rollercoaster’s design allowed for quick, sharp turns, not unlike the ones guests get to currently enjoy on Space Mountain.
Construction on Disney World’s Space Mountain began in 1972 and took three years before officially opening to guests on January 15, 1975 – two years before it opened in Disneyland.
Scary Elements of Space Mountain
Though Space Mountain wasn’t designed to be a scary ride, it does have some scary elements that may or may not be suitable for younger guests in your party.
Here’s an overview of the scary elements of Space Mountain:
It’s in the Dark
Space Mountain is primarily in the dark. There are some spots in the ride that have light, such as during the blue tunnel that takes you to the launch point, as well as when you travel “through space” with comets, stars, and meteors passing by you.
Still, these aren’t really bright. However, their presence may give you peace of mind that you’re not completely isolated in darkness.
Extremely Jerky Movements
Depending on the age group and existing medical issues, sometimes the scariest element of Space Mountain is how jerky it is.
There’s very little back support, with many adults having to slightly hunch over. There’s also not a ton of legroom, so it could be uncomfortable for taller guests. Couple these factors with the quick turns and it’s very easy to walk off sore. In fact, guests who have back and neck issues are advised not to ride.
How Fast Does Space Mountain Disney World Go?
Space Mountain only goes about 27 miles per hour, so you may be wondering what makes it feel so much faster.
And surprisingly, there’s more to it than simply being in the dark. The reason why Space Mountain feels so fast, despite being the slowest version in all of the Disney parks around the world, is because the Imagineers installed air vents that blow directly onto the riders.
This cool air, when combined with the ride track, gives guests the illusion of traveling at warp speed. Like the shade of Go Away Green they use to keep backstage areas hidden, this is just another little trick Disney World uses to immerse you into its story.
Does Space Mountain Have Any Drops?
Don’t expect any steep drops on Space Mountain like you would on Expedition Everest. The steepest drop on Space Mountain is 35 feet. In comparison, the largest drop on Expedition Everest is 80 feet.
Instead, you can mainly expect some quick turns.
Does Space Mountain Go Upside Down?
No, Space Mountain does not go upside down. Nor does it go backward. It is a straightforward “wild-mouse” type of rollercoaster.
Seating for Space Mountain
As briefly mentioned above when talking about the differences between Disney World and Disneyland’s versions of Space Mountain, the biggest difference is that the one in Disney World is single rider.
Each rocket has three seats back-to-back, so you’ll have to step into the ride vehicle and buckle up. This applies to all ages, so if your child is tall enough to ride, they will have to sit alone. There are no other options.
If you’re worried about how your child will handle this, I advise watching a Space Mountain ride through video on YouTube, so they can see the ride layout and determine if it’s the right fit for them. This is better than waiting an hour in line, only to turn around once they see the rockets for the first time.
Who Should Not Ride Space Mountain?
According to Disney’s website, you should not ride Space Mountain if you have high blood pressure, motion sickness, or back, neck, and heart problems. Likewise, expectant mothers should not ride at any stage of their pregnancy.
While these are just the conditions Disney mentions, you should exercise caution if you have any problems you think might be exacerbated by this coaster. Generally, all guests who ride are expected to be in good health.
Here’s an overview of Disney World’s Safety, Accessibility, and Guest Policies for Space Mountain:
Should You Ride Space Mountain if You’re Clausterphobic?
Only you can answer this question, but Space Mountain is generally open enough to not trigger severe symptoms of claustrophobia as other rides like Mission: SPACE would.
That being said, the ride vehicles are pretty tight, so if you don’t feel comfortable with that, Space Mountain might not be the ride for you.
Can You Use Lighting Lane on Space Mountain?
Yes, you can use Lighting Lane on Space Mountain. Lightning Lane replaced the old FastPass system and allows you to bypass the regular standby line for quicker access to your favorite Disney World attractions.
Space Mountain is included in the purchase of Disney Genie, along with the majority of other rides in the park. Currently, the only à la carte rides in Magic Kingdom that require separate, individual purchases to ride without a wait time are TRON Lightcycle/Run and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Will You Hit Your Head on Space Mountain?
If you’re like me, then you’re constantly worried about hitting your head or one of your arms while riding Space Mountain.
However, this is not going to happen. Disney World uses what’s known as an Envelope of Protection, or EOP. This device tests every aspect of a ride to make sure that guests cannot touch a part of the ride track or be injured by normal operations.
However, the key word here is normal. Guests are expected to remain seated and keep their arms and legs inside ride vehicles at all times. As long as you follow the rules, you’re not likely to get injured on any ride at Disney World.
Can I Use Rider Swap at Space Mountain?
Yes, you can use Rider Switch at Space Mountain. Rider Switch allows guests with small children or those who cannot or don’t wish to ride to swap places with one another without having to wait in line twice.
Send in one adult to enjoy Space Mountain and then when they’re done, let the Cast Member know and switch places to get on the ride yourself. Rider Switch is so convenient for families with young children, so definitely take advantage of this next time you’re vacationing in Magic Kingdom.
Read more: Child Swap at Disney World: How it Works
Does Space Mountain Have a Single Rider Line?
Unfortunately, no, Space Mountain in Disney World does not have a single-rider line. The only attractions in Walt Disney World that have single-rider lines are:
- Test Track
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Read more: Single Rider Lines at Disney World
I wish the single-rider option would come to Space Mountain in Disney World. It’s at Disneyland, so, Bob Iger, let’s get on that, ok? Make it happen.
What’s Your Favorite Roller Coaster in Walt Disney World?
Are you a fan of the classics like Space Mountain? Or do you prefer the high-octane thrill of Big Thunder Mountain and Expedition Everest? Let us know in the comments.
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As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.
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