Space Mountain is easily one of the most venerable of modern coasters, a true legend in its own time and it has been hallowed since its inception, but does it deserve the hype?

Currently, the five Space Mountains in existence run trains in Disney Land, Disney World, Disney Paris, Hong Kong Disney, and Disney Tokyo. All five are tracked differently, but are very similar in themes and mechanics. The version I am reviewing, and the only installation I’ve ridden, is the Space Mountain at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Essentially a wild mouse coaster, Space Mountain ups the ante on the genre by taking place entirely indoors and entirely in the dark. Like all wild mouse coasters, Space Mountain makes its thrills by pushing two car trains, rather than single cars, through a twisted course of short surprising drops and hairpin turns. Because of the darkness, it is near to impossible to gauge exactly where the ride is going to go next, and because there are two separate tracks, it is not uncommon to catch sight of another train wheedling through the blackness of “space”.

Space Mountain, like nearly all Disney rides, attempts to tell a story for the particularly observant, although the devotion to exact nuances is unnecessary for enjoyment of the ride. To keep it short, Space Mountain is unsurprisingly about a mission into the cosmos. The long version is much more complicated. Suffice it to say, there is not time here for a detailed explanation of just how deep the theming goes on this ride, but if you have the time and inclination, such detailed info is obtainable. Right here would be a good spot to start.

Space Mountain, as I’m sure you’ve gathered already, is a fun ride that is not going to knock the socks off of any seasoned coaster enthusiast. It offers no drops any steeper than 39 degrees, and there is no point in the ride that would cause anything more than the most pedestrian of thrills for even a mild fan of coasters. That said, this ride is a classic, and though it certainly didn’t do as much to advance the evolution of the modern coaster as much as Disney’s Matterhorn, the world’s first steel coaster and also developed by Arrow, Space Mountain is still a classic in the coasting world, and is useful for helping us to enthuse younger coaster riders.

It is interesting to note, however, that the Space Mountain we ride today is quite a bit different from the first incarnation of the ride. What is now fairly benign, was once the recipient of numerous lawsuits due to injury. Not surprisingly, Disney settled on the reasonable ones, and added trims to slow the trains.

All things considered, today’s Space Mountain ranks no higher than a five out of ten on the scale created by The Coaster Critic, and that is a generous five, based on nostalgia and memories of being eight years old and terrified. The thirty year old version of me was significantly less impressed. Does this mean you should skip on this piece of Walt’s collection if you’re in the park? Absolutely not. Roller coasters are few and far between at all of the Disney owned theme parks, and the Disney World version is particularly enjoyable, thanks to its recent rehab last year. It earns its score because of a lack of thrills, not because of the kind of defects that normally can cast an otherwise excellent coaster aside. Final Rating – 5.0 (Average)

This coaster is not Intimidator 305, and it doesn’t need to be. What Disney wants out of all of its rides, even the more thrilling ones, is a high amount of guest satisfaction, quick rider turnover and high reliability. Judged on those criteria, Space Mountain grades much higher than my five out of ten, and seeing as Disney has seen fit to grace five separate parks with versions of this classic, it would appear that the Mouse and general public agree.

Traditional Roller Coasters - Fun For AllSpace Mountain is rated ‘TR’ for Traditional. It’s a 2 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Space Mountain? Leave a comment below and rate it using this poll:

[poll id=”7″]

Images courtesy of CoasterImage.

About The Author

27 Responses

  1. The Coaster Critic

    Nice review. I wish I would've had the guts to ride Space Mountain the last time I was at Disney World (when I was 8). My brother and I couldn't see the layout of the ride, so we chickened out.

  2. Nick TPT

    I think the best Space Mountain is the one at Disneyland Paris. As well as having a very different theme to the Disneyland and WDW versions (retro-futuristic), it has an incredibly cool launched start which is a really good fit with the idea of being blasted into space. I found the other versions a bit disappointing by comparison.

    • Quil

      it may have a launch, but o dose rockin rollercoaster. therefore, theres no need for one at disney world, and either way it would take away the classic feel.

  3. Tom

    I've only been on the one at DisneyLand (CA), but I think it is pretty good ride. Yes, I haven't ridden it sience I was 9, but I remember it clearly as it was my first moderate coaster. I have memories with this ride.

    I rate it 7/10.

    • Quil

      i've ridden the orlando version, and i said 5. just think about it, would it be better than about 1/2 of each coaster you've ridden?

  4. Prof. BAM

    I'm going down to Disney in August, so I will actually have an experience to agree with, or hate.

  5. Ben

    I have to say I COMPLETELY disagree with this review. Space Mountain has incredible and isolating theming that actually makes you feel like you are on an epic galactic mission. From the intensly themed que to the actual ride, Space Mountain is amazing. I've ridden plenty of "more thrilling" roller coasters but honestly, Space Mountain was great fun and VERY thrilling. Because you can't see an arm's length away from you, apart from the beatiful and believabale stars and galaxies floating around you, the sudden (not wild-mous like) turns and surprising drops completely shocked me. And yes, there are two unique tracks that make the ride all the more thrilling. I think of all the Disney Rides, Space Mountain is the most underrated. If you are reading this and haven't ridden Space Mountain, I suggest you take the above review with a grain of salt.

    • adavis

      Ben, no offense, but when did you ride Space Mountain last? It is a very tame coaster, and when we live in a world where a coaster like Raging Bull is an 8.0, a 5.0 is generous for Space Mountain. Like I said, nothing wrong with the ride, but it is meant to please most people.

      • Quil

        most eople seem to toss the idea about reading the names for the numbers and just narrow it down to:

        Liked it: 7

        Liked it alot: 9

        My Favorite: 10

        I didn`t like it: 0

  6. Coasterluva97

    i've been goin there since i was 3, ridden it since i was 5! that is one of my fave coasters there, next to rnrr

  7. Molly

    This ride does not need to be a thrill! Nor does it need to give you an adrenaline rush! It's a fun, classic ride that not only cools you off from the hot Florida sun, but shows the history of Disney.

    I love this ride! I hate that ANYONE would want to demolish this. :'(

  8. airtime

    To rate SM purely as a roller coaster is to do violence to its reason for existence. Why don't we just trash the Haunted Mansion because it isn't scary enough of a haunted house while we're at it? SM must be viewed through the eyes of a child, not a jaded roller coaster enthusiast. Pretend that you are 8 years old again, and go along with the space travel theme. Enjoy the darkness of the ride so that you can't predict the twists and turns (I realize this is impossible for some who have ridden it dozens of times). I don't mean that it is sacrosanct, but one needs to consider the theme as well as the physics. In that, it scores big time. Some rides aren't only about visceral thrills – they are about fun and adventure, and SM scores big there in my book. (And I LOVE thrill rides.)

  9. Frog

    I have been on the Space Mountain at Disneyland and although I was much younger, I still believe this ride deserves more than a five. It has unexpected drops, and since it is in the dark this ride is SO much better! Yes, the actual coaster itself is not really thrilling, but with the music, darkness, bright lights, and theming, this ride deserves a definate 8. I will be going to Disney World next summer so I will be able to see if it is like Disneylands', and if it still lives up to my expectations.

  10. Prof.BAM

    Since this post is from June, I doubt anyone will read this comment, but those who do will find it funnny. Just click on the Link. htttp://

  11. Juliet

    I hardly remember riding Space Mountain the first time, but I do know they actually remade the seatbars after I left. I was five, and it was me and my mother who road it together. Me, being a puny child, was so small that when the bar was lowered it stopped at my mom's leg instead of mine, so there was a several-inch gap between me and the safty bar. Almost imediantly after the ride took off I slipped underneath and onto the floor of the compartment. Only my mother's "Death-grip" as she describes it, held me in the entire ride. Shortly afterwards they remodeled the seats so that would never happen again.

    But, three years later I tried riding it again, and thankfully that time it was much more enjoyable.

    • Quil

      That's an intresting story, Juliet. I'm glad they changed the lap bars before I tried it for the first time.

  12. Frog

    Any news about the Yeti on Expedition Everest getting fixed yet (unless its already fixed)? I know its a very complicated anamatronic, but they should fix it already because its a very important part to the ride!

  13. Joshua Ross-Waldman

    I've ridden this over the years several times. As a kid it terrified me to now end. As a young adult I found it boring as dirt. Since they darkened the interior though I found on my last visit that the ride grew in my esteem. My wife and I used both tracks and enjoyed ourselves immensely. This isn't a gnarly ride but it is a complete coaster and well worth the time. As a note, the Fast Track half is bumpier and far better. This is a classic that holds up well over time.

  14. Guilherme

    The coaster itself is bad, but the theming is taken to another level in this rollercoaster


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