Do you have a favorite place at the Walt Disney World Resort? I have a running list of special places for me, from the Belle Vue Room Lounge at Disney’s BoardWalk, to the France Pavilion at the World Showcase at EPCOT and many more. At the top of the list, however, is the Space Mountain attraction queue at Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom Park.
A Walt Disney dream inspired by the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park, Space Mountain was officially announced on October 21, 1972, during a press conference that highlighted the second phase of the development of Walt Disney World. New attractions, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Star Jets (now known as the Astro Orbiter) and an expansion of Disney’s Fort Wilderness complex and campground, were under construction. Construction of the mountain would begin shortly thereafter.
Walt Disney Imagineer and Disney legend John Hench long ago provided the conical design. It measures 175 feet high and 300 feet in diameter. There are 72 beams surrounding the sealed cone, each weighing 74 tons and extending 117 feet to the top.
Inside, guests are launched through outer space on a journey out of this world, all controlled by advanced computer technology. On January 15, 1975, a grand stellar inauguration was held, attended by Mickey Mouse and several NASA astronauts.
I recommend the episode “Behind the Attraction” about Space Mountain at Disney + if you want to learn more about this icon that is in Disney parks around the world.
I traveled to the attraction only once with my dad when we visited him in 1983. During a family trip back five years later, I fell in love. The outer space fascinated me at the time, so the tail of the star tunnel, with its beautiful music throbbing through the air, was the perfect place to dream of being an astronaut.
The beautiful music was composed by the imaginary George Wilkins, who had previously worked with Disney Legend Buddy Baker on the EPCOT soundtrack. Wilkins ’upbeat Tomkinsland composition, titled“ We’ve Got So Far (Promising Tomorrow), ”was introduced during a mid-1980s upgrade to Space Mountain. Variations are still felt today and every time I hear the music it fills me with hope.
In the late 1990s, I discovered the “Walt Disney World Forever” kiosks at the Disney Springs Marketplace, where guests could create their own CD soundtracks. The first one I did contained Space Mountain music (“Star Tunnel” was repeated as I wrote this story).
As we approach the start of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” on October 1, it’s inspiring to look back at how Space Mountain was announced just a year after the grand opening of Walt Disney World. This iconic attraction helped fulfill the promise that Florida’s Walt Dream would continue to grow and evolve into the future, a promise we will continue to celebrate as part of the 50’s.th birthday. Keep checking us out here as we deal with all the magic that goes on around this important milestone in our history.