The troubled history of the original Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon!

“Et maintenant, je déclare EuroDisney, officialement ouvert!”

Micheal Eisner, 1992

These were the words with which the opening of EuroDisney was announced. With big dreams and even bigger expectations for attendance, Michael Eisner built the Disneyland Paris Resort. A resort that had about 6000 rooms on day one, spread across 7 hotels, and so much room for expansion.

Opening day of EuroDisney

As you may know, the first few years of operation were really tough for Disney as they were losing millions every year. They needed something to draw the crowds, something big, something thrilling…

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Space Mountain Teaser

“Between the Earth and the Moon, lies the adventure. Space Mountain, the greatest ride in the Universe”

These were the words many people heard when they saw TV. This attraction was going to be big and maybe, just maybe, it could breathe new life into Disneyland Paris. But as big as the attraction was going to be, it was much smaller than what the Imagineers had planned…

Disney engineers had planned a huge pavilion that would connect to the Videopolis theatre/restaurant and contain several rides. Here are some concept drawings for that space.

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The project ended up with major budget cuts and was turned into just a roller coaster and a small walk-through attraction. But this roller coaster would not be a normal roller coaster, oh no. Disney Imagineers designed and built a new concept for the coaster that featured on-board audio, an upwards launch, and lots of special effects. Most importantly, the coaster was like a movie. It had a story and completely original music, but it still lacked the actors, the guests.

Space Mountain at night

The story is based on the novel “From the Earth to the Moon” by Jules Verne, about an American company that develops a cannon large and powerful enough to shoot men into space and eventually land on the moon.

The attraction was a huge success and revitalized Disneyland Paris. On July 25, 1995, almost a month later after of the opening of the attraction, Disneyland Paris reported its first quarterly profit of $35.3 million. This was great news for the resort and meant that the resort could still have a future…

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On January 15th, 2005 the attraction closed, making way for Space Mountain: Mission 2, an attraction less based on history and more focused on thrills. In 2017, this version closed and the new HyperSpace Mountain opened. This attraction relies more on projections and lights. Disney has said that this is only a temporary change, but it has not announced any new plans for the future…

HyperSpace Mountain

Have you ridden Space Mountain? If so, what’s your favorite version?

Inside the building photos by sm_dltall at Twitter

That’s a Wrap!

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