The History of Paris’ Space Mountain: De la Terre a la Lune

In this article you will find the troubled history of Disneyland Paris’ Space Mountain. This is also available on Youtube and can be found using the link below. The article is divided into several pages for easier reading. Enjoy!

Video Edition

Once upon a time, there was an attraction that not only changed the roller coaster business forever but it also saved the park where it was built this is the story of that ride the story of Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon…

Part One – EuroDisney

In 1984, Disney, which was fully focused on international parks, wanted to expand into the European market. A new “EuroDisney” was a top priority, and among the many suitable sites, two countries wanted the Mouse for themselves. After a war over a new Disneyland between Spain and France, the French made such a good offer that Eisner, the CEO at the time, had to agree. Disney was so thrilled with the bargain one official called it “The Deal of the century.” So Michael Eisner (CEO) and Frank Wells (president of TWDC) sat down with the French government and made it official. Disneyland is to be built in Paris, France.

Michael Eisner (President of Walt Disney Company) and Jacques Chirac, French Prime Minister, After Signature of Contract For Disneyland Resort Near Paris on March 24, 1987 Photo © AGIP.

A few years passed and after investing far more than originally planned, EuroDisney was ready to open with 29 attractions, 6 hotels, a 190,000 foot entertainment district, a campground and a 27 hole golf course. All of this came at a high price, but one that Disney wasn’t too worried about, as they believed the resort would be as big a success just like the new Tokyo Disney Resort, which had welcomed more than ten million guests in its first year of operation in 1984.

The Construction of the EuroDisney Resort

Euro Disney President Robert Fitzpatrick commented, “My biggest fear is that we’ll be too successful.” The financial community agreed, with Margo Vignola of Salomon Brothers saying, “I don’t think it can miss . . . . They [Disney] are masters of marketing. When the place opens, it’ll be perfect. And they know how to make people smile – even the French.”

“Et maintenant, je declare EuroDisney, officiellement ouverte!” – Said Eisner at the inauguration of the Resort.

EuroDisneyland Opening Ceremony

It’s April 21, 1992, EuroDisney is opening and all of Europe is excited about the newest Disneyland. Disney felt it couldn’t fail, the park was fantastic (some even said it was the most beautiful Disney park in the world), but that’s exactly what happened… In the first six months of operation, the resort made a loss of over 50 million euros and had to ask Disney for emergency funding.

Now if we go back a while: When the park was planned and designed, Imagineers left out huge parcels of land for future development (aka Phase 2), most of those parcels already had an attraction planned for them. Looking at this “Fun Map” from the opening, we can see several of these “planned attractions” that are yet to be built… to this day. At the top of Adventureland was to be a giant mine train, probably Indiana Jones style, which later became the cheaper ride we know today (most of the site is still there waiting for something). Other attractions would be a Beaty and the Beast attraction in Fantasyland and a Little Mermaid dark ride, also in Fantasyland. But now let’s get to what we’re actually interested in… Discovery Mountain.

EuroDisney Fun Map

Back to 1992, Discoveryland was missing something… it had some attractions like Autopia, Le Visionarium (or as it was called in America, The Timekeeper), Star Tours and Captain EO, but it was missing something… right in the middle of this land there was one of those huge plots of land that still needed to be filled in, and the Imagineers had big plans for a pavilion-like building to be built right here. 

Discoveryland without Space Mountain

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