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

Part II: The Concept

Early Concept

The earlier plans were bigger and more ambitious and consisted of not just one attraction, but several. There would have been an incredible looking mountain, but inside things were even more special: the massive mountain would house Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, with an underwater restaurant, an upgraded version of Epcot’s highly acclaimed Horizons attraction (yes, that Horizons), a drop tower themed around the Journey to the Center of the Earth by none other than Jules Verne, and finally a new Space Mountain themed (also) around Jules Verne’s De le Terre √† la Lune. The massive building would also have been connected to Videopolis, the foundations for these overhead walkways were built and now serve as the location for this statue of Wall-E. The connection to the restaurant/theater would have been through these windows.

The inside of the early concepts

Since the opening was, shall we say, not favorable, Disney had to not only cut budgets everywhere, but also save their new park, and that happened with Space Mountain. Disney greenlit the project, but unfortunately it never came to fruition, at least not on that scale… 

The team consisted of some of the most famous Imagineers of all time, including names like Tony Baxter, Eddie Sotto and Steve Bramson, who composed the fantastic soundtrack. But if there’s anyone who deserves the most credit, it’s Tim Delanay, who was the executive designer for Space Mountain, but also the Imagineer responsible for Discoveryland.

This space mountain is unlike any other attraction. Its retro-futuristic design, also called steampunk, reflects the late 19th century and its fascination with science and wonderful mechanical devices. A mix of engineering and art, metal beams, reinforcements and plates screwed into the mountain with copper reflections are decorated with stars, moons and other celestial images. Even though the attraction has changed a lot over time, this aesthetic has remained a constant that’s made its reputation.

Last Concept

Another element not found in other space mountains is the gigantic Columbiad cannon that carries the weapons of the Baltimore Gun Club, not forgetting the majestic goddess Luna. On top of that, Space Mountain was the first roller coaster in the dark with a revolutionary on-board audio system!

Columbiad Concept

After Imagineers designed the show building and ride, they used a computer and modified flight simulator to test the track. Do you recognize this flight simulator? That’s because it’s a Star Tours ride vehicle!

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