Part V: Inauguration and first years
After an amazing marketing campaign with captivating trailers, millions of apprentice astronauts eagerly await the Inauguration, which took place on May 31, 1995. On that day, Disneyland Park was the site of a memorable celebration under the stars and brought together some amazing people, including an astronaut (a real one)! Buzz Aldrin, the second man to ever land on the moon.
To the sounds of music from science fiction movies, six thousand guests were welcomed, ready to participate in the launch party. The monstrous size of the Columbiad surprised, the architecture fascinated, and the guests found themselves in Jules Verne’s story just minutes before the cannon was fired. The time of the launch is near, Roy Disney and Philippe Bourguignon (executive director of EuroDisney) declare the conquest of space open and smash a bottle of champagne in the huge shell, from which a Jules Verne appears to see his futuristic dream come true.
The night closes in and the first people get ready to fly to the moon. With them go some famous names like Michael Jackson, Sylvester Stallone, Jean Reno, David Copperfield, Claudia Schiffer, the real astronaut Buzz Aldrin and many others. The professional in real space commented that the ride was “technically perfect” and that “in Space Mountain we’re catapulted into space and travel in all directions”, while “in a real rocket (…) we stay in bed practically all the time”.
After that incredible opening day (and evening), the attraction opened to the public on July 1, 1995 to rave reviews! Space Mountain: de la Terre a la Lune was a huge success and for the first time ever, Disneyland Paris made a profit of $22.8 million that year. For nearly a decade it was the major E-ticket and remained reasonably untouched until January 2005, when Disney needed Space Mountain to help financially again, but this time for the worse…