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Thread: More Mouse: Remembering the Magic - Space Mountain

  1. #1
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    More Mouse: Remembering the Magic - Space Mountain

    Remembering the Magic - Space Mountain by Jonathan Heigl

    This month, writer Jonathan Heigl blasts through the history of Space Mountain!

    Read it here!

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    DL Space Mountain better because of one big difference.....

    After riding Space Mountain at both Disneyland and in Florida in the last few years, I think the one in California is better due to one main difference. Music. The cars at DL have speakers next to your headrest that hugely enhances the experience.

  4. #3
    Registered User petesimac's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA

    What? Nothing about the great exit queue in the original version? After the ride, guests would hop aboard a moving sidewalk and bear witness to the marvels of the future in a series of "scenes": big screen TVs, music videos, shopping from home on the television, classes/webcasts via TV, close circuit cameras that help you see who's at the front door, etc. this was a highlight for me, and sadly instead of merely updating the scenes of the future as the years went by, we now have the vanilla exit queue of today that you race through to make the next fastpass time.

    Here is also another case of the fastpass ruining the ride experience for those without fastpasses. Unless it was peak time, I rarely waited more than 45 minutes for a ride on SM; now you could be there well over an hour. The wait then was fine, as the entrance queue was enjoyable, even without the high-tech interactive games that now exist. The best part was when you finally reached the Alpha/Omega choice; it didn't seem like a warehouse as it does now, it was a thriving, lively rocket port! In the old days, each and every lane on each side was full of excited riders. Again, you didn't mind because you used to be able to see the rockets race through the stars (glimpses, more like), and hear the screams of the other riders, and you could see falling stars, and meteors/asteroids falling in the form of large oatmeal cookies twirling out of the dark sky. I can't stand how they've closed off the view of the tracks from below. Claustrophobic.

    This ride, for an aging guy like me, is close to being a no-go. I can still do it if I'm at the front of the rocket; if I'm on the end, forget it. Still,despite the clueless cosmetic changes and the lack of a great exit queue, SM is still a marquee ride and one I try to enjoy at least once a vacation, but when compared to its former glory, it pales in the comparison. Now, while the DL version isn't as much fun from a roller coaster standpoint (it's more like Thunder Moutain in the dark with its own soundtrack), it's much more fun, thanks to the on-rocket sound system and the loading zone. I would love to try some of the other parks' versions as well.

    1999 - Coronado; 2003 - DL's Paradise Pier ; 2005 - All Star Music; 2007 - POP; 2008 - Paradise Pier; 2009 - POP ; 2010 - Dolphin; 2011 - POP; 2012 - POFQ; 2013 - POFQ; 2014 - POFQ; 2015 - Art of Animation; 2016 - Pop; July 2017 - POFQ

    What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what happens at Disney stays with you a lifetime

  5. #4

    "Other than the updating of the track beams, theming and queue, addition of lights, screens and games, and general safety additions, the ride experience, in terms of track, is the same as it has always been."

    As far as the ride is concerned, it's pretty much unchanged. To me, that's not "bringing the ride into the 21st century". In fact, the ride feels even older and more outdated now that the queue has been updated.

    I've heard some people say that things like "but it's a classic" and "I like the bumpiness; it makes it crazier and more thrilling". But that wasn't the intent of the Imagineers who created it. As Disney itself claims, they don't make rides, they make "experiences". You're not supposed to feel like you're on a rickety old roller coaster in a dimly lit building. You're supposed to feel like you're hurtling through the pitch-black cosmos at light speed. Upon riding SM twice after the "update", it actually felt a bit rougher to me, it wasn't noticeably darker, and I was disheartened walking through the star tunnel when I could still hear the "clickety clack" of the lift chain through the walls! They still have the motionless mission control figures (who are still weirdly wearing sunglasses, not futuristic visors), they still have the same anti-climactic swirling "wormhole" at the end. And worse, they still have that awkward part between the red tunnel and the unload area where you're crawling at snail's pace but still supposedly in space. Completely reminds me that I'm on an old roller coaster, especially since I can see a dozen infrared monitors passing by and scaffolding everywhere. The added music is a joke, because since it's not on-board, it fades in and out very noticeably. And what's with the on-ride photo camera being at the beginning, before you're even going faster than 10 miles per hour? Everyone I've seen is looking bored or confused in their photos!

    Disneyland did it right. Same track, same theme, but everything has been updated. The lift hill, with it's spinning red "tractor beam" sequence is a really cool effect. The ride is pitch-black, super smooth, and I can actually suspend reality and believe I'm cruising through space! The onboard soundtrack makes it feel like I've got an intergalactic radio piping through my rocket, and it's just awesome. And that finale with the multi-colored stars and musical crescendo gives me goosebumps every time.

    I do think that WDW's track is more interesting in that it has left turns and more dips. But Disneyland's track feels (and is) faster than WDW's, plus since it's pitch-black, even though I know I'm going to be making a right turn, I don't know exactly when. So when I suddenly feel those G-forces, it's very thrilling!

    If I want a wild ride on a rickety roller coaster through a dimly lit building with off-and-on music, I'll go on WDW's Space Mountain. If I want to blast off at light speed through the darkest reaches of space to a rocking soundtrack, I'll go on DL's Space Mountain.

    I did hear that they had planned something closer to DL's rehab for WDW, but their budget got cut and they did the best they could. Looking at things from an Imagineer's perspective, I can see it's not their fault. Heck, I'd be frustrated if I was the principle on that project and my budget got cut! But for one of the most popular rides in the world at the most visited theme park in the world, it's not up to Disney level. It's not a Disney experience. It's just an old, decent coaster with a nice queue (though as petesimac attested, even the queue is debatable)!

  6. #5
    Starspeeder 3000 Technician
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    Jun 2009
    New Jersey

    My two, two cents...

    1) The ride itself is rougher than it used to be. By far.

    2) No matter how many times I've read it, I refuse to believe that both sides are the same. They are not. The right hand side is for some reason far more enjoyable, in my opinion. When I am forced to experience the left side, it's like I've been made to ride the inferior half.



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