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Disneyland’s Space Mountain ride will be restored to its classic theme

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Turning 40 next month, the roller coaster will shed its recent Star Wars makeover

View of Space Mountain’s roofline against a blue sky Jessie | creative commons

Beloved Disneyland roller coaster Space Mountain will celebrate next month 40 years of dizzying park visitors with bright lights and spiraling descents from the top of the 76-foot-tall cone-like structure. In honor of the occasion, Disney has announced it will restore the ride to its original concept, abandoning the Star Wars theme adopted in 2015.

Since then, the ride has been going by Hyperspace Mountain, with new sound effects and visuals familiar to fans of the franchise. Meanwhile, Disneyland’s “imagineers” have been working on a new section of the park that will be specifically dedicated to all things Star Wars.

Space Mountain first premiered at Disney World in 1975, but the Disneyland version followed soon after, opening on May 27, 1977.

Still one of the most popular rides in the park, the ride is also an underappreciated gem of late modernist architecture.

With its concrete, steel, and glass interior design and unique, flying saucer-like exterior, the design elements are as charmingly dated as they are futuristic (in early renderings, the ride, which was originally accessed by a long glowing escalator and centered around a live music stage, looks almost like a Googie-style shopping center).

The ride will reopen in its classic form on June 1.

Until then, here are a few photos from its 40-year history.

1970s article
An article detailing construction on Space Mountain
Tom Simpson | creative commons
Old Disneyland brochure Tom Simpson | creative commons
Vintage photo of Space Mountain
A view of the ride in the late 1970s
Gene Spesard | creative commons
Riders on Space Mountain Tom Simpson | creative commons
Performance on Space Mountain stage
The area around the ride once included a live music stage
Tom Simpson | creative commons
View of Hyperspace Mountain sign
The ride has been going by Hyperspace Mountain since 2015
William Zain | creative commons

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