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.