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What Was the First Roller Coaster at Disney World?

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Space Mountain: The Pioneer of Thrill Rides at Disney World


The first roller coaster at Disney World was Space Mountain. This iconic ride, located in the Tomorrowland section of Magic Kingdom, opened to the public on January 15, 1975. It was the first major thrill ride at Disney World and was also the first roller coaster to be entirely controlled by a computer.


Disney is synonymous with enchanting fairytales, beloved characters, and thrilling rides. But do you know which roller coaster first introduced the world to the exhilarating side of Disney? The answer is Space Mountain, a timeless attraction that debuted at Magic Kingdom in 1975.

Space Mountain: A Brief History

The inception of Space Mountain was a response to the demand for more thrill rides at Disney World. The idea of an indoor roller coaster was initially shelved due to technological limitations. However, the immense popularity of the Matterhorn in Disneyland and the growing demand from teens and young adults paved the way for the birth of Space Mountain.

Construction of this iconic ride began on December 15, 1972, and it was opened to the public on January 15, 1975. With a total cost of around $20 million, this single ride’s expense surpassed the entire construction cost of Disneyland!

The Ride Experience

Space Mountain, an outer space-themed indoor roller coaster, is situated in Tomorrowland at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park in Bay Lake, Florida. Despite not being the fastest roller coaster at Disney World (peaking at a speed of 28 mph), the total darkness inside the ride makes it feel much faster.

Over the years, Space Mountain has undergone several renovations and overlays, including special event offerings like rides in total darkness and Hyperspace Mountain, a Star Wars overlay in Disneyland.

Technological Innovations

Space Mountain wasn’t just the first major thrill ride at Disney World; it was also the first roller coaster to be entirely controlled by a computer. This technological innovation allowed for a unique braking system and scale to detect the position of ride vehicles on the track, determine when to launch the next ride vehicle, and maintain a safe distance between each ride vehicle.

Reception and Significance

The public’s initial reaction to Space Mountain was overwhelmingly positive. It was an instant hit, introducing a new era of thrill rides at Disney World, and setting the precedent for future roller coasters at the park.

Space Mountain’s historical significance extends beyond Disney World. It’s a testament to how far roller coasters have come since their early days, and how they continue to evolve and thrill riders of all ages.


Space Mountain, the first roller coaster at Disney World, remains a testament to the park’s commitment to innovation, thrill, and entertainment. Its success paved the way for the creation of other iconic thrill rides, ensuring that Disney World remains a favorite destination for thrill-seekers around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the height of Space Mountain?

Space Mountain is approximately 183 feet tall.

How long does the ride on Space Mountain last?

The ride duration for Space Mountain is approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Is Space Mountain suitable for all ages?

Space Mountain is a thrill ride with some intense features. Disney recommends that riders should be at least 44 inches (112 cm) tall. It may not be suitable for very young children, those with certain medical conditions, or those who do not enjoy fast, dark, and somewhat jerky rides.

How many people can ride in one Space Mountain vehicle?

Each Space Mountain ride vehicle can accommodate up to six people.

Does Space Mountain operate in the rain?

Yes, Space Mountain operates in the rain as it is an indoor roller coaster. However, severe weather conditions like lightning can cause temporary closure.

Is Space Mountain available in other Disney parks?

Yes, versions of Space Mountain can be found in other Disney parks worldwide, including Disneyland in California, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

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