May 04, 1977
Space Mountain Opens at Disneyland
Attention space travelers: It was on this day in 1977 that Space Mountain first blasted off guests at Disneyland, rocketing them into a simulation of outer space, aboard a roller coaster dark ride. But this attraction, which still remains popular today in the year 2011, actually has a history that goes back to the 1960s. Disney Legend John Hench designed this attraction, years before the technology was readily available. The first Space Mountain opened in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 1975, and after it proved its success, it landed at Disneyland two years later, with the first American men in space, consisting of the U.S. Mercury Astronauts Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, Donald “Deke” Slayton and Betty Grissom (widow of Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom) on hand for the opening ceremonies. Over the years, the attraction has seen improvements with all new visual effects and a fully synchronized onboard audio soundtrack. The next time you walk thru the queue for the attraction, take a look around at the symbol for “Space Station 77,” paying homage to the year Space Mountain first took flight.