Dare to Ride: How Dark Is Space Mountain

  • By: pdstamp
  • Date: January 18, 2023

If you’re planning a visit to the Magic Kingdom, you certainly would want to include Space Mountain on the agenda. It’s a ride that should not be missed, but there are questions surrounding it for those who have never been on it. One of those questions is how dark is Space Mountain?

The Space Mountain ride is very dark, to the point where you will not be able to see the track for the most part. The only light during the primary portion of the ride is the stars and a few galaxies that you see in the sky.

Space Mountain From The Monorail May 2005

There is some confusion over being a dark ride. As far as the light that is in the ride itself, it is very dark. That being said, Space Mountain is not classified as a Disney dark ride. What’s the difference?

Disney has a number of attractions that are known as dark rides. These are more than rides that take place indoors or in the dark, they are attractions that tell a story.

The fact that they are called dark rides does not mean that they are necessarily dark. It has more to do with the way that they were first created, using certain effects that involved black lights and creating them inside of a building that became the theater.

Some of the dark rides at Magic Kingdom include the following:

Peter Pan’s Flight

It’s a Small World

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Haunted Mansion

Delta DreamFlight

If You Had Wings

So, although the ride on Space Mountain is primarily in the dark, it is not an official dark ride.

Is space mountain dark the whole time?

Before you get on Space Mountain, it’s a good idea to know what to expect. Is the ride dark the whole time you’re in it?

From the time you are actually launched into space in space Mountain until you reach the exit tunnel, you are in the dark. You have stars and galaxies lighting the sky, but the ride itself is almost completely dark.

When you first get on the ride, your eyes are not going to be adjusted to the dark. That is because you are in a well-lit queue at first and then you enter through a tunnel that has beautiful flashing blue lights (my favorite part!).

Even the waiting area on the roller coaster is well lit and people can see you sitting on the coaster through windows as they walk by.

There is also a short section at the beginning of the ride that is well-lit. It takes you past some rockets and is to be the portion of the ride before you are actually launched into space.

Once you go through the doors and began the actual roller coaster ride, the light is noticeably gone. If you look closely enough, however, you will be able to see some of the tracks and you can even pick out some tracks in other areas, although it is dimly lit.

At the end of the ride, you enter a red tunnel but you are only there for a moment. It’s interesting that Disney chose the color red because it doesn’t affect your night vision. It’s their way of easing you back into the real world again.

You then make a brief trip back into the darkness again before the ride ends and you are taken back out into the well-lit queue area.

How extreme is space mountain

As far as extreme rides are concerned, many people consider space bound to be at the top of the list for a Disney attraction. When you stop to think about the ride itself and look at the numbers, however, it may not be as extreme as you think.

As far as the speed of Space Mountain, it is by no means even close to the fastest roller coaster in the world and it isn’t even the fastest roller coaster at Disney.

Splash Mountain is the fastest ride and Big Thunder Mountain is about 8 mph faster than Space Mountain. When you ride on Space Mountain, you are going at a top speed of 27 miles per hour.

Although it is a relatively slow roller coaster, it does feel as if you are going faster because you are traveling through the dark. It’s all about perception, and Disney does a fantastic job of making this seem like an extreme ride, even though it is somewhat tame.

Incidentally, the fastest steel roller coaster in the world travels at 149 mph. That’s quite a lot faster than the 27 mph you will be traveling on Space Mountain.

You might also appreciate knowing that there are no inversions when traveling through Space Mountain. It still is a thrill to travel through it, however, and it is worth the wait in the queue to get on.

Can you ride space mountain with the lights on?

The Space Mountain roller coaster is primarily in the dark but when the lights come on, it’s an entirely different story. Is it possible to ride Space Mountain with the lights on?

The only time you will ever see space Mountain with the lights on while you are on the ride is if there is a technical difficulty and it breaks down. They have to turn the lights on to evacuate you from the ride and you will get a rare glimpse at this roller coaster that rides in the dark.

You also have another option by hopping on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. If you find out that Space Mountain is down for maintenance, you may be able to get a glimpse of it from the inside of the PeopleMover with all of the lights on.

At this time, they aren’t operating the ride with lights on for guests. Perhaps they just don’t want to lose the magic when doing so.

The bottom line is, when you ride on Space Mountain, you will be almost entirely in the dark.

It isn’t considered a dark ride, but the only lights you will see during the primary ride are the stars and galaxies that dot the sky inside the attraction.

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