Today In Disney History ~ December 15th
Space Mountain is an indoor outer space-themed steel roller coaster at the Magic Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Opened on January 15, 1975, Space Mountain is the oldest operating roller coaster in the state of Florida, and is the original version of the iconic attraction that has since been replicated at all of The Walt Disney Company’s Magic Kingdom-style theme parks worldwide, except for the Shanghai Disneyland Resort. RCA helped fund Space Mountain’s construction and sponsored the ride from 1975 to 1993; FedEx sponsored Space Mountain from 1994 to 2004.
Walt Disney originally conceived the idea of a space-themed roller coaster for Disneyland following the success of the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which opened in 1959. However, a number of technological limitations and the Disney company’s focus on building what would become Walt Disney World led to the project’s postponement in the late 1960s. After the early success of the Magic Kingdom park in the early 1970s, the Disney company started looking to build its first thrill ride at the Magic Kingdom. Disney decided that a duplicate of Disneyland’s Matterhorn was not feasible at the Magic Kingdom, and instead opted to re-visit the Space Mountain project. Advances in technology since the project’s postponement made Space Mountain more feasible, and the ride opened in 1975.
Space Mountain has undergone a number of changes since its opening, including complete replacement of the ride trains in 1989 and 2009 as well as incremental upgrades to incorporate modern roller coaster technology. It has also seen a number of cosmetic renovations to its entry, queue, and post-show elements, many of which were necessitated by changes in its corporate sponsorship over the years.
TMSM Today in Graphic by Sherry Rinaldi DeHart; Wiki