Are you sitting there wondering, “Is Space Mountain Scary?”.
If you’re gearing up for a trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth, you’ve probably heard whispers—or maybe even screams—about Space Mountain.
Is it a thrill-seeker’s dream or a nightmare in the making?
As someone who hops on this ride pretty often (it’s my daughter’s absolute favorite!), I’ve got the inside scoop.
In this 2023 Fear Factor Guide, we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of what makes Space Mountain tick. From the unexpected drops in the dark to the health warnings you should be aware of, we’ve got you covered.
Is Space Mountain scary?
Space Mountain first opened at Disney World Resort in 1975. It was an instant hit with guests and has been one of the most popular rides ever since. Located in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park, find it in Tomorrowland by taking a right at Cinderella’s castle.
This attraction takes guests on a journey through space. Riders board a “rocket” which speeds through the dark night sky, making quick turns and several drops along the way.
It is one of the most popular attractions in the park and often has long lines, especially in the afternoon.
Most people would not find this ride intimidating as it is a relatively slow coaster with speeds of 28mph.
However, the ride experience is different than other coasters. It is an indoor roller coaster with sharp turns and the entire ride is in the dark.
In part due to the Disney magic, this attraction feels faster than other Disney coasters. To me, this ride is jerky and lacks the smoothness of both the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
If I’m being completely honest, a couple years ago I ducked out of line because I was too afraid to go on it. Of course, I’ve never lived this down, so now I will ride it once per trip, but no more. Since there’s a Joffry’s coffee nearby, I’d rather hang out there!
Age and Height Requirements
Yes, Space Mountain has height and age requirements in order to ride. Riders must be at least 44 inches tall (112 cm) to board the rocket.
Space Mountain Speed: While it may seem like Space Mountain travels quickly through space, its top speed is only 28 mph (45km/h). The ride definitely feels faster due to the darkness and turns in the track, however. Believe it or not, this ride doesn’t even make the top 10 of the fastest rides at Disney World.
What to Expect
Space Mountain is a roller coaster-type ride with quick turns, sudden drops, and a few jerks along the way. While it may seem intimidating at first, its relatively slow speed makes it a great choice for first-time roller coaster riders. There is definitely not a big drop like at Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest.
The ride is also much less intense than some of the other roller coasters in Disney World, so those who are worried about being scared can still enjoy this attraction.
Space Mountain at Disney World uses a 3-seat single rocket car to take guests through its track. Two rockets are attached together, allowing 6 people to traverse space together. Since each person is in their own seat, keep this in mind for youngsters that are riding with you.
Pull the t-shaped lap bar toward you and remember to put any bags on top of this bar, not under it.
Admittedly, I have a hard time getting out of this seat as your legs are wedged behind the seat in front of you 😩.
Disney World’s Space Mountain consists of two different tracks, Alpha and Omega. They intertwine with each other throughout the ride, but since it’s so dark, you only hear the other vehicles buzz by you.
Genie+, Single Rider Line and Rider Switch
Yes, this attraction has it all!
For those wondering if Genie+ is worth it, you have the option of securing a lightning lane reservation made through Genie+.
Personally, we rope drop this ride first thing in the morning and use our 7 am Genie+ at Big Thunder Mountain. Adventureland (where Big Thunder is located) doesn’t have early entry, therefore more people are in the park by the time it opens.
Technically, Space Mountain does not have a single-rider line at Disney World. However, if you are by yourself, there is a sign inside the queue telling you to notify a cast member if you are by yourself.
My daughter has done this several times and she is taken to a separate queue and used to fill in empty space on the rockets.
Families interested in Rider Switch can use that as well. Just talk to any of the cast members at the entrance who will help you.
Space Mountain’s Christmas Overlay
This past year was the first time I experienced this holiday-themed ride overlay.
Red and green lights flashed during the Christmas song-filled ride. Actually, this made it easier to see the track and I was less nervous (although it was still jerky).
Space Mountain Disneyland Park vs Space Mountain Disney World
Based on the early success of Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain, Disneyland Resort in California opened this ride two years later.
However, due to space limitations, there are several differences:
- Only one track exists at Disneyland CA, not two
- Rocket cars sit two people across instead of a single seater. This allows more people to ride it at the same time since building two tracks was out of the plan.
- These rockets speed along at 35 mph, 7 miles an hour faster than their counterpart in Florida, making it the 3rd fastest ride at Disneyland.
- The height limit is reduced to 40 inches.
- This track is 15 seconds longer than either Alpha or Omega at Disney World.
What do you think? Which one would you prefer?
Most families with small children prefer Disneyland’s attraction since it has a lower height requirement and your child can sit right next to you.
Disneyland Paris – HyperSpace Mountain
If you were to ask my 10-year-old daughter, Paris Disney’s HyperSpace Mountain ranks as one of the best rides at any Disney Park.
It has three inversions within the dark ride and therefore requires you to wear a shoulder harness.
Seating across is for two people in a similar type of rocket ship.
Theming is different as well. In 2017, this ride was reimagined for Paris Disney’s 25th anniversary and a Star Wars theme was born.
This is the only Space Mountain that has a launch to propel you into space (while playing the Star Wars theme song of course) and a part of its track is outdoors.
Riders must be 47 inches tall to ride as this is the fastest Space Mountain at 44 mph.
This just shows you that when comparing Disneyland Paris vs Disney World, the rides at Paris Disney are just so much better!
Hong Kong Disneyland Hyperspace Mountain
This park combines the track of Disneyland CA’s ride with the theming of Hyperspace Mountain in Paris.
Read my full Hong Kong Disneyland review here.
Tokyo Disneyland Space Mountain
The newest version of Tokyo Disney’s Space Mountain is similar to that of Walt Disney Worlds with a futuristic feel to it.
Rockets travel at 30mph and have a height requirement of 40 inches, making this one of the more family-oriented space mountain rides.
Early in 2022, it was announced this ride would be completely rebuilt with state-of-the-art theming, special effects and performance. It is set to close in 2024, with a reopening date set for 2027.
Space Mountain FAQs
Space Mountain is one of the scariest rides at Disney World due to its total darkness and fear of the unknown. However, after riding it a few times, you realize there are really no big drops, but rather sharp turns and a lot of jerkiness.
If your 7-year-old meets the height restrictions, then it is more of a matter of if he/she will be comfortable in a very dark and jerky ride. Remember, young children will not be in the same seat as you. That said, my daughter isn’t scared of any rollercoasters and she loves going on them, so trust your instinct.
In my experience, Space Mountain is scarier. I think the added excitement of the ride’s darkness contributes to these being scary rides. Even though Big Thunder Mountain has a faster speed, it is a lot smoother and the theming is fun.
No, the Space Mountain at Disney World does not flip you upside down. However, Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland Paris does have 3 inversions.
Space Mountain at Disney World clocks in at 28mph whereas Space Mountain in Disneyland CA travels a little faster at 35 mph. These thrill rides are some of the fastest rides in both parks.
Space Mountain runs for 2 minutes and 35 seconds.
Due to its high speeds and sudden turns, you should be in good health to ride Space Mountain. Those prone to motion sickness, expectant mothers, or have high blood pressure should refrain from riding. This is Disney’s standard policy.
Is Space Mountain Scary summary
Overall, Space Mountain is one of the most exciting Disney World rides appropriate for a wide range of ages and heights. While it may seem intimidating, it’s not overly scary and can be enjoyed by all.
So, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a park first-timer, this is one ride that you won’t want to miss next time you’re in Magic Kingdom!
So the answer to our initial question is: No, Space Mountain is not scary.
However, it does contain some thrilling elements and its dark atmosphere may be a bit startling for some passengers. But overall it’s a great ride and one you’re sure to enjoy!
So, what are you waiting for? Hop on board and soar through the stars today!