As a kid, riding on the Space Mountain roller coaster was a watershed moment. It started my life-long love of imitations of what space might be like, and of roller coasters. I've probably ridden it hundreds of times. So imagine my surprise when I learned a few behind-the-scenes goodies about "the Mountain."
First, when the roller coaster is out of service, it's called a "101." It's so cool it has its own code. The second bit of information that rocked my world was that there is one of Disney's famous "people movers" winding around inside the shell of Space Mountain that shows the guts of the whole friggin' operation.
I swoon. Mostly because I love learning things I didn't know. And, because it's Space Mountain.
Back to reality, I'll be the first person to admit a ride on one of Disney's people movers is slower than a personal mobility scooter, and in and of itself isn't very much fun. But if you consider that this tram ride usually only gives you a brief glimpse of Space Mountain in the dark, I think it gets more interesting.
Some might not be too wowed by a roller coaster — even a classic one with its lights on. But, for those of us who love roller coasters it is pretty cool to view them from another perspective. Seeing how Disney's Imagineers manage to make a fun and intriguing experience in a confined space is eye opening.
As I whizzed around in the dark I always imagined a huge space with amazing props and mechanics to make the experience happen. As it turns out, it is amazing what sound effects and a few properly placed lights can do for when you see the inside of Space Mountain with the lights on it doesn't look that much different from a factory production line or other mechanical space.
It doesn't ruin the experience for me. In fact it makes it better, as I know how much the mind plays in the experience. I'll probably ride it another hundred times — or at least until it goes "101" forever.
And, you'd better believe I'm going to line up for that people mover.