Disneyland’s Space Mountain nearly had 4 outdoor coaster tracks and another name

Initial plans for Space Mountain by Walt Disney and his Imagineers in the early 1960s conceived of a spaceport in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland with four separate roller coaster tracks weaving inside and outside a towering futuristic peak with a much less majestic name.

“Walt and the team had an idea to do a spaceport within Tomorrowland,” Disney Imagineer Owen Yoshino said in a new Disney+ show. “The featured anchor attraction would be Space Voyage.”

Walt Disney Imagineering takes a behind-the-scenes look at Disneyland’s Space Mountain ride in the new 10-episode “Behind the Attraction” series debuting on Disney+ on Wednesday, July 21.

The first five episodes dropping on Wednesday focus on Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Star Tours, Haunted Mansion and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror/Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout. Future episodes will feature It’s a Small World, Hall of Presidents/Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Disneyland Hotel, Disney theme park castles and Disney trains and monorails.

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SEE ALSO: ‘The Imagineering Story’: After Walt Disney’s death, Imagineering wonders ‘What Would Walt Do?’

A new mural sits outside Space Mountain in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, April 30, 2021. The resort’s parks have been closed for 412 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The successful debut of Matterhorn Bobsleds in 1959 at Disneyland prompted Disney to ask his creative team to dream up a space-themed roller coaster for Tomorrowland that would be more technologically advanced and twice as big.

Disney Legend John Hench — known as Walt’s “expert at everything” — created the first Space Voyage conceptual sketches. The original concept for what would become Space Mountain had four tracks weaving in and out of each other and through a large mountain similar to the Matterhorn track layout.

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The big technological advance — a computer-controlled brake blocking system to keep coaster trains from colliding — was way ahead of its time. The project was ultimately put on hold, but it was soon resurrected.

SEE ALSO: Imagineer Joe Rohde reflects on 40 years of dreaming up Disney theme park attractions

A Disneyland map from 1968 showed an unnamed “future attraction” in Tomorrowland that looked a lot like Space Mountain with coaster tracks encircling the futuristic peak.

But by that time another project was occupying the attention of Imagineering -— the new Magic Kingdom theme park that would soon open in Florida in 1971.

Competition in the burgeoning amusement park industry pushed the Imagineering team to shift plans for Space Mountain from Disneyland to the Magic Kingdom — where the space-themed indoor roller coaster debuted in 1975.

The Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain ride ended up with two tracks instead of four — both of them indoors. The Florida version of the ride was essentially Disneyland’s Matterhorn track layout built inside a fully-enclosed mountain.

SEE ALSO: This Disneyland dad built a Star Tours ride in his garage for his kids

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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