Of all the rides at Disney the question we get asked most is “Is Space Mountain Scary?” Space Mountain is one of the most popular rides at any Disney park across the world, but because this is an indoor ride that you can’t see before you board and because it is one of the many dark rides at Disney people are concerned about the scare factor. In this guide we will look at the various Space Mountain rides across the world, and let you know what to expect to help you decide whether it is scary or not.
Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!
History of Space Mountain
There are many versions of the Disney Space Mountain around the world but the original, and some say the best (but more on that later) is at Walt Disney World.
It is located in the Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland. Original designed to be a similar ride to Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds which Disney felt wouldn’t work in the Florida park.
After the success of Space Mountain in Florida, a version of Space Mountain was then opened at Disneyland California and has been a main stay of the Disney parks across the world.
Locations of Space Mountains
Most of the parks across the world have a version of Space Mountain in their parks. The places you can ride Space Mountains across the world are:
- Tomorrowland, Disney World
- Tomorrowland, Disneyland California
- Tomorrowland, Tokyo Disneyland
- Discoveryland, Disneyland Paris – here it is entitled Star Wars Hyper Space Mountain
- Tomorrowland, Hong Kong Disneyland
In fact only Shanghai Disneyland is missing a version at Space Mountain in it’s parks.
While there are Space Mountains in all the parks listed above we shall only be talking about two in depth – the Disney World and the Disneyland version.
The reason for this is that because of the dramatically different theming at Disneyland Paris, the ride deserves its own dedicated post that you can read here, and because the Tokyo Disneyland version is due to close next year for a complete rebuild and refurbishment and will not be reopened until circa 2027.
Is Space Mountain Scary?
Now that you know where you can ride space mountain we will discuss the main features of the Space Mountain that may or may not make the ride scary. This includes:
- ride vehicle layout
- drops and loops
I personally do not find Space Mountain to be a scary ride and I have ridden this ride with my admittedly dare devil five year old who also didn’t find it scary. However there are certain elements of the ride that could scare some people. We will therefore discuss the factors that could be considered scary by some in greater detail below.
What sort of ride is Space Mountain?
Space Mountain, at all of the sites, is an indoor dark rollercoaster.
Is the Space Mountain Queue Scary?
While there is now a trench for immersive queue experiences, I am thinking for instance of the queues for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout and Rise of the Resistance for instance, the Space Mountain is not really an immersive experience at any of the parks.
While the queue does take you through some different zones such as the tunnel of stars and an area with windows that are made to make you feel like you are in outer space, there is no in-depth story telling or anything so immersive that would make anyone feel threatened or scared during the queue.
What are the seats like on Space Mountain?
One of the reasons that you may feel scared on Space Mountain particularly if you are traveling with young children is due to the seating arrangement on Space Mountain especially for those visiting the Florida version.
At Space Mountain at Disney World the cars are for three people, who sit one behind another. For this reason those traveling with young children who meet the Space Mountain height restriction may find the ride scary as they are unable to see or cuddle up to the person they are riding with.
If you are traveling with a child who may get scared you may want to consider putting the child in the middle seat, especially if you have someone they know riding in front and behind them. Not having them at the front will make the darkness seem less intimidating for children.
Therefore I think by comparison the seats on Space Mountain at Disneyland make the ride less scary as you are sat in a car in twos which mean children can be held by a grown up next to them if they get scared.
Can you see on Space Mountain?
Space Mountain, at all Disney sites around the world, is always a dark ride. And by dark I mean very dark. You will not be able to see at all on any of the Disney rides.
The only light that you will see on the whole ride is the lights of some starts above you. But these will not be enough to illuminate anything.
Therefore if you are scared of the dark then you will find Space Mountain scary.
Does Space Mountain Go Upside Down?
There are definitely people who love rollercoasters in this world but who aren’t a fan of going upside down, doing loop de loops or corkscrews on rollercoasters – me for one.
If you are like me then I have good news for you regarding Space Mountain at both Disneyland and Disney World because this ride does not go upside down on either (be sure to read our Disneyland Paris guide for information on going upside down on Hyperspace Mountain).
The ride at both Disneyland and Disney World is much tamer than the Disneyland Paris version.
Does Space Mountain Have a Drop?
Space Mountain really doesn’t have many big drops in it however because of the dark there is definitely an illusion which makes you feel like the drops and the speed are greater than they are.
I have read online various accounts that the largest drop is somewhere between 20 – 30 feet which is not all that big by comparison to other rollercoasters.
This ride has continual motion, and there aren’t any moments where you feel like you may drop steeply but I think it is the fact you never know when the drops are coming that makes it feel scarier to some.
If you do want to find a ride with a big drop you are better heading for Expedition Everest for instance.
Is Space Mountain fast?
Space Mountain has at its fastest point a speed of 28km per hour which isn’t all that fast but I think because this ride is in the dark it feels faster than this.
How rough is Space Mountain?
Space Mountain is not a particularly rough ride in my opinion (though I guess you may find it more so depending on your size, both larger or smaller – check out our Disneyland Plus Size guide here)
What’s the Story on Space Mountain?
Again, as with the queue, the story and theme on Space Mountain is relatively light touch, You travel on a journey through space dipping and turning in the dark but there isn’t a big narrative arc which also means there is nothing in the story that could scare you.
Is Space Mountain Scarier Than Big Thunder Mountain Railroad?
When talking about the scar factor on Space Mountain most people will ask for a comparison with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I guess as they are both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland rides where there are few rides with a huge scare factor.
I think the rides are relatively comparable in terms of scariness but because Space Mountain is in the dark it can trick your mind into thinking you are going faster than you are and never know what it coming up people could find it scarier.
Top Tips for Riding Space Mountain
Space Mountain is one of the most popular rides in both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland California. As such the queues for this ride can get quite large. Therefore our tips for riding Space Mountain are:
For those that don’t know rope droping is getting to the park before opening so you can rush to your ride of choice directly. By rope dropping Space Mountain you should be rewarded with a shorter queue time and also have the chance to ride again later on.
Click here to read our Disneyland Rope Drop Strategy and Magic Kingdom Rope Drop Strategy.
Genie Plus is an add on to your regular admission ticket that allows you to book slots on some of the most popular times, so you can use the faster rather than the standby queue. I would always recommend buying this with your ticket if you aren’t visiting Disneyland or Disney World on a budget, but it is especially important if you are visiting the parks at peak times such as Disneyland at Thanskgiving or Disneyland at Halloween.
Check height before traveling
If you are visiting Disney World or Disneyland with toddlers or young children who are particularly tall and who like to ride rollercoasters I advise you checking their height before travel. There is nothing worse than your child being turned away from a ride and being upset.
What age of Space Mountain suitable for?
There is no minimum age for Space Mountain but there is a height requirement. The height requirement for Space Mountain at Disneyland is 40 inches while the heigh requirement for Disney World is 44 inches.
FAQs About Space Mountain
Is Space Mountain an intense ride?
I personally wouldn’t say that Space Mountain at either Disneyland or Disney World is particularly intense. However if you have a fear of the dark then you may find it a more intense experience.
Does Space Mountain make your stomach drop?
Having ridden Space Mountain at several parks I have to say that Space Mountain has never made my stomach drop. There are lots of drops and turns on this ride but because of the relatively low speed and confined space it isn’t particularly intense or intense enough to cause a stomach drop.
Which Space Mountain is Better?
I love both Space Mountains. both the Disneyland and Disney World rides have their merits but I personally like the side by side car layout at California better than the behind each other cars on the Disney World version. But saying that Space Mountain is one of our must rides at both parks.
Can a 5 year old ride Space Mountain?
Yes a 5 year old can ride Space Mountain so long as they meet the Height requirements mentioned above. However if they wish to ride on their own there is a minimum age of 7 years old.