Disney World And Disneyland Could Really Take A Lesson From Another Disney Park, And Space Mountain Is Involved

Disney World's Space Mountain
(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Fans of Tokyo Disneyland are on a bit of a ticking clock, as the park’s version of Space Mountain is set to close permanently in 2024. As a totally new incarnation of the classic Disney ride is in the works, 2027 will see a great, big and beautiful Tomorrowland plaza arriving as well. The specifics of this new incarnation are being kept secret for now, but regardless, It’s a bold project that both Disney World and Disneyland could really learn some lessons from; and it all connects to the importance of Space Mountain.

Hyperspace Mountain

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

Space Mountain Is Overdue For An Overhaul

Tokyo Disney Resort has learned a lesson that fans have discussed time and time again when it comes to domestic Disney parks: Space Mountain needs some new love. Track replacements and the occasional Hyperspace Mountain reskins to celebrate Star Wars can only go so far with this legendary attraction. If Space Mountain is going to endure, it needs a change up from the ground up.

As we’ve seen with Tokyo’s big plan to refresh the experience, a brand-new look and style is in the works for this specific ride. For many different reasons, Space Mountain is quite possibly the most important piece of Tomorrowland real estate. An iconic attraction in its own right, a new take could lead to many possibilities. 

While it’d be more difficult for either Disney World or Disneyland to jump into that sort of refurb, it’s not impossible. Disney World would have an especially potent advantage, as the Tron Lightcycle Run would be able to pick up the slack with a closed Space Mountain. Though, strangely enough, that new kid on the Tomorrowland block leads to another interesting wrinkle.

The coaster portion of Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind

(Image credit: Disney)

Newer Disney World Attractions Are About To Give Space Mountain Competition

Classics like Space Mountain are kept running by nostalgia, and sometimes wildly popular attractions leading to shorter wait times. While it seems highly unlikely, bordering on impossible that Disney Parks would ever get rid of the ride, there are other attractions that are about to give Space Mountain a run for its money. 

Tron’s new roller coaster experience is just sitting right next door to this opening day attraction. By comparison, Space Mountain would look even more outdated than it already is. Not to mention that the Magic Kingdom isn’t the only Disney park that has a claim to compete with this classic landmark. In addition to Tron Lightcycle Run’s impending arrival, there’s also the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to contend with on the sci-fi front. 

Reacting to Epcot’s first roller coaster, our own Jessica Rawden likened it to an upgraded Space Mountain, which also has the perk of being branded with a popular MCU franchise. As the old gives way to the new, Space Mountain can reinvent itself in the wake of Tron and Guardians of the Galaxy heading to Disney World. A proper refresh could even maintain the nostalgia, while shaking things up for brand new thrills. 

Tomorrowland Speedway exterior sign

(Image credit: Disney Parks)

A New Space Mountain Means A New Tomorrowland

Something that both Disney World and Disneyland could use, and have been in need of for some time, is a total revamp of the entire Tomorrowland section. Inconsistent theming and defunct attractions are two major problems when it comes to the image of this future forward land. With a new Space Mountain, a new Tomorrowland couldn’t too far behind.

There’s already rumors that Disneyland will announce a full Tomorrowland refurb at this fall’s D23 Expo. With some changes already underway, or on the books for the near future, Anaheim’s Disney park looks like it’s already part of the way to a new tomorrow. A shiny new Space Mountain feels like an easy, but also essential fit on the to-do list for such an undertaking. Maybe that sort of spirit could act as motivation to craft a replacement attraction that uses the old Peoplemover/Rocket Rods tracks as more than decoration.

Turning back to the Tokyo Disney Resort, that park’s idea of not only rebuilding Space Mountain, but its entire section, is actually brilliant. The thrill ride is the heart of the Tomorrowland experience, and the entire section’s vibe should flow from that very attraction. To change Space Mountain is to change Tomorrowland, and keeping that in mind will only make the future more fruitful and more open to changes.

Space Mountain entrance sign at night

(Image credit: Disney Parks)

Space Mountain Must Be Open And Able To Change From Time To Time

The largest lesson to be learned from Space Mountain’s complete rebuilding at the Tokyo Disney Resort is that, if done the right way, it shouldn’t have to happen again for some time. Tomorrowland is, quite possibly, the most fluid section of any Disney park. As a vision of the future, whether it’s the one we predict or the one we never saw, it needs to be something that can easily change.

Since Space Mountain is the anchor to Tomorrowland, it too needs to be able to change from time to time. Again, this isn’t a suggestion for more IP-themed overlays or seasonal re-themes such as The Nightmare Before Christmas/Haunted Mansion celebration. Rather, there needs to be a more dynamic approach to the ride that evolves the original concept into something that competes with the thrills of today.

Until we know what the redesign for Tokyo Disney Resort’s incarnation of the ride will entail, it’s harder to guess what’s potentially on the table here. Anything from a new ride system like the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind’s Omnimover, to a fresh story that can change periodically, like Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, would be a delightful step forward. So long as Space Mountain is able to change on a more frequent basis with ease, Tomorrowland can keep itself current alongside it.

Disney Parks, and its various properties, are in a crucial era where change is coming. They’re not as frequent as one would think, but when it happens there’s usually some extensive changes in the making. If Disney World and Disneyland could learn anything from Tokyo Disney Resort’s huge play for the future, it’s that Space Mountain and Tomorrowland need to change hand in hand. 

Should this look towards tomorrow have you waxing nostalgic, you still have plenty of time to ride Tokyo Disney’s Space Mountain. The ride is slated to close at some point in 2024, with the entire Tomorrowland plaza targeting a 2027 completion. Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be opening, virtual queue and all, on May 27th at Epcot.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.