This Isn't Your Mother's Space Mountain

Disney ride gets a scary makeover

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 3:02 PM PDT
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This Isn't Your Mother's Space Mountain

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A popular Disneyland roller coaster opened Friday with some spine-tingling renovations for the Halloween season, and a sign at the entrance that reads the ride may be too scary for children, it was reported Saturday.

The new Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy marks the first time that Disneyland has redone Space Mountain for Halloween, which began Friday, the Orange County Register reported.

Space Mountain visitors will know something is definitely different after they begin their ascent in the ride. The climb through a tunnel starts normally with stars drifting past the rocket and a swirling galaxy waiting at the top.

About half way through the tunnel, white stars turn orange and red, swirling into a skull-life face and skeletal arms extend. Spiny hands grab out, shooting crackling lighting past riders. The creature roars.

Throughout the ride, guests can see morphing ghosts reaching toward guests. One arm grabs above riders. Another ghost chases rider along the carriage. A creepy eye blinks in front -- and one final surprise ghost pops out at the very end.

" It was amazing," Tory Asher, a manager for Adventureland attractions at Disneyland, told the Orange County Register. "That's definitely my favorite holiday offering we've ever had."

Steve Roach, the ride's show producer, told the Orange County Register that the upgrades completed on the ride four years ago made it easier for workers to transform the attraction into a Halloween spectacle.

With the new additions, Roach said, workers were able to swap out projection images that go on screens inside the dome. New lighting was added, especially at the entrance and exit. Also, a sound system was built into every seat during the 2005 upgrades.

About 12 Imagineers have been installing the overlay since the ride was temporarily closed about two and a half weeks ago. But the workers will be able to turn the ride back to its original form overnight after Halloween.

Ghost Galaxy was originally done at the Hong Kong park in 2007, Rick Turner, a show designer who also worked on the Hong Kong attraction, told Orange County Register. there, Imagineers added the features in a short period with low expectations, but "blew everybody away," Turner said.

Anaheim's Ghost Galaxy has more scenes, including the chasing ghosts, he said. Also, Imagineers were able to create more of a 3D effect with the grabbing monsters.

"I'm a little chicken," Kelly Murphy, an Adventureland manager told the Orange County. "I think Disney does a good job of just the right level of scary."

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