Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 15: A Journey Through Time & Space

On this day in 1975, Space Mountain (a themed indoor roller coaster) opened at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
The first of all the Space Mountains, its concept was a direct descendant of Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds. As far back as 1964, Walt Disney himself had approached designer John Hench about a new Tomorrowland attraction for Disneyland. The "Space Port" would feature a roller coaster ride in the dark with lighting and special effects. The idea was refined by WED Enterprises and by June 1966 the name "Space Mountain" was used for the first time.
Unfortunately Walt's passing the following December and emphasis on preparation for a Florida park, put Space Mountain on hold.
Once Walt Disney World was up and running in 1971, designers went back to the Space Mountain idea and significantly refined its design. To help cover the costs of the attraction Card Walker, CEO of Walt Disney Productions, convinced RCA chairman Robert Sarnoff to sponsor Space Mountain. The attraction went on to become a Disney classic.
On this day, Colonel James Irwin (who had served as the Lunar module pilot for Apollo 15) took Space Mountain's first official ride.

Click HERE for more January 15 Disney history.

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