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Coaster Corner: Tomorrowland favorite gets a warp speed makeover

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Coaster Corner: Tomorrowland favorite gets a warp speed makeover

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It’s been the smash hit of this year’s Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. That Ghost Galaxy-themed redo of Space Mountain. During which Tomorrowland visitors have a far-too-close encounter with an angry spectre from outer space.

Disneyland Guests have just been marveling at some of the effects that they see as they ride through this revamped indoor roller-coaster. Which include a glittering starfield that coalesces into this skull-face creature whose skeletal arms suddenly reach out to grab your car.

Mind you, what makes this horror-themed overlay of Space Mountain even more impressive is that Disneyland management didn’t actually greenlight this Halloween Time addition ‘til just three months ago.

“For a few years now, we’d been looking for ways to grow Halloween Time at Disneyland. Add another classic attraction overlay to our seasonal assortment of shows,” explained show producer Steve Roach. “But it wasn’t ‘til July of this year that we actually got the go-ahead to do Ghost Galaxy here in Anaheim. So my team and I really had to hustle in order to pull this one off.”

Of course, what helped Steve and his crew is that Hong Kong Disneyland has been doing a Ghost Galaxy-themed overlay of their Space Mountain since the Fall of 2007. And given the similarities between these two versions of Tomorrowland’s indoor coaster … Well, Roach and his crew could hit the ground running. But that said, there are significant differences between the Hong Kong & Anaheim versions of Ghost Galaxy.

Ghost Galaxy Space Mountain
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

“On the Hong Kong version of this ride, you have just 12 encounters with this life force,” Steve said. “Whereas for the Anaheim version of Ghost Galaxy, we wanted to plus things. Really pile on the scares. Which is why – here at Disneyland – you have 17 encounters with the Space Mountain spirit.”

Which is all the more impressive, given that Roach and his team had only two months to do all the necessary prep for this seasonal overlay. Then came a 2 ½ week-long install, where this crew of 12 rushed to get all of those new screens & lightning effect in place for Halloween Time. Which officially got underway at the Disneyland Resort back on September 25th.

Given that Steve actually started his career with The Walt Disney Company as a ride operator at Space Mountain, perhaps his proudest moment on this project came the day before this Ghost Galaxy-themed overlay officially opened to the public. That would have been on September 24th, when Disneyland Cast Members were allowed to ride this redressed Tomorrowland attraction while Roach & his team made some final tweaks to this seasonal overlay.

“We got such a great reaction from those Cast Members,” Roach enthused. “In all of the post-ride interviews that we did, people just raved about how good this redo was. How Space Mountain now seemed like a whole different ride.”

Just be aware: If you’d like to experience Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy for yourself, you need to get to Disneyland before November 1st. Because once Halloween Time ends for 2009, Steve and his team will heading back to Tomorrowland. Where – in just one day’s time – they’ll then return this indoor coaster to its original form.

For further information on Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, please click on this link.

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