Image of Space Mountain riders - how fast is it?

The Disney World version of Space Mountain goes 28 miles per hour, but each version of Space Mountain has a different speed:

  • Space Mountain Disney World – 28 miles per hour
  • Space Mountain Disneyland – 35 miles per hour
  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain Disneyland Park Paris – 44 miles per hour
  • Space Mountain Tokyo Disneyland – 30 miles per hou
  • Space Mountain Hong Kong Disneyland – 32 miles per hour

So collectively the Space Mountain rides go 28-44 miles per hour.

But even the slowest version of the ride at Disney World feels fast – so what’s the deal there? There’s plenty more to the story.

How Fast is Fast for Disney Rides?

We know the raw miles per hour for the various Space Mountain rides from the information above, but if you’re not a roller coaster nerd, you may still be asking yourself “is that fast for a roller coaster?”

The answer is “not really.” I go to Disney World often, so I’m very familiar with the rides and how fast they feel. When I first learned the speeds of all of the rides, I was very surprised that Space Mountain’s Disney World speed was as low as it is.

Here are the top speeds for the 5 fastest Disney World rides:

  • Test Track – 65 mph
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind – 60 MPH
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – 57 MPH
  • Expedition Everest – 50 MPH
  • Splash Mountain – 40 MPH

Some of those I would have expected to be faster than Space Mountain – but I certainly would have said Rock’n was almost 2x as fast!

Beyond that, there are some rides that are faster than Space Mountain that you might not expect:

  • Slinky Dog Dash – 40 MPH
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – 36 mph
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – 34 mph

Maybe the most shocking speed statistic when it comes to Space Mountain is that it’s only 3 miles per hour faster than the Goofy themed The Barnstormer ride (which is 25 miles per hour)!

As a quick aside if you have younger (4-6) kids Barnstormer is an awesome “starter” roller coaster – it’s a very short ride, as you can tell it actually gets up to a pretty good speed, and there’s often very low wait times for it.

One of my best Disney memories is going to Disney World for the first time with my kids and them loving the ride, going on it over and over again (due to no waits) and it being the very first Disney ride they rode by themselves:

Picture of kids on the Barnstormer ride - which goes 25 miles per hour!

BUT fast forward a few years and while my newly-minted teenagers don’t think Space Mountain is scary or anything they do love getting a seat on Space Mountain, they won’t step foot on The Barnstormer because it’s “too short” and “kind of boring.”

Barnstormer is 53 seconds to Space Mountain’s two and a half minutes (at Magic Kingdom), but it’s only 3 miles per hour slower! What makes Space Mountain feel so much faster than it is?!

Why Does Space Mountain FEEL Faster Than it Actually Is?


There are a few key factors that make Space Mountain feel faster than it actually is:

  • Darkness – This is the most obvious and probably the biggest reason for the difference – you don’t have much to mark your way and can’t anticipate what’s coming next. Every drop and turn is that much more surprising because there’s no point of reference that it’s coming (or exactly what’s happening as you’re going through it).
  • Sounds & Fans – Disney pipes in fans to give you a sensation of moving more quickly through space, and all of the sounds associated with the rides are along the lines of powering up / anticipating more speed, which gives the feel that you’re moving quickly or are about to (whereas Barnstormer is marketed to younger kids, so there’s no build up to a big or fast drop).
  • Twists, Drops, & Change of Speeds – While all but the Disneyland Paris version of the ride don’t go upside down, Space Mountain does have a combination of a lot of twists, quick drops, and “change of pace” where the speed drops then increases (it’s actually the first roller coaster ever created that’s controlled by a computer, which is attempting to optimize the pacing of the ride).

Really the thing that gives the ride the “fast feel” is that all of these elements together are a great recipe for making the ride feel like it’s moving quickly.

Sometimes a ride’s height requirements can be a good proxy for how intense it will be regardless of speed, and Space Mountain at Disney World has one of the highest minimum height requirements in the park.

How Fast is Space Mountain Over?

The speed of the ride in miles per hour is one thing, but how quickly is the ride actually completed? How long is Space Mountain?

As with the speed this varies from park to park:

  • Space Mountain Disney World – 2:30
  • Space Mountain Disneyland – 3:00
  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain Disnelyland Park Paris – 2:15
  • Space Mountain Tokyo Disneyland – 2:45
  • Space Mountain Hong Kong Disneyland – 2:30

That’s within a minute or so in terms of the duration of the ride from other coasters like Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind or Expedition Everest. It’s a full 45 seconds to a minute and a half (depending on the park) longer than Rock’n Roller Coaster.

How Fast Does the Line For Space Mountain Move?

If you’re like me and are maniacally planning your day at the park, it’s helpful to get a sense of how long the ride takes and how long you’ll be in line. Obviously the Disney apps do a great job of keeping you up to date on that element:

Screen shot of the wait time at Space Mountain in Disney World.

The speed of the line will have a lot to do with how busy the park is, issues with the ride itself, variables like how many riders are using Genie Plus, and so on. All of that said, for Disney World for instance the math says it’s 48 riders per minute:

The Touring Plans website does a nice job of breaking down daily wait times if you’re curious about the line length for a given day.

Super special bonus for those of you who are smack dab in the middle of the “Space Mountain / Math Nerd” venn diagram – you can go make this math teacher’s day and solve his Space Mountain math problem on YouTube:

Space Mountain Speed FAQs

How fast did Space Mountain go?

The Space Mountain ride speed hasn’t materially changed since it’s inception, so the speeds were the same (28 miles per hour for Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom Disney World).

How fast is Disneyland Space Mountain?

Space Mountain Disneyland is 35 miles per hour.

Is Space Mountain faster than Thunder Mountain?

No! Thunder Mountain goes 36 miles per hour to Space Mountain’s 28.

Why does Space Mountain feel so fast?

Space Mountain feels faster than it is because it’s in the dark, the ride uses fans and sounds to give the feeling of a fast-moving ride, and because the ride takes a number of twists and drops while changing speeds to give the illusion that it’s going faster than it actually is.

If you want a sense of the difference between the ride with or without the lights on, we’ve highlighted the best videos of Space Mountain with the lights on.

How fast does Space Mountain feel?

Space Mountain feels faster than the 28 miles per hour it goes – how fast is in the eye of the rider, but I think it’s safe to say it feels more like a ride that’s going 40-50 miles per hour than 28.

How fast is Space Mountain Paris?

Space Mountain Paris (now rebranded to Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain) goes 44 miles per hour.

How fast was Space Mountain when it opened?

35 miles per hour in Disneyland, and 28 miles per hour at Disney World.