Space Mountain with the Lights On

First off, if you came to this post you probably want to see some videos of the Space Mountain ride with the lights on, so we’ll get right to it.

Space Mountain Lights On Videos

At Disney World

This is a great POV video of Space Mountain Disney World with the lights on:

This is a video of Space Mountain at Disney World with the lights on from the People Mover:

A great tip from the video if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of Space with the lights on: if you see that Space Mountain is down hop on the People Mover as you may get to see it with the lights on (though it won’t be POV if the ride is down obviously).

At Disneyland Anaheim

Similarly here is a POV of an active ride through Space Mountain with the lights on at Disneyland:

Here is a night vision video – so not strictly “lights on” but you can see everything and get the same basic effect:

And here’s a cool instance where the ride gets stopped, then finished with the lights on:

How to Ride Space Mountain with the Lights On

Outside of the above videos, there are 3 main ways to see Space Mountain with the lights on:

  • Work for Disney
  • Have the ride break down part way through riding it
  • Hop on People Mover while the ride is temporarily closed

Generally it seems Disney will turn the lights on when maintenance is needed on the ride, so if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse in Disney World of the ride with the lights on, jumping on the People Mover while the lights are on is really your best bet.

How Often Does Space Mountain Break Down?

If you’re angling to see Space Mountain with the lights on – and the best way to catch a glimpse is when the ride breaks down – you may want to know how often it breaks down?

Personally I’ve actually never seen Space Mountain down in several trips, but obviously that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

One cast member years ago claimed that cast members called the ride “Breakdown Mountain” due to the fact that it’s down frequently, and cited the most common reason for breakdown as the following:

During a busy day, rockets come as quick as 21 seconds between each other. If guests are slow or need extra time to exit the rocket, there will be a backup of rockets at the station. After a couple of rockets getting backed up, the ride will have an automatic emergency stop because the rockets will eventually be too close to each other. This will have the shortest amount of downtime, usually just over an hour.

When this happens, the coordinators need to dump the queue. After the queue is empty, the Cast Members at load will reset the ride on both A Side and B Side and they will RAC out and begin track walking. Once the Cast Members meet up, they will then begin to cascade the rockets. Cascading the rockets means manually pushing them to the next zone and eventually to unload. This needs to be done for every rocket on the track.

If there is a 104 party (wheelchair party,) Space Cast Members may need to contact the fire department, Reedy Creek, to assist with the evacuation. There is an elevator inside Space Mountain on B Side, the side we send guests with disabilities. On a related note, the top of Space Mountain is an extendable roof and can open in the event of a Signal 25 (fire) inside the mountain.

Another common breakdown is when a guest drops something on the ride. If it lands on the track or passes through an intrusion sensor, it will trigger another emergency stop. The closing track walkers at the end of the night will be able to retrieve the item that was dropped. For this, Ride Access Control procedures must be taken and Cast Members will have to make sure everyone is still seated in their rockets and figure out what caused an intrusion in that zone. They then have to cascade the rockets, etc.

Occasionally, Cast Members inside the tower can cause an issue. Sometimes it is a station stop, guest standing up or even a guest getting out of their rocket. Once, a Cast Member advanced a rocket without seeing a hand signal from another Cast Member signaling he was about to cross the track. The restraint Cast Member hit the E-Stop just in time, as a Cast Member could have been seriously injured. Oddly enough, Space will always go down whenever a certain coordinator steps foot in the mountain for the first time in a while.

Also to note, if one side goes down, it affects both sides. Other attractions like Tower of Terror have separate ride systems for each side, but Space only has one. If Reedy Creek needs to be called, Space can be down for 3-4 hours. If it is only a minor issue, it should be up about an hour and a half later.

So if you’re looking to get on, you probably have somewhere around 1.5-4 hours before the ride is back up to take your ride.

How to Ride Space Mountain with the Lights OFF

Obviously the reason a post about Space Mountain with the lights on is that the ride takes place in the dark (that is why some riders – though not most – find it a bit scary, and is part of the reason why it feels like it goes very fast). While the ride is always dark for the majority of the experience, there are certain times of year when Space Mountain has a special treatment for riders and goes completely dark.

Just like with attractions like the Haunted Mansion, Disney has a custom experience for Space Mountain during their Halloween parties and on Halloween night. I was able to ride the ride when it was completely blacked out during the Boo Bash Halloween party at Disney World.

Honestly it wasn’t very different: unlike Rock N’ Rollercoaster which has a lot of very visual elements through the ride (and unlike Space Mountain does go upside down), Space Mountain is already largely dark. I enjoyed the ride more with the few visual elements as the complete darkness was a little off-putting (even though Space Mountain isn’t a very long ride), but it was still fun and wasn’t much different. My kids thought getting to ride it in the complete dark was cool, but agreed they wouldn’t want the ride to run that way permanently.

Should You Watch the Videos?

If you got to this point in the post it may be too late, but while the videos aren’t scary and if your kids can make the height requirement for the ride they’re more than fine to watch them, you might not want to!

My son is a roller coaster fanatic and refuses to watch videos like this for Space Mountain or Rock N’ Rollercoaster, or to watch ride previews of any kind online, because he wants to be surprised. If that’s you, you may want to skip over the videos (and avoid the People Mover when the lights are on on Space Mountain).

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Space Mountain shut down?

Space Mountain shuts down for a variety of technical reasons – it was first opened in 1975 in Disney World and was the first computer-powered roller coaster.

Do they ever run Space Mountain with the lights on?

They do run the ride through with the lights on if there have been technical issues and the ride is just coming back on-line or is being worked on.