Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  May 4, 1977 

Space Mountain opens in Tomorrowland.  Originally conceived by Walt Disney in the early 1960’s for Disneyland, the computer technology needed to operate such a sophisticated ride system did not yet exist.  Imagineer Bill Watkins, taking concept work by John Hench, modeled Space Mountain after the Magic Kingdom’s newest thrill-ride that opened in 1975 and adapted it for the smaller scale of Disneyland, sinking the entire attraction 15 feet into the ground in order to better fit in to its’ surroundings.  Additionally, based on the smaller size and scale, the two track layout and single-line seating formations found at the Magic Kingdom was abandoned in favor of a single track layout and dual row seating was adapted to keep the hourly guest capacity intact.  But the thrills didn’t stop there… as an entirely new dimension in personal hygenie;  as well as gameplay and interactivity, both opened on this day as well.  The newest restrooms in Tomorrowland, complete with automatic sensor soap dispensers opened by the exit to Space Mountain (automatic sensor flush toilets were sadly still in the distant future!) and the Starcade, a two-story video game arcade located right next door completed the all-new Space Mountain complex.

 

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