Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Space Mountain--Ready for Blast Off!

This past week, Space Mountain has been seeing some testing of it's recent refurbishment. It was widely known that the budget for this project had been cut substantially, so I knew it would be interesting to see what exactly was happening during this refurb.

As the video and pictures I've posted show, a lot got changed, but a lot did not. (See the previous News & Rumors post for video and pics!)

First off, there is the new queue area. They have kept some elements, such as the music and some of the Pepper's Ghost effects that had been a staple for so many years, but they've also included the introduction of a new story (Starport 75) and a ton of video screens with space games to play which have been added for those standing in the standby line.

I do like the introduction of a cohesive story, something that I thought was not as prevalent before. I do have to wonder about the video games though. I know that they are short (about a minute for each game, so if you are playing, you're not going to be holding up the line for too terribly long) but I really have to wonder how they will play out in the future. I think this is something that I will have to see in action, in person, to make a real judgement on this.

From there, we head into the load area. This is where we see a quite a few changes. First, they have enclosed the area so that light does not escape into the actual mountain, something I think was needed. They do show projections on the ceiling though, as if the area has spots that are open. Also, I believe the line system has been re-worked a bit. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out once Fastpass gets re-introduced back into the mix. The one thing I like the most, there are now load gates at the loading area. This is something I am really happy about. I know that we've accidentally gotten into a spaceship that was about to take off. This will mean those kinds of accidents will not happen any further.

As for the actual ride, well, there is some new sounds in the blue tunnel. And of course, there's a new type of flash at the end of it, which is also there to mask the new on-ride photo camera flash. However, other than that, and a bit of a spruce up of the lift area, it doesn't appear that much has changed with the actual ride itself. It may be smoother although, I've heard conflicting reports about that...some say it's not smoother at all. Also, it's a tad bit darker now inside, although from reports, not so dark that you can't see anything in front of you, which would have been cool.

Once the ride is over, you exit and get the chance to see your on-ride photo. From there, we head to the post-show area. This has seen some nice sprucing up as well. The Starport 75 storyline continues here with a hint of a feeling of Horizons. Showing different areas that you could visit in the future. I like the general spruce up of the area, although I'll miss the kitchyness of the old pre-show. (This is not to suggest I didn't think the pre-show area needed an update, as it did for sure.)

So, what do I think of the rehab?

Well, I'm torn. On one side of the coin, with the amount of money they had to spend leftover from the budget cuts that were made, I think they did a decent job. Plus, I love the actual coaster the way it is, so I'm glad that not much actually got changed in that respect. I'm also so thankful they left the Star Tunnel music in the queue area. That music equal Space Mountain to me and so many others.

However, that being said, I would have liked to see what more money would have meant for this attraction. I wouldn't have minded a new track if it meant that that track was smoother all over. Plus, I would have liked to see what updates they could have come up with for certain areas, especially something like the lift hill, with more money.

So, while I like what was done, I wouldn't have minded seeing more.

And with that, I want to know what you think. Where you pleased with the new refurb or underwhelmed? What would you have liked to see them add? What new things do you think they did well? Make sure to leave some comments in the comments section!

And fly safe, space travelers!


Ray said...

I am excited about the refurb, but for me the most important thing was does it ride smoother. If not I don't care about the refurb. Nice writeup.

Anonymous said...

They did a good job with this rehab--it was very much needed.

As for things that may have been cut, keep in mind that our country's economy is still in very bad shape and hopefully, sometime the economy heals or whatever, they'll do another rehab to add on-board audio (like at DL's Space Mountain) and other things, including what might've been cut.

Anonymous said...

I rode Space Mountain twice this past weekend. On Friday, only signs in wait area said "You are here." Got on and off in 15 minutes. On Sat, new wait area games lit up but not working. Again took about 15 minutes. Still a great ride - bumps and all. A bit darker - hard to tell when turns & dips are coming.