15 Out-Of-This-World Facts About Space Mountain

Cinematographer Roger Deakins, who has been nominated for a whopping 12 Oscars, served as a visual consultant onWALLE, helping the animators figure out how to make the movie look like it was filmed with actual cameras. Very often, animated films feel like theyre recorded in some kind of computer space, producer Jim Morrisnoted. We wanted this film to feel like cinematographers with real cameras had gone to these places and filmed what we were seeing. We wanted it to have artifacts of photography and to seem real and much more gritty than animated films tend to be.

TL-SK2FL=Tomorrowland, Skyway to Fantasyland

Disney isnt afraid to mess with a classic. Disneyland has featuredRockin Space Mountainwith a Red Hot Chili Peppers soundtrack, and also transforms the ride intoGhost Galaxyduring the Halloween season, a tradition started at Hong Kong Disneyland. Last year, riders got to join in on an X-wing Starfighter battle in theHyperspace Mountainoverlay, part of a seasonalStar Warsevent called Season of the Force.

Ah,WALLE: The movie that made a cockroach cuteand had us all sobbing about a trash compactor. Join us as we travel to infinity and beyond (hey, its from another Pixar movie, but it works) with these 10 facts aboutWALLEon its 10th anniversary.

Imagineersusedcomputers to create the path of each track, making the ride feel as much like flight as possible. The innovation wasnt limited to just the design phaseit also became the first roller coaster in history to be controlled by computer.

Its a Pixar movie, so you know there are a lot ofEaster eggs. Among them: Hamm the pig and Rex the dinosaur fromToy Story, plus Mike Wazowski fromMonsters, Inc., can be seen in WALLEs truck near the beginning of the film. Skinners scooter fromRatatouilleand the Pizza Planet truck are rusting in one of Earths many trash heaps. A reference to A113, a classroom at CalArts where many Pixar animators studied, can be found in every Pixar movie, andWALLEgave it what Stantoncalledits most obvious placement: as the name of the directive that states humans can never go back to Earth. And when WALLE creates a statue of Eve, the lamp he uses for her arm is none other than the star of Oscar-winning Pixar shortLuxo Jr.

15 Out-Of-This-World Facts About Space Mountain

Animatronics are a staple of any Disney park, but as the company introduces more characters into the foldlike heroes fromStar Wars, Marvel, andAvatarthe bar is being raised on audience expectations. On the screen, these characters defy gravity and pull off death-defying stunts, yet at the Disney parks, theyre still relying on fairly static animatronic models for their live shows and attractions. AsTech Crunchdetails, though, the gap between what the heroes do on film and in the park may be closing.

There aretwo tracksto choose on the Magic Kingdom ride: Alpha and Omega. For a slightly longer ride, opt for the Alpha track, which is 3196 feet long versus Omegas 3186 feet.

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Disney wasnt sure that fast rides had a place in his family-friendly park, but his mind wasmade upafter the Matterhorn Bobsleds proved to be a huge success.

15 Out-Of-This-World Facts About Space Mountain


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By the time Disneyland officially opened on July 17, 1955, the final price tag was$17 million. Twenty years later, the construction of the Space Mountain complex cost $18 million, including an arcade and a permanent amphitheater.

Even though its more than 40 years old, Space Mountain has continued to be so popular over the years that theres a version of it at five of Disneys resorts. The Hong Kong and Tokyo Disney versions of Space Mountain were almost identical to Disneylands Space Mountain; Tokyos received a bit of a facelift in 2007. Disneyland Paris originally had Space Mountain: De la Terre la Lune, a Jules Verne-inspired design that included inversions. It was renovated in 2005 and re-emerged as Space Mountain: Mission 2.

This development is all thanks to Disneys R&D department, where Imagineers are working on next generation animatronics that can pull off aerial stunts like youd see in any of the studios blockbuster films. The project is called Stuntronics, and its goal is to create animatronic stunt heroes that can replace a more static model in the middle of a Disney park show when the scene requires some high-energy action to take place. Its similar to the flesh and blood or CGI stunt people that movies have been using for decades.

TL-M2M = Tomorrowland, Mission to Mars

The next time you walk through the queue for the Disneyland attraction, look around for the Space Station 77 symbol that pays homage to the year Space Mountain first took flight there. And at the Magic Kingdom, space travelers are welcomed to Starport Seven-Five, a nod to the rides debut year in Florida. When exiting the ride, theres a blue panel at the end of the moving sidewalk that mentions Closed Sectors. The acronyms listed actuallystand forclosed attractions and the lands they were once located in:

Stuntronics is just one of the advancements happening with robotics at Disney. Tech Crunch also detailedthe Vyloo, which are a trio of autonomous bird-like robots in the park that react to guest movements. They can be seen in the Collectors Fortress in the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT!attractionat Disneyland in California.

Space Mountain isnt the fastest ride around, but that hasnt stopped it from becoming one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World. Since its debut in 1975, the rollercoaster has attracted millions of visitorsand inspired counterparts in Disney Parks across the world. Read on to find out more about the classic ride.

FL-MMR = Fantasyland, Mickey Mouse Revue

Thomas Newman, who composedWALLEs score, is thenephewof composer Lionel Newman, who just so happens to have co-scoredHello, Dolly, which appears prominently inWALLEas its WALLEs favorite movie.

FL-MTWR=Fantasyland, Mr. Toads Wild Ride

Space Mountains grand debut at the Magic Kingdom was quite the affair, including NASA astronauts and Disney astronauts (Mickey and friends wearing spiffy new space suits), along with a 2000-piece marching band that the music director hadjust four hoursto organize. When the ride launched at Disneyland two years later, U.S. Mercury Astronauts Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, Donald Deke Slayton and Betty Grissom (widow of Virgil I. Gus Grissom) were all there to experience space from Earth.

Though the darkness, the projections of the galaxy, and several sudden drops make the roller coaster seem like youre careening wildly through space, the rockets only reach a top speed of28 miles per hour. By comparison, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad can get up to30 miles per hour, and the Splash Mountain descent can reach40. The only thrill ride that goes slower is the 25-mphBarnstormer, a coaster intended for smaller children.

When Disneyland started working on their version of the ride, they called in Mercury 9 and Gemini 5 astronaut Gordon Cooper as a creative consultant. Space Mountain is about as close as you can safely get to actually being in space, he laterclaimed.

Though not named in the film itself, WALLEs cockroach friend was given the name Hal by the Pixar team, a reference to both 1920s producer Hal Roach (Safety Last!,The Little Rascals) and the homicidal-minded computer in Stanley Kubricks2001: A Space Odyssey.

Floridas mountain is more than180 feet highand 300 feet in diameter. Because Disneyland is built on a much smaller scale than the Magic Kingdom, Disneylands Space Mountain would have towered over Main Street and ruined the illusion of scale had it been an exact replica. A precise copy also wouldnt have fit, as Magic Kingdom is a bigger space. As a result, the California Space Mountain is significantlysmallerat 118 feet tall and 200 feet in diameter.

Disney convinced RCA to sponsor the ride by pitching them Home of Future Living, a post-show feature at the end of the ride that allowed guests to see themselves on RCA color televisions. Riders could also look out spaceports to catch a glimpse into outer space, where they would see RCA communications satellitesat work.

Disney Legend John Henchdesignedthe attraction in the early 60s, more than a decade before the technology needed to make it come to life was readily available. And the technology that was available was too slow. In fact, it would take hours just to model the data for just one curve. When the machinery finally caught up, work on the roller coaster resumed, and the first Space Mountain debuted at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 1975.

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The Stuntronics project is still in the R&D phase with no practical application in place just yet. But if this technology does progress the way the Imagineers are hoping, the blockbuster action ofStar Wars, Marvel, andThe Incredibleswont just be exclusive to the movies anymore.

In 2003, DisneylandclosedSpace Mountain for two years in order to rebuild it in time for the parks 50th anniversary celebration in 2005. When it reopened, Neil Armstrong himself was on hand for the unveiling.

Tony Dohi, principal R&D Imagineer at Disney, told Tech Crunch that the idea for this type of animatronic came about because they realized there was a disconnect between the exhibits at the park and what people see on film, so swapping in advanced animatronics for complex action scenes would go a long way toward making Disneys parks feel more authentic to their properties. The Navi Shaman from theAvatarexhibit shows that Disney can get their animatronics to emote; this next step will put them into action.

Inspired by conversations with NASA scientist Jim Hicks, an expert on the effects of zero gravity on the human body, at one point Stanton was going to make humans literal blobs, so unrecognizable from who we are todaythateven we the audience would think it was an alien race. It had more of aPlanet of the Apestwist, and they at the end would discover, as well as we would, that its actually us. But,he added, it was so bizarre that I had to sort of pull back.

According to Tech Crunch, right now the stunt robots are realized with the help of an on-board accelerometer and gyroscope arrays supported by laser range finding. They are autonomous andself-correcttheir aerial stunts to hit their marks. Though the model used in the video is just a generic mockup, its not hard to see how the Imagineers at Disney can easily turn it into any number of heroes from Marvel orStar Wars.

The film boasts not one but two connections toAlien, which was one of writer-director Andrew Stantons inspirations for the film. Early in his career Ben Burttworkedon the movie, mak[ing] sounds for the mother computer and that sort of thing.WALLEs own version of Mother, the main computer on the starliner Axiom, is voiced by none other thanAlienstar Sigourney Weaver. I waited until the movie was kind of done to make sure she wouldnt think I was crazy when she saw the movie, but she was a huge fan, Stantonsaid. I really lucked out and she loved doing it. She got the in joke.

The voice of WALLE is legendary sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt is best known for his work onStar Wars(you can go ahead and thank him for R2-D2s distinctive chatter), though hes worked on films likeE.T. the Extra-Terrestrialand theIndiana Jonesseries as well.

Stanton got the inspiration for WALLEs design when someone handed him a pair of binoculars at a baseball game. I missed the entire inning, herecalled. I just turned the thing around and I started staring at it and I started making it go sad and then happy and then mad and then sad and I remembered doing that as a kid with my dads binoculars and I said, Its all there.

In a video demonstrating their progress, a robot model is shown leaping from a cable to do backflips, double backflips, and other heroic landings. Its something straight out of a Spider-Man movie and is years ahead of any animatronic character currently at the park.

In coming up with the look of WALLE, the films design team operated under a no elbows rule; though elbows would make it easier for WALLE to express himself, as a trash compactor robot thered be no practical reason for him to have them. Doctor Octopus-style antenna arms and collapsible, telescope-like appendages were considered before the designers settled on the ultimate design, inspired by inkjet printers.

By 1966, however, the roller coaster had beendubbedwhat would eventually become its iconic name: Space Mountain.

Shanghai Disneylandis expected to break tradition when it opens later this year, howeverinstead of a Space Mountain coaster, guests will experience a thrill ride based on the lightcycles from the movieTron.

Ben Burtt created a library of2400sounds forWALLEthe largest number of all of his films by far. Among the raw sounds Burtt used inWALLEare an electric toothbrush, shopping carts banging together, a Nikon camera shutter (for WALLEs eyebrow movements), Burtt sneezing while a vacuum cleaner was running (WALLE sneezing), and a hand-cranked generator of the sort used in the John Wayne filmIsland in the Sky.


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