Space Mountain, with the lights on

Former Disney Imagineer Eddie Sotto posted this video of Disneyland (Anaheim)'s Space Mountain in 1998, with the lights on. The ride normally operates in darkness, so it's interesting to get a glimpse of what the track and interior actually look like. The ride seems a lot chintzier, dirtier… and tamer with the lights on.

The soundtrack heard features guitar work from surf rock legend Dick Dale, and it ran on the ride from 1996 to 2005. Adding surf rock to the ride was Sotto's idea, and while it may not seem a great thematic fit for a spaceship ride, it's paired with 1960's sci-fi movie music, and it really works.

The soundtrack, especially Dale's guitar work, is a bit hard to hear in the video, so here is a clean version of the soundtrack. It kicks in at 1:10, when the vehicle crests the lift.

In 2005, the Dick Dale onboard music track was replaced with one by movie composer Michael Giacchino, which is also great. For some reason, the Space Mountain in Orlando's Disney World has no onboard music at all, and it's amazing how lifeless and flat it seems compared to the Disneyland version because of that.

Last week, I rode the Space Mountain in Disneyland Paris, which is called Hyperspace Mountain and themed to Star Wars (despite the fact that it was originally designed and built to have a Jules Verne science fiction look), and the Star Wars music is a pretty exhilarating complement to the ride.