^^ Agreed with Matt. DL's space Mt. is a top 10 steel ride for me. WDW's and TDL's are more like in the 80's or 90s :)
Good to see I'm not alone in the that thinking. Space Mtn. at DL is within top 10 for me just because it is so fun - the music, the darkness (much darker than WDW), the general layout and theme - it all makes it so much fun. Maybe it helped I didn't go in with any expectations at all, but still I came off thinking it is what more coasters need to focus on - not height or loops but the fun factor.
The capacity is insane! People get off, you sit, they move your train forward twice, check your bars and then you're sent in the ride. That's it. They run 12 trains at once...
The 12 trains are 2 cars, 6 people per car in 3 rows of 2. Vekoma installed some comfy lap bars and the seats aren't too bad.
The Layout is VERY twisted.
Spoilers! Track layout.
After dispatch, you turn to the right and engage a small lift. A right turn bring you into a lighted, themed tunnel followed by another right turn brings you into the second lift, which is the largest. All kinds of light effects around as you crest the top... The music which was all relaxing turns dramatic as you truly "enter" Space. You see rockets going all around you as you turn to the left and you engage the short third lift. In the Hong Kong version, you got the projection of an exploding supernova at the top of the mountain.
What follows after is what may be the most twisted and compact coaster ever. Off the lift, you got two left turns as the music becomes catchy (same composer as the Incredibles movie!) and then, its all tight right turns until the end! The Hong Kong version again got an added effect: the "hypergate". You drop through a serie of lighted portals... Very cool looking on video. As the ride goes, the turns get tighter, the rocket faster and then... after all those right turns (32 I read somewhere!), you got one sharp left turn to bring you to the reentry tunnel. Cool effect as you have those stars slowing down all around you.
Imagineering uses a rather strange way to move the trains in the final brakes, pre station brakes, station and "lap bar check" positions. The rocket will go over those inverted V, which will allow the brake fin through, but won't allow it to go back the other way. Those V's are mounted on pneumatic cylinders and those V's will push the trains VERY fast to the next position. It is needed, as the timing on the ride is very tight.
They can basically have 3 trains behind the station... if a train is forced to stop in the reentry tunnel, the ride shuts down. Yes, litterally. So, to keep perfect timing, the DL version weights the train at the last position before the first lift. If the train is too heavy, the track switches and it goes to the left... which is the transfer track. A cast member will free the people and bring them back to the station, splitting them up to keep the weight down.
Now, remember that tight timing? How about disabled guests? They found the perfect solution for that. http://www.rcdb.com/ig2491.htm?picture=6 . Look at this picture, notice the train at the top? Its parked at the wheelchair boarding platform. Once everyone is seated... they'll send an empty rocket, stop it on the transfer table, slide the other train on the main track and proceed to cycle it. What's brilliant is that they don't even need to reslide the transfer table until the rocket filled with the disabled guests come back. They'll let it through the main station, park it on the transfer track, slide it over and then send the empty train back to the transfer track, bring it back (the trains happen to return to the main track behind the station!) and then fill it up. Minimal loss of capacity, no rush for the disabled guests and no disruption to the main waiting line. *** Edited 3/27/2008 3:32:12 PM UTC by Absimilliard***
Now, remember that tight timing? How about disabled guests? They found the perfect solution for that. http://www.rcdb.com/ig2491.htm?picture=6 ...
I saw that in person and have to say that is an amazing setup they have. It worked so well and those needing longer time could take all the time in the world without slowing down normal operations.
*** Edited 3/27/2008 9:16:35 PM UTC by Andrew***
Anyhow, I was WAY surprised at the intensity of SM....and look forward to more laps sometime, hopefully sooner rather than later....
(I'm a sucker for the Rabbit's Lament section before the main lift, which is missing from Florida's version, even though Florida's storyline is arguably more clear.)
that park is still the crown jewel of U.S. Disney parks...IMO.
For me it's the crown jewel of U.S. parks, period.
Also, don't forget DL's Pirates pwn the Florida version. And Fantasmic seemed a lot better at DL then it did at MGM to me, even though I still think a lot of it's kinda lame.
But I do have to say, Splash is better at MK than DL...
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