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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Space Mountain tidbits

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

With the recent announcement that new "Starry-o-Phonic" audio now is in Space Mountain at WDW's Magic Kingdom, I thought it would be a perfect time to share a few tidbits about Space Mountain that may help your next trip from Starport Seven-Five go a little smoother.

Three to a car
For those who haven't been on Space Mountain before, the ride vehicles are a bit different that other coasters. Each car can hold three guests, sitting "toboggan" style, meaning guests sit in front of each other as opposed to side-by-side. This really isn't a major issue, except when kids come into play, especially if the kids are a bit nervous about riding.

Here's what I suggest: Have the nervous child sit either in the middle seat (best) or the front seat. Have an adult sit right behind them (middle or back seat). The adult can then keep a hand on the child's shoulder to reassure them throughout the ride. I did this with my younger son and daughter for their first rides on Space Mountain, and they seemed to do just fine. I think it was a bit comforting knowing I was right behind them the whole way.

For those who are dying to get a front row seat, it's best to do a bit of counting. Remember that there are three guests to a car. Usually the cast member assigns guests to rows from front to back. Try to position yourself so you will be the first or the fourth person in the queue when the next cars pull up (remember two cars are connected to each other). If you manage this, you just might find yourself in the front seat (which is a bit roomier than the others!).

A new feature added to Space Mountain in late 2009 was on-ride photos. The one major different between on-ride photos for Space Mountain and those of other major attractions (Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Rock-n-Rollercoaster, etc.) is that the angle of the shot is to the side, as opposed to the front. This means you are moving from left to right (or right to left) instead of moving toward the camera. This results mostly in a side-profile (as opposed to a full face) image.

One way to help improve the shot is to turn your head toward the camera when the shots taken. Depending on which track you're on will determine which way to turn (left or right). As you shoot through the launch tunnel (those pulsing blue lights), see which way your car is going to turn. If it turns to the right, you want to look to the left. If it turns to the left, you want to look right. You'll want to turn toward the camera just as your car is whipping around that first turn after the launch tunnel (you'll see the huge flash).

After the shot is taken, sit back and enjoy your trip through the cosmos while you listen to the new audio track.

When to launch
Space Mountain is one of the major attractions at the Magic Kingdom. This means the standby line can get long quickly. If you want to get in a few run on Space Mountain, I strongly suggest being at the Magic Kingdom right at park opening. Once the gates open, head straight to Space Mountain (but please don't run).

As you approach, take a quick glance at the lines for the FastPass machines. At the start of the day, there may be a big line of people trying to get FastPasses. If there's a decent line -- skip it. Head straight into the attraction. You'll likely find it's likely a short wait. By the time you're coming out of the attraction, the initial FastPass lines will have died down - grab a FastPass for later in the day and move on (unless the standby line is pretty short - if so, go again!).

Space Mountain is a great attraction for just about anyone. It really doesn't go that fast -- the speed is mostly an illusion, thanks to the lack of light and other visual references.

Enjoy your next trip from Starport Seven-Five!

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