According to D23:
While happy haunts have long greeted guests at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, some new scary spooks are taking up temporary residence this Halloween season in Tomorrowland at one of the park’s signature attractions. Starting Friday, September 25, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy will add a spine-tingling new layer to the already-thrilling ride.
The chilling seasonal event has been happening in Hong Kong Disneyland since 2007, when, show producer Steve Roach explains, “they had the idea that there’s a new life form that’s been discovered in space, and we want to recruit the guests to explore this new life force. Upon going into Space Mountain guests discover the ‘life forces’ are a little more than we thought.” Steve says the ride begins like your typical Space Mountain voyage, but — as these things do — something goes awry. “It’s a galaxy where haunted star clusters and supernovas threaten you at every turn. It’s one close call after another until you finally reach the end of your space flight — and we hope you make it home safely!” jokes Steve, who’s worked on numerous park projects including the Disneyland Dream Suite and the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough.
During the evening, park-goers strolling through Tomorrowland will instantly notice a change in the attraction when every 6–8 minutes a ghostly new effect will take place. “While you are in the concourse queue outside, we are going to have events on the exterior of Space Mountain,” Steve reveals. “Some of these unknown life forces might be trying to escape the mountain.”
Guests who have traveled through Hong Kong’s Ghost Galaxy will recognize composer Ed Kalnin’s appropriately creepy score, and the audio has been completely remixed for the Disneyland version.
Visitors to Disneyland with an eagle eye may have already spotted one of Ghost Galaxy’s signature spooks (nicknamed “Bob”) on the Space Mountain refurbishment poster that’s been outside the attraction the past few weeks. Bob plays a more obvious role in the attraction’s new artwork.
The effects themselves are enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up at attention. Seventeen “encounters” await guests on this tumultuous trek. “The encounters start on your launch sequence and continue until you return,” Steve notes. The magic is achieved through startling projections. “In some cases we’re projecting onto the dome and in some cases onto screens.”
The encounters are set off by “triggers” that each rocket sets off as it passes by. Interesting for Disneyphiles is that while an elaborate lighting system was installed inside the attraction for Rockin’ Space Mountain back in 2006, Ghost Galaxy utilizes all new lights.
Steve, who is also working on the Disney Gallery and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, says Ghost Galaxy, which runs through Halloween, could return for another eerie engagement in the future. But it’s his link to the attraction’s past that really means the most to the Imagineer who’s been with Disney for more than 20 years. As with many Disney Cast Members, he started his career at Disneyland as a ride operator. “I was a lead at Space Mountain,” he remembers. “So to get to go back to one of my favorite attractions has been so much fun — an unbelievable experience.”
Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, along with the rest of Halloween Time, opens tomorrow at the Disneyland Resort!