Space Mountain has been one of the most popular rides in the Magic Kingdom. It’s no wonder: by taking place mostly in the dark, the indoor coaster ratchets up the surprise of all its twists and turns. The ride is also wonderfully atmospheric, with a lot of kitschy effects that make it seem like riders really are being zoomed around the outer reaches of space. One of the most beloved aspects is the accompanying music — an ambient playlist of futuristic sounds that ups the lost-in-the-milky-way vibe. It’s a classic.
According to Vulture, former Imagineer Tom Morris had a different idea about how the Disneyland version of the ride could be improved. Back in 1985, Morris created a list of then-current pop and rock and roll songs to give guests a trippier, more transcendent experience. The list, which Morris forgot about for more than 30 years, recently resurfaced when he was cleaning his house. Included on it are tracks like Haircut’s “Boy Meets Girl,” Devo’s “Whip It,” and the Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat”, and were all synced to the ride’s turns and drops. Talk about a game changer.
Among Disney innovations I helped conceive: the concept of fully sync'd onboard audio. This started in 1985 using Space Mt as test case… pic.twitter.com/Z27616iGPA
— Tom K Morris (@TomKMorris) June 6, 2017
Morris was just messing around, but he understood the potential fun of syncing popular songs to particular points in Space Mountain’s journey. He learned how to mix and match songs to the coaster’s “milestone points” for the better part of a year, studying the rhythms of the ride and making notes of songs to include accordingly. Unfortunately, Disney brass wasn’t confident in the technology supporting the bold idea and scrapped the project altogether. Morris went on to apply his vision to Disney Paris’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which became an international success using the same basic principles Morris tried to apply to Space Mountain.
“It was so low-tech and I was not an audio engineer so I had to learn this myself, but I was pretty good at timing,” Morris said about the project. He learned how to mix and match songs to the coaster for the better part of a year, studying the rhythms of the ride and making notes of songs to include accordingly. Unfortunately, Disney executives weren’t confident in the technology supporting the bold idea and scrapped the project altogether. Morris went on to apply his vision to Disney Paris’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which became an international success using the same basic principles.
Back in June, Morris posted the Space Mountain playlist to Twitter without expecting much. The subsequent reaction blew him away: as Vulture reports, diehard Disney fans began applying the songs to existing ride-through videos on YouTube, creating Spotify playlists—referred to by fans as “Space Morris”—and even plugging in while riding along. Following the hype train, Morris uploaded the original audio files online, ensuring diehards can ride Space Mountain and feel like they’re being rocketed far into future and back in time.