Disney with Special Needs Park Breakdown: Blasting Off with Space Mountain

Last time we talked about how to make it through what can seem like a sensory gauntlet on Main Street U.S.A. Today we are going to take a moment to gaze lovingly at Cinderella Castle and then take a right and head into Tomorrowland. I am a big lover of Tomorrowland. It has fabulous music. Things are shiny. And it is home to two of my very favorite rides in all of Disney World — the PeopleMover (which just so happens to be the first Magic Kingdom ride that Tutu, Hubby, Baby, and I rode on our first trip, and then the first Disney World ride we brought Bubba on on his first trip) and Space Mountain.

Space Mountain is one of those Disney experiences that many people think of as a rite of passage. Us grown ups (with the exception of my mommy) love it and this last trip was the first time that the baby rode it. She goes back and forth between remembering loving it and saying that she doesn’t want to ride it again, so we’ll see if she ends up back on it anytime soon. As much as we adore this blast into space and start getting chills when we see the show building from the monorail, I’ll be the first to tell you that the whole experience of the ride can be a bit much. So just like we did with Mainstreet, let’s talk about the experience from beginning to end so you know what to expect and how to enjoy it the most.

Mr. Morrow…Mr. Tom Morrow…

Go for FastPass +. The massive Space Mountain show building is iconic. You’ll notice it as you approach the Magic Kingdom and immediately feel the tradition and legacy. You’ll also notice that it is huge. This is impressive, but it also means that the lines inside can get quite long and windy. The fact that it is one of the most popular rides in all of Disney only furthers this. Help to cut down on how daunting the ride can be by snagging a FastPass. You’ll still have to wander your way through the building, but it’s a slightly shorter way and there won’t be as many people in line so you won’t spend as long inside

The line keeps on ticking, ticking. Recently we talked about waiting in line and how to get through it. We’ll revisit that quite a bit during this series, so we’ll start with Space Mountain. This is one of my favorite queues. It’s far dimmer in there than other rides, which I love, and the music in the background is soothing. But it is long and can get busy. The nature of the building also makes it so that you can’t even see the ride for quite a bit of the line. This can get frustrating and a little nerve-racking, especially at the end of the long day or if you aren’t familiar with the park or the ride. This is when it’s time to employ your look around tactic. This queue is gorgeous. Check out the walls and get a glimpse of the windows of the space shuttle you’re walking through. Pay attention and you’ll notice stars twinkling and then other shuttles zooming through. On the other side you can get in touch with your retro side and play some video games that gear you up for your space adventure

And more line. Once you’ve made your way through the first part of the line you’ll notice you end up…in more of a line. The middle section of the line coils in on itself in the centre of the building. Once you get into this section it can feel like you are never going to get to the ride. This is a great time to dig into your cache of Disney trivia and play with your linemates or talk about the rest of your day ahead

No handholding. Anyone who has ever seen me ride any type of ride knows that I am a big old handholder. To be honest, hubby and I are very likely the two cuddliest people you’ll ever meet. We are forever curled up around each other, but when we head to the theme parks this cuddling becomes part of my courage-building. If you are a handholder, too, you should know that there is no such thing as holding hands on Space Mountain. Each shuttle is three individual cars that hold one person each. I tend to sit in front of the hubs, starting with the first time we rode it and I figured that if I happened to fly out, he could catch me. This was illogical for a wide variety of reasons, but it made me feel better. Now I like to think of it as a way to be a little bit independent and lead the pack

Bright lights, big noisy. I personally can’t imagine a space voyage without a bunch of bright lights and some crazy sounds, not that I have any real basis for this. Space Mountain, though, seems to feel me on this concept and has plenty of both. While this can be a lot of fun, there are a couple of spots in the ride that get to be a little much for me sometimes. One is during a part of the ride when the track spirals and the music goes along with it, getting louder and higher as you go around. It goes on just a second too long and I can get anxious, but I just have to remind myself that it will be over soon. The other is during the tunnel when the lights get very bright. Sometimes I love it, sometimes it freaks me out a little. When that happens, the solution is simple — I close my eyes.

So, there’s Space Mountain. I’m going to do a little bit of a mental wander around the rest of Tomorrowland and then we’ll head further into the park for some more experiences together. See you then!

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Taryn was born and raised, and still lives in Richmond, Virginia. Neither she nor her husband ever had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World when they were children, but when their daughter Avalon came along, they decided she was not going to follow in their footsteps. They brought Avalon for the first time when she was 3 and have been hooked ever since. Now along with Taryn’s mother and equally Disney-loving older brother, they go “home” at least once a year, and by the time she is staring longingly at Cinderella Castle from the ferry on their last night, Taryn is well on her way to planning the next trip. As a group consisting of two adults with Asperger’s, including one who is also vegan, a very accommodating husband, an only child, a senior, and a service dog, they are a pretty special family, but Taryn is excited to show that the World really is The Most Magical Place on Earth and that there is a place there for everyone. When she isn’t thinking about her next Disney adventure and trying to come up with a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party costume that will beat her Oozma Kappa nerd look, she is a professional blogger and novelist, but Taryn also likes to indulge her Disney passion on her Etsy shop It’s Better in Vinyl.

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