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50: The Magic Kingdom Mountains

It’s all about the mountains on this week’s episode of The Mad Chatters Podcast. We dig through the history books and scour the Walt Disney Archives to bring you the stories of how Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain came to be, as well as the never-realized attractions that were scrapped to make way for the three peaks of Magic Kingdom.

Before that, Jeremy shares his observations from the day he spent at Magic Kingdom, and we discuss the latest news from around Walt Disney World. In the new segment Mad Chatter Top 10, we count down the Top 10 Signs You’re at a Knockoff Disney Park. Plus, we announce a special giveaway in honor of our 50th episode.

For more of the Chatters, follow us on Twitter (@MadChatters) and Facebook (/madchatterspodcast), and send your feedback to comments@madchatters.net. Thanks for listening!

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Warning: May Cause Discomfort

Woooo! Oh! Whoa! Ow! Wooooo… Oof!

That’s the combination of sounds you’re likely to hear come out of my mouth while riding Space Mountain.

You see, this “journey through space and time” is often a bumpy, jolting, unpredictable one.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why? Because when you’re at your happy place, your home away from home, you’re willing to put up with just about anything, even a bit of physical discomfort.

I realized this recently when having a Twitter conversation with a fellow Disney fan over on the west coast. He was raving about Disneyland’s Space Mountain, saying it’s much better than the original in Orlando. I confessed to him that I found Disneyland’s version to be, well… boring. It has no sudden drops or fast turns. Instead, it lifts you up a long hill then spends the rest of the time slowly guiding you back to the bottom. It’s essentially a long slide. Is it smooth? Absolutely! But to me, it’s missing a certain element of thrill.

I guess I was expecting what was promised by official Disneyland promo pictures like this one.

Space Mountain Disneyland Promo Pic

Talk about misleading!

In response, the Disneylander said that Florida’s Space Mountain, to Disneyland regulars, is kind of like what the Matterhorn is to Disney World fans: rough and uncomfortable.

And then it clicked. He was absolutely right. The Matterhorn at Disneyland is perhaps the first and only Disney attraction I have opted not to re-ride simply because of the pain it inflicts. The seats are uncomfortable, the leg room is virtually non-existent, and the damage it did to my elbows and thighs was not something I wanted to experience again. But to a Disneyland regular, it’s the Matterhorn! It’s a classic! How can you not love it?

Matterhorn

And that’s exactly how I feel about Space Mountain at Disney World.

Does Walt Disney World have its share of uncomfortable rides? Sure! I know people who can’t stand Space Mountain because of its roughness.

I, on the other hand, am in such a state of euphoria whenever I visit Disney World that I’m more than willing to be shaken and jarred a bit. I don’t bat an eye when Pirates or It’s A Small World gets backed up and a boat crashes into ours. I welcome the bumpy, off-road-like experience that is Dinosaur. When Primeval Whirl shakes me like Jell-O and leaves me not knowing which way is up, I just laugh. When Stitch jumps on my shoulders and releases a foul burp in my face…

Okay, I can’t put any sort of positive spin on that one.

Even The World Showcase Players, the former comedy troupe in the U.K. Pavilion, caused me immense discomfort when they volunteered me to be part of their performance, but hey, it made for great pictures and a fun memory.

World Showcase Players

Who knows, maybe in time I’ll even learn to love the Matterhorn as well. You’ll just have to force me on it first.

– Derek