The rumoured Star Wars-themed Hyperspace Mountain overlay of Space Mountain: Mission 2 is now all but confirmed, as new refurbishment schedules list the attraction as closed from 9th January 2017. After almost 12 years, this makes Sunday, 8th January very likely the last day you’ll be able to launch to “the edge of the universe” on the less-appreciated sequel to the 1995 classic.
No end date for the works has yet been announced, but the closure fits in with a previously announced “second phase” of work to the attraction pencilled in for January to March 2017. This follows a lengthy six month closure in 2015 for a first phase of thorough refurbishment.
At that time, it was said that a second closure would include additional improvements such as brand new trains, hopefully offering a smoother ride experience. Many fans hoped it might also mean a return to the attraction’s original, more fitting and soulful “De la Terre à la Lune” Jules Verne-inspired storyline and music.
Since then, however, the Star Wars-themed Hyperspace Mountain overlay has opened at Disneyland in California in November 2015, followed by a similar overlay at the Hong Kong Disneyland attraction. Despite being a very different type of roller coaster in a very different kind of “futuristic” land and building, it has become increasingly clear that Disneyland Paris won’t be passing this chance to expand their Star Wars offering.
At a recent Shareholders Club presentation of the current refurbishment programme, it was confirmed that Space Mountain will be given “a new look inside”, but no further details were released.
Space Mountain will receive a new look inside.
I guess they mean it will be turned in Hyperspace Mountain.
— Jorien (@DisneyKindOfDay) September 29, 2016
Oddly, the attraction’s rough re-opening date means that Hyperspace Mountain would open right at the end of the resort’s debut Season of the Force, though roughly in-line with the nearby opening of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, creating a dual Star Wars pull.
Changes internally would likely include new projections, lighting, special effects and music, similar if not identical to those in California and Hong Kong (see embedded video).
It remains to be seen whether the promised new trains will be introduced at the same time, and whether they would be in keeping with the original Vernian mountain or the Star Wars overlay.
With the resort’s corporate Twitter account proudly posting pictures of the exterior of the mountain being repainted, still in its original colours, we have to hope there’s a desire to the return to “Space” (if not the moon) at some point in the not-too-distant future.
— Euro Disney Group (@EuroDisneyEN) September 27, 2016
Because, that’s the issue: would this really be a temporary overlay or would the entire attraction basically become Hyperspace Mountain? We know too well how Disneyland Paris can make “temporary” changes that long outstay their welcome.
In a thoroughly unscientific Twitter poll, we found that 33% of respondents would only want Hyperspace Mountain to take over the attraction for just one year or season. 9% could stomach a couple of years or so, while 10% were happy for it to take over forever.
Or shall we just ask, for how long would you like a #HyperspaceMountain “overlay” to take over our Space Mountain?
— DLP Today (@DLPToday) September 18, 2016
The poll’s results were skewed massively by the 48% who simply sighed and clicked “#BringBackTheMoon”, Twitter’s phrase for restoring the attraction to it’s former story and former glory.
With the launch of Hyperspace Mountain, it’s surely safe to say that Mission 2 is dead and will be put to rest with the final rides on 8th January 2017. How could Disneyland Paris return to that nonsensical and generally unloved sequel after what is bound to be a more successful follow-up?
The problem for original Space Mountain fans could be that Hyperspace becomes such a success itself that it ends up staying for a similar length of time. Disneyland Paris loves and deeply listens to its guest satisfaction surveys. What if they never allow Star Wars to relinquish its grasp on the attraction?
In marketing terms, it also has to be questioned whether Hyperspace Mountain might take attention away from the opening of the superior and more expensive Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
In fact, is it even necessary, with that new attraction opening at the same time? Isn’t there too much crossover with two rides flying you through the Star Wars universe? Or would the two work together to draw even more visitors, creating a kind of temporary “fake-Star Wars Land” before they can find money for the real thing?
At the same time, it’s easy to admit that Mission 2 is a poor imitation of a once-great landmark Disney attraction. If a Star Wars overlay temporarily makes it better, and allows this still cash-stricken resort to cash in further on the franchise’s popularity, that’s not, temporarily, a totally bad thing.
The best turn of events would then be that, once the overlay has either run its course or Star Wars is represented in its own, new attractions and environments (Star Wars Land?) somewhere at Disneyland Paris, Space Mountain can step down from its turn imitating George Lucas’ galaxy and finally be returned to its original storyline and soundtrack, this time utilising all the new technology its picked up along the way.
Finally and more pressingly, though, is three months from January to March really long enough to find an answer to the question: how exactly does Jules Verne’s Columbiad Cannon blast us into “a galaxy far, far away”…?