Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy

By Ryan Pastorino on October 28th, 2011   |    Posted in:  Disney Photo Spotlight   |    3 Comments

Hello everyone and happy Friday!  Today, with the help of my friend Gregg Cooper (whose amazing photostream can be found here), I would like to share with you one of the seasonal attraction makeovers at Disneyland Park. Every year during Halloween time, Space Mountain at Disneyland undergoes a spooky transformation becoming Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. The use of special effects both inside and outside of the attraction put a mildly terrifying spin on the classic ride.

The best time to experience this attraction is at night when the exterior of the building comes alive through the use of digital projections with various color schemes and spooky animations.  One of our favorite animations is that of a giant hand pressing against the mountain from the inside as if trying to get out, accompanied by loud and creepy sound effects that can be heard throughout Tomorrowland. In another sequence, the exterior appears to crack and break away.




Inside Ghost Galaxy, the intensity of Space Mountain is ratcheted up a notch.  As if it weren’t dark enough already, this time it is pitch black inside. Ghost Galaxy is so dark, it is as if the entire galaxy has been swallowed by an evil entity that manifests itself along the passage of your journey through Ghost Galaxy until the very end… Which it does of course through the magic of digital projections along the tracks, in front of your rocket, and in your face! The major lift in the beginning of the ride which usually features bold spinning launch-type effects and sounds with a huge spiral galaxy waiting for your epic adventure through space, is now dark…until you reach the lift itself which suddenly erupts with evil sounds, lightning and a grotesque fiery skeletonized ghost  with a spiral galaxy for an eye that growls at you and roars as you reach the top, suddenly disappearing to terrorize you for the rest of the journey culminating in one final gasp of heart-wrenching horror as you return to the launch bay.

Capturing the ghost inside using a camera might seem impossible due to the darkness and fast motion of the ride, but that never stops us from trying. It took a few times around the track and some experimenting with different lenses and camera settings, but Gregg managed to get a couple of shots of the ghost inside.

1/15sec f/3.2 ISO 5000 at 10mm

1/60sec f/1.6 ISO 3200 at 30mm

So that’s a little bit about Ghost Galaxy, one of a few Disneyland attractions that receive seasonal makeovers. Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World also undergo transformations this time of year and we hope to feature them in upcoming articles this holiday season!


  1. Gregg Cooper   |   Oct 28, 2011

    This makeover has to be seen to be believed, especially the exterior animations. It is simply amazing to see and hear the entire mountain transform in to a volcano of lava, a black hole, and other creepy displays of light and sound. I look forward to this attraction every year…
    Nice job Ryan!

  2. Adam Hansen   |   Oct 28, 2011

    Great job Ryan and Gregg. I knew about the overlay they did for Space Mountain but this is the first time I have really seen photos of it. I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the Haunted Mansion overlay.

  3. Katie Marino   |   Oct 28, 2011

    This is really cool- I had never heard/seen of this. When does the overlay usually start- I’ve got to plan my Disneyland trip accordingly!



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