Lost in CyberSpace

Thursday, 15th February 2007 at 16:35

CyberSpace Mountain, the build-your-own-roller-coaster simulator attraction within Walt Disney Television Studios, has closed for good. Taken out of service without notice in late January, the Walt Disney Studios Park post-show feature is now in the process of being removed from the building... and CyberSpace itself - all mention of the attraction on the official website has now vanished.,

CyberSpace Mountain and its Disney Channel Cyberspace environment opened in late 2002 as a new post-show for the poorly performing Television Production Tour itself. The area was previously an additional soundstage for the Disney Channel Studios, but was given up in an attempt to improve the attraction. Props and decorations were added along with countless arcade games and activities relating to Disney Channel shows, with the key draw being CyberSpace Mountain, imported from the defunct Disney Quest in Chicago.

After designing their own virtual roller coaster using a special booth, guests could board one of four two-person simulators to experience the loops, twists and dives for real, with their reactions relayed live via plasma screens to guests watching in the CyberSpace area.

The post-show feature was often given a special mention in the Park Guide and, when the new official website launched in late 2006, it was given a prominment place throughout. Given its own page, listed amongst the “Big Thrills” attractions and highlighted as a must-see, the sudden disappearance of these mentions is therefore even more noticable. The page itself is still there, but all links to it within the rest of the website are gone.

Reasons for its closure are numerous, spanning from poor accessibility for disabled guests and a horribly low throughput to a large floorspace and, crucially, very high maintenance costs. For guests, queueing three times (for the TV Tour, for the build-a-coaster monitors and then for the simulators) almost guaranteed a low satisfaction at the end of the ride. The final nail in the coffin is reported, by member La Rouquine on Disney Central Plaza forum, to have been some guests becoming stuck in one of the simulators, leading to the temporary closure which has now become permanent. (Obviously the guests in question aren’t still stuck in there, don’t worry!)

With Crush’s Coaster soon to fill the gap for family-friendly thrills, and Tower of Terror being prepared to provide the park’s second Big Thrill attraction, the need for CyberSpace Mountain to fill these roles is no longer there.

Right now, the CyberSpace post-show area itself is currently fully closed to guests, as the photos above from Mateo on Disney Central Plaza forum show. Even the signs pointing to the area have been removed, as work is starting on the removal of the CyberSpace Mountain simulators and a rethink of the area inside.

Of course, there is a light at the end of the tunnel here, and a very bright one at that. The soundstage next to Disney Channel CyberSpace, currently housing Art Attack exhibits and activities will become the home of a second version of Hong Kong Disneyland‘s Stitch Encounter in “early 2008”, finally giving Walt Disney Television Studios a reason to exist, some might argue. Currently, guests enter and leave these two post-show soundstages through individual, single doors. It has been reported, however, that automatic doors (like those at Art of Disney Animation) will lead from the new Stitch Encounter video theatre space directly into Disney Channel CyberSpace, and so the removal of the bulky simulators would help this – and improve guest glow and capacity – no end.

Walt Disney Studios might have one of the most interesting and dramatic first five years of any Disney Park, but the Television Studios alone will already need a whole history timeline just to itself!

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