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Space Mountain Finally Normal Again This Summer

October82

Well-Known Member
Actually, @raven24 is right, heavier sleds go faster. What weight loses you against gravity it more than makes up for in acceleration and momentum.:)
Yes, I worked in attractions. I never worked Matterhorn, but I did receive some training on the ride. We learned the more weight the bobsleds carry, the faster they go. We also learned that as the bobsleds continue to move and go throughout the day, the faster they go by nighttime. I tested the weight factor and Infound it to be true. Before the single bobsleds we have now, I had my sister ride in the same bobsled I was in. We then rode separately and they definitely went slower. The same thing happened during my grad nite some years ago. A bunch of us got on Matterhorn and that puppy was going so fast I thought I was going to fall out.

Something else to note, the right side of the ride has a longer track, but is slower than the left side, which has a shorter track but is faster
Thanks @180º and @raven24 for commenting and sharing your experiences. It is definitely more plausible that different tracks will have different behavior, and it's also plausible that the track/vehicle conditions change throughout the day.

That said, the claim that the weight of a ride vehicle changes the velocity, especially to the extent that heavier vehicles go faster, although intuitive, is actually a very suspect claim. I've mentioned that the physics of attractions like this makes this claim suspect, but I don't think I've stated how strong a conclusion that is. You can easily see that the mass of a vehicle can not change the velocity through a straightforward calculation, put simply gravity powered rollercoasters must obey energy conservation. Intuitive notions about acceleration and momentum come from that calculation. Where mass does enter into it is in the structural and material properties, but there are multiple reasons why this can only lead to heavier vehicles being slower.
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
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Thanks @180º and @raven24 for commenting and sharing your experiences. It is definitely more plausible that different tracks will have different behavior, and it's also plausible that the track/vehicle conditions change throughout the day.

That said, the claim that the weight of a ride vehicle changes the velocity, especially to the extent that heavier vehicles go faster, although intuitive, is actually a very suspect claim. I've mentioned that the physics of attractions like this makes this claim suspect, but I don't think I've stated how strong a conclusion that is. You can easily see that the mass of a vehicle can not change the velocity through a straightforward calculation, put simply gravity powered rollercoasters must obey energy conservation. Intuitive notions about acceleration and momentum come from that calculation. Where mass does enter into it is in the structural and material properties, but there are multiple reasons why this can only lead to heavier vehicles being slower.
Okay.
 

180º

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Why didn't DL's Space Mountain get the cool space windows that WDW's got? The DL windows aren't even charming. They're just portraits of stars.
I always wondered this myself. It seems like a simple enough prop and it's all over that version, so why not duplicate it here? I've nearly tripped multiple times trying to walk along the queue while staring into those mesmerizing windows. Maybe that's why? Tripping hazard?
 

jocarol

Member
A heavier object will be better at overcoming friction and aerodynamic drag due to its greater inertia. That is why, in most situations where those factors are not insignificant, heavier objects will roll and slide faster than lighter ones.
 

October82

Well-Known Member
A heavier object will be better at overcoming friction and aerodynamic drag due to its greater inertia.
@jocarol, I appreciate the attempt to figure this out, but I'm not certain this works. Frictional forces (other than drag) are also directly proportional to mass, which means that heavier objects do not overcome friction any better than lighter ones. Although it is correct that aerodynamic drag will depend on the mass, aerodynamic forces are almost certainly negligible in this situation.

That is why, in most situations where those factors are not insignificant, heavier objects will roll and slide faster than lighter ones.
I'm not certain that this is true. The roll/slip condition is ultimately a mass independent statement. Do you know of somewhere where this idea is discussed in more detail?
 

truecoat

Well-Known Member
I love classic Space Mountain at Disneyland. For me it's a not to be missed ride whenever I'm there.

And because I'm a nerd, I'm posting this here as a tribute to what might be my favorite Disneyland ride.

Couldn't have opened Space Mountain at a better time. I would think that Star Wars being the phenomenon of that summer and year it would have fueled people to want to ride Space Mountain. Interesting that it opened 2 days after the movie was released.
 

mickEblu

Well-Known Member
I love classic Space Mountain at Disneyland. For me it's a not to be missed ride whenever I'm there.

And because I'm a nerd, I'm posting this here as a tribute to what might be my favorite Disneyland ride.

Now is a great time to go to DL ride to SM. Aside from being in Classic mode with everyone flocking to GOTG there were still FPS available last night at 8pm.
 

jocarol

Member
@jocarol, I appreciate the attempt to figure this out, bu
I'm not certain that this is true. The roll/slip condition is ultimately a mass independent statement. Do you know of somewhere where this idea is discussed in more detail?
I shouldn't have said heavier things slide faster, I got that backwards (don't drink and physics). Sliding friction is generally greater for a heavier object so in that case the light object would move faster. Rolling friction gets a lot more complicated, but I would think aerodynamics would be a bigger factor than rolling friction on a coaster, so I still think it's reasonable to expect a more massive car to reach a higher velocity.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu is a good site for most physics stuff.
 

October82

Well-Known Member
I shouldn't have said heavier things slide faster, I got that backwards (don't drink and physics).
Drinking is the best time to do physics!

Sliding friction is generally greater for a heavier object so in that case the light object would move faster.
I more or less agree with this, though I think what's really going on might be a bit subtler. The intuitive claim, as made in this thread, is exactly the opposite of this! I'm inclined to think that the reason this is a popular claim comes down to the old idea that "heavier things fall faster", but I'm not sure. Attractions like Space Mountain (apparently) do weigh ride vehicles before dispatch.

Rolling friction gets a lot more complicated, but I would think aerodynamics would be a bigger factor than rolling friction on a coaster, so I still think it's reasonable to expect a more massive car to reach a higher velocity.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu is a good site for most physics stuff.
You can estimate the size of aerodynamic forces very easily. For values appropriate to rollercoaster ride vehicles, they're completely negligible. I can definitely second the hyper physics recommendation, though!
 

Dr. Hans Reinhardt

Well-Known Member
Couldn't have opened Space Mountain at a better time. I would think that Star Wars being the phenomenon of that summer and year it would have fueled people to want to ride Space Mountain. Interesting that it opened 2 days after the movie was released.
I remember being at DL that summer. So many people were wearing Star Wars tee shirts. If you had predicted that someday Disneyland would build a SW Land, or even a SW ride back then I would have thought you were out of your mind.
 
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Miceberg

Well-Known Member
Rode it on Sunday - it seemed darker than usual - had to make sure I wasn't wearing sunglasses. Anyone else think so?
 

D.Silentu

Well-Known Member
Why didn't DL's Space Mountain get the cool space windows that WDW's got? The DL windows aren't even charming. They're just portraits of stars.
Every time I ride I just can't get past this inexcusably poor depiction. Why not lenticular images, or at least video screens? Disney can do better.
 

mickEblu

Well-Known Member
I'm really going to miss those projections of X-Wings and TIE Fighters. It was like Disney brought the Sega 32X Star Wars game to life!
lol I've used N64 to describe them myself. The projections sucked and made the track too visible but HSM had a nice energy to it.
 
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