Walt Disney World
Main Street USA
Carousel of Progress
Space Ranger Spin
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Stitch's Great Escape
Skyway to Fantasyland
Walt Disney--The Man
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"Report to the Flight Deck. To Infinity and Beyond!"
Space Ranger Spin is the third ride to occupy its Tomorrowland show building. Not only does it occupy the same building as past attractions but it also uses the same track layout and Omnimover system that was first used in 1972. The Magic Kingdom's space Ranger Spin attraction opened in 1998 and is the original Buzz Lightyear laser shooting game; Disneyland added Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters to its Tomorrowland in 2005. Tokyo (2004), Hong Kong (2005), and Disneyland Park Paris (2006) each have a version of the attraction as well.
The first ride to open in this space in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland was If You Had Wings. The ride opened in June of 1972. Eastern Airlines sponsored the aviation themed ride which consisted of a musical Omnimover tour to different cities Eastern flew into. The ride was similar in nature to Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT; guests wound through dimensional scenes with projections in the background. There were 42 projectors throughout the ride.
The 16mm automatic-projectors were constructed by the Studio Machine Shop at the Disney Studios, and contained a continuous loop of film (the loops can be seen hanging vertically in the glass windows of the machines on the left). The Walt Disney World projectors were special in that they were designed to be operated and monitored remotely; the Magic Kingdom’s central computers, called DACS (for Digital Animation Control System), could start and stop the projectors, turn their lamps on or off and report malfunctions like broken film loops or burnt-out lamps.
If the film loops did break, the projectors would shut off automagically:). Upon repair, the projector would cycle through to the start mark on the film and wait for a command from DACS. When restarted, the projector would then sync back up with the other projectors in the attraction.
Eastern Airlines dropped sponsorship of the ride for financial reasons in early June 1987. All Eastern themes were moved, and the ride was renamed If You Could Fly. If You Could Fly closed down in January 1989. Six months after If You Had Wings/If You Could Fly closed down, the ride reopened as a completely redressed ride called Delta Dreamflight, sponsored by Delta Air Lines.
Delta sponsored the attraction until January of 1996, when, due to financial reasons and sponsorship of the 1996 Summer Olympics, they withdrew their sponsorship. The ride was renamed simply Dreamflight until June 1996 when the ride became known as Take Flight. Take Flight closed in January of 1998 to be transformed into Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, which opened ten months later.
Other than track layout and ride system, one of the most notable elements from If you Had Wings/Dreamflight that is still a part of Space Ranger Spin is the speed tunnel--you know the dark one with all the stars, where you fly through the galaxy trying to destroy the Evil Emporer Zurg and his power source--yep, that one.
Pics: Poster showing Eastern Airlines sponsorship (Above Left), Delta Dreamflight entrance (Top Right), Show scene and Omnimovers in Dreamflight (Above, Bottom Right), Ride track layout for Buzz Lightyear (Below).