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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bill Watkins - 54th choice as a Disney Legend

One of the most popular and enduring rides at the Disney Parks is Space Mountain, the first roller coaster to be ridden inside and in the dark - Space Mountain at Disneyland was designed by Bill Watkins of Walt Disney Imagineering. This includes the tubular steel track design. The track layout was different from that in Florida because of space limitations in the California park. He was also involved in the design of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride.

Inside of Space Mountain during construction
According to Wikipedia - "Space Mountain at Disneyland was designed by Bill Watkins of Walt Disney Imagineering, including a tubular steel track design awarded U.S. Patent 4,029,019."

Watkins wrote an article for Mouseplanet about the design of Space Mountain - here is a a paragraph from that article: "Disneyland's Space Mountain opened on May 28, 1977 and was reproduced at Tokyo and, recently, Hong Kong. During those same years and later (1969 to 1986), we also designed the Big Thunder Railway (working title) rides at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Euro Disneyland using the same principles and techniques. The Disneyland Space Mountain was recently reopened with a new, but identical, track. 171 million people had ridden on the old track, a total of more than 8 million miles."

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