Utilizing the animation projection infrastructure used in the Halloween-themed Ghost Galaxy overlay, laser effects, and a newly recorded arrangement of assorted John Williams scores performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, the attraction puts guests into a dogfight between X-Wing starfighters and TIE Fighters at the start of the Battle of Jakku.
The attraction queue is mostly left in its standard form, though graphics and a brief pre-show and safety film set up the simple story and place Space Mountain's space station setting into the role of a Rebel base.
Admiral Ackbar sends out a brief holo-transmission to a group of reconnaissance pilots to investigate an Imperial Star Destroyer in orbit around Jakku. He also announces the 77 Squadron will provide support for the mission.
After boarding the reconnaissance vehicle (played by Space Mountain's sled-like rocket vehicles), the recon team and Blue Squadron make a jump through hyperspace. Upon arrival at Jakku, a group of TIES ambushes the team almost immediately. The recon vehicle ducks and weaves its way through the dogfight and assorted laser-fire from either side. With the TIE squadron destroyed, Blue Squadron is able to make a critical destructive hit on the Star Destroyer's bridge area and make a quick jump through hyperspace back to the base.
Behind the scenes
Space Mountain originally opened at Disneyland on May 27th, 1977, two days after A New Hope first premiered in theaters. The second of its kind, with the Walt Disney World original opening two years earlier, Space Mountain became one of the central landmarks of Disneyland's Tomorrowland area and Walt Disney World's Tomorrowland area. In 2005, as part of Disneyland's 50th Anniversary, the attraction underwent a significant overhaul with a complete rebuild of the track, a new in-vehicle sound system, and new digital projection infrastructure that would allow for alternative versions of the attraction, starting with a short-lived version known as "Rockin' Space Mountain". A few years later, a more involved Halloween overlay borrowed from Hong Kong's park, "Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy", would add additional projection hardware in 2007 and became a more successful tradition.
In 2015, to promote The Force Awakens and act as a stop-gap until the Star Wars themed expansion of the two parks both opened, Disney announced a promotional event called "Season of the Force" located in the Tomorrowland area of the park, consisting of an update to Star Tours: The Adventures Continuefeaturing elements from the new film, a clipshow of the entire saga entitled Path of the Jedi, an update to the Jedi Training Academy show drawing elements from Star Wars Rebels entitled Trials of the Temple, the Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit and Hyperspace Mountain.
The Imagineers consulted with Lucasfilm Story Group to ensure the attraction would fit into the canon timeline and decided to tell the story of the space battle portion of the Battle of Jakku, which also appeared in the novel Lost Stars and the Star Wars Battlefront video game. New starfighter animation and musical arrangements of John Williams tracks were produced for the overlay and the temporary attraction opened on November 15th, 2015.
As of March 2017, the overlay is still running at Disneyland, and it is believed by many that it will remain until Star Wars Land opens in 2019, drawing the ire of many fans who have accused Disney of caving in to pressure from stockholders to inject the park with more intellectual properties. MiceAge reported on March 3, 2017, that there are plans for the overlay to close on Memorial Day Weekend in 2017 and reopen as the regular Space Mountain alongside the rerouted Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America for the busy summer season, then return as a seasonal overlay in December in time for the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The 77 Squadron takes its number from 1977, both the year when Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope first premiered and when Space Mountain first opened at Disneyland park.
Promotional poster for the Disneyland version.
Promotional poster for the Hong Kong Disneyland version.