Properties of Motion Physics Lab: Space Mountain


The Magic Kingdom® Park comes alive in a whole new way as students experience first-hand scientific principles at work at select park attractions!

The learning experience kicks off with an experiment that establishes the utilization of a creative problem-solving method, commonly referred to as the scientific method, and the introduction to Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion.

Magic Kingdom Park is always on the move! This playground for all ages provides an ideal environment for an exploration of inertia and potential and kinetic energy. An activity challenge and a select attraction showcase how these concepts and the laws of physics contribute to the thrill behind today’s “scream” machines.

Science combines with storytelling when students examine the role and application of pneumatics and hydraulics in creating the life-like movements of Audio-Animatronic® figures—a hallmark of Disney theme parks!

Students unlock the science of creating those exhilarating storytelling moments of a Disney “mountain” through hands-on activities, a final attraction, and discussion where inertia, gravity, and centripetal force take center stage in the program experience.

The learning adventure concludes with a call to action for students to look beyond state-of-the-art technology, special effects, and other elements to consider the physics behind the magic of Disney storytelling.

Learning Outcomes

After completing Properties of Motion Physics Lab, participants will be able to:

  • Apply problem-solving techniques to everyday situations
  • Summarize and demonstrate Newton’s First Law of Motion
  • Model potential and kinetic energy
  • Hypothesize which element of a roller coaster will require the most potential energy
  • Distinguish between speed, velocity, and acceleration
  • Determine whether hydraulics or pneumatics are in use
  • Compare and contrast gravity and centripetal force
  • Demonstrate and calculate centripetal force
  • Illustrate the effects of vertical and lateral acceleration
  • Use a digital level to measure an angle*
  • Draw an angle on a graph with a protractor*
  • Calculate the height of an attraction from a distance using indirect measurement*

NOTE: (*) denotes alternate content provided on specified days