Yesterland.com

Cosmic Waves

“Just outside the entrance to Space Mountain,
kids of all ages can frolic at this high-tech
fountain and synchronized water show.”
Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Chris Bales, 1998

1998 New Tomorrowland

It’s a sunny, dry day in the New Tomorrowland of 1998. But you could find yourself soaking wet if you follow the crowd to a place that drenches guests.


Cosmic Waves is a maze designed after the Elizabethan concept of hedge mazes. Instead of leafy hedges growing from the ground, 5-foot-tall jets of water shoot from the ground in synchronized patterns. At the center, there’s a floating 12,000-pound granite ball.

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Glenn Schmidt, 1998

Getting drenched

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Glenn Schmidt, 1998

Successfully at the center, where the granite ball is

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Glenn Schmidt, 1998

Now, how to get back?

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photos by Allen Huffman, 1998

Popular day and night

Just one quick warning: If you go to an attraction or eatery near Cosmic Waves, take a look before you sit down. That previous occupent of your seat might have been a soaking-wet kid.


Disneyland old-timers remember the amazing New Tomorrowland of 1967.

But there was also New Tomorrowland in 1998. Only this one was not so amazing. It opened May 22, 1998, and featured Rocket Rods, Innoventions, Astro Orbitor, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, The American Space Experience, Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port, a retro-Tomorrowland mural, a muddy paint scheme—and Cosmic Waves.

You could think of Cosmic Waves as a fountain, but you could also consider it an interactive attraction.

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Chris Bales, 1998

Cosmic Waves under construction

In his DisneyFans.com Update for May 1998, blogger (and Yesterland photographer) Allen Huffman offered his thoughts about the newly completed Cosmic Waves:

In front of Space Mountain is a new interactive water fountain similar to one found at Epcot. Kids (and adults!) were playing in the water. It was unclear how many of them were trying to avoid getting wet and how many were trying to drench themselves. There is a pattern to the water and supposedly you can learn it and walk all through the fountain and never get a drop on you. I have also read about secret “pressure pads” that shut off various fountains. The water is also warmed! This will be much fun in the hot summer months, I bet. It looks really nice.

An article about the 1998 New Tomorrowland in the Los Angeles Times (“Future Flock,” by Geoff Boucher, May 23, 1998) had this about Cosmic Waves:

Along with Rocket Rods, the other big crowd-pleaser Friday, was Cosmic Waves, a wide, flat fountain that squirts 5-foot-high jets of water to create a maze that delights youngsters and threatens video cameras. Screeching toddlers and teens raced through the unpredictable mini-geysers and gathered in the center of the fountain around a 1,200-pound granite ball that seems to levitate over the high-pressure pool.

In other words, the Cosmic Waves fountain seemed to be one of the success stories of the 1998 New Tomorrowland. But it turned out not to be.

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Chris Bales, 1998

Roped off, and without water

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 1999

Itty bitty fountains and a clear path to the granite ball in 1999

Instead of figuring out how to avoid getting wet, guests treated Cosmic Waves as water-play area. Parents sent in their not-yet-potty-trained toddlers. The word on the Internet was that Disney addressed the health issue by increasing the chlorine level of the recirculating water, which caused the soft flooring to deteriorate.

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Barriers in 2001

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

Waterless fountain in 2002

In 2002, Cosmic Waves became a fountain without water. The water jets remained on the ground, but were turned off. Only the granite ball still relied on water.

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2005

Granite ball without fountains

Eventually, new flooring without fountain jets surrounded the granite ball. Oddly, it still looked like a fountain with the water turned off.

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2009

Floor without fountain jets

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2017

Where fountains used to be

In 2009, Disneyland replaced the circular area around the granite ball with planters and trees. And that’s how it has remained.

Cosmic Waves, Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2017

Circular seating

The site of Cosmic Waves is no longer an interactive attraction. But, in a way, it’s become a show. Grab a seat facing the ball and watch young children moving 12,000 pounds of granite.


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Updated June 11, 2021