Epcot visitors who have been missing Test Track can rejoice. Not only is Test Track back in business, but it is cooler, sleeker and just plain awesomer (that’s a word, right?).
When Test Track opened in 1999, it was the fastest and longest ride at Disney World and quickly became a fan favorite. I have waited in long lines to play my part as a crash-test dummy more times than I can count. And while the ride itself was indeed fast (65 mph) and a great thrill, the themeing was dated. Hello nineties!
Crash test dummies be gone. The cheese factor of Test Track is no more. Test Track has been completely re-imagined and through a partnership between Disney and Chevrolet the ride has been given a sexy new look with high-tech features that make waiting in line part of the experience. The high-speed ride is now everything it always should have been.
In keeping with Epcot’s look toward the future, riders are now greeted by a futuristic looking Chevy and prototypes galore. Car lovers, and even those of us regular folk, have plenty to oggle at as Chevy presents possibilities for tomorrow’s car with more hopeful improvements to power, capability, responsiveness and efficiency.
But today’s Test Track queue isn’t just about looking around at all of the interesting details. The new and improved wait time goes the way of an interactive experience even before you ride.
Mom tip – This is one ride where the Fast Pass lane means missing half of the experience. While I am not inclined to wait in long lines, if you have to wait in one line at Epcot, this is the one. The Fast Pass Return skips all of the following interactive elements. Consider grabbing a Fast Pass and hopping in the regular line so you can ride again after experiencing the interactive side.
After waiting in line for some time admiring prototypes and watching video displays, riders are invited into an interactive control room where they are assigned the task of designing their own vehicle. Using high-tech, touch-screen displays riders design their vehicles based on performance (power, capability, responsiveness and efficiency) and aesthetic features.
Mom tip – While it is easy to get caught up designing a perfectly performing car of the future, move quickly through the first step of vehicle performance and on to the more fun aspect of design including color and accessories. On the cool scale, specific performance triggers matter less than how cool your car looks during the ride.
After moving through the design process, riders are near the end of their wait time. As I moved through the line, I couldn’t help but to remember the old line and marvel at the transformation. It is so completely different.
Before boarding the now blue Test Track vehicles (previously yellow), riders load their design choices into the ride by scanning RFID cards programmed with their selections. (So high-tech!)
Little, if anything, has changed about the ride itself, however, the ride experience is all new. No more bright lights and minimalistic decor, the ride is dark with neon lights and fancy-schmancy effects. I will say again, this is the way the ride always should have been.
As the vehicle is put through its performance tests, the cars designed by teams of riders are compared and rated against one another. This is where you can see the car you designed in action.
And, of course, the best part of the ride is when it tested on the outside portion of the course and is pushed to 65 mph. What a thrill!
The interactive Test Track fun doesn’t end when you disembark your vehicle.
After the ride, kiosks invite you to create a mini commercial about the car you designed and then email it to yourself. Then race your car around a digital track in a multi-player, projection video game.
While browsing the post-ride Chevrolet show room, be sure to visit photo stations and have your photo taken with actual Chevy vehicles placed (through green-screen technology) on the moon, a polar landscape and other unusual locations. All photos in the showroom can be shared easily via social media or sent as a virtual postcard.
Don’t miss the chance to check out (and even sit in) the latest Chevy vehicles on the showroom floor.
Final thoughts – The newly reimaginered Test Track is even more awesome, and the fitting partnership with Chevrolet adds to the ride’s realism. While the ride and overall themeing deserve an A+, younger riders may find some of the interactive features a bit difficult to use. Ultimately, parents (and kids) should let go of the precise nature of car design and just enjoy the tools available. Suspend believe and enjoy the ride.
Wanna see the ride in action? Check out this video shot by my friend’s husband on our inaugural ride. (Thanks Classy Mommy!) Yes, that’s One Republic performing as part of the opening ceremony. It was an awesome night, more on that later.
Thank you to Chevy and Disney for inviting me to experience the new Test Track and New FantasyLand firsthand.