Test Track

Test Track

Welcome to Test Track, your chance to take a car from building a design to burning rubber on the track.  This wonderful ride is full of rich detail from the moment you walk into the giant ride complex, till the last minute you wander through the showroom.  Whether you have small children in your group, thrill seeking young riders, or senior riders looking for a fun time, Test Track has something for everyone.  This combination of interactive queue, dark ride, and high thrills is a ride you don’t want to miss on your next Walt Disney World vacation.

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Let’s go for a lap on Test Track and get started with our…

Know Before You Go Essential Facts

  • The ride is located in Epcot
  • You must be 40” tall to ride
  • Fastpass + is offered
  • The fright factor is 3 out of 5
  • Guests must transfer from a wheelchair/ECV
  • Language Translation Devices and Video Captioning are available
  • Children under age 7 must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older
  • Single Rider Line and Rider Switch are available
  • The ride is just over 5 minutes long
  • The ride opened on March 17, 1999. In 2012 the ride was closed for a lengthy refurbishment and re-opened on December 6, 2012.

Like the ride itself, the history here is full of twists and turns.  Let’s start today by looking in the rear view mirror of Test Track.  October 1, 1982, saw the grand opening of Disney’s newest theme park, Epcot Center.  Among the opening day attractions was a ride called World of Motion.  Much like Spaceship Earth, World of Motion took passengers on an educational journey aboard 6-passenger omnimover vehicles.  Instead of explorinWard Kimballg the history of communication, World of Motion took a more light hearted turn down memory lane as the ride chronicled the history of motion.  From the invention of the wheel all the way to modern day cars and planes, World of Motion allowed riders to travel through time.  Along the way, elaborate Audio-Animatronic scenes depicted everything from the challenge of riding a unicycle to  the relaxation of a Sunday afternoon drive.  Ward Kimball, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, instilled his brand of comical storytelling into the ride.

 

I’m sure I rode World of Motion as a kid, but I can’t say I have any personal memories of this ride.  While researching today’s podcast I did watch a ride through from 1994.  This video had me geeking out and left a huge smile on my face!

World of Motion was closed in 1996, and the pavilion’s interior was completely gutted to make way for Test Track.  The AA figures and scenes were replaced by yellow striped roadways.  The omnimover system got a serious upgrade to 6-passenger test cars capable of achieving speeds of 65 mph.  The ride itself now took place both inside and outside on an elevated test track with 50 degree banked turns.  Riders were no longer learning about the history of motion, but now experiencing the real feel of rugged road testing.

To learn more about the original version of Test Track, check out the podcast.

IMG_0852Today, the queue is now called the Chevrolet Design Studio.  Inside, guests can see some real life concept cars and watch videos of designers discussing their process.  Eventually, everyone arrives at the design room.  Here, riders are usually split into pairs and each pair assigned a number.  When the next set of doors open you proceed to a digital touchscreen with the corresponding number.  Once there, the real fun begins!

Each set of riders has a couple of minutes to design their ideal vehicle.  You begin by selecting the type of vehicle you would like and the get to actually draw the profile of your vehicle using your finger on a touchscreen.  The computer will optimize this shape for you and then you can begin to adjust the shape at any point along the profile of the vehicle.  As you change the shape, you can see a set of 4 numbers changing at the top of your screen.  IMG_0854These 4 categories: Power, Responsiveness, Capability, and Efficiency are what you will be testing on the sim track.  As your design changes, you may notice a higher rating in power will lead to a lower rating in efficiency.  You can continue tweaking this, but be mindful that your time here is limited and you want to save some time for cool things like color, graphics, and spoilers!  There is a countdown located at the top, middle of the screen so you know how much time you have remaining.

When you are done, be sure to tap your Magic Band to the touchpoint to save your design.  From the design studio, you will proceed to the next portion of the queue.

As you wait for your vehicle to pull up, you will see another touchpoint and small digital screen.  Tap your Magic Band here and your design will be loaded onto the screen.  From here, climb aboard, buckle up, and get ready for the Test Track!  Each car holds 6 passengers pretty comfortably.  My long legs have plenty of room to stretch out, and the ride is comparable to that of a normal car, albeit a low rider convertible.  If you have any questions about the seating, there is a test vehicle outside you can try out for size.

Inside the building, you are taken through a series of tests.  At the end of each test there is a screen which will quickly display the results of the multiple designs from the different riders in your vehicle.  This is a fun way for everyone to follow along and compete to see if they have the most efficient, most responsive, or most capable design.  The track has not changed from the original version, but the darkened room and TRON inspired effects make the experience feel very different from the first Test Track.

Like the original, the ride culminates in a thrilling loop on the exterior track.  What you may not realize is that this is the fastest ride you can experience while at Walt Disney World.  Topping out at 65 mph, your vehicle is moving faster than Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster or Expedition Everest.  The sensation is different from those coasters, and it may even feel like you are moving slower because of the smooth operation.  I think this makes it the best family thrill ride in all Walt Disney World.  I can’t drag my parents onto a roller coaster, but they will ride Test Track over and over again if given the opportunity.

 

The post-show area of Test Track offers more to see and do than any other ride in the parks.  Plan on spending some time here.  Check out the details in the podcast!

For those buckling up for the ride, let me offer a couple of quick tips.  Rachel says I need to point out that the fast speeds of Test Track’s exterior lap can wreak havoc on your hair.  She says those with longer hair my want to have a ponytail holder handy.  For the little ones in the group, be sure to prepare them for the intensity of this ride.  We have given the ride a fright factor of 3 because much of it takes place in the dark and it is impossible to anticipate the sudden accelerations or jarring turns.   Test Track moves much faster than many other rides that have a 40″ height requirement.  I think a little preparation will go a long way to helping new riders enjoy the ride.  Finally, remember this is a very popular ride.  Waits will be in the 1 hour + range during peak times.  If you want to experience the design portion of the Standby Queue, make this one of your first stops inside the park.

IMG_0848If multiple rides are what you seek, don’t forget Test Track not only has a Fastpass+ option, but it also offers a Single Rider Line.  We have covered the details of both Fastpass+ and the Single Rider Line in previous podcasts, so go check those out if you have any questions.  Just keep in mind, that both of these time savers come with a small cost.  You will be directed down a different queue, bypassing the main design studio.  Inside the secondary design studio you only have about 30 seconds to select your pre-designed vehicle.  You won’t have the opportunity to tweak those wheel sizes or rim styles.  However, you will avoid some pretty long wait times!  As I said on the Single Rider Line podcast, I highly recommend you experience this ride at least once in the Standby queue.  Designing your own vehicle and seeing how it performs is half the fun of this ride.

Thank you so, so much for joining me today.  Sitting down to talk a little Disney with you is my favorite part of every week.   I hope you have a great week and remember to make each day a ride worth taking!

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