Monday, April 29, 2013

Walt Disney World Review: Test Track

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Last half of the ride is a fun rush
Cons: Long wait for very few thrills
The Bottom Line:
Wait is always long
And the ride does have moments
But worth a short wait

EPCOT's Version of a Thrill Ride is Fun if Not Thrilling

As big a Disney fan as I am, I just can't keep up with everything they are doing at all their theme parks.  Heck, I occasionally have a hard enough time keeping up with plans for Disneyland here in Southern California.  As a result, I had heard of Test Track before I got to Disney World, but I really didn't know what it was all about.

The ride is located in the Future World portion of EPCOT pretty close to the boarder with World Showcase.  The line on this ride is deceptively short.  It is all inside, and even though it winds around a little in there, the signs outside were always in the hour range when I was there late September.  (For comparison, most rides had 5 minute waits.)  This ride does have the Fast Pass option, but those disappeared quickly.  It also has a single rider line.  The multiple times I went on it, I always used this option.  I don't think I waited more than 15 minutes, which is about right.

When you reach the front of the line, you are ushered into a video room where the premise of the ride is explained to you.  You are going to be human crash test dummies and see some of the testing that new cars get before they are placed on the market.  The test will consist of several phases.  From this room, you get in yet another line, but this one moves quickly as people are loaded into cars.

The cars seat six people in two rows.  Riders under 40 inches can't ride.  You are provided with seat belts which must be worn (like you'd want to not use a safety devise) and then you are off.

A monitor in your car allows the people testing the cars to talk you through the various tests and let you know what you are experiencing.  You start with a hill test.  It's a pretty steep hill and it feels like you are climbing it faster than you really are.  From there, you experience several rough roads and the inevitable bumps.  You face two difference corners, one with the anti-lock breaks engaged and one without them.  Then you face three environmental chambers.  The heat room makes you very happy to move on to the cold room.  Finally comes the corrosion room.  They spray you with something.  I assume it is water, but it still grossed me out a little.  You probably spend less than 30 seconds in all three of these rooms combined, so it's over quickly.

All of these tests are okay, but they aren't the best.  Frankly, at this point in the ride, I was beginning to get a little bored with the whole thing.

But at this point things pick up.  Next is a traction test.  You go around several sharp corners gaining speed for each one.  There's plenty of whipping around here.  After a sudden stop, you face the final indoor test, the barrier test.

Assuming you survive that test (okay, so I'm having a little fun with you here), you move onto the giant outdoor track.  This track is basically a giant loop around the building that houses the rest of the ride.  As you go around it, you speed increases until you are going 65 miles an hour.

These last two parts are what make the ride so incredibly popular.  While neither will satisfy fans of thrill rides, they are fun in their own right.  And the wind in your face during that outdoor section is lots of fun.

When you exit the ride, you have a chance to buy your souvenir photo.  Since the ride is currently sponsored by GM (rumors that this might not last too much longer because of their financial problems are currently circulating), you get a chance to learn about new GM cars and even buy one on the spot if you are so inclined.  Considering my budget, I didn't spend too long here.

The week I was there, I only noticed Test Track being closed once.  I've heard this is a frequent occurrence due to weather and technical problems, however.

As I said earlier, this ride is best with a short wait.  It is fun, but not worth more than 15 or 20 minutes.  If you can get a fast pass, that is the way to go.  If not, you might want to consider the single rider line.  It does mean you won't get to ride with your friends or family, so take that into consideration.

Those seeking genuine thrills won't find Test Track suits their needs.  Then again, very few Disney rides truly do.  The rest of us will enjoy speeding around the outside portions of the track if the wait is short enough.

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