Yesterday Walt Disney World temporarily closed the popular Test Track attraction at Epcot to be renovated with a new theme under the banner “Chevrolet Design Center.” When the ride re-opens some time in fall 2012, it will likely still sport the “Test Track” name and will feature the same track, but the overall theme and ride experience will be drastically different, abandoning the notion of a GM vehicle test facility in favor of a sleeker Chevrolet-branded experience allowing guests to take part in the design process before taking their creations out for a spin.
The original Test Track has cemented itself firmly in Disney history, not only for consistently drawing large crowds since it first opened in late 1998 (officially in early 1999), but also for being the fastest Walt Disney World attraction, topping out at around 65mph. Test Track replaced the slow-moving, Audio Animatronics-driven World of Motion, an attraction many hardcore Disney fans loved as a classic Disney experience. But most casual Disney theme park visitors have enjoyed Test Track as one of the most thrilling rides at Epcot for nearly 14 years.
Since Epcot is transforming the ride into a new experience, I wanted to capture the classic Test Track attraction, as I’ve known it since looking forward to its opening in the late ’90s. While I was a fan of World of Motion, Test Track marked one of the prominent moves away from traditional Epcot “edutainment” often dubbed boring by many visitors into a world where education could be married with an attraction featuring much more than just a slow-moving adventure. It may not be a history lesson through hundreds of years of transportation, but Test Track did offer a glimpse into how everyday cars are tested before they hit the roads.
So below you will find an in-depth tribute to the original version of Test Track, as it exited just two days before it closed. The 24-minute video below takes you on a tour of the outside of the building, through the queue, pre-show, and on the ride itself, followed by a walk around the showroom post-show area that’s changed many times over the years. The pre-show video features picture-in-picture to offer a look at both monitors simultaneously and both that and the ride itself offer binaural audio, so wear your headphones for the most complete experience.
Test Track Tribute: Full experience (queue, pre-show, ride, post-show) at Epcot