Are you excited to ride Disney's new version of Test Track?
Published: August 27, 2012 at 9:30 PM
The new marquee for Epcot's updated Test Track, to debut in "late fall" of this year.
Disney today hosted an online chat with Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick about the new Test Track. Even though Disney screened the questions, it seemed to me that participants were having trouble understanding just would be different about this version of Epcot's ride through the process of designing a car.
Ultimately, from my reading of Jeselnick's responses, I think the answer is "nothing" - in terms of the ride itself. It'll be the same ride track, with the same ride vehicles as before. What will change is the show experience, and especially the pre-show experience, which Disney will infuse with a competitive video-game-like element.
In the queue, you'll use kiosks to design a digital version of a Chevrolet vehicle. Then, on the ride, your digital design will be tested and scored in four stations - for Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness, and Power. The highlight of the ride will continue to be the 65 mph "speed test" around the outside of the Test Track building. And in the post-show, you'll get to see how your specific design fared.
Be warned, though. Although the ride will continue to have FastPass and single rider bypass lines, people using those lines will not get to customize their own vehicle design, according to today's chat. Instead, they'll simply get to choose from one of a number of pre-designed options to "test" during the ride.
It sounds as though much of the show within the ride will now be screen-based, mostly to reflect the increasingly digital nature of vehicle design. (Heck, attraction design's the same way.) But that will give Disney's Imagineers the opportunity to do some cool Tron-type visuals within the ride.
You can't truly judge a ride during the concept, design, or even the construction phase. Only when you ride will you know how well the attraction works, or doesn't. But nothing I've heard about Test Track excites me. Watching people test a digital prototype of a mass production car fojhe2djn1wejdedjn…
Sorry, I fell asleep just typing that.
People spend big bucks to go on vacation to escape their desk jobs - not to watch people do pretty much the same thing. What Disney's describing here sounds like a great attraction for a GM factory exhibition in Michigan. But Disney World ought to offer us something more exciting than that. If it must devote an attraction to car design, let it be for high-end, super-performance vehicles, such as IndyCars or Ferraris. Or if it wants to plug Chevrolet, let us ride a prototype Chevy (that changes every year) through a dream "roadtrip" across America of our choosing. (Like the "choose your adventure" option on the old Horizons, times 10!)
Test Track illustrates what frustrates me about Epcot. Instead of bringing us into epic tales of human discovery, with heroes and villains battling over human advancement, we get stuff like people designing mass-production cars, trying not to barf on a spaceflight simulator, and watching sitcom stars yuck their way through a trip back to the time of dinosaurs.
Okay, that's fun, but it's not epic. It's not the heart-tugging, lump in my throat, my heart's racing excitement that Disney can deliver. That's the stuff I can't wait to ride.
I hope Test Track turns out well, and that Disney surprises me with its execution of this concept. But I gotta admit, this isn't high on my list of attractions I'm eagerly awaiting. How about you?