That said, there is much detail in the new ride experience and it's much smoother too! If working properly, this is a wonderful upgrade to what was already an awesome attraction!
So I've been on it 5 times now. Only once did the car not load. The Touch screens work properly, just not always the users. The ride's white cards are part of the next gen system, using the same orbs and RFID chips.
The design phase is nothing like designing Sum of All Thrills or Cyber Space Mountain. You pretty much build the car ground up and make the look just as about personable as one could imagine, unlike picking preselected choices at other design attractions.
As for the ride itself, it feels much smoother and more refined than the old one. The stops are smooth, the turns are flawless and as a whole a lot less jerky.
The outside part isn't dull. And really, the practicality of enclosing it just doesn't make sense.
I rode it Saturday Dec. 1 as a 3rd rider, the other 2 in my seat row did all the design input as I watched. As said above, the touch screens were glitchy and the cast members didn't seem to know where to put people or how to explain the design procedures. Three people sit in each car row but 2 people were assigned each design screen. We couldn't tell if each person designs, or 2 people or 3 people design together. The design step has a lot going on and it will take several rides to learn the procedures. They had a time limit countdown for various aspects of car design which seemed to put pressure on the "designers" and numerous mistakes were made. To me, it seemed like a lot of busy work to distract you from realizing how long you are waiting to ride. I heard a rumor that there will be a single rider line that will by-pass all the design pre-show just for people who want to ride. Now, the new queue and post-ride rooms were very nice. Many new cars to look over. I didn't spend much time in there but easily would have enjoyed a slow trip through. The ride decor is futuristic and fun. All the old factory decor is gone. Basically, I'm not the target audience for the interactivity, I want a great ride and that part is the same as before but with new decor (see video).
Everything seemed to work for me. You design the car in groups of three or less. There's actually more time to design that most people need and it's fun to try and optimize the car to get the most points.
What's really awesome is how the car design is used after the ride too for a handful of other activities and fun and FREE photos emailed to you.
One of the post ride features was a video slot car figure eight race track where you can race your designed car against other riders. This was fun. The controls were very sensitive to rider inputs and took a while to figure out. This being the case most of the riders/drivers/players spent their time crashing into the walls, each other and getting stuck in the video "mud pit" rather than racing. Also, part of the problem was that the computer would freeze then unfreeze and instantaneously advance your car go several seconds ahead, causing you to wreck.
Important Note: If your use the Fast-Pass or the single rider line, you will not be able to fully design your car as you would in the Stand-by line. In the Fast Pass and single rider line you are given a choice of several one size fits all models to choose from. None of them perform that well in the rankings at the end of the ride.
I asked a CM about this--to make sure I was not just messing up. He stated that Fast Pass and single rider line are promising the rider a shorter wait time. This being the case, these riders will not have and additional 9 minutes to spend designing their car.
Same ride vehicle, new paint. Queue is "NextGen", which means lots of distractions to keep guests amused, but no real improvement. Yeah, you get to look at new things. I actually liked the old version with the "test lab" decor.
The actual ride actually has much less to see. You go fast. You stop. You go fast. You swerve. No explanation of why. (yes, I miss the hot/cold/corrosion piece. More to see.) Removing the blocks was probably a good idea - no more teeth chatter.
You zig-zag up the hill with neon pine trees instead of flat plywood ones. Why is the truck hiding at the top of the hill? We'll never know.
The "design a car" piece is another "NextGen" time-waster. I can't say it did much to excite me.
For what they spend on TT 2.0, they could have added another ride to EPCOT.
Not much imagination in Imagineering these days.