Why the Disco Yeti?

August 7, 2017, 1:45 PM

Okay, so, we all make fun of Expedition Everest at AK because of the "Disco Yeti," a very complex, very expensive Audio animatronic Yeti at the end of the ride that hasn't moved in years. So...why? Why hasn't Disney fixed this thing yet? I'm sure there's a really good reason, but...I have no idea what it is. Thanks!

Replies (8)

August 7, 2017, 2:16 PM

I think it comes down to the lesser of two evils.

The figure is HUGE and amazing. I rode the ride several times back when it was fully functioning. I've also ridden it several times in disco mode. Truth is, Expedition Everest is a really fun roller coaster either way. Sadly, it is in a park that until Pandora opened was in dire need of massive people-eater attractions. When it opened the other E-Ticket rides in DAK were - Kilimanjaro Safari, Dinosaur, and Kali River. I feel pretty sure park Managers would rather run this high capacity attraction in disco mode than to take it down for a refurbishment to restore its motion and disappoint thousands of riders every day.
What surprises me is that they haven't tried to do something with projection mapping technology to plus disco mode and make that final encounter with the yeti a bit more dramatic. I'll be interested to see what others think the issues are.

August 7, 2017, 2:46 PM

From what I've heard the yeti is mounted to the structure of Everest so they would essentially have to cut a huge hole into the mountain to fix it. Kind of an oversight by Rhode and the crew if you ask me.

Edited: August 8, 2017, 6:31 AM

They Yeti structure is completely separate from the structure of the mountain. That fact is noted in many of the "Making/Behind the Scenes of Animal Kingdom" documentaries out there, predominantly because the force created by the hydraulics on the figure are so intense that if the Yeti had been connected to the mountain, it would tear it apart. In other words, Imagineers knew they were building something so massive that created so much force that they needed to create an independent structure for it long before construction began. The issue with the Yeti is that because it's so close to the path of the coaster, the only way to conduct repairs is to lock out the coaster. It's rumored that some of the repairs needed are to structural members (not just hydraulics), which would necessitate a long period of time to isolate, remove, and repair/replace the weakened members and to redesign the structural base to allow the Yeti to operate without further damaging the structure.

As noted by Rob above, Disney has been hesitant to take down one of the park's few E-ticket attractions for an extended period of time to complete the necessary repairs. Perhaps when the next major maintenance cycle on Everest comes up, they will extend the window to allow time to get the Yeti up and running correctly since the park can afford to lose an E-Ticket for an extended period of time with FoP now open. However, it has been rumored that they would fix the Yeti on the last few major maintenance periods and nothing ever happened. Perhaps it's just too much of a hassle to get the beast up and running and to maintain it's operation. Plus, so few of the riders even notice the difference since you go past the animatronic so fast. You only see the Yeti for about 2-3 seconds, so most guests that only ride the coaster once every 5-8 years never notice that the beast never actually moves.

The oversight by Rohde and crew was that they decided to create this giant moving figure in a section of coaster track that creates such a brief encounter. They spent millions on this single element that guests would only see for a brief moment while traveling at over 30 MPH. It was also an oversight to place this figure so close to the track that a lockout is required to perform any necessary repairs. I think this is a case of Imagineers dreaming too big, and not being more practical. The Disco Yeti is still effective, and they would have gotten the same effect using a static figure instead of building what was at the time the largest audio-animatronic figure in the world that guests whiz by in the blink of the eye.

Edited: August 8, 2017, 8:04 AM

I get what Russell is saying, whilst I've never seen the yeti in full mode, I have always thought that you travel past it so fast that you don't have time to see and experience it anyway (you are too busy hanging on for the drop) so it seems like poor location for it ( I've always thought it would be good where the train stops and goes back ( though that would be outside, no good of course)

August 8, 2017, 11:31 AM

August 8, 2017, 5:37 PM

Remember how we thought the Yeti was going to get fixed after Pandora....

Yep, that time has passed.....

August 8, 2017, 7:03 PM

^ Has barely passed. I would not be surprised if fixing the yeti will be part of the rumored "50 Magical Enhancements" coming to WDW for the 50th.

Until then, he will continue just "staying alive."

August 8, 2017, 7:07 PM

Sadly, Everest can't even go down for a refurb until *another* headliner hits Animal Kingdom. With Flight of Passage routinely getting 180 minute wait times everyday, Everest provides an E-ticket for those who couldn't catch a FastPass or are unwilling to wait that long.

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