I never really liked the original Test Track to begin with. It just doesn't reach that level of awesomeness that Impressions de France or Tower of Terror reaches. To me, it was a very meh ride, in which I wouldn't wait more than 20 minutes for. Granted, I am a CM so I am pretty spoiled when it comes to wait times... With that said, I do believe Test Track 2.0 is a big improvement from the original. I rode this 5 times (3 day, 2 night rides) during the Cast-Only Previews on November 24th so not all the elements were working. But I was very impressed from what was working!
First thing's first, it is very Tron-like. And I liked that. Queue: The queue has been totally redone and doesn't even resemble the old queue. And it smelled like a new car. There were people working on some monitors so not everything was working. Design: There are 2 Stand-By design rooms and we were given a white card with a blue rubber band on it. Which you have to hang on to throughout your ride and post-show experience. They are similar to the the Photo-Pass cards given out in the Disney Water Parks, but the size of the regular card. Our card was just white but I'm sure it'll have a design once it opens. You go into these design rooms, tap your card to a symbol on the right, and you have about 2-3 minutes to design your car. You tap your card first, and you better design fast because there are a lot of options for your car like wheels(*Don't forget the Back Wheels!!!*), length, outline, color, accessories, etc. A lot of people didn't finish once time ran out. The design process is a lot like the Sum of All Thrills' design process but with a lot more options. As you make changes to your design, you can see what it does to your car. For example adding something can give you +5 environmental but -5 power.
Once the design is done, you walk up a ramp to merge and then to load. Load: Once your by the air gates, you tap your design card to the same symbol as the design lab's symbol and your design should pop up (This didn't always work when I rode.) Ride: After each test, your design is ranked with each person's design in your car. (This wasn't working when I rode) And you can see the rankings on the screens where they used to talk to you in Test Track 1.0. When heading to the seat-belt check, you hear the same "Hello! The seat-belt check is just around the corner.." announcement from your car but in a male's voice instead of a female's.
Hill Climb: This is the first time you see any Tron-like scenery and I was quite impressed by it. It's like sensory overload. The top of the hill climb is very Space Mountain-like with the stars. Suspension Test: There is none. Your car doesn't shake anymore. I think this is supposedly where your design is uploaded. 1st Brake Test: At the end of this test, it looks like you're heading into a valley but when you swerve out of control, the valley starts flooding with the water like cube things heading towards you. When the water thing hits you, the screen where you see the valley explodes, and the water like cube things are projected in the cars. 2nd Brake Test: Similar to the first but instead of a valley, a lightning strike hitting a (city as I recall). And on your left, you see a cool looking red city. Environmental Tests: The first test is like a laser projected from the ceiling and onto your car. (like Dinosaur, if it's working, right before you see the control room before you time travel) The second test looks like a stream-line test where you see yourself in your car and you can see the stream-lines going around your car. But this wasn't working when I rode. The third test, you see some Tron-like designs on the walls and as you passed by, they change colors. It was a pretty cool effect.
Track Course A: Pretty much the same as Test Track 1.0 but with more futuristic road signs and the trees are outlined to look Tron-like. Truck: The Truck is still there but, like the trees, is outlined to look Tron-like. And the truck driver with the lei is gone. Barrier/Power Test: When you make that right turn before you start the test, you can see all the test symbols "charging up?" I guess that's the best way to explain it. The crash wall is still there but, as you guessed, Tron-like. (This is the last Tron-like thing you see.) And the outside portion is the same as Test Track 1.0, but the lights under the track are blue instead of a yellowish-orange. The breaks still stink like 1.0's, where they are constantly pumping their brakes. Thermal Imaging: This is where you see your design rank overall with the other riders in the car. Post-Show: You can see a lot of places to tap your card and when you do, your design pops up and is given a score. Which is compared against everyone else who rode that day. Maybe year/month? My score was in the low 200's (I have no idea what that score means but I'm sure as I ride more, I'll understand it). There looks like there are more post show things to do but it was roped off to us and we had to put our cards into a black basket before exiting through a Cast hallway that leads backstage.
If you're looking for video, here's a side-by-side comparison with the original version of Test Track, where you can see the differences between the new version's computer graphics and the old version's physical props (credit to Matt Roseboom's crew for this mash-up):
Anyone planning to ride the new Test Track soon?Tweet
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.
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