Disney's Expedition Everest Getting a Refurb in Early 2022

September 8, 2021, 5:13 PM · Planning a Himalayan expedition at the Walt Disney World Resort? Scratch plans for a departure early next year. It appears that Expedition Everest is going down for a refurbishment.

Internal sources say that the roller coaster at Disney's Animal Kingdom will be closed starting January 4 through sometime in mid-April in 2022. Before anyone gets too worked up, that's not nearly enough time to tear down and rebuild the mountain's foundation in order to support a functional Yeti animatronic. Everest's Yeti has been broken for years, resulting in Walt Disney Imagineering bathing the now immovable animatronic with a strobe light effect, inspiring the nickname "Disco Yeti."

While the Yeti likely won't be getting any functional work, the extended refurb should provide plenty of time for traditional roller coaster maintenance. Here's our on-ride POV, for anyone suddenly inspired to relive their last trek up (and through) the mountain.

Here's hoping that during the refurb, Disney not only will remove all those hairbands that fans have been throwing on track at the ride's spike point in recent years but also perhaps install a camera up there, so that cast members at unload can expel from the park any guests who throw objects from the train while riding.

Yes, there's plenty of garbage atop the real Everest. But that's no excuse for guests to trash what many consider Walt Disney World's finest mountain.

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Replies (23)

September 8, 2021 at 11:26 PM

Maybe it will give them time to replace the strobe effects with smoke machines and laser effects to better transition from “Disco Yeti” to “Pop Lock’n’ Yeti” aka “Breakin’ Yeti”…

September 9, 2021 at 1:07 AM

Man, I count myself lucky being able to ride Everest right after it opened to see the Yeti in full operation, it was an amazing effect.

September 9, 2021 at 5:01 AM

The working Yeti was incredible.

September 9, 2021 at 7:40 AM

agree with mike w and th creative, i am so glad i got to experience the yeti, as little did i know it would be so short-lived. i was just thinking on my last visit to AK that now that the park has another solid e ticket attraction with FOP, maybe it's time to give some TLC to EE, which has gotten a bit rough and is showing its age. hopefully next on the list, after they remove primeval whirl, is a total re-do of the dino-land carnival area that sticks out like a sore thumb.

September 9, 2021 at 8:39 AM

The only time I ever saw the working yeti, I felt like he was going to swipe my head off. It was amazing, exhilarating and terrifying

September 9, 2021 at 9:18 AM

Yep. They can build new theme parks, prepare a 5th Cruise ship, pay billions of dollars for other companies, launch a streamining services and multibillions dollars franchises, but they can't fix the * effing * YETI!!!!

September 9, 2021 at 10:37 AM

Sucks that the Yeti was built into the foundation of the mountain(It’s also the reason the Matterhorn has never got new tracks because the old tracks were built into the foundation).

But at least this goof up lead to imagineers to prioritize building easily removable animatronics when they break down.

September 9, 2021 at 10:54 AM

Actually, the Yeti is built into its own structure that's separate from that of the coaster and surrounding mountain. The issue is that the motion of the animatronic ripped it's structure to shreds, and continuing to operate it would have caused the structure to fail. The only way to correct it is to completely redesign and replace the structure that supports the animatronic, but in order to do that, the surrounding structure for the coaster and mountain would have to be disassembled to get heavy equipment inside to perform the repairs on the Yeti's structure.

Imagineers were actually smart in giving the Yeti its own structure that is not integrated into the coaster - if it were, the damage the motion of the animatronic would have made to the structure of the coaster almost certainly would have caused a year's-long rehab. The problem is that the motion of the Yeti, while very dynamic, is a very minor portion of the overall experience, so Disney has never seen value in taking the coaster down for 9+ months to perform the needed repairs (assuming any repairs could fix the problem without taking apart the entire attraction). I've always assumed that Disney never wanted to take Everest down for that long or just didn't see a way to prevent the same problem from occurring again without completely redesigning the entire mountain and animatronic. Disco-Yeti may not be what Imagineers intended, but given the circumstances, it's probably the best of bunch of bad options Disney had when the issues with the animatronic's structure were first identified.

September 9, 2021 at 12:59 PM

Why not pull out the Yeti figure and replace it with a Yeti sized, but lightweight inflatable like you see outside used car dealerships? It would be massive, and the unpredictable waving and swaying of the inflated figure would make every ride unique...and probably safe. Problem (not exactly) solved.
I also was one of the few who rode the ride back when the figure was in working as designed. It was spectacular. Such a shame its not in show mode anymore.

September 9, 2021 at 1:54 PM

@rob I think you're joking, though you make the right point: surely technology has advanced enough in the last 20+ years to allow them to use a lighter, maybe less fancy Yeti that would work in that space. As with the always broken hand-truck scene on Splash Mountain (actually, a number of scenes there), or the never-working fireball on Thunder Mountain, or the "it's just dark" room on Indiana Jones, anything would be better than the disappointment of being constantly reminded Disney doesn't give a crap and isn't fixing the ride no matter how much you spend.

September 9, 2021 at 3:37 PM

What baffles me is that they had a year and half Window of oportunity during the pandemic with the parks closed to at least attemp one of the Many plans to fix it. It's not lack of money. Or that it was not safe to work or something like that. It's lack of interest to present your costumers with the Best experience possible, when You know they Will pay anyhow. It's an excellent coaster Even without the yeti, so why try to improve?

September 9, 2021 at 4:04 PM

@thecolonel - I'll never tell if I'm being serious or not. That dark room at Indiana Jones drives me crazy. Way worse than the Yeti. In a time where SO many rides now have projection mapping used, why has nothing been added there to do something...anything. Unless they are saying that room is suppose to play on people's fear of the dark. Yawn.

September 10, 2021 at 1:06 AM

I'm with you 100% Rob. We were there last month and seemingly everything on Indy was in top working order, I can't remember the last time everything seem to be so tuned up . . . until we got to the dark room, hahaha

September 10, 2021 at 3:29 AM

@Pabloatthepark

They should have brought back the Peoplemover at Disneyland! Imagineers have famously said that in order to tear down the old structure and build a new one was that Disneyland would have to be closed for 6 to 9 months for it to be done. Well, Disneyland was closed for 13 months, they could’ve fixed it but didn’t.

September 10, 2021 at 5:47 AM

Has there ever been a full explanation why the animatronic hasn't been moved out, a static replacement put in its place, and the animatronic moved somewhere else? All I've ever heard is that it was amazing. Couldn't it be "amazing" somewhere else (as long as the support structure wasn't built into the mountain itself, which there appears to be conjecture on)? I mean, they could put it practically anywhere to show it off. In the exit line. Over top a gift shop. It's own mini-walk-through. Just seems such a waste.

September 10, 2021 at 6:42 AM

Is it normal for a major attraction to be down for refurbishment during a milestone anniversary celebration ?

September 10, 2021 at 10:26 AM

Chopper i don't know. But it seems normal whenever i AM visiting the parks ( so is severe thunderstorms or polar cold ).

September 10, 2021 at 8:03 PM

Pablo - I’m from the Northeast, and I learned the hard way how cold Florida can get in January at night. I wasn’t dressed properly, and froze during Fantasmic sitting on the metal bleachers (and the mist coming off the water was like a dream come true cherry on top). I can honestly say I was never so cold in my life, haha.

I usually don’t pay attention to these refurb schedules unless I’m going on a trip to WDW, so I have no idea how often Expedition Everest goes down for refurbishment, but at first glance it sure seems like some poor planning to me...

September 11, 2021 at 11:40 PM

@Chopper31

Every ride will be down at a certain point within a year(Regardless of milestone celebration). For example, water based attractions tend to be closed in the winter months due to the weather(People don’t like to get wet when it’s cold.).

September 12, 2021 at 6:37 AM

To everyone asking why Disney didn’t use their pandemic downtime to fix things in the parks, you have to understand that the parks had no revenue coming in during that time. If they couldn’t pay their employees while the parks were closed, where were they going to get the money for cosmetic repairs?

September 13, 2021 at 7:20 AM

I mean the ride is going to be 16 next year so a big refurb makes sense

September 13, 2021 at 1:07 PM

James trexen.
Disney is a monster of a company with múltiple revenue sources. And once they deemed it was safe to go back to work they restarted with several proyects including some new rides. Money is not an issue ( they did a Lot of money saving procedures, such as letting a Lot of people go and then rehire as needed ) but they have priorities since the anniversary is coming. We know this and we are just lamenting the low priority that this issue has with managment. It seems like a wasted oportunity to try and fix a beloved ride. Or Many other rides, for that matter.

September 14, 2021 at 9:58 AM

If Disco Yeti was in Shanghai, Disney would've fixed it immediately.

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