My family and I finally got to ride the new Test Track at Epcot last weekend, and — though we all still enjoy the ride — we’re divided on whether we prefer the new version or the previous one.
For those who haven’t read about Test Track 2.0 since it officially reopened on Dec. 6, the popular thrill ride was closed for more than half of 2012 while the inside of the attraction was re-imagined. Though the actual track for the cars remains the same, it feels altogether different with the new minimalist storyline, new futuristic imagery inside the attraction and new interactive concepts for guests to enjoy while waiting in line.
See for yourself with this Test Track ride-along video:
In the previous version of the attraction, which was sponsored by General Motors, guests were part of a storyline of testing cars by pushing them to extreme conditions, but it was in a more low-tech setting compared to the revised version today. Back then, guests were taken inside an industrial vehicle-testing laboratory filled with the loud clatter and pounding of mechanical testing devices that seemingly measured the structural designs of the cars and the safety afforded to crash-test dummies who rode in them.
Along the journey in the previous version, guests got a sense of how real passenger vehicles might be tested for braking ability or power over an inclined ramp, for example. Part of the transit also exposed guests to segments that suggested how cars and trucks are painted and exposed to extreme temperatures.
Of course, near the end of the route came a danger-avoidance steering thrill involving a semi-truck and, ultimately, the scream-provoking speed test in the open environment.
Now, though, guests enter the Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot, where they first design and then “digitally” road-test their so-called SimCars. The futuristic journey takes guests through dark sets illuminated with neon lights. Have we stepped off the grid? It sure feels like it, given the Tron-like imagery seen along the journey now.
The ride is just as physically thrilling as before (remember – it’s the same track as it always has been), but gone are the realistic Imagineering components that suggested that guests are in an actual vehicle-testing facility at General Motors. For realists like my husband, that diminished part of the fun of the attraction. He thought it was akin to riding the Expedition Everest coaster without the Himalayan mountain scenes or the Yeti.
He was impressed, however, with one new part of the revised attraction that all of us – and especially our kids – found to be creative fun.
We agreed that perhaps the best thing about Test Track 2.0 is the design studio, where visitors actually draw their dream vehicles on large-screen computers and customize their shape, color, accessories, speed and more. These virtual concept vehicles are simple enough to create with touch-screen options that even young kids can do it. If there are questions, a cast member is standing by to jump in and help.
My 8-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son really enjoyed this process and even wished we had more time during this part of our wait in line before boarding our cars on the track.
During another previous segment of our queue, we also got to use a touch-screen monitor to experiment with adjusting various aspects of vehicles to see how shape, power and various physical forces can affect a car’s performance. It is an intriguing concept but one that my 8- and 10-year-old kids struggled with to make it work effectively. And, unlike the interactive games offered in the queue of, say, Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom, the kids didn’t have their own individual workstations at which to experiment. So, as you might imagine, multiple kids would crowd the screen and push to jump in for their turn to play.
After guests disembark from their cars on the track, they do get to interact with other similar interactive games at individual stations, and most youngsters will find this enjoyable. Were we not in a race to make our next FastPass destination, we probably would have spent much more time in this area between the ride and the Test Track 2.0 gift shop.
Is the new version worth all the hype? Certainly. It’s still a fun attraction that will thrill your inner speed freak and, with the latest revision, even spark some creative fun, too, as you design your dream car.
But taking on the role of a crash-test dummy in the previous version of the attraction left quite an “¦ well, impact on us, and we’ll always look back on that ride fondly, too.
10 Replies to “Fulfill your need for speed at Test Track 2.0 in Epcot”
We rode it last week. I loved the design feature of the stand by line. My 5 year old had a blast designing a monster truck. We went back later with the Fastpass with my husband. We were surprised that the Fastpass line had the shorter design feature. I thought the computer was messed up. As for the ride itself, we preferred the old ride. I missed the hot & cold areas as well as the crash test dummies. The new ride looks great, but it is just a ride. It doesn’t immerse yourself in the story that the old one did.
i have been on both the old version and the new, and i do not like the new version. i went as a single rider and all i was able to do was choose a car which felt like i missed the whole experience. the old version of the ride was more fun, felt you were going thru a test track the new version as one friend put it felt like “tron” and no longer a test track. I agree, disney missed the mark on this and it has no excitment building up to going out to the track, kinda of boring.
We were there opening week and thus the lines were very long so maybe that weakened my opinion of this ride. On our first trip to Disney in 2011 this was ranked in the top three of our ultimate rides and my family couldn’t wait to ride the new version. My kids also loved engineering the cars but other than that it just didn’t have the same appeal. Not sure how the exact same track can feel so very different. We all agreed we will ride again if there is a VERY short wait but would never wait an hour for it again. On the old version we would have gladly waited the hour. Very disappointed!
The new Test Track has had the “SOUL” sucked out of it. Rode it in December, do not need to go again.
The new Test Track is BORING!!! There’s nothing except the outside part of the track that’s worth doing now. First they ruined Journey Into Imagination. Then they ruined Spaceship Earth. Now it’s Test Track. Pretty soon there won’t be anything worth doing in Epcot. What’s next on the screw-up list? Soarin???? Thanks Disney.
My family and I returned recently from WDW. We love the new test track. We enjoyed the design studio as well as the new look.
We went through the new version of Test Track last month. The first time seemed pretty cool, but when you look closer the second time around, the novelty wears off. The color scheme reminded me of the latest Tron film, (which I really liked) but doesn’t connect with Test Track for us. Most of the backgrounds are flat, plain black with glow paints. I would have expected more from imagineers. We miss the cow sign and the belgian blocks,! It’s still fun, just not as visually interesting.
My family rode Test Track Saturday morning — maybe we were there at the same time!
We rode the stand-by line, which moved glacially slow. Not sure we would do that again unless we were there right at park opening.
My kids ages 6 to 14, and grandparents, loved the design studio. There was a competition to see whose car did the best.
Our family prefer the new version, did not like the loud line and movie room of previous version.
Couldn’t get my son out of the building afterwards, lots of fun games to test your design.
It’s also good to note that if you are a single rider or have a fast pass you will bypass a lot of the creation details. There is only a choice of premade cars to choose from. The experience is quite boring in my mind. Wish they would bring back some of the old story line.
I agree with your husband, I miss the “test track” feeling of the ride. Without the testing the ride was rather dull, until you got outdoors. I agree that the best part of the new ride is the car design, unfortunately this is not an option with FastPass…something that should be disclosed since the overall ride experience is greatly diminished. FastPass riders get to choose 1 or 2 limited options, not the full design experience of standby riders. The CM said “it wouldn’t be fast” if you got to do the full design. Well, of course it could if they had enough design stations for the FastPass queue. Fortunately, I went to Epcot the next day and knew to hit the standby line first thing in the morning. I’ll be saving all my FastPasses at Epcot for Soarin’.