Expedition EVEREST Asia Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest is a perilous journey aboard a runaway train through the Himalayan mountains. Adventurous riders push deep into the lair of the feared yeti, guardian of the forbidden mountain. En route, they encounter torn tracks, spiral backwards through the fog into an ice cavern and dart into and out of the mountain in a high-speed adventure. The attraction is located in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The Queue: From the original press releases on the attraction: The story for Expedition Everest begins when guests are transported to a distant world of exploration and the mythical village of Serka Zong. A canopy of prayer flags, an ornamental monastery, intricately carved totems, and a garden of stone carvings of the yeti clutching the mountain immerse guests in a far-off realm. The yeti’s role as protector of the sacred mountain is reinforced in this detailed environment rich in culture and tradition.
Despite forewarnings, the proprietors of Himalayan Escapes tour company entice explorers to embark on a rugged train journey to the mystical Everest. First stop is Norbu and Bob’s booking office to obtain permits, and then it’s off to Tashi’s General Store and Bar for needed supplies for the journey.
After passing through the entrance, explorers pass through an old tea warehouse that houses an elaborate museum run by Professor Pumba Dorjay, a conservation biologist who believes the yeti’s existence is grounded in fact. The richly designed yeti museum showcases artifacts reflecting Nepalese culture, plus a history of the Himalayas and tales of the yeti. Photos show Sherpas and others who have conquered the summit.
Expedition Everest: Now equipped to conquer the mountain, trekkers board the Anandapur Rail Service. This aging 34-passenger industrial railway, which was once used to transport tea, is now destined for the foot of Mount Everest.
As the steam train rolls through thick bamboo forests and fern groves up the first hill through a fortress, ritualized music signals riders to dangers ahead. En route, a cluster of sacred yeti totems and a massive yeti mural crafted on the rockwork gives further warning to turn back.
The train continues across a teetering bridge into the mountain, dives into shimmering glacier valleys and then climbs up through the snow-capped peaks.
Skulking silhouettes and shadows of the lurking yeti, coupled with startling special effects and climate variations, enhance the attraction as the steam train darts in and out of the picturesque mountain range.
But suddenly the train screeches to a halt near a gnarled mass of twisted metal. In a fit of rage, the yeti has torn apart the track. The thrills intensify as the runaway train moves both forward and backward through darkened mountain caverns and icy canyons and guests head for an inevitable face-to-muzzle showdown with the towering yeti — known to some as the abominable snowman.
The train accelerates into a fog of spiral curves taking mountaineers down an 80-foot plummet to escape the wrath of the powerful yeti.
Important Note about the Yeti: When the attraction opened, the Yeti was an awesome audio-anamatronic figure, it moved and was quite amazing. Unfortunately, there were problems with the Yeti figure and it no longer moves. So while this was originally one of the cool “Disney” highlights of the attraction, sadly it is no more.
Expedition Everest is a Tier 2 FASTPASS+ attraction. The attraction often has very long lines. FASTPASS+ is highly recommended!
Safety Information: This is a high speed (maximum 50 mph) roller coaster with sharp and sudden turns, drops and forward and backward movement. You should be in good health, free from high blood pressure, head, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride. Expectant mothers should not ride. Those traveling in a wheelchair must transfer out to the ride vehicle.
Each train has 17 rows seating 2 persons each. Each seat has its own lap bar, which lowers like the one on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Height restriction: 44 inches.
There is a single rider line. This means if you don’t mind being separated from the rest of your party, you can ride the attraction with less of a wait. You will be pulled from the single rider line to fill in empty seats created by odd-numbered groups.
The nearest restroom is located by the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck.
There is a ride photo, but no ride video.
Accessibility: Persons traveling in a wheelchair must transfer out to the ride vehicle. While accessible, the queue may be difficult in an ECV.
Service animals are not permitted on this attraction.
Seats may be a bit tight for some, and leg room may be limited for taller guests, though overall, our readers report that the ride is comfortable. Click here for more “At Large” Reports. A sample car is available: exit the gift shop and turn right. For the ride seating photo gallery click HERE.
KIDS AND CHARACTERS
Children under 7 years must be accompanied by a person 14 years or older.
Ride may be scary for some youngsters!
At this time, no walk-around characters are in the vicinity.
Asia has several places to dine or get snacks.
Anandapur Ice Cream Truck
Caravan Road (seasonal)
Royal Anandapur Tea Company
Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks
Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes
Yak and Yeti Restaurant (full service)
Serka Zong Bazaar – Expedition Everest Gift Shop
Yak and Yeti Bhaktapur Market
Mountain peak: just under 200 feet.
Includes an 80-foot drop, plus frightening encounters with the mystical yeti.
Length: Nearly a mile of track as riders encounter harrowing twists, tight turns and drops.
Ride vehicle: Modeled after an aging, steam-engine tea train; 34 passengers per train.
Yeti, Guardian of the Mountain: When it was functioning properly, the mammoth-sized Audio-Animatronics yeti had a potential thrust, in all of its hydraulic cylinders combined, of slightly over 259,000 pounds force — potentially more instantaneous power than a 747-400 airliner.
Forced perspective: To create the sense of an enormous mountain range, Imagineers painted a “mural” of shadows across the face of the mountains. The range, glaciers and valleys is a canvas of rockwork, carvings and painting creating a forced perspective where closer-in objects have a massive look while appliqués trick the eye into perceiving far off objects.
More than 900 bamboo plants, 10 species of trees and 110 species of shrubs are being nurtured and planted to re-create the lowlands surrounding Mount Everest.
1,800 tons of steel were used in the mountain structure. That is about six times the amount of steel used in a traditional office building of this size.
The mountain is crafted with more than 3,000 pre-fabricated “chips” created from 25,000 individually computer-molded pieces of steel.
2,000 gallons of stain and paint were used on the rockwork and throughout the village. The color scheme has ritual meaning to the Himalayan culture.
In the Himalayan regions, villagers commonly preserve yak dung and dry it out on village walls. They later use the hardened material as fuel in their homes. Disney Imagineers recreated the look of these walls in the Serka Zong village area.
Artists from Imagineering used hammers, chainsaws and blowtorches to “age” wood and buildings in the village, giving them the appearance of being longstanding parts of the landscape.
The 1953 famous final ascent of Sir Edmund Hillary is represented in Disney’s man-made mountain. The coloring of Mount Everest differs from the rest of the mountain range because at more than 29,000 feet elevation, hurricane-force winds often blow the snow off its peak, revealing a raw sheet of rock.
Some 2,000 handcrafted items from Asia are evident in the props, cabinetry and architectural ornamentation.
Expedition EVEREST — Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (April 22, 2003) Yes! It’s official. There will be a new mountain in Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Asia rising from the mists nearly 200 feet — the highest peak in Disney’s Florida mountain range.
Expedition EVEREST, billed as a family thrill ride and less intense than Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, substitutes backwards drops for multiple inversions. “We go fast, we go high, we fall far, we get cold, and we do finally see the Yeti itself,” says Joe Rohde, executive designer at Walt Disney Imagineering and lead designer of the park. “He’s a huge, HUGE, gigantic shaggy creature as real as we can bring him to life.”
The ride is officially scheduled to open in 2006, however, from the podium Rohde suggested his team is striving to bring the project to fruition by fall 2005. Location? Between Kali River Rapids and Tarzan Rocks, closing the gap around Discovery River and providing a new path between Asia and DinoLand U.S.A. (by Dave Marx (PassPorter.com) and Debra Martin Koma (AllEarsNet.com) on location at Walt Disney World for Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 5th Anniversary)