Test Track is a giant slot car attraction at Epcot’s Future World in Walt Disney World. The ride uses some of the rough tests that General Motors uses for its concept cars, ending in a high-speed drive around the outside of the attraction. It closed for refurbishment in April 2012 when sponsorship changed from GM to Chevrolet and re-opened on December 6, 2012.
In the queue, instead of crash test dummies and cars being tested, the way it was before the refurbishment, it shows two Chevrolet concept cars. Guests then have the choice of designing their own car that will be tested on the sim-track. While guests wait to board the sim-cars, they’re told to scan their design key to upload their car design to the ride.
After riders board the sim-cars and go through the seat belt check, the car that they designed will go through four different tests: capability, efficiency, responsiveness, and power. In the capability test, the car first rushes past a rain/snow projection and skids out of control. Next, the continuing path disappears and the sim-car turns around to speed up again. The sim-car then makes a sharp left turn as a lightning bolt strikes, and then passes by a futuristic city. The sim-car then starts the efficiency test. It’s scanned for “optimum eco-efficiency” and has an aero-dynamic test. During the responsiveness test, the sim-car accelerates around hairpin turns with laser-projected trees. The power test is where the sim-car runs on a track outside of the ride, increasing its speed. After the test is complete, the car returns to the loading station where the riders leave.
I still like to ride Test Track, but it’s not the same as the original version of the ride. In the old version, it felt more like it was actually testing the car. The ride used to have real people explaining each test, real temperature rooms, and different kinds of roads that the car would drive on. In this new version, everything seems too digital and virtual. Even the voices explaining the tests sound like they’re computerized.
About the Author: Amber Montes de Oca is a huge Disney fan. She’s an annual pass holder and loves to visit the Disney parks often. Her hobbies are singing, acting, and drawing. She has a BA from the University of Central Florida.
March 20, 2013 Walt Disney World began MyMagic+ upgrade for annual passholders with hard plastic cards, RFID, and a MagicBandpreview.
Now through May 19, Walt Disney World annual passholders can take existing paper passes to the Odyssey Center at Epcot, located between Test Track and the Mexico pavilion, and update them to hard plastic cards embedded with technology that allows access to the newest features.
My husband and I headed to change our passes over on the evening of March 21st.
I wasamazed at how easy it was. It really just took place almost instantly after presenting our existing pass and photo ID. We got to choose from four character designs: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, or Donald.
Once converted, passholders have access to the new turnstile-free entry areas at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Mickey-head adorned posts replace turnstiles presenting guests a chance to simply touch their passes against the glowing circle and place a finger on the security reader to gain access, as demonstrated in the video below.
Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests can also currently use the touch-to-enter system as the “Key to the World” cards also have the necessary MyMagic+ RFID technology already built in.
In addition to touch-to-enter, these new hard plastic cards work with the existing FastPass system and will ultimately work with the FastPass+ system, once it officially begins. These cards will also soon be able to used for PhotoPass+, allowing passholders to simply touch their cards against PhotoPass readers instead of having them scanned.
But according to the cast members in the upgrade center, passholders looking to use the touch-to-pay feature that’s now available at most registers across Walt Disney World will have to use MagicBands.
These lightweight, flexible wristbandswill effortlessly connect you to all the vacation plans you make using the My Disney Experience app or from your PC. MagicBands can be used to enter Walt Disney World parks, access FastPass+ attractions and more. Wearing a MagicBandhelps make everything super easy, so you can relax and enjoy the fun.
MagicBands will be provided to Passholders whose passes provide admission to Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’ll let you know more about MagicBands in the coming months. Linking a credit card to an annual pass for touch-to-pay access will not be possible. Each passholder will receive one in the mail some time within the next few months, though Disney isn’t saying when just yet.
The MagicBand is on display at the Odyssey, packaged in multiple colors, arriving to guests in the mail with names assigned:
In addition to the MagicBands, we also got to take a lookat a few bonus pieces of theme park history in the Odyssey, including Figment and Kitchen Kabaret figures, Tom Morrow 2.0, an “it’s a small world” doll, a remote control jungle cruise boat (that you will no longer find in the Magic Kingdom), and more:
The Odyssey Center is currently the only location where existing annual passholders can receive the new cards, open during regular park hours. Those who need new passes or renewals will be able to get the new pass at any ticket window. After May 19, other ways will be made available to exchange passes as well.
Topiaries at the front entrance will welcome us to Epcot in a very special way. This fantastic first topiary “scene” will feature the Fab Five, plus one! A 14-foot-tall topiary Goofy will “goof-up” an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton. Mickey will fire up the grill, Pluto will swipe a link of hot dogs and Minnie will chill out on a colorful blanket of blossoms. Sounds like one of my family cook outs.
Can you imagine how cute these guys will look made out of plants??!!
Illuminated Gardens – An after-dark enhancement will be given to some of the topiaries and gardens. Every night when the sun sets, many of the festival’s world-famous Disney topiaries and gardens will twinkle and shine in a new light. You can find these throughout World Showcase and Future World.
Mike and Sully topiaries will be located on the Future World walkway.
You will also want to look for Fawn’s Butterfly House. Eight fanciful fairy topiaries of Pixie Hollow, including Tinker Bell, Fawn, Vidia and Terrence will be located in the Butterfly House this year, and of course you’ll see real butterflies there too! I was lucky enough to get a picture of this guy last year – just as he was saying his first hello to the world.
An interactive play area on the Test Track walkway will be based on Radiator Springs. It will feature Lightning McQueen and Mater topiaries.
Here’s the photo of Lightning that I took last year.
A second interactive play area based on the new movie “OZ: The Great and Powerful. There will also be a “Oz Movie Garden” full of unusual plants inspired by the Land of Oz.
Note: Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with some of these locations. Epcot will have beautiful (free!) maps available at the very front of the park and in various places throughout.
Anyone who enjoys reading about Disney through social media knows that opinions vary WIDELY about the newly designed Test Track – unofficially called Test Track 2.0. Having experienced the ride more then 10 times now, today I thought I would provide some further insight on what the ride is really like, and hopefully give you some reasons to love it (the way I do!)
It’s not easy to describe the entire new Test Track experience without the risk of leaving people confused about all the stuff that happens before you even get in, and then again once you exit your Sim-car (the actual vehicle you ride in). I have to admit – I didn’t really get it at first. Now that I’ve got it figured out, I think it’s really cool.
Right off the bat, I apologize for using the description of a “pretend” car instead of a “virtual” car. My reasoning is that the Sim car (simulated car ride vehicle) to me, is also like a virtual car, and this is where it all got confusing for me in the descriptions I read before this thing opened.
Any way, if the thought of designing a “pretend” car doesn’t excite you – you can probably skip reading the next few paragraphs. When you are at Test Track in real life, you can skip designing your pretend car all together – simply by going through the single rider line, or using a fastpass, or just not doing anything when you get to your kiosk. It’s all up to you.
Starting fresh from the beginning however, Test Track 2.0 stand-by line starts with your entering the brand new queue area, where you will see Chevy concept vehicles, and some video about the GM design process. If the line is really long, this is where you will be spending the most time. Next, when you move to the design studio pre-show area, guests are split into groups and assigned a number that will determine which design kiosk you will use. A party of 3 can work at one kiosk, but only one car can be designed per kiosk. If you want to design your own car, without any collaboration with members of your party, you just need to let the cast member know you want your own kiosk. Following a brief instructional video, the doors to the design studio open, and the fun begins.
To get started, you then touch your RFID equipped card (that they give you at the ride) to the kiosk. Then you can start designing your pretend car if you choose to do so. Here is a one minute video clip of my son, Scott, doing a demonstration for you.
Leaving the design studio, you now head towards the actual ride portion of Test Track. This is the original Test Track ride system,where the pretend vehicle you just designed will be put through its paces. The loading area has been completely re-built, and looks fresh and new. From here, you now use the RFID card to touch a reader next to your boarding spot. This is to associate your custom designed pretend vehicle with the ride. You’ll understand why later. A small screen next to you then confirms the vehicle you created has been uploaded to the actual Sim-car vehicle you are about to ride in. After boarding, you progress towards the seat belt check, just like in Test Track 1.0. Inside the ride building, however, you see a completely different atmosphere then before. Described by many as a “Tron” like environment, taking place mostly in the dark, with vivid lighting effects, your sim-car (actual ride vehicle) will go through the exact same physical track as before, just in a completely new atmosphere. I’m not a BIG fan of Tron, but the experience of this environment is really amazing. After your first or second ride, you are able to look around and really appreciate the work that’s been done here. It is nothing short of incredible if you ask me.
The four key elements from the pretend car you made will now be measured against the Sim Car (the vehicle you are riding in.) This is why you touched the card to the reader right before you got in your Sim-car. You will get to see the pretend vehicle you designed on various screens throughout the ride! I think this is pretty awesome. When you look at the various screens, they will also show how the pretend car you designed is stacking up against the one you are actually riding in. The two will be compared by energy efficiency, power, etc.
To get a feel of what it’s like to ride the new Test Track, here is a video form JeffLangeDVD.com.
Upon exiting the ride, you now move into the post show area, where you will have the opportunity to take part in several interactive experiences. You can scan your RFID card again here, and see on a huge video screen how your pretend car stacked up against other guests pretend cars. This allows for you to brag if you want, as long as your scores are better then others. Next is the opportunity to create a Chevy commercial, featuring the pretend car you created. Pretty cool huh? Your commercial might look something like this:
Finally, there are several different chances to create green-screen photo opportunities with different Chevy concept vehicles. We didn’t have this in Test Track 1.0 either! Similar to before however, you will also the chance to see a range of current Chevy vehicles in the Chevrolet Showroom, and have full access to sit in them, touch the buttons, and take pictures of your friends and family sitting inside.
Concluding it all, after that, you will walk through a common ending to most rides in Walt Disney World, the gift shop.
Hopefully now that you know more about what to expect – I hope you will give the new Test Track a try!
Near the area of Future World Epcot, where one can now find Test Track, there was once a pavilion that included the World of Motion presented by General Motors. World of Motion opened in October 1982 with the rest of EPCOT Center. Enjoying this attraction meant taking a road trip through the evolution of transportation. Almost everyone has some interest in transportation. Whether it’s cars, trains, airplanes, buses, boats or just by simply walking, everyone has used some form of it. We have always relied on our ability to travel, and we have always searched for ways to improve that ability. This was the basis and idea behind World of Motion, to entertain and educate us about how it’s “fun to be free.” Click here for a photo tour. Check out this “totally tubular” 18 minute video to be transported back to 1982 and it what it must have been like to enjoy The World of Motion.
World of Motion closed in January 1996 to make way for Test Track. This change broke the heart of hundreds of thousands of nostalgic World of Motion enthusiasts, many of whom still believe the attraction was one of Epcot’s greatest achievements.
Test Track presented by General Motors (GM) represented the cutting edge of Walt Disney Imagineering created ride-systems. As Epcot’s first thrill ride, it took guests through a series of vehicle tests and outside onto a 50 degree banked track at highway speeds. Even though it seems strange for a car company to advertise by emphasizing car crashes – the message here was that GM designs cars for safety and performance – and puts them through rigorous tests. A high-speed performance run on a proving ground track was thrown in, to the delight of thrill seekers from all over the world. The complexity of the ride system took years to perfect, but to many, it was worth we wait. Officially opening in March 1999, Test Track became a firm favorite and must do for hundreds of thousands of Walt Disney World visitors. This 24 minute video takes you for a closer look at the original Test Track.
Just over 10 years later, General Motors began looking to make more use of one of its most visited marketing locations. Plans began to come about for a complete Test Track makeover. After a collaborative design effort between GM and Walt Disney Imagineering, the original Test Track closed on April 16th 2012 to begin the transformation. Just like it’s predecessor World of Motion, once again, many are feeling nostalgic for what’s now affectionately known as Test Track 1.0
Despite having only 8 months to complete the refurbishment, the new Test Track is definitely much different in some ways. Nearly every set piece has been removed from the original attraction. The new Test Track takes a step towards the more traditional Epcot Center pavilion approach, with the idea that there is now more to the pavilion than just the ride. Having enjoyed the new Test Track 2.0 attraction 10 or more times now, I can tell you first-hand that the actual ride track – is the same – despite rumors that it is different. This video from AttractionsMagazine.com gives even further proof in a really cool way. Take at look at this 4 minute, amazing, side-by-side comparison.
World of Motion (1982-1996), presented by General Motors, was a road trip through the evolution of transportation. It opened in October 1982 with the rest of EPCOT Center and closed in January 1996 to make way for Test Track. All photo credits belong to LostEpcot.com
Transcenter was the post ride area with many exhibits. It was Located on the lower level of the pavilion – the second hemisphere. Photos from LostEpcot.com
“Late Fall” is the time frame for Test Track to return. Don’t you love it when Disney gets specific?
Walt Disney Imagineering’s Melissa Jeselnick revealed more details about Test Track through a Q&A chat session posted Monday on the Disney Parks Blog.
Here are some things Melissa had to say about what we can expect.
Remaining the same:
•Ride vehicles. They are “still the same physical ride that our guests know and love,” Melissa says. “You’ll ride in our sim car.”
•Track layout. The indoor-then-outdoor nature of the attraction continues, including the 65 mph stretch.
•Queue workarounds. Both FastPass and single-rider line will be available again for Test Track. YAY!
Expect these to be updated:
•Marquee. Test Track will have a new look upon approach in Future World.
•Queue. The pre-show area will be totally rehabbed, with a theme that is “changing from testing to design,” Jeselnick says. On display will be “actual items, sketches, cars, models from GM that have never been seen before by anyone outside the Chevrolet family,” she says.
•Music. The soundtrack will be futuristic and have sound effects. (To me, the thing looks like something from Tron. It seems the music may sound like Tron too!)
Here’s what will be totally different:
We will get a chance to virtually create a “dream vehicle” using interactive kiosks. Whether this is done individually or as a group, the new creation(s) will be graded against the standard sim car (the vehicles we actually ride in as we know them). When you get to the slide show at the bottom, look for the photo with the dials. We get to choose from factors such as capability, efficiency, responsiveness, power and speed. The actual ride will be the same, only now you get to see who makes the best “dream vehicle” in comparison to the sim car.
The post-show will kick off with a scoring opportunity, not just with the guests in our car, but guests throughout the day. (Think Toy Story Ride ending) From there, we’ll move into other opportunities to interact with our design. The show room space will still be there with the Chevrolet cars, and we’ll have our own photo ops with different concept cars.
Why the changes? Melissa told us car design has moved into a digital realm, and now Test Track will reflect that move. Test Track is one of my favorite attractions. I have a feeling it will stay that way. How about you?