Specific Type: Steel
Only one year after Disney's Animal Kingdom opened its gates to the public, ground clearing began near the Asia section of the park. It was originally thought to be clearing for the long rumored Beastly Kingdom mythical animal themed area. The rumor said that the ride would have a tie in with the movie Reign of Fire starring Christian Bale. But due to the relatively poor box office performance the movie had, the Beastly Kingdom rumor died. But on April 22, 2003, the park's fifth anniversary, Disney formally announced Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.
"Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (April 22, 2003) -- Legend holds that high in the Himalayan Mountains lives an enormous creature that fiercely guards the route to Mount Everest. Now that legend comes dramatically to life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a new high-speed train adventure that combines coaster-like thrills with the excitement of a close encounter of the hairy kind.Walt Disney World guests will discover for themselves the fearsome legend of the yeti when Expedition EVEREST opens in 2006 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. The new thrill attraction was announced today during the park’s 5th anniversary festivities at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Expedition EVEREST adds a new dimension to our storytelling in Disney’s Animal Kingdom,said Joe Rohde, executive designer at Walt Disney Imagineering and lead designer of the park. It’s a thrilling adventure themed to the folklore of the mysterious yeti. In Expedition EVEREST, guests board an old mountain railway destined for the foot of Mount Everest. The train rolls through thick bamboo forests, past thundering waterfalls, along shimmering glacier fields and climbs higher and higher through the snow-capped peaks. But suddenly the track ends in a gnarled mass of twisted metal and the thrills intensify as the train races both forward and backward through mountain caverns and icy canyons and guests head for an inevitable face-to-muzzle showdown with the mysterious yeti -- known to some as the abominable snowman.
Expedition EVEREST will be located in the Asia section of the theme park. At nearly 200 feet high, it will be the tallest mountain in Florida. Expedition EVEREST will feature Disney’s FASTPASS, an innovative system -- offered at no charge to park guests -- designed to reduce wait times at popular attractions in all four Walt Disney World theme parks.
Starting in December of 2003, the mountain began to take shape. Due to Florida's flat and low-to sea-level surface, Disney advertised their version of Mount Everest as the tallest mountain in Florida. The ride opened to the public on April 11, 2006, four months after testing began and after three years the first drop of concrete was poured. The grand opening event was very popular, swarming with local TV news reporters, live radio broadcasts, members of the Orlando Magic and swarming with Disney fans. Costing around $100 million dollars from when planning began to when the final track piece was put into place, Animal Kingdom's newest roller coaster adventure will sure keep enthusiasts talking and guests packing in for years to come. The ride towers over the park. It's one of those rides that you can see even before you enter the parking lot, and say on the freeway to yourself, man, that looks awesome!. Set in the back of Asia, the wonderfully detailed mountain looks as if it is actually twenty nine thousand feet tall.
Your mountainous adventure starts out in a small Himalayan mountain village. Through the queue, you see some local art depicting a large, hairy creature known as the yeti; protector of the mountain. Farther down the queue, you enter a museum telling you the story of the Lost Expedition. The story says that years ago, a group of mountain climbers attempted to reach the summit. They were never seen again. They found their campsite, which appeared to had been ripped apart by some giant clawed animal. Other items in the museum are pictures of other animals in the Himalayan area and animal dropping comparisons. In the station, your tea train pulls up and you're off into the mountain.You take a small, fun little tour through some Asian bamboo forests at kiddie coaster speeds. You the take a hard turn and you are soon facing right up to the mountain. When you reach the top, you round the corner to find that the track from that point on is missing and the end appears to have been torn up and shredded, but by who? Now that there is no way forward, you plunge backwards into complete darkness, going through a helix at high speeds. Stopping in a cavern, you see what appears to be the silhouette of the yeti tearing apart train tack above your head. The yeti turns his head, he knows you're there now. You suddenly feel the brakes let go, and you plunge 80 feet out the side of the mountain, only to turn back around into a forceful helix. Coming back into the mountain, you come within inches of being torn to bits by a fantastic animatronic yeti. Back into the daylight, you hit the brakes hard and all you want to do now is get another FASTPASS.
Disney swung for the fences on this one and hit a grand slam. It's one of the best attractions in the world, and I suggest that if you haven't flown down to Florida just to ride it, do it now.
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