With the newly redesigned Test Track a much improved version (see my video), crowds for this ride now rival and could surpass that of Soarin’, in terms of wait times. With that said: Is it possible for a normal family to ride both Test Track and Soarin’ attractions in one day at the Epcot theme park in Walt Disney World? It can be done! But, it is not easy, nor always totally enjoyable. Let me give you some tips based on my experience there in June 2013 to get the best possible Test Track/Soarin’/Epcot experience!
June is a busy time – despite the Touring Plans “5.4” out of “10” ranking (in terms of crowd level) the day we were there, it seemed quite stunningly crowded. I could not imagine a 10 and would guess that the answer to the question is NO you can’t ride both of these rides in one day at Epcot if you are there on a 10 out of 10 crowded day. Unless, that is, all you did were these 2 attractions, and I would NOT recommend that.
Still, there is a strategy that in my opinion you need to stick by to be able to take both these attractions in without exceeding the level of frustration that makes you go postal.
First, I would arrive early.
This means, 15 minutes BEFORE the park opens. And due to the likelihood of your arrival being delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, plan on arriving 30 minutes early if not more.
The reimagined Test Track is better but brings bigger crowds
After getting through ticketing, go straight to Test Track.
Forget pictures, snacks, breakfast, coffee, characters, restrooms, shoelaces, lost flip flops, “the big golf ball”, cast members, and fountains. If you have to, hurdle slow people, strollers, wheelchairs, scooters, fat and/or wandering people, and just get there quick.
You will be able to ride Test Track in a short wait. If you can’t make it here within 30 minutes of the opening time, we’ll need to develop another strategy – see Late Arrival Strategy at the bottom of the page.
Why Test Track first and not Soarin’? I’ll explain, and this could change based on your preferences. For me, I don’t like Universe of Energy nor Mission Space and have no desire to see either attraction ever again. This plays into my strategy. Test Track is a really great improved version and I highly recommend it but NOT if the wait is over 90 minutes (perhaps you can fast pass it) and DON’T wait too late in the afternoon as Florida (in the summer) can have lots of PM showers and showers tends to close Test Track. So do it first, do it early and have fun. In addition, Soarin’ has (in my opinion) better attractions around it that you can spend your time in while waiting for your fast pass admission time. If your preferred rides differ from mine, you may want to reverse this strategy. Which brings us to our next step:
Soarin’ Fast Passes go quickly
After riding Test Track, head immediately over to Soarin’ (or send one of your party with all tickets) to obtain Fast Passes.
True, getting to Soarin’ around 9:45 (estimated time of arrival with park opening at 9:00 and following above procedures) will likely delay your Fast Pass time to after 2:00 or 3:00 pm. But, you have gone on Test Track and now you have really the rest of your time to enjoy Epcot. No stress, no worries, you can actually relax (sort of).
Let your family catch back up with you, grab a breakfast either in The Land Pavilion or head over to France for their delicious bakery. If you ate early, other options include The Land boat ride, Finding Nemo, Imagination, Captain EO, Innoventions, and Spaceship Earth. You can do some or all of these attractions while waiting for your Fast Pass time.
Soarin’ Crowds Build Early
Depending on your time, you may even be able to eat lunch in one of the World Showcase restaurants, just about every one of which is really fantastic.
Check in at Soarin’ during your Fast Pass time and enjoy the rest of your day!
View my Soarin’ video as well.
Oh, one other note, there are a lot of fun interactive activities post ride at Test Track, but with this strategy above, you will blow it if you stay and play. Move on, and come back later in the day, when its hot, you can bypass the ride and enjoy these interactive activities if you want.
Late Arrival Strategies & Tips: The strategy for late arrivals is difficult. You are going to have to wait for one or both of the rides. Perhaps you have small kids that may not like Test Track. Then, go straight to Soarin and get whatever fast pass time you can. Test Track can be ridden by the older kids and adults using the single rider line with a much shorter wait (but please note single riders do not get the interactive component of the attraction and may not really understand what is going on.
If Fast Pass distribution is out, you have 3 choices: 1) come back another day 2) wait for whatever length of time is necessary 3) skip the ride. I would choose #1 but perhaps that is not an option for you. My last choice would be #3. Perhaps you could grab lunch and prepare to wait a long time for Soarin’. It is an interactive queue but do be prepared to wait a long time.
An alternative to all of this is for Disney resort guests, and they may want to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours (EMH). However, I find the a.m. EMH would not be too much of a value. You may be able to get Soarin’ and Test Track done in that first hour, but the rest of the park would be more crowded than normal. I have not done EMH in the p.m. at Epcot and that may be a better option.
I hope you have enjoyed these tips and I look forward to additional comments.
A comparison of walt disney world's grand floridian and polynesian resorts
With my last two Disney trips we were fortunate enough to stay at the Grand Floridian followed by the Polynesian resort. They were great however now I am spoiled! They are both fantastic resorts that would be great vacations even without the Disney parks conveniently located seconds to minutes away. Yet, the ease to transit to the parks is what spoiled us the most on these last two ventures. I even like to think we became a bit of experts at navigating the transportation system and I’d like to share a few tips with you.
But first a quick comment on comparing the two properties. Comparing only the sleeping room, I prefer the Grand Floridian although the layout of the rooms we had were quite similar, the Polynesian room had no sound proofing at all. It was very distracting hearing the neighbors and this has me considering whether to stay at the Polynesian again. And the Polynesian wins in every other category. I feel the location, theming, restaurants, and atmosphere just can’t be beat. Would appreciate hearing from others if they found the noise unbearable too.
Now for my transit tips:
Polynesian guests: Obviously the monorail is the best choice to get to the Magic Kingdom, but what about the others? We found a quick walk to the Transportation Center got us to Epcot extremely quickly rather than potential heavy crowds taking the monorail directly from the resort all the way around the property. However our building was nearer to the Transportation Center as well so it may not be the case if you are located on the Grand Floridian side of the property. We also walked to the Transportation Center to catch buses to the other parks as well. We found less wait time to do this.
Grand Floridian guests: An absolute must — take the monorail from the resort to the Magic Kingdom, but take the boat from the Magic Kingdom back to the resort. Its a real quick trip and usually a very short wait! Not much of a choice on the other parks – you will have to catch the bus.
I hope you found these simple tips helpful and just a bit of a time saver on your next trip. Please register and add your tips for guests staying at these properties.
Expedition everest - frequently asked questions answered
Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is an elaborately themed roller coaster at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in the Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida.
Due to a large number of questions about the ride, this article was written to provide a reference for others to hear the questions, some of which are a bit humorous, and answers to those questions.
Is the ride scary?
A difficult question to answer, as one's level of scared is different from another's. That being said, I would say that anyone who has ridden on Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, could handle Expedition Everest. It is slightly scarier, and certainly faster, than either of those other roller coasters, due to the Yeti and significant teeming of the ride. But one must conquer their fears, and if you handled Space Mountain, for example, you can handle this.
Does it go upside down?
No, Expedition Everest does not go upside down. It does go backwards at fast speeds and has a significant drop at one portion of the ride. Quite a few people have argued with me about this backwards section, that it indeed does go upside down, and I simply couldn't tell because it was so dark and going so fast. But I am absolutely sure that the ride does not go upside down. I have been on plenty of upside-down coasters and this is not one of them.
Where is the ride located?
It is in Orlando, Florida, at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, in the section or continent of "Asia".
When was I there?
I visited in February 2007 and January 2010. Both trips experienced some cool weather, actually January 2010 rarely reached above freezing! It is true, look up the almanac if you must, pack a jacket or check the Weather Channel before visiting in January or February. Edit: Additional trip taken in 2013, hoping for a 2018 trip!
Do you get that feeling in your stomach?
Does the ride go fast when going backwards?
The answer to this is pretty much yes.
Does the ride offer FastPass and did you use FastPass?
It does offer FastPass and we used it for both rides, which we waited approximately 90 seconds. The wait line was often over 60 minutes, but I also understand the queue (waiting area) is quite nice. Edit: Wait times now, in 2018, would rarely be 60 minutes or less. Very often much longer. Suggest FastPass reservation for this ride.
How high does it go?
At the top of the ride you are 112 feet up. This is roughly equivalent to an 11 story building, but I will say that it feels like you are even higher than that.
Does the ride smell?
I recall no strange or bad smells on this ride at all.
Do you head backwards the same way you went up?
No, if you check the video, at one point you can see the track switch using night vision on my camera. Very cool.
I hope these questions and answers will assist you in making plans to ride or not ride Expedition Everest on your next trip to Walt Disney World. View the video of the ride that generated all of these questions at http://cooldisneytrips.com.
Whether you fall into the camp that Disney is a dreaded place to take your kids, or you started planning the day you learned a child was on the way, chances are at some point you will be taking your children to the Happiest Place on Earth. If you are not a regular visitor, there are some things you should know, and this article will list some of the most important items in a fairly short and easy read.
First, let us consider the travel to <b>get to</b> the destination. This can make or break a trip! Normally, a DVD player for the car is a major advantage. However, we had the unfortunate situation of driving until very late hours of the night, and the children were so excited that they would not sleep! The rest of the trip turned into a tired, grumpy, grouchy group of children that bickered and fought. This leads me to note that you should NOT try to do too much in a short amount of time. Be realistic and remember that children do not have to see <b>everything</b> but will love what they are able to see. On our next trip, we were fortunate to catch a great deal on airfare with Southwest - a direct flight makes flying much easier with children - and the cost of flying was about the same as driving and resulted in more rested children and a great vacation.
Second, there are precautions. For example, how do you know whether a ride is safe for a young child? In my experience, I went on my experience! In other words, my memory of going on a ride or seeing an attraction led me to believe it would be alright for my children. However, a lifetime of memories generally gets muddled together so approaching a ride that I thought was tame turned into quite a disaster. Well, disaster is a strong word, but it was very scary for the little one and afterwords it became difficult to convince her that all the rides or attractions were not as scary as that first encounter.
So, my advice on solving this problem is to prepare. Check out the videos of rides available at web sites such as <a target="_new" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.cooldisneytrips.com">http://www.cooldisneytrips.com</a> or YouTube. Attractions, parades, and rides can all be previewed to deem if appropriate for your children. With our second child, we looked at videos of the rides before our trip not only to determine if a ride was appropriate, but it also excited the child and made the build up of the trip very enjoyable.
My last tip of this article will involve meals. If you stay on Disney property, which is recommended for the overall enjoyment but will cost you more than staying off property, you can save money by selecting the Disney meal plan. The basic meal plan offers plenty of options and more than enough food to fill you up. You have a certain number per day of snacks, counter service and sit-down service. Be careful to spread out and plan ahead for your sit down service. It is often difficult to get last minute seating, so call ahead. There are certainly some venues that are more popular than others, and this may seem strange, but I would recommend choosing <b><i>less</b></i> popular venues with children. The reason is that you do not want to be stuck waiting (and the more popular restaurants often include wait time even with a reservation) with hungry children. Most of the food is good at Disney World, and in our experience the great restaurants are not that much better than the others, and as with all children sometimes they prefer items that may surprise you. Most likely, simply not having to wait will make them happy!
I hope these tips help you with your first Disney trip so that you too can develop a certain passion and love for those ultimate Disney vacations!