|How will this ride experience change with the new Test Track?|
Disney confirmed today what has been speculated about for months, that the Test Track attraction at Epcot will close for an extended refurbishment and remodel. In renewing their long-standing partnership with GM, Test Track will be re-imagineered into the Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot” and operate under the name “Test Track – Presented by Chevrolet.”
On the official Disney Parks Blog, Disney released a short statement which read in part:
This new version of the attraction will transform the current testing workshop into the sleek “Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot,” where guests can become immersed in the fun – and fast – world of automotive design. Here, guests will become automotive designers and create their own custom vehicles. Next, they’ll buckle into a six-person SimCar ride vehicle and test out their design on the challenging track of the Test Track course.
Afterward, guests can take a fascinating look into the future of transportation by viewing a collection of the latest Chevrolet vehicles in an all-new showroom.
Missing from the announcement are the exact closing and opening dates for Test Track. Disney would only say that Test Track will close in April 2012 and re-open in the Fall of 2012.
I can't help but be a little bummed by the timing. I'm all for Epcot getting a long overdue makeover, and this is a good start, but the long refurbishment period means that the heavy Summer crowds will have one less attraction to enjoy, causing, I suspect, longer lines at the already popular Soarin, as well as at the surprisingly not as popular Mission Space. I suppose “Fall” could also mean a September re-opening, which is a date that has been thrown about initially on Disney message boards and blogs. If that is the case, a soft opening could happen in August, salvaging late Summer.
Also, Disney is known for working fast; it's always possible that the project opens ahead of schedule. Plus, I can't help but wonder if this means we will see a large portion of the new Fantasyland expansion open by this summer. That would after all, make sense, because it would theoretically draw crowds away from Epcot and into the Magic Kingdom.
And I have to admit, Test Track was looking more than a little bit tired, and the vehicles were starting to show their age, so if not now, when? I can't even remember the last time the LCD screen in my ride vehicle actually operated. I'm also excited about this idea of guests being able to design and create their own custom vehicle and then test out the design on the Test Track course. This makes it sound to me like no two cars would have the same experience out on the track, or at the very least, each time you ride it could be different. Still, I'm curious how Disney plans to get six riders, who are potentially strangers to one another, to all agree on the vehicle design.
I guess we will all have to wait and see what Disney has planned once the new Test Track makes its debut later this year. In the meantime, who wants to join me on Soarin?
Bob is a Disney travel agent and Central Florida local. You can follow his exploits here and on Facebook. Email him at Bob@PixieVacations.com or call him at 407-810-2528 for free concierge-level help in planning your next Disney vacation.