Thursday, March 17, 2011

24. O.T.D. - 3/17/99 - Test Track Opens

Today we say happy birthday to Test Track, which officially opened on March 17, 1999 at Epcot. There were "soft" openings as early as Christmas in 1998, but it wasn't until St. Patricks Day of the following year that it saw its grand opening.  This attraction has the distinction of being the fastest ride ever built for a Disney park.  Yes, it is actually a little faster than Rock 'n' Roller Coaster over at Hollywood Studios.  

For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to ride Test Track, it is a one-of-a-kind attraction that takes guests through a series of tests to show how new automobiles are evaluated on everything from brakes, to handling, to extreme temperatures. The ride vehicles are rather futuristic, electrically powered automobiles that carry six passengers seated in two rows.  It is a very entertaining attraction that lasts a little over five minutes. However, it is in the final thirty seconds that guests get to experience the real thrill which takes them outside of the attraction building.  The cars accelerate up to sixty-five miles an hour at this point.  Now, most people who haven't ridden Test Track say that they drive sixty-five in their cars every day and can't imagine how this would be exciting.  They usually change their tune after experiencing the "convertible" ride vehicles quickly accelerating as they travel through the 50 degree banked curve that is part of the outdoor track!

World of Motion
Test Track was initially scheduled to open in May of 1997 but due to issues that came up during testing, it was delayed nearly two years.  It took almost three full years to complete the project from start to finish.  A fact that I find interesting is that the ride remains powered up for 20 or more hours per day, due to the enormous amount of nightly maintenance and lengthy start up times.  Test Track is housed in the former home of the World of Motion which opened with the park in 1982 and closed on January 2, 1996.  This attraction was a favorite of my family and we would make sure to ride it on every trip to Walt Disney World. It was a lighthearted look at the history of transportation that took riders on a slow journey through scenes from the invention of the wheel through the present day.  Although World of Motion is missed by Disney World nostalgics, including myself, it was definitely time for a "thrill ride" to be built at Epcot. Test Track filled that void and continues to be one of the most popular attractions at any Disney park.  

Have a Disneyriffic day and remember to keep moving forward.  See ya real soon!


1 comment:

  1. I am hoping one day Hippo will actually GO ON the ride, and not just want to visit the GIFT SHOP!! :) Happy Birthday, Test Track! Great post, Love <3

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