Disney’s Animal Kingdom plays host to one real rollercoaster. Expedition Everest is the definitive roller coaster attraction and can be found in the Animal Kingdom’s Asia section.
Expedition Everest and Avatar Flight of Passage compete for the longest queues at Walt Disney World. The length of the lines is an excellent indicator of what awaits your family on arrival. This ride is trendy for a good reason!
- Expedition Everest Build-up
- Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain Ride Experience
- Expedition Everest Ride Components
- Is Expedition Everest Safe for Children?
Expedition Everest Build-up
The attraction has an incredibly detailed backstory which you begin to experience in the queue. Your journey starts in the waiting area, which is designed to resemble the peaceful Nepalese mountain village of Serka Zong. In Serka Zong, the residents respect and honor the guardian of the mountain, the legendary Yeti.
While you wait, you’ll see carvings, prayer flags, and shrines, all in honor of the Abominable Snowman. Both legends and forewarnings from the locals warn against trips through the Himalayan mountains. Despite these, Himalayan Escapes tours provide them anyway.
While you move with the queue, you’ll visit the booking office run by Norbu and Bob to secure your permits and travel papers. From there, it’s off to Tashi’s General Store and Bar to pick up refreshments you might need for your trip.
The Yeti museum is your next stop. It’s housed in an archaic warehouse under the watchful eye of Professor Pumba Dorjay. Dorjay is a historian and conservation biologist with a firm belief in the existence of the Yeti. The museum houses Nepalese artifacts, stories of the Yeti, and photographs of some who’ve reached the mount’s summit.
The backstory and historical elements cast an element of intrigue for what’s to come. You’ll have time to spend with the family, examining some historical Nepalese items and traditions.
Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain Ride Experience
After successfully negotiating the queue, you’re ready for the ride. You climb aboard your ride vehicle, an old steam engine tea train. The Anandapur Rail Service then departs for the Mount Everest base camp and the Forbidden Mountain.
The train comfortably negotiates tea farms and bamboo forests before beginning its ascent. As you climb, you’ll see ominous Yeti totems and a vast rockwork mural of the feared Yeti warning to retreat instead of continuing.
As you reach the mountain’s summit, your train, wheels screeching, stops abruptly. You encounter torn tracks, as the feared Yeti has ripped them up into a pile of twisted metal! Suddenly your ride comes to life! The train hurtles backward through the forbidden mountain’s icy canyons and dark caverns.
The Yeti’s shadow suddenly appears as if this isn’t enough of a thrill. The runaway train gathers speed as it drops 80 feet and spins around the mountain. The occupants’ screams intensify as you and the other adventurous riders push deep into a dark cave, where you come face-to-face with the Yeti!
The ride comprises several tight turns, including some in reverse, dips, and hills, but there are no inversions or loops. Throughout your ride, there are some phenomenal views of Walt Disney World. Blink, and you’ll miss them as you’re quickly propelled through the mountain.
The ultimate drop and last couple of turns in your journey must be described as some of the best roller coaster effects in the Disney universe. It’s been described as closer to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad than Rock n Roller Coaster compared to other Disney rides.
This perilous journey aboard the Anandapur Rail Service “family thrill ride,” as Disney bills it, will leave your whole family with lasting memories.
Expedition Everest Ride Components
Expedition Everest is an experience for kids and grown-ups alike. Let’s share a little more about the roller coaster and some of its intricacies to give you more of a feel for the size of the project and what makes it so popular.
Building the Himalayas in Florida
Over 10 tree species, 900 bamboo shoots, and 110 different kinds of shrubs have been planted and nurtured to mimic the Mount Everest lowlands. Expedition Everest includes around 2,000 Asian handcrafted objects among its cabinets, ornamentation, and other props.
Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
The tallest mountain in Florida isn’t real. The Forbidden Mountain is just under 200 feet tall. It’s one of 18 different mountains the Walt Disney Imagineering department has built.
Disney’s man-made mountain structure has over 3,000 pre-fabricated fragments from 25,000 computer-molded steel pieces. Constructing the mountain took one thousand eight hundred tons of steel, six times the amount used for an office block of a similar size.
Anandapur Rail Service
The Expedition Everest roller coaster railroad track consists of almost a mile of twists, sharp turns, and drops. The ride vehicle is designed as an old steam-engine tea train, with space for 34 passengers per ride.
Artisans and Imagineers
Painting and staining the rockwork of the mountain and the village took over 2,000 gallons of crafting materials. The color scheme used is ritually meaningful in Himalayan culture. To work the illusion of an enormous mountain range into the ride, the Disney Imagineers painted shadows across the mountain face.
The range, along with valleys and glaciers, is an imaginative rockwork canvas. The painting and carvings on the enormous close objects make your brain believe the background items are far away.
Due to the fine work of the Imagineering department, buildings and wood in Serka Zong look like authentic parts of the landscape. Using several different tools, they’ve created an impression of natural weathering and aging.
Sir Edmund Hillary and Everest
Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Everest in 1953, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom pays homage to his famous final ascent. You’ll find Mount Everest differs in color from the remainder of the Himalayan range. The heavier winds blowing at 29,000 feet regularly blow snow from the peak, leaving only raw rock visible.
The Yeti: Guardian of the Mountain
The Abominable Snowman that chases the ride vehicle is a substantial audio-animatronics Yeti. Its potential thrust, with a force of around 260,000 pounds, has more potential power than a Boeing 747.
Is Expedition Everest Safe for Children?
With a minimum height requirement for riders of 44 inches, the ride is designed primarily for children who meet this criterion. Its seating accommodates two riders sitting abreast of each other, meaning mom or dad can sit next to their child. The restraint is a well-tested and safety-proven lap bar.
Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain closed for refurbishment from January to April 2022. This high-speed adventure carries you through nearly a mile of Himalayan mountain range terrain. You’re pursued by the Abominable Snowman from ice cavern to dark canyon and beyond. Disney describes the attraction as a “family thrill ride,” and that’s precisely what it is!
How tall is the Yeti in the Expedition Everest ride?
The Yeti is the biggest, most complex audio-animatronic mechanism ever built by Disney Imagineering. It is 25 feet tall, and its one-thousand square feet of skin is kept together using 250 zippers and 1,000 snaps.
What is the biggest drop in Expedition Everest?
The feature maxes in at 199 feet, making it Disney’s highest mountain. The most significant drop is 80 feet down the mountain base. As a comparison, the biggest drop at Splash Mountain is about 50 feet.
Does the ride have a single rider line, and is it faster?
Most riders tend to ride together, either in pairs or as families. The single rider line is quicker, as you skip the main line by volunteering to fill an empty spot left by the larger groups. This ride does have such a line.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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