Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Betamike Conquers Everest

Not to brag (okay, maybe just a little) but yours truly and a select few others got a chance to be the first to explore Mt. Everest and Serka Zong, the mythical village nestled at its base. Well, not the real Mt. Everest of course but an incredible simulation and the newest "mountain" to rise out of the flat-chested Florida landscape. This incredible icon is also home to one of Disney's newest E-Ticket attractions: Expedition Everest - Legend Of The Forbidden Mountain.

Aaah, the luxury of coming in to work at 6am!

The beauty of this morning

Taken but not stirred

The truly "Forbidden" thing is that I was not allowed to bring forth the Skinny Tie cam to snag a few shots of the awesomely detailed village, queue, or ride for your enjoyment as many of the finishing touches are still being put into place. So okay, but I can tell you that it was kick ass. The queue line is configured so that you get a fair understanding that the base of the mountain is where shirpas and guides live and prepare chartered tours (like yourself) for routine trips up the mountainside; display cases with artifacts, information on native animals, evidence of previous encounters with the mythical Yeti, etc. I just remember one room in the queue line, Professor Pumba Dorjay's museum, being hotter than hell as there was no A.C. running and by the looks of it, no clear ventilation unit for air to access the place (get a FastPass!).

The neatest thing about a preview like this is being able to sit in a ride vehicle before any sunscreen-lathered horse hips have had a chance to leave their impression. I was lucky enough to get front seat on the first train dispatched but after riding a few times, any seat is good and the back is equally enjoyable as the front (as the train goes both forward and backward). The ride vehicle itself is designed similarly to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad's except that the train engine is relegated to the back to support the storyline that it is a industrial railway called the Anandapur Rail Service which used to transport tea, thus acting as a tug.

There is much ado about something with Everest, the excitement and buildup over this attraction does not disappoint as it is a good 3 minutes in length with plenty of visual and mental stimuli to keep you going back for a closer look. I had to ride several times to catch all the nuances that the Imagineers had put in place throughout the ride and still I was hearing things from friends like "did you see the vulture fly by?!" Pretty cool.

I'm not going to spoil the ride for anyone by giving away exactly how it all works (this was a working preview after all) or the exact moment when the track curves left, etc. like most coaster junkies like to hear. I can tell you what most people already know: You go backwards, fast, get a really great view of Disney property, experience chilly mountainous temperatures and meet the elusive Yeti really really up close and personal.

Opening for the GP is some time around April 6 - April 8. If you are an Annual Pass Holder or a Disney Vacation Club member, you can preview as early as the end of this month. Namaste!Official Everest official website (Available beginning January 16) & Everest on Disney.com


James said...

My expectations are always set really high, perhaps impossibly high, for Disney attractions. This one was fun but I felt it could have been so much better! I expected a super souped up Matterhorn adventure (one of my favorite Disney attractions) and instead got a few highlights surrounded by way too much darkness.

betamike said...

Yes, darkness does take about half of the ride, it almost felt like you were stopped you in the middle and just rocked side to side, it would have saved on real estate. Also as you start to go backwards, if you are on the left hand side, you can see the inside of the mountain structure and its rebar supports. But I always think that stuff is cool anyway.