Don’t get me wrong, Disney World’s Test Track is one of our family favourites – who does not love that speed track at the end – but the crash test premise was getting a little dated. The revamped version not only takes a step into the future but it also adds more user interaction.
Disney has always been great at extending the fantasy beyond the actual ride by including themed lines and surrounds. This helps create atmosphere and build excitement, something kids and parents can appreciate. If you’ve visited Disney World’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh or Haunted Mansion lately, you’ll notice the park has stepped up their game by adding more interaction with guests as they wait in line.
You’ll also see this guest interaction integrated within the revamped Test Track attraction. While waiting in line, guests can play with large touch screens, altering attributes of a car design. Moving into the Design Lab guests are invited to a workstation where they create custom rides based on four criteria: Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power. Want-to-be designers can adjust their vehicle with touch screen manipulation. Give you vehicle a tall windscreen, make the car short and wide, or maybe add turbo engines on the back to give you extra oomph.
As there were five in our party, we were given two consoles to work on (the kids versus the adults). You have two minutes to customize your vehicle before you move on from the Design Lab. We loved the custom car fun but the design studio isn’t the end. When on the loading platform getting ready to enter the car for the ride experience, you can scan your Disney World card to bring up the vehicle you created in the Design Lab (you would have been asked to save it to your card at the console). You now get to put you design to the test.
The ride’s run is pretty much the same as before, checking maneuverability around turns, brakes for sudden stops and of course the ultimate speed test at the end. The design feels more futuristic, like the Tron movie, all in darkness with beams of light. The big difference is that you are running your vehicle design through this series of tests.
As you complete a test, the vehicles you created are rated on a screen. The kids loved comparing our car with their own, seeing how one design performed better on turns while another did better on speed. At the end of your ride you enter the X, scan your card again to pull up your car’s progress report on the big screen and see how it performed overall.
Don’t be too quick about leaving this attraction. Before entering the gift shop and exiting into the bustle park (to ride Test Track again no doubt) there’s more interactive fun to be had. With any newly designed vehicle there has to be a television commercial and you can create your own. Choose your landscape, music, and annouceer and watch your commercial play before your eyes. You can even email the short video to yourself.
Out of this room and just before entering the car showroom, you can put your vehicle to another road test by entering a virtual road race. The video game lovers will enjoy this area. My kids had difficulty getting their vehicle around the track but that didn’t stop their fun.
Finally, within the showroom area and before the gift shop, you can now grab a photo of yourself beside your new creation. Just swipe your card again to pull up the design, choose your backdrop and step infront of the screen. The program will email you three photos but I would take your own too. I found the computer versions very dark.
I’ve always though of Epcot as the park that should be about the future and the future of cars can be exciting and full of imagination. The redesigned Test Track attraction builds in that imaginative fun with a whole lot of interactivity. Let’s go again!
Header photo: Matt Stroshane, photographer, Disney