Expedition Everest Review at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest Opened On: April 7, 2006.
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Location: Asia, in between Kali River Rapids on the left, and Finding Nemo the Musical down to the right.
Look for the big mountain.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning.
Ride Length: 4 minutes.
Type: Roller coaster.
Similar To: Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, only outside and without inversions, or a much faster Big Thunder Mountain.
Requirements: Must be 44” or taller to ride.
Scary Factor: (This section does contain spoilers after the second sentence below.) High.
Along with Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest is one of the most intense thrill rides at Disney World. There is a fairly substantial backwards drop through the dark and the ride is faster than any of the coasters at Magic Kingdom.
The Yeti also makes an appearance near the end of the ride, but he no longer swipes at passing vehicles. If you don’t look up near the end of the ride, you may not even notice him. Of course, the strobe lights might catch your attention.
Can My Kids and I Handle Expedition Everest? More Spoilers. Expedition Everest is intense for Disney World, but not compared to most of the coasters at Universal Studios, Six Flags, or other theme parks. If you enjoyed Tower of Tower, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, or any other “big coaster” at another theme park, then you shouldn’t have a problem with Expedition Everest.
It is a step up in terms of intensity from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Space Mountain, but most riders enjoy Everest, even if they went in a little worried or weren’t expecting to enjoy it. There are no loops or inversions and the only real “uh oh” moment is when the coaster speeds backwards, followed by a couple quick turns. The other positive is that the ride is amazingly smooth. There is little jostling or jerkiness to be concerned about. The exception is pulling into the station, where you’ll want to be prepared for a little whiplash.
Single Rider Line: Along with Test Track and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest offers a “single rider line.”
This line is used by guests willing to split up in order to fill empty seats on the train left by guests waiting in the standby and FastPass+ lines. Those otherwise empty seats are filled by people in the single rider line. The benefit to the single rider line is that waits are usually much shorter than the regular standby line. If the wait at the regular standby line is 40 minutes, the wait for the single rider line is likely ten minutes or less. On the downside, it is highly unlikely that you will be seated with other people in your group. If you don’t care or are riding alone, the single rider line may be your best bet if you’re in a hurry to get to another attraction and don’t want to return with FP+. It’s also a good option for re-rides.
The single rider line is located to the right of the main entrance.
The view near the top.
What to Expect: Many interesting artifacts create the back story of the mysterious beast that resides in the mountain. Riders are then seated in one of six cars that are attached to each other to make one long train. Each car has three rows (except the last which has two) and can seat two people per row, for a total of 34 people per train. The Expedition begins and riders are taken through a number of high speed twists, turns, and drops before a final confrontation with the Yeti. See this video for a great ride-through.
Where to Sit: Each row seats two with individual lap bars.
The first row provides the best view of what’s ahead, but the last row provides the wildest ride.
There really isn’t a bad seat on the train. When you arrive at the front of the line and the cast member asks how many are in your group, request a row number at that time if you have a preference. If you prefer the front row, they may direct your party to a separate line designated for those waiting for the first row. This may increase your wait by a few minutes.
Look up to the right during the big forward drop shortly after the backwards drop. Hopefully you do better than we did.
FastPass+: Yes – High priority. Most guests will want to select Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris in advance to save the most time.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
Most of the queue, which helps introduce the legend of the yeti and the backstory for your expedition.
Most people that have the opportunity will want to take at least one walk through the standby line. The best times are before 10am or in the last hour of operation.
It’s one of the best queues in any theme park anywhere.
Total Average Experience Time with FastPass: 12 minutes.
4th FastPass+ Availability: Expedition Everest enjoys a tremendous hourly capacity, so there are a lot of FastPass+ experiences out there. This, combined with the unexpected intensity of the ride causing people to cancel, make day-of availability better. Refresh throughout the day and Everest should come up with a convenient return time.
Expect to Wait:
When To Go: Early in the morning, in the final hour of operation, or with FastPass+. You’ll want to avoid 10:30am to at least 4pm most days.
Although not on par with many of Universal Studios’ or Six Flags’ coasters as far as speed and intensity are concerned, Expedition Everest excels because of the story and atmosphere. Disney is certainly capable of creating the world’s wildest coaster, but they simply don’t want to because it doesn’t really fit into what they do. What we do have is an excellent attraction that the entire family can enjoy. It’s not so intense that the younger crowd won’t want to ride it, but not so tame that teenagers and adults leave unimpressed.