Test Track 2.0 is currently in previews to cast members and their “friends.” The entrance is to the left of the regular entrance. If public soft openings don’t begin today, you may be able to beg your way on and cast members can bring in as many guests as they want. As I was leaving Mission: Space, a gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Are you Josh?” I confirmed his suspicions and my friend Brett was nice enough to get them through the front door. Hopefully you guys enjoyed it. The point here is that a ton of cast members are going to be walking towards the entrance and you may be able to flag one down.
For those of you looking for a spoiler free review, this is probably not it. So if you don’t want to know anything major about the ride itself, don’t click the “Click to continue reading” button or stop reading once you make it to whatever you don’t want to know about. In terms of theme park touring, I’m expecting Test Track to have longer waits than Soarin’ most of the day. Before Test Track’s closure, Soarin’ often had longer waits (70 minutes versus 50 minutes or 100 minutes versus 70 minutes). With the additional design interactivity as part of the preshow, I’m expecting Test Track to have increased re-ridability and thus, longer wait times. Expect 120+ minutes come Christmas Week and for much of the summer. Of course, we’ll have to see what happens. The good news is that Test Track will help the Soarin’ rush in the morning. Wait times have been about 30% higher at Soarin’ from April – December when Test Track was closed as compared to the same days last year. And that area was just getting slammed in the morning while Test Track sat dormant. For now, I think:
- FASTPASS Test Track
- Ride Test Track
- Ride Sum of All Thrills
- Ride Mission: Space
- Ride Test Track with FASTPASS
- FASTPASS Soarin’
- Ride Living with the Land
- Do something else on this side of the Park (anything in Imagination or Seas Pavilions would be fine along with lunch at Sunshine Seasons or Circle of Life)
- Ride Soarin’ with FASTPASS
- Head to World Showcase
would be a good plan. By the time you arrive at Soarin’ after Test Track (or vice versa), I think you’d be looking at 30+ minute waits by that time unless crowds are very low. And they’re a good distance away from each other. And then you’d have to backtrack to the other side of Future World if you wanted to do Mission: Space or Sum of All Thrills. You could also FASTPASS one or the other before heading to World Showcase. Return times should be far enough out around noon that an evening return time would be convenient.
As far as whether I liked it? I’m not as enthusiastic about it as most people seem to be.
In a lot of ways, Test Track is exactly the same as before. The track inside is unchanged, meaning your car will do exactly the same thing as it did before the refurbishment at exactly the same speed.
There is still FASTPASS and a single rider entrance.
If you’re using FASTPASS or the single rider line, you can choose whether or not you want to design a car. If you do, you can go through the postshow area (through the gift shop on the right after you pass through the FASTPASS machines) and design a car on one of these three consoles. Three doesn’t seem like enough, but we’ll see how many people realize that you can do it. Otherwise, you can choose a pre-made car in the FASTPASS/single rider lines.
Your car design does not affect the ride itself in any way. The ride is exactly the same no matter what.
What you will see throughout the ride are screens with the designed cars of those riding Each car has a (blurry) score next to it and they’re given a rating based on your design choices. Theoretically anyway, as “literally” none of the tech was working. The design stage is where that re-ridability comes in. What happens when Little Johnny loses to Mom? Yep, we’re going again! Keep that in mind parents. You can have multiple people design a single car at one station if you prefer. It would probably be difficult to design your own while helping a child.
Sweet cans bro.
Despite no changes to the track or ride vehicles (other than cosmetic), the pre- and post- shows are completely reworked. This is just inside the entrance.
This little sucker is the “EN-V.”
Something you probably won’t be if you actually purchased one. The envy of others I mean.
My biggest complaint with 2.0 is that you don’t really have an idea about what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. I’ll help explain things, which should make the attraction make more sense. We’re currently at the Chevrolet Design Studio.
The claim is that the new queue can hold 20% more people inside, even if it feels smaller.
It’s much wider.
Then you’ll happen upon this screen, which has interviews with people explaining their ideal car of the future.
One kid wanted to be able to sleep comfortably. I think this one wanted a dragon car with wings. Child please.
As you continue along, you’ll come across these test screens, which explain a bit about the design process and gives you an opportunity to see how the screens work.
At least here at Test Track, this has never been truer. Long lines at that.
You’ll then line up a la Mission: Space in front of Studio A or B, where the design happens. While the new queue is quieter and more pleasant to stand in, there isn’t a whole lot to see inside. There’s the EN-V, another car, the dragon car girl, and the test screens. That’s about it.
Like most things in Disney’s future, the key to the whole process is the RFID cards. Whoever the RFID card salesman is in the southeast region, he should get a raise. He must have sold Disney a bajillion.
I’m surprised Portuguese isn’t the default.
You have two basic choices.
You’ll be given a bit of an explanation about each if you click.
Le expertly drawn car. I didn’t want to optimize, but I don’t think I had a choice.
Next you have some additional tweaks you can make. Each one affects the capability, responsiveness, efficiency, or power. The screens are currently incredibly buggy. We rode four times and I saw this screen a total of one time for a total of about five seconds. Note the countdown is at 1:06 even though we’ve only been standing here for 30 seconds. Supposedly the amount of time you have to design is adjustable based on crowds, but realistically I can’t see a lot of times when it won’t be 5 minutes.
After skipping the last screen automatically, it has added more time. Here, you have a few selections under each menu on the left. For example on “Wheels,” you can change the style and size.
On my first ride, the design screen failed completely, exiting me out. After scanning my RFID card again, I was allotted 60 minutes.
We’ll have to be easy on them since this is still the “test and adjust phase.” But we’re three days until opening and the design process never worked. I was never able to “upload” my design so the screens during the ride showed my car and score. About half of the design consoles were completely inoperable. Cast members remembered which consoles were malfunctioning by placing an RFID card over the number on the ground.
Pink cars are faster and I’ve also heard flower/butterfly decals add three horsepower. The tech problems don’t forebode well for the attraction. Assuming everything always works come December 6th, some of these gripes would be entirely alleviated. But I really don’t see it happening.
Once your time expires, you’ll move on to the next room.
Again, it’s stylish. But the design software is pretty clunky and not entirely user friendly. You’ll have things figured out by the time you’re finished, but you probably won’t have an opportunity to change everything you want. One thing to note is that the options aren’t clickable once you enter one of the menus – you have to scroll through. For example, after clicking “Wheels” and “Style,” several options on the right will be selectable. You have to scroll through the options rather than simply pointing at the one you want. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.
You’ll continue walking through to the load area. Nothing much to see here either at the moment.
To clear a few things up, as I mentioned earlier the ride is always the same. We’re headed to the “Sim Track” to ride the “Sim Car,” which is the ideal automobile (I think). Then we’re going to be transported into the computer to experience the simulation (I think).
This doesn’t seem to be conveyed very well.
The load/unload area should look familiar.
Right before boarding your Sim Car, you’ll tap your RFID card on one of these scanners. This is what connects your design to the ride.
The cars should look the same. On the back of the seats is a sticker with the new logo. If you want to keep it as a souvenir, you’ll want to bring some Goo-Be-Gone.
I think an announcement that you’re “now going to experience the simulation inside of the software environment” or something would be prudent.
First thing’s first.
If you’re looking for a video of the new ride, this one from Inside the Magic is your best bet I think. If you spoil it, my critiques will (probably) make more sense.
My pictures are garbage because I only had Tom out for one ride and we’re stuck in the back. Also, for whatever reason my exposure compensation was ratcheted up!!!
Knowing you’re in the simulation makes this part make a lot more sense. It’s quite dark in here and the ride relies mostly on projections and screens.
You’ll have to watch the video to get a good idea about what the ride is like. Not sure what those things on the right are.
It’s apparently raining. For several scenes earlier, you’re driving past trees lit up with neon lights and there’s pictures of snow made out of the old World of Motion logo. It almost feels like a Christmas overlay.
You’ll see a lot of people saying it’s “Tron-like.” They should have just gone full Tron.
The screens were displaying the wrong cars.
I liked the original theme of Test Track a lot. We were test dummies headed through a vehicle testing facility. There was a real feel of speed and danger. After all, as crash test dummies, one could assume that we’ll be crashing somewhere. We understood why we were breaking, headed upwards, speeding around the outside, etc. In here, it’s a lot of empty rooms, neon trees, darkness, and pictures of snowflakes.
The potentially worst part about it is that the “power test” is exactly the same as the barrier test from the original. After spending time inside the computer, we’re headed right back out to Epcot’s parking lot. It would be a lot cooler if Disney had enclosed the outside and continued the simulation. Or I guess you could say that part of the simulation is “very authentic.” Maybe we were in the computer the whole time!
Some of the fun was probably lost by the fact that the technology never worked. Assuming it does, the experience would be quite different. I don’t know if the future is darkness, laser beams, and neon trees. I’m okay with laser beams. It does definitely have a “Tron” feel to it though.
Overall, the design stage seemed clunky and prone to malfunction. Obviously, your design does not affect the ride itself. Realizing the ride is set in a computer simulation should help you figure out what’s going on. I’m guessing it will be lost on a lot of riders. I should mention that my opinion seems to be in the minority. A lot of people (most of whom have only seen the video) seem to love Test Track in the dark with neon lights. But it’s definitely worth doing. I don’t hate it, but I’m not sure it works better than the original.
The postshow is also improved. Theoretically, you can again scan your RFID card once you exit to see your total score.
The day’s best cars are also featured above.
In the next room, which isn’t quite as depressing as it looks here, you can design a commercial for your car.
You can modify the attribute, narrator, location, and music.
Then a short commercial plays on screen.
In the next room, it looks like you can race your car against others in this video game. It has not worked yet.
You’ll then continue to the Chevrolet Showroom.
Of course, the opportunity to look at Chevys still exists.
This sucker would set you back $21,840.00.
You’ll also have the opportunity to have your picture taken with a Chevrolet or, in some cases, your car design. These pictures will be emailed to you:
It’s a fun, free way to give General Motors your email address.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Walt Disney World without an exit through the gift shop.
There seemed to be a lot more Chevrolet merchandise than before. You’ll probably want to head to K-Mart for this sort of thing though.
$30 here or 2 for 10 at Walmart.
Disney also gets into the action.
It’ll probably be another bailout and/or 15 years until Disney/GM change anything, so you’ll be in style for some time with that hat.
Or a $5 Test Track automotive designer badge.
As promised in the title, we’ll head over to Sunshine Seasons for the Roasted Pork Banh Mi Style Panini served with a side.
I had forgotten about it after seeing it pop up on the menu back in August. One thing’s for certain – it’s a ton of food and we really have no idea what to expect. That’s a nice helping of soy-sauce-drenched noodles on the side.
Inside, Disney seems to have thrown the kitchen sink at it. Or there are at least a few ingredients. I think the mistake is the pickle lined bottom. Since the sandwiches are premade and sit for some time, the bottom was quite soggy from the pickle juice. Overall, I’m not sure what to think of this one. The pork seemed dry and salty, but it was livened up with the slathering of sauce and carrot. I enjoyed the noodles quite a bit, but the sandwich wasn’t to my particular taste and I probably wouldn’t order a second. I’m not sure I can really describe the flavor. Maybe salty.
I don’t know about you, but it feels crowded.
So we’ll see how Test Track looks moving forward. They’re going to have to get their act together on the technology front. With small crowds for the cast member preview, it wasn’t the end of the world that nothing worked. We also understood that the ride may not function properly. But the fact that nothing worked on multiple rides makes me nervous about the future. You’re going to have a problem when Little Johnny’s dad has been waiting for two hours in July and his son’s RFID card doesn’t work.