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Expedition Everest


Expedition Everest is a high-tech, high-speed roller coaster through the Forbidden Mountain on the way to Mount Everest. Guests board train cars to take this shortcut to the highest peak in the world, only to disturb the rest of the Yeti.

The backstory here is that you and your fellow guests have signed up with Himalayan Escapes tour company for a train trip to base camp on Mount Everest. You will need to pick up your mountaineering gear on the way through the queue. Norbu and Bob founded Himalayan Escapes in the little outpost of Serka Zong, re-purposing an old tea railroad that closed under mysterious circumstances; rumors have it that the train disturbed the Yeti. Norbu and Bob are undeterred, however, and so you can now make your way to base camp quickly and in comfort prior to scaling the world's highest mountain.


Michael Eisner originally wanted the train ride to be through Mt. Everest itself, but the Imagineers thought that the peak didn't look inspiring enough to be a true Disney mountain. So the legend of the Forbidden Mountain was born, and the structure through which the ride travels is actually representative of a small section of the Himalayas, with Everest in the background.

Several of the Imagineers' scouting trips to Nepal and the Himalayas were used as the basis for the documentary Everest: Journey to Sacred Lands on the Discovery Channel.

The yeti animatronic was designed in part based on a visit to a monastery in Ding Guo Shan, China, where monks keep alive the legend of the yeti, and an interview with the Rinpoche (a holy man) in Tengboche, Nepal, who claims to have seen the yeti in his youth. But the living inspiration was the golden monkey, a cold-weather primate that lives in the Qinling Mountains of China.


Expedition Everest has taken over from Kilimanjaro Safaris as the premier E-ticket attraction in the Animal Kingdom, and it does not disappoint. The ride is fast, the visuals are stunning in their detail, and how can you go wrong with a twisted train track and over half a minute of riding backwards? The one complaint that seems to be common, though, is the relative scarcity of the yeti. In truth, the large animatronic has apparently proven to be too large and animated even for the huge support structure built for it, and it is rarely in full motion anymore. But it is still a fantastic ride, and here's hoping the Imagineers can do their magic with the host of this attraction and bring him to full life once more.


Touring Tips

  • Expedition Everest needs to be your first stop, either to ride it or to pick up FASTPASSes. However, it does open up close to park closing, so if you don't want to take the long trek to Asia first thing in the morning, you still may have a chance around parade time.
  • If you have time to ride twice, do once with FASTPASS and once in stand-by. The queues are separated for most of their length, and each has its own special details.

Hidden Treasures

  • Yeti droppings! Need we say more? Actually all of the Yeti Museum (the tail end of the stand-by queue) is enjoyable and wonderfully detailed.


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