Take a wild ride with hot, screaming teens

The Disney Blog posted links to two videos recreating the Test Track ride at Epcot using the game Rollercoaster Tycoon 3.

My favorite of the two is below. Test Track isn’t a roller coaster, and the other video looks a little bit more like the actual ride. But this one gets my vote for including the original soundtrack and for doing the whole thing from the queue to the final photo:

As far as I’m concerned, Test Track is the quintessential Epcot ride, and possibly the most solid Disney ride there is. I really wish “works well within its constraints” didn’t sound like damming with faint praise, because it’s really tough to do, and no other ride I can think of manages to do it as well. This attraction had to:

  • Bring a thrill ride to Epcot, which had gotten a reputation (only partially deserved) for being too dry and educational.
  • Still be educational.
  • Replace a beloved attraction with Marc Davis designs, one that was still cool but definitely showing its age and no longer a big stand-out.
  • Use a corporate sponsorship without seeming like heavy-handed advertising.
  • Be a Disney thrill ride, which means being exciting while still supporting as wide an audience as possible.
  • Support a ton of riders, as it was on Test Track’s shoulders to be the new main attraction for the entire park.

And it manages to do all that, and be a fun and entertaining ride on top of everything. I don’t know if I’d put it in my list of top 5 Disney attractions (and yeah, I do have such a list; several, in fact), but it’s one of my favorites. From the excellent pre-show movie — which has one of the most clever “little touches” Disney has ever done (the “surprise tests” gag) — to the final loop, it just all works. (Plus, the show and ride have John Michael Higgins, who I always remember as “Bill MacKim” because of the ride). A definite classic.

Best sign of the staying power of the ride: last summer I drove underneath Test Track on my way to work every morning (did I mention how cool that job was?). And because it has a single rider line, it was one of the only rides I could go on during my lunch break, so I rode it at least once every other day for a month. And I never got tired of it.

Are you seeing an increase in lateral forces? Sure am!

Update: This YouTube video has shaky footage of the entire ride, if you don’t mind getting spoiled. Watching it makes me want to ride it again right now!