Monday, December 3, 2012

An Ode to Test Track

Test Track Teaser Mural; 1996. Photo from Intercot.

We all have the one.

Some of us it was the Millennium Celebration construction. Others Mission:Space or Mr Toad. Maybe it was the Asia or Expedition Everest expansions at Animal Kingdom? Heck, it could even go as far back as UseNet trip reports.

But for me, it was Test Track.

This ride captivated my twelve year-old imagination like none other. What was in the building? Well, I KNEW what was inside, World of Motion was one of the few rides I rode when I was really little (the other was Small World, my parents tricked me onto that to see the fountains in the old load area).

But there was something magical and mystical about the preview center, which teased the fastest ride, the longest ride, the coolest ride at Epcot. The dissected model of the attraction teased the sights and sounds inside.

But lots of people have anticipated rides at theme parks over the years (see: Haunted Mansion). But Test Track co-aligned with my blossoming interest in the Internet. Sites like and the Dreamfinder (now known as Jim Hill) posted updates and rumors. I found DisBoards and WDWMagic who CM insight into the problems with debuting the attraction.

Concept Art Courtesy of Alyu Designs
And when I went in 1999 to ride for the first time, it was an amazing experience. I still remember it to this day; I rode with my friend using the brand new, "cut through the bushes to the left", single rider line. We got in and out in 30 minutes. We should have rode again, but we didn't know how long the rest of our party would take in the regular line (hint: long time). Also, remember, this is when FastPass was still an Animal Kingdom only test!

Test Track was my first exposure to the internet Disney community.

So while Test Track gets pulled through the mud for continuing the decline of Future World and Epcot (some deserved, some not), those comments have always hit me hard. I understood that black drapes, 'Mini Black Lake', and cut out trees are horrible set design. Power tools are not instruments. And a ride system that can't work in the rain and then put info Florida is not very bright. But I still looked forward to my ride, every few years, on Test Track.

This past February was my last trip on Test Track 1.0. The wallpaper was peeling in the pre-show rooms. Bill McKim was not HD, but was on plasma screens. The whole ride was in rough shape, but every few cars a striking blue one would pass. The blue car hinted at the future of Test Track.

Photo Courtesy of InsideTheMagic
Now I repeat the cycle, refreshing my iPhone while getting a hair cut, to read the impressions of my friends on twitter. I find a video uploaded from an iPhone to YouTube using park-wide WiFi and watch it with a friend. I view photos of the queue on Instagram.

Disney fans are a very fickle, diverse bunch. But when something new opens, we all unite and experience the awe of it. The technology has changed, but not the community.

1 comment:

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