Test Track at Epcot

One of my favorite rides at Epcot is Test Track. The ride is sponsored by General Motors and is a simulated excursion through the rigorous testing procedures that General Motors uses to evaluate its cars, culminating in a high-speed drive around the exterior of the attraction.

After a long delay due to problems revealed during testing and changes to ride design, Test Track finally opened to the public on December 19, 1998 and it’s been a big hit ever since.

Guests ride in futuristic “test cars” in a GM “testing facility” and are taken through a series of tests to illustrate how automobile prototype evaluations are conducted. The highlight of the ride is a speed trial on a track around the outside of the Test Track building at a top speed of 64.8 miles per hour (104.3 km/h) on a 50-degree banked curve, making Test Track the fastest Disney theme park attraction ever built.

As you enter the Test Track building you get to see a sample repair and test shop where you are shown some of the different tests performed on cars and parts before they are released. The line then winds past different tests for tires, car doors, an anechoic chamber for radio receivers, and an area where crash test dummies are tested.

At the end of the line guests are then brought into a briefing room where they are shown automobile testing facilities and examples of tests being performed. The host tells the guests that they will take part in some of these tests and tells the technician what tests to set up and tells her to choose one final “surprise test,” as a video of a car crashing into a barrier is shown just before the door is opened for guests to enter the interior line.

Upon reaching the end of this second short line guests are loaded into the test cars to begin the trial. Upon dispatching from the loading dock, the car is brought through an accelerated hill climb. Next, the car’s suspension is tested over different road surfaces, including bricks and cobblestones. Next, the car’s anti-lock braking system is turned off as the car tries to navigate a course of cones, knocking many over in the process. The anti-lock brakes are then turned back on and a similar cone course is navigated quite easily.

Next, the cars are brought through environmental chambers: a hot chamber of 110°F (43°C), a cold chamber of 10°F (-13°C), and a corrosion chamber. Note: The nozzles on the corrosion robots are actually “Hidden Mickey’s”

The handling of the car is tested next. It climbs a set of hills with blind turns while increasing its speed each time. At the top the car almost crashes into an oncoming truck before swerving out of the way just in time. The car is now on the final test shown in the briefing room: the barrier test. The car lines up across from a barrier and begins to accelerate towards it. Just before hitting the barrier a series of flashes occur, where a picture of the guests is taken, and the barrier opens to a track outside. The car takes a lap around the building with banked turns and a max speed of 64.8 mph (104.3 km/h), shown on the car as MAX MPH. As the car returns to the loading dock a thermal scan is taken of the guests and shown on a large screen.

Once you get out of the vehicle you then wind your way to the exit and a large area devoted to a display of General Motors vehicles where guests can take a look at some of the latest models. Like most Disney attractions, Test Track finally exits into a themed gift shop featuring merchandise associated with the attraction where you are able to view and purchase photos taken of their vehicle on the ride or scan their Photopass to view or purchase the photos later.

It’s a fun ride and here’s a short video I took of the attraction:

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