Are you ready to face the wrath of the Yeti? If so, then take a ride up to the top of Mount Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park! Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is one of my favorite rides in Animal Kingdom (and in all of Disney for that matter!) The ride opened in 2006, and holds the record for the most expensive rollercoaster ever built at $100,000,000!
Located in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest is themed around the infamous Yeti hiding in Mt. Everest. Arguably one of the most thrilling coasters at Disney World, the ride starts with an elaborate queue in a Tibetan-themed stone building. You have arrived at the office of the fictional “Himalayan Escapes” Travel Agency, about to embark on an expedition to search for the mythical creature. You then pass though at tea garden and a “Yeti Museum,” a room filled with equipment from previous expeditions. There are about 8,000 artifacts here that were brought in from Nepal. Disney actually sent a team to Nepal to do research and bring back these artifacts prior to building the ride!
Once through the queue, riders board a “train” and begin their ascent into the Himalayas. During the steep incline, you travel through a stone tunnel and a temple that was destroyed, presumably, by the Yeti. Once at the top of the 199 foot-tall mountain, you curve around and pass through a cave. When you emerge, you stop suddenly…the track has been torn apart by the Yeti! You begin to roll backwards along a new route and speed down the mountain, stopping abruptly in a cave where you see the giant shadow of the Yeti on the wall! After an 80-foot drop, you speed through another cave, all while hearing the roars of the Yeti. A few more caves and drops later, and the ride is over. It lasts approximately 2 minutes and 50 seconds. Riders exit through a gift shop where you are able to purchase Yeti-themed merchandise.
Unfortunately, the audio-animatronic 25-foot tall Yeti that is supposed to be seen during the ride has not worked properly since a few months after the ride opened in 2006. You now see just his shadow and hear his roars. Disney Imagineers have promised that they are working on getting the Yeti operational again, but so far they have not succeeded. It would definitely add to the overall experience for the Yeti to make an appearance during the ride.
And even though Everest is a thrill ride that travels backwards and through dark caves, it doesn’t go upside down, which I think makes it a great ride for all ages. Smaller children may be scared of the caves, drops and the Yeti’s shadow and roars. But older (or braver) kids are sure to enjoy this ride. My nine-year-old loved it last summer, and it’s now one of her favorite rides at Disney World! The height requirement is 44 inches, and you will definitely want to either make this one of your first rides in the morning, or get a Fast Pass+ for it, as the line is usually very long!
So, will YOU be able to escape the Yeti? Or have you already survived the challenge? If so, what did you think of Expedition Everest?