ORLANDO — One of the longest and most ambitious indoor roller coaster concepts in the world made its debut for the media Friday at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park.
It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and it takes guests on an adventure with the Marvel superhero group. That adventure results in Epcot’s first ever roller coaster. Well, technically it’s an “omnicoaster” – the coaster cars are programmed to spin as they travel along the track, interacting with video screens and other objects. The ride starts with a bang – a backwards launched that fires riders up an incline and into a massive show building.
As of this writing, I have ridden Guardians of the Galaxy three times. I will post video from my ride that was provided by the park as soon as its available.
Below you can read more of my detailed thoughts on the attraction. I will avoid any major spoilers, but if you would like to go into the ride with a clean slate, bookmark this article to read later. Here are my thoughts on the ride!
Disney Imagineers continue to come up with creative ways to tell stories as people are waiting in line. The Guardians queue starts with an entrance into the Wonders of Zandar. Throughout the line you learn about this distant planet and the people who live there, along with more background for everything that is to come.
The best part of the queue occurs in one of the standby rooms, when you are basically transported to a spaceship. If you’ve been on the Star Wars attraction Rise of the Resistance, you know how the Imagineers were able to use misdirection and special effects to make you feel like you are traveling to a new location. I won’t spoil what happens here, but it’s one of those fun little magic tricks that had everybody doing a 360-degree turn, looking around the room saying, “Wait, how did they DO that?”
The coaster cars are very comfortable and roomy. Like other Disney rides, there is a pouch inside the vehicle where you can store your phone, wallet, sunglasses and other things that could fall out of your pockets. There is a single lap bar that comes down to secure you into the ride. There is no seat belt.
Soon after the ride leaves the station you end up on a small lift hill. From there, you snake into a room and are immediately introduced to the “spinning” effect of the cars and how they will interact with video along the walls. Again, I won’t spoil any of the story or too much of what happens along the way.
Soon after the ride moves along, the cars turn to interact with the video, and you end up facing in the other direction. That’s when the ride’s signature backwards launch occurs. How fast is it? If you are a roller coaster enthusiast who has been on some high powered launch coasters before, this definitely won’t be the fastest launch you’ve ever encountered. It doesn’t feel as fast the launch on the Rock N’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios.
It may not be the fastest launch, but the power of the video and effects around you make it incredibly special. The “it” moment happens at the top of the launch as you reach the peak and the car rotates. You are surrounded by stars. It’s like you launched into the cosmos and end up in a zero gravity atmosphere. It’s outstanding.
Every ride on Guardians features a music track that kicks in right when the car launches. There are six possible songs by their original artists that are chosen at random. I won’t share them here, I think it will be better if you are surprised by what you hear. I have been on the ride three times as of this writing and I can tell you that the ride FEELS different depending on the song that is chosen! I confirmed with an imagineer that the ride doesn’t spin any differently based on the music … it’s all in your brain! The music hitting at the right possible moment takes this coaster to another level.
It spins … will I get sick?
This is going to be the question so many people will be asking…and it’s so hard to answer. Every person’s thrill tolerance is different. Some people just don’t like spinning, especially spinning in the dark. And this ride is DARK. If you are somebody who really can’t tolerate that kind of motion, especially when you are a little disoriented by video effects and lack of lighting, this may not be the attraction for you.
I rode the ride twice in a row, and on the second ride, the last few moments started to get to my stomach. I rode it again a few hours later and I was just fine. Again, this is going to be such a subjective situation and will depend on YOUR levels of tolerance for this type of ride. If you can stomach it, you are in store for a great time.
How does it compare to other Disney coasters?
Another great question. I would say Guardians is at a similar thrill level as Everest and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. It may not be as fast or as tall as those two rides, but from an overall thrill experience it’s up there. I would say Guardians is more intense than Space Mountain, even though the rides share similarities with being in the dark and surrounded by stars.
How tall do I have to be to ride it?
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has a minimum height requirement of 42″.
How can I ride it?
Guardians of the Galaxy will feature a virtual boarding group system when it opens. There will also be the possibility to purchase a Lightning Lane pass for the ride. There will be no standby line when the ride opens. I expect this ride to be very popular and in demand for quite a while. It’s one of those rides so many people will want to try at least once.
When does it open?
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens to the public on May 27th. You can find more information here.