One of the more exciting announcements to come out of the D23 Expo was the TRON Lightcycle Power Run coming to the Magic Kingdom. While most announcements made at D23 require patience to see what the final product will look like, much of the anticipation about TRON has come from seeing the ride already in operation at another Disney park. TRON opened in June 2016 at Shanghai Disneyland and quickly became a hit with visitors, as well as those who viewed pictures and videos online from half a world away. Let’s take a look at what fans can expect from the newest roller coaster headed for the Magic Kingdom.
Approach and Queue
Shanghai Disneyland’s Tomorrowland has two levels, with the TRON ride entrance located on the second story. Without such a setup at the Magic Kingdom, concept art indicates there will be stairs to take guests to the second level at the ride entrance. The iconic element of the attraction building is a large color changing canopy. As you walk under the canopy, the outside portion of the ride rumbles overhead. Of note is that TRON requires all backpacks and loose articles like hats be stored in a locker. I forgot to take my hat off once and had to return to my locker and store it. Free lockers are available next to the attraction. Those who visit Universal Studios will be familiar with storing backpacks and loose articles, as many of their attractions require this as well. This will be a first for Walt Disney World.
The queue consists of winding corridors. In one corridor there are projections on a translucent wall. When a train approaches the launch area, the projections disappear and you can look down on the track below and watch the launch. Overhead monitors show a pre-ride video that goes over basic safety information and how to board your vehicle.
Guests zig zag down to the first story by ramp, similar to Space Mountain at Disneyland. You are directed to one of two boarding areas. There is very little reference to a story, but put simply your team will match up against team orange in their light cycle.
The signature element of this attraction is the ride vehicles. Guests ride the attraction similar to a motorcycle. There are handle bars in front of you. Pull them down and that brings down a back support that will secure you in place. If you do have a small loose article like a cell phone, there is a small compartment right in front of you.
Guests unable to ride on the light cycle ride vehicle have the option of riding in a standard roller coaster car. Select trains have this alternative car in the back.
After everyone is in place, the train heads to the starting line. There is no verbal countdown. Instead, sound and visual cues count down the impending launch. You are off and accelerate to 60mph as it heads outside over curious onlookers below.
You re-enter the show building for the duration of the ride. The onboard audio is by Daft Punk, who scored the Tron: Legacy film. A few twists and turns and you witness the orange team crashing. From launch to the end of the ride is less than a minute.
In Disney tradition you exit the ride directly into a gift shop. The shop spills out into the locker area to retrieve your belongings.
While the biggest complaint is the ride length, overall TRON is a lot of fun. It will be a welcome addition to the Magic Kingdom.