|Animal Kingdom Attractions||Rafiki's Planet Watch|
This attraction is 200 feet high making it the highest "mountain" in Florida
Overview: Expedition EVEREST opened April 7, 2006. Walt Disney World guests will discover for themselves the fearsome legend of the Yeti when experiencing Expedition EVEREST. This high-speed train adventure combines coaster-like thrills with the excitement of a close encounter with the Abominable Snowman.
The Expedition EVEREST adventure begins when guests board an old mountain railway destined for Mount Everest. As the train heads for the snowy mountain peak, it passes through bamboo forests, waterfalls and fields of glaciers.
The excitement begins when it's discovered that the train tracks end in a twisted wreck of metal. From here, the train careens backwards and forwards through darkness, frigid canyons and treacherous caverns. A face to face encounter with the legendary Yeti (guardian of the Himalayas) brings this tumultuous train ride to its dramatic conclusion.
44" height restriction
Handicapped Accessibility: Guests must transfer from their wheelchair, scooter, ECV to ride.
I am used to hearing the shrieks of guests when they go down Splash Mountain, or drop from the Tower of Terror, but I am not used to hearing screams at the Animal Kingdom. I’m not talking about the sounds from Kali River Rapids when a raft gets drenched. I’m talking about heart pounding 80 foot drops and hurtling backwards through the dark with unexpected dips and turns. Expedition Everest has just brought Disney’s family of mountains to a new level and put Animal Kingdom back on the map.
It’s not only the ride that’s great; it’s the tale behind it. Located in Animal Kingdom’s Asia section, this “ Forbidden Mountain” ( Mt. Everest) is the home of the legendary Yeti – the Abominable Snowman, guardian of the Himalayas.
The story begins in a remote village at the base of Mt. Everest. The entrance to Expedition EVEREST starts at a travel agency (There are two entry ways, FastPass and Standby.)
I am not going to tell you to deny yourself a FastPass, but there is a lot to learn in the queue. With a 30 minute wait, I almost felt like the line was moving too fast because there was so much to see.
After you leave the travel agency, you go to a trading post for supplies and onto a museum. You’ll also learn about the animals that inhabit the Himalayas. Remember, I am seeing this for the first time, so I was really trying to soak it all in. Ask me again about choosing the Standby line in June when the weather is above 90 and the wait is 60+ minutes. Get there early folks, this one is going to be popular!
The vehicle is a nice size train that holds 2 to a row. I sat in the front row for my first time on Everest. The girl seated next to me swore that the last seat was the best. I rode for a second time in the middle and the ride was just as great. Once you’re harnessed in you begin your adventure with scenic twists and turns through a quiet village and woodlands as you begin your ascent to the summit. At the 200 ft peak, you have an amazing view of the surrounding Disney properties.
Next, you go through a cave where up ahead, the tracks have been broken and tangled by the Yeti. The train reverses and you’re plummeting through darkness. Between the speed, not being able to see and the unexpected turns, you never know which way you’re heading. Suddenly you come to a stop. You realize that the Yeti is behind you destroying more of the tracks. The train hurls forward towards a 50 ft drop, similar to the drop in Splash Mountain (but personally I think this one is better.) It’s not over yet and you’re plunged back into darkness with more twists and turns. There it is, the Yeti. This fierce creature stands 20 feet tall and while screaming at the top of his lungs, it swipes at the train. I have never seen anything like it. It looked so real!
I rode Expedition Everest twice, and both times I got off this attraction, I wanted to get back on. It leaves you with a feeling of excitement and thrill that you don’t want to lose.
The full ride lasts for a little more than three minutes. If you combine the plunge of Splash Mountain, the darkness of Space Mountain and the twist and turns of Big Thunder Mountain, you have just a hint of what Expedition Everest is like. It’s an experience like no other and will have guests flocking to the Animal Kingdom.