Thursday, January 16, 2014

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom

In my opinion, one of the scariest rides at Disney World is Expedition Everest. I've always been afraid of roller coasters and yeti, and this ride combines the most thrilling of both! Expedition Everest is located in Asia in the Animal Kingdom.

As you enter the queue for Expedition Everest, you pass enter the office of the Himalayan Escapes, Tours and Expeditions. The attention to detail in the queue is amazing! The temple, which is surrounded by banners similar to those found in Tibet, is gorgeous. Exiting the temple, you find yourself in a bazaar filled with everything you'd need for a trip to Everest: sleeping bags, tents, cookware, tea, and much more. As you leave the bazaar, you reach the Yeti Museum. Both the fastpass and standby lines can view the artifacts, so don't be afraid you'll miss the displays if you get a fastpass. The museum is filled with castings of Yeti footprints, the remains of a base camp that has been destroyed, mysterious hairs, and even various scat. The museum is very detailed and interesting. As you eventually leave the museum, you pass into the railroad office of the village of Serka Zong. In the final room of the queue are photos of the teams who have journeyed over the mountain in an attempt to find a safe passage for the train. Many of the people in the photos are Disney Imagineers who traveled to Nepal to make the Expedition Everest experience feel truly authentic. Finally, you exit the queue to find a train from the Anandapur Rail Service waiting to take you over the forbidden mountain.

Even the ceilings in the queue are gorgeous!
There are a total of 6 "steam trains" that make up the Anandapur Rail Service and seat 34 riders per train. Once you board the train, stow your gear and pull down the restraint. Each row has two seats, which are fairly roomy and should easily accommodate anyone from the "Tigger" sized to the "Pooh" sized. Once your lap bar is secure, hang on for the ride of your life! Expedition Everest is a fast paced thrill ride full of high speed, sharp turns, and a large section where you travel in reverse in the dark. Toward the end of the ride, you will come across the Guardian of the Forbidden Mountain: the Yeti. Disney Imagineers worked with several primatologists to make him as realistic as possible, and in my opinion, he's spot on. It may be cowardly, but I can rarely bring myself to even look at the Yeti. After you see the Yeti comes the final drop. Just before the drop, your photo will be taken. My sister and I like to have fun with the photos, which resulted in this crazy picture. But at least I don't have to see the Yeti!


After speeding down the mountain, you disembark into the gift shop and can view your photo. When you purchase a photo, you also receive a digital download. They give you a photopass card just for that photo and you can download it to your computer to reprint or share. And be sure to check out some of the crazy yeti merchandise while you're there. Some of it is absolutely adorable, while some is rather terrifying.


You must be at least 44" tall (the size of one yeti foot) to ride Expedition Everest. It is a wild ride that is probably best for older children as it is somewhat scary and often dark. Even though I find it somewhat terrifying, I still love riding this roller coaster. Besides, if Bean was brave enough to ask to ride up front at age 6, how could I do any less?

Fun facts: the ride is so massive and the various parts so integrated that the track, mountain, and Yeti had to be constructed simultaneously. For a great  view of  the Animal Kingdom and Disney World in general, consider sitting in the front row. The view from the broken track at the top is incredible!

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