Expedition Everest | Animal Kingdom
Perhaps one of the most thrilling rides in all of Disney World is Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom. This roller coaster opened in 2005 and gives Animal Kingdom guests a true heart-pumping experience that is great for kids, teenagers and adults. The popularity of this ride, however, can at times lead to very long waits. We don’t want you standing in line for more than 30 minutes.
In this article, we’ll give you a brief history lesson of Expedition Everest, we’ll go over some details of the ride itself, and finally we’ll give you some touring tips to help you in your planning of this amazing ride!
History of Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest opened in 2005 at a reported cost of almost 100 million dollars! In 2011, it was listed as the most expensive roller coaster in the world, by the Guinness Book of World Records. The theme of the ride is based on a Yeti that is hiding around Mount Everest. There is a giant 22 foot Yeti on the ride. It was the biggest piece of animatronics ever built by Disney. When designed, it had the ability to move 5 feet horizontally and 2 feet vertically.
However, soon after the ride opened, the framing split, causing a risk of running in “A-Mode”. After that, Disney was only able to run the Yeti in “B-mode”. B-mode consists of strobe lights and effects that makes it seem as if the yeti is moving, though in reality it isn’t moving at all. Fixing the yeti will require a big refurbishment.
Everest – The Ride
You ride next to one other person on a train that is 17 rows long. The cars are made to look old and worn-out. The ride features an 80 ft drop and approaches speeds of 50 mph. But there is another aspect of this ride that sets it apart from most other rides. Once your reach a certain point, the train stops while you are at the top of the ride. The tracks switch, and your train begins going backwards for the remainder of the ride! It is the only Disney ride that enables it’s riders to go forwards AND backwards on the same ride.
Expedition Everest Tips
As we’ve mentioned, this can be a tough ticket. For a long time after it’s opening, Expedition Everest had one of the longest wait times in all of Disney World. While the shine has worn off a bit, you can still find yourself waiting for long periods of time, especially in the peak hours of the day, and during the peak times of the year. So how can you avoid standing in line?
With the old fastpass system, we often encouraged you to get a fastpass early. But the new system has changed things a bit. We highly encourage you to pre-book your fastpass plus fastpasses 60 days in advance, and make sure that you choose Everest. If you book early enough, you’ll be able to get Everest at your ideal time and it won’t be sold out.
If you aren’t able to get a fastpass, there are two other great times to ride this attraction. First of all, you can head straight there at park opening. Everest can be tricky to get to and requires a lot of walking. Since there may be big crowds, we have a recommendation for getting there ahead of everyone else.
As you come through the front gates, go straight and head to the right around the “Oasis”. When you cross the bridge, the road will split to the left and to the right. Take the path to the right, and then immediately turn right again, heading to Dinoland. Everyone else will likely take the road to Asia. Just as you cross the bridge to Dinoland, turn left and head toward the Nemo ride. Bypass the Nemo show, cross the bridge and you’ll arrive at Everest ahead of the crowds.
Another great time to ride Everest is late in the evenings. When the parade is over in the early afternoon, usually Animal Kingdom empties out. The last hour or two are fantastic times to be in the back of the park and ride Everest. Many people report zero lines in the last hour before closing.
This is a unique experience that your kids will love!
So don’t stand in line for an hour! Ride Expedition Everest 3-5 times by arriving in the final hour and staying until just before park closing!