If you’re booking a trip to Disney World, and you absolutely know you’re planning to visit Epcot, then you very likely might be asking yourself the following question: Is Test Track scary? That’s the question we’ll answer today, as we examine this ride’s speed, intensity, if it has any drops, and what age is most ideal to ride this popular attraction.
How Scary is Test Track?
This attraction may not be appropriate for all Mousketeers. On my personal Disney Parks Scary Scale, where a 1 correlates with a pleasant and relaxing stroll down Main Street, U.S.A., and a 5 represents a thrilling drop down the elevator shaft of the Hollywood Tower of Terror, Test Track qualifies as a 4.
The darkness of the ride’s indoor section, fear-inducing set and graphic design, and speed at the ride’s conclusion all have the potential to scare young guests and cause motion sickness. Read on for a breakdown of this Scary Score by attraction theming, story, speed, roller coaster elements, and age appropriateness.
Theming: Test Track’s design is futuristic and awe-inspiring, yet intended–in some moments–to simulate frightening situations. The lights and graphics have a mesmerizing effect, but the reduced visibility of the ride’s interior may scare some guests. Thus, in terms of theming, the ride scores a 3.
Story: This vehicle road test features swerves, sudden stops, and a near-crash that may incite fear and panic, particularly in younger guests and car crash survivors. Although guests remain safe in their ride vehicles throughout, the journey can extract an emotional toll. For this reason, Test Track scores a Scary Score of 4 for story.
Ride Speed: Test Track is quite fast; it is, in fact, the fastest Walt Disney World attraction. Timid theme park guests and those prone to motion sickness may want to avoid the experience. Therefore, in the speed category, Test Track scores a 5.
Roller Coaster Elements: I would not classify Test Track as a roller coaster, due to the lack of traditional coaster elements. However, the ride course is true to its inspiration, containing all of the sudden swerves and jolts that you would expect of a vehicle testing simulation. Consequently, in this category, the attraction earns a Scary Score of 3.
Age Appropriateness: With a minimum height of 40 inches, Test Track is most appropriate for Disney park guests age 4 or 5 and up. Young thrill-seekers can enjoy the experience, so long as they anticipate fear-inducing elements. While preparing children for the attraction, I would advise you to watch a ride recording together or fully explain the details in advance. The following sections of this article will help you develop a thorough pre-ride report, if necessary, for educating the members of your travel party.
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Test Track Theming and Premise
Much like its neighbor attractions in EPCOT’s World Discovery, previously known as Future World, Test Track is a testament to human progress and technological advancement. The queue is designed to look like a vehicle testing facility, while the ride, itself, can be best described as a simulated road test. Throughout the ride, electric silver and vivid blue design elements infuse the experience with a futuristic, dream-like aesthetic.
Just looking at this attraction, let alone riding in it, makes you get about synthwave music vibes. Or, it almost make you feel like you should be listening to some Daft Punk or Majid Jordan tunes.
Presented by Chevrolet, Test Track features Chevy models and designs–including those currently in the testing phase–throughout. An interactive queue that can be best described as a virtual playground for car fanatics leads to a loading dock where guests board open-top SIM cars.
After boarding, ride vehicles coast over a neon yellow-marked roadway through glow-in-the dark, silhouetted mountain ranges, lightning strikes, pouring rain, and intense traffic. This indoor, dark ride portion of the attraction concludes with a convincing and emotionally fraught “crash test” fake-out: Right at the moment of impact, ride vehicles shoot through hidden doors to an open-air race track, where the speed trial is conducted.
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Test Track Speed
As mentioned previously, Test Track is one of the fastest ride in Walt Disney World. During the speed trial at the end of the testing simulation, SIM cars full of EPCOT visitors race around a circular track at rates of up to 65 miles per hour.
SIM cars travel at this top speed for a mere 10-15 seconds, providing a short burst of momentum that will enthrall thrill seekers and, perhaps, entice nervous guests to give the ride a try.
Despite the attention it receives for being one of Disney’s fastest attractions, it is worth noting that Test Track SIM cars do not reach 65 miles per hour as quickly as ride vehicles on Rockin’ Roller Coaster in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which climb from 0 to 57 mph in a mere 2.8 seconds.
By comparison, a SIM car takes 8.8 seconds to reach its top speed. We cannot, however, deny the intensity of the Test Track experience. The outdoor setting of the speed trial–the wind whipping through your hair and burning your cheeks–creates an illusion of momentum greater than that actually achieved by the ride vehicles.
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Test Track Drops, Loops, and Turns
The speed trial is the most physically extreme segment of Test Track’s simulated vehicle assessment. Potential riders should know that, for the majority of the experience, SIM cars travel much slower than 65 miles per hour. That being said, some guests may be wary of ride motions designed to make you feel as if you are experiencing an actual vehicle test, including bumps, quick turns, and sudden brakes.
Anxious children and even adult survivors of car crashes may be disturbed by the attractions’s imitation of a near-crash with a semi truck, created by abrupt movement of the ride vehicle coordinated with flashing tail lights displayed on a large, digital screen.
As for other roller coaster elements, there are no traditional drops on Test Track. At the start of the outdoor course, SIM cars fly down a small hill; otherwise, the terrain is relatively flat. Additionally, Test Track’s massive course–the longest of any Disney attraction–contains no loops or corkscrews. At no point are guests flipped upside down.
In my experience, Test Track feels less like a roller coaster than a ride in the sports car my uncle rented one summer, fraught with tight maneuvers that left me feeling grateful for my seatbelt.
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Test Track Experience
Among devoted Disney park fans, Test Track is as famous for its speed and storyline as it is for the creative and competitive elements beginning in the queue. While waiting in line, guests have the opportunity to design their own SIM cars. The Chevrolet design room is home to several large touch screens, where riders scan their MagicBands, then begin creating!
The innovative programming allows you to select a vehicle model, color, wheel size, and fuel efficiency, among other attributes. After traveling through the queue, while riding Test Track, you will notice that the personalized journey continues: At the conclusion of each vehicle test, your design will be scored against those created by the other guests in your SIM car.
Opportunities for imaginative play and the benevolent construction of the actual ride vehicle function as tools for helping youngsters overcome potential fears of riding Test Track. The SIM car is an open-top passenger vehicle with two rows of three-person seating, in which kids can sit between trusted adults for reassurance and protection.
I suggest that you encourage the young children in your party (those who are at least 40 inches tall) to create their own cars while waiting in line and, then, sit sandwiched between adults in the ride vehicle. Throughout the journey, redirect their focus to the competition, congratulating the performance of their personalized designs in the weather, terrain, brake, and speed assessments.
After all vehicle tests have been conducted, on your way through the exit back to World Discovery, encourage kids to check the leaderboard of top-scoring guest designs, create commercials advertising their own SIM cars, and drive their inventions on a virtual track with a green screen.
To preserve the memory of this thrilling experience, guests often collect pictures from two different locations. The Test Track exit takes you through a Chevrolet showroom filled with cars that are actually available for purchase. While you may not be in the market for a new automobile, members of your party–including those who choose to skip the ride, itself–may wish to take pictures with the display vehicles. Additionally, those who brave the testing simulation will notice a flash at the bottom of the hill at the start of the outdoor speed assessment. These photos, which are often hilarious encapsulations of surprise at the sudden change in environment, can be viewed near the Chevy showroom.
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So, you might still be wondering the question that was originally posed at the beginning of this article: is Test Track scary? Well, this attraction qualifies as a mere 4 out of 10 on my own “Scary Scale” barometer. I can see it being scary for some guests due to its dark ride elements and high speed.
But, with that said, if your young child is at least 40 inches tall and a thrill seeker or a car enthusiast, they will love Test Track! This ride is also popular among teenagers, young adults, and older adults with an interest in cars or racing.
Do keep in mind that Disney fans who suffer from motion sickness, neck and back pain, or other health conditions may want to bypass this experience or, at a minimum, fully educate themselves on the risks prior to entering the queue.
But if you’re up for it, Test Track provides a pretty thrilling experience, especially if you’re already a fan of high speed vehicles.
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