Expedition Everest is a very entertaining and adventurous roller coaster ride in the Animal Kingdom of the Walt Disney Amusement Park in Florida. It was announced on 22nd April, 2003 and three years later it was inaugurated in a grand opening ceremony on 7th April 2006. It took six years for its planning and construction. The Expedition Everest is made up of 5000 tons of Steel. The Expedition Everest is not the most aggressive and threatening ride of Walt Disney but it definitely is adventurous and fun. It is considered as one of the family attractions, suitable and commodious for children, teens and adults.
The theme of the Expedition Everest is based on the legend of a creature named Yeti guarding the ancient mountains of the Himalayas. Yeti is believed to be a snowman found in the region of Nepal and Tibet, taller than an average human.The story says that the ancient snowman guards the sacred places of the Himalayas and should not be disturbed or no one is spared from its wrath and fury. Features like Fastpass and Single Rider Line is available in the ride. The Fastpass allows the rider to avoid waiting in long lines and allows them to enjoy other rides and attractions during the wait time period. The capacity of the ride is about 2050 riders per hour. The duration of the ride is for about two minutes and fifty seconds.
The journey of this ride starts from the office of a fictional travel agency named “Himalayan escapes”, then they reach an old tree warehouse which has an old museum known as “The Yeti Museum” run by Professor Pumba Dorjay which showcases artifacts from Nepal showing their culture and traditions, the facts about Yeti and its footprints thus warning the riders of the monster and the coming potential dangers they are about to encounter. The guests of the Single Rider Line can skip this part of museum and exhibition. After the museum, the real adventure begins when the riders board the train from Anandapura Rail Service at the model village of Serka Zong. The train was initially used to transport tea but is now used to deliver guests to the foot of Mount Everest. It is given the look of an old steam engine. It runs at a maximum speed of 50 km per hour both forward and backward.
The ride starts through a quite village and bamboo forests with twittering birds and beautiful sceneries all around. The area is decorated with bright flags and colours, the indigenous plants and wilderness and other native things of Nepal. A lot of research, time and thought have been put into it by the designing and the creative team of Walt Disney. It is indeed very beautiful and fascinating to watch. Besides the beauty, the setting also involves various perilous warnings of the danger that lies ahead. Despite of that the train advances to the forbidden mountain which is said to be the domain of the fearful Yeti.
The train then ascends the mountain which is 200 feet tall. It passes through a raided temple which has the carvings and paintings of the yeti thus confirming his existence to the riders and that it is not a myth. The height of the ride is about 112 feet. The train ascends the mountain through a bridge connecting the mountain and the village. The view of the park from such a height is amazing. The train goes through circles of path surrounded by glaciers valleys and finally reaches the peak of the mountain where it enters a dark and frightening cave. When it finally emerges from the cave, the riders witness the track being broken and torn apart presumably by the Yeti. Thus, having no other way to go forward the train retreats and starts going in the backward direction through another spiral way. When the train again enters the dark cave, it comes to a halt and a large Yeti is seen damaging and tearing apart more tracks in fury as his territory is being violated. The Yeti then seems to plunge upon the riders but the train escapes and continues to move forward and exits the cave. The train descends to about 80 feet where it enters another cave where the shadow and the shrieks of another Yeti could be witnessed again. The lightening and the sound effects here are incredible. The train finally emerges from the cave and returns to the station and the adventure ends.
The ride seems to be very fascinating and wonderful and a treat which one must give to himself but a certain safety precautions must be kept in mind before going for it. Pregnant ladies are strictly prohibited to go to this adventure ride. A person should be in good physical and mental health. A person suffering from heart disease or blood pressure problem is advised not to take this ride. People suffering from motion sickness may encounter vomiting, nausea or dizziness.
The Expedition Ride is listed in the Guinness book of Records as the most expensive roller coaster built in the world. Its cost is estimated to about US $ 100 million. Its USP is that it can travel in both forward and backward direction in a single ride. Contrary to popular belief it is not the tallest point in Florida, it is the tallest artificial artifact of Florida. It is one of the finest specimens of the story telling ability of Walt Disney and the special effects it could create.