Expedition Everest is a custom roller coaster manufactured by Vekoma and located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The coaster officially opened on April 7, 2006 and set the world record for the most expensive roller coaster ever built at $100 million. It became a new icon and standout attraction of the park when it opened. In this review, I will break down the ride experience as well as giving my thoughts on it!
This attraction is located in the Asia section of the park. It is located at the far end by the bridge to Dinoland USA, but this ride is visible from anywhere in the Asia section. It dominates the skyline in the back half of the park. One cool thing I love about the area around this attraction is the seating they have around it. If you are not wanting to ride, but other people in your party do, you can sit and watch the coaster go down the main drop. Even if no one in your party wants to ride, you can just sit and watch the coaster go. That’s one thing I like about certain coasters or rides at Disney and even at some other parks, is when they have an area dedicated for non-riders to watch the ride. I believe this is one of the best attractions that does it, though. If you are wanting to ride, you will enter the stand-by line on the left or the Fastpass+ line on the right if you have a Fastpass.
The queue for this attraction will vary depending on what line you get into. I unfortunately did not see any of the queue as I rode single rider (which I will explain in the “Tips” section), but I will go off from pictures and video I have seen. If you enter the stand-by queue, you will walk in rooms that depict travel agency offices for trips to the Himalayas. In these rooms are a lot of Himalayan artifacts and brochures for trips to Mount Everest. The main part of the queue is a beautiful tea garden with a statue in the middle. The final room is a Yeti Museum showing off artifacts and information about the infamous snowman who lives in Mount Everest. Then you will go in the loading station and prepare to board. If you go through the Fastpass+ queue, there are some smaller rooms with a lot of artifacts, but it is definitely shorter and basically takes you right to the loading station.
Once entering the loading station, you will be assigned a row by a cast member. If you want a specific row, you can ask and your grant will most likely be granted. You will stand behind the gate before your train comes. When your train comes, you will put all loose articles in the pouch in front of you. If you brought a bag on, you will store it underneath your seat. Then you will pull down your lap bar and your ready for your trip to Mount Everest!
After dispatching, you will take a slight right turn on to a small lift hill and drop down a small drop into two left turns that takes you into the main 118 foot lift hill. As your climbing this lift hill, you can get some amazing views of the rest of the Disney World resort on your right and views of the rest of Animal Kingdom of your right. Also on this lift hill, you will pass through a temple with Himalayan carvings including the Yeti. As you descend the lift hill, you will take a slight drop into two sharp left turns. This leads you into straight track where there is a broken piece of track and it seems to end. You will sit there for around 15-20 seconds before the train drops backwards into a double helix. After this double helix, the coaster comes to a stop again, this time facing a projection screen. The projection screen shows the yeti causing havoc to the track, causing the train to have to make an escape. The train then ascends forward to the rides main drop. The train then drops 80 feet into a left banked turn before leveling out into the mountain. You will enter the mountain and drop into a large helix. After the helix, the coaster levels out again before going into the mountain one last time and coming face to face with the “Disco Yeti” before hitting the final break run. The ride then turns into the unloading station.
After unloading, you will exit to your left where you will see your on-ride photo and exit out into the Serka Zong Bazaar, a gift shop where ride related merchandise is sold.
My Thoughts: This is a very fun coaster. It’s not a coaster that’s going to rank high out of coasters I’ve ridden, heck I still think Rock n Roller Coaster is my favorite coaster at WDW, but this is still a great Disney coaster. The theming is awesome and immersive, and I like how they incorporated a couple good show scenes IN the coaster while also the coaster itself is tons of fun. My favorite parts of the ride have to be the backwards double helix, the main drop, and the helix shortly after the main drop. I don’t have a clear favorite moment, as all the moments I just mentioned are equally as good. This ride is not very intense at all in my opinion, but it really doesn’t need to be. This coaster is in a park geared towards families and fits very well here, because it provides a fun thrill you can’t really get anywhere else in the park. It’s a very good fit for the park.
Tips: Ever since Pandora opened, wait times on the major attractions at the park have increased, and EE is very much part of that. This attraction now sees wait times of 50-70 minutes on an average day and 90-120 minutes on busy days. In order to avoid the long lines, you can do one of three things: go within the first or last hour the park is open, use a Fastpass, or use the single rider line. In terms of using Fastpass+ for this attraction, it is a high priority, so I would use one of your two Tier 2 Fastpasses on this, especially if you really want to ride it. The third option is to use the single rider line. The single rider line is located to the right of the ride’s entrance. It’s kind of tucked away, but easy to spot once you find it. The single rider line will be much shorter than the stand-by line, so if you don’t mind splitting up from your party, this will be the best option to save time without the use of a Fastpass!
Final Thoughts: Expedition Everest is the perfect example of how Disney could take a coaster that would be boring without any theming and make it a very fun ride. The theming throughout the entire experience was second to none while the coaster was fun. Absolutely ride it if your at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and you have the chance to!