On Saturday during the Destination D23 event, we got a lot of information about what’s coming to Disney Parks all over the world. While there was a lot of exciting news about the future of Walt Disney World, some of the most exciting, at least to me, was the news that Epcot’s Test Track is in line for a major update. This should be seen as excellent news for fans of the attraction because of the way the update will both give us something new and embrace classic Epcot.
Test Track opened in 1999, replacing the original World of Motion attraction. It transformed the dark ride, which told the history of transportation, into more of a thrill ride. The original version was designed to look like an automobile testing facility and gave guests the experience of basically being crash test dummies. In 2012, the ride was re-themed to focus on testing different automotive designs as guests would “design” their ride vehicle, before seeing it put through its paces in the ride itself.
It’s no secret that a lot of fans don’t love the current version of Test Track. It’s seen as being somewhat sterile and lacking in the charm of the previous Test Track. It has an almost Tron vibe going on, which, considering Disney World now has an actual Tron ride, is even more out of place.
As somebody who could do without the “brake check” portion of the original Test Track, I can’t disagree with the sentiment. Of course, that assumes that fans ever loved Test Track in the first place, as there are those who wish the original World of Motion had never been replaced. That’s where this new update gets interesting, as Test Track 3.0 won’t only be inspired by its previous iterations, but World of Motion as well.
Very little about the new Test Track was explained during the Destination D23 presentation. We know that the update is happening, and that Chevrolet has signed a new sponsorship agreement for the attraction, and is therefore probably the one who made the call to update the ride, much as parent company GM did the same to make Test Track happen initially. But when work will begin, or when it will be done, is still very up in the air. Considering that many of the projects Disney talked about Saturday are certainly years away, and that Epcot is still a couple of months away from completing a major refurbishment, Test Track could still be years away.
But even if we’re waiting a while, this is great news. A version of Test Track that pays homage to World of Motion is the sort of thing that, if done right, could make everybody happy. Test Track was essentially the precursor to Radiator Springs Racers one of Disney California Adventure's best rides, which is a dark ride, telling a version of the story of Cars, with a fun race element at the end. One could see a version of Test Track that simply uses the current ride vehicles for a World of Motion style dark ride looking at the history of transportation but ends with the high-speed run to give fans a thrill before the exit.
The first version of Test Track lasted 13 years. The current version will hit 11 years old in December. Even if it takes a couple of years for the new Test Track to be done, it’s due to be something new, and it sounds like it’s going to try and appeal to everybody.