Friday, January 6, 2012

Test Track Gets a Refurb

Today, Disney announced the Test Track refurbishment at Epcot that I'd been saying was coming for months.  (Originally I reported it in the rumors section last August!)  This new refurb will still include GM as the sponsor of the pavilion, but will focus on one specific car brand, Chevrolet, as the ride's core.

Disney and General Motors Renew Alliance and Create Magic for Guests at a Re-Imagined Test Track Experience

Two of the world’s most recognized brands extend an alliance that will create a new experience for millions of Guests at Epcot.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 6, 2012 – Disney and General Motors have renewed their long-term business relationship with a new multi-year corporate alliance.

As part of the new alliance, GM will be actively involved with Walt Disney Imagineering in the development of a re-imagined, design-centric Test Track experience. The refurbished Test Track will be presented by one of GM’s most famous brands, Chevrolet. As Chevrolet marks its 100th anniversary, the new alliance agreement enables General Motors to tell its story in new and exciting ways to millions of Guests from around the world and continue as the official vehicle sponsor of Walt Disney World Resort.

“We are excited to renew our long-term alliance with General Motors,” said George Aguel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances for the Walt Disney Company. “This unique agreement extends collaboration between two of the most recognized brands in the world, a relationship that spans over 30 years. The re-imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will continue our shared goal of providing unique and innovative experiences that engage Disney guests in exciting and interactive ways.” ”

“As a global brand, Chevrolet is looking forward to welcoming Guests from around the world to the re-imagined Test Track,” said Joel Ewanick, Global Chief Marketing Officer for General Motors. “The best of Disney and the best of Chevrolet will come together to bring Guests an immersive experience in the design process of the vehicles they see on the road today and will see in the future.”

Plans call for closing the current GM Test Track in April 2012, with an anticipated opening of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet scheduled for fall 2012.

As part of the re-imagining, the Future World attraction will feature a sleek new “Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot” immersing Guests in the fascinating world of automotive design. Amid upbeat music, engaging media, dramatic lighting and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers – and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.

At interactive design and styling workstations, Guests will be able to create their own custom concept vehicles. The adventure will then shift into high gear as Guests buckle into their 6-person “SimCar” ride vehicle and put their design through its paces on the exhilarating hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit.

Their performance testing complete, Guests will move into a post-show area filled with special effects and be scored on how well their custom concept vehicle did. And of course, Guests will be able see the very latest Chevrolet vehicles in an all-new state-of-the-art showroom.

Say goodbye to this style car!  The new style will feature Chevy logo
So what does all this mean?  Well, it's all still very vague.  But first of all, it means that the concept of the ride will be changing.  Instead of it being a proving grounds, putting cars through their paces, you will simply be taking newly-designed vehicles for a test spin.  

How will they make these changes?  First, the preshow area will have to be completely redone.  Hopefully this will mean that we'll stop getting the banging and clanking noise that exists here.  The new Chevrolet Design Center will allow guests to use workstations to create automotive designs.  

Once designed, your SimCar will go on the ride of the Test Track, allowing you to test these new concepts.  There is no word if the actual Test Track attraction will change a whole lot as of yet, but it does appear that most of it may stay in tact, according to the wording of the press release. Once you get off the attraction, the post show area will have you scored on how well your concept car did.

Of course, I'm excited to see a new version of Test Track coming down the pipes.  I think the attraction needed a refurb and it will be exciting to see what the next chapter of this attraction will have in store for us.  

However, this does make me a little sad.  I mean, one of my favorite pre-show movies will more than likely be going away... (2, 5, and 7...7?...yeah...7)...but that's just something I'll have to get over.  In the long run, it will be nice to have an updated and more modern version of Test Track.  

As was rumored here, this new attraction will be closing in April and will be reopening in September.  (The rumored dates as of now are April 15th and Sept. 21st)

As the year progresses, I can't wait to see what Disney has in store for us regarding this attraction.  It has always been one of my favorites, even though many in the Disney community are not as thrilled with it as I am.  It has always been one that I have stood up for, so I am anxious for more news about what's coming for sure!  

What is your take about this refurb?  Do you like the idea or will you miss the current version?  Let me know in the comments!  

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Dennis said...

One of my favorite attractions, will miss the original but looking forward to the new!

The Boxing Guru said...

I'm actually looking forward to the change. I love Test Track, but I'm sure they will keep it great!