Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom | Guest Review

Roller Coaster Reviews

Expedition Everest - Disney's Animal KingdomHave you ever imagined yourself as the owner of a theme park? I have. I’ve never fiddled with that “No Limits” game all the kids seem to enjoy, but I have had a bit of fun with every iteration of the Roller Coaster Tycoon series. Does that make me think I could run a theme park, design roller coasters, or even make sure there were enough hot dog stands? Of course not, but when one looks at the numbers required to make Expedition Everest a reality, don’t be afraid if you develop a nervous tic.

A Very Costly Ride
One hundred million dollars. That’s what it cost. In pure raw numbers, Millennium Force costs $25 million dollars. They could have had four three-hundred-foot-plus coasters for the same cost. In an even more insane bit of number jumbling, Maverick at $21 million, Top Thrill Dragster at $25 million, and Intimidator 305 at $25 million, could have been built, along with MF, and they would have saved four million bucks. And, any park that did that in a year, and we’re not talking copies, but new iterations of those rides, would have even had Robb Alvey frothing at the mouth. Instead, Disney gave us a puppet that works at about fifty percent and a Vekoma coaster with little airtime, no inversions and not much in the way of thrills. So why is this one of the most well received rides in all of Orlando, if not the world?

One of the Best Coasters Rides Ever Built?
This might be the best non-dark, dark ride of all time. Is that right, a dark ride, am I crazy? I feel sane, but as the train leaves for Expedition Everest, there are only two ways to judge it, as a coaster, or as a ride, and as a coaster it fails. As a ride, well, it might just be one of the best rides ever built.

Expedition Everest - Disneys Animal KingdomSteer Clear of Spoilers
I’m going to do my best not to spoil what happens on Everest, but I will say this right now; if there’s even a chance of going to central Florida in your future, do not watch video of this coaster on Youtube. Doing so will destroy all the subtle nuances, as well as the surprise elements that abound inside of the mountain.

The Coaster for Anyone
Another thing worth mentioning, one of my good friends, Gareth, is the furthest thing from a roller coaster enthusiast. He absolutely loved Expedition Everest. If ever there were a coaster that really is worth taking that freaked out friend or family member on, this is the one. From the visuals, various special effects, and insidious “tricks” that this ride has up its sleeves, I truly believe that most non-coaster enthusiasts could still find something to love on Expedition Everest.

How Does Expedition Everest Measure Up?
This is the hard part, how to rank such a thing? On the one hand, without Everest’s stellar visuals, effects, and various other utterly unique elements, this is a pretty bare coaster, manufactured by a company in Vekoma who is not as respected as some other ride builders. On the other hand, this is one of, if not the most impressive rides at any of the Florida Disney parks. It has its competition, there’s no doubt of that, but Everest still stands out. This is a must ride roller coaster, and that goes for enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike.

Roller Coaster RatingsAs for a rating, I give Expedition Everest an 8.5 out of 10, based on the thrills provided by the ride, and the incredible mountain it resides in. It would be nice if it fit more comfortably into one category or another, but just as it would be unfair to dismiss Splash Mountain as just another log ride, so too must Expedition Everest be judged on the whole package, and that is where it shines like few other roller coasters do.

Roller Coaster RatingsExpedition Everest ranks a two on the thrill scale if you’re under ten years old, or unfamiliar with theme parks, and a one if you enjoy roller coasters, and are not easily spooked by mildly scary visuals.

Read more Disney roller coaster reviews:
Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World)
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
California Screamin’ at Disney’s California Adventure

And, view a list of all of the site’s coaster reviews here: Roller Coaster Reviews List

What’s your take on Expedition Everest? Leave a comment below. Image 1 via CC – Flickr User Edwin Torres Photography, Image 2 via CC – Flickr User Richo.Fan

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

10 Comments

  1. Is the one of those rides that can be justified by its POV? After seeing it, I didnt think it looked all that good, but from what you say its great. So do you have to ride this to appreciate it?

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  2. I'm not surprised that the YouTube video was unimpressive, this one really needs to be ridden to be fully appreciated. Even the queuing areas are really cool!

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    • I figured as much. That's part of reason I didn't include a video in the post.

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  3. As always, Disney has great theming. I just wish they would fix the yeti. http://www.discoyeti.com has shirts, a parody of Lady GaGa's Telephone, and the yeti's blog. Some friends of mine are going down there in November. I'm going to get them to talk to park management. They need to fix the yeti before they spend $3 trillion on a land based on the naked blue people (aka Avatar Land).

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  4. "Another thing worth mentioning, one of my good friends, Gareth, is the furthest thing from a roller coaster enthusiast. He absolutely loved Expedition Everest. If ever there were a coaster that really is worth taking that freaked out friend or family member on, this is the one. From the visuals, various special effects, and insidious “tricks” that this ride has up its sleeves, I truly believe that most non-coaster enthusiasts could still find something to love on Expedition Everest."

    Uncle Walt would be pleased. This was the original concept behind Disneyland– a place where everyone could enjoy the rides together. And it was followed by the non-Disney parks until the mid 1970's when they "discovered" thrill rides and began abandoning their theming.

    Everest is a great family/theme park coaster. And while it lacks the little air time hills of Big Thunder, it has some fun positive g's in the helixes. And the videos don't do justice to the dark portions.

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  5. The reason this coaster has no airtime is because it is suposed to feel like an expedition and you would not expect an expedition into the mountain to go up and down and up and down .

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  6. We visited DW over spring break and finally got to ride EE. The last time we vsited was in 2008 and were not able to ride it because of the very long wait. Finally got to ride it this year being ready for the yeti. Initially our 7 and 10 year olds said “we’re not riding that!” My husband and I were going to take turns watching them with the switch fast pass and then this man gave us his which would also allow our boys. We talked them into riding with us and we all loved it! The backward sequence was very fun and you do feel like you’re almost going upside down. When you launch out of the cave and down the steep drop, our mouths dropped open and we have the pic to prove it! LOL! The whole theme with the yeti and special effects were awesome! This has become a very enjoyable family memory for us! If you really like the bigger thrill rides, this one is def. worth it! Big thumbs up for DW for adding another outstanding attraction!

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  7. I may be in the minority, but I hated Expedition Everest. I was bored out of my mind on it, and I loved Space Mountain. The theming was definitely impressive, but to me that means nothing if the ride itself is bad. I guess as a true thrill seeker, I should have expected Disney in general to not really do it for me, but everyone I know made a big deal out of Everest, so I had high hopes. But take away the mountain and you have one of the worst rides in the world. This is why I say theming should be second. My favorite roller coaster (Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure) has virtually no theming, but it’s one of the top roller coasters in the world. I enjoy that much more because in the end, I’m not waiting on line to look at things. I’m waiting online to go on a ride. My favorite rides at Disney were Rock N’ Roller Coaster, Tower Of Terror, Space Mountain, and Mission: Space. This is because the rides themselves were fun along with having good theming. Everest would definitely rank as my biggest disappointment.

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  8. This cosater is awesome

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  9. I liked this ride a lot, but, not to go into too much detail, the single greatest effect in it is broken, and Disney’s fallback strategy for making it impressive really doesn’t work for me.

    But all the rest of the theming was great, from the queue to the trains and tracks and (my favorite bit) an ingenious use of darkness combined with good old Disney animation. Considered as a coaster, its thrill level is strictly “family”, but in my book that’s OK.

    Reply

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