Walt Disney World Resort is about to launch an attraction that is out of this world: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is hitting the “play button” on May 27, just in time for the summertime holidays. It’s going to give your “Guardians of the Galaxy” fans (not to mention your Disney fans) something to excitedly look forward to next time they pop over to EPCOT. It swiftly climbed to the top of our MUST-ride list on our very first spin around this supremely fun and immersive galaxy.
We had the treat of riding the new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction not one, not two, not three, but a whopping EIGHT times during a recent trip to Walt Disney World Resort for a press event where we got even more details on EPCOT’s transformation as well as the WDW 50th celebration (more on that in Recommend’s upcoming June issue).
Located in the park’s newly renamed World Discovery neighborhood, the indoor Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster—with a height requirement of 42 inches—is the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at EPCOT. It’s here where Xandarians have traveled from their homeworld in the Andromeda Galaxy to Earth—or Terra, as they call it—to create the Wonders of Xandar pavilion, inviting EPCOT guests to learn more about their people and their advanced technologies. That is…until something goes wrong and the Xandarians call the Guardians of the Galaxy for help.
So, what makes this first coaster attraction at EPCOT so utterly brilliant? It’s a combination of things—the reverse launch, the vehicles’ controlled rotations so riders are always focused on the action, the adventurous storyline, and the classic pop music that is weaved into the experience. Think Space Mountain on a double-dose of steroids.
Let’s take a “pause” and talk about the attraction’s onboard audio, which cranks tunes from the 70s and 80s as guests race through the cosmos—it’s a random, rotating playlist featuring “September,” “Disco Inferno,” “Conga,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “I Ran,” and “One Way or Another.” And guests won’t know which song they’ll hear during the ride until they take off on that reverse launch. Fun fact: Disney Imagineers tested more than 100 potential songs for the attraction.
“This is one of Disney’s first omnicoasters, which is a new technology where we are able to control the vehicle on the coaster so we can have the guests looking at the action at all times,” says Bette Lombardi, sr. project coordinator at Walt Disney Imagineering. “All the seats are the best seats on this attraction. It’s also our first reverse-launch coaster, for a little extra thrill.” Although…having been able to ride it multiple times, we do have a favorite seat (first row, righthand seat).
Adds Daniel Joseph, principal special effects designer and illusion development lead at Walt Disney Imagineering, “The scale of this attraction is pretty monumental and because of that, it houses a lot of story, a lot of queue and lots of things to look at. It’s a huge experience; we put a lot of time and heart into it.”
Walt Disney Imagineering’s project controls estimator Ashley Levine notes that “riders are most going to enjoy the music and the energy. Our team worked really hard to choose songs that really matched the energy of the Guardians but also the feel and movement of the ride motion. They chose six songs that are really just fantastic.”
And what’s the favorite thing about this new attraction for those who poured their heart and soul into it? Joseph says, “I would say the feeling of being in outerspace. It really is kind of an amazing thing that we pulled off in a way that certainly none of us have ever felt before and whether that’s the visuals that we worked on to put on the attraction or the new omnicoaster technology, it really does feel different and I think that people will get off the ride and say, ‘What just happened…I loved it.’”
So, how do your clients get on the ride? When Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens on Memorial Day weekend, a virtual queue will be in place. Guests will need to use the MyDisney experience app to enter the attraction (standby queue will not be available). And…each guest will be able to enter the virtual queue only once per day.
And although your clients might be racing to hop on the ride, the queue itself is quite the experience. As Lombardi notes, “One of my favorites [of the whole attraction] would be the Xandar Gallery. Our showcases explore the city of Xandar through some great technology. It’s a great model of the city.” The Xandar Gallery, by the way, also features excerpts from “Good Morning Xandar,” where a host interviews the Guardians of the Galaxy about their heroic deeds. “I highly recommend,” says Levine, “people look out for those interviews.”
For more on Guardians of the Galaxy; Cosmic Rewind, click here.