June 18, 2024

Test Track Closing in Summer 2024 for Ride Reimagining

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Walt Disney World has announced a reimagining of Test Track at EPCOT, which will be the third incarnation of the thrill ride in World Discovery. This post shares all of the details, concept art, and




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Walt Disney World has announced a reimagining of Test Track at EPCOT, which will be the third incarnation of the thrill ride in World Discovery. This post shares all of the details, concept art, and everything we know about the plan–plus comprehensive commentary about its changes, inspiration, and likelihood of actually happening.

The reimagining of Test Track was announced, somewhat out of the blue, during Destination D23 last fall. Not much was said about the project. Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro offered a sneak peek at the above concept art and teased what was to come as a quick part of a presentation that spanned several upcoming projects.

Disney Imagineer Chris Beatty joined Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro on stage and indicated that Imagineers along with teams from corporate alliance partner Chevrolet are reaching back into history for inspiration from the original World of Motion, and are bringing that spirit of optimism to the next iteration of Test Track.

A little over six months later, we now have a closing date for the current incarnation of the attraction (Test Track 2.0) along with a new piece of concept art. Test Track presented by Chevrolet at EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort will close temporarily beginning June 17, 2024.

Walt Disney World did not provide any other specifics, but indicated that more details will be shared soon. Here’s a look at the new concept art:

Test Track closing on June 17, 2024 is an interesting move, but one that’s been rumored (roughly) for a couple of months now. Normally, the summer tourist season is when attractions open rather than close.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure doesn’t yet have an official opening date, but we strongly suspect it’ll debut in the second half of June 2024. That reimagined ride at Magic Kingdom is the big draw for this year, with the marketing campaign for the attraction starting to kick into high gear. It’ll probably open within a week or two of Test Track’s closure. You might very well be able to take a trip that coincides with both!

In addition to this, EPCOT is debuting CommuniCore Hall and Plaza, as well as the new Encanto show on June 10, 2024. (And, we think, an EPCOT Summer Festival!) This is especially significant as it signals the completion of construction; when the walls that have been up for years fully come down. EPCOT will finally be wall-free…for one (1) week!

 

Given all of the above, I was apprehensive about the rumors that Test Track would close in June. I still suspected they were wrong, and that Walt Disney World would push off the project until mid-August 2024. That the desire to have a normal summer season–the first at EPCOT since 2019–would outweigh the desire to get a headstart on the reimagining. That Imagineering would instead accelerate the overhaul once summer ended, kicking things into overdrive a la Tiana’s Bayou Adventure during the downtime.

However, I can understand why they’ve opted to close Test Track on June 17, 2024. For one thing, the summer isn’t nearly as busy as it used to be. Although this is the tourist season and it’s usually when new things debut and attractions don’t close for refurbishment unless absolutely necessary, it’s not as verboten as it once was.

Moreover, Walt Disney World has nothing major in the pipeline for 2025. It should go without saying, but there will not be a direct answer to Epic Universe (new post on that topic coming tomorrow–stay tuned), in the form of new rides, lands, or a mythical 5th gate. But there will certainly be indirect ones–ride reimaginings, new entertainment, special events, and more. I would imagine Test Track 3.0 will be one of the anchors to that indirect answer.

My guess is that Imagineering started with a desired finish date for Test Track 3.0 in Summer 2025 and worked backwards from there to determine when the current incarnation of the attraction needed to close. And since this is being funded largely with Chevy Bucks, they also had to work within the parameters of the budget for the overhaul, and also build in a bit of a buffer to make sure the reimagined ride is ready on time.

To that point, I would hazard a guess that the target opening date for Test Track 3.0 is no later than Memorial Day 2025. That doesn’t mean it will open then–it could occur much earlier or even later. After all, absolutely no timeline has been given. Even once one is, there’s always the possibility of work being completed ahead of schedule or delays occurring. But my educated guess is that we’re looking at a late spring or early summer opening. Spring Break 2025 being the absolute earliest and July 4th being the latest.

For reference, Test Track closed in mid-April and reopened in early December 2012 when it was last reimagined. Although that was only a decade ago, it seems like an eternity ago. Due to labor and everything else shortages, construction projects tend to take longer now. (Although crews will soon be freed up from TBA, not to mention Epic Universe.) At least 9 months sounds about right for the minimum timeline here. I think 10-12 months is even more reasonable, even without knowing more about its scale or scope.

I would also hazard a guess that no other EPCOT attractions will go down for reimaginings until Test Track 3.0 debuts. In a perfect world, Test Track would close and the Play Pavilion would open shortly after that. Maybe not as originally envisioned, but as something to help absorb crowds on this side of the park. Even if it’s just temporary and basic stuff in there.

There’s not any actual chance of that happening. The Play Pavilion hasn’t just been paused, it’s been stopped. That building will eventually be used for something again–Walt Disney World did spend a lot of money on refurbishing and extending its useful life–but that doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.

Accordingly, EPCOT can’t really afford to close any other attractions–namely, Spaceship Earth or Journey into Imagination–while Test Track is down. While it is possible that they expect CommuniCore Hall to pick up some slack, that’s not a bona fide attraction, so it’s not the same.

One thing we’ve observed time and time again is that when Test Track is down, the other rides in the former Future World have longer waits. This is true even of Journey into Imagination, which goes from being underutilized capacity (e.g. is often a walk-on) to having a measurable wait time without Test Track.

EPCOT has been busier since the overhaul started wrapping up last December, and we’d expect that trend to continue with the debut of CommuniCore Hall and whatever else happens this summer and beyond. Basically, it’s hard to imagine another ride going down for a long closure at the same time as Test Track. But that was probably always going to be the case.

On the plus side, knocking out this ride reimagining sooner also means that Spaceship Earth and/or Journey into Imagination can be on the clock sooner. It’s probably wishful thinking, but I’d love to have reveals for one or both at the D23 Expo, and this does line things up for an August announcement followed by Summer 2025 closure(s).

My next thought is that the concept art looks like a massive upgrade as compared to the current exterior of Test Track. Ditching the permanent canopy that looks temporary (and industrial) is a huge win. While that serves a practical purpose (shade and cover from the rain), it’s also a bit of an eyesore. We’ve all just sort of collectively gotten used to it as fans as it’s been there for so long.

That’s why I’m sharing the above concept art of the original World of Motion, and how sleek and futuristic that looked. Or rather, looks. To be perfectly honest, I think World of Motion was the blandest of the OG Future World pavilions–but the competition was also staunch, and the architecture on all of them was or is stunning. World of Motion was simpler and more elegant as a result–definitely better than how Test Track looks.

The thing is, Test Track still largely looks like World of Motion. Sure, there’s the track around the outside and the cylinder’s cutaway to the dark ride is gone, but the sleek wheel-shape of the pavilion is largely intact. Ditto the General Motors lounge above the entrance. Creating a new permanent entrance awning that’s smaller and lower than the current canopy is a great move. It looks fantastic, and will allow the elegant architecture of World of Motion to shine through. I really love this move. This reimagining is already off to a fantastic start, and it hasn’t even begun!

Oh, and it’s probably a weird “me thing” but I’m also happy to see the current marquee go. It looks like a mushroom.

Ultimately, I’m really excited for the Test Track overhaul and everything (which admittedly isn’t much!) that we know about it thus far. While this wouldn’t have been on top 10 or 20 lists in terms of my priorities for Walt Disney World if asked prior to the announcement at Destination D23, I actually think it makes a ton of sense. And, again, it’s largely funded by General Motors. It isn’t like they’re going to pay for a trackless reboot of Journey into Imagination with Figment and Dreamfinder. (But if they would, I’d promise to buy a Chevy!)

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, with further commentary here. For that, see our previous post about the Test Track 3.0 Ride Reimagining. I love that this seems to be ditching the TRON-inspired aesthetic, and instead will harken back to World of Motion. I hope that’s done earnestly and sincerely, not just as little Easter Eggs or fan service.

I’ve really come to appreciate Walt Disney World attractions with personality, and think that’s one thing absent from the current version of Test Track. It just feels too cold and sterile, and there’s nothing memorable about it. Even as someone who thought the original Test Track was overdue for an update, I appreciated its personality and we still quote some of the quirky pre-show lines. I don’t think the current version has anything that fans will be quoting 10 years from now.

Suffice to say, I’m really looking forward to Test Track 3.0 and hope it pulls from the best aspects of all its predecessors. It seems like Disney and Chevrolet are positioned to learn from past successes and failures, making improvements in Test Track 3.0 on those bases. I just hope Imagineers have enough time, creative freedom and Chevy Bucks to complete a high-quality ride reimagining. Obviously it’s a very different attraction, but seeing the incredible and quick turn-around on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is very promising!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of the Test Track reimagining announcement? Surprised that the current Test Track is closing on June 17, 2024? Happy that Imagineering is being given an extra couple of months (as opposed to an late summer/early fall off-season closure) or disappointed it’ll be down during your trip? Excited for Test Track 3.0, or will you miss the current version? Think it’s time for a replacement to TRON Track now that TRON Lightcycle Run exists in Magic Kingdom? Which version of this ride is your favorite? Hopeful that World of Motion inspires more than just a sense of optimism in the new ride? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!




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