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The only true roller coaster in Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest vies with Avatar Flight of Passage for the park’s longest waits in line—and for good reason. Your journey begins in an elaborate waiting area modeled after a Nepalese village; then you board an old train headed for the base camp of Mount Everest. Throughout the waiting area are posted notes from previous expeditions, some with cryptic observations regarding a mysterious creature said to guard the mountain. These ominous signs are ignored (as if you have a choice!), resulting in a high-speed encounter with the Abominable Snowman himself.
The ride consists of tight turns (some while traveling backward), hills, and dips but no loops or inversions. From your departure at the loading station through your first high-speed descent, you’ll see some of the most spectacular panoramas in Walt Disney World: On a clear day, you can see the buildings of Coronado Springs Resort, EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth, and possibly downtown Orlando. But look quickly because you’re immediately propelled, projectile-like, through the inner and outer reaches of the mountain. The final drop and last few turns are among Disney’s very best coaster effects.
Disney bills Expedition Everest as a “family thrill ride”—more akin to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad than Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster—but it’s an exciting experience nonetheless, and as is typical of a super-headliner attraction, it generates lots of reader comments. A Seattle family of four gives Expedition Everest a thumbs-up:
Expedition Everest is tremendous. It has enough surprises and runaway speed to make it one of the more enjoyable thrill rides in the whole Orlando area.
A Macon, Georgia, teen successfully recruited Grandma to ride:
Expedition Everest was so smooooth! I went right out and brought my granny back to ride it. She didn’t throw up or anything!
A touring strategy that doesn’t require much backtracking is to start with Dinosaur, then see Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids as part of a counterclockwise tour of the park.
Expedition Everest reaches a top speed of around 50 mph, about twice that of Space Mountain, so expect to see the usual safety warnings for health. Ask to be seated up front—the first few rows offer the best frontseat experience of any Disney coaster, indoor or outdoor. Also, note the animal poop on display in the Lightning Lane if you use it—a deliberate attempt at verisimilitude, or did Disney run out of money for ride props and use whatever they could find?
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Here's roughly how many minutes you'll wait for Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain at each Animal Kingdom Crowd Level.
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