Yes ... WOW!
Or maybe WHEW is more like it ... like 'Whew, WDI can actually still make quality E Ticket attractions for its USA parks.'
Yep ... old WDW1974 (AKA management's worst nightmare) was quite impressed with his first six trips to visit the Yeti (who I've nicknamed Mac) today. ***Side note to any APers heading out this weekend -- do NOT go in the morning or early afternoon. You will likely wait a long time, maybe hours. IF you show up after 2 p.m., you may be able to ride many times. I could have gone likely another six times, but opted for a safari (which was awesome as it was the end of the day, there were only six of us and NO ridiculous poacher overlay, yet plenty of very active animals!)
OK ... back to the review, which I'll keep short and sweet. All the details of the ride can be found elsewhere so I'm not going to rehash them or spoil the ride for those of you (like poor Dan in Texas and Little Mikey in NY) who have a wait to ride.
Why is this the best WDW E-Ticket to open since ToT a dozen years ago? Yes -- even better than Soarin because I think rides always have more repeatability than movie/simulator attractions and Mission Space, which is far more intense.
Simple. It's got the total package (or close to it, and all the effects clearly aren't working). You have a highly themed queue (that doesn't do it justice) that sets the tone. ''Look at all the amazing stuff,'' a young mother told her 6-year-old daughter. That's what I was doing too. This is a ride you don't want to simply FastPass everytime. Of course what it will look like after some of the lower echelon guests, who have to touch everything, get to it is another matter.
The trains are muy kewl looking ... love the steam belch as they pull out of the station to begin the trek up Everest.
The ride is extremely smooth. Smoothest of any Disney coaster in the US. Someone referred to this as BIg Thunder meets the Matterhorn on steroids. I'd agree with that. This isn't intense, although it can be disorienting with all the backward motion. At the same time, I doubt there will be vomit bags installed anytime soon. this isn't a 90 second ride like RnRC that has a cool launch and ... nothing else. I timed the ride at a tad under three minutes on average.
The effects that were working all were cool (some literally). The Yeti looked amazing, but again, you don't get to see him for very long.
I even enjoyed the shop at the exit, which matches the detailed theming and so far at least has limited pins and no plush or princess or Mr. PotatoHead merchandise in it.
This isn't perfect by any stretch, but neither was ToT when it opened (remember just two big drops).
Some things I had small issues with:
Foliage isn't grown. Looks like much was planted in last six months and that make the whole area look too new. Disney used to plant in advance or transplant fully mature trees.
More sound effects would go along way. It would be nice to hear some Asian music as you make the first climb (and no, I don't mean onboard) just strategically placed speakers. Also, some more Yeti noises or even the sound of track getting ripped when you're going backwards in the tunnels would add a lot.
Don't like the bird. Get a real AA, not something on a stick.
Some more props on the way into the mountain ... maybe showing what happened to the 1982 expedition (see queue for explanation on this).
All in all, I loved it. I hoped I would, but Disney has let me down so many times in the past decade (everything from Test Track to Imagination to Stitch) I wasn't counting on it.
It's a wonderful addition to DAK and I am sure it will help drive attendance the way Team Disney hopes. With a little plussing this thing can be labeled great ... it really is that good.
And I'm so happy to report that.