Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom | Guest Review

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