Thursday, December 13, 2012

And exhale.

I've kept no secrets in regard to my trepidation about the re-imagining of one of my favorite attractions in all of Walt Disney World. Each new official update on the Disney Park Blog has lead to additional fretting and wringing of hands. I feared that when the walls came down, the parts of the ride I enjoyed most would cease to exist. When phrases like "Sim Car" and "design your own vehicle" were being tossed around, my heart sank, as I envisioned an entirely simulated experience. No matter how cool the update, there was no simulation that could take the place of wind in my pace as we zoomed around the elevated track attached to the side of the building.

As the date of the unveiling neared, evening circuits around World Showcase during Food and Wine Fest brought the familiar sounds of Test Track cars on the outside loop. Even then, I worried that they were finding ways to create a soundtrack, using the sounds of the attraction as it was formerly known for the the sake of nostalgia. I was bracing myself for a harsh reality.

On December 5, the doors were opened, welcoming in the first Epcot guests. I heard and read very little. When T and I planned our annual trip to Hollywood Studios to see the Spectacle of Dancing Lights (hooray for traditions!), I suggested that maybe we could stop in at Magic Kingdom first to see the brand new Fantasyland expansion, but T was itching to check out Test Track. I took a deep breath. There would be no more denying it, no more convincing myself that they couldn't possibly destroy my beloved Test Track.

We approached. Not too scary from the entrance...

The queue is completely different. Gone are the test dummies, the test simulators, the black-white-grey-yellow color scheme, the clanging-banging-relentless background music. It's all cool, soothing and sleek now. Blue and silver now accompanies the yellow. The soft color of neon and muted back-lighting has replaced the harsh overhead factory setting lights. And Chevrolet takes sole sponsorship.

Thus far, not at all painful. Dare I say, I like it better?

And then... I bet Bill and Sherry won't be waiting behind those doors, not even with a fresh script and updated hair styles.

As you file into one of the two possible studios, you stand at the screen that matches the color and number you waited on outside the doors. Here's where you get to play a bit. (Also known as break up some of the wait time with distraction!)

I was fidgety. I wanted to know if I would depart this room to shuffle my way through line into a lackluster simulated "Sim Car" that pretended to test the vehicle T created for us. (Everyone has the opportunity to design their own, if they wish. T and I opted to share.)

Oh, ye of little faith! I spy...

...a REAL CAR. In the same old (just repainted) loading dock.

I grinned with sweet relief. There are no photos from the rest of the ride (too dark to get photos while in motion), but suffice to say, the rest looks almost completely different but feels exactly the same. All is well.

Well, almost all...

MOO in peace, old friend and favorite detail of the original Test Track. I wish they'd found a way to bring you along or at least give a nod to your awesomeness in its new incarnation.

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