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Epcot's Test Track attraction has been around for almost 20 years, but the ride has only recently begun to cause issues in the park. Specifically, it's causing problems for the future of the park, as a currently under construction new restaurant that is being built right next to the Test Track building is having difficulty figuring out how they're going to keep the noise and vibration out of the new outer space themed table service restaurant.
At last year's D23 Expo it was announced that Epcot would be receiving a brand new table service restaurant that will give diners a view of outer space as they eat. The location is adjacent to the Mission: SPACE attraction but it's also next to the Test Track ride, which, according to Walt Disney World News Today, is causing the designers of the restaurant problems because they're not sure at this point how to prevent those inside the restaurant, who won't even be able to see the rest of the park, from hearing and feeling it.
It's certainly a unique problem to have. If you've ever been to Epcot then you don't even need to have experienced Test Track to understand the issue. Cars fly by, at one point outside, at 60 mph and the speed creates excessive noise and vibration, along with the sound of screaming guests. You feel it just walking by.
This is important because the thing that Disney Parks do better than anybody is immerse you in an experience. Everything about each park's design is meant to make you feel like you're in a specific place other than a theme park. The fact that you usually can't see or hear another part of the park is a big part of what allows this to happen. It's remarkable how well Disney is able to mask sounds and vibration between different segments of the park. Clearly, if Disney is having trouble here then it shows just how big the problem really is. The park has decades of experience with this sort of thing. Gazing at massive windows that show only outer space, as the concept art has shown will be a big part of this new location, will be little more than set dressing if you feel the vibrations from the Test Track every few seconds.
One would guess that there is, in fact, enough soundproofing material in the world to fix the problem. However, if this is an unexpected issue then that probably wasn't in the budget. That may be the most surprising thing about this entire story. Usually, Disney has such a handle on things that the Imagineers at least seem to know exactly what they're getting into with every project, but it appears this time the degree of the problem has caught them by surprise.
The new Space Restaurant is expected to open by 2021 in time for Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary, which means there is some time to figure out a fix.
Image courtesy WdWNews.com/Disney