If you’ve been to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and you’re a thrill ride junkee, there’s probably nothing more exhilarating than riding Expedition Everest. The ride has surprise twists and turns, which I won’t spoil here, and it has been a popular ride in the park since its opening in 2006. Only, if you’ve been to Walt Disney World in recent days, you probably haven’t been able to revisit or experience the wonderful ride for the first time, since it’s been closed for a hot minute. Unfortunately, it now looks like the latest update is not actually a date of reopening. If you are a fan like me, you may be a bit bummed about this development.
To note, Disney hasn’t outright said, ‘the ride’s still not in good shape” or anything, but some eagle-eyed Disney Parks experience users did realize Walt Disney World has made a key change. As recently as a few days ago, the official site of the Orlando Parks had listed a return month for the coaster, noting it would be down for refurbishment from "January 4 to mid-April" with the Florida park citing "closed for refurbishment" as the reason for the shutdown.
Well, it’s now mid-April and Disney World has removed the initial message the theme park had written about the refurbishment timeline. Instead, there’s a new message on the official website, as you can see below.
You’ll note, there’s not longer a specific timeframe, which could mean bad news for anyone who already has a trip to the Florida theme parks on the books. It’s unclear now when the ride will actually be coming back online for riders. This isn’t the first time Walt Disney World has had to deal with issues with the coaster. Just from being in the parks personally, the ride breaks down or has to be shut down due to bad weather a fair amount. Of course, there’s also the issue of the 25-ft Yeti that hasn’t moved on Expedition Everest for some time. But Everest also just so happens to be one of the best Disney World rides, not just in Animal Kingdom, but in any of the parks, so fans are likely champing at the bit for its big return.
It would have been particularly cool if the ride had been able to reopen on April 7, which would have been the same day the ride originally opened back in the early 2000s ('06) on the occasion of Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary year.
7th April 2006. The Grand Opening of #Disneys tallest mountain, Expedition Everest, at Animal Kingdom in #DisneyWorld. It was once the most expensive roller coaster in the world at $100m and only the 2nd Disney coaster to travel backwards. pic.twitter.com/bA7Fu6oS71April 7, 2022
Granted, there’s still plenty to do at Animal Kingdom. The Kilimanjaro Safari remains a perennial favorite, and the longest wait times in the parks have been for the two Avatar Rides, which opened back in 2017, since about that time. Kali River Rapids can also commandeer long wait times on hot days. (And the water ride really deserves it's own movie, but that's an argument for another day.)
Still, there are fewer rides in the Animal Kingdom park than other parks on property, particularly after the Disney World park closed its other coaster Primeval Whirl. The exception there may be Epcot, which is going through serious additions and changes right now, including opening the eagerly-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Coaster: Cosmic Rewind. Regardless, losing out on Expedition Everest for a long period of time is a loss for parkgoers, particularly when it seems as if it might be ongoing...
Selfishly I just hope Everest is back up and running by the next time I make it to the parks. It really is one of the best rides and here's hoping for a return date sooner rather than later.
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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