Test Track's new look is a wonderful return to form for Epcot

Disney is remaking Test Track with new vehicles and tributes to the World of Motion! Here's why this is great news for the ride and Epcot Center!
A new theming of Test Track has been announced but not what it is! Photo credit: Brian Miller
A new theming of Test Track has been announced but not what it is! Photo credit: Brian Miller /

D23 had some big announcements on changes to the Disney parks. But one of the more notable is that, once more, Test Track will get a makeover. And this time, it's one that fits it so much better as a throwback to the original World of Motion. 

"We're reaching back into the history of the pavilion, taking inspiration from the original World of Motion and bringing that spirit of optimism to this next iteration of Test Track," WDI Executive Creative Director Scott Mallwitz said.

This is a wonderful change not only for a ride that needed it but also a reminder of one of the best original EPCOT Center attractions ever. 

The original World of Motion

One of the first EPCOT Center pavilions, World of Motion was a typical dark ride with an omnimover system taking guests up into a pavilion fittingly designed like a huge wheel. The tongue-in-cheek AA told the story of transportation from foot power to the wheel, the coming of automobiles and more with the song "Fun to be Free" playing. 

It was a charming ride with bits from failed attempts at the wheel to the world's first traffic jam. There were also huge tunnels of screens and a terrific model of a future city. The exit area had various smaller shows like The Bird and the Robot and The Water Engine, where cartoon characters debated the best method of engine power. 

The whole pavilion presented not just the past of transportation but an optimistic view of the future and guests were saddened when it was closed down in 1994. 

The Test Track turmoil

I can still remember visiting Walt Disney World every year from 1996 to 1998 with promises of Test Track opening, but it never did thanks to issues. It finally opened in 1999, the idea of showing what went into testing cars in various bits, from sharp turns to temperature rooms and culminating in that now-iconic race outside. 

It was a fun attraction, still selling some "infotainment," so annoying when Disney decided to change it over for a Tron mix. The darker lines and colors didn't quite fit and the outside run was more jarring than before. It was always puzzling and almost seemed a dry run for what became Tron LIghtcylce Run. Now that WDW has that, they don't need another Tron ride, so Test Track can get back to basics. 

The new Test Track promise

The concept art shows new ride vehicles based on EV and much brighter roads than before. That promises a return to what World of Motion and in fact the original EPCOT Center were about, looking to an optimistic future for technology. Those darker roads for testing were always a bit moody and too much "factory-style" to immerse guests in the experience. The concept art indicates Imagineers are changing it to more outdoors settings, which will make the cars heading outside feel more natural.

Technology has advanced since Test Track opened, as evidenced by Radiator Springs Racer at California Adventure. Making Test Track faster and smoother will aid the experience for guests and using an EV vehicle might avoid some of those infamous breakdown delays the ride is sadly known for.

Other details are a bit scarce as it seems a sure thing the ride keeps the race outside, only now adjusted for the new ride vehicles. It's also likely to change a few of the rooms to update the technology and the possibility of how automobiles are becoming more environmentally conscious. It would also be good to show some past history of cars and how they've evolved, which likewise pays tribute to World of Motion's concept.  

There's still details coming, but a change for Test Track is good enough. Having it be a reminder of the original World of Motion is even better as this may signal Epcot returning to its initial message of a brighter future, which is great news for Disney fans.