Test Track: Disney Parks History

Disney Parks History

Test Track Presented By Chevrolet Entrance Epcot Disney World

Test Track gave Epcot its first world-class thrill attraction with a unique ride concept, replacing an opening day ride. It was not an easy journey to get to opening day though.

World of Motion Sea Serpent Epcot Center Disney World
Copyright Disney

The transportation-themed pavilion opened along with Epcot Center as World of Motion, an omnimover based on the history of the various methods of transportation utilized by humans since the dawn of history.

It was sponsored by General Motors, who after their initial 10-year sponsorship ended refused to extend for an additional period, instead only temporarily extending in one-year increments. In order to convince them to extend the sponsorship for another ten years, Disney would have to design an entirely new ride based solely on cars.

World of Motion would close in 1996 as the first of the original pavilions to shut down, to be replaced by an all-new thrill ride.

Original Test Track Exterior Epcot Disney World

Work would begin on Test Track prior to the actual closure of World of Motion, but work would begin almost immediately following the closure. The building would be reused, but entirely gutted and then expanded into the former outdoor section of World of Motion.

The ride would be based on the basic concept of automobile test tracks, where cars are put through rigorous safety and efficiency tests. This concept had been discussed early in Epcot's planning but abandoned.

It would utilize an entirely new ride system at Epcot, that was intended to take just over two years to install and open at the park.

Test Track GM Concept Art Epcot Disney World

But the ride would actually not open until 1999 as it would face multiple delays during construction. The most significant of these would be computer issues limiting the number of cars that could be used at a time. In the meantime, a temporary preview center would open under a tent-like structure that while intended to be temporary, became a permanent feature of the attraction.

The ride would open as a massive success. Themed as a testing facility for new cars, you were invited to ride the Test Track. The queue showed a variety of relics from past tests, and in the actual ride, you would go through a series of tests of your own, leading up to a high-speed ride around the outside of the building.

This ride quickly became one of the most popular at Epcot, but would not last forever, closing in 2012, once again at the urging of sponsor General Motors. They reached the end of their agreement once again, and wanted another new attraction. They were, however, willing to settle for a massive overhaul of Test Track, this time to be themed based on one of their subsidiaries, Chevrolet.

Test Track Design Studio at Epcot Disney World

The track layout would remain identical to the original but would swap out the original preshow with a design your own car element that would be featured throughout the actual attraction, where your car would be compared with the simcar you were riding.

Test Track Station Epcot Disney World

The theme of the ride would change from an actual test track to a simulated one within a computer. It would have a slightly Tron like aesthetic that was spread throughout the full attraction.

There would be relatively no change in the popularity of the ride between the two versions.

Test Track World of Motion Logo Trash Can Epcot Disney World

As Epcot began to undergo transformations this ride would see the return of the World of Motion logo, now appearing throughout the attraction, most notably on the trash cans of the pavilion.