Disney World is opening a new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster at Epcot this month — and we just took it for a test spin. Epcot’s first roller coaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind offers a handful of other firsts: It’s the first Disney Omnicoaster, a ride with rotating vehicles that turn guests toward the action, and it has the first-ever reverse launch for a Disney coaster. By Elizabeth Rhodes
Themed to a favourite Marvel series (starring all your favourite Guardians) and using an innovative ride system, expectations for this new coaster are high. So, does it measure up to the superhero hype? Short answer: Yes.
Disney World debuts its Marvel-themed coaster
The indoor coaster is wildly fun, and it’s a fantastic addition to Epcot and Walt Disney World as a whole. Thanks to the wonderfully smooth and thrilling coaster design, an engaging storyline, wisecracks from Star-Lord and the gang, and a throwback soundtrack featuring hits from the ’70s and ’80s like “Disco Inferno” and “Conga,” the attraction perfectly captures the pure fun found in the films.
Disney touts this new attraction as the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at the internationally themed park, saying that Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill, the lead character played by Chris Pratt in the films) visited Epcot as a child, eventually leading to the creation of the Wonders of Xandar pavilion. Here, guests can learn about the Xandarian people and their technologies in the Galaxarium, a planetarium of sorts featuring the galaxy around Terra — the Xandarian term for Earth — and Xandar.
From the Galaxarium, guests follow the queue through the Xandar Gallery, where they learn more about the people, culture, and history of this far-away planet, before following the tour into the Phase Chamber, where they teleport from Epcot to a Nova Corps Starcharter cruiser flying above the Earth.
You’ll see actors from the film, like Glenn Close, along with an appearance from Terry Crews in the delightful and surprising pre-show. Of course, this isn’t going to be a totally peaceful excursion — guests join the Guardians on a chase through the galaxy as they track down Eson, a celestial being bent on destroying humanity.
A treat for all Guardians of the Galaxy fans
If all those Marvel references went right over your head, don’t worry — this new coaster is downright fun, whether you’re a diehard Guardians of the Galaxy fan or just a casual park visitor. You won’t experience any inversions or heart-stopping drops, but you won’t miss them. It’s simultaneously thrilling, family-friendly, genuinely funny, and visually stunning. And, for what it’s worth, I rode it three times in a row and did not get motion sickness, even though ride vehicles rotate as they glide along the track. I couldn’t help but dance and sing along to One Way or Another and September as I soared through stars and past planets.
To me, this new attraction feels like a joyous celebration of everything we love about theme park rides. The mechanics and ride statistics themselves are impressive, but the Imagineer-selected playlist and storytelling immerse guests in the experience, making the ride an instant favourite.
And thanks to the six different songs that influence the overall vibe (in addition to those listed above, “I Ran” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” are on the playlist), the attraction has some re-rideability because you won’t know which tune you’re going to get until you’re blasted into the galaxy. In some ways, the ride reminded me of classics like Space Mountain — the beloved indoor coaster at Magic Kingdom that takes guests on a (somewhat jerky) trip to the stars. But dare I say it, I think it’s even better.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the latest opening in a series of exciting happenings at Walt Disney World Resort amid its 50th-anniversary celebrations that kicked off last October. The ride officially opens to the public on 27 May, just in time for summer. Epcot is undergoing some serious changes — another attraction, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, opened last fall in the France pavilion — plus there are new restaurants like space tourism-inspired Space 220 and the just-opened Connections Cafe and Eatery.