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Located in the former home of World of Motion, Test Track gives the public their first look at an automotive proving ground where cars and trucks are put through the extremes to test the vehicle's safety and durability. We approach the pavilion passing between two large murals that show guests in test vehicles moving in many different directions. To the left of the Test Track logo sign ahead is the entrance to the queue and a sign telling us how many more minutes until our scheduled test run. Signs throughout the outdoor queue area give brief descriptions about the development of specific car safety features including the horn and road signs. One sign shows a variety of license plates. On the front of the building are three large doors labeled 1, 2, and 3. Above the doors is a large mirror that allows us to see the reflection of the test vehicles whizzing by on the overhead track. We enter the pavilion through the only open doorway (Door 1). Passing through a small entryway, a sign warns us not to ride if we don't meet certain requirements. A video monitor has a constantly looping display that says "Imagine," "Design," "Create," "Test." The first in a series of varying background music featuring a strong beat mixed in with the sounds of assembly line construction or screeching tires (depending on which test is being demonstrated) is heard overhead. Throughout the rest of the indoor queue, we view a variety of tests parts of cars are put through. The tests are divided into two categories: Quality Zone and Safety Zone. More detail about the indoor queue will be added in the near future.
Disney's Fastpass system was added to Test Track (Epcot's first Fastpass attraction), in late 1999. At that time, the Fastpass line entered through a side door directly onto the platform in front of the Briefing Rooms. Within a few months, this was changed so that the Fastpass line utilized the main queue area whereas the Standby line entered through the side door of the pavilion.
Once through the queue, a group of about forty guests are asked to step in front of either Briefing Room 1, 2, or 3. When it is our turn to enter, a yellow light turns on and spins around followed by the automatic doors opening. We proceed into the room and view several pictures of GM proving grounds throughout the country. The last one to the right of the exit door is an interesting overhead view of the Test Track pavilion. On the left side of the room are three monitors and two bulletin boards. The boards contain a bunch of notes and diagrams of the test vehicles and some of the tests we are about to experience. On the center monitor, a woman is sitting entering information into a computer. Behind her we see other technicians working and looking at a large map of the track on the wall. The current date and time are at the bottom, right corner of the screen.
Each time Sherry selects a test, a short video clip of the test is displayed on the two outer monitors.
She picks the crash barrier test which causes the crowd to react and laugh.
Bill walks away and Sherry continues to work at the computer. The automatic doors open to our right and we exit into a small queue area. Eight rows are available to board three passengers across into four cars.
Once seated, we buckle up and hear Bill.
The cars move forward and up around a curving sloped track making almost a 270° loop. At the top of the short incline, a technician checks to make sure we're all buckled in OK. We see ourselves on a monitor. A red light turns green when we get the go ahead.
Test 1: Hill Climb Test
The vehicle takes off with a squeal of the tires and a little smoke as we go about 20 mi/h up a three story hill. The square video screen in the center of our dashboard displays the name of the test, shows our speed, and displays the vehicle's performance.
Once at the top of the hill, we slow down and turn to the right.
Test 2: Road Surface Test
The suspension is tested as we drive down a short hill over German blocks. We then drive over Belgian blocks along the level ground.
Test 3: Brake Test
We see Bill and Sherry on a monitor.
The car accelerates and tries to make a sharp turn, but skids and knocks some cones over.
Turning towards the right, we see Bill and Sherry on another monitor.
We accelerate again and this time when the vehicle brakes, we complete a smooth turn without knocking a cone over.
Ahead on the left are two monitors that replay both of our tests.
Test 4: Environmental Chamber Test
We proceed to the right into the first of three environmental chambers.
The first features rows of heat lamps and a thermometer that reads 140°. The second has icicles hanging from the ceiling since the air conditioner is on full blast. The thermometer reads 40°. In the final chamber, robots spray the sides of the car with a "corrosive" mist.
Test 5: Road Handling Test
A monitor ahead points out track courses A and B. A is selected so we turn to the left.
We head up an incline, turn a sharp corner (wheels screeching), and continue up another incline repeating this a few times back and forth.
At the top of the last incline, we turn to the right and hit a slight dip in the road. We pass a sign that says "Lights on."
Moving into a dark tunnel with our lights off, we hear loud honking and then we see the lights of a large truck just as we're about to collide. Our vehicle cuts to the right (originally sending sparks from the car scraping the barrier on our right) as we slow down entering the next portion of the test.
Test 6: Barrier Test
A loud whistle sounds, bright lights turn on up ahead, and we see a car head straight into a cement wall causing its hood to crumple. We also feel the wind from its impact. Turning the corner, we see a similar wall straight in front of us.
We hear the loud whistle again and the bright lights turn on in front of the wall as we accelerate. Just as we're about to hit the wall, the doors fly open and we're outside.
Test 7: High Speed Test
We proceed down a slight hill and accelerate along the straightaway.
We enter the loop to the right banking all the way around.
We continue to accelerate heading into another straightaway. We can see another car exiting the building on the left, the Horizons pavilion on the right, and a sign up ahead that reads our speed. The numbers keep increasing, but just as we pass under the sign, it reads 64.8. We head into another banked curve and pass by the entrance to the pavilion as we begin to slow down on the other side.
Test 8: Thermal Scan
We proceed back into the building and see ourselves on a monitor. This image just shows the areas of heat given off by each rider and generated on the car by going through the tests. At the bottom of the hill, we turn to the left and view a monitor that displays a list of all of the tests we experienced.
Our vehicle pulls up to the unloading area and we exit to the left.
In the event the ride stops, this spiel is heard:
Following the signs, we head down a hallway to the post-show area. First, we stop in on the right and see what our picture looks like when we almost hit that barrier wall. Then we head into the Assembly Experience room which simulates part of a GM assembly plant. On the right is the Die Press; a large machine that molds parts by dropping a heavy mold onto a piece of metal. Along the walls on both sides are conveyance systems moving doors and engines from one assembly area to another. The far left wall features a caged in area in which automated robots weld the metal (sending sparks flying) on the bare frame of a car in production. A projection on the wall behind the welding shows similar assembly jobs going on throughout the plant giving the illusion that we're in the middle of a large plant. In the next room on the left is the Control Room for the plant. On the right is the Final Inspection department in which a truck is on display. Monitors throughout these two rooms feature several GM employees talking about aspects of their job and safety.
Moving ahead, we see a room off to the left called Driving Technologies Laboratory. In here, we can sit down at a monitor, take the wheel, and follow the directions two technicians give us (via side monitor). They have us test out new technologies like night vision, a computerized mapping service to get us where we're going, and a system that warns us when other vehicles are in our zone. There is also a large demonstration area in which a live lab technician shows us other new technologies.
Leaving the DTL, we enter the Reveal Theatre, a very slick showroom. The room is brought alive with music and colored lights dashing across the room. The latest model cars and trucks are once again on display across the floor for us to inspect and sit in. Three display areas on the left, middle, and right side of the room feature elevated, rotating stages in which cars with specially designed scenery are shown. Only one is shown at a time as curtains reveal the vehicle behind. Large video walls between the stages show the highlighted vehicle in action on the road. At the back of the room is a GM Answer Desk in which all your questions about the vehicles can be answered.
The final stop in the pavilion is the GM Test Track Shop (later renamed Inside Track). This is where our picture can be picked up and we can find Test Track t-shirts, jackets, keychains, license plates, orange cone hats, and Test Dummy Goofy plush.
Exiting through the glass automatic doors, we are back out in Future World. There is a parked white trailer ahead on the right that sells pizza and drinks. On the left across the path, is the Coca-Cola Cool Wash. In the center is a Test Track ride vehicle with two test dummies holding Coke bottles. The back seat is filled with fake ice and Coke bottles sitting in the ice. Every few minutes, the green wash bristles at the front turn on and as they spin, they resemble the shape of Coke bottles. Water sprays from different parts of the structure cooling guests off as they run underneath. During peak seasons, this area is also used as a stand to sell bottled drinks. (This area opened in October 1997).
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Created July 1, 1999 / Last modified September 16, 2001