‘Cosmic Rewind’ is Disney’s newest (and best) coaster — and it’s surprisingly thrilling

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ORLANDO (NEXSTAR) — One of the longest and most ambitious indoor roller coaster concepts in the world launches this month at Walt Disney World.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which officially opens on May 27, made its debut for the media last week at EPCOT.

The new attraction covers more than 200,000 square feet, with its main show building stretching longer than an American football field, according to Disney.

“Located in the park’s newly renamed World Discovery neighborhood, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the first ‘other-world’ showcase pavilion at EPCOT,” Disney said in a news release.

The ride’s queue keeps guests entertained with a couple of tricks and special effects, including one which “transports” guests to a spaceship. (Scott Gustin)

The “omnicoaster” features coaster cars programmed to turn as it travels along the track, pointing riders to video screens and other focal points inside the ride.

The ride starts with a bang — a backwards launch that fires riders up an incline and into a massive show building.

The queue is an attraction itself

Disney Imagineers continue to come up with creative ways to tell stories as people are waiting in line. The Guardians queue starts with an entrance into the Wonders of Xandar. The best part of the queue occurs in one of the standby rooms, when you are basically transported to a spaceship.

Throughout the line, guests learn about this distant planet and the people who live there, along with more background for everything that is to come.

If you’ve been on the “Star Wars”-themed Rise of the Resistance attraction at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you’re aware of how the Imagineers are able to use misdirection and special effects to make you feel like you are traveling to a new location.

This time, Disney manages to pull off another illusion that will leave guests wondering, “How did I get here?”

More pictures, including some which may constitute spoilers, are available in this Twitter thread.

WGN-TV’s Marcus Leshock had the opportunity to ride the new coaster earlier this month and answers some common questions about the attraction:

WGN-TV’s Marcus Leshock riding Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Walt Disney World.

Q: Is the ride vehicle comfortable?

A: “The coaster cars are very comfortable and roomy. Like other Disney rides, there is a pouch inside the vehicle where you can store your phone, wallet, sunglasses and other things that could fall out of your pockets. There is a single lap bar that comes down to secure you into the ride. There is no seat belt.”

Q: And what about that launch?

A: “Soon after the ride moves along, the cars turn to interact with the video, and you end up facing in the other direction. That’s when the ride’s signature backwards launch occurs. How fast is it? If you are a roller coaster enthusiast who has been on some high powered launch coasters before, this definitely won’t be the fastest launch you’ve ever encountered. It doesn’t feel as fast the launch on the Rock n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios.”

Q: Tell us about the music.

A: “Every ride features a music track that kicks in right when the car launches. There are six possible songs by their original artists that are chosen at random. The music hitting at the right possible moment takes this coaster to another level.

Disney Imagineers tested more than 100 potential songs for the attraction.

The first full-size Starblaster ever built stands outside Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Kent Phillips, Disney)

Imagineers used a combination of virtual and physical rides to assess which tracks best matched the spirit and movement of the coaster, finally choosing six songs in their original classic versions:

  • “September”
  • “Disco Inferno”
  • “Conga”
  • “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
  • “I Ran”
  • “One Way or Another”

Guests won’t know which song they’ll hear each time they ride until they jump into space with the Guardians.

Q: It spins … will I get sick?

A: “This is going to be the question so many people will be asking … and it’s so hard to answer. Every person’s thrill tolerance is different. Some people just don’t like spinning, especially spinning in the dark. And this ride is DARK. If you are somebody who really can’t tolerate that kind of motion, especially when you are a little disoriented by video effects and lack of lighting, this may not be the attraction for you. I rode the ride twice in a row, and on the second ride, the last few moments started to get to my stomach. I rode it again a few hours later and I was just fine. Again, this is going to be such a subjective situation and will depend on YOUR levels of tolerance for this type of ride. If you can stomach it, you are in store for a great time.”

Q: How does it compare to other Disney coasters?

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Credit: Scott Gustin)

“Another great question. I would say Guardians is at a similar thrill level as Everest and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. It may not be as fast or as tall as those two rides, but from an overall thrill experience it’s up there. I would say Guardians is more intense than Space Mountain, even though the rides share similarities with being in the dark and surrounded by stars.”

Q: How tall do I have to be to ride it?

A: “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has a minimum height requirement of 42 inches.”

Q: How can I ride it?

A: “Guardians of the Galaxy will feature a virtual boarding group system when it opens. There will also be the possibility to purchase a Lightning Lane pass for the ride. There will be no standby line when the ride opens. I expect this ride to be very popular and in demand for quite a while. It’s one of those rides so many people will want to try at least once.”

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens to the public on May 27.

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