It has finally been announced a few hours ago: General Motors will continue to sponsor Test Track at Epcot, and the company will completely refurbish the ride, which will receive some interesting additions. Here's the official press release, which include some additional information about this partnership, as well as some tidbits about the attraction's rehab:
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Disney and General Motors Renew Alliance, Continue the Drive 

to Create Magic for Guests at a Re-Imagined Test Track Experience Presented by Chevrolet


Two of the world’s most recognized brands extend an alliance that will create a new experience for millions of Guests at Epcot.

Copyright: Disney ®
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 6, 2012 – Disney and General Motors have renewed their long-term business relationship with a new multi-year corporate alliance.
As part of the new alliance, GM will be actively involved with Walt Disney Imagineering in the development of a re-imagined, design-centric Test Track experience. The refurbished Test Track will be presented by one of GM’s most famous brands, Chevrolet. As Chevrolet marks its 100th anniversary, the new alliance agreement enables General Motors to tell its story in new and exciting ways to millions of Guests from around the world and continue as the official vehicle sponsor of Walt Disney World Resort.
“We are excited to renew our long-term alliance with General Motors,” said George Aguel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances for the Walt Disney Company. “This unique agreement extends collaboration between two of the most recognized brands in the world, a relationship that spans over 30 years. The re-imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will continue our shared goal of providing unique and innovative experiences that engage Disney guests in exciting and interactive ways.”
“As a global brand, Chevrolet is looking forward to welcoming Guests from around the world to the re-imagined Test Track,” said Joel Ewanick, Global Chief Marketing Officer for General Motors. “The best of Disney and the best of Chevrolet will come together to bring Guests an immersive experience in the design process of the vehicles they see on the road today and will see in the future.”
Plans call for closing the current GM Test Track in April 2012, with an anticipated opening of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet scheduled for fall 2012.
As part of the re-imagining, the Future World attraction will feature a sleek new “Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot” immersing Guests in the fascinating world of automotive design. Amid upbeat music, engaging media, dramatic lighting and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers – and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.
At interactive design and styling workstations, Guests will be able to create their own custom concept vehicles. The adventure will then shift into high gear as Guests buckle into their 6-person “SimCar” ride vehicle and put their design through its paces on the exhilarating hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit.
Their performance testing complete, Guests will move into a post-show area filled with special effects and be scored on how well their custom concept vehicle did. And of course, Guests will be able see the very latest Chevrolet vehicles in an all-new state-of-the-art showroom.
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The rumor about a Test Track refurbishment had been around for months, so this announcement was not a big surprise. The big surprise is the fact that the ride will become more interactive. Indeed, the official Disney Parks Blog reported today that "guests will become automotive designers and create their own custom vehicles. Next, they’ll buckle into a six-person SimCar ride vehicle and test out their design on the challenging track of the Test Track course." What does this mean? Will we be able to actually customize the cars? Will we be actually able to even customize the speed of the cars? Of course, this is all speculation for now. What do you think?

5 Comment(s):

Anonymous said...

damn, I had a horrible feeling this was going to be closed while I'm out there in May!!

Walter said...

Disney has had almost 15 to correct the original problems with this ride system through newer rides in Tokyo and soon California, and the interactive elements (say, differing experiences on the Belgian blocks or ABS part of Test Track) probably clues us in to what Disney will have the ride system do (different speeds, etc) in Carsland.

fatdonut said...

@anonymous: i'm probably in the same boat (or car); i'm over end september / start october.
it may reopen by then but a pre thanksgiving reopening is probably more likely. its gonna be extra gutting to miss the reopening by just a few weeks!

Personally I doubt these "interactive" changes will actually alter the ride a great deal: with 6 guests per car, i expect the sum of the combined designs to be rather similar each time. There may be subtle changes but probably not enough to greatly effect the actual ride element. it appears to be more an attempt to create a more interactive queueing experience

Anonymous said...

I first visited WDW from Scotland in 2000 and bad weather prevented me from going on Test Track. The same thing happened when we visited in 2008 and in 2010 we were literally standing first in line when a thunderstorm struck and the ride closed. Guess what - we are returning to Orlando in May . . . . I'm just destined never to get on that ride!!

Anonymous said...

he interactive element sounds to me like an interactive que. I seriously doubt that anything you do will alter the ride experience. The ride will get refreshed and the line will be re-done. Don't get your hopes up of anything noticeably different on the ride its self other than cosmetic changes, and maybe some behind the scenes mechanical improvements to make it more reliable.

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