Spoiler-Filled, In-Depth Review of New Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Attraction at EPCOT

Today, we are happy to share a detailed review of the all-new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction that will soon open in the World Discovery area of EPCOT. The review originates from a Cast Member that was able to experience the ride during one of the special preview events that have taken place on select dates in April. Enjoy!

"I recently had the opportunity to experience EPCOT's new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction at EPCOT, so I thought I would share my experience with you to provide some more details about the attraction itself as well as the perceived level of thrill to help others decide whether or not they want to experience this ride once it opens to the general public at the end of May.

Before beginning, I would like to disclose that I am far from being a thrill-seeker; on the contrary, I rarely ride major roller coasters. The most "intense" roller coasters I have been able to experience include Slinky Dog Dash (Disney's Hollywood Studios), Escape from Gringotts, and Revenge of the Mummy (both located at Universal Studios Florida). I have never experienced Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, or Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. If you can ride any of those more "extreme" coasters, you should have absolutely no problem experiencing this new attraction.


Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let's dive right in!

During the Cast Member previews, event participants are directed to enter the park through a backstage gate (located behind the former Universe of Energy pavilion) that leads to a double door where Cast Members are checked in. After that, Cast Members walk through a backstage hallway that features two sets of stairs that turns directly into the elevated walkway located above the loading area. This is done to skip the entire queue and pre-show area, as those portions of the attraction must not be ready yet.

The loading area is very similar to that of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, albeit much less compact and claustrophobic. Once Guests walk through the elevated walkway (which overlooks the loading area similarly to Toy Story Mania), they walk down a ramp that eventually ends at a point in which the Cast Members directs them either left or right. There are no discernible differences between the two loading areas.

The room is very well themed, with a variety of otherworldly (Disney loves to use that word!) details that fit perfectly within the Guardians of the Galaxy universe. While the lights are dim, the area is still well lit, allowing you to take in the intricate details seen on the walls and ceiling.

The trains feature five cars with two rows each, meaning that the maximum number of Guests per train is 20. The seats are spacious and very, very comfortable. In fact, these have to be the most comfortable ride vehicles I have ever been on. A specific sound is made every time one of the trains is dispatched, as if the vehicle is moving through space. The individual lap bars are equipped with handles that you can hang on to.

Once the loading process is completed, the train gently glides past the other loading area and enters another room similar in concept (but not visually) to the first show scene of DINOSAUR (before the time travel begins). What I mean is that the train makes a sharp right turn and then slowly proceeds upwards. As we enter this first show scene, a series of small screens show the Guardians of the Galaxy who either welcome us or... tell us that we are probably not going to make it. It's really fun to listen to the back and forth between the characters!

While the characters explain to us that we will travel through space, the train enters a small lift hill that gently pulls it upwards. Once we reach the top of this lift hill, we are greeted by a mesmerizing star field that looks similar (but much more believable) to that found above the descent of Spaceship Earth. The train then makes a right turn and enters what looks like a vortex simulating a quick trip through the galaxy (the train still continues to move very slowly).

At this point, the train starts moving a little faster as we are faced with a gentle drop that brings us face to face with Eson, the Celestial.

The main antagonist of the ride is projected on a giant, curved video screen that is like nothing I have ever seen before. While there are other attractions making use of large screens that can be considered remarkably immersive, this video screen is able to produce true black tones that make it virtually impossible for riders to tell where it begins and ends. It truly feels like this massive villain is right there in front of you!

As we get closer to Eson, the train starts making a U-turn, while the cars start to slowly rotate for the first time during the ride. The cars move to keep riders facing the screen, while the train gets in position for the launch. At this point we have rotated 180 degrees.

As the train comes to a complete stop, Eson is heard shouting "What is this noise?" He is referring to the music that is starting to play on board our vehicle (one of six songs is played during the ride, including “September,” “Disco Inferno,” “Conga,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” [< my personal favorite], “I Ran,” and “One Way or Another”), the Guardians of the Galaxy reply that Eson cannot stop the music, and then mistakenly send us back in time. While the sequence plays out on the massive screen, the train continues to remain in place.

After the screen starts fading to black, the train is launched backwards since the individual cars are still facing the opposite direction. For those worried about the launch, I would say not to be overly concerned. While the top speed reached during the launch resembles closely that of Revenge of the Mummy, the train in this attraction goes through a fairly long, straight section of track, allowing the top speed to be reached in a way that does not feel as sudden or jarring. As a matter of fact, I would say that the intensity of this launch falls in between Slinky Dog Dash and Revenge of the Mummy.

Now, the train starts a fast uphill climb (still backwards) that seems to go on for a couple of seconds. This is - in my opinion - the most intense portion of the ride, as the train reaches the top of the hill and you feel a momentary sense of weightlessness. Yes, this is the ONLY part of the ride where you can enjoy some airtime! That being said, it happens fairly quickly. If you made it this far, you should be proud of yourself, as the rest of the ride is not as intense!

After reaching the top, the cars rotate again to face forward, and the train enters another straight section of track (break run) from which riders can see another screen that's even more massive than the first one. Unfortunately, due to the fact that we didn't experience the pre-show, it was unclear what was going on, but it appeared that the Guardians' ship was flying around Eson to taunt him. As the train exits the brake run, the real fun begins, as complete (but "controlled") chaos ensues for the next two minutes or so.

The train goes through multiple banked turns and helixes, and the individual cars gently rotate multiple times, even though sometimes it's hard to notice that, given all that's going on around you all at once. Remember that this ride is not just a roller coaster in the dark, it also includes some set pieces (including the Milky Way and some planets), on-board music, rotating cars, projections, and so much more. As others have already pointed out, the rotation of the cars never feels out of control (like the Mad Hatter Tea Cups or Primeval Whirl); the movements are all very precise and feel very natural.

After the chaotic first half of the ride, the train enters another brake run that leads to the second launch. This is nowhere near as intense as the first one; in fact, it actually feels more like a slightly faster lift-hill. After the extremely tame "launch," the train enters a longer helix that picks up speed until we are brought back to earth.

Unfortunately, that means that we have almost reached the end of the ride, but before unloading, we catch a glimpse of all the characters one last time in the last show scene of the ride. This bare-looking room includes a convincing hologram effect in which the Guardians welcome us back and Star-Lord says that we are now "Honorary Guardians of the Galaxy." Drax seems to get annoyed about this and complains that we shouldn't be able to join their exclusive group, but Star-Lord gently reminds him that we are honorary members, to which Drax replies "Oh, so it's a meaningless title" and then proceeds to smile and continues carrying on a conversation with the others. That's a great way to conclude the ride, in my opinion!

Once the train pulls into the unload station (which is separate from the loading area and has a completely different theme that should match the look of the queue), Guests exit through a series of gates and then exit into a gift shop (which was also unavailable during the previews).

No matter how we may feel about the thematic placement of this ride, I consider this to be a real win for EPCOT and Walt Disney World as a whole. It's an incredibly fun attraction that should satisfy the most demanding fans, thanks to the special effects, fun music, incredible layout, and ride time. It's also a thrilling ride that many families will be able to enjoy together."
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  1. Great review. Whatever cast member road this must be a very brave.

  2. What exactly is Eson standing on out there in space? Are his legs just kind of dangling? Is he somehow treading space?


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