With Epcot's Test Track due to reopen with new Chevrolet branding on December 6, 2012, we take a look at concept artwork for the newly-refurbished Walt Disney World favorite.
Since closing Test Track on April 16, Disney has steadily trickled out images showing how the updated ride will look when it returns to action. These cover the ride experience itself, the new "Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot" waiting area, the revamped SimCar vehicles and the overhauled exterior of the attraction.
First opened in 1999, Test Track takes guests through a simulated set of tests on a new car. It sees guests seated in mock cars as they traverse a set of low-speed indoor tests before racing at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour around an outdoor section. Previously sponsored by Chevrolet's parent company General Motors, it has undergone the lengthy closure as a result of a new commercial deal between Disney and GM.
Some Disney fans have criticized the makeover, claiming that it is largely a rebranding exercise rather than a genuine enhancement of the Test Track ride experience. Others feel it is too early to judge. Whatever the case, the images below give an idea of what to expect when one of Future World's headline attractions reopens its doors.
The exterior of Test Track will receive a new blue color scheme, replacing the former yellow and blue design. The overall impression given is of a modern, clean facility, rather than the more traditional car manufacturing look of the original building.
The Chevrolet logo will feature prominently in the marquee, which will be placed outside Test Track's entrance:
Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot
Replacing the noisy former "test workshop" area that hosted Test Track's queue, the Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot will be an all-new interactive experience. While they wait to ride, guests will be able to use kiosks to design their own vehicle, which will then be compared with the "real" design used for the ride cars. Riders using Disney's FASTPASS to skip the queue will select from one of a number of pre-designed cars.
The updated Test Track will feature Chevrolet vehicles and branding, in place of the previous General Motors-themed cars. A sample SimCar is currently on show at the Cool Wash station outside Test Track.
Twitter user shawnathon33 captured the image below of one of the vehicles undergoing testing on the ride. While it features an improved in-car display, it is otherwise very similar to the existing vehicles. Each will hold up to 6 riders.
Test Track's existing circuit is set to receive no major updates as part of the Chevrolet rebranding. However, the special effects surrounding it will be changed significantly. The revised set of "tests" carried out on the vehicle will be divided into four segments: Capability (testing the car's handling on rough roads and different weather conditions), Efficiency (testing the vehicle's environment footprint), Responsiveness (testing maveuverability) and Speed (pushing the car to go as fast as it can).
After exiting Test Track, guests will be filtered into a display area showing off the latest Chevrolet car models.
Fans of the original Test Track do not have long to wait to find out if the updated version will live up to expectations. With the official reopening date set for December 6, Disney is very likely to begin a "soft opening" period during November in order to iron out any operational issues. With the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland due to open officially on the same date, December promises to be a busy month for Walt Disney World.