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WDW Radio Newswire: Test Track Construction Update And New Poll Question

Plus…Characters In Flight Back In Operation, One Year Milestone For The Newswire, and more!

by Don Myers

Halloween is now just a few weeks away, so it’s time to “treat” you with another poll question…and I’ll also update the progress over at the currently closed Test Track. No tricks here, just quality newsbits from the parks and resorts! So let’s get to it, time for another edition of the WDW Radio Newswire……

We begin this week’s update inside EPCOT, or more specifically, Future World. As you may well know, one of the park’s most beloved and exhilarating attractions, Test Track, has been closed down for refurbishment since April. A major overhaul is currently underway, one that will provide us with a completely different attraction once construction is completed this December. I detailed the expected changes back in the January 9th edition of the Newswire, but here’s a brief summary. Basically, when the attraction makes its re-emergence later this year, you will be able to enter the “Chevrolet Design Center at EPCOT,” where you’ll be able to design your very own automobiles. From there you’ll be heading straight from the design lab to the road course, as Test Track 2.0 will be affording you with the unique opportunity of designing and then testing out your very own creation! Afterwords, there will be a post-show area chalked full of the latest offerings from Chevrolet. Speaking of Chevy, another notable change will be in the pavilion’s sponsorship. General Motors is still going to be the sponsor, as they inked a brand-new deal with Disney to stay at the pavilion. But now, the focus will be strictly on the Chevrolet brand, as opposed to the entire GM fleet as in year’s past. Another change will be in the name of the ride vehicles, which will now be known as “SimCars.” The SimCars will still seat six Guests just as the previous ride vehicles did, and a replica of what these SimCars will look like is currently on display out in front of the nearby Cool Wash Station. The refreshment spot just made its re-emergence from a six-month stint behind construction walls a few weeks ago, and the SimCar out front provides us with a detailed look at the design of the new ride vehicles that will soon be zooming around the track at 65 mph. Speaking of the track, many have been speculating as to whether or not the layout will be changing. Well, during an online chat back in August, Disney Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick confirmed that the track’s layout will not be changing. The new attraction will consist of the same track layout as the previous incarnation, and will feature four show scenes:

. Capability

. Efficiency

. Responsiveness

. Speed

The biggest changes will be to the attractions queue, pre-show, and post-show areas. These sections are being completely revamped, and will look nearly unrecognizable once Test Track re-opens this December. Combine these visual changes with all the interactive upgrades, sprinkle in an entirely new soundtrack, and you’ve got all the ingredients necessary to propel Test Track into the 21st Century! Test Track is currently scheduled to make it re-debut on Saturday December 6th, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on all the latest.

Okay, time to take the Monorail over to Magic Kingdom now, as there’s some news to report out of Adventureland. It looks as if one of the land’s attractions has quietly drifted into the realm of extinction, as Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Boats are no longer a part of the landscape. The attraction, which was located next to the Jungle Cruise, consisted of sixteen remote-control boats. For a small fee (Two $1 tokens), Guests could magically transform into aspiring Jungle Cruise skippers and maneuver the boats around a series of challenging water obstacles. The attraction had been closed since Tuesday August 21st, but its removal last week finally puts an unfortunate stamp of finality on the situation.

Let’s hop out of the parks now and make our way over to Downtown Disney, as there’s news to report on an attraction that’s just re-opened after a lengthy closure. Characters in Flight resumed operation on the West Side this past weekend after experiencing just over three months of downtime. The closure, which began back in July, was due to precautionary reasons which stemmed from an incident that occurred in Hong Kong with an Aerophile balloon. After a series of rigorous inspections, a brand-new balloon was brought in and installed, and the Characters in Flight attraction is officially re-open for business between the hours of 830 am and noon. Ticket prices for the six minute, 360-degree panoramic balloon ride are still $18 for adults and $12 for kids between the ages of 3 and 9. But if you’re looking to save a little cash, they are currently offering a discounted price on flights before 10am. This discounted price for a pre-10am flight is set at $10 for an adult ticket, which ends up being a savings of nearly 45% off the regular price!

Our final piece of news today is a bit of a milestone for the Newswire, as it was one year ago this week the WDW Radio Newswire made its debut! The official title didn’t actually make its first appearance until the first week of November 2011, so I guess you could refer to that first month as the Newswire’s “Soft Opening” period! Whatever you want to call it, one thing is for certain…the Newswire would not exist without the support of my family and loved ones, and also Lou, Christy and the rest of the WDW Radio team. And of course I owe a big debt of gratitude to the fans as well! Having like-minded people to share my love of Disney with is a blessing I do not take for granted, and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. So here’s to the next year of the WDW Radio Newswire and beyond!

Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update. But before we call it a wrap, let’s take a look back at the results of our previous poll. The question was:

What is your favorite Interactive Queue at WDW?

. The Haunted Mansion

. Space Mountain

. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

. Soarin’

. Dumbo the Flying Elephant

And the winner is…..

The Haunted Mansion, which brought in a whopping 72% of the votes! Soarin’ finished a distant second, bringing home 11% of the total vote. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh rounded out the Top 3, receiving 8% of the votes. Space Mountain brought in 6% of the votes to finish fourth, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant finished in the back of the pack with just 3% of the total votes. However I suspect Dumbo’s lackluster showing was due to the fact that it’s the newest of the five interactive queues, and thus hasn’t been experienced by very many voters. Whatever the reason may be, this was a definitive victory for the Grim Grinnin’ Ghosts! Once again, a big thank you to everyone that took the time to vote. And now on to this week’s poll question. For this one, I decided to revisit the concept for our last poll…but I put a unique little twist on things:

[poll id=”75″]


Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World.  He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history!  Don also has been a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine since 2009.