Expedition Everest’s Yeti Troubles Explored

The Orlando Sentinel has a short piece running on the adventures, or lack their of, of the giant Yeti mechanical beast at the end of Expedition Everest roller coaster at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The gist is that while Disney won’t disclose their plans, Disney fans wish they’d hurry up and fix the effect. That pretty much sums things up for me.

When I think of the Yeti in the mountain, I always think of Harold, the Disneyland version in the Matterhorn. There’s not any motion there, but the loud growl and glowing eyes are the perfect level of thrill for the world’s first steel tube roller coaster. If that works in Anaheim, why not Orlando?

The problem is that Harold-east was built up to be the most spectacular creature this side of King Kong at Universal Hollywood (who is now just a thin 3D movie version of his former self) complete with Jet Engine Power equivalents required to make him work. It was doomed to fail. A couple more glowing eyes and some loud growls would be a better investment than rebuilding a working Yeti if you ask me.

That said, the Expedition Everest creature worked so briefly that I barely recall — was it wonderful, was it frightening? All I remember is the current version where strobe-lights hide the fact that he’s just not moving around much.

My understanding is that WDI has been working on a fix that will give some motion and end the stroke-light “Disco Yeti” effect, but won’t be the original all powerful version they originally intended. Frankly, I’m okay with that. You go by that scene so fast anyway. I’d rather they fix what I see to be the biggest flaw in the ride, the lack of a denouement after you see the beast. You’re just suddenly back at the train station without any extra exposition. Bad storytelling or signs of budget cuts, I don’t know which.

What would you like to see done on Expedition Everest?

8 thoughts on “Expedition Everest’s Yeti Troubles Explored”

  1. I disagree. I saw the original Yeti during one of the few times he felt well enough to do his full performance and it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I’m crushed to hear that he may never return to his originally intended glory.

    I admire the imagineers for trying something as innovative / crazy as what they did, and hope they’ll keep on taking risks in the future. Not every insanely ambitious bit of technology will work out, but thankfully Disney keeps innovating.

    It’s a great coaster, btw, pretty much the perfect “Animal Kingdom” thrill ride.

  2. I want them to fix it. I remember it when it was fully functioning, and it was indeed terrifying. Now he just stands there and I always have to prompt people to be looking for him so they don’t miss it. I never knew they had so many problems with it- I just thought they were trying to make the experience more tame.

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  4. YES YES YES fix the ^*#)$% thing already. Really another one should be in development, and the old cranky Yeti yanked after the new one succeeds. I want to smell his stinky breath as I barely escape his clutch. Yea, just as the Earing said it would be.

  5. I would love to see them fix the Yeti and return him to his full intended motion. However, as it’s been broken, or down for so long, it leads me to believe that it’s not a simple fix. So, maybe they could arrange the lighting and sound in such a way as you don’t see him as much, but you hear him all around, even outside the mountain from time to time.
    I agree too, that when you did see him before, the ride came to a very quick end after passing him. I realize they probably couldn’t add more track at that point, but if nothing else maybe they could extend the cave of the mountain to the station so it would look and feel like you were still inside the mountain, instead of at a station. If they could do it in such a way as to hide the exit from those getting on the train, it might also add some excitement and mystery to the ride, especially if new riders saw an empty train and heard a faint roar of the Yeti from time to time.

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