The newest attraction at EPCOT in Walt Disney World puts the fate of the galaxy, not to mention Rock-n-Roll, in the hands of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and you’re part of the audacious plan.
Delivering all the grandiosity of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, this new family-friendly thrill coaster pairs guests with the cosmic outlaws of Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora, Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill) plus the Xandarian Nova Corps from the first film.
The Xandarians wanted to open an embassy on Earth and Peter Quill suggested EPCOT, since that was the location of a fond childhood memory for him. That’s why you’re visiting the Wonders of Xandar pavilion, not the “Cosmic Rewind” building.
Disney was good enough to film us on the ride, in this case my very first ride on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Unfortunately, due to various copyright concerns and not wanting to spoil the entire ride, we only got about 45 seconds, of which ~20 seconds features us.
The rest is general footage from inside the queue and various others riding. Cool. But not exactly what we wanted to show you. We uploaded it anyway since it does capture some of the fun we had on the ride. Enjoy!
The pavilion’s queue features 3 main sections:
- The Galaxarium: a sweeping planetarium-style space showcasing planets, stars and other intergalactic wonders that connect Terra and Xandar – reinforcing the notion that we’re all born of the same space dust. The Xandarian supercomputer, Worldmind, provides narration in the Galaxarium and gives context to the stunning visuals.
- The Xandar Gallery: learn more about the Xandarian people, culture and history – including the heroes of Xandar – through specially crafted displays including models of starships and a Xandarian city. The gallery also features excerpts from “Good Morning Xandar,” where a host interviews the Guardians of the Galaxy about their heroic deeds. (Note there are some great EPCOT references in this section)
- The Phase Chamber: you will instantly teleport from EPCOT to a Nova Corps Starcharter cruiser orbiting Earth. Here they learn about the Cosmic Generator, a piece of Xandarian technology that creates jump points – artificial tunnels in space allowing for rapid travel across vast distances.
After that, without giving any spoilers, you learn your mission and then proceed to board the roller coaster.
What is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind?
Cosmic Rewind is a fun rock-n-roll space roller coaster that will leave your hair windblown and your spirit overjoyed. The story takes place outside of the movies, but the characters are closest to their post-GOTG vol.1 versions of themselves.
The attraction is clearly influenced by classic Disney attractions like Space Mountain at Disneyland, which features speakers on the vehicles, happens in space, and features screens with various films on them.
The longer pre-show will remind you of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and you may notice an homage to Universe of Energy and the old Living Seas in there too.
Of course, Cosmic Rewinds channels the Marvel Cinematic Universe and specifically the slightly irreverent humor of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
What is the on-ride experience?
First, the ride is huge. It might be the longest indoor coasters ever built. It also features Disney’s first reverse launch mechanism to get the rock-n-roll portion of the attraction started.
The ride vehicles themselves feature seats that are actually quite comfortable and very accommodating of different body types. Plenty of room for long legs too. I can’t tell you how refreshing this is.
The giant showbuilding allowed Imagineers the ability to put in some giant screens. So when you encounter a story moment, you can travel around it and sometimes it feels like the story is following you.
The standby queue is long as a good portion of it is uphill. So keep that in mind if you’re pushing a wheelchair. There are some stairs, but elevator access is available for those who can’t do stairs. The lighting, though dark in places, is still plenty bright enough to navigate for most people.
Disney’s Imagineers call the ride an Omnicoaster. Where the omnimover comes in, is with the evolution of the classic Omnimover type ride vehicle (think Haunted Mansion or The Seas: with Nemo). Only not only do these cars pivot left and right. They can spin completely around and pivot up and down a bit on a gimbal under the gar.
The vehicles are controlled at times and do feel like they’re free spinning at others. The fun never stops and neither does the motion until the very end of the attraction. This has resulted in a few people reporting they’re disoriented or nauseous after riding. If one of those Tilt-A-Wheel carnival rides upsets you, I would suggest avoiding Cosmic Rewind or ask for row 5 or 6, which seems to have slightly less motion.
If I had to describe the motion, I would say it’s a cross between a snowboard or skateboard in a pipe and body surfing across a wave. The spinning isn’t fast, but it often goes counter to the direction the car is traveling in, which can be an odd feeling.
There’s so much to see and hear on board the ride. Be sure to look around, not just where the car is pointing you. Also be sure to listen to what the guardians are saying during the ride. There is some variability.
Is there repeatability?
Not only are there six different songs in the attraction, there is different character dialog if you listen closely. Add to that, the different experiences riding in the front, middle, and back of the coaster train. So repeatability is high.
You’ll want to ride Cosmic Rewind multiple times to get the whole experience. I do recommend keeping a list of which songs you heard, because you’ll quickly forget which songs you heard since the exhilaration is so high.
My only hit on the attraction is the villain turns out to be a bit of a nothingburger. But there’s only so much dramatic tension you can build in the length of a roller coaster attraction.
The on-ride photopass moment.
The onride photopass is taken relatively early in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind roller coaster. It’s when you are being launched backwards.
The photo itself is nice, but, as you can see, it’s a busy frame. I like that it captures some of the fun you will have on the attraction.
Wear your magicband or scan the QR code to sync your Bluetooth enabled mobile device to receive your photo.
Who should ride?
The height limit for Cosmic Rewind is 42 inches. This means most families will be able to ride together. I would call it a family coaster, similar in intensity to Space Mountain and Rock-n-Roller Coaster. There are no inversions, but the ride vehicle does pivot, which adds to the intensity level a bit.
Right now, it sounds like the plans are for it to open with the paid Individual Lightning Lane and a virtual queue with a boarding pass return times for the standby queue. This is a good solution that will keep the attraction from having huge lines that extend outside, and keep many families from getting disappointed if they wait for 4 hours only to have the ride go down for the rest of the day.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a blast! My small quibbles don’t add up to a big distraction from how much fun the ride is. You’ll be visiting the Wonders of Xandar over and over again to try and hear all the songs and experience the thrill of saving the galaxy once again.
I am Groot!
Yes Groot. I forgot to mention Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens to the public at EPCOT on May 27, 2022.