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The re-imagined version of Test Track officially reopened tonight with a small ceremony and a giant party. Disney execs, VIPs, media, dignitaries, and even the lowly Disney blogger were all invited in to enter the world of automotive design as never before, creating their own virtual concept, then boarding a “SimCar” ride vehicle to race through a thrilling series of performance tests.

Mickey helps open Test Track

For the dedication ceremony, Mickey Mouse took the stage with Disney parks president Meg Crofton and Alan Batey, CMO at GM, to officially open Test Track. The band One Republic was also on hand to help the attraction get a rocking start.

The iconic Epcot attraction, a new collaboration between Chevrolet Design and the creative team of Walt Disney Imagineering, celebrates how meticulous design not only shapes the look of Chevrolet cars, trucks and crossovers, but drives their performance on the open road.

For inspiration for the project, Walt Disney Imagineers made numerous visits to Detroit, collaborating with Chevrolet designers and touring the inner sanctums of Chevrolet’s design studios.

“As storytellers, to be able to tell Chevrolet’s design story was fun for our Imagineers,” said Eric Jacobson, senior vice president of WDI. “Chevrolet designers come from the same creative roots as Imagineers. Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will become, for Epcot guests, an exciting part of their visit to Walt Disney World Resort.”

EPCOT’s re-imagined Test Track attraction will put the guest inside a computer as they partake in a digital test environment from the queue, through the ride, and even into the post ride experience. Modern day automotive design relies on computer aided-design significantly more than it did when they original blueprints for Test Track were drawn up. Now that Chevrolet has become the attraction’s new sponsor Disney is taking the opportunity to update the experience to a new concept.

Guests in the queue will be able to make design choices for their car based on the four qualities of Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness, and Power. After they experience the attraction they will be able to compare the results of their choices with other people in their car.

EPCOT’s popular Test Track attraction will be getting an updated theme to go with a new sponsor. Rather than General Motors sponsoring the ride, it will change to Chevrolet. Chevy is, of course, a GM brand, but the company wanted to focus the new experience on just one brand.

Plans call for closing the current GM Test Track in April 2012, with an anticipated opening of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet scheduled for fall 2012. A few months ago updated cars were spotted testing on the track, they’ve obviously been working on this for a while already.

With the credit crisis of 2007-08 sending GM into bankruptcy, there was a question if the 10 year #10 million sponsorship would continue. But Disney and GM worked out a series of arrangements that allowed them to keep their name on the ride until finances could be lined up to renew the arrangement.

The new theme reminds me a little of how the ‘Sum of all Thrills’ attraction works. But the execution will have to be different to keep the capacity of the attraction moving at a quick enough clip.