Supervise children at all times.
The seating and restraints on this attraction may prohibit guests of certain body shapes or sizes from riding.
Expedition Everest is an imposing and thrilling roller coaster through the Himalayas. Guests board “steam trains” at the foothills of the Himalayas in hopes of securing safe passage to Mt. Everest. The tracks travel through bamboo forests and icy canyons in hopes of avoiding the guardian of the “Forbidden Mountain”, the mythical Yeti.
The backstory of the attraction is that Norbu and Bob, the proprietors of Himalayan Escapes Tours & Expeditions is offering safe passage to Mount Everest by way of the Forbidden Mountain. However, the Forbidden Mountains are protected by the mythical yeti and our train has several encounters along the way.
In the television special, Ultimate Walt Disney World, Imagineer Joe Rohde explains the backstory as follows:
The premise of Expedition Everest is that these entrepreneurs have decided to rebuild this old tea train and take it through the forbidden mountains to Mt. Everest. So that instead of a 28 day trek staying at little tea shops, you just hop on our train and you know 30 hours later you’ll be at base camp and you can bypass the whole thing. But to do it you have to go through the Forbidden Mountains which are guarded by the Yeti, so of course the train is intruding into this realm.
In traditional Tibetan oral traditions, the Yeti really is the guardian of these restricted remote, natural parts of the Mountains that are set aside forever never to be touched or interfered with by any form of human agency.
The ride begins with a sharp turn up and over the first small lift hill. This offers a glimpse at one of the waterfalls before a short drop. From here, the train travels through bamboo forests before reaching the main lift hill.
The main lift hill features passage through a yeti shrine before coming out to the open air. Views of the rest of the Animal Kingdom as well as all of Walt Disney World can be experienced on this lift hill.
At the top of the hill, the train travels through icy caverns before approaching a dead end where a section of track has been torn. The vehicle holds on the slight incline as prayer flags flap in the breeze. Suddenly, the train starts falling backwards. A bird will appear to the left of the destroyed track. The bird appears to hover in place, as the train travels backwards into the mountain.
As the train continues backwards, it descends into the darkness of the mountain through a double helix. It is at this point where the strongest g-forces can be felt in the ride. The train comes to a stop once again at an incline, and this time the shadow of the yeti can be seen ripping the track behind us. The yeti disappears and the train lurches forward down an 80 foot drop in front of the mountain.
The train climbs quickly back into the mountain where the yeti can be heard growling at our train before it passes outside again. Outside in the forest, the train ascends through a double helix back into the mountain once again. Inside it’s dark, and barely visible is a large yeti figure posed with an outstretched arm over the track. Previously, this figure would lurch forward and swipe at the train, but it has not moved regularly since 2007. Typically, a strobe light will be positioned in a way that gives the appearance of motion of the yeti, however in some instances there will be no strobe light.
After the encounter with the yeti, the vehicle slows down past a waterfall before approaching the unload station.
Expedition Everest Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is a high-speed, roller coaster-type train ride to the “roof of the world” that includes sharp turns and sudden drops, traveling both forwards and backwards through dark, winding tunnels.
Thrill seekers, teenagers and young adults
TIMES GUIDE - OPENING/CLOSING
This attraction opens with the park.
Along with the Pandora attractions and Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest is one of the high demand Fastpass+ reservations in the park. Same day availability typically exists, but will run our earlier than other attractions. Guests can save a considerable amount of time using Fastpass+ at this location.
If your party is willing to separate, the Single Rider line is often a comparable wait to the Fastpass line, but your party will not ride together.
Expedition Everest has a Standby queue, a Fastpass queue, and a Single Rider queue. Each of these queues travel past temples and artifacts that celebrate and educate guests on the myth of the Yeti.
The Standby queue takes guests through the temples in the Village of Serka Zong before entering the Yeti museum. Upon approaching the queue, prayer flags can be seen flapping in the wind. The first room features a desk with an old computer in a very crowded “booking room”. This begins the story of the “Himalayan Escapes” tours and guests are reserving a spot on the tea train.
The queue continues to a covered pagoda outside where they can view gardens as well as the mountain in the distance.
A sign in the pagoda reads:
Visitors please respect ancient Mandir Pagoda which honors Yeti-protector of the sacred mountain. Carvings date back to the reign of his majesty King Parthiva Sankara Gavampati 17th Century.
Shrines to the yeti line the queue as prayer flags a hung overhead.
As the queue moves inside, artifacts from hikers line the walls and ceilings. This includes rope, tine pots and pans, and other hiking equipment. This area is intended to be a tea shop and leads into the Yeti museum.
Inside the museum, photos, maps and other yeti related artifacts are behind glass in museum caliber exhibits. A tent and other artifacts are on display referencing the “lost expedition”. Photos suggest that the yeti could actually be another animal native to the area, but other evidence suggests otherwise.
The museum leads into the merge point with Fastpass where guests approaching the loading platform.
The Fastpass queue takes guests past mountain climbing gear as well as photos and documents showcasing the myth of the Yeti.
The Single Rider queue is mostly switchbacks in an area next to the other queues but it still contains much of the atmospheric elements of the other two.
The vehicles are described as “Steam Donkey Trains” and seat up 34 guests in 17 rows of two. They are modeled after an aging, steam-engine tea train. The last row features a steam engine that appears to release a burst of steam at the loading area. The steam is actually generated from vents at the loading area and not the vehicle itself.
A center partition separates the two guests in a row and individual lap bars secure guests in place.
Thematically, the attraction draws comparisons to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but Expedition Everest is a faster ride. The closest attraction on a thrill level is Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, however Expedition Everest does not have any inversions.
The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel SoCal Attractions 360. These videos are in 4K or 1080p resolution for peak quality.