Epcot trip report – December 2012 (new Test Track walkthrough & holiday festivities)
My family and I recently visited Epcot primarily to ride the revamped Test Track and experience the Candlelight Processional. We were very pleased with both experiences in addition to all that Epcot typically has to offer their guests.
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Arriving at Epcot I immediately went to Test Track. The posted wait time was 50 minutes for the stand-by line. I recently read that you cannot fully design your own vehicle from the FastPass or single rider line, so I got in the stand-by line since I wanted to design my own vehicle. The queue has completely changed; it is now very futuristic. The Chevrolet concept cars featured in the queue were unique and fascinating. There were several information screens throughout the queue and some were hands-on. Guests that learn different aspects of their vehicle’s design will be tested and receive points during the actual ride. Your points are then compared to other riders in the same vehicle and also others who rode Test Track that day.
After receiving my RFID card (about the size of a credit card), I waited outside the design studio until it was our time to enter. When the design studio doors opened, I proceeded to my assigned design screen, scanned my RFID card and then designed my own vehicle. I was able to choose many features on the vehicle including body shape, style, color and tires. A time limit for each feature is shown on the screen so that everyone in the room finishes at the same time.
After the design stage was complete, we proceeded to another queue for the loading zone. Test Track vehicles still hold 6 people but the outside of the car has been updated with a slick futuristic design. Before loading into the car, I scanned my RFID card and the system kept track of my design during the ride. The ride’s track is the same as before the renovation but the scenery and effects are completely different and were awesome! During parts of the ride, I felt like I was inside a computer, similar to the movie Tron. After the ride was completed, I moved to the next room and scanned my RFID card to see how many points I earned for each aspect of my vehicle’s design. Different sections of the exit area offered opportunities to create your own commercial that you can email, race your vehicle on a virtual racetrack, photograph yourself standing next to your vehicle or other featured Chevrolet cars, and email the photos to yourself or friends.
My husband, son and I went to experience Test Track again later that afternoon but it was closed for several hours due to technical difficulties. We were finally able to get in the FastPass line only to have more technical issues delay us for almost another 30 minutes. Guests in the FastPass line and single rider line are only able to choose from a small selection of ready-made vehicles, and could only pick a few features.
The new Test Track was great and the interactive tasks available after the ride were very unique and fun. I recommend going through the stand-by line at least once to take advantage of the create-your-own-vehicle aspect of the queue.
In addition to the re-imagined Test Track, Epcot’s decorations for the holidays are very eye-catching. The incorporation of plants and flowers in the decorations throughout the park is beautiful and presented exceptionally well. The fountains near the center of Future World dance to Christmas music and are dazzling, especially at night when they are lit.
Another holiday feature at Epcot is the story-telling in each section of World Showcase depicting the holiday traditions from each country. The story-teller is in costume native to that country and very entertaining in their explanation of the traditions from their area of the world. The Voices of Liberty group in the American Adventure section singing holiday songs is one feature that you shouldn’t miss. The A Capella songs and the acoustics are incredible. Check the park times schedule for each country’s storyteller and Voices of Liberty performances.
But my favorite part of the holiday celebration at Epcot is the Candlelight Processional and concert in the American Gardens Theater. In addition to the Voices of Liberty singers, local area school choirs and church choirs walk into the American Gardens Theater holding candles while singing Christmas carols accompanied by a fifty piece orchestra. The story of Christmas is narrated by a celebrity. In between passages of the Christmas story, the choirs and orchestra perform inspiring Christmas carols. This event was outstanding, and I highly recommend it be a part of your holiday celebration. The Candlelight Processional is held three times a day from now until December 30, 2012. Check the park map and times schedule for more information.
My trip to Epcot was a great experience. I was truly thrilled to experience the new Test Track and the Candlelight Processional this trip. The crowds were moderate and the weather was fantastic, solidifying my belief that the first couple of weeks of December are one of the best times of the year to visit any of Orlando’s theme parks.
Epcot trip report – photo gallery
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