GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: COSMIC REWIN is impressing droves guests in its early previews with some proclaiming it to best attractions in the park or even the entire Walt Disney World Resort. After having the chance to take the attraction for a spin (literally!) we have a few thoughts on what it brings, its place in the park, and overall what to expect with an attraction that’s been many many years in the making.
The concept of being the first “other-world” showcase pavilion is executed very well in “The Wonders of Xandar,” with more Xandarian cultural information to discover in the queue than is offered in some of the actual showcase pavilions. The Galaxarium and particularly the model of the Xandarian city provide a lot of convincingly entertaining information about Xandar which can only be an asset once the spaces are packed with waiting guests.
The transportation effect and subsequent dialog between the Guardians and Nova Prime Irani Rael (all played by their returning actors from the films) are a nice reward for people who have survived what will surely be something of a wait once the ride opens. There is a lot of exposition given, which will be gratifying for people who have previously invested in the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY films and largely irrelevant for people who have not and just want to ride a ride.
The ride itself–Starjumper shuttles, in which guests are evacuated from the Starcharter cruiser when Something Goes Terribly Wrong–is a masterpiece of coaster technology. I found it both longer and a smoother ride than I had anticipated, with a track that felt similar in a lot of ways to Disneyland’s Space Mountain, all sweeping twists and turns without the sudden dips of the Magic Kingdom Space Mountain.
The vehicles rotate on their axis just as quickly, not in the Wild Mouse spinning motion of “Crush’s Coaster,” but more like an omnimover on crack, forcing you in the directions you need to face to follow the story’s action. I’m not overly motion-sensitive so the rotation didn’t bother me, but I did have the feeling that people who are might have a little discomfort. I ended up riding it more than once and felt that it was less vertiginous as you got used to the motion and could anticipate better where you were going to be looking.
When people evaluate this ride, some attention is inevitably going to be paid to whether this is something that is a fit with EPCOT. While we can never know what Walt would have liked or disliked, he was pretty open with his goals to make EPCOT a place of entertainment and education. As I see it, the rationale for the ride’s placement (separate from the backstory of Peter Quill and his early experiences with EPCOT as a child) is similar to the Pandora area of Animal Kingdom being a metaphor for how humans relate to Nature–the idea of making connections with the Xandarians and how that illustrates our attempts to make connections with other humans on this, our planet Earth. Having said that, are you going to leave Cosmic Rewind with new non-fictional information you didn’t have before? Will you be smarter? Probably not, and if that’s your criteria for what should be in EPCOT, then you will likely be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you evaluate the ride for sheer entertainment value, then it passes with flying colors.
The technology involved with the coaster and the tracking it uses to tell a story is amazing, and the familiar music and actors give it a fun, humorous feel. The scope of the building and all the queue displays make the whole thing seem like a massive, integrated experience that sets off the big thrills of the ride in an impressive way.
Whether or not you feel the ride should have been located in EPCOT–it is there now and hopefully will drive more people to a park that in some ways has been subject to a languishing lack of attention in the past. If it brings more people to appreciate and experience the edutainment that has always been a part of EPCOT, then maybe those are the connections it was intended to forge all along.
See it for Yourself
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: COSMIC REWIND opens at EPCOT in Walt Disney World on May 27, 2022.
But wait, there’s more!
We have a whole bunch of coverage for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: COSMIC REWIND. Below are some additional highlights you do NOT want to miss!
- FUN FACTS: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: COSMIC REWIND is a new kind of family thrill at EPCOT
- WATCH: Wonders of Xandar exhibit includes archival appearance by “Terran visionary” Walt Disney
- INSIDE: New TREASURES OF XANDAR gift shop brings a cosmic selection of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY merchandise