It should come at no large surprise that when the newly revamped ‘Test Track,’ as presented by Chevrolet, makes its official debut on December 6, that cast members will sporting a new look to go along with it. And true enough, as depicted here, not only will that be the case, but there will be little mistake to which attraction a Test Track cast member serves, provided the temperature is above 80 degrees.
A concerned, anonymous contributor has provided us with this image, which demonstrates both the male and female versions of the costume (which appear to be identical, save for the baseball cap), along with the optional, innocuous (and rather ambiguous) outdoor winter wear which would look fairly contemporary if the early 1990s should ever decide to return.
Walt Disney World Resort guests will experience the thrill of designing their very own virtual vehicle – then putting their design through its paces – when the re-imagined, multi-sensory Test Track Presented by Chevrolet grand re-opens Dec. 6, 2012.
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 and trucks, 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 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.”
Amid upbeat music, eye-popping lighting effects and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers – and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.
“Through an enduring partnership, Chevrolet and Disney continue to inspire generations to imagine the impossible and innovate,” said Chris Perry, vice president, U.S. Marketing, General Motors. “The re-imagined Test Track reflects the personality and values of Chevrolet design and offers guests a behind-the-scenes look at a discipline that drives our business. This first-of-its-kind automotive design attraction represents the best of Chevrolet design and Disney innovation.”
Test Track guests enter an all-new, interactive pre-show area – completely retooled and re-imagined from the garage-like testing area of the former GM Test Track. The sleek new “Chevrolet Design Center” invites guests to create their own virtual custom-concept vehicle. Car design wannabes will get to shape their own virtual car, truck or crossover vehicle and learn how their design choices perform against four important attributes:
At design kiosks, rows of touch screens become canvasses for guests to try their hand at design magic. Here, they can virtual-draw – maneuver their vehicle design by shape, length, width and engine size. Once they create the design of their dreams, guests complete their creation with even more choices. They can make a design statement with an expressive front grill, order up wheels by size and style, add paint and other graphics and trick out their vehicle – top to sides, front to back – with the latest accessories. Then comes the crowning touch of their design – adding Chevrolet’s world-famous bowtie logo.
Their virtual Chevrolet vehicle complete, the adventure then shifts into high gear as guests – armed with a card encoded with their personal design that travels with them – board their 6-person “SimCar” ride vehicle. Ahead: a thrilling journey into a dazzling multi-sensory digital experience as guests put their personal design through a series of performance tests – the exhilarating heart of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet.
Along their route, riders experience changing terrain and extreme conditions as their designs are scored for Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power. How does their design stand up on the challenging hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit? How well does it navigate through bumpy roads, icy conditions, turn-on-a-dime curves and other surprises? Their design skills are put to the test – at speeds of up to 65 mph.
The fun and excitement continues in the post-show area.
Scoring their design. Guests get to compare their car’s results to that of a baseline SimCar – and also see how they performed against their fellow “designers.”
At a digital driving table laying out a road course, guests can race their virtual custom-concept vehicles against other guests’ designs, over changing terrain and encountering extreme conditions.
Brand-new car designers can create their own commercial – starring their virtual car.
In another experience, guests get to pose with actual Chevrolet vehicles. Through green screen technology — with a few taps on their touch screen – guests can suddenly find themselves posing with their Chevrolet on the lunar surface, arcing across the galaxies, navigating the bright-white of a polar landscape or other thrilling scenes. The images become easily sharable on social media, sending virtual postcard greetings to family, friends or co-workers back home.
New and concept Chevrolet vehicles are laid out showroom-style. Guests can get behind the wheel of Chevrolet’s latest models. Chevrolet product specialists are on hand to answer any questions.
Earlier today, the official Disney Parks blog held a webchat with Walt Disney Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick, who is one of the lead Imagineers in transitioning Epcot’s Test Track to the Test Track 2.0 phase.
Essentially, the story of the attraction is switching from testing to design, according to Jeselnick. The interior queue is being completely changed to align itself with the new focus. ‘We’ll have actual items, sketches, cars, models from GM that have never been seen before by anyone outside the Chevrolet family,’ she added.
The queue will consist of the Test Track Design Studios. It’s there that guests will design their own custom concept vehicle which ‘follows’ them into the vehicle, now known as a sim car. Although the vehicles are all physically the same, the custom design configuration itself will be scored in categories such as Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Speed. Possible customizations for the vehicle design include body shape, color and tire selection.
For the concept art seen here, Jeselnick explains that the attraction will consist of several scenes. By the time the guest reaches the point shown here, they have already experienced at’s just before our final virtual scene. By that point of the ride, you’ve experienced the Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power virtual scenes and are being set up for Speed.
In the Capability scene, the guest’s vehicle is tested for rough road and weather conditions; the Efficiency scene tests the car design’s environmental footprint; the Responsiveness scene phase tests maneuverability; and Speed is tested.
Jeselnick also noted that the custom designed vehicle continues to follow the guests even through the post-show area (where Chevrolet will display cars currently available in the pavilion showroom as well as offer concept car photo opportunities). There will be some element allowing guests to compare their custom vehicle design scores with other guests throughout the day. Jeselnick also offered the possibility of guests being able to interact with their designs beyond the attraction, though she stopped short of mentioning what they may be. It would not be unprecedented for there to be some online component, for example, or possibly even a special PhotoPass opportunity where guests can virtually join their creation.
While the attraction will enjoy a new sponsor (Chevrolet as opposed to General Motors), a new queue and ride experience, a brand new soundtrack, a new marquee (shown above) and more, some elements will remain the same. The track itself is not being altered and the attraction will continue to offer both FASTPASS and Single Rider options. While the standby queue will offer full customization opportunities, the FASTPASS and Single Rider queues will allow guests to choose from a selection of pre-configured vehicles.
Disney and General Motors have renewed their long-term business relationship with a new multi-year corporate alliance. As part of the new agreement, GM will be actively involved with Walt Disney Imagineering in the development of a re-imagined, design-centric Test Track experience. The refurbished Test Track will be presented by one of GM’s most famous brands, Chevrolet. As Chevrolet marks its 100th anniversary, the new alliance agreement enables General Motors to tell its story in new and exciting ways to millions of Guests from around the world and continue as the official vehicle sponsor of Walt Disney World Resort.
‘We are excited to renew our long-term alliance with General Motors,’ said George Aguel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances for the Walt Disney Company. ‘This unique agreement extends collaboration between two of the most recognized brands in the world, a relationship that spans over 30 years. The re-imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will continue our shared goal of providing unique and innovative experiences that engage Disney guests in exciting and interactive ways.’
‘As a global brand, Chevrolet is looking forward to welcoming Guests from around the world to the re-imagined Test Track,’ said Joel Ewanick, Global Chief Marketing Officer for General Motors. ‘The best of Disney and the best of Chevrolet will come together to bring Guests an immersive experience in the design process of the vehicles they see on the road today and will see in the future.’
As part of the re-imagining, the Future World attraction will feature a sleek new ‘Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot,’ immersing Guests in the fascinating world of automotive design. Amid upbeat music, engaging media, dramatic lighting and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers – and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.
At interactive design and styling workstations, Guests will be able to create their own custom concept vehicles. The adventure will then shift into high gear as Guests buckle into their 6-person ‘SimCar’ ride vehicle and put their design through its paces on the exhilarating hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit.
Their performance testing complete, Guests will move into a post-show area filled with special effects and be scored on how well their custom concept vehicle did. And of course, Guests will be able see the very latest Chevrolet vehicles in an all-new state-of-the-art showroom.
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 updates to the refurbishment schedule at Walt Disney World.
First, Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey, which has been marked as ‘operating seasonally’ since the beginning of the year will re-open for December 20 through January 2 only and is then scheduled to close for the remainder of 2010 (barring any future changes).
Living with the Land, having just recently re-opened from an emergency refurb, is scheduled to close beginning January 18 and re-open on February 6.
Test Track will also have a closure in January, albeit a smaller one, from January 11 through January 17.
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The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that with a sponsorship contract set to expire this year with GM, the auto maker (who reportedly pays Disney around $5million annually for the privilege) is in no financial position to go another lap with the attraction. Talks are in the works but the economic gloom is suggesting that Disney should start talking to Lexus on how to make Test Track drive itself. Full article here.