Saturday, April 7, 2007

New Disney Attraction Unleashes an Avalanche of Adventure and Surprises

Aboard Expedition Everest

Now equipped to conquer the mountain, trekkers board the Anandapur Rail Service. This aging 34-passenger industrial railway, which was once used to transport tea, is now destined for the foot of Mount Everest.

As the steam train rolls through thick bamboo forests and fern groves up the first hill through a fortress, ritualized music signals riders to dangers ahead. En route, a cluster of sacred yeti totems and a massive yeti mural crafted on the rockwork gives further warning to turn back.

The train continues across a teetering bridge into the mountain, dives into shimmering glacier valleys and then climbs up through the snow-capped peaks.

Skulking silhouettes and shadows of the lurking yeti, coupled with startling special effects and climate variations, enhance the attraction as the steam train darts in and out of the picturesque mountain range.

But suddenly the train screeches to a halt near a gnarled mass of twisted metal. In a fit of rage, the yeti has torn apart the track. The thrills intensify as the runaway train moves both forward and backward through darkened mountain caverns and icy canyons and guests head for an inevitable face-to-muzzle showdown with the towering yeti -- known to some as the abominable snowman.

The train accelerates into a fog of spiral curves taking mountaineers down an 80-foot plummet to escape the wrath of the powerful yeti.

"Seeing the yeti will really startle the guests because it is so real, so convincing," said Rohde. "It is the most mammoth and sophisticated Audio-Animatronics figure ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering."

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