There are so many hidden details at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
From Cast Member names on Main Street, U.S.A windows to the special Imagineering tricks of attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Guests always have something new to look out for on their next Disney vacation.
But there’s one little detail on Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest ride that is sure to surprise any fans of this popular roller coaster – one that often goes unnoticed.
Expedition Everest is full of amazing Imagineering and cultural details, from its artifact-filled queue area to its Mount Everest facade.
The ride has inspired many Disney Park traditions, including the famous hair-tie toss when the ride reaches the broken tracks at the top of the mountain. So, what’s this special tidbit that Guests have probably never noticed on their tea train experience through Mount Everest?
Well, it’s not the Single Rider Line, which allows Guests to enjoy a ride on Expedition Everest with little to no wait time – so long as they don’t mind being split up at the loading platform. The Single Rider Line provides a great alternate option for Guests not able to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane reservation for the popular attraction.
And, no, it’s not the infamous Yeti. After seeing the Yeti attempt to stop their escape by ripping up the roller coaster’s tracks, Guests soon find themselves face to face with the terrifying creature. The animatronic Yeti is an impressive twenty-five feet tall and is now in an eternal motionless state, called “B Mode.” Disney Imagineers have installed strobe lights to give the Himalayan beast the illusion of movement, but Disney World Guests continue to wonder if the Yeti will ever be “fixed”.
The special effect most Guests have never seen is actually a bird! The Mouselets (@themouselets) managed to capture this Imagineering detail in a video shared on their TikTok:
Has anyone else ever seen this special effect?? #disneyworld #disneyparks #disneysecrets #disneyhistory #disneyfacts #animalkingdom #disneyrides
The video shows a special effect that is frequently broken on the Disney Park ride – the bird. This bird is a simple but effective feature that brings the summit of Everest to life for Guests on the roller coaster. The Mouselets explain in the video on social media:
“If you’ve seen this special effect at Disney World, count yourself lucky. Why? Because many Guests don’t have the opportunity to it because it is broken really often. And no, not the Yeti. As you’re approaching the top of the summit of Everest, look to the top left and you’ll see a bird. It’s done so simply – it’s just attached to a stick – but it does look like it’s flying above you.”
So, next time you’re riding Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, make sure to look up and to your left to spot this mysterious bird!
Across Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is no structure taller than Expedition Everest. The Animal Kingdom attraction stands at 199.5 feet tall, only slightly higher than the Tower of Terror at 199 feet and the iconic Cinderella Castle at 189 feet.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened at the Walt Disney World Resort on Earth Day back in 1998, but it would be eight years before the Expedition Everest roller coaster thrill ride was added to the attractions line-up at the Disney Park.
When it was opened back in 2006, Expedition Everest was the most expensive roller coaster in the world. Its total cost was reported to be US$100 million, covering six years of planning and construction by Disney Imagineers. The popular Disney attraction held this record up until 2019 when the $300M Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure opened at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is currently undergoing refurbishment and is expected to reopen mid-April 2022, joining experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom such as KiteTails, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Avatar: Flight of Passage.