Expedition Everest…Secrets, Facts and Trivia

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom Park
Credit: Disney

When Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, it offered few attractions for Guests that could be considered thrill rides. Disney’s solution? Expand the mountain range of Walt Disney World Resort with Expedition Everest!

Tree of Life

Credit: Disney

In 2011, it was listed as the most expensive roller coaster in the world until it was dethroned by Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

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But as this year marks the 25th anniversary of Animal Kingdom, let’s explore some secrets, facts, and trivia surrounding the now-classic coaster.

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Everest is not…Everest


Credit: Disney

Despite popular belief, it is not modeled after the actual Mount Everest. It is, in fact, a fictional mountain created by Imagineers to incorporate the Yeti storyline.

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Yeti…Broken for Years

The original version of the complex Yeti animatronic only functioned properly few months. Due to a split in the Yeti’s frame, the animatronic has been operating on its B-mode setting to prevent further and permanent damage. Since the Yeti cannot perform its originally intended dramatic movements, a strobe light attempts to create the illusion of movement. This has earned him the nickname Disco Yeti.


Credit: Disney

Not Built By Disney

The ride was constructed by Vekoma, a famous roller coaster and ride manufacturer. Vekoma has built roller coasters for Six Flags theme parks, Universal Studios, and other Disney rides (Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and The Barnstormer, among other Disney rides across the globe).

The Barnstormer in the Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Long Wait, Short Ride

It has the second-shortest ride time in Animal Kingdom. Number #1 is Triceratops Spin.

triceratops-spin front

Credit: Disney

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At its construction, it was the 18th mountain-themed attraction built at a Disney Park.


Credit: Disney

It’s one of only a handful of attractions at Walt Disney World to offer a Single Rider line.

Goofy Heading to Single Rider Line

Credit: Disney

It was not the first “backward” moving attraction at Disney. The first was Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril: Backwards! at Disneyland Resort Paris. To draw more excitement over the Park’s Indiana Jones roller coaster, the theme Park turned the cars and ran them backward.

Indiana Jones Temple of Peril

Credit: Disney

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It is one of the most recent major Disney attractions not tied to an existing Intellectual Property or film series such as Marvel, Star Wars, or Toy Story.

Slinky Dog Dash

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Its main drop is 80 feet – nearly 30 feet farther than you fall on Splash Mountain (Tiana’s Bayou Adventure).

Splash Mountain in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney


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How Tall is the Attraction?


Credit: Disney Tips


Answer: 199.5 feet (six inches taller than the Tower of Terror). It is the tallest attraction at any Walt Disney World Park.


What Year Did the Ride Open?


Credit: Disney Tips

Answer: The Expedition Everest ride opened in 2006.

How Fast Does it Go?

Expedition Everest

Credit: Disney

Expedition Everest reaches a top speed of 50 mph.

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How Big is the Yeti?


Credit: Disney Tips

He is 25 feet tall and weighs around 4 tons.

Everest at Night

Credit: Disney

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Expedition Everest is one of the most thrilling rides Walt Disney World offers. So next time you’re in line and admiring the many intricate details sprinkled throughout the queue at Everest base camp, share some of your knowledge about the forbidden mountain and its monstrous inhabitant with others!

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)