A spin on Guardians of the Galaxy – Orlando Sentinel

Future riders aboard Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the upcoming roller coaster at Epcot, are in for a head-spinning, hair-raising journey.

Walt Disney World’s newest attraction is a breezy but ever-revolving ride with a design that allows each ride vehicle to spin, almost teacups-style, along the ride’s rail, through the ups and downs of an outer-space mission in almost complete darkness.

There’s also a trippy backward launch, a first for a Disney coaster. The ride was previewed by members of the media Thursday.

Without being too spoilery, here’s the back story for Cosmic Rewind. The planet of Xandar has opened a pavilion at Epcot to show off its advanced technologies. That includes the Cosmic Generator, which creates tunnels in space for easy travel across great distances.

And as in fictional Disney universe tradition, something goes horribly wrong, courtesy of the evil Eson. This prompts the guardians to recruit Epcot visitors to follow the big baddie via starjumpers, a k a the coaster vehicles.

The ride that follows includes the rapid-fire backward stretch with cosmic lighting and a series of bobbing, weaving and virtual surfing through the starry sky. It might remind you of an extremely amped-up Space Mountain, the interstellar coaster that opened at DIsney’s Magic Kingdom in 1975.

Oddly more 21st century is the blaring music from the ‘70s and ‘80s inspired by the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films and its mixtape mentions. Riders will hear one of six songs during the attractions, and while the ride structure does change with the music, the mood can be altered. A round with “Conga” or “Disco Inferno” will land differently than one with “I Ran” or “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

During the latter, “you feel like the ride’s gliding,” Wyatt Winter, a senior producer with Walt Disney Imagineering, said Thursday. “And it really is the exact same ride pattern, all of that. But it does change the visceral feel of it, when you have a song that’s a little slower and softer.”

Passengers also will hear quips from “Guardians” characters via onboard speakers.

After the reverse launch — that’s the back-in-time part — there are a series of romps in spin mode and some portal busting. The intensity rises with gravity-inspired orbits around the moon and Earth, leading to the transition back to modern day.

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Disney officials say Cosmic Rewind’s intensity level is beyond that of Space Mountain but less than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. The height requirement for the new ride is 42 inches.

“What I’ve told people, and even my own family, you’ve graduated from Magic Kingdom mountains. You want to go beyond Space Mountain, but you’re not quite ready for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster,” Winter said.

Cosmic Rewind doesn’t go upside-down like Rock ‘n’ Roller does, nor does it have dramatic drops like Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, he notes.

“But we push that excitement and kind of exhilaration through the show and the overall experience,” Winter said. “I think it’s kind of all those senses coming together.”

Epcot begins ride previews for annual passholder with event reservations next week. Cosmic Rewind opens to the public May 27.

The attraction will be the fifth coaster to open in Florida in less than a year, following Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando, Daddy Pig’s Roller Coaster at Peppa Pig Theme Park in Winter Haven and Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

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