Reporting Jeff Gilbert
WARREN, MI — (WWJ) General Motors popular Test Track ride is about to re-open at Walt Disney World, following the first complete makeover in its 13 year history.
“We wanted to really tell a more intimate automotive story,” said GM Director of Auto Shows and Exhibits Grace Morgan. “We wanted to tell that through the brand Chevrolet.”
So, in addition to a new look, and improved interactivity, the ride is being renamed “Test Track, presented by Chevrolet.” That comes as GM works to emphasize the identity of its individual brands. Chevrolet being the largest, and most mass market, of those brands.
“That personality of Chevrolet comes though in this environment, but in a soft sell way,” said Jeff Mylenek, GM’s Global Exhibit Design Manager. “It’s void of commercialism.”
While the basic infrastructure will remain the same, the look of Test Track has been completely changed. Instead of walking through a display of testing gear, riders will pass interactive exhibits. They will also get the opportunity to design their own vehicle. The ride itself has greatly enhanced graphics, and a different look.
However, the actual track hasn’t been changed, and it will include the popular high-speed loop at the end.
“There’s something that always brought people to Test Track,” said Mylenek. “Part of it is that ride experience.”
Test Track opened in 1999. It replaced an exhibit called “World of Motion”, which was also sponsored by General Motors. GM has had a presence at EPCOT since the opening of the park in 1982.
“Test Track has always been one of the most popular attractions at EPCOT,” Melissa Jeselnick, who’s the Disney Imagineer in charge of the project. “Many of our guests get to experience it. We’re excited to bring them this new story.”
Millions of riders go through Test Track every year, allowing GM to get its products in front of a diverse audience. However, prior to this update, those riders saw older products, including some from brands that had been discontinued, like Saturn and Pontiac.
Jeselnick says the update gives Disney and GM the opportunity to do things with Test Track that they couldn’t do 13 years ago.
“You won’t see the same things you saw in the Test Track that opened in 1999,” she said. “This new world is all about the new tools of automotive design.”