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Today in Disney History: Expedition Everest Debuts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on April 7th, 2011 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 7, 2006.

Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom

This attraction takes guests on a high-speed journey through the Himalayan Mountains via old tea train cars. Along the way, guests spot signs – including torn train tracks – that a yeti, the mysterious guardian of the mountain, awaits nearby.

Expedition Everest measures nearly 200 feet high, making it the tallest of the 18 Disney “mountain” attractions at Disney Parks around the world. The design of the attraction was based on the rocky peaks of the northwest face of Mount Everest, as well as geological elements found in Tibet and Nepal.

The Yeti in Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom

When designing the yeti, Walt Disney Imagineering looked to three different primates for inspiration: the Golden Monkey, the Asian Langur Monkey and the prehistoric Gigantopithecus.

Here are some other memorable days in Disney Parks history:

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort



Kimberly from MA on April 7th, 2011 at 10:26 am

I remember seeing this being built back in 2004. It was just a mass of Steel beams, we had no idea what they were building. We knew it was going to be HUGE!!! And now it’s my favorite coaster in WDW!!


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on April 7th, 2011 at 10:47 am

Kimberly- It’s also one of my favorite places to take a photo. The mountain makes such a cool backdrop!


Mike from ON on April 7th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

My wife and I honeymooned at WDW in 2009. When we were on this ride (alert: mini-spoiler ahead!) and it came to a stop in the middle with the broken tracks, my wife exclaimed (in total seriousness) “oh no, the track is broken!”. I replied tongue-in-cheek “I think it was the Yeti!” and then we laughed all the way to the end of the ride. We rode it a couple more times, it was our favourite fast ride at WDW and my wife’s exclamation was one of the best/funniest moments of our trip.


Tim on April 7th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

What’s going on with the Yeti? Disney still references it in promotions and posts like this one, yet it hasn’t worked for several years.

We as fans want to see the Yeti back in full working order it makes for a much better ride.

-Tim Grassey
Co-Host of the WDW Fan Boys Podcast


DANIEL from MA on April 7th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

As someone who has experienced EE in 100% full operating I really wish fans of Disney World would be able to experience the same. The ride without a fully operating Yeti is still a great experience, but until someone experiences the Yeti in full operating status there is no comparison. People save each and every day to be able to come to the World and experience the Magic, but when rides are not operating to their full potential it takes away from the experience. I expect more from WDI.


Charles from MS on April 7th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Wow! 5 years! It seems like only yesterday when I rode it for the first time! It is a great ride! Congrats to all the Imagineers behind it!,,,


James on April 7th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Saw it being built in 2005 and it looked like it was going to be amazing. Now my favourite ride in the whole of Florida! It’s amazing!!!!!


Diana from NY on April 7th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Happy anniversary – Expedition: Everest!

I remember going to the passholder preview for Expedition: Everest back in 2006 (I think it was January), and cowering when we passed the Yeti, swooping down and seemingly coming thisclose to grabbing the train. What an amazing effect! The next time I rode in 2008, I was so disappointed to see that the key element of the attraction, the Yeti himself, was no longer operating (adding insult to injury is the focus on the Yeti in all those Travel Channel specials).

I have faith the management in Walt Disney World will take care of this iconic attraction. Imagine riding Space Mountain permanently with the lights on…being in Space is what makes Space Mountain unique and amazing, just like the Yeti is what makes EE a truly “Disney” attraction and not just another neat roller coaster.


Steven from PA on April 7th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

My sons rode it in February, 2006, before it officially opened, by being there when the ride was being tested! They had a blast and still love it.


ryan from FL on April 8th, 2011 at 12:12 am

Please, this is possibly one of the best rides in all of WDW!
Fix perspective is really amazing here, it looks so big you’d swear it’s real.
The ride is my favorite and I’ve ridden it like seven times.
Yeti scares me every time, but I’ll ride Expedition Everest again.


Paul on April 8th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I wasn’t at AK for the opening of Expedition Everest in 2006, but have ridden many times since. My daughter & I rode a total of 13 times the night of the EE 5th Anniversary Passholder Event last month. The ride is a whole new experience at night. But I agree with the other posters, return the Yeti – and the ride – to its full glory. Ridley Pearson fans know that Maleficent caused the problems, but WDI with a bit of help from the Kingdom Keepers, really should fix them pronto.


Fred from CA on April 8th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Don’t worry everyone, I’m sure that the WDW management will get the Yeti operational again soon.


Craig on April 16th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I rode this attraction during spring break, and the Yeti was not even visable, (as if they took him out for refurbishment?). I asked the Castmember and he relpied with, “The Yeti is on vacation”.