Dispatch, Epcot: Saving the world on the new Cosmic Rewind coaster

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens at Epcot on May 27.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens at Epcot on May 27. Photo Credit: Kent Phillips, Disney

ORLANDO -- People of Epcot. Epcoters. Epcotians. Citizens of Epcot. Whatever you call yourself, if you're visiting Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort here on or after May 27, it's time to save the galaxy.

Disney is ready to open its latest attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the first roller coaster in Epcot, later this month. The coaster recruits riders -- referred to during the preshow as the aforementioned variations of "Epcotians" -- to join the Guardians of the Galaxy and save the Earth from being sucked back in time and changing the course of humanity as we know it.

The storyline

The backstory: Xandarians -- a human-like race from the planet Xandar, which the Guardians of the Galaxy helped save from destruction -- have traveled to Earth, or Terra as they call it, to share more about their culture and history with Terrans. Guardian Peter Quill (Star-Lord, as portrayed by Chris Pratt) suggested they place their display in Epcot, which he visited as a child.

Guests first enter the queue and see the Galaxarium, a large room resembling a planetarium. A vocal track talks about things that connect Terra and Xandar, while corresponding video is displayed on the ceiling. It's an impressive display.

Then, in the Xandar Gallery, guests view displays that showcase the culture and history of Xandarians, like a model of Quill's personal transport used in a pivotal battle.

A video gives them some more background, and they enter the Phase Chamber, where they are "teleported" aboard a starcruiser in orbit above Earth. The teleportation is, without spoilers, a very fun moment.

• Related: Disney releases further details of Epcot expansion

Without giving more away about the storyline, the coaster itself is unique. It's Disney's first reverse-launch coaster, and it's also an omnimover system, so the cars can rotate on the track (think a Haunted Mansion Doom Buggy that spins around on its track to show you scenes -- only a lot faster).

It's one of the longest indoor coasters in the world, but after riding five times, my only criticism was that I wish it was longer.

Who should ride Cosmic Rewind

Cosmic Rewind is a family coaster, but that doesn't stop it from being exhilarating, and those prone to motion sickness should be wary of riding. It's not just a fast coaster with twists and turns; the vehicles themselves spin frequently and vigorously.

An Imagineer I spoke with described it as best for those ready to move up from Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom but not quite ready for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, the coaster that accelerates riders at a quick pace and sends them through several inverses.

Individual cars on Cosmic Rewind spin while moving down the track, adding to the thrill factor.
Individual cars on Cosmic Rewind spin while moving down the track, adding to the thrill factor. Photo Credit: Kent Phillips, Disney

That felt right. I'm not a fan of Rock 'n' Roller, but I do love Big Thunder.

The mechanics of the coaster are fantastic, but they're only enhanced by funny quips from the Guardians along the way, and the soundtrack.

• Related: Disney shares details of next-gen Magic Bands

Much like in the "Guardians" film, the soundtrack of the coaster is a character in itself. Or, perhaps more appropriately, characters: there are six songs riders could hear while riding, offering great repeat-ride value.

All of the songs are classics that Star-Lord would undeniably want on his mixtapes: "September," "Disco Inferno," "Conga," "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "I Ran" and "One Way or Another." I rode multiple times and heard three -- "Conga," "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and "One Way or Another" -- with the latter being my clear favorite.

Cosmic Rewind replaced the long-running Ellen's Energy Adventure, an update to opening-day attraction Universe of Energy.

As Epcot undergoes its own large-scale update, this feels like a fitting and undeniably energetic replacement, with the facade of the building still paying homage to the classic.

"Walt said that Epcot will always be in a state of becoming," Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said on Thursday at an event celebrating the new coaster. "And look around at Epcot, the incredible transformation that's taking place all around us. This attraction, who got a chance to ride? It's insane. It's hard to describe. It is amazing."

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open to guests on May 27. Riders must be at least 42 inches tall.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI