Since Expedition Everest opened in 2006, it has been one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World. At this point, you probably know that the giant Yeti animatronic is broken and stuck on “B” mode, or that the coaster travels up to 50 miles per hour. So, let’s discuss some more unique facts about this ride!
1. You’re not actually riding Everest.
Although the ride name is Expedition Everest, you’re not actually riding on Everest. You’re riding on the Forbidden Mountain. A local company called Himalayan Escapes: Tours and Expeditions runs a service that takes you through the mountain to Everest Base Camp.
2. The queue tells its own story.
The queue of Everest tells its own story. You start by entering a Tibetan style structure where you’ll pass through the booking office of the Himalayan Escapes: Tours and Expeditions. The queue then brings you through an old tea warehouse that was converted into a museum showcasing the history of the Himalayas and the Yetis. Bonus fact – all of the props decorating the queue are authentic from Tibet, Nepal, and other Asian countries!
3. The light fixtures that aren’t light fixtures.
Look up in the tea warehouse room and you’ll notice some odd light fixtures hanging from the ceiling above you. Those aren’t actually meant to be lighting. They’re repurposed tea leaf-drying lamps – which fits right into the queue backstory!
4. The height measurer is very unique
Need to measure the height of a child? You’ll see a giant Yeti footprint! Another unique height measurer is the railroad tie by Big Thunder Mountain.
5. The shrine mirrors the mountain range
As you’re walking into Asia, There’s a shrine positioned across the lagoon from Expedition Everest. If you line up the shrine with Everest behind it, you’ll see that it exactly mirrors the mountain range! This is an intentional detail left by the Imagineers.
6. The back of Everest isn’t unfinished.
Well, sort of. If you’ve seen the back of Everest, you probably think it’s a little underwhelming. Well, surprisingly it isn’t actually unfinished. Although for cost and maintenance purposes they did not create a 360 degree mountain (like Matterhorn at Disneyland), they did style the background! It’s meant to resemble a mountain village when you look from far away. We’ll let you decide if it works or not.
7. The mystery of the hair elastics
One of the questions we get asked most frequently is about the hair elastics on the mountain. Is this a tradition with historical ties? No – it’s actually not. When the ride opened, people started doing it and they never stopped. Sadly, there’s nothing more to it than that!
8. It’s a giant Hidden Mickey.
If you look from a top view, you’ll notice that Everest forms a giant Hidden Mickey! There are Hidden Mickey’s all across property, and there are actually “rules” for what qualifies, and does not qualify, as a Hidden Mickey. According to Imagineer Joe Rohde, this was just a coincidence based on track layout, and not intentional. But, we still count it!