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Welcome, World Travelers! Come Get It TRON on TRON Lightcycle Run!

by James Coulter

For more than 50 years, the Magic Kingdom has been quite magical. However, one thing the park has lacked has been a proper thrill ride. Sure, it has roller coasters like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Seven Dwarves Mine Train, but while those rides are undoubtedly fun, they’re rather tame and more geared toward children and their families.

Walt Disney World, of course, has plenty of high-thrill coasters like Rock n Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios, Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom, and Test Track and Cosmic Rewind in Epcot—yet for the longest time, the only park without a proper roller coaster for the “big kids” has been the OG park, Magic Kingdom.

Until now!

Now guests seeking high-octane thrills don’t need to park hop over to the other parks to enjoy fast speeds and tight turns. Recently, Magic Kingdom “uploaded” its latest attraction with TRON Lightcycle Run. But does this new coaster cross the finish line? Or does it crash and “derez” on impact?

Based on TRON: Legacy, the sequel to the 1980s sci-fi cult classic TRON, TRON Lightcycle Run is a clone of TRON Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland, with that ride essentially being that park’s substitute for Space Mountain. Now, seven years after the original ride opened in Shanghai, Magic Kingdom opened its own version right next door to Space Mountain.

As soon as guests approach the ride area, they’ll be greeted with a sprawling white canopy that lights up in brilliant blue flashing lights come nighttime. Of course, the main draw will be the ride’s outer track with ride vehicles launching out of the building and along a huge curve before rushing back inside. Either the shrill screams of riders will prompt you to turn back while you still can or encourage you to get on line and join in the fun.

Once inside, guests are “digitized” into the World of TRON. There, they have been invited to participate in a lightcycle race as members of the Blue Team. These games prove quite perilous, as riders race each other neck-to-neck and try to make each other crash and burn–or rather crash and “derez.” Will riders walk away in victory? Or will they run the risk of getting deleted?

Before boarding the ride, guests are prompted to leave their bags and other large items inside a locker room for safekeeping. (Smaller items like wallets and sunglasses can be stored in small compartments on the ride vehicle.) They can open and unlock their lockers using either their Magic Bands or card passes. Undoubtedly, this state-of-the-art locker system proves both convenient and secure.

The attraction itself, it goes without saying, is quite the thrill. Once riders are loaded onto their lightcycle vehicles, they are sent to the launch area where they are launched out of the building at 60 mph before returning inside the building for a high-octane ride through sharp turns and twists.

The dark ride area, as with Space Mountain and Rock n Roller Coaster, provides an overall sense of uncertainty, leaving riders guessing which direction they’ll go next, and the brilliant projections make them feel as though they have truly entered cyberspace.

The only real “drawback” is the ride vehicles themselves. True to the TRON theming, the vehicles are designed like motorcycles. Guests straddle them, lean forward, and pull back on the handlebars to secure themselves in place. If you don’t mind lying on your stomach for two minutes, this riding position should not be a problem. However, it might be uncomfortable with larger or taller passengers.

One of my taller friends loved the ride but complained that her knees hurt from having to squat inside her vehicle. Meanwhile, two of my plus-sized relatives had the option of riding the back seats where they could sit upright. Again, if you’re not against riding something like a motorcycle, this attraction should be no problem. However, taller and larger guests are advised to ride the back seats where they can sit upright.

The only other “drawback” is that this attraction can only be accessed through a virtual queue. You won’t be arriving at the ride and getting in line. You have to pull out your phone and access the Disney App at a designated time to reserve a wait time. When it’s your turn to ride, the app will notify you, and you can head to TRON Lightcycle Run within the next hour. (Anyone who has read my prior columns knows my thoughts about the virtual queue, so I won’t repeat myself here.)

Overall, TRON Lightcycle Run is a real blast, a high-octane coaster with sharp turns and high speeds. Magic Kingdom guests finally have a proper thrill ride that can compete with the thrill rides of other parks, both in Disney and other theme parks. As long as you don’t mind riding on your stomach or using the virtual queue, the newest ride is a must-ride. So head on down to Tomorrowland and—get it TRON!

What do you think? Have you ridden TRON Lightcycle Run yet? If so, did you love it? Or was the ride not your cup of digital tea? Leave your comments on Facebook.

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Staff Reporter

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