By Nick Eyman - July 11, 2023 | Tron: Lightcycle Run
If there's one thing you expect from the world's most-attended theme park, it's an astounding and innovative experience. So when Disney World announced the arrival of Tron Lightcycle Run, a highly anticipated roller coaster that took five years to build and caused temporary closures of two other attractions, expectations were understandably high. Having personally traveled to Walt Disney World as co-owners of Your Story Travel Company, we were eager to test out this new addition and share our thoughts with you.
Upon entering Tron Lightcycle Run, you are immediately greeted by an immense canopy of futuristic architecture that stands as the ride's most captivating feature. During the day, it provides much-needed shade in the outdoor queue, while at night, it comes alive with mesmerizing blue lights, accented by hints of orange that mirror the ride's exhilarating race theme. This canopy not only encompasses the ride's entrance and outdoor queue but also offers a larger section for guests to explore and capture memorable coaster photographs. However, while the canopy and its accompanying ambiance are impressive, the queue itself lacks the immersive storytelling Disney is renowned for. The outdoor portion consists of standard switchbacks, and the interior resembles a simplistic black box with Tron-inspired color patterns. The highlight of the queue is catching a glimpse of the coaster launch, which adds a sense of anticipation.
An interesting departure from Disney's norm is the mandatory locker system at the end of the queue. This ensures the safety of loose items and requires the use of a MagicBand or the ticket you scanned for park entry to access the lockers. It's worth noting that scanning your phone won't work, but Disney employees are readily available to provide a card for locker access if needed.
Now let's dive into the ride experience itself. The light cycle-style coaster cars are unlike anything most riders have seen before. The proper riding position involves leaning forward, gripping the bike's handlebars, while restraints secure your legs and back. Some larger riders have encountered issues due to the design, but as someone of average build, I didn't face any fitting problems. However, the lack of foam or padding on the handles made them less comfortable than expected.
The ride kicks off with a heart-pounding launch, propelling you outside through familiar swooping turns reminiscent of those seen in the queue. With a top speed of 59 miles per hour, the ride certainly delivers on the thrill factor. The restraints, surprisingly comfortable, could potentially enhance the experience with moments of airtime if included, though the focus remains on the sheer speed.
As you enter the main show building, you find yourself in Space Mountain territory – surrounded by darkness. Unpredictable twists and turns punctuated by screens displaying a simulated race with Team Orange create an element of surprise. While the visuals add to the overall experience, the true joy comes from the exhilaration of not knowing what lies ahead. However, it's important to note that less than a minute after the launch, the ride concludes. In comparison, attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind provide an additional 30 seconds of ride time, not counting the pre-launch show elements. Tron Lightcycle Run falls short in terms of ride duration, placing it below the likes of Expedition Everest, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and Cosmic Rewind in our ranking of Disney World coasters. Nonetheless, it does outshine the other coasters within Magic Kingdom solely due to its intense thrill factor.
In summary, Tron Lightcycle Run adds a sense of thrill and futuristic aesthetics to Tomorrowland, particularly when experienced at night. The fast launch combined with riding a coaster in the dark is undeniably enjoyable. However, we can't help but feel that the ride falls somewhat short of expectations. For the most-attended theme park in the world, Magic Kingdom deserves a groundbreaking attraction, and unfortunately, Tron Lightcycle Run doesn't quite deliver. While it's a good ride, it fails to reach the level of greatness seen in other Orlando thrill rides and Disney's previous themed coasters.