My Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Experience
Earlier this month, my wife bought us tickets to attend the DIS Con 2022 EPCOT After Hours Party. DIS Con is a fundraising expo for Give Kids The World Village consisting of a number of events, celebrity appearances, and memorabilia auctions. Most of DIS Con 2022 was postponed to Spring 2023 due to Hurricane Ian. Luckily for us, though, the EPCOT After Hours Party was still on. The event allowed us an opportunity to experience the new coaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, while avoiding the typical daytime Disney crowds.
Upon entering the park, we were guided to the World Discovery section of EPCOT. For the After Hours event, there was a drink station at the front of the area, along with a few dessert stations going towards Mission: SPACE. We decided to hop on Guardians of the Galaxy before indulging ourselves with food and drinks.
We proceed towards the Guardians of the Galaxy ride building, located to the left of Mission: SPACE. It was quite a site to see after having to detour past walls around it for the last few years. We are greeted by a large Nova Corps Star Blaster at the front of the ride building.
The premise of the ride is based around being the “Wonders of Xandar” Pavilion, the first Epcot pavilion representing another planet. Upon entering the building, we are greeting by signs that read “Wonders of Xandar” and “From Our World To Yours”. The latter phrase gave way to the premise that the Nova Corps was utilizing EPCOT as a cultural exchange to present the Xandarian lifestyle and technologies to us “Terrans”.
Ride Queue and Preshow
The ride queue traverses through a “Galaxarium” where a Xandarian AI walks you through the connection between Xandar and Earth, facts about space itself, and a few Guardians of the Galaxy jokes and easter eggs thrown in. The queue continues on through several displays of Xandarian technology and culture, along with an interview with several of the Guardians themselves.
Finally, we are guided into the ride pre-show area where we are greeted by Glenn Close reprising her role as Nova Prime, Irani Rael. She greets the audience and explains that the distance between Earth and Xandar is so great that it would take a lifetime to traverse. She then explains that Xandar has developed a device called a Cosmic Generator that allows the creation of jump holes used as short cuts through space. Thus, instead of us Terrans being able to visit Xandar, the Nova Corps is using the power of the Cosmic Generator to bring Xandar to us. We are to be teleported to a Nova ship to see a demonstration of the Cosmic Generator firsthand.
Next, we are handed off to Terry Crews making an appearance as Centurion Tal Marik of the Nova Corps. We are ushered into the teleportation chamber where we are “teleported” to the Nova ship, with the Cosmic Generator displayed in the far left corner of the room. Before the demonstration can begin, the power goes out and the Cosmic Generator is apparently stolen. Nova Prime makes a call to the Guardians of the Galaxy for assistance. Apparently, the Cosmic Generator has been stolen by the giant Celestial, Eson, who wants to use the device to jump back through time to erase Terra’s existence.
With the ship out of power, Rocket Raccoon (who is noticeably not voiced by Bradley Cooper) comes up with the idea of sending us Terrans through the jumphole on evacuation shuttles to follow Eson, with Rocket controlling the shuttles remotely and the Guardians using us to track to Eson’s location in time. We are then guided by Tal Marik to the evacuation shuttles to begin the ride experience.
Note that I went on Guardians of the Galaxy completely blind of the experience. All that I knew was that the ride would utilize technology that allowed the Omnicoaster ride vehicle cars to turn during the ride. Given Disney’s penchant for more family friendly rides, I was fully expecting the ride to be more of an immersive “dark ride” experience with a few coaster elements, similar to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios. It’s safe to say that I was completely wrong in that thought. Instead, I experienced what was hands down the best coaster at Walt Disney World.
When we get to the ride station, they were running trains on both sides. Our group of four is sent to the right, and my wife and I were able to snag seats in the front row. We departed and rounded the corner and were hilariously told by Rocket, “Okay, they’re heading for the jump point! This plan is never gonna work!” We then turned to the lift hill with the Guardians of the Galaxy theme playing. I put my hands up in the air just in case we were going to get a Revenge of the Mummy-styled launch up the lift hill. Alas, there was no launch, just the Guardians giving us a pep talk with Drax deadpanning at the top with “…then you are likely doomed.” Gee, thanks Drax.
We then make another turn towards the “jump point” tunnel. At this point, I was expecting the ride to launch, but was again disappointed. Instead, we came face-to-face with a large screen with Eson holding the Cosmic Generator and gloating to us that we should have never followed him. As the train rounded a corner, the Omnicoaster ride vehicle experience kicked in. The ride cars turn so the riders were focused on the Guardians’ ship confronting Eson as the train turned another corner in front of the screen. At this point in the ride, I was resorted to thinking that the ride experience would indeed be a similar experience to Gringotts. We end up fully turned backwards as we watch the Guardians knock the Cosmic Generator out of Eson’s hands. Eson yells “What have you done?” with Rocket following up with “What have we done?!” Gamora answers “I think we’re jumping back!” as the Guardians and Eson are sucked into a wormhole. The music stops and everything goes dark, there’s an explosion on the screen…
We are then launched backwards at 60 mph as everything lights up and “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls blasts out of the ride speakers. From this point of the ride on, I have no idea what is happening around me as far as the ride story goes. All I can say is that the ride definitely isn’t the same as Gringotts. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a pure roller coaster experience.
At the end of the launch, we are given a bump of airtime as the train banks into a turn and the ride vehicles rotate back to forward facing again. It’s hard to describe what happens during the ride after this. It’s simply something that must be experienced in person. The track, ride structure, and building are all lit with “stars” and other lighting that give you a fully immersed feeling that you are racing through space. There are things happening on the screen, and the Guardians are bantering throughout the ride, but these things are secondary to the coaster itself.
The highlight of the ride is clearly the controlled spinning of the Omnicoaster ride vehicles. The ride doesn’t turn just so you can see what’s happening on the screens like I thought it would. Instead, the controlled spinning is purely to enhance the experience of the coaster itself. While the ride doesn’t have any inversions, there are plenty of drops, twists, and airtime moments. The controlled spinning adds to this, making simple coaster elements even more thrilling. For example, at one point in the ride the track banks heavily to the left and then swoops around and banks to the right. During the first bank, the cars turn sideways to the left as if you’re wall surfing and then turns 180 degrees to the right as you go through the next banked turn before turning you straight again. There’s also a point in the ride when you “jump” back to the current solar system and the ride does a downward helix around a set piece of the moon. The ride turns you sideways towards the moon as you zoom around it, and it almost feels like you can reach out and touch it! My words can’t describe the feeling of the ride, but it is an absolute blast! The ride is thrilling throughout, yet the intensity is at a level where anybody can enjoy it.
Here’s a POV of the right, but I can assure you that it won’t do the ride justice. This is just something that you will have to experience for yourself:
The ride soundtrack also adds to the experience. There are six different songs that you can randomly get with each ride, all sticking to Guardians of the Galaxy’s 80s theme:
- “Conga” – Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
- “Disco Inferno” – The Trammps
- “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Tears for Fears
- “I Ran (So Far Away)” – A Flock of Seagulls
- “One Way or Another” – Blondie
- “September” – Earth, Wind, and Fire
I got “I Ran (So Far Away)” for both of my rides. It felt like the perfect song to complement the ride and lent to the overall insanity of the experience. However, after learning of the complete set list, I have made it a mission to get a ride with “Conga” or “September” playing.
My first overall thoughts after riding were that this ride pretty much makes Space Mountain obsolete for coaster enthusiasts. It’s pretty much a modernized version of that ride. Overall, this is definitely my favorite coaster at Disney World and probably one of my top two rides there, along with Rise of the Resistance. Moreover, the addition of this ride makes Epcot a must-visit destination at Walt Disney World resort, especially for coaster enthusiasts.
Have you ridden Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT? Feel free to give us your thoughts on the ride in the comments below!