Tron: A Thrilling New Addition to Disney’s Roster of Rides

TRON Lightcycle/Run is the newest attraction in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World. The high-speed roller coaster, initially announced in 2017, delivers both thrills and a much-needed power boost to the ever-aging Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World. Let’s dive into the ride experience, opening date, and everything you need to know about the ride.

About Tron Lightcyle/Run. Tron Lightcyle/Run is a roller coaster based on Disney’s Tron film franchise. The story underpinning the ride begins after the events of the 2010 installment, Tron: Legacy. Specifically, Sam Flynn, son of Kevin from the original Tron film, opened a second gateway into the Grid (the first was previously opened at Shanghai Disneyland, where the original Tron Lightcyle Power Run is located). Riders are “digitized” before entering the Grid for a Lightcyle race, where it’s Team Blue (your team) versus either Team Red, Team Yellow, or Team Orange–i.e., the bad guys. (Don’t fret if you, like me, are not well-versed on the Tron universe–little thinking or knowledge of the backstory is required to enjoy this ride.)

Tron: Lightcycle/Run is located in the outer edge of Tomorrowland between Space Mountain and The Barnstormer in Storybook Circus (the latter of which is technically in Fantasyland at Walt Disney World). The attraction, show-building, and eye-catching canopy essentially are carved into a new space that, while connected to Tomorrowland, feels like a new, distinct park area.

Attraction Area and the Queue. Once you’re in Tomorrowland, you take a left just before you reach Space Mountain and the gift shop, recently renamed Tomorrowland Launch Depot. A quick walk down the path will lead you straight to a large Tron sign. The path to the right of the signage leads you to an elevated walkway beneath massive canopies, which cover the outdoor section of the coaster.

This area is a coaster enthusiast’s dream. The walkways extend upwards and downwards, for entering and exiting the attraction. The canopies rise and fall around the entirety of the attraction, proving a distinct contour to the skyline. Pulsating synths–more on that later–from the Daft Punk-scored Tron: Legacy ebb and flow from hidden speakers. And most eye-catching is the coaster itself, which launches from beneath the walkway before traveling up and around the outdoor area, adding a layer of screams from the riders that give the experience an additional flourish.

The queue is pretty standard for the modern Disney parks era, looking something like a cross between EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain. Once inside, you enter a rather cramped space where you wait to enter a another cramped space that has a large screen. Don’t expect a long pre-show for this one–within seconds the graphics indicating you are digitized are complete before the doors open wide to reveal the coaster taking off from the station.

This provides a nice, neon-hued tease of what’s to come and a sort of balm for potentially long-lines, as if Disney is letting you know it will be worth it. Because I rode the ride as an Annual Passholder with early access, I can’t speak to lengthy waits, but suffice to say this queue, like many at Disney, appears ready to hold the masses. Thin, neon-blue lights adorn the walls, dotted by the occasional circular images of Programs from the race.

A dedicated locker area is located toward the end of the queue, a first for a Disney World ride. The lockers are complimentary and anything larger than a phone must be placed inside. You simply pick an available locker, scan your MagicBand or physical ticket card, place your things inside, and shut the door. Note your locker number, and find the corresponding locker number once you get off the ride. After the locker area, you enter a large room where you descend a long ramp before boarding the ride.

Ride-Boarding Experience. Tron Lightycle/Run is unique because the ride vehicles are shaped like bikes–referred to as Lightcycles. You will be place in line to ride the Lightcyle nearest you, or the one furthest from you (i.e., on the other side of the track). Interestingly, if you are riding the seat on the other side–like I did–you walk behind the vehicle OVER the track to board from the other side, which feels illegal. There are helpful arrows on the ground to help guide the way.

Once you find your seat, you swing your leg over, like riding a bike, and lean forward. You then pull the handles towards your chest, which brings the back of the chair towards your back. There is a small compartment in front of your seat for your phone and very small items.

The ride then pulls out of the station before stopping in a tunnel leading outside. There is a quick countdown before you are quickly launched like a cannon outside the show building. The track immediately takes you upwards where you sail over the crowds and walkways below. You then dip inside the building, where, in typical dark-coaster-Walt Disney World-fashion, you swirl up and down and around. Tron Lightcycle/Run stands out for its speed, modernity, and music. At nearly 60 miles per hour, it is truly thrilling, especially from the biking position. The smooth ride makes you appreciate its newness–no back or neck pains that may accompany a ride on Space Mountain. The screens, which enhance, not replace the ride experience, show your Program opponents flanking around the track as you zip through hexagonal Energy Gates. Aside from the speed, perhaps most exciting was the music. I didn’t realize how much, or how loud, the throbbing synths would feature, and I left impressed with the immersive, wall-of-sound feeling that filled the entire indoor experience.

Note that there are restrooms just to the right of the exit, in the elevated section of the walkway–those boarding can also access the restrooms before entering the show building.

Final Thoughts. Overall, the ride is thoroughly enjoyable, from queue through conclusion. Some have griped at the ride’s length, but to me it felt the perfect length. I appreciated the brevity of the pre-show, and the speed with which we boarded and unloaded. The ride vehicles are only slightly awkward, and require a little extra time and wiggling to find your comfortable position. The seating is most similar to the seats on Avatar: Flight of Passage, though Tron Lightcycle/Run gets the edge as slightly less comfortable. Though I do not get motion sickness, the ride does not spin or have inversions, for those concerned about that. For those interested in, or who require more accessible seats, the last row of some of the coasters offer a traditional seating experience with additional space (prepare for a lengthier wait for those sears).

Tron Lightcycle/Run brings an intense, thrilling punch to a park mostly known for kid-friendly attractions. The surrounding area also reinvigorates Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World, which is sure to lead to more activity in that area. Here are some quick facts you need to know before riding Tron Lightcycle/Run:

  • There will be no standby line.
  • Virtual Queue and Individual Lightning Lane options will be available to ride.
  • The attraction is having a soft-opening on March 20, to last through April 3.
  • The attraction officially opens to the public on April 4.

Are you ready to enter the Grid? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for more Walt Disney World coverage.

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