The Expedition Everest attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the crowning achievements of Disney Imagineering. Unfortunately, despite all of the amazing theming, the ride has been plagued with issues surrounding its featured audio-animatronic Yeti ever since the ride opened in 2006.
Imagineer Joe Rohde reiterated that he and Disney still plan to fix the now infamous Disco Yeti.
Yes. Still on it. https://t.co/oQwF6CKW72
— Joe Rohde (@Joe_Rohde) July 6, 2018
It’s been roughly 12 years since the ride opened and the main Yeti effect hasn’t functioned for a majority of that time. In fact, most Disney World guests have no idea that the effect isn’t working as intended.
Ideally, the Yeti is supposed to move and swing his arm down at the train as it passes by. Unfortunately, due to a variety of issues, the Yeti hasn’t moved for quite some time and is instead lit by a strobe light to simulate motion (hence the Disco Yeti nickname).
You can see some of the Yeti’s original movement in this behind-the-scenes video from Discover Channel that was filmed before Expedition Everest opened.
Pretty cool, huh? Unfortunately, most guests have never seen the Yeti move as he was intended.
As the years passed by and the Yeti remained stuck in Disco mode, rumors popped up with crazy reasons as to why the Yeti wasn’t being fixed. Some said the entire mountain would have to be torn down and rebuilt to fix the base of the Yeti. Others said there was no feasible way to move the Yeti out of the mountain to work on it without causing catastrophic damage. All of those theories are bogus.
The reality is that Disney is constantly working on new projects intended to improve and grow their parks. Fixing an effect that most don’t even realize is broken in the first place clearly doesn’t rank too high on the list of priorities. The ride is still awesome even with the effect not functioning.
Rohde, the main man behind the look and feel of Animal Kingdom, likely views the Yeti as an embarrassment on his incredible resume. Hopefully one day he’ll be able to fix the Yeti and make the ride function as he had always intended.