Review: Spoiler-Free Review of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the first roller coaster at EPCOT and the latest step forward in Disney technology. The coaster consistently receives rave reviews from the majority of guests who ride it.

Does the coaster live up to the hype? Does the inclusion of Marvel at EPCOT make sense? Read on in our spoiler-free review of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.


Let’s start with what guests first see when they approach Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. By now, it’s probably not a spoiler to say there’s a Nova Corps Starblaster parked outside. The ship is the star of the exterior, with the rest of the old Universe of Energy building painted in a fairly unassuming gray/black color.

Disney has marketed the space as an “other-world pavilion.” That may lead guests to assume the exterior looks super crazy during the day or all lit up at night, but that’s not the case. The outside is very unobtrusive to its surroundings.

Queue and Pre-Show

We’ll have to dance around a lot of things here to avoid spoilers, but we can say the queue has a lot of things to look at leading up to the pre-show rooms. The queue isn’t extremely large, which is a bit of a surprise given the popularity of a coaster at EPCOT. That’s not an issue while Cosmic Rewind uses a virtual queue, but could be in the future if that’s dropped.

The attraction’s story doesn’t really unfold until the pre-shows, which give a good gist of what’s about to happen. Don’t worry if you’re a total Marvel novice. The story can be broken down to “stop the bad guy from doing the bad thing.”

The pre-show spiels are fairly entertaining and don’t have any of that “and, uh, fly” energy seen over at Flight of Passage. One room also includes a very impressive effect that we’ll just say you’ll be trying to figure out well after the ride is over.

Ride Experience on Cosmic Rewind

OK, let’s get to the heart of the matter – the ride itself. Cosmic Rewind can be compared to other Walt Disney World attractions. It’s like Space Mountain cranked up to 11. It’s like Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway where every car has a different experience. It’s like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train where the track and ride is super smooth.

That’s a lot of words to say it’s the next step forward in Disney attractions, and it’s pretty awesome. Our best summary is the ride feels like a dance party in space.

The ride blends the speed and thrills of a coaster with projections and visual effects that tell a story. Each coaster car rotates independently to give its riders a view of what’s going on (think a controlled spin) while you speed along the track. The full experience feels familiar, but also completely unique at the same time. No other ride at Disney feels as smooth as Cosmic Rewind.

Cosmic Rewind will offer something different to riders each time they visit. Different views and different songs could make one ride feel very different from the next. That said, Cosmic Rewind’s popularity will make repeat rides extremely difficult should the virtual queue system go away.

Cosmic Rewind Intensity

Is Cosmic Rewind super intense? Honestly, not really, but you might have some motion sickness if you’re prone to that on other rides. Cosmic Rewind doesn’t go upside down, doesn’t go down any steep drops, and doesn’t spin so much that it’s nauseating. The most intense aspects are a backwards launch and some tight spins.

However, if motion sickness is usually a problem for you, we recommend avoiding the urge to look around at your surroundings. Keep an eye on what’s in front of you. We only felt a bit uneasy when we tried to look all around while the track was headed in a different direction.

Be aware that Cosmic Rewind is a very dark ride. Think Space Mountain but with super-enhanced projections. That could be worrisome for younger guests, but we heard plenty of children exiting calling Cosmic Rewind the best ride at Walt Disney World.

Is Cosmic Rewind the Best Ride at Walt Disney World?

Picking the best ride at Walt Disney World is a subjective ranking. For us, we think it’s easily the best coaster at Walt Disney World, and overall we’d say it’s in the top-2 or top-3 of all attractions at Walt Disney World. Our rankings would all depend on whether we’re more interested in an immersive attraction or a thrilling attraction that day.

Overall, we can confidently say that most guests will think Cosmic Rewind is one of the top rides at Walt Disney World.

Does Cosmic Rewind Fit in EPCOT?

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind represents another major shift in tone at EPCOT. Other areas of “old” EPCOT have been stripped away already (RIP Illuminations), and now adding Marvel’s intellectual property into EPCOT’s core is the latest departure.

EPCOT purists will immediately say this attraction doesn’t fit in EPCOT. They’re not totally wrong, though they’re also not totally right. It does feel weird to go from Living with the Land to Cosmic Rewind. It’s a bit jarring.

Ignoring the Guardians of the Galaxy label for a moment, Cosmic Rewind is so good that we’re glad it calls EPCOT home. EPCOT deserves a major headliner that draws in crowds and leaves guests buzzing. If that requires the use of a new theme that goes against EPCOT’s old themes, so be it. The EPCOT of old is no more and it’s well past time for everyone to move on. At the very least we can all agree that the coaster is a total thrill and one almost everyone has loved.

Overall Thoughts

We loved Cosmic Rewind! We’re eager to ride it again and we think it’s one of those special rides guests will remember for a long time. The theming doesn’t fit the old version of EPCOT, but the overall thrills and presentation within make that more than forgivable.

Cosmic Rewind’s capacity is quite large, especially for a modern Disney ride, and will eat through a good number of guests each day. Guests expecting the same from TRON Lightcycle Run will be sorely disappointed.

Disney absolutely knocked Cosmic Rewind out of the park. It’s the next generation of Space Mountain with the smoothness of a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It’s a total blast and we commend Disney on another hit.

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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