Adrenaline pumps through my veins as I slingshot from a trepidatious standstill to almost 60mph in less than five seconds, into the elegantly curved wave of a 105ft-high canopy pulsing with the same retina-searing electric blue light as my illuminated tyre rims and chassis.
A giddy exhalation of Oh. My. God! is lost to the internal roar of rushing blood and slipstreaming air, as Walt Disney World tilts 45 degrees off its axis and my speeding train of 14 riders arcs over upturned heads of onlookers queueing excitedly for the resort’s high-octane latest attraction: Tron Lightcycle/Run.
First announced in July 2017, the sister roller coaster to Tron Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland is the largest expansion of Magic Kingdom for more than a decade. The eye-catching 10-acre attraction propels riders along more than 3,000ft of track into the digitised world of Tron and its 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy to an insistent electronic soundtrack composed by Daft Punk collaborator Joseph Trapanese.
Mounting a Lightcycle requires some mental and physical gymnastics. Knees and shins rest parallel to the ground inside moulded leg guards, then handlebars slide towards you to engage a backplate, loosely holding the rider in an aerodynamic crouched position.
Simultaneously, bar restraints press against calves, allowing free movement of everything above the waist. The sit-down ride mechanism is less forgiving on taller riders, signage warning that “the seating and restraints on this attraction may prohibit guests of certain body shapes or sizes from riding”.
One 6ft 5in tall rider found his Lightcycle an uncomfortably tight fit. However, riders with mobility issues can choose a traditional upright seating position in an accessible two-person chariot.
A sleek pre-show uploads visitors (known as “Users”) into the Grid, a sprawling digital frontier created by Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) in the 1982 film. Human interlopers are recruited to race against a menacing group of Programs christened Team Orange. The first train to slalom through eight Energy Gates is declared the winner.
Tron Lightcycle/Run opens officially on 4 April. To manage crowd flow, admission to the Grid requires the purchase of a pay-per-ride Lightning Lane ticket on the day through the My Disney Experience app (dynamic pricing up to £20pp) or an allocated boarding group in the free virtual queue.
Guests with a reservation for the Magic Kingdom Theme Park have two daily opportunities to join the queue, at 7am and 1pm, via the app, and on certain nights with extended theme park hours, guests staying at select hotels can bid to join an additional virtual queue at 6pm. Demand is fierce, so expect available slots to be filled in less than a minute.
Thankfully, Walt Disney World’s four theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios – are brimming with thrills, from the distinctive, angular architecture of Space Mountain’s white spired dome and intergalactic indoor roller coaster next to Tron Lightcycle/Run and an updated version of the ‘Happily Ever After’ night-time show down Main Street USA (fireworks, lasers and a special whoop-inducing appearance from a flying, pixie-dusted Tinker Bell) to Test Track at Epcot, the fastest ride in Disney’s Florida parks, reaching speeds of up to 65mph.
However, the most thrilling attraction in Epcot is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, its first reverse-launch omnicoaster, which performs 360-degree controlled rotations along an undulating indoor track to a nostalgia-soaked soundtrack.
How to do it
Seven nights in Orlando from £5,228 for two adults and two children (aged three to nine) sharing a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, including Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to Tampa and park tickets, disneyholidays.co.uk
Additional reporting by PA