In just a few short weeks, one of the most anticipated theme park attractions in recent history will be opening to the public at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. As the public eagerly awaits the arrival of the brand new TRON Lightcycle / Run on April 4th, 2023, though, multiple groups have been given the opportunity to preview the upcoming attraction before its grand opening. We were lucky enough to be apart of 2 of these previews, giving us the chance to experience this ground-breaking attraction 3 different times over 2 previews.
Based on the 1982 Sci-Fi film TRON & it’s sequel TRON: Legacy (2010), TRON Lightcycle / Run is a launched steel roller coaster located in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. This semi-enclosed coaster originally opened in 2016 at Shanghai Disneyland as Tron Lightcycle Power Run, & was subsequently announced (to much fanfare) for Walt Disney World in July 2017. The attraction is a unanimous hit at Shanghai Disneyland, & features a stunning, color-changing canopy that lights up the nighttime sky. The ride vehicles for the attraction were created by Walt Disney Imagineering & are designed as TRON Lightcycle Motorbikes, where the rider straddlers the vehicle & leans forward, just like riding a motorcycle (or Lightcycle!) The coaster vehicles also feature a set of standard roller coaster seats (similar to Seven Dwarves Mine Train or Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster featuring Aerosmith) at the very back of each train for guests who do not wish to or are unable to ride the motorbike vehicles. From the second you first enter the queue to the moment you exit the post-ride show, you will feel fully immersed in the world of Tron. Are you ready to enter The Grid?!
The first group of previews began on February 6th, 2023 for Disney Cast Members and up to 3 of their guests, meaning the attraction officially “soft-opened” just under 2 months before public opening. These previews ran until March 3rd, 2023 and were directly followed by previews for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members & up to 4 of their guests. These DVC previews were short, however, only running from March 4th-6th, 2023. The final set of major previews were for WDW Annual Passholder’s (no non-AP guests allowed for these) and ran from March 4th until March 12th. As of publishing, no other preview dates have been announced by Disney, but this is certainly subject to change. Stay tuned to Theme Park Professor on your Social Media Platform of choice for new announcements!
HOW CAN I RIDE / WHO CAN RIDE?
Logistically, the latest addition to Magic Kingdom will open with a Virtual Queue system in lieu of a standby line, meaning guests will need to utilize their My Disney Experience App to land a Boarding Group at 7am with a valid theme park reservation at Magic Kingdom, or at 1pm if they have already scanned into Magic Kingdom. There will also be Individual Lightning Lanes available for sale in partnership with the Virtual Queue system; prices for these individually-priced front-of-line privileges will vary by day & have yet to be announced. The coaster has a height requirement of 48”, making it a perfect ride for the younger thrill-seekers in the family & not just the adults. Don’t let the height requirement fool you, though – Tron absolutely packs a huge punch, mostly thanks to the powered launch that jumps riders up to nearly 60mph! The attraction does not feature any vertical drops or loops, in case that is a fear for any potential riders.
OUR EXPERIENCE INSIDE THE GRID
Thanks to our amazing Cast Member friend Alex, we were able to get our first rides in on Tron Lightcycle / Run during the Cast Member Previews on February 20th. We were also lucky enough to secure reservations during the DVC Previews; our date for that was March 6th.
To put it succinctly, Tron Lightcycle / Run is a masterclass in attraction design & execution. We have very few complaints about the attraction & almost all praise. Probably the best thing about the ride overall is the aesthetics; the canopy is visually gorgeous during the day, & downright jaw-dropping at night. With the beautiful neon hue, the changing colors across the canopy, the Lightcycle vehicles whizzing past – Tron will truly change the Walt Disney World skyline forever.
The on-ride experience is equally as stunning. We will stay away from any specific spoilers until the attraction is open to the public, but the pre-show, loading area, & ride vehicles are all incredibly impressive. Nearly everything about the experience is eye-popping from start to finish. There isn’t a whole lot negatively to say about Tron, but if we did have to nitpick, there is no denying that the on-ride experience is a bit short. Clocking in at just under 2 minutes from load to unload, it was a rarity in our experience to get off the ride and not wish for more time aboard our Lightcycles. As far as launched roller coasters go, however, 1-2 minutes is a very typical ride time, so it shouldn’t be too much of a shock for general coaster fans. When you factor in the amazing pre-show & loading area, the entire experience feels much longer overall.
Some riders may feel a little uncomfortable on the Lightcycles upon first ride, since riding a motorcycle is not a familiar feeling for most. This wasn’t really an issue for us, though. We were SO amazed at how unique the ride vehicles were that we didn’t notice if they were comfortable or not; your mileage may very on this, as we have heard others say it was a slightly uncomfortable ride.
Overall, there is no understating how MASSIVE this new addition will be to the most visited theme park in the world. While Walt Disney World isn’t historically notorious for their roller coasters, Disney & the Imagineers have been PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES on what is possible in the realm of themed roller coasters (we see you, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind!), & Tron Lightcycle / Run is absolutely no exception. It would be a gigantic surprise if this ride isn’t an instant fan-favorite to guests of the Magic Kingdom, and aside from a slightly short ride time, it’s a near-perfect ride. We’re happy to say that the flagship park of the Most Magical Place on Earth just got a WHOLE lot better!! Make sure you plan a trip to Walt Disney World anytime after April 4th to experience this revolutionary attraction for yourself.