It has been a long and circuitous journey to get a real TRON attraction in the Disney Parks, and more than forty years after the original “TRON” debuted in theaters, we finally have TRON Lightcycle / Run, a ride for the franchise at the Magic Kingdom largely based on its sequel “TRON Legacy.” And now that we’ve been on the ride, we can tell you all about our experience with riding it all these years later!
We had a chance to experience TRON Lightcycle / Run during the initial Cast Member previews, and now we can tell you all about the attraction.
What’s interesting about TRON as a franchise is that while neither of the movies were box office smashes, the aesthetic of the films works incredibly well in a theme park environment, similar to Pandora. “Avatar” isn’t everyone’s favorite movie either, but the visually stunning aesthetic of Pandora alongside interesting stories and characters combine with a beautiful score to make one of the most captivating experiences at any theme park.
TRON Lightcycle / Run feels like a more modern Space Mountain, adapting the ride with modern technologies like screens and the beautiful Upload Canopy at night. And even since our first ride on it at Shanghai Disneyland in 2019, we’ve always thought of TRON as an incredibly fun coaster.
Coming from Tomorrowland, guests get a pretty grand reveal of the canopy and the attraction sign, and walking up filled us with energy as we heard the music and saw riders launching through the canopy above our heads. Approaching the real queue gives a grand view of Space Mountain and Bay Lake Tower, which both fit the aesthetics of TRON surprisingly well, certainly much better than the views of Toy Story Land at Shanghai Disneyland.
The first portion of the queue with the digitizer strikes us as more of a Cedar Fair sort of queue, but it felt much more Disney once we got inside. The first room of blue circuit-like lights was a significant improvement over Shanghai’s mostly-blank walls.
Perhaps the best part of the queue is what could be defined as the “preshow.” We’re directed into a room with projections on glass, which suddenly become transparent to reveal the ride’s launch from above and a look at guests about to zip into the Grid.
Sadly the rest of the queue is less magnificent, with more boxy black rooms that have some backlit displays on the walls and the safety video playing above.
The safety video is excessively long because they have to explain the story, then the lockers, then the rather convoluted load process.
As we predicted, the load process is inhibited by any number of factors, from people of certain body shapes and sizes having issues with the restraint to the incredibly complicated load procedure in general. Guests are divided into two pairs who stand side by side. The first guest will board the Lightcycle directly in front of them, the other crosses behind the vehicle and then boards from the right side of the platform, a procedure which will undoubtedly confuse many guests as no other attraction boards in this manner.
The launch room, as we mentioned earlier, is perfect. The Daft Punk score, beautiful lighting, and a countdown all to send you flying outside under the Upload Canopy, quite a stunning sight at night in particular, is that moment we all live for as theme park people.
The second part of the ride is fine, honestly. It’s not terrible, there’s plenty of fun effects and the screens are fairly well-used even if the projections feel a bit dated due to the original ride’s age. There’s some drops, gates, and lots of effects to keep the visual flair.
Where everything falls apart on the ride is the exit. The unload station is a black room with very strong lighting that doesn’t say “Grid” at all. The exit hallway is the same, a plain black hallway with strong lighting and shiny plastic on the walls. And on the way out, you’re hit with that striking grey and blue boxy show building along with a view straight into Storybook Circus. Sight lines feel like such a lost art, and it really takes you out of that story we were just immersed in. It doesn’t necessarily make things less fun or ruin the entire experience, but it still feels like a huge miss.
In the end, TRON Lightcycle / Run is a wildly fun ride, and it’s something we look forward to doing every single time we come to the Magic Kingdom. It’s a must-do, and it indeed makes things even better that it replaced absolutely nothing. It manages to have its own merits and hold its own against comparisons from things like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind thanks to the vehicle, that launch, the aesthetics, and the music.
In our nearly hour-long video, our own Tom Corless dissects the new attraction in even more detail, including everything he loves and everything he doesn’t, as well as how it compares to the original coaster at Shanghai Disneyland.
There are of course spoilers in the video for the attraction, so be prepared. But if you wish to spoil it for yourself before visiting when TRON Lightcycle / Run opens on April 4, you can also check out our full photo and video tour of the new attraction.
Are you excited to ride TRON Lightcycle / Run? Let us know in the comments below!
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4 thoughts on “REVIEW: TRON Lightcycle Run Is Undoubtedly Fun, But Lacks Typical Disney Attention to Detail”
Did you notice the wallpaper as you exit is all grid patterns? I thought that was cool
I’d have to assume that when the exit into the gift shop is completed, you won’t have the same exit experience?
The hallway and that exposed building will still be there.
I love a fast coaster, upside-down is fine, but am not so good with big drops. How does this one rate, drop-wise?