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Guardians of the Galaxy Ride Review
Credit: TK Bosacki/Disney Fanatic

Honest Review: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

SECOND WARNING

LAST WARNING

On Monday, May 9, I arrived at EPCOT for a special preview of the new “Wonders of Xandar” pavilion and the all-new roller coaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. It is by far the coolest roller coaster Walt Disney World has ever created. Imagine if Space Mountain and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith had a baby, and it was dressed up for Guardians of the Galaxy. Cosmic Rewind is a far-out adventure through space and time with jaw-dropping coaster and visual effects that provides just the right amount of thrill for everyone who can match the height requirements.

So, let’s go through it step by step.

The Set-Up: “Wonders of Xandar” EPCOT Pavilion

Wonders of Xandar Pavilion

Credit: TK Bosacki/Disney Fanatic

Upon walking into the “Wonders of Xandar” Pavilion, Guests are completely immersed in the Guardians of the Galaxy branch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We learn about the similarities and differences between Earth and Xandar through Incredible visual effects as Guests walk through a not-so-typical Showcase Pavilion. But Imagineers nailed the museum-style aesthetic of EPCOT’s “real” World Showcase exhibits.

It should be noted that Guests do not need to see either of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies in order to fully enjoy this attraction. Following the same Walt Disney Imagineering example as Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and the Xandar Pavilion separate themselves from the cinematic source material. Guests learn about the distant world with very little reference to the previous movies, and the ride features a new story with new characters. But, I would be lying if I said being a fan of the movie does not help one appreciate the experience even more.

The Pre-Show Starring The Guardians (and Terry Crews)

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind

Credit: TK Bosacki/Disney Fanatic

Every pavilion at EPCOT gives Guests an authentic taste of a different country, right? And that taste–that experience–can vary depending on the nation. But Xandar offers something bigger. As their leader Nova Prime, and a Centurian, played by Terry Crews, explains, Guests will have the chance to be teleported onto a Nova Corps Starcruiser currently in orbit around the Earth.

(The teleportation device is loud and features a barrage of flashing lights, so Guests with any photosensitivity should be aware.)

The attraction steals a trick from Rise of the Resistance as the strobe light teleportation effect climaxes, and Guests see the walls of the “teleportation chamber” have vanished to reveal the inside of the Xandarian ship. It is through this entire process that Guests learn about and see the energy source that the Nova Corps use to be able to travel across the lightyears and connect their people with our own.

But we also see it get stolen by an evil celestial being who uses the device to go back in time to the very beginning of the universe to prevent humans from ever existing. This is where the Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and the Guardians come in to save the day–and the Guests tag along to help.

Visually, the sets are top-notch and provide a “Rise of the Resistance” level of introduction for Guests. Disney really pulled out all the stops to bring the original Guardians cast into this and introduce a-list actor Terry Crews into this branch of the MCU. But the script itself (or maybe just the acting) seemed a bit weak. I found Crews’ character awkward and stoic–it was almost like he was reading his lines right off of a teleprompter. There was still solid comedy in his delivery, and the Guardians themselves were funny, but I was not that convinced Terry really did not know his mic was on.

The Roller Coaster Experience

Guardians of the Galaxy Ride Preview

Credit: Disney

Boarding Nova Corps “shuttles,” Guests follow the Guardians on a rocking adventure that jumps across 14 billion years. We begin with the reverse launch, which leads to a drop that uses the vehicle’s turning capabilities and the most subtle track angles to really make the rider feel like he or she is weightless for a few seconds.

No, the roller coaster does not go upside down, and there are no long, steep drops. But it is still thrilling besides.

Jaw-dropping lights, projections, and cosmic models surrounded me as our team took back the device, and we made our jumps back to our original point in space-time. Yes, the ride vehicles constantly rotate throughout the adventure to give Guests the optimal vantage point. And, yes, Star-Lord has a classic rock song blaring the whole time (which made it all the more awesome).

Regarding ride duration, it is about the length of one classic rock song after launch (there is a little build-up moment before that likens the build-up to Disneyland’s Space Mountain), but it does not feel short. While it may be one of the longest fully-indoor roller coasters in the world, Cosmic Rewind could stand toe-to-toe with any coaster when it comes to ride-time quality.

I overheard fellow Guests say it was like “Space Mountain on steroids,” and I have to agree with them, but I also got hints of Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith as well with the music, the launch, and the emphasis on the in-ride visuals.

But in hindsight, what shocked me most about Cosmic Rewind was its level of comfort. It was, without a doubt, the smoothest roller coaster I have ever experienced.

Last Thoughts

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind

Credit: TK Bosacki/Disney Fanatic

Coaster Score: 10/10
Overall Score: 9/10

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind is one of, if not the most enjoyable roller coaster I have ridden in my life. It is a true successor to legends like Space Mountain and Mission: SPACE. It immediately deserves to stand alongside Disney’s top-tier attractions like Avatar: Flight of Passage and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

When it opens to the public on May 27, it will be accessible via virtual queue only, but it will be worth the wait. This is the second Disney attraction to feature James Gunn‘s contribution to the MCU, following the retheme of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s retheme to Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout at Avengers Campus, Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort in California.

We at Disney Fanatic have had to cover a lot of bad Disney news recently, but Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind is a galaxy-size win it so desperately needed. I cannot wait until I can get back and ride it again.

About T.K. Bosacki

TK is a writer and editor based in Tampa, FL with a passion for all things Disney, and adventure.