Guardian of Forbidden Mountain

Animal Kingdom is home to the tallest Mountain Range in all of Disney Parks, it's snow-capped peaks reminiscent of the Himalayas. The star of the show, is not Mount Everest as the name can suggest, that can be seen as a peak in the distance to the far right. This family thrill ride is all about a trip through the formidable, but fictional, Forbidden Mountain.

Offerings in the Trees On the Way To the MountainOfferings in the Trees On the Way To the Mountain
The journey to Forbidden Mountain is exceptional and starts far back from the Expedition Everest ride at the entrance to the Kingdom of Anandapur near the Yak and Yeti Restaurant. The sacredness of the land becomes apparent as you notice the trees adorned with offerings and prayer flags strung between buildings carrying blessings on the wind. As you move through the park towards the Mountain, you come across small shrines with offerings to the guardian of the mountain: the Yeti. The story unfolds before you of a Kingdom steeped in legend struggling between modern and traditional.

While researching the yeti concept, Disney Imagineers learned that it is a creature so much more than just a ferocious beast. The Yeti is still considered by many in the Himalayan region of Nepal as the protector of the mountains and all its surroundings. It is that magical spirit that they tried to capture while creating this ride. Well, that and making the most thrilling roller coaster to ever be built by Disney.

Yeti Shrine on the LakeYeti Shrine on the Lake
The design created was the largest, most dynamic, and fastest adventure that Disney has to offer. Not only do trains not only move forward, whizzing around the peaks, but also, when the trains encounter damage to the track, guests are suddenly racing backwards away from the angry Yeti. The audio-animatronic beast that they built was intense in its scope and movement that he had to be placed on a separate foundation that did not touch the track or mountain's structure.

Yeti Shrines in the QueueYeti Shrines in the Queue
Sadly, according to, the intensity of the Yeti's motion cracked the base of its structure some time ago. It has been years since guests have seen the ride in its full glory. The Yeti went into "B" Mode (nick-named Disco Yeti by fans) with strobe lights and fans simulating the Yeti's motion, but by the spring of 2010 the lights went off completely and there's been only intermitant sightings of the great guardian of the Mountain. As Expedition Everest was the most expensive roller coaster ever created, and the structure will need to be closed completely for repairs to be made, it's unlikely that we'll see the Yeti in full operation again anytime soon.

Prayer Flags as you Approach Forbidden MountainPrayer Flags as you Approach Forbidden Mountain
Regardless of the lack of Yeti face time, "Expedition Everest " Legend of the Forbidden Mountain" is a fantastic thrill ride. The immense and detailed queue is worth visiting, if for no other reason than to immerse yourself in the creative and intricate world of the Himalayas -as interpreted by Disney Imagineers. The story it tells of environmental stewardship is inspiring and the culture that it embraces still captivated by the guardian of the mountain is enchanting.

Are you a fan of thrill rides? Is Forbidden Mountain a must in your touring strategy? Do you think we'll ever see the Yeti again? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

kyle wrote on Mon, 07/16/2012 - 18:41:

kyle's picture

Just got back from wdw last week, the yeti is back. Didnt know about the strobe lights so i might have been fooled, but at any rate , he's there.

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 07/17/2012 - 12:46:

Kristen K.'s picture

Thanks so much for the updates Kyle! I updated the article to reflect your experience!

SykesK wrote on Thu, 10/11/2012 - 11:41:

too bad i had to choose between Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom (I picked Magic Kingdom) but next time i am definitely going to pick Animal Kingdom

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