I was admittedly nervous the first time I rode Walt Disney World’s Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT. Especially after reading all of the horror stories on social media about how people were getting sick on the ride.
After all, I am occasionally prone to motion sickness myself.
I’ve permanently sworn off Star Tours. Even thinking about that ride makes my stomach churn.
Luckily, I didn’t let that fear stop me. Because I can now confidently proclaim that the Guardians of the Galaxy ride is my all-time favorite theme park ride. Not just my favorite Disney Park ride. Not just my favorite coaster.
All-time favorite ride, period.
In this article, I’m going to talk about what to expect and help you gauge (to the best of my ability based on my personal experience) whether or not Guardians is right for you.
As a bonus, I will also offer a pro tip on how to shave about 30 minutes off of your wait time. You’re welcome.
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What kind of ride is Guardians of the Galaxy at EPCOT?
Guardians of the Galaxy is located in the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion (formerly the Universe of Energy Pavilion) in World Discovery near Test Track, Space 220 and Mission: SPACE.
It is an indoor “spinning” roller coaster with a reverse launch. It’s similar to Silver Dollar City’s Time Traveler in Branson, Missouri and Cobra’s Curse at Busch Gardens in Tampa, only a bit more controlled.
With a traditional spinning coaster, riders enjoy a unique experience each time they ride as the spins are random. With Guardians of the Galaxy, those “spins” are controlled.
The ride experience on Guardians is meant to feel like you’re zipping through space on a small free-floating craft rather than spinning in circles like Tea Cups.
To create this effect, the ride launches both forward and backward while each car rotates on its own axis and zips from scene to scene.
Songs featured on Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind
Each ride will feature a randomized song from Peter Quill’s mixed tape as featured in the Marvel movie’s soundtrack. Currently, Cosmic Rewind’s playlist includes:
- “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
- “Disco Inferno” by the Trammps
- “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
- “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears
- “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls
- “One Way or Another” by Blondie
Last year at Christmastime, the traditional playlist was temporarily replaced with a festive holiday soundtrack.
Normally, those of us who aren’t feeling ill while riding, tend to dance in our seats on-ride – which makes for a truly unique coaster experience.
Is Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind intense?
No, I wouldn’t say that Guardians of the Galaxy is intense, per se. But I would say it’s more intense than most of the other rides at Disney World.
On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being It’s a Small World, and 10 being Universal’s Velocicoaster, I’d rank Guardians at about a 7.
It goes forward and backward and rotates. And it’s FAST! But it does not go upside down and it’s one of the smoothest coasters I’ve ever experienced.
Although, it never fails that every time I ride, someone either in the car ahead of me or the car behind me looks like they are about to pass out when the ride ends.
This brings us to the topic you likely came here for:
Who should ride? Will I get sick?
First, let’s get the usual warnings out of the way.
According to Disney World, you should not ride Guardians of the Galaxy if you:
- Have high blood pressure
- Have heart, back or neck problems
- Are prone to motion sickness
- Are pregnant
- Have other conditions that could be aggravated by the ride
- Are less than 42″ tall (3.5 feet)
As I mentioned earlier, I am very prone to motion sickness. But as someone who is prone, and has friends and family who are also prone, I’m also fully aware that motion sickness triggers are unique to each individual.
So while it will be impossible for me to say with absolute certainty whether or not this ride will make you leave you feeling worse for the wear, I can at least offer a bit of guidance based on my experience.
My motion sickness triggers include:
- Reading in the car
- Being in a car on a curvy mountain road
- Riding Star Tours at Hollywood Studios
- Riding Tea Cup-style rides
- Walking around on cruise ships (occasionally)
I do not feel sick on:
- Any other theme park ride (besides Disney’s Star Tours and Tea Cups)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind
Honestly, I could live on Guardians of the Galaxy. I think I could ride it all day without feeling nauseous in the slightest bit. It is genuinely one of the smoothest rides I’ve ever personally experienced. It makes me feel like I’m flying through the air.
However, it has been reported that guests whose motion sickness is easily triggered by multiple rides on this list also have a higher chance of feeling ill on Guardians:
- Mission: SPACE
- Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
- Mad Tea Party
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Astro Orbiter
- Space Mountain
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Rise of the Resistance
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Tips for riding Guardians of the Galaxy
Finally, I will leave you with a few tips to optimize your ride experience.
1. Join the Virtual Queue the minute it opens
At the time of this writing, Guardians of the Galaxy is available via Virtual Queue or with the purchase of an Individual Lightning Lane ticket. It is not an option on Genie+. The standby line is also currently unavailable.
The Virtual Queue line opens for people with valid a EPCOT park reservation at 7 am (anywhere) and 1 pm (in-park only) via the My Disney Experience app.
And I can tell you from personal experience – if you want to secure a spot in line, you’ll want to have a phone in your hand and that app ready to go the moment the clock strikes 7 am or 1 pm.
Spots will fill up quickly.
The earliest return time I’ve scored after joining a 1 pm virtual queue is 4:30 pm. The latest was closer to 7 pm.
2. Keep to the right during the pre-show
Want to shave about 30 minutes off of your wait time after you join the physical queue? Just keep to the right during both pre-shows.
While in the queue, after guests make their way through the Galaxarium, a planetarium-type structure featuring Planet Xandar and Terra (the Xandarian term for Earth), they are herded into a large pre-show room featuring Terry Crews (as Centurion Tal Marik) and Glenn Close (as Nova Prime).
When the first pre-show is over, guests are then directed to a second room featuring Eson (an evil celestial being) and the Guardians crew (Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Racoon and Groot).
While the screens on the left side of the room tend to draw the attention of first-time riders, seasoned riders know that it’s better to stand on the opposite side of the room.
This is because hidden doors are revealed after the second pre-show on the far right side of the room that opens up to the second part of the queue.
If you are one of the first few people through those doors, you’re probably going to get right on the ride.
If you’re on the opposite side, you might have an additional 30-minute wait.
3. Avoid the middle cars
If you are prone to motion sickness, many guests report that it’s actually better to ride in either the front or the back of the ride for a smoother experience.
Disclaimer: I personally can’t tell any difference between the front, middle and back so I am relying solely on the reports of more sensitive guests on this one.
4. Focus on what’s right in front of you
Finally, while on the ride, just focus on what’s right in front of you.
Don’t try to look behind you or focus on the large screens in the distance. Diverting your focus is the not only quickest way to make yourself dizzy, but it might also make you miss out on some of the fun things happening right in front of you.
Always let the ride vehicle guide your focal point.
Have you ridden Guardians of the Galaxy at EPCOT? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!