TRON Lightcycle Run is getting ready to open April 4, 2023 at Magic Kingdom, and we wanted to discuss what could be a very big discussion point when the ride opens – the unique Lightcycle motorcycle-style vehicles. The vehicles are unlike any other Walt Disney World roller coaster, so we wanted to preview what to expect based on our firsthand experience riding TRON Lightcycle Power Run in Shanghai Disneyland.
First, let’s start with what Disney World officially says about the ride vehicles:
The seating and restraints on this attraction may prohibit guests of certain body shapes or sizes from riding.
Although the TRON Lightcycle Run ride vehicles are unique for a Disney World roller coaster, there is a restraint system in use at another Walt Disney World attraction that is similar to the TRON restraint system – Avatar Flight of Passage. Both TRON Lightcycle Run and Avatar Flight of Passage utilize a restraint system that presses against the rider’s back and secures the legs via a calf restraint. In the Flight of Passage vehicles seen below, we can see that a back restraint lifts into place (red line), and a calf restraint swings into place (yellow line).
Similarly, a back restraint will push down on riders of TRON Lightcyle Run, and a calf restraint will swing into place to secure the legs. Here’s a look at guests on a ride vehicle photo op at the 2022 D23 Expo. You can see the different postures possible based on how you feel comfortable riding.
You can see that your knee and shin will rest along the shin pad and the calf restraint will swing into the area behind your kneecap.
Here’s a look at the restraint system in action in Shanghai Disneyland.
Both the Flight of Passage and TRON Lightcycle Run restraint systems are very similar, and each has its pros and cons. We hesitate to say that if you can ride Flight of Passage, then you can ride TRON Lightcycle Run, but it’s probably pretty close. While the vehicles are similar, they are not the exact same and while one vehicle might work perfectly fine for you, there might be something unique about the other vehicle that prevents you from riding. That said, there is a big “pro” for TRON Lightycycle Run – an accessible vehicle. Guests who cannot fit in the Lightcycle, guests who need an easier vehicle to access, or guests who simply want to ride in a more upright position can use the accessible vehicle seen below. The accessible vehicle allows you to ride sitting straight upright like a typical roller coaster and has a completely different restraint system than the Lightcycle bikes. As you can see below, the restraint system on the accessible vehicle is a more traditional, individual lap bar.
Not every train has an accessible vehicle, but some do and they will allow even more guests to experience TRON Lightcycle Run. Flight of Passage does not have any accessible link chairs, which gives TRON the nod in this category. We’re not sure why Disney didn’t include an accessible vehicle at the back of every train and anticipate that there will be a bit of a longer wait for the accessible vehicle in Magic Kingdom.
Guests who would like to try out the Lightcycle vehicle before they ride will be able to find test seats outside of the attraction entrance. Here’s a look at the test seats in Shanghai Disneyland. They should be in a similar spot near the attraction entrance before the queue begins in the Magic Kingdom version of the ride.
One final note about the TRON Lightcycle Run vehicle before we move onto the boarding procedure is that in comparison to Flight of Passage, riders on TRON Lightcycle Run will be considerably more bent over the front of the vehicle. On Flight of Passage, riders are only slightly pitched forward – maybe 10° or so. With TRON Lightcycle Run, the riding angle is closer to 35-50° depending on what your body allows. The unique riding position is really what makes TRON Lightcycle Run a repeatable ride, in our opinion. The roller coaster itself is actually a less thrilling version of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with similar dark warehouse effects, but the riding angle is so unique that it amps up the thrill factor.
Ok, the final piece of the puzzle here is a load procedure that actually asks one of the two riders per row to walk across the track to board their Lightcycle. Combined with the unique ride vehicle, the load system will likely require a bit of a learning curve from Magic Kingdom guests. When you are given a row number, there will actually be two lanes for you and your riding partner. Relative to the direction of forward movement, the guest lined up in the “back” will walk across the track and board the Lightcycle from the opposite side of the load platform. The unique design of the Lightcycle bike does not allow you to hop over or pass through to the next vehicle like you would for Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure. Here’s a boarding graphic that shows the two lanes that a row of guests will take to board the vehicle. Note that this loading procedure does not apply to the accessible vehicle.
In the graphic below, the vehicle motion would be from left to right. The guests standing in the left lane would walk across the track via a small platform between vehicles and board from the opposite side of the track. The guests in the right lane would simply approach the right vehicle and board.
Here’s a look at the lanes in Shanghai Disneyland. From this overhead view, we can see that each row has two lanes and two gates that will swing open. In the case of the image directly below, the guest riding on the right side of the row would walk across to the other side of the platform to load. TRON Lightycle Run has two loading platforms like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Here’s a better look from row one. The direction of motion in the photo below is from left to right. That means that guests in the lane that splits to the right will have the “easy” boarding on the right side of the two Lightcycle bikes, while the guest in the left lane will cross the tracks. They will still ride together and there are different-sized hexagons to represent marks for each traveling party to stand on.
Here’s a look at the small platform that allows the “left rider” to walk across the tracks to the opposite side of the load platform to board the Lightcycle bikes on the left side of the train. When exiting the train, guests will have to walk back across the tracks at unload. As shown above and below, arrows will direct you on how to load onto the Lightcycle vehicle and should be relatively self-explanatory.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!