I was one of the first riders on Disney World's new Tron coaster, and it was worth the 5-year wait

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  • Tron Lightcycle / Run is the newest and one of the fastest rides at Disney World.

  • Construction on the attraction started in 2018, and I got an early preview of the ride.

  • It's a great addition to Magic Kingdom, with high speeds and incredible special effects.

Tron Lightcycle / Run is a new roller coaster at Magic Kingdom.

tron sign and roller coaster at magic kingdom in disney world
Disney announced the new coaster back in 2017, and it's finally opening in April.Megan duBois

Tron Lightcycle Power Run opened at Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, and at the 2017 D23 Expo, the company announced the high-speed, indoor/outdoor coaster would come to Magic Kingdom at Disney World.

Construction on the "Tron: Legacy"-inspired ride, renamed Tron Lightcycle / Run, started in 2018, and fans have spent five years waiting for the completion of the project.

The new coaster is located in the Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom just to the left of Space Mountain. It's the largest expansion of the park since New Fantasyland opened in 2012.

Tron Lightcycle / Run just opened to the public, but I was able to get a preview during a media event for journalists.

There's a large plaza area that leads up to the attraction.

area in front of the tron roller coaster at magic kingdom
The ride greatly expanded the Tomorrowland section of Magic Kingdom.Megan duBois

In front of the attraction, there's a large plaza where guests can wait in line, take photos of the coaster's massive canopy, or try a few snacks at the new Energy Bytes quick-service kiosk.

This area was once just a semi-hidden pathway between Tomorrowland and Storybook Circus, where guests could sit and enjoy a quiet area of the park or wave at the people riding the Walt Disney World Railroad.

At the base of the plaza is the ride's marquee, which is a great spot for photos with the canopy in the background.

Walking under the canopy is a thrill in itself.

view from under the canopy of the tron roller coaster at magic kingdom
The roller coaster is covered by a massive canopy.Megan duBois

As I walked up the pathway to the entrance of the attraction, I was in awe as I stood under the canopy. I learned that it's an impressive 105 feet high and has more than 1,200 lights.

While taking in the views, Lightcycle ride vehicles zoomed by, adding to my building excitement as I made my way to the queue.

Just outside of the outdoor portion queue, there's a test seat for people to try out.

megan posing for a photo in the tron roller coaster test seat outside the attraction at magic kingdom
You can see what it's like to sit on a Lightcycle before getting in line for the ride.Megan duBois

The Tron Lightcycle / Run ride vehicle is unique — it's more like a motorcycle than a traditional coaster seat. Every rider gets their own Lightcycle, but getting in and out can be tricky.

Luckily, there's a test seat outside the queue area. You can practice getting on and off and see what the seat is like before getting in line.

Once I entered the indoor portion of the queue, I actually felt like I was in the Grid from "Tron: Legacy."

entry hallway inside the queue for tron roller coaster at magic kingdom
There were so many cool details in the queue.Megan duBois

After a short wait outside, I made my way to the inside portion of the queue. The first hallway was very small but had great lighting effects.

Then a door opened into the "Digitizer" where everyone is welcomed into the world of "Tron" and the Grid. The visual effects in this room are mind-blowing and on par with the storytelling and creativity of recent attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

As someone who's never seen any of the "Tron" movies, I appreciated that the storyline was simple. I didn't need a lot of background information to understand what was going on.

Before getting on the ride, everyone has to put their belongings into lockers.

rows of lockers inside the queue for the tron roller coaster at disney world
The locker system reminded me of Universal Orlando.Megan duBois

Tron Lightcycle / Run is Disney World's first ride with a required locker system, similar to the one at the Universal theme parks.

To use the free double-sided lockers, guests need to scan a MagicBand or park ticket. After unlocking, everything that's bigger than a cell phone must go into the locker. If you want to bring your phone, wallet, sunglasses, or other small items, there's a very small storage compartment on the front of the Lightcycle.

Getting into the seat was a little tricky, but the employees helped me figure it out.

megan posing on the tron roller coaster before it takes off
All the restraints have to be in a specific position for people to ride the coaster safely.Megan duBois

After boarding the seat like a bike, I pulled down on the handlebar to lower the back restraint and allow the leg restraints to unfold.

For everyone's safety, the back of the seat and the leg restraints must be in a certain locked position. The back restraint wasn't really an issue for me, but the leg restraint was a little more challenging because I have bigger calves.

An employee gave me a tip to slide all the way forward on the ride vehicle but sit up slightly. This allowed the back restraint to lower to the right spot while giving the leg bars more room to open and lock into place without any discomfort.

To get out of the ride vehicle, I just had to push up on the handlebars. The restraints went back to their unlocked positions, making it easy to get off like a bike.

There's an accessible seat on some of the trains.

accessible ride car on the tron roller coaster at disney world
If you can't or don't want to ride on the Lightcycles, there's another option.Megan duBois

If you don't comfortably fit in the seat or need more assistance with getting in and out of a ride vehicle due to a disability, there's an accessible option.

Once you reach the loading point of the queue, just tell the employee that you need an accessible seat. It's more akin to a traditional roller-coaster bench, where you simply sit and pull down a lap bar.

I rode both the traditional Lightcycle and the accessible seat during my preview and found that the experience wasn't dampened by not sitting in a Lightcycle. There were still plenty of thrills, and I had great views of the canopy and the indoor portion of the ride because I was sitting up.

After loading, riders take off into the Grid.

screen showing people riding on the lightcycles on tron coaster at magic kingdom
There are signs showing the proper way to sit on the Lightcycles in the queue.Megan duBois

After boarding the ride vehicles, you'll slowly reach the launch point, which hurdles guests into the Grid at a max speed of 59 miles an hour.

The 60-second ride starts with a quick glide outside under the canopy before moving into a dark showroom, where riders are racing against Team Orange. Most of the inside portion of the ride is screen-based, and there's lots to see if you look around.

After riding a few times, I found that the best views of the indoor portion were from the back of the cars. But for more thrills, sit toward the front.

After riding, you'll grab your things out of your locker using the same MagicBand or ticket.

locker number locator screen in the exit for tron coaster at magic kingdom
You can scan to remember your locker number after the ride.Megan duBois

If you forget your locker number, there are small screens that you can scan to help you find it.

I was surprised by how different the experience was from day to night.

magic kingdom tron roller coaster canopy lit up at night
The whole ride lights up at night.Megan duBois

In my opinion, the Tron coaster really shines at night. The daytime rides I took were fun, but the nighttime rides were infinitely better.

At night, the canopy is lit up, and as Lightcycles zoom by, there are some cool visual effects.

I also loved the view of the bright-blue canopy against the purple hues of Space Mountain in the background. The warm glow of Disney's Contemporary Resort also lines up perfectly behind.

I would wait to ride this again, but it's definitely more worth it at night.

tron sign outside the magic kingdom roller coaster lit up at night
I loved the new Tron coaster at Magic Kingdom.Megan duBois

I ended up riding Tron Lightcycle / Run four times during the preview event.

It's not my favorite ride at Disney World, but I love that it brings something new and exciting to Magic Kingdom. The thrills were plentiful, but the experience was a lot shorter than I was expecting.

For those looking to ride, there's a minimum height requirement of 48 inches. There are some big drops, but no inversions, so it's still pretty family-friendly.

When it officially opens on April 4, there will be two ways to ride. The first is to join the virtual queue through the My Disney Experience app. The second is to purchase a Lightning Lane through Disney Genie+ — the first round of Lightning Lanes went for $20 each, but they're now sold out.

It's hard to guarantee a nighttime ride, but that's the version I liked best. Ultimately, if I had to wait in an hours-long line, I'd do it to be able to experience the Grid again.

Read the original article on Insider