Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is an elaborately themed roller coaster at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in the Walt Disney World Resort.
Expedition Everest is often compared to the 1959 Matterhorn Bobsleds roller coaster at Disneyland, which also features a snowy mountain setting and an "abominable snowman" figure throughout the ride. Expedition Everest is the tallest of the artificial mountains at Walt Disney World Resort, joining Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mount Gushmore, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Mount Mayday on the list of Disney-built peaks. According to Imagineering, it is Disney's 18th mountain-themed attraction.
If the Expedition Everest mountain were real, it would be ranked fourth on the list of the highest summits in Florida at 320 feet (98 m) above sea level. Although moderate in height and length by contemporary roller coaster standards, Expedition Everest is unique for having its trains travel forward and backward as a result of the yeti's interference with the journey. This is accomplished through two sets of rotating track segments on pivot before and after the backwards segment. In its publicity material, Disney pointedly has described the attraction as a family thrill ride.
The artificial mountain is not a reproduction of Mount Everest; it is the fictional "forbidden mountain" guarded by the yeti in the attraction story created by Walt Disney Imagineering. Everest is represented by the barren background peak on the far right, which is meant to suggest it is far in the distance (an example of forced perspective). The attraction's concept is that the roller coaster is a passenger train offering a speedy route through the Himalayas to the base of Mount Everest. According to Disney, the attraction occupies 6.2 acres (25,000 m2) in the park's Asia section and the mountain itself is just shy of 1-acre (4,000 m2).
Expedition Everest celebrated its grand opening on April 7, 2006 in ceremonies led by Disney CEO Bob Iger and theme parks chairman Jay Rasulo. The attraction first was announced publicly on April 22, 2003, during an event to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Disney's Animal Kingdom.