Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Expedition Everest

It’s been 15 years since Expedition Everest opened to the public! The event was celebrated alongside Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Sarah Riles – and the Disney Ambassadors of course!

Sarah Riles and Disney Ambassadors
Photo: Walt Disney World Cast and Community FB

On April 7th, 2006, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain opened to the public and created one of the most thrilling and adventurous rides. On Instagram, Imagineer Zach Riddley mentioned the anniversary and highlighted that it helped shaped the Animal Kingdom we know and love today.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. Opening in 2006, this original attraction and story served as a major expansion for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Not only did this become one of the first roller coaster experiences in the park, but it expanded the entire land of Asia and expanded the footprint of the park.

Guests approach the attraction through the remote village of Serka Zong in the fictional kingdom of Anandapur, which is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, in northern India. Several village buildings that had been used by the Royal Anandapur Tea Company have been repurposed by businesses that send trekkers on various expeditions throughout the Himalayas. “Expedition Everest” is the name of a specific trek arranged by the Himalayan Escapes tour company in Serka Zong. And the Forbidden Mountain serves as a major destination for the entire park.

Many of our additions serve as new visual icons – helping draw Guests to the new experiences but also serve important master planning goals as we grow and balance our parks over their lives. And quite the visual icon it is – did you know that Expedition Everest holds the mark as the highest Disney mountain at Walt Disney World Resort – at nearly 200 feet tall. Can you name the other “peaks” across Walt Disney World??

Zach Riddley Instagram
Construction of Expedition Everest
Photo: Zach Riddley

Did You Know?
– Expedition Everest was not based on Mount Everest, but in fact, was a completely fictional “Forbidden Mountain” — hence the extended version of the official name.
– Imagineers spent over 6 years researching and designing this massive mountain. Maintaining the authenticity of  Himalayan/Nepali art and cultural traditions was extremely important for the Imagineers.
– Expedition Everest is actually the tallest of all the Mountain rides on Walt Disney World property – and rightly so!
– Wondering why the Yeti is so cranky? The Yeti is the protector of the Forbidden Mountain. He just simply wants you off his property!

Even though this ride is 15 years old, it could have been opened yesterday. The themes and thrills still stand true to this day. It is a perfect example of a ride that was thought out through and through. Happy Birthday, Expedition Everest – and here’s to 15 more!



Danielle H