Disney Instructed to Cease Operations on $70 Million Coaster Amid “Mold Infestation”

in Walt Disney World

An image divided into two sections; on the left, a close-up of a rusted metal joint, and on the right, a crowded scene at dusk with people and the iconic silhouette of disney's cinderella castle in the background.

Credit: (background photo) Disney Fanatic, (circle photo) @B_Kling

Should Disney be shutting down their coaster TRON Lightcycle / Run? According to other theme parks — yes.

TRON Lightcycle / Run opened at Magic Kingdom on April 4, 2024 after around five years of construction. The coaster now has a home in Tomorrowland, and after one year, it seems that it may be time for maintenance to take another look at what is going on.

One recent Disney guest, BK, was at Magic Kingdom and snapped a few photos of the structural integrity of TRON Lightcycle / Run, pointing out the immense rust that has built up on the beams of the ride.

Y’all used to have a fit about a single lightbulb on Main St, but you let this slide? DisTwitter’s gone soft.

This rust is causing the beams to rot, which is not great to seem after only one year of operation and a $70 million budget. Professionals would actually suggest that a shut down is necessary due to this. Some of the comments on the post indicate that this may also be mold decaying the coaster.

The infamous Dragon Coaster at Playland Amusement Park was seen rotting with rust years ago, specifically with the bolts holding areas of the coaster together decaying from the rust. When inspectors looked at the coaster, they required these rusted sections to be replaced: “To ensure rider safety, all cases of visible rot and all square head bolts should be replaced.” James Swinden, design engineer for Great Coasters International, wrote in the Aug. 31, 2018, report”.

The report speculated, through visual inspections, that a significant portion of the square head bolts on the roller coaster had completely rusted. The company suggested conducting a sample examination and advised further action if the majority of the bolts were found to be in poor condition.

Guests ride TRON
Credit: Disney

Inspecting roller coasters for cracks is essential to ensure the safety of riders. Typically, qualified engineers and maintenance teams conduct regular inspections to identify any structural damage, including cracks, adhering to strict industry standards and regulations. These inspections are vital for maintaining the safety and integrity of roller coasters.

Qualified engineers and maintenance teams meticulously inspect roller coasters to detect any potential cracks or structural damage. Visual inspections involve closely examining various components such as supports, tracks, and connections for visible cracks or signs of distress. Additionally, non-destructive testing techniques like ultrasonic testing or magnetic particle testing are utilized to uncover hidden cracks that may not be immediately visible.

Stress analysis is performed on critical areas to evaluate their structural integrity and pinpoint potential crack-prone zones. All inspections are conducted in accordance with industry standards and regulations. Any identified cracks or damage are promptly addressed through repairs or component replacements.

Tron Lightcycle / Run Ride at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Regular inspections play a crucial role in ensuring the ongoing safety of roller coasters and providing riders with peace of mind.

Inside the Magic has reached out to Disney to see if any of this testing has been performed on the rusted and possibly moldy sections of the structure. We have not heard back at the time of this article’s publishing.

While the rust on TRON Lightcycle / Run may not have compromised the structural integrity yet, prolonged exposure could cause the coaster to be potentially harmful for guests.

Shanghai's TRON attraction
Credit: Disney

This is also not the first time that we have seen damage on the coaster. 

Right now, guests looking to ride TRON Lightcycle / Run would have to join the virtual queue on the My Disney Experience app in order to ride. The ride is also one of the few at Walt Disney World Resort that has a size restriction not based on height. When you get on the Lightcycle, you will be leaning forward, almost like a motorcycle, with the coaster locking your back into place. If the mechanism cannot lock, the guest will not be able to ride on the Lightcycle.

Luckily, Disney did think that through and also provided a Lightrunner vehicle on two of the coasters, which is just a regular coaster style seat with a lap bar. If a guest cannot ride in the Lightcycle or does not want to, they are welcome to tell the loading cast member, who will place them aside until the proper coaster arrives.

Signage for TRON at Disney World
Credit: Disney

The ride comes from the groundbreaking Disney milestone in filmmaking with TRON, marking the first instance of blending live action with computer-generated imagery and backlit animation. This iconic movie later served as the catalyst for video games, comic books, an animated series, and the 2010 sequel TRON: Legacy—ultimately inspiring the development of a new Disney theme park attraction which also exists in Shanghai Disneyland.

Do you think that this level of “damage” is acceptable on a Disney attraction? 

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