This Tron Lightcycle Run review post was written by Mike Bizzaco, half of the team behind Disney for Couples.

Space Mountain is really beginning to show its age.

The indoor queue may have been state-of-the-art 40+ years ago, but the digitized readouts of constellations, space stations and other astral bodies are a little on the dim side these days.

Not to mention the blackened bits of gum that line the causeway leading to the loading bay. There’s a smell, too: old and musty, mixed with the pungent sweat of right now. It permeates the final section of your wait, and the lack of airflow in that launch chamber certainly doesn’t help.

Most of the ride vehicles have been addled by time in some way, too, and those seat cushions always have us wondering what family of bacteria is thriving on the pleather, hitching a ride on our skin and clothes to the great cosmos beyond.

The front of the queue of Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.

In Disney World, there are also two tracks, and one of them is bumpy as hell. On our second Disney for couples trip to WDW, Lins and I took a ride on the rougher course and ended up suffering from many aches and pains. And then, when the ride was over, we had to walk around Magic Kingdom as victims of the interstellar.

But I don’t know. Even considering that pile of complaints, there’s just something about Space Mountain that keeps you coming back.

It’s definitely vintage, and those more antiquated WDW attractions tend to tug on the nostalgia strings, but it’s more than that.

As visitors to Lake Compounce in Connecticut (the oldest amusement park in North America), literally everything you ride or interact with is vintage, but in a real “back in the glory days” kind of way. You know at one time that a coaster or dark ride must have kicked some ass, but that era is done and dusted.

At Disney, Though, the Glory Days Never Really End

The look and feel of a modern E-ticket ride can be a pleasant reminder that we probably wouldn’t have a Tron ride at Disney if we didn’t have Space Mountain first. 🚀

Now here’s my real hot take: I’m glad that there’s a Tron ride at Disney for one major reason — to draw guests away from other E-ticket attractions. Especially Space Mountain.

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Our Buildup to the Walt Disney World Tron Ride

It took forever and a day for Tron Lightcycle Run to open its Floridian gates. I say “Floridian” because for those who may not know, this all-new coaster is actually the spitting image of Tron Lightcycle Power Run in Shanghai Disneyland.

Announced pre-pandemic, we had to wait over 5 years for the Magic Kingdom’s latest E ticket, and Lins and I followed the development with bated breath.

I’m a big fan of WDW’s launch coasters (the reverse launch of Cosmic Rewind is the champ, bar none), and I thought the unique design of Tron’s ride vehicles — those titular Lightcycles — would add a whole new dimension to that 55-mile-per-hour blastoff.

Having been on the ride now, I can say without a doubt that the launch is definitely the best part.

As Magic Kingdom diehards, it was also exciting to know that there’d be a whole new attraction we could look forward to when visiting the OG park on a couples Disney trip.

But as we inched closer to the April 2023 opening date, cast member previews gave way to early press excursions. Pretty much all of the Disney park vloggers that we follow got the chance to ride the coaster and offer their own Tron Lightcycle Run review, uploading opinions and footage of their experience weeks before we’d get to hop on a Lightcycle ourselves.

I remember watching one of these 4K ride-throughs with Lins and saying, “Wow, it’s short and a little boring.”

I didn’t want to believe this first impression and was happy to doubt it. In fact, I thought almost the exact same thing when we watched the initial Cosmic Rewind footage, and the Worlds of Xandar calling card is easily one of our favorite rides of all time..Disney ride merchandise for Cosmic Rewind.

Being wrong about Cosmic Rewind made me realize you really can’t judge a book by its YouTube play-by-play, but gut feelings often prevail, and my gut was right about the Magic Kingdom’s latest.

Tron Lightcycle Run Review: Boarding Groups and the Outdoor Queue

For those unaware, over the last few years, when Disney opens a new E-ticket attraction (like the Walt Disney World Tron ride, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance), in lieu of a traditional standby line, the parks implement something called a virtual queue, which assigns you a boarding group.

Virtual Queue and Boarding Group Overview

Virtual boarding group on the My Disney Experience app for the Tron ride at Disney World during a couples Disney trip.

By joining a virtual queue using the My Disney Experience app, you and your party will be assigned a boarding group and a guesstimate of when that boarding group will be let in to stand on the physical ride line. Typically, your boarding group won’t be called for a few hours from when you join the queue.

There are usually two times per day when you can try to join a boarding group: 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. (but sometimes more times are added). If you’re trying to get a boarding group for the whole family, we suggest that the speediest phone-user in your party be the one who attempts to score the booking.

Why? Because virtual queues function like a first-come, first-served lottery, and trust us — they go fast. (My lovely Lins is the one who does all the bookings because my 31-year-old brain doesn’t operate before noon).

Remember, even with a boarding group, once you get to the ride, you and your party will still have to wait in the standby line (more about that part of our experience in a moment).

Until the virtual queue attraction falls out of its “most popular” status, the boarding group system is basically Disney’s way of managing crowd levels for rides that are going to draw tons of guests.

Do keep in mind that, in most cases, you’ll still be able to book an Individual Lightning Lane for these attractions; although you’ll be at the mercy of everyone else buying ILLs, and those can be eaten up quickly, too!

Ride options on the My Disney Experience app for the Tron ride at Disney during a couples Disney trip.

Hurry Up and Wait for the Tron Ride at Disney!

Lins scored us a Tron Lightcycle Run boarding group during one of our more recent Disney for couples trips. We arrived at the standby line when we were instructed to and proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait.

Don’t be fooled by the Golden Ticket-grabbing bravura of getting a boarding group — you could still end up waiting in that queue for quite some time.

Now in the case of an E-ticket ride like Cosmic Rewind, 100% of the standby is housed inside the ride’s show building. This is not the case for the Tron ride at Disney.

The Outdoor Queue for the Walt Disney World Tron Ride

A bit less than half of Tron Lightcycle Run’s standby line is situated outside, with the second half relegated to the HVAC-equipped show building.

Luckily, a majority of the outdoor section falls under the mighty shadow of the ride’s illuminated canopy, and there are big ceiling fans to help create a breeze.

Tron Lightcycle Run review of the outdoor queue.

But when you’re packed in like sardines with all the other boarding group achievers, I don’t care how much faux wind you throw at my face. Florida heat is Florida heat, and this particular couples Disney trip occurred during mid-May, when news headlines were all about the record-breaking temperatures. 🥵

Luckily, the outdoor portion of the total waiting experience isn’t too long. It took us about half an hour to get into the indoor queue.

The Indoor Queue for the Tron Ride at Disney

When you’re inside a WDW show building, one of the first things you should feel is air conditioning. Overall chill level and airflow are going to vary from one attraction to the next, but generally speaking, there should be a noticeable difference between the suffocating heat you feel outside and the breathable oxygen housed indoors.

Not so much for the Walt Disney World Tron ride, though. 😤

Before you enter the “you’re being digitized into the world of Tron” section, there’s a very narrow hallway you have to make your way through over the course of a few minutes:

The first section of the indoor queue at the Tron ride at Disney.

I’m sure this part of the building has proper HVAC in place, but you could have fooled me. It’s hot. If you’re feeling a little on the woozy side before entering this passage, I recommend skipping the ride until you feel better.

Let’s Get Digitized

Once you make your way through this area, you’ll find yourself in the aforementioned “getting digitized” room. This is actually a pretty cool part of the queue experience, where you and yours are uploaded into the world of Tron.

The "get digitized" section of the Walt Disney World Tron ride during a Disney for couples trip.

The successful upload is followed by a fall to darkness. When the lights return, the screen in front of you has given way to see-through paneling, allowing you to look down on the Lightcycle launch bay.

Look Mom, More Queue

Tron Lightcycle Run review of the several indoor queue areas.

After being digitized, there’s more queue to go, and the next room is quite a bit bigger than the last. Winding around the pathways, there are a few screens hanging from the ceiling to feed you some narrative and give you an idea of what the ride’s going to be like. There’s nothing interactive though, which wouldn’t be a huge deal, except that we waited in this holding pit for what felt like forever.

Next up is the locker room. Tron Lightcycle Run is the only Disney ride that doesn’t allow you to carry your belongings with you, so if it’s bigger than sunglasses or a phone, you’ll need to stash it. (The lockers are free.)

Tron Lightcycle Run review of the two-sided lockers.

These cubbies are double-sided, so you’ll walk up to a unit, type in a passcode (don’t forget it!), and deposit whatever loose valuables you’re carrying. (After the ride, you’ll end up on the other side of the lockers, and you can get your belongings from the backend of the locker you selected.)

Now there’s yet another part of the queue. 🙄 The load-in area is the final section to weave through, and we spent plenty of time in this space, too.

There’s a big screen that breaks down the fake statistics of the race you’re about to be in, but it’s mostly just a looping, silly name game. There are plexiglass barriers with railings that lead down to the actual Lightcycles, and Lins still talks about how full of fingerprints the partitions were.

We know it’s not exactly feasible to send a cast member in with cleaner and paper towels every 5 minutes, but with the amount of grease and grime we saw, it looked like the muck had been hanging there since opening day.

Time to disregard that, though, because we were just one final walkway away from boarding the ride vehicles!

And then it happened.

You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me

The stalled ride vehicles on the Walt Disney World Tron ride during a couples Disney trip.

First, we noticed that the Lightcycle ride vehicles weren’t moving in and out of the loading bay. After a few moments of inactivity and general disarray amongst the cast members, we saw someone make what I’ve nicknamed “the phone call of death.”

For those not hip to my phrase (which is everyone but me and Lins), that’s when a ride operator picks up the handset at the operator’s station, dials out, and starts muttering incomprehensible phrases to what I’m guessing is the maintenance team on the other end.

A few minutes later, the work lights went on and the announcement was made. Yup. Ride breakdown.

When you wait as long as we did to board, this kind of bad luck just plain sucks. But you know what? It’s par for the course. This is a theme park, after all, and this kind of thing happens all the time. “They’ll take care of us,” we figured.

The cast members let everyone know that the team wasn’t sure when the ride would be back up and running, so everyone had the choice of remaining in line or exiting the attraction, which meant turning around in the fully loaded queue and walking back the way we came.

Considering how cramped and exhausted we were from standing in line for close to 90 minutes at that point, we decided to ditch Tron Lightcycle Run, along with many others.

Guest Relations and the iPad Lady

If you’re leaving the ride like we were, there’s a set of doors that lead directly to the other side of the locker room. A cast member was stationed here, and we asked them if there was a way we could get back on the ride once it reopened.

They were not polite, to say the least. I’m guessing a lot of people just asked them the same question, but still.

We were told that we’d have to go to guest relations, located in a few spots throughout the Magic Kingdom. We found the closest one, housed under a blue umbrella near the Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland. There was a decent line already built up, likely full of folks experiencing the same trouble as us.

Unless you’re directly under the umbrella, there’s no shade at these stands, so be prepared to sweat like crazy on a hot day. After we did just that for about 15 minutes, it was our turn to talk to one of the cast members.

The woman who helped us was armed with an iPad, and after we explained our situation, she said that there was nothing she could do. 🤯 For those who are in love with an Italian New Yorker who also happens to be overheated and tired, you’ll know that such a statement is grounds for war. Lins replied, “You have to do something for us.”

This annoyed the iPad lady, who had hoped to brush us off.

Ariel from the Little Mermaid huffing.

When we explained that the cast member at Tron told us they didn’t know when the ride would be back up and to go to guest relations for help, she said something along the lines of, “Well, they always say that, and the ride’s already functioning again.”

Again, that was no help to us. How could we have known that when we’d left the line at the instruction of the ride operators? 🤷🏻‍♂️

The iPad woman stared down at her tablet and said we could get back in the virtual queue standby — as in, the line we’d just waited on.

Hard no from us.

At this point, the cast member was super disgruntled. Yeah, Lins and I weren’t emitting rainbows from our faces, but throughout this entire interaction, we were getting a “that’s not my problem” vibe from the person we were told would help us.

We asked if we could get on the Lighting Lane line and she said no. Lins then asked if we could get a Lighting Lane for anything, and after some more iPadding, the cast member was able to do so.

We Expected More From a Disney Cast Member

We’re not little babies. We know there’s only so much Disney can do when the fairy dust hits the fan.

But we’ve noticed this annoying trend on our last few Disney for couples visits to the parks: cast members seem to be going out of their way to not help guests.

Pirates of the Caribbean illustration with the dog and three jailed men.
All of the WDW cast members are this dog.

We were forced to get a little heated with this woman in order for her to lift a finger. That really stinks, especially when these attractions and experiences eat up as much time as they do. These are minutes we’re normally happy to part with, but when your brand-new E-ticket ride isn’t running on all thrusters, it’s bewildering when cast members don’t offer to ease the inconvenience in any way whatsoever.

We left guest relations, went on Space Mountain with our freebie Lighting Lanes, and I bitched about our crappy Tron Lightcycle Run experience for the rest of the day afternoon.

Tron Lightcycle Run Review: Let’s Try This Again

On the last day of our couples Disney trip, Lins was able to score two Individual Lighting Lanes for Tron Lightcycle Run. With our first attempt behind us (don’t worry, I was still complaining about it), it was time to give the Magic Kingdom’s latest E-ticket ride a second chance.

The Queue

We arrived at Tron Lightcycle Run when we were supposed to and got right into the “let’s get digitized” section of the queue. So far, so good.

For whatever reason, though, we ended up waiting in the next part of the line for a really long time. Honestly, I’d say it was around half an hour, and if it wasn’t for this hiccup, we’d have been on the Lightcycles in less than 5 minutes, because once guests started moving forward, we didn’t stop.

Boarding the Tron Ride at Disney

The ride vehicles at the Tron ride at Disney.

After the locker section, we got into the loading area and were told which Lightcycles to board. It’s finally happening! The “ride” part of the ride!

So what did it actually feel like to pilot a Lightcycle???

Um. It was fine. 😐

In terms of overall comfort, it’s not the best thing in the world. If you suffer from lower back issues, it’s probably best to wait for one of the non-Lightcycle ride vehicles. The parts of the bike that make contact with your back and knees are padded, though.

What isn’t padded are the handlebars. My guess is that cushioned materials might wear down over time, so Disney went with some kind of textured metal that feels like exercise machine hand grips. Not comfortable.

Tron Lightcycle Run Review: The Actual Ride

Once all ride systems are a-go, the Lightcycles load out to the launch chamber.

I was pumped. It’s easy to forget about the slightly contorted position your body is in when the countdown sounds. And when it’s blastoff time … man! What a rush! I totally get the hype for how you ride Tron Lightcycle Run, because when you go from zero to 55 in seconds flat, the fact that you’re pitched forward so naturally adds to the adrenaline.

Then when you go zipping outside and into the world of Tomorrowland, zooming underneath the illuminated canopy is a one-of-a-kind moment that feels very Disney. ✨

The canopy over the Tron ride at Disney World during a Disney for couples vacation.

But unfortunately, once the Lightcycles duck back into the darkened show building, things take a turn for the worse.

Now, by “worse” I don’t mean “horrible.” It’s more like, and I hate to say this, kind of boring (remember my gut feeling?).

For the final 40 or so seconds of your ride experience, you’ll be treated to plenty of fancy LED props, a booming soundtrack, big brilliant screens with all kinds of Lightcycle racing to observe … and not much else. The track itself is pretty pedestrian, with a lot of turns and your basic bunny hills, but that’s about it. In fact, Lins and I had just ridden Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios for the first time a few days before (during an After Hours event), and we thought the kid-friendly track had more thrills than Tron Lightcycle Run’s final leg.

Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios during an After Hours Disney Parks event on a Disney for couples trip.

After Team Blue beats Team Orange (take that, sort-of movie characters!), your Lightcycle brakes to a stop, then loads into the exit chamber.

We got stuck right before we were able to get off the bikes. It took around 5 minutes for things to get moving again, and when you’re slouched forward in that kind of uncomfortable position for any longer than 30 seconds, the claustrophobia really starts to build. Plus, the leg and back constraints mean that you can’t move at all.

After disembarking, we picked up our Disney gear from our assigned locker and proceeded to exit the ride.

Tron Lightcycle Run Review: Final Verdict

Naysaying is a bad habit of mine, but when it comes to all things Walt Disney World, it’s usually pretty easy for me to shelve my negativity.

That being said, it was hard not to be disappointed by Tron Lightcycle Run.

Don’t get me wrong: There are parts of the attraction that are absolutely incredible. That digitization sequence is quite the set piece, and the blastoff into Tomorrowland is something I think Walt himself would truly dig.

But when you factor in the rather cookie-cutter “loud sounds and big screens” part (which takes up a majority of the ride) and the long, rather uninteresting queues, it’s not the most enthralling end-to-end experience.

As far as E-ticket rides go, I’m sure Lins and I will be on the Tron ride at Disney again someday, but minus the fanfare and urgency. For us, Tron Lightcycle Run will be the ride we do in between Lighting Lane windows for the E tickets we really enjoy.

In fact, we’ve been back since that Disney for couples trip, and riding Tron wasn’t much of a concern — we didn’t get a boarding group, and we didn’t care that much.

You may be dated and dingy, Space Mountain, but you’ll always have our hearts.

Show off your love for that other fantastic futuristic ride with a themed tote bag. Pick out your favorite Cosmic Rewind song here.

Cosmic Rewind-inspired tote bag to show your love for Epcot rides.