Epcot is in the midst of a series of long-term updates and changes, and I recently attended a 50th anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World that also included the opportunity to be an early reviewer trying out the new Guardians of the Galaxy Coaster in the park, Cosmic Return. One of the coolest things about the ride is that it’s slightly different every time you go. Like most coasters, sitting in the back provides a different ride than sitting in the front, but the new GOTG coaster also stands out with a six-song mixtape that changes with each release.
Given what we know of Peter Quill and his ’80s earthling background, it makes sense that the roller coaster songs would point to a mixtape that only the Guardian could have made. I had the opportunity to ride the roller coaster a myriad of times until I was finally able to listen to every song for you and categorize them accordingly.
Now, before I read my picks, I have a caveat: I’ve been in this queue many times and met a lot of people. I also spoke with the cast members about their favorite songs while shopping on my ride. I will say: every song on this list (bar one) had at least one person who vouched for it as their favorite. So I honestly think the Imagineers who combed through 100 songs to create this playlist did a terrific job. Still, this list is how the songs stuck with me while I was driving.
6. “Congas!” By Gloria Estefan
The “Conga!” experience on Cosmic Rewind had by far the most polarizing reaction of any other song. I only got it once while riding and I didn’t care. A cast member admitted to me that it was also his least favorite track. However, two social media reporters who were big fans of the song before rolling said “Conga!” was their favorite experience they had had at this point in their journey on horseback. So I guess some people might have this track way higher on their own list. Keep that in mind.
5. “Everybody wants to rule the world” by Tears For Fears
If the thought of riding a reverse-launch roller coaster really stresses you out before you ride, you definitely couldn’t do better than “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” The vibe of this song is much more relaxing than the other tracks and it definitely provides a great change-over experience. If you’re familiar with the “Secret Playlist” and the addition of “Rainbow Connection” to another Universal Orlando coaster, I’d say the ride experience is similar to Tear For Fears on Cosmic Rewind. If you have no idea what I’m referring to, this song was pretty cool as a casual release, but I wouldn’t want to roll over this song all the time.
4. “Somehow” by Blondie
To be honest with you, I myself was going back and forth in this ranking between putting Blondie in fourth position or the track Earth, Wind and Fire in the same slot. Blondie is obviously the more amped up and aggressive song, and “September” is a little more breezy and does a nice ride. I ended up putting Blondie in fourth just because while I was enjoying the vibe, other people seemed to find Blondie’s song a bit aggressive on the ride, and again, that might not be so good if you got this song and over. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to be a little aggressive when going after a bad guy. I’m just saying.’
3. “September” By Earth, Wind and Fire
“September” feels deeply on-brand for Peter Quill, and adds some verve and fun to the new Epcot-based roller coaster. I really enjoyed that. There’s not much to complain about this song experience. The only reason it ended up in third place is that it’s a little less fun than “Disco Inferno” and a little less aggressive than “One Way Or Another.” It’s definitely a track you could repeat over and over again.
2. “Disco Inferno” by The Tramps
It’s the song I first heard when I rode and it’s a great song to start with. The vibe is very “Awesome Mix” and it’s also a song that I’ve always heard was one of the favorites of people watching Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind for the first time. Hope you get a chance to experience this one as well the next time you visit Epcot.
1. “I ran (so far)” by a flock of seagulls
Honestly, this was the second-to-last song I finally got in my queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and oh boy it was worth the wait. It’s like this song was written for the ride. Or maybe the ride’s storyline and beats were created with the song in mind. Knowing how the mixtape was created, this thought I just shared does NOT seem to be true, but that’s how I feel while riding. What a glorious and wonderful experience that I hope to repeat soon.
Not only did Imagineers do a great job of choosing six Peter Quill-era specific songs to complete the ride (more on how that might differ in GOTG Vol. 3), the smooth coaster track and reverse launch are also highlights of an exceptional Epcot ride. As one Imagineer suggested to me, “pay attention” to the catchy dialogue and story along the way, especially whenever Drax is involved.
I expect everyone to have a slightly different list of favorite songs for their next Epcot experience, and while a virtual queue is in place for Cosmic Rewind now that it’s open and it’s can be difficult to log in many times, trying out new songs should just give you something to look forward to time and time again.