Joe Rohde comments on Expedition Everest's broken Yeti animatronic

Jun 29, 2020 in "Expedition Everest"

Posted: Monday June 29, 2020 8:56am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Expediton Everest creator Joe Rohde has again commented on the condition of the broken Yeti audio-animatronic which has now been out of order for more than 13 years.

In response to a Twitter post suggesting maintenance access to the figure was a problem, Joe said, "It’s not an issue of maintenance access, they were part of the design team and set the standard. In fact, it was seen as a model collaborative process. It’s an unexpected and unforeseen set of issues, very complex, with no easy or timely solutions as of yet."

In a follow up response to a poster saying that in other words, it was "messed up" Joe replied with, "Not “messed up.” These guys did not ignore something or botch it. Innovation is like physical exploration of unknown spaces. There is stuff out there that you didn’t know, and you only encounter it by exploration. But then....there it is."

Joe Rohde is a Portfolio Creative Executive with Walt Disney Imagineering, and was the creative lead on Expedition Everest and Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The Yeti, Guardian of the Mountain, is a mammoth-sized Audio-Animatronics figure with a potential thrust, in all of its hydraulic cylinders combined, of slightly over 259,000 pounds force -- potentially more instantaneous power than a 747-400 airliner.

The animatronic's motion was switched off less than a year after the ride opened in 2006 due to what is believed to be various unspecified structural issues around the figure.

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EagleScout61020 hours ago

Disney fans: *Worry about the Caballeros being missing* Meanwhile:

WondersOfLifeMar 13, 2021

Facts. Or a Dino encounter like universal had with the triceratops.

DoleWhipDreaMar 13, 2021

I think it’s ridiculous that they didn’t put him in the Dinosaur attraction somewhere (I’d say at the very end - heck, Indy at DL has one final AA to admire before getting to unload.) Instead they sent him without his skin to DLP on the studio tour and let the very expensive robot rot and decay in the harsh elements. So many short-sighted decisions. The company pretends that its saving money by not fixing things, but the reality is that they just throw money down the drain by not taking care of what they already have.

WondersOfLifeMar 12, 2021

It's a shame they couldn't relocate that AA to Dinoland.

DoleWhipDreaMar 12, 2021

Animal Kingdom seems to be the Disney Park where expensive AAs go to have a very short working life expectancy.

JustAFanMar 12, 2021

Just went this past weekend and the effects are worse. The disco lights on the Yeti were maybe about 25% as bright as they had been. He was very hard - almost impossible - to spot. If I had never ridden that ride, I would have been very confused as to what's going on through that section. Of course, other effects - steam and bird - were not working either.

Doug MeansMar 02, 2021

I remember when I used to think this was a long thread.

EagleScout610Feb 10, 2021

Oddly better than the disco lights

Chicken GuyFeb 10, 2021

First he'll get replaced by a plant with a hat on it. Then we can start to worry.

EagleScout610Feb 06, 2021

So with the new trend of broken animatronic (Caballeros) being removed and replaced with a cardboard cutout, how soon until we see this pop up in front of the broken yeti?

Master YodaFeb 04, 2021

I would tend to agree. The only way I see a support structure issue displaying as a failure in the figure attached to it would be if the support structure is moving more than expected causing an unanticipated increase in forces or additional florces on the figure. That however does not really jive with the previous information we have indicating that the fix initially presented by WDI before the attraction even opened was only an increased maintenance schedule on the figure. Had the support structure been the root cause I would have expected some effort to reinforce it in addition to the increased maintenance on the figure.

lazyboy97oFeb 04, 2021

Disney is stupid if that is their story official story. Admitting they are exposing their guests to a known overhead structural deficiency should have the health and safety personnel and lawyers screaming. Korkis also uses language that doesn’t make much sense. A concrete foundation would not typically be described as “framing” but would describe an internal structure.

danyoung56Feb 04, 2021

I just had an interesting online conversation with Jim Korkis yesterday. For those not familiar, Jim is a former Imagineer, a former teacher at the Disney Institute, and regular contributor to Mouseplanet and All Ears.Net, among others. He posted an article on Mouseplanet this week about Everest, and he said - "The figure was constructed to sit atop a 46 feet tall independent concrete base meant to hold its weight while allowing the beast to reach down on passengers in the passing train vehicles, terrifying riders and confirming that the legends of the creature were true. By 2008, the stress caused by the Yeti's complex movement split the figure's framing, which would cause a catastrophic malfunction to the ride if the figure continued running in "A-mode." The understanding is that the fault is in the concrete base and would require an extensive refurbishment that would likely last months. The glitch is apparently not in the figure itself." I sent him an email where I said "Jim, there is a very prominent and knowledgeable member of another site who insists there is no problem with the concrete base, but he won't come out and say what the problem really is. How sure are you that the problem is indeed the base?" And he responded "The concrete base is the official story of the Walt Disney Company at this time although I know that there are others who have indicated it is something else. I always choose to go with the official story rather than any rumors unless I have some good information to refute the official story." Thoughts?

EagleScout610Jan 26, 2021

I read on the Defunctland Facebook from someone who did the DCP that every so often yeti is skinned, washed and put back. Could that be the possible "Removals" we saw in the past? Or at least the extended strobe-less time