Former Imagineer Joe Rohde on Fixing the Disco Yeti: “There Are Solutions. There Are Not Opportunities”

The legend of the Yeti is not about how amazingly lifelike it is, but rather, how amazingly lifeless it is. For more than a decade, the legendary Yeti animatronic in Expedition Everest has been motionless in “B-Mode” – a strobe light employed by the brightest minds in themed entertainment as a solution to mimic movement.

When it was conceived, the Yeti was basically pure magic. A 25-foot-tall monster that was the most complex audio-animatronic of its time, the Yeti would jolt forward to swipe at guests passing by while riding Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is an iconic attraction not only for the themed mountain that the roller coaster spins around and through, but it also represents the last stateside effort by Disney to create a non-IP attraction.

Lead (former) Imagineer Joe Rohde was asked about the “Disco Yeti” almost a decade ago at a D23 Expo panel:

You have to understand – it’s a giant complicated machine sitting on top of, like, a 46-foot-tall tower in the middle of a finished building. So…it’s really hard to fix, but we are working on it. And we continue to work on it. We have tried several “things”, none of them quite get to the key turning of the 40-foot tower inside of a finished building, but we are working on it, and I personally kind of bulldog this one in a way that doesn’t away make it popular, but I will fix the Yeti someday, I swear.

Joe Rohde, former Imagineer at 2013 D23 Expo

Unfortunately, Rohde left Imagineering in early 2021 without fixing the Yeti, but the former Imagineer recently offered some insight into just how difficult it is to get all of the spinning gears of The Walt Disney Company to align. Rohde says that various branches of operations need to agree, and that “there are solutions. There are not opportunities”.

With Expedition Everest is a popular attraction that is critical to a theme park that doesn’t have a lot of rides. Expedition Everest was closed from January 2022 until mid-April 2022, but the Disco Yeti remained in “B-Mode” when it reopened to guests.

It’s unlikely that the operational stars described by Rohde would align until more attraction capacity could be introduced at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With the possibility that Zootopia and Moana-themed areas could be formalized for a DinoLand USA reimagining this September at the Destination D23 event, we could see the Disco Yeti addressed later this decade, although no official announcements from Disney have been made.

As always, keep checking back with us here at as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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