Former Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Talks About the Strange Hair Ties on Expedition Everest

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Former Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Talks About the Strange Hair Ties on Expedition Everest

The Mystery of Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest has an unsolved mystery that only the Yeti may be able to answer. No one knows when or how it started but the mystery of the hair ties at the peak of Expedition Everest mystifies even retired Imagineer Joe Rohde himself.

Joe Rohde was the lead designer for Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World and attractions including, but not limited to Pandora, Expedition Everest, and Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout.

Former Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Talks About the Strange Hair Ties on Expedition Everest

If you have ever ridden Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest you might have noticed that once you reach the very summit where the tracks end (thanks Yeti) just off to your right is a shrine of hair ties of all colors and styles. Why are they there? Many guests have wondered and even the man behind Expedition Everest Joe Rohde has considered this very question.

Perhaps we could ask the Yeti himself but last I visited he didn’t seem to be up for visitors. Maybe good-natured guests noticed that he is having a bit of a bad hair day and offered up hair ties from their personal collection in a way to appease the mysterious and cantankerous creature.

Former Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Talks About the Strange Hair Ties on Expedition Everest

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If you’re wondering if Disney removes them or just leaves them there you may be surprised to know that they do indeed remove them regularly. Guests just can’t stop making offerings to the Yeti. No one has been able to pinpoint when this ritual of sorts officially became a thing and why hair ties?

Joe Rohde Ponders the Bizarre Ritual

We may never know but Joe Rohde offers up this insight.

“More ritual behavior, the hair scrunchies! The hair tie thing at the top of Everest is Weird but also ritualistic. It violates the illusion of the scene, but it oddly parallels what people do at the top of a real Himalayan pass…which is to leave a rock. Obviously, someone started it, but what is significant is the huge number of people who follow along. What’s going on with that? It messes with the illusion of the fantasy place completely… However, it creates a very real interactive ceremony at the actual top of the highest point of the ride. I cannot condone this behavior partly because some poor person has to clean it up…but it does interest me.”

Former Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Talks About the Strange Hair Ties on Expedition Everest

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Personally I usually have a death grip on the lap bar because I know I am about to be launched backward. How do you feel about this tossing of the hair tie ritual? Is this something you or someone you know participates in? Please share your theories with us on the mystery of hair ties, or if your brave enough ask the Yeti next time you see him.

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Joey is a Florida native . Mom of 3 wonderful special needs teenagers, and recently married to her soulmate in a epic Star Wars wedding. Joey is living the Disney dream life. Joey enjoys spending her time exploring the parks with friends and family and has a slight obsession with Ewok's and Mickey Ears.
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