Visiting the happiest place on earth during Thanksgiving Week was, in hindsight, not entirely the smartest thing I've ever done. The crowds surrounding the rides could best be described as flies on faeces; the place was positively heaving, with a minimum hour wait for everything even in a park which is traditionally less busy than the Magic Kingdom. By the early afternoon I'd made an executive decision not to visit the castle park today, as much as I wanted to; there would simply be no point.
The single rider queue on Rock'n'Roller Coaster got me a back seat ride in three quarters of an hour that frankly wasn't worth the wait. The person in front of me was very tall, probably close to the limit of what Vekoma harnesses can secure, and he effectively blocked any forward view of scenery except during inversions. The over the shoulder restraint left me with a stinging headache that was to stay with me for the rest of the day. Aerosmith's music is not exactly my favourite either!
My instinct was to vacate this particular park looking for a quieter place to spend the rest of my morning, but I couldn't resist waiting for the Tower of Terror. Improving on perfection is never easy but the Imagineers have done it since my last visit; the mechanical clunking referred to in my previous report is still there, but rather than beginning with a drop as everyone presumably expects, the main segment of the ride now begins with an powerful upward launch that generated the predictable volley of screams. It really is a pity that the other Disney parks took the cheap option and dispensed with the forward motion section of the ride in their versions. It is this entry into the twilight zone that makes the attraction without question the best of its kind in the world.
Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom
20th November 2007
Expedition Everest (#1099) is the latest major coaster to come from Disney Imagineers, and it's a winner. The ride opens with a small lift hill, maybe twenty five feet, just enough to get the train out of the station and on to a short piece of track taken at a gentle pace. Rounding a corner passengers hit a serious lift hill that looks much bigger than the posted height might suggest. This leads to another slow paced jaunt which rounds a corner to discover twisted and broken trails leading nowhere. It is at this point that the ride really gets going, with an abrupt backwards drop into the midst of the mountain. A single nasty bump at this point is the only clue that the ride is built by Vekoma; the rest of it is very smooth, and the enclosed mountain makes the speeds feel much faster than they actually are. It is not every day that I step off a new-to-me coaster itching to take a second ride immediately, but it happened here.
The only other new-to-me attraction in Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom was the Dinosaur dark ride. This is a dune buggy style attraction very similar to that a few short weeks ago in Lotte World, the only difference being the theming. The quality was as one would expect from Disney, the only caveat being the usual one, namely the wait time. Had the posted thirty minute wait been accurate there would not have been a problem, but as it was I waited nearly an hour with a screaming baby only a few people in front of me. Feeding it to the T-Rex seemed like a good idea, but as the picture below shows he'd been dead for a while.
20th November 2007
By the time I made it over to EPCOT my energy was beginning to give out. The wait time for my favourite attraction, Soaring, was a ridiculous two hours, ruling that one neatly out. Instead I decided to try out Mission Space, the only ride in a Disney park to have killed two people, not one. Management is taking no chances with it now, recommending that patrons go for the non-spinning side if they are at all uncertain as to their medical status. The ride as a whole didn't do much for me, but the theming was certainly spectacular, with a full size mockup of a space laboratory gently rotating in the main queue area.
With an hour left to kill, I decided to take a spin on the park's closest equivalent to a coaster, Test Track. The single rider queue got me on board in only a few minutes. I'd forgotten some of the exhibits in the queue area; specifically, the neck and chest calibration machines. Seeing these in action borders upon the frightening; the poor test dummies get a lot of abuse. The extension to this is of course the forces experienced in a car crash; if people were forced to see this sort of thing as part of their driver training they might well drive more carefully.
Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba
20th November 2007
The evening finished with a visit to the resident show in Downtown Disney. One of my friends memorably described this as Cirque Light, which is both fair and not fair. The acrobats from Québec are renowned around the world for the flair and style of their performances, and La Nouba is no exception. It is, however, a much more traditional type of circus performance than the usual fare from Cirque. Nevertheless it is absolutely stunning and well worth a visit.
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