Archive for the ‘Rides’ Category

Disney World Epcot

May 20th, 2009 by Alison | 1 Comment | Filed in Disney World, Orlando Theme Parks, Rides
Disney World Epcot

Disney World Epcot

Are you planning an Orlando vacation and wondering if Epcot should be on your list of ‘must see’ parks? Disney’s Epcot has the reputation of being the most grown up of the Disney theme parks. A lot of people have the idea that the kids just aren’t going to enjoy it that much. But is this really true and how did Epcot get this reputation?

Epcot stands for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Walt Disney had a dream that he would create the ultimate place to live and work. So Walt’s dream for Epcot was far from what it became. But the Disney Imagineers took the essential ideas of Walt’s dream and turned them into one of the most innovative theme parks ever created. But you are still not sure if Epcot is going to be an exciting place to visit?

So what is Epcot really like? It is divided into 2 parts. Future World which explores innovation and creativity. Here you will find the headliner rides such as Test Track, Mission Space, Epcot Soarin and The Seas With Nemo and Friends. The second part is Future World – more of a World’s Fair idea with 11 countries around the huge lagoon. Here you will find Canada,The United Kingdom,France,Morocco,Japan,America,Italy,Germany,China,Norway and Mexico. Here you can take a trip around the world and visit authentic restaurants,browse local goods and visit architecture and attractions unique to each country.

So why did Epcot get the reputation of being so grown up? I think some of this is due to the feeling that the park is ‘educational’. It is a pity but perhaps this image means to some that the park just won’t be that much fun. This is so far from reality though! Yes, Epcot does have at it’s very core the desire to educate – but this is learning Disney style! Just don’t get the idea that Epcot is not a theme park. It most certainly is. And a very enjoyable one.

So what is there for children at Epcot? There is plenty to keep them happy in Future World. Epcot has some major attractions. Test Track is one of the most innovative thrill rides Disney has ever created. You will reach speeds of up to 65 mph on the fastest attraction in any Disney theme park. Or feel as though you really are flying over California on Soarin’. For the younger kids they will love The Seas With Nemo and Friends, The Lion King Circle of Life, and Turtle Talk with Crush. They can even Journey Into Imagination With Figment.

Epcot’s World Showcase has a lot to keep kids entertained too. All the family can enjoy browsing around the architecture – you really do feel as if you have traveled to the countries when you see the amazing buildings and meet the people from all over the World. Disney came up with a simple but very effective idea to keep the kids entertained. They can each collect a mask to color and then they travel around each country to get a stamp and a tag from each place. When they collect all 11 stamps they will get a certificate. My kids love this – you would not believe how many masks they have collected over the years.

Epcot also has one of the best fireworks displays – Illuminations Reflections of Earth. Make sure that you stay around to see this spectacular fireworks,laser and pyrotechnics show which is shown each day when the park closes.

So take a look at Epcot to see if it really is for you. Here I have a free guide with photos,tips and reviews of all the attractions:

Disney World Epcot Guide

Disney World Roller Coasters

March 5th, 2009 by Alison | 1 Comment | Filed in Disney World, Orlando Theme Parks, Rides

Want to accelerate from 0 to 57 mph in just 2.8 seconds and experience more G Force than a Space Shuttle launch? If that sounds like your idea of fun then Aerosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster at Disney Hollywood Studios is the place to be. But one of the most popular Disney World roller coasters travels at just 28 mph. Which one is that? Space Mountain of course!

Disney World has some of the world’s most innovative roller coasters. They don’t try and be the biggest, the highest or the fastest. But Disney always uses imagination to make their roller coasters an experience.

One of my favorites is Rock N Roller Coaster and this was the Disney ride that I credit with actually getting me started with roller coasters. At other theme parks (yes I do go to them too) I would always be the family member sitting the scary roller coasters out. No it’s fine, I’ll stay with the kids who aren’t tall enough to ride. But to be honest I was getting bored of that. Perhaps I was missing out. So I decided to start with Rock N Roller Coaster. Thinking back I am not sure how I picked this as my first roller coaster adventure – perhaps I was tempted by the huge guitar outside and the Aerosmith music! The fact that I couldn’t see what was in store probably helped too. This is a roller coaster in the dark so you have no sense of what you are letting yourself in for……

I still remember the feeling of lining up waiting to go on the ride. Fear. But I was so glad that I did. I realized what I had been missing out on. 2 minutes 2 seconds of pure adrenaline. I never looked back. I was a Disney roller coaster convert.

Having started with perhaps the most intense Disney roller coaster I thought perhaps the others would be a disappointment. I was wrong. The others are just different. All have the Disney attention to detail. The newest Disney Mountain is Expedition Everest. I watched it being built in Animal Kingdom and waited. It was not a disappointment. Disney Imagineers spent 6 years researching and building the Expedition Everest ride. And it shows in the amazing attention to detail. The story is based around the legend of the Yeti. There are many twists and turns on this thrilling ride. The 50 foot drop is amazing! And you go backwards too. Get a Fast Pass and experience Expedition Everest as the lines are generally pretty long.

And what about the older, more traditional Disney World roller coasters? I have to say that my least favorite is Space Mountain. Yes it is innovative but I guess I have just ridden on it too many times. The steepest drop on Space Mountain is 39 degrees. The fastest it gets is of 28 miles per hour – yes it feels faster than that but it just isn’t my favorite.

A great Disney roller coaster to start with is Big Thunder Mountain. This really is a roller coaster for all the family. It is pretty mild, but just a great experience riding round all the twists and turns and gentle drops. As soon as the kids reach the height requirement of 40″ this is a great one for them to start with.

When you think of Disney World guests don’t always realize that there are some really excellent thrill rides to experience. And whilst of course it isn’t a roller coaster, don’t forget Disney World’s Hollywood Tower of Terror. A very different experience but if you like roller coasters you are going to love this!

Photos used under Creative Commons from expressmonorail

Typhoon Lagoon

January 16th, 2009 by Alison | Comments Off | Filed in Disney World, Rides

Want to swim with the sharks or ride the crest of a wave at Disney World?  Plunge down Humunga Kowabunga water slide or just float your cares away around the park in Castaway Creek? Then Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is the place for you!

One of the most popular attractions in Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is the Surf Pool. And yes I do mean surf pool! This is no ordinary wave pool. Here you can ride a 6 foot wave – and even (for an extra charge) learn to surf.

Want to swim with sharks? Then head to the Shark Reef at Typhoon Lagoon.  Of course the sharks  are pretty small and completely safe, but it is a lot of fun. A Cast Member will hand you your own personal snorkel gear fro free and you can head off into the Shark Reef.

If it is water slides that you are looking for then Typhoon Lagoon has some great options too.  Looking for the most challenging body slides?  Then head straight on to Humunga Kowabunga. This is for those less fearless amongst us who want to plunge 50 feet at 30mph. Or perhaps you will chose one of the 3 Storm Slides – not as intense but certainly worth a go, or two, or three………

Get ready to board your 2 person raft on the Crush N Gusher. This one is a bit difficult to describe but many call it a water coaster.  You will slip, slide and twist through over 400 feet of water slide.

If you are looking for something much more relaxing then grab and inner tube raft and glide along Castaway Creek. This circular lazy river circles the park and your journey will take around 30 minutes to complete a circuit. Hop on and off at the various points around the park.

Want some tips for visiting Typhoon Lagoon? It is a very popular Disney World park and it does get crowded. Arrive early – about 45 minutes before opening time if you can. Or arrive later in the afternoon. The crowds often begin to thin out mid afternoon.  Bring sun screen with you – this is Florida and the sun can be very strong.  And this is a Disney park where it is completely fine to bring your own food. Just leave the alcohol and glass containers at home, but you are welcome to bring a cooler with as much food as you like.

So should you choose Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach? Both are great Disney water parks but they do offer different things. Blizzard Beach has a bigger selection of water slides. But Typhoon Lagoon has the Surf Pool and the Shark Reef.  Take a look at my Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon Guides to see which your family would enjoy most.  You will find lots of great pictures, tips on the best Disney water park tickets,and how to make the most of your day whichever you choose.

Photo used under Creative Commons Licence PrincessAshley

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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

December 31st, 2008 by Alison | 1 Comment | Filed in Disney World, Orlando Theme Parks, Rides
Ghostly goings on at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Ghostly goings on at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Dare you ride Disney’s Hollywood Tower of Terror? Board the elevator and drop 13 floors? If that sounds like your idea of fun then one of your favorite Disney World rides will be the Tower of Terror.

So what will you experience on the Tower of Terror ride. The attention to detail on this ride is perhaps one of the most striking of all the Disney World attractions.

The Tower of Terror ride is based on the television series The Twilight Zone The Tower of Terror. Naturally it is 13 stories high! Walt Disney Imagineers watched all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone so that they could recreate the mood and feeling of the series.

The Tower of Terror is Disney World’s second tallest building at 199 feet high. Any taller and Disney would have to have put a red light beacon at the top of the building – not something that would really fit in with the 1930’s hotel style!

Like all great Disney rides the Tower of Terror has a back story. According to Disney lore it was a hotel which opened in 1919 in Hollywood. It became a favorite place to stay for the Hollywood film star elite. But one day on Halloween 1939 the Hollywood Tower Hotel was stuck by lightning. Part of the building was destroyed and 5 guests who had just entered the elevator disappeared. All of the other guests ran out of the building in terror leaving all of their belongings behind. The Tower of Terror is left empty until 1994 when it mysteriously re opens in 1994 at Disney Hollywood Studios.

So much for the story – what is so great about the ride? It is one of the most intense and original rides that you can experience. The attention to detail is amazing – even as you walk through the line you will enter a ghostly world of the 1930’s Twilight Zone. I don’t want to give you the whole story here as there are some spoilers but if you want more details here is my Guide to the Tower of Terror. But just know that you will experience darkened rooms, Twilight Zone atmosphere and then be dropped 13 floors in an elevator!

So what is my personal opinion of Disney World Tower of Terror? I have to confess I have a fear of normal elevators so the thought of stepping into one, whether I know it is fake or not, is not something I took lightly! When I first rode the Tower of Terror many years ago I did have to be persuaded on to the ride! But was it worth it? It most certainly was and I have been on it many times since.

There is of course another trick that Disney has up it’s sleeve. On some attractions you can become ‘used’ to the experience because if you ride it enough times you know what is coming next. Not so with Hollywood’s Tower of Terror. Why? Because it has a computer controlled randomized sequence. So you never know which drop is coming next. So no matter how many times you ride the Tower of Terror each experience will be as thrilling as the first.

Remember of course that the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a popular ride. There is a Fast Pass available and most times of year it is advisable to use it. If you are at the park at opening time this may be the one that you want to ride first before the lines build up.

The height requirement is 40″ but remember also that it is a very intense and scary experience. My 10 year old used to love the Tower of Terror but now she just won’t ride it because it is just too scary for her. If your child, or even you, get through the pre show and just don’t want to ride then always tell a Cast Member – there is a last minute change your mind exit that is used quite a bit! If you have young children who aren’t riding with you then there is a Child Swap facility – you can all stand in line together and then one adult rides while the other stays with the child. Then they swap. It saves a lot of time.

So ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror if you dare. Check out my Guide to the Tower of Terror for more details of the ride, it’s secrets and some amazing pictures.

Photos used under Creative Commons from kevineddy

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