Showing posts with label rides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rides. Show all posts

Monday, August 27, 2012

Toy Story Midway Mania - Hollywood Studios


One of the most popular rides in all of Disney World is Toy Story Midway Mania in Hollywood Studios.  Each morning as the park opens, there is an event akin to the "Running of the bulls" as visitors rush to get to the ride to get a fast pass or enter the stand by queue before the line reaches its typical two hour wait. 

What makes this ride so popular?  Part of it is that it's more than a ride.  It's also a game.  And my family gets very competitive with our scores!  The game part of the ride is in 3-d.  
 


You begin at a practice screen so that you see how the "trigger" works.  Then you twist and turn your way to several midway carnival type games.  Like shooting ducks.  Or breaking plates.  Popping balloons.

But, I do think the main reason it's so popular is that it's a ride that the entire family can do.   And at Hollywood Studios, there are very few rides that will accommodate the huge range of ages and abilities like Toy Story Midway Mania.

So...how do you conquer the long line?  How can you ride more than once?  My best advice for the parks, is to be there early.  At least 15-30 minutes BEFORE the parks open.  And this is especially important at Hollywood Studios.  Not only will you have the mad dash to the ride - but here is a huge tip - this park often opens BEFORE the posted opening time.  If there is an opening time of 9am - it will typically start to let visitors in between 8:30 and 8:45.  This is for every guest - not just resort guests.  And this also does not mean that you are let in just to be held somewhere - it means the park is fully open.
 
 
So...be there early.  Then, take part in the dash to the ride.  Go ahead and ride it standby.  It might have a posted time of 30 minutes - but first thing in the morning, it's really not that long.  Go and enjoy the amazing queue.  

Before this past year, we had never stood in the standby queue.  We typically got a fast pass and then went to do something else.  But what I'd recommend is that you actually wait in line - and then when you are done with your ride, then get a fast pass for later in the day.  This way you can ride at least twice - and again - you can check out the queue.  The details here are just Disney as its finest.

You have the ceiling in game boards like Chutes and Ladders, Checkers, and Scrabble.
 

 
 
You can see Andy's art work on the walls.
 
 
You can immerse yourself in the world of the toy with huge Tinkertoy containers.  
 

 
Shelves containing games.  
 
 
Clever signs.  
 
 
And even Mr. Potato Head as the Midway barker.
 
 
So...what about you?  Do you take part in the run to get fast passes?  Which game on the ride is your best?
 
 
Katrina

Monday, August 6, 2012

Haunted Mansion's interactive queue - Disney's Magic Kingdom

Haunted Mansion has always been one of my very favorite rides.  The first time we took the girls to Disney, my youngest decided that since Haunted Mansion was my favorite - well, it would be her favorite too.  So after a walk down Main Street USA with a pause in front of Cinderella's Castle, we marched off to Liberty Square with chants of "Haun-ted Man-shun, Haun-ted Man-shun" for the girls to have their very first ride in a Disney park.  Probably not what most 5 year old children would choose.




The Haunted Mansion has actually changed quite a bit since that first visit in September of 2006.  Shortly after that, the Haunted Mansion closed for long refurbishment.  And we were lucky enough to be there again in September of 2007 - on the day they did soft openings just for annual pass holders (what a score!!).  And then just last year, the mansion got a new interactive queue.


As you go through the Haunted mansion line, you'll come to a cross road.  You can choose the short way or the long way - with the long way taking you to the cemetery.  We always take the long way.

You can find busts of some of the happy haunts that "live" inside of the Haunted Mansion.


We particularly like the twins, Wellington and Forsythia.


 You can play a haunting tune on the piano - and you can touch several other instruments that are "etched" onto the sides that will play along with the tune.


 There is also a library where the books come out at random - just push them back onto the shelf.


And naturally, there are the graves.  There are the ones up on the hill.


The captain's mausoleum that also blows bubbles


And of course, Master Gracey.


The tombstones are pretty funny.  As a kid, I remember loving the one for Good ol' Fred - a great big rock fell on his head - because Fred was my dad's name.


When you exit the ride, there are more mausoleums - and the last time we were there, we found a great photo-op (but a few days later, this wasn't there at all!)

Be sure when you are leaving, that you look to the left as you face Liberty Square and the Columbia Harbor House restaurant - you'll find the pet cemetery there (I forgot to take pictures!).

I love that Disney is adding these interactive elements to so many of the queues - it makes the time pass much faster - and with the Haunted Mansion, we always take the opportunity to wait in the longer line as we soak up all the amazing details that are the Disney difference.

So...what about you?  Do you have a favorite interactive queue?  What is your first ride when you go to the Magic Kingdom?

Katrina

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

On July 30, 1999, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster opened at Disney's MGM theme park.  Happy 13th birthday to my favorite roller coaster!


And because it's also my 14 year old's favorite roller coaster, she is taking over today to tell you about her favorite ride:


My favorite ride in all of Disney World is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. It’s a fast, fun filled roller coaster located in Hollywood Studios.

The queue is decorated with band posters and concert tee shirts in the first half. During your wait, you will watch a video explaining the ride’s story; you are on a studio tour when you find Aerosmith recording a song. The have to leave for a concert, and offer to bring you with them. When you exit the holding room for the video, the ride scene transforms. There are limos lining up ready to take you to the Aerosmith concert.


Once you get into your limo you’re off to the tunnel entrance. 



There’s a flashy neon sign at the entrance, plus speakers right by both of your ears. A loud countdown is chanted by concert guests, and once it ends you’re off! 


Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster takes you from a standstill to almost 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds!
             
The initial launch sends your limo straight into a loop. However, it’s so dark at this point many people can’t even tell that’s what they’re doing. From here on out your limo swooshes through the dark illuminated by several different neon signs and shapes. There are many swoops and turns, plus another loop and corkscrew. There is one hill, and it’s incredibly small and near the end. After the ride ends, you can see your ride photos that were taken as you first went into the launch.
             
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is my favorite ride because of the intense speed, launch, and loops. Anyone who enjoys thrill rides will definitely enjoy Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster!

One of the best ways to enjoy this ride is to be sure and get a fast pass - but if that doesn't work out, our family loves to use the single rider line.  We have done this - and timed it - and we have managed to get in the line, ride the ride, check out our ride pictures, and get back in line again in UNDER 8 MINUTES!  It is not always that fast - but it's often quite faster than standing in the regular stand by line.  It is a single rider line - you won't get to ride with your friends or family (though sometimes it does work out that you can - but not often!) - and you won't get to choose where you sit (we like to sit in the front or the back - and we request that) - but you'll get to ride multiple times without a lot of waiting.

The other thing that we LOVE to do is to make crazy pictures for our ride photos.  As we stand in line, we talk about what kind of pose we'd like to do.  And here are some of the results:


(The Stephen Tyler pose)

 
(not sure what happened here!  My youngest looks sleepy and my oldest looks constipated.  Mom and dad are into the groove though!)

(I believe this is our "Home Alone" look)

 (Rock on Dude!)


(Thumbs up - again, what is going on with my oldest - who knows? ;-)

So...what about you?  Do you have a favorite Roller Coaster at Disney?  Have you ever used the Single rider line?
Katrina

Monday, June 11, 2012

Expedition Everest - What happens when it breaks down?

I just got back from an almost two week visit to the most magical place ever!  I was able to experience lots of new things:  lunch at Tusker House restaurant, we stayed in the new Royal Rooms at Port Orleans, went to the Hoop-Dee-Doo revue at Fort Wilderness, and dined with an imagineer at Hollywood Studios.  However, the thing that was the most memorable - the thing we keep talking about - telling stories about - is when we got stuck on Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

When we get to Animal Kingdom, our first plan is to always keep riding Everest until there is an actual line.  We also like to ride in the front row.  First time around, my husband and oldest daughter sat in the front row.  Second time around, my husband and youngest daughter sat in the front row.  Well.  We never got to finish our second time around.


This is what Expedition everest looks like.  See the train going up the tracks?  That is where we got stuck.

We sat there for about 5 minutes - and then we noticed that cast members were headed to the mountain.  We could also see people from other trains being led toward the loading platform from wherever they were when the ride broke down.

Another 5 minutes went by.  I kept snapping pictures.  We could see Epcot.  The Swolfin.  Hollywood Studios.  And downtown Disney.


If you turn around you can see Kali river rapids.


Off in the distance - with the thatch roof - that's Animal Kingdom Lodge (and that "hut" across the water is the Flame Tree BBQ).


You can see the tree of Life as it stands above all the other trees.


And completely behind us - where I couldn't quite turn enough to get a photo - you can see Cinderella's castle and Space Mountain.

And then our sherpas - errr - Cast Members arrived to help us out of the cars and escort us from the mountain.  They had to wait for an engineer to arrive to put a rope at the bottom of the stairs - and once that was done, they went to the last car and started helping people out of the train and onto the steps.


Because we were in rows one and two - we were the last ones off.  It's kinda difficult to get out of the seat because we are at such an angle - you had to pull yourself forward - and then maneuver out of the seat - onto a running bar (kinda like what they have on an SUV) - and then onto the stairs.  I had the train to use to hold onto - as well as some very helpful cast members.


 Here is my husband - last one out of the train.


When they were getting us out - they said that if we couldn't get out or were unwilling to walk down stairs - they had options - I don't know what those options are - but they said they could make whatever you needed work!  (Oh, and there is a speaker system that they used to talk to all of us)


Once everyone was out - we all walked UP the mountain - and they told us to put away cell phones and cameras - but I did manage to be safe and still take some ninja photos for you.  Here we are waiting at the door to go down.


Then we walked down 13 flights of stairs - it was a regular stairwell - you couldn't see any part of the mountain from in there.

And then we were at the bottom.  We stopped for a second and our sherpas --- errr - tour guides - errr - cast members told us a little of what we were looking at:



The beams are all color coded - black and red - with one of them coordinated with the mountain and the other with the tracks - and neither touch the other.  Where we are standing here is directly under the Yeti.

Finally as we walked out we were met with a sea of cast members making sure that everyone was okay - we each got a bottle of cold water and a set of fast passes that could be used anytime over the next 10 days!


Breaking down was actually a rather cool experience.  And proved how out of shape I am as my legs felt like jelly after walking down all those stairs.

So...how about you?  What ride would you like to break down on?  Have you ever been evacuated from a ride?

Katrina