Dawn and I have visited Walt Disney World in Orlando with our families more than once. In fact on a couple of occasions we were there at the same time.
Now I will be honest I am not a fan of rollercoasters or any fast rides for that matter, much to the ridicule of my family. In fact my husband tells anyone who will listen a story about our first visit to Walt Disney World, when our daughter was just a year old. It was our first ever visit and we were in Epcot. As I am a total Scandimaniac the one ride I really wanted to go on was the (now defunct) Maelstrom. This ride is now Frozen Ever After but this was 2004 so Frozen was just a idea of the Disney Imagineers.
When I do chose to go on a ride the indication of its suitability for me was… ‘Will they let my young child ride’ or ‘is there a height restriction’. This was perfect reasoning until my daughter was 3 at which time she was tall enough to ride Big Thunder Mountain.
The Maelstrom had no height restriction so I was good to go. For the ride itself you sit on a Viking long boat and similar to Pirates of the Caribbean you follow a story. The Maelstom’s story was based around Norway starting with Valhalla. For the first part of the ride is the rider ascending towards a light that is supposed to be as if you are heading up to Vallhalla and there is a voice over telling you so. Now as you know that whatever goes up must come down so I suddenly realised that I didn’t know anything about the ride and went in to total panic mode and wedged myself almost sat on the floor so that when the inevitable drop came I was secure. As it happens the ride gradually took you through the myths and legends of Norway and there was no big drop at all.
This story should give you a good indication that rollercoasters are not my style, give me a ride that spins and I can sit there all day but one that has sudden drops then I am nowhere near it.
Now back to Disney without fast rides, Walt Disney World has four main parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. All of these have a combination of fast rides, small rides and shows. Epcot, however its slightly different, at present it is more educational that thrilling.
I have been asked many times what I do when I go to Disney as it seems to be a general consensus that if you don’t like rides then there is no reason to go. This is definitely not the case. When my family go on the fast rides and rollercoasters I take the time to browse the shops or just take time to relax and soak up the atmosphere. The theming at Disney is second to none and every time I go I notice something new.
Whilst I suspect that the fact that Epcot has no rollercoasters (yet) is one of the reasons it is my favourite park this does not mean that there is nothing to do. The World Showcase is an enjoyable area that you can wander around and try foods and drink of different countries. My family and I take great pleasure in seeing what Disney thinks that the UK is like complete with red telephone boxes and fish and chips, and don’t forget your pint of warm beer or cup of tea. My husband is a big football (soccer) fan and was greatly amused on our first visit that the shirts on sale in the UK shop were not that of Manchester United or Liverpool but of lesser known teams such as Newcastle United.
At present Hollywood Studios is in a major period of change, many of the attractions have closed. It does still have 2 of its main attractions, the Rock and Rollercoaster and The Hollywood Tower of Terror. My family love these rides and whilst they are on these I often just sit and enjoy a little bit of people watching. Hollywood Studios is gaining 2 new lands over the next few years including the newly opened Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
Animal Kingdom is one of my least favourite parks, usually we only visit this park on one day, however since the opening of Pandora last year Animal Kingdom has become more interesting. Usually we visit Animal Kingdom so the family cam ride Exhibition Everest and the Kali River Rapids. I do go on the Rapids but never on to Everest. We always use a Fast Pass for Everest so usually there isn’t much of a wait from my point of view so I tend to just sit and enjoy the sun.
For those of you that are unaware of Disney’s Fast Pass facility, it is a system were every guest is about to book 3 Fast Passes each day using the My Disney Experience app and these Fast Passes allow there guest to essentially jump the queue.
Finally, we come to Magic Kingdom, to be honest from a big/fast ride point of view there isn’t any really big rollercoasters. However, in my opinion the closest Magic Kingdom has to a rollercoaster is Space Mountain, the other two ‘Mountains’ are also rollercoaster in style but I am told that they are quite tame in nature. I suppose that the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train is considered by many as a rollercoaster. I have been on Splash Mountain and found that it wasn’t too traumatic. Again whilst my family are enjoying the rides I tend to wander the shops or sit and enjoy the theming, I have on occasion sat and watched the parade whilst the family took advantage of the shorter wait times that are usual during the parade.
I’m sure that there are many people who feel that I should just bite the bullet and go on the rides as there is nothing to be afraid of. What I will say is I am trying to be braver and go on a new ride in each park every time we go to Walt Disney World, hence the reason I have been on Splash Mountain, I also managed Flight of Passage in Pandora at Animal Kingdom which I will heartily recommend
Would you travel to a theme park purely for the theming?