Tuesday, June 5. 2007
Doesn't it Snow in the Himalayas? Posted by Jay Wilson in Animal Kingdom at 17:18
Expedition Everest is perhaps the most exciting and thrilling ride in all of Disney World (or at least darn close to Rock N' Roller Coaster). The theme is great, from the original content to the giant animatronic "Yeti". Eiki and I love it. We love it so much that we care...
My main improvement suggestion has to do with extending the theme of the ride to environmental effects. So for those of us fortunate enough to have experienced the ride, we all know that the most exciting portion of the ride is the lift hill (like most roller coasters). You go high up and those seeds of fear are telling you that you must come down... What better time would there be to dump some cold air and snow onto the guests... We are travelling into the mountains after all.
Realistically real snow is just too expensive, but Disney is no stranger to fake snow, and it still would provide good theming. I figure they could use a couple of the "bubble" snow makers that line Main Street U.S.A. for Christmas events and place them in the overhang that you go through in the middle of the lift hill. Then when you get to the top, they could use a variety of wind making devices and a couple high-power AC units to direct cold air around. This would probably complete the effect, and add just that extra bit of magic that will make everyone keep riding this ride for years to come.
It might seem pointless to improve what is already one of the best rides in the parks, but why not? This is a high volume ride, so there is no better place to show off all that great Disney magic...
Monday, October 30. 2006
Let me first nip the inevitable protest in the bud - I love Soarin' (although Jay has his own things to say about it). I think it's one of the best recent additions to EPCOT. It fits in perfectly with the Land pavilion. It's firmly in the Disney tradition of innovative, immersive cinema technology. And perhaps most importantly, I have ridden it three times and each time applause has broken out in the audience.
What needs fixing is not the ride itself (although I certainly hope that the movie will be updated from time to time, perhaps including locations outside of California). No, the problem is the lengthy wait and all the consequences of that wait. Last Saturday the non-fastpass queue was 75 minutes long. At times it seemed forward progress was only achieved by outlasting those families ahead of us that gave up and walked back through the crowd. All around us guests were venting their frustrations. And worst of all, every sheet metal surface in arm's reach was covered in scratched graffiti!Continue reading "Soarin' Needs Fixin'"
Thursday, June 8. 2006
French Fry Power Posted by Eiki Martinson in Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, MGM Studios at 19:38
Guests of Disney World have many opportunities to observe the Disney corporation's interest in the environment. Self-serving though it may be (and there's nothing wrong with that), this interest has resulted in many real advances, from the acres of resort-property land set aside as a nature preserve to the solar cells on the roof of the Universe of Energy. Their eco-commitment is especially apparent at Epcot and Animal Kingdom, both of which make efforts to educate the public about environmental issues. With that in mind, isn't it a bit jarring to get on your very first ride of the day, the tram that fetches you from the parking lot, and find a diesel powered tractor rumbling and belching black smoke from twin side-pipes like something out of The Road Warrior?
As you might expect, FixDisneyWorld.com has a solution, and one that is, for once, simple and cheap to implement - a no-brainer, really. Run the trams on Biodiesel, a fuel that can be made out of waste vegetable oil. The process is not at all expensive or complicated - you can do it at home easily enough, if you happen to have a deep fryer or if you strike a deal with your local McDonalds. With all the french fries and chicken fingers served in the parks, Disney World must run through tanker trucks of the stuff. They may even pay for disposal of this oil, and they're definitely paying for diesel fuel to use in the trams.
Aside from the obvious economic advantages, the greatest benefit of all may be found in public relations. Paint the trams green or something and make an announcement on the P.A. speakers about Disney's commitment to the environment and to pioneering new technology. Put a little display about the biodiesel trams in Animal Kingdom, or in Innoventions, or in Living with the Land, or in a hundred other places.
Finally, bio-diesel trams fit nicely with one of my favorite aspects of Disney World: real working technology used as an example. There is a certain type of critic that likes to blast Disney as being an entirely fake or simulated experience. Although I don't have much patience for that argument, I have to point out it is not at all true of, for instance, the aforementioned Universe of Energy solar panels. Or the vegetables and fish grown in the Land pavilion greenhouses and served in Epcot restaurants. Or the Disney-developed monorail (of which more anon).
This is one more way (and a really cheap way, at that) to present the company and the parks as being on the forefront of progress, a goal Walt Disney would wholeheartedly endorse.
Friday, June 2. 2006
The World Seems to be Getting Smaller Posted by Jay Wilson in Epcot at 19:07
The world showcase at EPCOT is one of the most unique themepark environments anywhere, mostly due to the vast cultural infusion that the many pavilions provide. However, as our world is more connected physically and virtually, the countries found in epcot seem to be not entirely fulfilling choices. My first call to action upon disney is: New World Showcase Countries. There are many countries that would be suitable and hopefully the choice could be acheived without politics playing a role, as that might seem to dampen the spirit of the "Gather round..." speech in Illuminations. My country recommendations might be: Australia (clear choice!), India, and just because I know how my Estonian friend Eiki feels about it, Russia.
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