Thanks to some FastPass magic, we got a quick ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which we adore. We rode it several times in Shanghai, but after one ride Sean agrees that Orlando’s is the superior version.
There’s no Dwarfs’ house scene in the Shanghai Disneyland version (since it was salvaged from Snow White’s Scary Adventures), and the integration into Orlando’s Fantasyland is better. We love being to see the ride from all sides, and appreciate the mature foliage and queue activites. The only thing Shanghai’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has over Orlando’s is a single rider queue.
We went into Orlando’s Tomorrowland expecting it to feel like less of a hot mess than Anaheim’s, but we think it actually breaks even right now. I suppose we side with Orlando’s because it’s not a dreadful bottleneck like Anaheim’s.
I was excited to introduce Sean to the OG Space Mountains. They’re a little rough around the edges, but great rides overall. Excited for these to receive their long-awaited overhaul, which is now rumored for 2022 (?).
For whatever reason, the Alpha side of Space Mountain was running its trains half-empty. Our theory is that it was blowing through one of the brakes, so they cut loads in half until they could take a closer look at the problem?
We saved the best for last. Animal Kingdom quickly became Sean’s favorite of the 4, and Expedition Everest immediately became his favorite ride on property. Being that it’s such a stunning engineering feat (even by Vekoma’s standards), who can blame him??
Countdown to Extinction Dinosaur was a hard reach to make an Indiana Jones clone compete with Jurassic Park River Adventure, but it’s not a bad ride. Ridership is probably lower than they’d like (given the operating costs), but it’s *almost* classic status for Animal Kingdom.
We got soaked in an flash downpour and dried ourselves off in a 45min queue for Na’vi River Journey, which is a great ride overall. My only nitpiks would be that it’s just a hair too short (honestly if it just went a tad slower…), and I would always like to see more practical effects in place (though River Journey has particularly inspired moments of projection mapping).
There’s a very gradual transition from the Pandora naturescape into a government lab, and that transition really transports the guests to another place. Reaching the end of the queue brought back memories of early rides on Indiana Jones Adventure, which really pushed the envelope when it came to delivering guests into an experience, both figuratively and literally.
In short, Flight of Passage is beautiful. I appreciate the smooth melding of concepts (Soarin’ and Tron) to create something seamless. As far as non-tracked rides go, this is where the pin on the graph stops for now; it may be a while before a simulator eclipses this achievement.
And so ends our amazing break-neck survey of Walt Disney World! If we passed over some of your favorites, don’t worry! We’ll be back soon for a more-careful exploration of the World’s largest tourist destination.
There’s a lot of amazing changes in store at Walt Disney World – for the 50th Anniversary and beyond! We can’t wait to see it all unfold! Stay tuned for some tips on how to do all of WDW in one day, well at least the highlights 😉