Rider Roundtable May 2015

Rider Roundtable May 2015

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/WDW_Ride_Guide_19-Rider_Roundtable.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (11.2MB) | EmbedHello there fellow riders and welcome back to the WDW Ride Guide.  I’m your host Ben Crain and I am excited to have you join me today.  Normally, I spend a little time each week taking you through one ride at Walt Disney World.  However, today is extra special.  We’re breaking format and for the first time I have invited some special guests to join us for a roundtable discussion. So, who are the guests you’re hearing from today?  Well, these three people are my regular riding crew: my dad Jim, my mom Karen, and my wonderful wife Rachel.  I wouldn’t be the Disney fan I am today without my parents introducing me to the magic many years ago, and I wouldn’t be able to do the WDW Ride Guide without the support of Rachel. Today we are all sitting down to talk about our most recent trip to Walt Disney World.  Specifically, we are sharing our favorite rides from the trip, what we found most surprising, and what we would like to see in the future.  Pull up a chair at our Rider Roundtable and let’s get...
Astro Orbiter

Astro Orbiter

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/WDW_Ride_Guide_18-Astro_Orbiter.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (6.3MB) | EmbedAstro Orbiter is a spinner or “hub and spoke” design ride that allows guests of all heights to pilot their own space rocket through the cosmos.  This ride is almost identical to two other rides in the Magic Kingdom, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin.  Dumbo is the most famous of the three Magic Kingdom spinners, but as we will discover today, Astro Orbiter tops that ride in at least one way. Like many Magic Kingdom rides, Astro Orbiter has its roots in a Disneyland ride.  The Disneyland version debuted in 1956.  For a short time it was known as the Tomorrowland Jets, before moving and being renamed to Astro Jets in 1967.  The Walt Disney World version of this ride was part of a major expansion of Tomorrowland.  In 1974, the area saw the addition of Space Mountain, The Carousel of Progress, the WEDWay People Mover, and the Star Jets (what we now know as Astro Orbiter). Star Jets was a pretty straightforward copy of the Disneyland version at the time.  The one difference were the ride vehicles.  The Magic Kingdom version had vehicles designed to look like space shuttles, while the Disneyland version looked more like rockets.  Both space shuttles and rockets rotated around a Saturn V rocket when they took flight.  The Star Jets ran for 20 years before closing for refurbishment. The ride was once again part of a Tomorrowland overhaul in 1994.  Along with the rest of the land, the ride got a new paint job and color scheme.  The theme...
Space Mountain

Space Mountain

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/WDW_Ride_Guide_16-Space_Mountain.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (7.1MB) | EmbedIf you have never been to Walt Disney World before, Space Mountain probably won’t be the first ride that comes to mind when you think of high thrills.  However, for those that have been visiting the park since 1975 this is the ride that introduced high thrills to the Magic Kingdom.  This ride has a rich history, containing many firsts in roller coaster design, and continues to offer up screams year after year. Even if you are new to Space Mountain you are probably familiar with the iconic white cone that dominates the landscape of Tomorrowland.  Now, there are a lot of numbers I can throw out here to put the size of this building into perspective, but I am going to give you just one.  That number is 6, as in 6 feet.  What is significant about 6 feet?  Well, Space Mountain, at 183 feet tall, is only 6 feet shorter than Cinderella’s Castle, which stands 189 feet tall.  Isn’t that amazing?!  I find it fascinating to think about the size of Space Mountain.  In fact, it was the massive size of the ride that allowed it to be built first at Walt Disney World before going into Disneyland.  More on that in a bit. The other item I find architecturally fascinating is the exterior design of the structure.  The impressive concrete beams that support this structure run along the exterior shell.  There are a total of 72 beams, each weighing 74 tons!  I know, I said I wasn’t going to bore you with numbers, but come on, that’s...
Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/WDW_Ride_Guide_15-Jedi_Training_Academy.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (3.9MB) | EmbedThe famous Imperial March signifies the impending entrance of Darth Vader.  This larger-than-life villain awaits brave young Padawans at The Jedi Training Academy. First things first, you have to sign up and sign up early.  The academy usually runs from 9:20 am – 8:00 pm, with about 15 twenty minute shows throughout the day.  Each show has room for 12 Jedi Knights in training and sign-ups are done on a first come basis.  Also, it is required that the child be present at the time of sign-ups.  So, if you are thinking about sending Mom or Dad ahead of the group, that won’t work.  That also means you may need to head to registration first thing to make sure your spot is reserved.  The earlier you arrive, the better chance you will have of selecting a time you want. Be sure and keep the weather in mind.  The Jedi Training Academy currently takes place outside and will be cancelled due to inclement weather.  It sure stinks when you get your little Jedi all excited and they have to keep their lightsabers holstered due to rain. If you are able to secure a spot, and have nice enough weather to participate, then this is a really, really, really cool treat.  Those that are accepted into the Jedi Training Academy will be provided a temporary Jedi robe and lightsaber for the training.   A Jedi master will appear on stage and proceed to give a most impressive display of his lightsaber skills.  The master will then turn to the younglings and tell...
Star Tours- The Adventure Continues

Star Tours- The Adventure Continues

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wdwrideguide/WDW_Ride_Guide_14-Star_Tours_the_Adventure_Continues.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (8.9MB) | EmbedIt has been a long time since the end of the Clone Wars, and the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader continues to tighten his grip on the Empire as the galaxy moves closer to the brink of a great civil war.   A new intergalactic spaceline, Star Tours, seeks to preserve unrestricted intergalactic travel in this age of tyranny.  Freedom fighter Captain Raymus Antilles has assigned two droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, to help launch the spaceline, fueling Imperial suspicion that Star Tours is part of the Rebel Alliance. Star Tours is about to open its first intergalactic space terminal in the Earth System as rumors of a fearsome weapon of mass destruction dash all hopes for peace and freedom in the galaxy… As a young teenager I will never forget the first time I walked through Disney’s MGM Studios and was greeted by the giant AT-AT Walker protruding from the Ewok village.  This was a moment I had dreamed of since watching Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi over and over again.  There was no imaginary universe that I spent more time in than the Star Wars universe.  I dreamed of becoming a Jedi knight like Luke Skywalker.   When I arrived at Star Tours, I wanted to spend hours just soaking in the Ewok village that sets the stage outside.  Even today, I can’t walk under the giant AT-AT walker without imagining myself shooting a tow cable up to the belly of the beast and slicing a hole with my lightsaber to toss a...

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