There really isn’t that much exciting about this, and Ben admitted to me that he didn’t think it was very good, but I love it! You first enter the pre-ride theatre room where you are surrounded by screens on which Ellen Degeneres pops up, telling you about a recent dream she had in which she was a contestant on Jeopardy (flashbacks and interruptions all included!) up against her old college room mate (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and Einstein, with “energy” themed questions. Bill Nye the Science Guy intervenes though, telling how important energy is, then we follow him into the next room…Guests are seated in blocks of seating, watch another short film in which Bill Nye sends Ellen (and us with him) back in time to find where energy came from, and suddenly, the seats begin to move forward! When I was little, I remember the shock of this, finding out that you’re actually in a huge ride vehicle! You’re taken through a prehistoric scene filled with dinosaurs, with Ellen and Bill Nye animatronics up to no good exploring the landscape. Eventually you head back to the original room, watch the scene where Bill explains everything about energy to Ellen, and finally Ellen beats her nemesis at Jeopardy. Obviously a very outright educational attraction, but there’s just something nostalgic about it for me!
Honorable Mention: Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress in Magic Kingdom has to get a mention somewhere in here. It’s not the most exciting ride ever, but it’s one I remember right back from when I was 6 (along with the People Mover, which is to most people probably just as unexciting!). The Carousel of Progress was designed by Walt himself for the 1964-65 World Fair and moved to the Magic Kingdom in 1975. It’s pretty advanced for its age – guests sit in a revolutionary (literally!) theatre which revolves around a stationary stage, taking you through the decades in a family household, narrated by the father figure animatronic who ends each segment with the theme song: “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” which will stay in your head all day (but don’t worry, because it’s awesome!).
Honorable Mention: An honorable mention must go here to the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros which is very similar in parts to It’s A Small World, but is the only other World Showcase ride and is also in a boat. The Mexico Pavilion in which it’s located is also stunning, designed as an outdoor market street in a Mexican town in an eternal twilight/night.
Still sobbing over here because this is another closed attraction, and has been gone for longer than I’d care to think about now (it was replaced by Captain EO in 2010, which is definitely far from being in my favourites list!). It was part of the once very popular Honey, I Shrunk the Kids film series, and was basically just a 4D film where we as the audience are shrunk by inventor, Wayne Szalinski . It included some pretty awesome effects such as feeling mice running beneath you (I was too small to feel this the first time and didn’t know what everyone was laughing about!), a dog sneezing on you (and yes, you got wet!), a toddler lifting the entire building up (you felt it shake) and a seemingly giant (to the tiny audience) snake about to eat you! Much more interesting than Captain EO (can you see I have a thing about that?!).
Ah, Muppet Vision! Now this is almost a nostalgic attraction, but it’s still going and, really, just as current today as it ever was. You cram into the pre-show room and grab a pair of 3D glasses (but don’t put them on yet!) filled with props for the Muppets’ show (look around and read the jokes on them again – there are always a few “hidden” things in Disney queues which will keep you occupied), then the preshow begins on the monitors around the room, introducing you to the show you’re about to see. You then file into the very luxurious theatre where Kermit on screen begins to give you a tour of the Muppet Studios, jam packed with awesome 3D effects – as I’ve said already, no one does 3D like Disney, you honestly sometimes feel like you can reach out and touch the things flying out of the screen! The effects also translate to real life, with bubbles floating down from the ceiling at points, and a cannon blowing the place apart. It’s a typical laugh out loud Muppets show, and you’re guaranteed to love it.
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