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Monday, January 25, 2010

Disney Studios: Sunset Blvd. (WDW)

Rock N’ Roller Coaster

ADULT THRILL LEVEL – High.  Two inversions, one corkscrew and a rocket launch start that pulls 5 G’s.  The first “non-Disney” coaster.  This is a coaster to compete with Six Flags.  It is also the inspiration of the VERY PALE imitation at Disney's California Adventure (DCA) called "California Screamin'".

WAIT TIME – Moderate – High  Get FastPass to by-pass long lines.

KID GRADE(PG-13) This ride has a height limit.  Do NOT fudge on this and put your kids in platform shoes.  It is for their safety!  Be a parent, not a jellyfish.  If your child has issues with fast, scary roller coasters, you might want to skip this.  If they can't handle Splash Mountain, they can't handle this.  8+ should be fine.

ADULT RATING(A) Tops in thrills and chills.  Teens will adore this ride. A definite winner.
Rock N Roller coaster is sponsored by Aerosmith and it is one of the best all around rides in "The World".  OK, Aerosmith are not actors but they are great rock musicians and the music (combined with the ride) is the big draw.  The pre-show is a bit cheesy but the line is entertaining.

The premise is you are in a limo, racing through the streets of LA to meet Aerosmith at their concert.  As you wait to board the ride you see others being launched, yes - launched into the ride.  Watching the cars rocket into the darkness just adds to the thrill while you wait your turn.  This ride does have inversions (a first for Disney).  After you are strapped in, your car is pretty much rocket launched forward going from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds.  According to cast member information, when you enter the first turns you are pulling 5 g's.  This is 3 g's more than the shuttle astronauts experience being blasted into space.   Fun, huh?

The ride seats are molded and comfortable so you are not shaken and jolted around.  No stomach dropping lurches either.  I know some of you sickos like those but you’ll just have to content yourself with the speed, corkscrews and the loop.  A really fun ride.  Just don't eat too much before going on it.  This ride is Fast.  Very Fast.  But also VERY fun!  It's dark but not too dark.  You have great Aerosmith music blaring in your ears and hurdle past oversize freeway signs, through giant donuts and finally up to the concert to disembark.  This is not to be missed.

Tower of Terror

ADULT THRILL LEVEL – High.  The best ride in the World to date.  Avoid if you have height or dropping issues.

WAIT TIME – Moderate – High.  Get FastPass to by-pass long lines.

KID GRADE(PG-13) This ride can be very scary.  Some kids love the sensation of falling, others need therapy.  Assess your kids tolerance for this.

ADULT RATING(A) This ride is first rate.  The line is gorgeous in presentation and scope. 

You are taken through an elegant but decaying hotel from the height of Hollywood’s heyday.  The premise is the fictitious Hollywood Towers Hotel, which catered to the most glamorous of the Silver Screens icons of its time, was struck by lightning one fateful night and some guests disappeared in the elevator.  We are now the first guests to this hotel and are taken through the lobby, past the inoperative elevators, through the basement and loaded into the service elevator.  We have entered ... The Twilight Zone.

While you are waiting in line, you can take in many original props from the old TWILIGHT Zone television show as well as clips of Rod Serling narrating.  Disney has digitally remastered the deceased Rod Serling to remove his infamous and ever present tobacco products but other than that small omission, the Twilight Zone focus is incredible.

The car consists of benches with lap belts in four rows, 2 columns per car with a center aisle.   There is one single seat in the last row right in the middle.  It has no seats in front of it and an “old-fashioned” car lap belt (seat belt).

The elevator then "leaves" the shaft and travels around the hotel where you see the spirits of the missing people from the elevator accident of long ago and the weird Twilight Zone effects.  Are you doomed for their fate?

The ride car actually does move across the floor from point A to point B.  When the car starts to move forward after the "space scene", you are almost there…..  Your car is being moved over the elevator shaft.  The doors in front of you open and in a split second you see the Park and the Everglades and Jesus and Elvis and then you drop.

The distance of the drops (4-8 of them) seem to be random and while VERY scary are not jerky.  This is because you are not actually dropping.  The hydrolics pull you down faster than gravity and then push you back up.  It is all controlled.  You drop, bounce back, doors open, see Elvis, drop, scream, bounce, repeat.  Remember that single seat in the back?  Either pity or envy this person.  Remember I said an unobstructed view and what appears to be an old fashioned car seat belt (lap variety) as opposed to you, all secure wedged in with your compatriots.  THAT is scary, the clear view of your doom right before you drop.

They use to have metal lap bars but if you get a very large person sitting with a small person, the small person wasn't as "secure" so they were changed. There were people that LOVED the "air time" and wanted to sit next to a very large person so the bar would not go all the way down on the small persons lap.  Why?  They are strange, that's why!  

Actually when you are pulled down faster than gravity, you "float".  It's a bit of a hang time delay.  Like when you jump right before your elevator stops on the bottom floor and you have farther to fall on the way down.  You can try this out with a quarter and a piece of string.  Glue a piece of string on the back of a quarter.  Right before you drop, put the quarter in your palm.  If you can actually watch the money and not have your eyes closed, screaming your fool head off, you will see the quarter "float" above your palm.  That is what your body is doing.

It is a very fun ride but one that you have to determine if you (or your kids) can handle.  I got through it saying "Mickey wouldn't kill me" over and over.  I enjoyed it and was glad I went.  I also shamed myself by looking around and figuring if little old ladies and 7 year olds could go, so could I.  Try it, really.  If you want to see the cool lobby stuff, get in line and then you can bail out at the "chicken exit" right before they load the car.  Just tell a cast member.


  1. I'm so glad to have read about Tower of Terror! I'm a chicken and won't go on it and have asked friends to tell me about it, but they won't... they just tell me to get over being a chicken and go on it. Sorry, but I HATE freefall (or anything like it, except on an actual coaster).

  2. Some clarifications on RnRC:

    1. RnRC has 3 inversions, not 2. The first two occur right after the beginning of the ride. There is a second inversion immediately following the first one. It's easy to miss the second one since you are quite disoriented already from the launch and the first inversion (not to mention that you are in the dark).

    2. The launch on RnRC does not give 5 Gs. The acceleration is 5 Gs when entering the first loop. The launch acceleration averages about 1 G.

    Both of these rides are fantastic.