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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Epcot: World Showcase (WDW)

MAELSTROM: Norway/Epcot

WAIT TIME – Low to Moderate
KID GRADE(G) This ride is suitable for all ages. The ride is not too scary.  It is dark and there are some loud noises.  The drops are not too fast or steep.  Should be OK with Mom or Dad there for comfort.
ADULT RATING - I give this ride a respectable B.
This Viking ship o' yore ride in Norway is one of the better rides in World Showcase (considering that EPCOT is not really a "ride" kinda park). This ship takes you through Norway Past, Present and Future as well as touching on their rich Troll mythology.  There was also a "switch", one place in the ride where your boat turns and you go backwards.  They also have a few small drops like Pirates of the Caribbean.  They fit right in with the ride but are not steep enough to be scary or to get you really wet.

The only thing that you can skip is the tourist film that comes after the ride. I saw it once, and it's really pretty but I've had my fill of fjords. No offense.  I would suggest see it once and then skip it for future rides.  You can just walk straight through the theatre without stopping and exit into the gift shop.

El Rio del Tiempo (RIVER OF TIME): Mexico/Epcot

WAIT TIME – Low to None
KID GRADE(G) Small children will like this ride a great deal.  It is soothing and does not move fast.  There are no scares or dark places. 
ADULT RATING - I give this ride a C if you are hot, tired, drunk or with very small children that won't realize that it is dumb or a D if you are normal and sober.

I have been on this attraction three times in the past four years and my opinion of this ride has not really changed at all since the last time.  I continue to add my friends as converts to the "Small World on Drugs" concept of a Disney ride obviously put together in the 70's and not refurbished since. 

This ride is lame but it's great if you are hot, tired, drunk or just plain cranky. You can relax, there has never been a line when I've been there and they did lower the volume so you can actually hear yourself think. You float by a restaurant (WDW's version of the Blue Bayou & Pirates of the Caribbean) with a dark, romantic atmosphere and a smoking volcano in the background. I think that having human sacrifice on the Aztec pyramid with a head rolling down it would add to the ride atmosphere, however, it may scare the children. Hmmmmm..... anyway….. 

The boat ride is ala Small World. The first part is the most promising. A large Aztec warrior, standing Godlike in his feathers and gold and tiny little loin cloth talking (I think) about the great scientists, mathematicians and poodle breeders (hey, I don't know, the sound was bad) that their civilization had. However, it started to go downhill with the next section, "Aztec Interpretive Dance". I had no idea what the point was since you couldn't hear the narration. There was no human sacrifice. I was bummed. 

Next you enter the room of "It's A Small World" rejects. It's not nearly as scary as the actual Small World but it's getting there. THEN you get to see bad film clips from the 70's of girls water skiing, people getting drunk and a Mexican couple trying to sell you stuff. This moves on to a large room where a festival is going on. What are they celebrating? I have no clue. There is a carousel of marionette people in the center of a modern town with fireworks overhead. Maybe they are celebrating that we left the peddlers in the next room.

(Editorial non-PC rant: I am assuming that these rides in Epcot are to, in part, educate guests about the glorious history of the country represented and give a sense of why this is a neat place to visit. To me, it cheapens the history of Mexico and its people to portray them as annoying peddlers that are always trying to sell you stuff. Sure I go to Mexico and have to beat off the herds of youngsters that are trying to sell me Chiclets or a paper mache donkey but this is suppose to be an INCENTIVE to go to Mexico. Mexico has a rich history and I DIDN'T SEE ANY OF IT!  I saw "interpretive dance" and that's it. How about the art of Mesoamerica or festivals specific to the Country? NO! I get water skiing bikini babes and people "running" next to your boat tying to sell you junk! That is really insulting to the people of Mexico. End rant

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