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INTERCOT > Interactive > INTERCOT Insider Archive > April 2004

Intercot.com INTERCOT Insider
 April 2004 - Edition Two

Brought to you by INTERCOT's network of sites:
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INTERCOT's Thrillride Experience - Thrill Ride Parks & Attractions

This newsletter and other past issues can also be read online at; http://www.intercot.com/interactive/insider/archive

<< Introduction >>

In this edition we will take you on a ride around Epcot on a Segway, fill you in on the details surrounding the test phase of the Extra Magic Hour evenings and Ron is back with more Disney history. Without further ado . . .

<< Don't Forget Mom! >>

Mother's Day is May 9 and time is running out for you to show Mom how much you care about her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers from INTERCOT's partner, ProFlowers. ProFlowers sends only the freshest flowers direct from the grower to you and has been ranked the #1 Flower Site by Forrester and Money.com. See why people are raving about the quality of ProFlowers, and help support INTERCOT by clicking thru the links on our site to buy your Mother's Day Flowers! Order & Browse:
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<< What's Going on in the "World" >>

Beginning May 9-22, 2004, Disney will be testing a new type of Extra Magic Hour. On select nights one of the Theme Parks will be open an "extra" 3 hours. Please note the Extra Magic Hours mornings will still be offered on certain days during this time frame.

Some dining locations will be open for the evening hours. For a list of restaurants visit Guest Relations at the parks or at your resort. Walt Disney World guests must present their Key to the World card or Resort ID to pick up a wristband to enjoy the additional hours of evening magic. Wristbands can be picked up at specific locations in the participating Park no sooner than two hours before the Extra Magic Hours begins.

Extra Magic Hours Schedule:
Sunday: Epcot (PM)
Monday: Animal Kingdom (AM)
Tuesday: MGM Studios (PM)
Wednesday: Epcot (AM) & Magic Kingdom (PM)
Thursday: Animal Kingdom (PM)
Friday: Magic Kingdom (AM)
Saturday: MGM Studios (AM)

For more details or to join in on the discussion visit INTERCOT's News forum.

Disney has also added to their rehab list. It's A Small World will close Sunday, May 2, 2004 for extensive renovations. The attraction will be closed for nearly a year. The tentative date for reopening is March 18, 2005.

Star Tours will be closed July 16 - August 1, 2004. For up-to-date closings check INTERCOT's Info Central.

<< Members Memoirs by joelkfla >>

I did the Segway tour, "Around the World at Epcot," on Sunday morning.

It was a heck of a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it to anyone over 16. Cost is $80, or $64 with an annual pass, AAA, or DVC membership. Park admission is required and not included, so you will have to use one of your park days if you're not an AP holder. The 2 hour tour starts out with a 15-minute orientation, after which we were introduced to our Segways for 45 minutes of indoor training. I thought there was something wrong with my unit because it seemed to be pulsing, but I soon realized, as our instructor had warned us, that it was simply responding to my nervous quivering! We were told to think of the little traffic cones which we were doing slaloms and ovals around as little children or guests' toes. Our group did crush a few of those toes.

After the indoor training, we rode out into the park "like little ducklings following their mama" to finish our training going up and down a hill. As I started up the hill, I heard a scream, "Help, I can't stop!" and saw one of our riders go zipping down the main drag at top speed and disappear out of sight! One of the 2 instructor/guides took chase and disappeared after her. (Our machines were limited to 5 mph; the instructors could go 12 mph.)

After going up and down the hill a few times, we dismounted for a potty break, and then headed towards China for the main part of the tour. It was great to be the center of attention, as guests were stopping and smiling at us gliding by. Finally, we reached the ropes marking the closed portion of World Showcase, and the real fun began. Our instructors took pains to find especially narrow pathways, tricky slopes, and different kinds of pavement to test our skills. We rode through gardens, over little bridges, in and out of buildings, around colonnades.

When we reached Venice, we were turned loose to ride as we wanted in a small area. Here's where we really got comfortable with the machines, opening them up as fast as we dared, backing up, riding up, down, and sideways on a slope. Just plain all-out fun! After that, I could really understand how Segway enthusiasts say the machine becomes an extension of the rider. Unlike the beginning of training when I sometimes thought I would fly off on a turn, it now all felt perfectly natural for the rest of the tour.

Finally, at 10:55, our instructor announced that World Showcase would soon be opening and it was time for us to make our way home. As we headed through UK, Canada, and on towards Innoventions, once again we were the center of attention, but now there were a lot more guests in the park stopping and smiling at us. And now I had no qualms taking my hand off the handlebar to wave at guests passing by and at the Friendship making it's way to Morocco.

Once again, the tour was great fun and I highly recommend it. Not only was it well worth the money, but it was even worth getting out of bed at 6 a.m. to get to Epcot for the 8:45 check-in.

<< Disney Trivia with WDWdriver >>

Some time ago I wrote here about the abandoned airport at Walt Disney World. Do you also know about the abandoned railroad?

Walt loved trains, and even had an operating railroad in his backyard. So it is not surprising that steam trains would be featured in his plans for Disney World. We all know about the trains that circle the Magic Kingdom, but there was also another railroad. It operated at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground from 1974 to 1979. The campground opened in 1971, but installation of the railroad was delayed due to cost considerations.

Disney Imagineers decided that the railroad would be 4/5 scale, and would be built from the ground up at Disney facilities. The four steam engines and twenty passenger coaches were built in Glendale, California, and trucked to Florida in 1973. Meanwhile, 3 1/2 miles of track were laid in and around the Fort Wilderness campground. This was more than twice the track distance of the railroad around the Magic Kingdom.

The trains began running in 1974 to the delight of the guests at Fort Wilderness. The trains ran from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and for just one dollar guests could purchase a ticket good for rides all day. Campers were often jolted awake in the morning by the sounds of steam whistles and the click-clack sound of steel wheels on rails. Guests could board the trains at several locations for a ride through the woods, across bridges and trestles, to destinations like the Hoop De Doo and River Country. They loved it!

But there were some problems with the railroad. It was difficult to maintain the rails due to the way the track was laid across the soft and often swampy land in that area. There were several derailments. But what ultimately doomed the Fort Wilderness Railroad was it's own popularity. Guests stood along the tracks to wave to the engineers. The trains ran quite close to the campsites with no barriers to prevent kids from approaching to put pennies on the rails. Finally, there was a scary accident where a girl on a bicycle was struck by one of the engines. She wasn't badly hurt, but it spelled the end of the railroad. The trains were soon replaced by trams similar to those used in the Magic Kingdom parking lot.

So whatever happened to the Fort Wilderness trains? Were they scrapped, or did they survive? More about that next month.

<< Conclusion >>

Thank you to all that contributed to this edition and a special thanks to Joel for sharing his unique experience at Epcot. We'll see you next month when we'll find out what happened to the Fort Wilderness trains, take a journey to MGM for Star Wars Weekend and much, much more. Lastly we wish all Moms a "Happy Mothers Day".

Until next month; Happy INTERCOTing.

<< INTERCOT Would Like To Thank>>

The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com are supported by the following sponsors who in turn, help us bring the Magic to you!

Magical Journeys
Magical Journeys is your Disney Vacation specialist. Start planning your Vacation Discount Dreams today!
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