- Edition Two
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<< 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!
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partner, ProFlowers. ProFlowers sends only the freshest flowers direct from
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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
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
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
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>>
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