Monday, February 14, 2011

Frommer's, you are insane!

I went to Target over the weekend and I saw a Frommer's 2011  Mini-Walt Disney World Guide.  Now, I go to a Disney Park at least twice a year so do I really need to read a guide? No.  I just wanted to see what it was all about.  I opened to a random page and this is what I saw:

My mind was blown....  

Check out the ratings for Spaceship Earth and Test Track.  Now, if this was Fred and Ethel's Home Made Disney Guide I would be fine with them saying Spaceship Earth is an overrated C and Test Track is an A+.  Well, this is not Fred and Ethel's WDW Guide, this is Frommer's, a legitimate company.

A few posts back I told you my opinion on Test Track.  As a recap here's some more of my insight.  When I was a kid (and I'm sure most of you were the same) the one thing you want to do is drive.  This is why go-carts and Autopia were awesome.  Test Track is all the fun of being in a passenger in a car without the fun of driving.  I was going to guess that the high speed part lasted 30 seconds, well according the the above picture it's 12.  Really, 12 seconds of a speed (that is slower than most freeways minimum speed) makes an A+ attraction?

Meanwhile, you have an imagineering marvel with dozens of Audio Animatronics taking you through the history of communication and you call it overrated?  WHAT!

I hope Disney does not use these guides as some sort of consumer consensus on their attractions.  I think that from the mid 90's until Toy Story Mania Imagineering was in a slump.  I know that I am probably the minority here but I think Animal Kingdom is a waste of space.  How can you open a park twice the size of the Magic Kingdom with only 3 attractions?  Horizons was torn down and in it's place Mission Space was built.  Mission Space is really just a fancier version of Star Tours.  Then Soarin' came along.  They are the same ride except in one of them you hang and in the other you spin.  I think Toy Story Mania is great, yes you stare at a screen but at least your ride vehicle moves and they found a way to make it interactive.  The days of Omni-Mover Audio Animatronic based attractions has been dead for years. I know that Dinosaur has giant Audio Animatronics and it is a good ride, but it is not good enough for me to waste an hour of my day riding the bus to Animal Kingdom, riding it, and leaving.

I have really high hopes for the new Fantasyland.  With Lasseter working with the Imagineers I think he will help bring back that classic attraction feel.  We are finally getting a new dark ride and I've been wanting to ride in a mine car ever since Temple of Doom.  

Wow, this was a long post.  I'd love to hear what you guys think about modern Imagineering and this C rating for Spaceship Earth.

Oh, and one more thing.  Reading that page and seeing Frommer's Test Track tips I'm going to throw in my own advice.  First of all let me tell you that I have not ridden Test Track since 2004, but that doesn't mean I do not know how to work the system.  Frommer's advises you to get a Fast Pass because the line can be over an hour long.  Here's some better advice, break up your group and get Single Rider Passes.  This way you do not waste your fast pass, you can get on the ride in less than 10 minutes most of the time, and you do not have to walk half way across The World Showcase when your Fast Pass time comes around.  The seating on Test Track is goofy anyway so if you are in an even numbered group (excluding 6) you will be sitting by a stranger anyway.  With the Single Rider pass you will still probably end up in the same car as your group members and save yourself all the hassles I just mentioned... You are welcome


  1. Donnie, I would swap the grades, giving Spaceship Earth the "A+" and then add a minus to Test Track's "C".

    I was NOT impressed with Test Track. "Ooooh, we're going we're braking, now we're hot....oh, now we're cold. Ooooh, now we're being sprayed with chemicals." BIG DEAL! I did not like this attraction and couldn't believe they took out World of Motion for it.

    Tokyo DisneySea has Journey to the Center of the Earth which uses the same ride system as Test Track and I would give it an A or A+ because it is a true "E" Ticket attraction. I am really hoping that the new Cars attraction at California Adventure will be on the level of Tokyo's attraction.....but I'm not going to hold my breath!

  2. Better yet, don't even get in line for Test Track. Just get in your car, hit up the interstate and roll all your windows down. Boom. There's your "Test Track" thrill.