Showing posts with label Theme Parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theme Parks. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Disney’s California Adventure: Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure

Mik in wheelchair on Web Slingers

Date of Visit: June 26, 2024

Dad and I went on Web Slingers back in 2021. As someone that is not at all into Spider-Man or superhero in general, I thought it was fun in that it was a game similar to why Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and Toy Story Midway Mania are favorite rides. Since then, I had been trying to convince Mik he should try out Web Slingers next time we visited Disney’s California Adventure. Despite him actually being interested in Spider-Man things usually, he was not interested in the ride, but I finally convinced him because it is a ride he could stay in his wheelchair.

When we got in line for Web Slingers the wait time was about 45 minutes. Mik was quickly annoyed with the wait because as seems to be the case more so at Disneyland than Disney World, the line is outside and mostly in the sun with minimal shade and it was one of the hotter days. They do have some fans at parts that helps some, but really what made it long was that the line moved slow and it quickly became clear it would be longer than 45 minutes. As we were getting close to where you enter the building for the pre-ride “show,” the ride officially went down. We decided to stick it out because we were almost there, finally in the shade, and, well, there is not much other choice with the wheelchair unless they actually empty the line. It was down for only about 15-20 minutes and then another 20 minutes or so and we were loading into the accessible vehicle.

Wheelchair on ramp in queue

When you first enter the building, a group is put in a room and there is a pre-show introducing you to the Open House premise and mission. After you exit this, there is a ramped queue to the boarding area. This was slightly annoying as a stop and go line on a ramp area is not fun, but it is not long usually except the ride did again go down momentarily while we were here.

As we approached the boarding area, a Cast Member asked if Mik could transfer and when told no, they led us over to the separate boarding area where the accessible vehicle was waiting to be loaded. Two can ride on the bench next to the wheelchair. The other side of the vehicle I think sits three, which is loaded first as the door to it ends up blocked by the wheelchair. Mom and Dad rode on that side and I rode next to Mik.

Wheelchair with front tie down on Web Slingers

The wheelchair is secured using the tie down straps like on buses and similar to Toy Story Mania with only one being used in the front. I can’t recall if they just used a wedge for the back or if there were also tie downs from the back. The ride is rather smooth, though, and even with Mik actively slinging webs with his arms he had no complaints about feeling any tippy movement in his chair.

Mik and My Web Slinger Team Score

Mik enjoyed the concept of slinging webs, although he was a little frustrated that it was hard to sling them at the various targets accurately. It was not just him, though, as I felt the same, but for me I think it was more that the ride glasses on top of my glasses just do not work well. We did beat Mom and Dad, though.

Mom and Dad Web Slinger Team Score

Overall Mik did enjoy riding Web Slingers. As no one was waiting for the wheelchair vehicle when we were done, we were asked if we wanted to ride again, but Mik was tired out after one go around. He said he would probably not ride it again, but only because the line was torture and he would not trust the wait time to be accurate. Even if the wait time was accurate the way the line moves so slowly does make it feel even longer and I do not know if that is just how it always is because of the pre-ride “show” style of line makes it not a continuously moving line or if it was so slow because the ride was having issues.

Destination Info:

Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure
Disney California Adventure
1313 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

Monday, July 8, 2024

Disneyland Monorail

Mik riding Monorail

Date of Visit: June 26, 2024

The last time we rode the Disneyland Monorail was probably before Downtown Disney when we stayed the Disneyland Hotel for my birthday in 1997 (Mik’s 1st Disneyland trip). This trip Dad and I used it a few times to save some walking distance, but Mik only used it one time when Dad went back to get Mom and him to join us at Disneyland for the day.

Elevator between stairs

To get up to the Monorail from the Downtown Disney station, there is an elevator between the boarding and unloading stairs.

Wheelchair boarding area

In the boarding area, there is a zone for wheelchairs to line up. When Mom, Dad, and Mik came over in the late morning they did not have to wait, but one evening when Dad and I went over we noticed the wheelchair/ECV line was very long. We are used to Disney World where the wheelchairs and ECVs can be loaded in several different cars and they just have to move the ramp to them for loading/unloading. Disneyland’s configuration seems to have only one place, which can fit two chairs, but only one ECV leading to it easily becoming a very long long of wheelchairs/ECVs.

wedge behind wheels

They do put a wedge behind the back wheel, but since there are no tie downs for the front it really doesn’t help. The route to Disneyland is very curvy and this leads to a lot of chair movement. Mik did not freak out like his has been known to do, but Dad did notice the casters did come off the ground at least once. Mik also said the movement made him nauseous.

Mik on Monorail

Overall we found the Monorail not really worthwhile at Disneyland. Dad and I did find it useful to spend a little less time on our feet. It did not really save any time in getting to the park other than walking to the park other than maybe the ticket line took longer and it does put you in Tomorrowland. Even if it was a time saver, Mik will never go on the Disneyland Monorail again because it was too much of a thrill ride in the wheelchair.

Destination Info:

Disneyland Monorail
1313 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Walt Disney World: Epcot - Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience

Date of Visit: January 16, 2020

Mik and I used to enjoy the Blue Sky Cellar preview exhibits at Disney's California Adventure. Thus, it was a must do for us to check out "Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience" this trip.

The experiencee ended up exceeding out expectations with the projection show on the Epcot model, which made it so Mik didn't feel like he was actually missing anything on the Circle Vision screens because he missed it more due to focusing on the model than because he can't turn around easy.

The Moana water trail is one of the new experiences we are looking forward to.

Mik is looking forward to maybe trying the Guardians of the Galaxy ride.

We are curious to find out what the reimagined Spaceship Earth experience will be like, but not entirely interested as it's likely to remain a transfer required ride.

The Ratatouille ride is probably what we are both most excited about as I remember enjoying the one at Disneyland Paris. We also expect it to be an accessible ride as it appears it will be similar to the Paris attraction, which is accessible. However, we aren't counting on it as we've been disappointed in pretty much every new ride in the past five years requiring a transfer and, in particular, had really expected the Avatar boat ride to not require a transfer and still don't understand why they got lazy on follow through for that one.

Of course, I'm excited about Cherry Tree Lane coming to the UK Pavilion. Mik not so much. Apparently, he's had enough Mary Poppins for a lifetime ever since Mom took away my Mary Poppins VHS because I watched it constantly when he was a baby.

Destination Info:
Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Walt Disney World: Epcot - Coral Reef Restaurant

Date of Visit: January 16, 2020

We decided to try the Coral Reef Restaurant this trip as we'd thought the aquarium aspect would be fun, especially since the five-year-old loves aquariums. It also appealed to us that it wasn't a fixed priced like the character dining and we could eat only some courses if we preferred instead of feeling like we have to get the most for our money and making sure we're hungry enough for all the courses at the fixed priced dining.

We were immediately disappointed in the restaurant as they tried to sit us at two separate tables. Not only did we want to eat all together, but the way the tables are was difficult and crowded for the wheelchair.

Luckily, when we asked if we could sit more all together at the booths they were fine with that. That at least allowed Mik to roll up to the table more comfortable. However, it was two rather large tables that we still basically ended up feeling like we were dining as two entirely separate groups rather than as one.

The main disappointing thing, though, was the restaurant has a stepped tier design and the only accessible seating is in the back area farthest from the aquarium. Thus, we really couldn't enjoy the whole point of the restaurant, especially Mik as he ended up with his back to the aquarium, although that was our choice and probably the reason they didn't try to seat our group with a wheelchair where we decided to sit. Honestly, though, the view did seem better from the booths than the initial tables they tried to seat us at as we were farther from the wave wall and could somewhat see over it. Really though if that wave wall was just more level with the tables or a clear barrier if they want it higher for safety reasons, then it would have been better.

Overall we did enjoy the food, but there is so much different cuisines to enjoy at Epcot that it seemed a waste in the end since we didn't end up with an aquarium view experience as part of the dining as we had expected. The fact that the restaurant was very empty did make it a nice relaxing break in our day, though.

Destination Info:
Coral Reef Restaurant
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Walt Disney World: Hollywood Studios - Millenium Falcon: Smuggler's Run

Date of Visit: January 15, 2020

Mik and I initially didn't go on Smuggler's Run as we weren't sure if it was too much of a thrill ride for us. Later in the trip, after the rest of the group was able to assure us it was worth trying, we decided try it.

Mik wasn't much into the queue, but only because it was right after we had done Rise of the Resistance and had been in the park over 9 hours. Later he realized it was the kind of experience we always feel like we miss when we do Star Tours because the wheelchair access for that ride skips the regular queue entirely and only gives a brief look down at it.

When you get to the front of the line, you are given cards with your role (pilot, gunner, or engineer). As there are only six per vehicle, our group had to split to two groups (5 and 2 paired with others).

We then waited for our color group to be called for our mission. This is interesting designed waiting area and as we had to wait about 15 minutes for the one spacecraft that is easier for transferring, we had plenty of time for playing/photos.

The ride is a simulator pod. I assume the middle aisle is smaller on the other pods and the reason we had to wait it that this one has a wider middle aisle to roll into and transfer to the ride. It is a very easy transfer as the seats don't have armrest to even have to move, although that then means there is on armrest. Again, after our Jimmy Fallon simulator experience we just don't see how this simulator couldn't have been designed as a non-transfer ride, especially considering the Rise of the Resistance has a simulator part that you can freely roam on.

The actual ride experience of a mission and working together is interesting and I actually enjoyed this Star Wars attraction. I was one of the engineers and had to press whatever buttons lit up. Mik was one of the gunners, which we actually did some trading of role cards for him as those that had been on before explained it was the easiest (at least if done on auto). He probably could have done engineer also, but it would have been harder for him to reach everything and enjoy the view part of the ride. He wouldn't mind doing either gunner or engineer now that's he's been on it, but he doesn't want to even try pilot as it seems hard to reach the controls as our dad had to reach over to push one button when needed for the five-year-old.

And the best part of the attraction, the elevator at the end. Not really as we actually enjoyed this attraction, but different themed elevators have been a favorite thing for us to discover ever since Mik was little and we used the ones to access the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. One of these days maybe we'll actually put together our list of favorites in order that we keep meaning to do.

Overall we really did enjoy the ride as it was like simulator game. In particular, it was amusing how our pilots (our dad and the five-year-old) ended up calling each other bad pilots and we were all yelling at our dad when the button needed to be pushed. While we really feel you could still have been a very fun non-transfer ride experience without the movement if they had done something like how the movement can be turned on or off for Winnie the Pooh, this is one of the very few transfer rides I can see us doing on the WDW trips Mik and I do on our own.

Destination Info:
Millenium Falcon: Smuggler's Run
Hollywood Studios
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Walt Disney World: Hollywood Studios - Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Date of Visit: January 15, 2020

Experiencing everything in Galaxy's Edge was the main priority for Mik and pretty much our whole group except me for this year's family trip. We picked Wednesday as the easiest day for us to get to the park when it opened and have a chance at a boarding pass to get on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. We did barely manage to get us all in the park a few minutes after park officially opened around 7am and ended up with a number that starting "boarding" around 2:15pm.

While I'm totally not into Star Wars and especially the too realness of interactions that happen in the new land, I do like this new concept for handling the line for a new attraction. The only issue with it was that we only had one chance to make it work this trip, which meant we had to just all go if we were going to do it instead of most going on Smuggler's Run first and then being able to give a real idea about if it was worth it to transfer Mik (or for us non-thrill people).

The first part of the attraction is going into a room as a large group and a hologram recruiting you for the resistance. Or maybe you're volunteering to join. I don't know Star Wars obviously and I honestly wasn't paying much attention to anything except trying to not get hit in the head again by Dad taking pictures.

Next you board a transport. This is a simulator type thing, but you can stand wherever you find a spot. There is a screen in front and back, but Dad ended up positioning Mik in the middle facing forward where people blocked the view. Thus, Mik found it an extremely annoying experience. It was like taking a metro ride in the middle of the "line" for an attraction rather than actually being a part of an attraction. Basically, it seems you had to know that you should try to get a place to actually experience this part and not be the stragglers loading last...

The transport gets captured or something and you become prisoners, I think.

I think this where we get lined up for processing as prisoners or something and then we get help from the Resistance and freed? Seriously, I'm clearly not the one that should be trying to explain this experience!

Now finally you get on the actual ride. Not sure if thee side of front row always opens that wide or if they made that happen to make the transfer easier, but it was a relatively easy transfer. Also, the way this ride is trackless seems to help allow for to you really take your time loading if needed.

I might not have understood the attraction of the ride, but Mik enjoyed the experience as did the rest of our group that was as much if not more into Star Wars as him.

Certainly not an attraction I would care to do again, especially without someone else transferring Mik, but I will admit that the attraction was impressive. As it really wasn't that much of a thrill ride, though, we would do again if the rest of the family wanted to on a future trip.

Basically, the only part that was a thrill was the drop at the end, which apparently Mik wasn't prepared for (to me it was obvious we were entering an "elevator") because he grabbed my arm and didn't even realize he had when I asked for my arm back when we were pulling up to the unloading area.

The end of the ride was a little confusing as the wheelchair wasn't there and they kept asking us to get out. You unload in a different spot so clearly the wheelchair has to be moved and it appears they did do that as it didn't take them long to grab it once they realized we needed it. Apparently, they are supposed to mark the vehicle or something when loading, though, so they know to bring it when you arrive to unload.

Destination Info:
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Hollywood Studios
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Universal Studios Florida: Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Date of Visit: January 10, 2020

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon was not initially on our list to do, but as it was only early afternoon when we finished our must dos (Suess Landing and Wizard World) we started going through the list I had starred of the non-transfer attractions. This one piqued our interest in that we couldn't understand how it was a simulator ride while still being non-transfer. Basically, we figured there must be a stationary way to experience it, which ended up being the case for the Minions. Instead, it turned out to be the most impressive accessible ride experience we've ever seen.

When you enter the building for this attraction, they asked if Mik could transfer or not. They kind of tried to convince us to transfer as the wait would be longer, which we not only experienced throughout most of Universal Studios but also increasingly experienced at Walt Disney World this trip. Once we told them we preferred it to take longer to get on the ride than have to transfer, the experience with the person called to escort us and do the attraction was great.

We learned that the normal loading process is you get assigned to a group and get to free roam through a museum area until it's your turn to go. This is a fun line concept and we were told we could come back later and just do the museum area if we wanted. We didn't get around to doing that as Mik got tired and that was the one thing Mik wish we had done at Universal.

The escort took us to a room where the chair is loaded onto a platform and secured. The ride preshow is also shown in here before loading.

Then the platform is wheeled to be loaded into the attraction.

Seats are removed from the middle of the back row and the wheelchair platform is loaded into the theater.

Overall this was a surprisingly fun motion simulator ride and they've actually figured out how to make a thrill ride that doesn't require a transfer. It was also interesting to get to be in the back row as the main simulator ride we do is Star Tours and I've never experienced it from anywhere except the front. Ever since Star Tours went 3D, I haven't liked it because it doesn't look right with my glasses, but I had no problem with the Jimmy Fallon 3D and wonder if that has to do with being further from screen (tried to ride Star Tours once without Mik later that week, but, of course, still randomly ended up in the first row).

Destination Info:
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Universal Studios Florida
6000 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819

Monday, January 27, 2020

Universal Studios Florida: Diagon Alley

Date of Visit: January 10, 2020

Diagon Alley turned out to the complete opposite of Hogsmeade. While it also only has transfer only thrill rides, the area was much more open allowing us to actually navigate and enjoy it.

Finding Diagon Alley was slightly confusing, but amusing once we noticed you just wander through the passages in the buildings to find Diagon Alley hidden in London just as it should be.

We were happy to immediately find Sugarplum's Sweet Shop, which doesn't have as big of a selection as Honeydukes in Hogsmeade, but did have the Fudge Flies Mik wanted and, of course, Chocolate Frogs I wanted along with several other sweets such as Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. The shop was also much smaller, but the layout was more open and thus easy to navigate, especially since there was no one else shopping in there when we visited.

We didn't wander into any of the other shops, but we did enjoy walking around Diagon Alley with it's much wider areas than Hogsmeade.

We did visit the Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, which is just a queue for the ice cream making it an easy go in one door and out the other after paying experience.

Mik enjoyed the Toffee Apple flavor.

I had the Butterbeer flavor.

Our wandering included ending up in Knockturn Alley.

Overall we really enjoyed the Wizarding World experiences of London and Diagon Alley, especially after the disappointment of Hogsmeade.

Destination Info:
Diagon Alley
Universal Studios Florida
6000 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Universal's Islands of Adventure: Hogwart's Express

Date of Visit: January 10, 2020

Riding the Hogwarts Express was the one Wizarding World experience we not only enjoyed, but found even better than we expected. Mik was slightly disappointed that the one elevator wasn't as he had hoped, though.

Finding the elevators lifts to the platform were easy. We especially enjoyed how well the stations were themed to the British settings.

The accessibility of the train really surprised us as once you're in the compartment it doesn't seem any different than a regular.

Getting in and out is quite different though as one half of the last compartment's bench opens backwards to allow you to roll in.

Then you hope they remember to let you back out when you get to the other side because you sure can't go out the side door. Actually, it was just kind of amusing when we got to King's Cross and the conductor had to go back to the front of the car to get they key to let Mik out as he definitely didn't forget we were there and, yet, arrived to let Mik out without the key.

It's obvious the window is really just a digital screen, but it is still fun that it really represents the journey including starting with the wall of the station.

It was fun to see the various things happen including going through Forbidden Forest with centaurs waving and the Weasley twins making an ad for their shop in Diagon Alley.

The corridor side also adds to the experience and surprised Mik when "passengers" came by.

He loved it, though!

In King's Cross, it was fun to be at Platform 9 3/4.

Again finding the lift was easy. Getting on it when at destination not so much as the whole train is unloading at once rather than people more staggered timing getting in line to get on the train. We had to wait a few loads to get on as it is also used by strollers, but that just meant more time to enjoy the station.

Or for Dad to take photos and then get yelled at that he still wasn't ready when it was our turn for the lift...

The lift at King's Cross ended up being the one part that didn't meet expectations because of the buttons. Mik had really wanted it to say "To Platfrom 9 3/4 "and not just platform, but it is still good that it says "Exit to London."

I can't remember if this part where you go "between" Platforms 9 and 10 was before or after the lift when we took the train back to Hogsmeade. I think it was after the lift and thus the lift would part of the muggle world of King's Cross so "To Platform," fits, but then it should actually say, "To Platforms."

On the way back to Hogsmeade, we experienced dementors boarding the train and a patronus.

Overall the Hogwarts Express was a fun experience. We were glad we had gotten the tip early in the day to ride it both directions as it was definitely worthwhile and I somewhat wish we had rode it even more.

Destination Info:
Hogwart's Express - Hogsmeade's Station and King's Cross Station
Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida
6000 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819