Miscellany: Disney in a Day
There are very few vacations that cannot be condensed into a day. In that span, I've had fairly memorable trips to Key West, Schlitterbahn, and now Walt Disney World. Like most Floridians, I've been to Disney more times than I can count. The rides keep changing though, which is a blessing and a curse - it's nice Disney wants to keep everything fresh, but it's always distressing when an old favorite has to be mothballed.
"Test Track" is billed as Disney's longest and fastest ride, and, indeed, you do get going faster than 60 MPH in the final turns. The simulated car ride is slathered in GM propaganda, which is unintentionally hilarious at times. The end of the ride even exits into a full-sized GM showroom.
"Mission: Space" simulates a trip to Mars, and it's hosted by Gary Sinise (why Disney hired an actor who's played an astronaut in "Apollo 13," rather than an actual astronaut, is beyond me). This ride nauseated the tar out of me, and the Wikipedia page hints that the ride had to be toned down since it was making too many people sick.
"Dinosaur" takes a rather traditional theme park ride premise (you're going on a trip through time) and mixes in the computerized enhanced car motion system used in other attractions (think "Spider-Man" in Universal Studios Orlando). Oddly enough, Phylicia Rashad ("Claire Huxtable" herself) is one of the hosts.
"Expedition: Everest" is probably the best new Disney ride in awhile. The theming of the pre-ride, including a lavishly decorated Yeti museum and a mandir, is fantastic, and the actual mountain peak is quite foreboding given the right weather conditions. The ride itself is a roller coaster, and a fairly tame one by most standards (no inversions), but again, you visit Disney to enjoy the artistry and attention to detail on their rides.
There were some disappointments. "Pirates of the Caribbean" has been predictably updated to include copious amounts of Captain Jack Sparrow, and "The Living Seas" has been "Finding Nemo"-ized in a fairly embarrassing fashion. "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" is also gone, and here's a video tribute to that classic ride: