In October 2015, I had the privilege to visit Walt Disney World with my family. We were only there for a few days, so we only visited the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Last year, I wrote about accessible attractions, and I would like to update some of the information on the attractions that I was able to ride on this trip. For the next few posts I would like to explore just one of the theme parks at a time.
Disney’s Epcot Theme Park – Part 2 of 2
In this post I would like to share my personal experience in riding attractions at Epcot: Journey into Imagination with Figment, Grand Fiesta Tour, and Test Track update.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
This was not my first experience on Journey Into Imagination with Figment, but it is one attraction I like to ride on each trip to Epcot. There is a special waiting queue for this ride which keeps wheelchairs to the left while they wait for the special ride vehicle. The ride vehicle is larger and includes a special ramp and room for one able body rider so you are not alone during the ride. The Cast Member is very helpful in getting you locked down into the vehicle. Once everything is good to go, you can enjoy your ride through Journey into Imagination with Dr. Nigel Channing (played by Eric Idle) and experience the 5 senses, but watch out for Figment! After returning to the exit area, the CM helps to open the vehicle and ramp and to unhook the wheelchair from the vehicle. I really enjoy this ride at Epcot, but be forwarned; the song will stay with you all day! [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8aCC6hMc14]
Grand Fiesta Tour
Next, we entered World Showcase and turned to the left. Our first pavilion was Mexico. Don’t let the stairs to the Mayan temple scare you; there is a ramp to the far right of the pavilion. Once inside you can take either ramp down and into the Mexican village. There are cute little stands selling authentic Mexican gifts. The Grand Fiesta Tour will be on your left side. After waiting our turn in line, we were directed to the left to wait for the special ride vehicle. The ride vehicle is a boat, and similar to the ones at Magic Kingdom‘s “it’s a small world”. The vehicle has a smooth entry and a small ramp that allows the wheelchair to sit between other guests. Once moved into place and wheels locked, the CM placed a long block by my wheels so that the chair would not move during the ride. Then we were off on our adventure through Mexico hosted by The Three Cabarellos! After our journey, we arrived back at the boat dock and exited the vehicle ramp. Then it was up a slight incline and back into the Mexican village area. I do enjoy this ride, it was different on this trip – so you never know what you might get on your adventure on Mexico’s Grand Fiesta Tour!
Grand Fiesta Tour 2012 – pre-animatronic birds
Test Track Update
In my post on May 26, 2015, I mentioned how a person in a wheelchair enters and rides Test Track. During my most recent trip, I made a point to take pictures so that you can see firsthand how I was able to ride on the Test Track attraction. Below is a recap of my experience of Test Track presented by Chevrolet:
“Test Track is an attraction that comes to a complete stop to allow guests to board and exit the vehicle. This is one of my favorite rides because the ride vehicle moves in crazy directions; over bumps, zigzags, brake checks, inclines, etc. Then at the end, you go outside and hit a speed of up to 65 mph in a convertible! Excellent!
On my most recent visit in October of 2015 to Epcot, we entered via the FastPass queue line where we created our simulator car and enjoyed the interactive queue. When we reached the boarding area our family was taken to a separate line for wheelchairs. (Please note, this only works if you are able to transfer from a wheelchair, either alone or with assistance). At that point, we were escorted in two different directions. I rode the elevator with a Cast Member, while my family took the stairs up to the catwalk. After the elevator, I too crossed the catwalk only to get to another elevator down to the special loading area. Meanwhile, a ride vehicle is being moved out of the normal line and “parked” near the seatbelt check station and given a handicap marker on the back of the vehicle. There is a small platform and ramp that leads to the vehicle. For me, my Dad lifts and carries me into the vehicle where I am strapped in my front row seat between two people. A Cast Member moves my chair away from the ride until I return.
Now for the fun part – the ride! As I mentioned the ride vehicle maneuvers on a “test” track going over bumps, inclement weather tests, swerving, zigzagging, braking, and many other unexpected twists. Then all of a sudden the doors open and the vehicle is sent outside and around the building at a speed of up to 65 mph! After that it is back to reality. Although, a couple of times, I have been fortunate enough to be able to ride a second time without getting out and back in line. This only occurs when the queues are not too long and the Cast Member thinks it will be ok to take another spin.
Test Track pre-refurb (2012)
Once the thrilling ride is over, the vehicle marked “handicap” is pulled over to the seat belt check area for unloading. For me, my Dad picks me up and carries me back to my chair.
The Cast Member takes me up the elevator to the exit point for the attraction. After which one can explore various prototype Chevrolet cars of the future, or head back out to Epcot.”
I hope you enjoyed my experience on these three attractions in Epcot. Please follow my post as my journey on accessible attractions and more continues in the Magic Kingdom.
(Epcot Theme Park logo ©Disney; YouTube Journey Into Imagination video ©iThemePark; Disney on Wheels logo and all other photos are from Andrew Prince’s personal collection; Test Track and Grand Fiesta Tour videos are property of author’s YouTube channel.)
Andrew is an 18-year-old senior in high school from Ohio. He was born with cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair. He has been to both US Disney Parks, several D23 events and is a DCL Gold Castaway Club member. If you would like to contact him feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or look him up on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/andrew.prince.7161 and on Twitter https://twitter.com/Andrew1arp