Sunday, July 14, 2013

Guest Author Sunday

Guest Author



Chuck Jones


We are so excited to welcome back Honorary Guy Chuck Jones.  This week Chuck shows us that not matter what your age, everyone is a kid at heart when it comes to rides!

                        Top 5 Disney Rides for Seniors and the Motion-Challenged

By Chuck Jones
             This topic is for those that love the Disney rides, and particularly love the thrilling extreme rides but are unable to ride them because of advancing age or being afflicted with a medical sensitivity to motion.  I am one of those people.  I am 61 years old now, but as a young kid I used to ride every extreme ride that came along.  In Atlanta, Georgia, every fall we used to have a big traveling carnival called the Southeastern Fair come to town for two weeks.  They had to assemble every ride from the first plank to the last nail, and had a huge roller coaster that seemed to teeter and tremble to the point of collapsing at every turn and dip.  But I rode that thing with vigor and excitement too many times to count.  Then, in high school I played football and got several concussions (this was years before they realized the danger in this that the NFL is now fighting).  The first time I decided to do a ride after these concussions was in college.  Me and three of my college buddies were commuting back to campus one early fall Sunday night after a weekend at home, and came upon one of those shopping center carnivals.  They thought it would be great fun to stop and do the rides, and I went along hesitantly.  The first ride was the Tilt-A-Whirl.  It was also my last ride.  I told them I was sick and had to go back and wait in the car.  I barely made it to the parking lot when I stopped and threw up so much that I swore I could taste the cranberry sauce from last Thanksgiving Dinner.  I made it to the car and crawled into the back seat and closed my eyes.  The next thing I remembered was waking up in my dorm room bed.  Somehow they had gotten me out of the car and into the dorm.   After that, I knew I couldn’t do the thrill rides anymore, and to further establish that, about five years ago, I was diagnosed with vertigo.  So, being 61 years old with a history of concussions and vertigo, I have to choose my rides very carefully.  This is hard because I still love the excitement of the best thrill rides, so I have come up with this list of the very best ones that people like me can ride.  I promise you that these rides are sure to thrill, but not make you sick, so give them a try on your next Disney Vacation. 

#5---(Tie)  Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom) and Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom).  Both of these rides have great motion and speed, but it’s the straight-ahead kind that will not make you motion sick.  The dips and turns of Thunder Mountain are on the mild side, but you still get the thrill of a roller coaster.  Kali River lets you enjoy the motion of the water as it takes you over some gentle falls and splashes you with refreshing water in the turns on a hot day.  You will most certainly exit this ride completely soaked, but feeling great.  The fun-filled motion of Thunder Mountain has led me to immediately getting back in line after it’s finished.  One last advantage of these two rides is that they are rarely crowded with people in line, so your wait time is minimal.

#4---Dinosaur (Animal Kingdom).   This ride thrills in two ways.  First, the motion takes you into some violent twists and turns combined with the excitement of moving in and out of the dark.  But, the motion here is completely safe for us afflicted souls.  Second, the ride will surprise you with some very scary and very realistic dinosaurs attempting to have you for dinner.  From start to finish, this ride has the thrills of the most extreme rides, but not the extreme motion.

#3---Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom).  This ride looks very scary from the outside, with the people in boats plummeting down the waterfall, screaming all the way.  That last plunge is the only thing that would make this ride questionable, but I can assure you that the dip, although sometimes losing your breath during it, does not rise to the level of avoiding it for too much motion.  The majority of the ride is a gentle cruise down the river being entertained by the delightful characters of Uncle Remus.  On the water and in the darkened cave out of the hot sun, you will be so relaxed and cooled off that the fall at the end will not diminish, but excite, so that the complete ride is a joy to behold. 

#2---Test Track (Epcot).  With this ride advertised as the fastest in all of Disney World, you would think it had to be one for us motion-challenged to avoid.  Not true at all.  This is a wonderful ride.  In the early stage, you are part of the testing that automobiles go through.  Extreme heat, extreme cold, stopping and starting are some of the tests.  There are some thrills even here, as at one point you feel like you are going to crash into a wall.  But all this is just to get you ready for the best part of the ride----the outside speed you hit once you exit the test building.  This straight-ahead speed is great and is muted only by some gentle curves, yet still maintaining a high rate of speed.  None of this afflicts our motion sensitivity, and at the end you feel completely exhilarated.

#1---Soarin (Epcot).  Without a doubt, this is the best ride in all of Disney World, not only on my list.  The fact that the ride can make my list is an outright bonus.  Even though this ride makes you feel like you are on a glider plane high over the land, you can allay your fears beforehand.  All you have to do is to look at how high your seat will go off the floor (only a few feet).  Then you know that no matter what your senses tell you, you are safely within a couple of feet from the floor.  But, to totally enjoy the ride, you should let your senses go with the flow and just imagine yourself gliding over that beautiful scenery.  The ride is so realistic that they even have smells of oranges when you pass over a grove.  You will pass very low over streams and almost dive into the ocean, but the motion in all of it is very gentle.  My only complaint about this ride is it’s much too short.  I realize that with the already lengthy lines, if they made it longer, you could never get on.  But, I can dream, right? 

       That’s my list, folks.  I know that a lot of great rides have to get left off, but that is the nature of us that can’t tolerate the extreme motions.  Of course, there are many, many more that we can get on and enjoy, but these are the top 5 that come closest to the best thrill rides.

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