I churned out a few words on CoasterBuzz about the new Tron roller coaster at Magic Kingdom...
The long wait is over, as humans, er, users, are riding the new Tron roller coaster at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Preview invites very suddenly went out a week or two ago, and we scored one of the last slots after waiting online for a crazy three hours. I was hoping for a night ride because of the lighting package, but we got 9:30 a.m., because that's all that was left.
I'll say this, as a themed attraction, it's about what you should expect from Disney, though because the world of Tron is so dark with blue trim, the queue and such are not what I would describe as richly textured. What is textured is in the video clips and such displayed in the queue and station. There's also a pretty cool reveal moment in the queue, though it's confusing about what to do after that, unless you happened to see the door open. Missing is any indication of Olivia Wilde.
For our ride, I was reminded why we still use the disability access service (DAS) from time to time. My son just turned 13, with autism, but he has a way of having anxiety turn him into a puddle for anything new. He had been obsessing about the motorcycle position of the ride for weeks, and after doing the test seat, resolved to not do it at all. We learned shortly thereafter that every train has a standard lap bar row for people who either can't fit on the lightcycle or, in his case, is for whatever reason freaked out by it. The cast members were very kind and accommodating, reassuring him that it would be fun. And spoiler alert, he enjoyed it.
I sat on one of these at the Vekoma booth at IAAPA many years ago, and found it kind of uncomfortable and gimmicky. I don't think that it really adds anything to the ride. In fact, it feels awkward when you're locked in and waiting to dispatch. I imagine it wouldn't feel great if you had a stomach full of churros and Dolewhip. Your field of view is somewhat limited just because of the body position. To board on the far side of the train, you walk between the cars, and while there is some clever iconography explaining that, I wonder if people will get it during normal operation. It felt really awkward to get off of it, too, and I kind of tripped on something. I get the theme, I just didn't care for it.
The visual effects during the 74 second ride are pretty cool, with some clever use of mirrors, screens and lighting. I think it helps to have seen the movies, but even then, I can't say I made any real connection with it. It's a lot of (mostly blue) eye candy.
As a roller coaster, the launch feels like it has a very long acceleration curve, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, there isn't much to it after that. It meanders back and forth around some fairly tight turns and then it's over. There are five or six-ish turns inside the building, with I think a total of three long block brakes (they mercifully don't slow the train). There just isn't much there. I might even argue that if you take out the launch, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train does more stuff. I guess given that it's in Magic Kingdom, it's appropriate, but I think I would choose Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain before Tron if I could only ride one in a day. Admittedly, I was so dazzled by Guardians at Epcot, and that threw my expectations out of whack.
I sound kind of underwhelmed, and I am, but it's a fine attraction for that specific park, that a wide range of people will enjoy riding. And if any park needs more high capacity attractions, it's Magic Kingdom.
One final note, you can tell this is a copy of a ride built for another park, because the sight lines are a little jarring in places. I mean, as you exit, looking over at the queue for Barnstormer is super weird.
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