soar high above Tomorrowland in Buck Rogers-type rockets surrounded by a colorful array of twirling
can control the height and angle of your craft.
Unless you're between the ages of eight and twelve you
should probably just pass this one by.
The Astro Orbiter, located in the Tomorrowland
Disney World's Magic Kingdom, is impossible to miss if you
happen to be uninformed enough to be looking for it. Upon entering Tomorrowland you'll see it immediately, looking cool and funky and just
about irrisistable, sitting high atop the Rockettower Plaza. It's
the central focal point of Tomorrowland. Well, snazzy and unique good
looks are not nearly enough to save the Astro Orbiter.
If you're willing to get into the long, long line and
wait for this dud, then here's what to expect for your troubles:
Most of your wait will be outside, directly under Florida's
blazing sun and crushing humidity. Bring water and a book to read. Expect
to pass out at least twice. Conveniently, Astro Orbiter sits
directly atop the Rockettower Plaza snack bar, so you'll have easy access
to plenty of extremely overpriced soft drinks and bottled water. How
clever. Three bucks for water??? Ugh, gimme it quick.
For some strange reason this ride continues to be very
popular and the line is almost always pretty long. It must be all those
pretty, pretty colors and spinning gold rockets that continue to draw the
people in like lemmings. If you're waiting while the sun is up then be
prepared to bake for about 30 to 60 minutes. The wait time is usually more
bearable after sundown and things cool down considerably.
Once inside you'll see that the only way up is via
elevator. You and about 2 dozen others will be unceremoniously crammed
into one of the two lifts for a short trip to the top. People in
wheelchairs will not be permitted to the top unless they are able to leave
their chair at the bottom. Once you're up there, you and all the other
cattle will be kept in what can only be described as a holding pen
until it's your turn to finally ride the rocket. Having fun yet?
Each rocket on the
Astro Orbiter has one seat
that holds two people, one in front and one behind. You straddle the seat
like a horse. I can only imagine the embarrassment of sitting in one of
these things with a stranger. Try to have an even number of people in your
group or you might find yourself in very close quarters with a "new
friend". There is only one safety belt for the two of you so snuggle up!
Okay, now the fun can finally begin, right?
As things finally get moving you'll notice a control
lever at the front of your rocket. This lever moves, er, yanks you up and
down. Cool huh? No. Being about 30 feet in the air, sitting on a seemingly
unsafe bench with a flimsy joke of a seat belt, and being jerked rapidly
up and down while spinning in a tight circle is very, very uncool as far
as my stomach is concerned. On top of all this, lift yourself too high and
you'll find that your rocket tilts toward the center, forcing you to lean
over and feel like you're going to tumble out at any moment. Help!!!
Luckily, the ride is very short. About a minute and a
half and you're off again. Thank you, where's the exit? Oh, the elevator