23 May 2011

Vantage point of the segway

There are some pretty big thrills to be found around Walt Disney World, from the catapult launch of Rock ‘N’ RollerCoaster to the fifty degree banked Test Track turn, but sometimes the biggest thrills come in the smallest packages. So, what is the biggest thrill you can have at 6.5 miles per hour? Why, a tour through Epcot aboard a Segway.The tour, known as Around the World at Epcot, last two hours and starts out in Innoventions. The first hour of the outing is spent learning about the various types of Segways, the four-wheeled Centaur being my personal favorite, how to handle the vehicles, and running through a test course. Each part of the course is repeated several times until each participant is confident in their own handling abilities. This section of the tour will remind you a lot of Simon Says, but it is well worth the time to build self-assurance.

The group then moves out through Future World and towards World Showcase in a single file line. The group of Segways blaze a trail through the World Showcase pavilions, stopping to gather information from the tour guide. Sadly, not every pavilion is highlighted as the tour takes place before World Showcase opens and mainly between the ropes holding back guests in Norway and France. That means that Canada, United Kingdom, Norway and China are left on the outside of design stories.

While the promenade is free of guests during the circuit, there are Cast Members working, or heading to their posts, carts, hoses and other obstacles to avoid. However, once the tour reaches Italy, there is a large swathe of pavement set aside for free roaming. During my free time, I ran myself through figure eights and burned rubber trying to get my Segway to go as fast as I could get it.

The most challenging part of the entire experience was readjusting to walking around after having my legs locked in an upright position for the better part of two hours. Other than that, the only drawbacks come down to group size and wingspan. That is to say, that if you don’t have long arms mounting and dismounting can be quite difficult.

Before I round out this review of Around the World at Epcot, I want to take a moment to thank to two guides I had on my tour. Both Lamonte and Pete did an excellent job of informing and entertaining, which made the two hours simply fly by.

Segway tours are popping up all over the country, there are several alone here in Asheville, but Epcot was one of the first. Around the World at Epcot is reasonably priced and offers a unique outlook on World Showcase and personal transportation technology. After my trip around Epcot, an off the beaten path tromp through Fort Wilderness aboard a Segway is definitely in my future.


Unknown said...

We have been wanting to do the Segway tour for quite some time. Maybe on our next weekend getaway...

Anonymous said...

The Gazette Girls did Around the World at Epcot on our 2008 trip and LOVED IT! It's one of the things I wish we could do on every visit to Disney, cost be darned. We had so much fun on the Segways, in fact, that we've booked a Raleigh Segway tour in June for Elizabeth's birthday.

On the off chance we end up at Disney at the same time again, Ryan, I'll do the Fort Wilderness Segway tour with you!

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