Monday, September 20, 2010

Around the World on a Segway

On our recent August trip, amongst all of the cool things we did, we got to do something really, really cool:  ride a Segway.  We took the Around the World on a Segway tour around Epcot's World Showcase, and it was amazing!  The tour costs $95 per person, but it was worth every penny.  There are also discounts for Disney Visa cardholders, Annual Passholders, AAA members, and DVC members.  The tour is offered at 7, 8:30, 9, and 9:30 am, and we took the 9 am tour.  The tour can hold a maximum of ten people, and all participants must weigh between 100 and 250 pounds (Segway weight restrictions).  All participants must be at least 16 years old, and people under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  And now that we're past the information stuff, on to the tour!

Our tour met at guest relations, where we met our first tour guide, got our name tags, and signed waivers.  Once our whole group arrived, our second guide came and escorted us to Segway Central in Innoventions West.  We watched a short informational video, and soon we were getting on Segways!  I'm incredibly clumsy, but the Segways weren't at all hard to balance!  They are self balancing systems, after all, and they'll balance themselves with nothing on them for five to ten seconds before they fall.

At first, we just learned how to ride forward and turn both ways, but soon we started our little obstacle course training.  Half of the course was a slalom type course with little cones that you had to weave between.  Also, our guide, James, would jump out at random times to test our stopping.  We were told we had to be prepared for little kids not paying attention or kamikaze squirrels.  The other half of the course was riding up and down and stopping on a small hill.  Once everyone passed, we hit the road for our first task according to our guides:  not hitting the people running to Soarin'.  Luckily, there were no collisions, and after a bathroom break, we headed over to World Showcase!

As you likely know, World Showcase is closed until 11 am, but Mexico and Norway are technically open to the public for people having breakfast at Akershus.  Because of this, we skipped these two countries and started our trip around the world at China.  At each pavilion, we learned some facts about the pavilion, about the cities they were modeled after, and sometimes even saw a hidden Mickey or two!  In most pavilions, there was also a small area to ride around, whether it was weaving around columns or riding through the entire Morocco pavilion.

Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly.  Our Segway guide was named Fran, I believe, and she was there to assist us with Segway questions and problems.  Also, her Segway wasn't on "turtle mode," so she could speed up and help if it was needed.  Our actual guide was James, and he told us that when he doesn't do Segway tours, he's a VIP tour guide.  People pay hundreds of dollars for this guy, and we got him for two hours for $95 per person (less after our AAA discount!).  He had tons of information, and everything that he told us was so interesting.

For example, we learned a lot about the Morocco pavilion being the most authentic of all, largely because the Moroccan ambassador visits every few months to make sure the pavilion is up to the Moroccan king's standards.  The Moroccan king essentially built and paid for the entire pavilion, and he still pays all the salaries of the employees that work at the pavilion!  He also provides them housing and places to pray outside the pavilion.  Apparently this particular pavilion was built because of the longstanding relationship between the US and Morocco, and on display is even a letter George Washington wrote to the king of Morocco, thanking him for recognizing us as a nation.  I thought all of that was pretty amazing.

I could probably spend hours telling you all about the Segway tour, but I wouldn't want to spoil it if you want to go yourself.  Which I highly, HIGHLY recommend, by the way.  It was our first behind-the-scenes tour at Disney, and it definitely made us want to try more tours in the future!  As I said, it's not inexpensive, but it really was worth every penny!  And now I want my own Segway!

Have you ever been on a Segway tour?  Ever been on a tour at all?  What did you think of them?  Let me know your opinions in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook (now at facebook.com/disneycollegeblog)!
 

10 comments:

  1. I've been on the Yuletide fantasy tour, and loved it.

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  2. I'm really curious if that one runs in early January because if it does, I'll have to look into that one for the future too!

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  3. I've done the Around the World and the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure Segway Tours. I enjoyed both but the Wilderness Back Trail tour felt like it gave you more time on the Segway. You actually make it all the way over to Wilderness Lodge and back. It's also pretty cool going over bumps with the bigger tires.

    My wife did the Nature-Inspired Design tour which was a balance of touring and behind the scenes tour. She learned quite a bit about Epcot and had fun riding around on the helipad.

    Our biggest challenge is that we usually have the kids with us while we're at Disney so only one of us can go at a time.

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  4. I was looking at both the Back Trail tour and Nature-Inspired Design. Our next tour will probably be Keys to the Kingdom though.

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  5. Allison (@Disney_Alli)September 22, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    Amanda,

    I was wondering if you'd considered the Magic Behind Our Steam Train Tour if James is more of a vehicle/toys geek than a Disney geek. I took it with my dad on this trip and had a lot of fun (even if the other 4 people on our tour were professional railroaders... this isn't the norm)

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  6. Lol! I never thought about it, though James isn't a big vehicle geek. I've heard it's a really awesome tour, though.

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  7. Sounds like SO much fun! I want to do a bunch of tours, and this is definitely at the top of the list!

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  8. This is the only tour I've ever done, but I highly recommend it!

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  9. Haven't ever done a tour and we're planning a trip for Dec and would love to do a tour...or two! We're trying to decide between this one and Keys to the Kingdom. Thanks for the post!

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  10. They're both great! If you can, I'd say do both!

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