Friday, June 17, 2011

Studios Thrill Rides... For Wimps?

Photo from James
As I'm sure you all know, I'm a ride wimp.  I'm afraid of many of the rides that people adore at Walt Disney World.  The Studios (it's International Hollywood Studios Awareness week, remember?) has two of the scariest thrill rides of all, but my fellow ride wimps may not know that they can get a thrill ride experience while always being safely attached to the ground.  Have you ever heard of a chicken exit?

The lovely Cheryl loves the Studios, and back in January, she was very displeased with the fact that I had never seen the Tower of Terror queue.  We decided that we needed to change that, so we headed right over to the Hollywood Tower Hotel.  We took the Fastpass entrance, so I can't say anything about the standby queue.  Before we knew it, we were in the hotel, and we were watching the pre-show.  You see, at Tower of Terror, the chicken elevator separates from the ride elevators right when they're loading people into the ride.  That means that the chickens and the riders can see all the other parts of the queue and pre-show together before splitting up.  So after the queue and pre-show, we were in the final part of the queue.  I kept second guessing Cheryl, asking her if she's SURE we didn't pass the chicken exit yet.  Obviously I was terrified, but Cheryl wasn't tricking me.  When the cast member at the loading platform asked how many in our party, we said one rider (James) and two chickens (Cheryl and I).  Cheryl and I were directed to stand to the side while they loaded the ride elevator, and soon we were directed to a normal, safe, slow elevator.  I knew it was a real one because there were no seatbelts.  After a perfectly average ride down on an elevator, we found ourselves at the ride exit to wait for James.  A few minutes later, he arrived, and we walked through the gift shop on our way out.  It was like James, Cheryl, and I all had the same experience, except only James had the terror part.

A few days later, James' brother and his boyfriend came to hang out with us at Disney, and they decided they wanted to hit the Studios first.  We all headed over to Rock 'n Roller Coaster, even though I knew I wouldn't be riding.  When we asked how long the single rider line was, the CM told us he couldn't be sure.  Just a few minutes later, thanks to my birthday and James' brother's flirting skills, we had achieved four Fastpasses that were good immediately.  All I had to do was tell the CM I would ride.  And I did tell him that, knowing that I could chicken exit later if I wanted to.  At first, I felt brave.  I felt like I could do it.  Then as we waited, I started to chicken out, and I realized that I really did not want to ride this coaster.  Luckily for me, I could experience the queue without riding.  And so I did the same as Cheryl had taught us a few days earlier.  We walked through the queue, we saw the pre-show, and we entered the loading area.  When the cast member asked how many, I told him I would be exiting on foot, not via a scary death coaster (although not in so many words).  He directed me to a door on the side of the platform that took me directly to the unloading platform.  They're right next to each other, you see.  So I got to wait for the others in the gift shop, watching all the ride photos of the people who came off.  A few minutes later, we were reunited, and James told me it was a good thing I hadn't ridden.  I'm glad I know now that I didn't have to in order to get the full experience. 

Did you know that you could experience these queues without riding?  Have you ever taken a chicken exit?  Did you do it so you could experience the queue or pre-show?  On which attraction?  Let me know your ride wimp tips in a comment, on Twitter (@amandaenchanted), or on Facebook!
 

12 comments:

  1. A few years ago I went on Rockin' Roller Coaster, completely clueless of what the ride entailed. I survived the ride only to vomit about 10 minutes later when I couldn't get my equilibrium back . . . I am now a committed ride wimp. Except for The Tower of Terror - I can ride that. But Rockin' and Expedition Everest, Mission Space - so not for me.

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  2. Oh my gosh, that's horrible! =( At least now you know you can experience the attraction without riding. The chicken exit is your friend! Ride wimps unite!

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  3. I think it is a good idea that Disney allows visitors to experience queues even if they have no intention of actually riding as many are so detailed. That being said I like thrill rides so I've never used the chicken exit, although on my first trip in 2003 my dad and little brother used the Splash Mountain chicken exit [much to my dad's dismay after an hour wait] after my brother tensed up at the loading dock. Amanda-TOT and Rock n' ROller Coaster are pure thrill rides but reading the linked blog post, you must try splash mountain. The big drop is comparable to that of Escape from Pompeii at Busch Gardens Williamsburg but Splash is more about the music and animotronics than the drop itself. In fact, whereas Pompeii's drop comes less than 2 minutes after the ride begins, you have ten minutes of musical immersion on splash. Who knows, maybe you'll be so into the story you will forget about the drop until right before it happens. Sorry for the tangent.
    Andrew

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  4. I actually did ride Splash! That post is from a long time ago... just a background on my long-time ride wimpiness. Splash was the only thrill ride that I genuinely wanted to get over my fear. The others are just thrills for thrills sake, not my cup of tea at all. Especially after seeing the detailed queues, I really feel no reason to ride Tower of Terror or Rock n Roller Coaster. I got the main parts of the story from the queues alone!

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  5. I really like that there are the chicken exits, even though I dont use them. But I doubt I'll get Tim or Libby back on ToT so its nice to know they can still go with me until the last moment instead of sitting outside waiting which is no fun at all!

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  6. I encourage everyone who is too scared to ride Tower or can't ride Tower to walk through the queue like Amanda did and experience it. The queue is part of why the Tower of Terror is the best ride in WDW.

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  7. Great blog post!

    I'm a chicken with one exception; I enjoy simulators (so, M:S=Yes, but Splash Mountain, ToT, and any coaster other than Thunder Mountain= NO WAY).

    I had completely forgotten that there were chicken exits! I'll have to remember to use them this August.

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  8. Mark, that's why Beauty and the Beast is right there! For the ride wimps waiting for their braver family members.

    Matt, I definitely agree (obviously... I did write the post). The ride itself is the least important part of attraction, in my opinion.

    Sanford, chicken exits are great! Just make sure you ask a cast member toward the beginning where the chicken exit is, so you don't accidentally pass it. I'm not sure if they're all on the loading platforms.

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  9. That's a really good point. I will ride these rides but when my brother comes with me for New Year's, I want him to be with us the whole time but he wont' like the scary parts. I'll just have him do the chicken exit! Thanks for the tip!

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  10. Yeah definitely! Maybe he'll even get the courage to ride (but if not, that's cool too!).

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  11. I'm for sure not a ride wimp (I'll ride anything once, and if I don't like it then I wont do it again- but I'm yet to not like anything at Disney), but I love the chicken exits when my fiance and I travel with his mom. There are a few rides she won't ride (like ToT) but we don't want to leave her alone and bored sitting outside for us. Not only can she check out the que, but she only has to wait alone for a minute or two for the ride to finish.

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  12. Yes, that's why the chicken exits are so great! The time from when you separate to when you meet back up is so short! And usually you can browse around the gift shop for the few minutes it takes.

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