Friday, July 4, 2014


By now, you’ve noticed the girls and I love Disney and if you haven’t, then your powers of observation need some serious exercise. Part of our annual passes to everything Disney includes admission into their giant arcade at Downtown Disney called DisneyQuest, five floors of video games and interactive fun. We had never been before, so when Sarah’s cousin, Lisa, was vacationing in Orlando, we decided to meet there for a visit of fun. Adults could talk and we could all play. Sounds like a good time, right? Well, it was.

We entered on the third floor, which was street level, and it was recommended we start at the top and work our way down by the cast member guarding the front door. We had an hour and a half to kill before Lisa and her family arrived, so we decided to explore. We found the nearest elevator, because I only exercise when the girls force me and walking stairs is classified as exercise in my book. We piled in and pressed 5.

Each floor seemed to be divided in half with the elevator acting as the center point and dividing line. When we exited the elevator, we ventured left and wound up facing Ride the Comix, where we could enter a comic book world and fight off evil villains. It’s a virtual reality ride where we put on a visor helmet and strap ourselves onto this stump looking chair, which is supposed to keep us from falling on our asses as we jerk around. We stood there, a stick in our hands that turns into a sword that resembles a light sabre in the game, and pretended to sword fight evil. Afterward, we stood and watched another group play the game and could only imagine how silly we appeared swinging an invisible sword at invisible people, our bodies zig-zagging and arms twirling. Teri said next time she just wanted to video tape us. I don’t think I want the evidence of actions.

From there, Char, Sarah, and I climbed into Invasion! An ExtraTerrorestrial Alien Encounter. The 9-year-old was ready to sit this one out and Teri was quick to volunteer to keep an eye on her. On this ride, we are enclosed inside of a “space ship” and have to rescue stranded colonists while fighting off the attacking aliens. The game is played on a large screen while you hold the controls and push buttons in a frantic frenzy while trying to steer our ship over rugged alien terrain. It took me until the end of the game to figure out what the hell I was doing and by then most of my colonists were alien fodder. The lesson we walked away with was that you would rather come to my rescue than have to depend on me to save your stranded ass. Personally, I think you need to stay on Earth where you belong so we don’t have to worry about it.

By now, Sarah’s cousins had joined us and we were ready for the fun to continue. Down on the third floor, we hopped aboard a pogo-looking device and became a ball inside of a pinball machine. We could maneuver our ball around, trying to play off each other as we racked up points. The ball would roll off whichever way we leaned and soon I was trying to keep my dinner down. The 9-year-old beat us all and I’m sure she has not played a real pinball game.

On the first floor, we hopped aboard the Pirates of Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold. The 9-year-old had seen us on the other games and figured she’s have better luck with her cousins and, therefore, ditched us. I didn’t really blame her. I would have ditched us, too, but I wasn’t allowed.

This time, the game was in 3D and we had to wear those hard plastic glasses that I hate. The screen is on three sides and we are on a facsimile of a pirate ship with four cannons and a wheel to steer the vessel by. I took up the wheel. After seeing how well I did at the alien invasion, I was better off just steering the boat. The girls handled the firing weapons and soon we had piled up quite a bit of booty at the front of our boat. Then, Captain Blackbeard came to steal our treasure and we had to fight him off. That’s where we failed in our mission. In an attempt to kill Blackbeard’s ghosts we sunk our own ship. Never point your cannon at your own ship.

Feeling herself justified in ditching us, the 9-year-old remained with her cousins as we climbed aboard the Virtual Jungle Cruise. This time, Sarah ditched us as well, the traitor, leaving Char, Teri and I to face the rapids alone.

On this ride, you climb aboard a raft perched atop a giant air mattress and given oars with wheels attached that you have to use or you go nowhere on the giant screen in front of you. That was fine with me, but the girls told me to paddle. I wanted to paddle them, but as I lifted the oar, they said that wasn’t what they meant in no uncertain terms. We were then tossed into a prehistoric world and had to ride the rapids of adventure as we hoped not to become a dino snack. What the three of us left in our little party didn’t know was that the raft we were in actually moved as if we were riding the rapids. At one point, we were bounced out of the water on the screen and almost completely out of our raft. I was just happy that there wasn’t actual water or we would have drowned.

A few of the rides we didn’t have time for were Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster, where you ride in a bumper car and fire rubber balls at the other drivers, Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, and CyberSpace Mountain, a place to not only design your own roller coaster, but also ride it. I’m glad I missed that last one, because as one of Teri’s friends said, “My roller coaster would resemble a train ride, completely straight and flat.”
DisneyQuest is home to a couple of other neat things such as Radio Disney Songmaker, where you can hop into a booth and record your own song. Then there is the Animation Academy, a 30-minute class that teaches you how to draw one of your favorite Disney characters. Teri and Sarah both took the class and can now draw Minnie Mouse, although I am not sure why they would want to. Still, it was a fun experience.

And then there are video and arcade games on every floor. From Frogger and Pac Man to carnival games like the basketball and football toss. We even played four-man air hockey and a couple of the girls raced each other down curvy courses. It was because of that game we decided to keep Teri in the passenger seat, when she hit a bump, left the race course and wiped out a poor town. Guitar Hero, shooting galleries, and dance moves, it would be impossible for someone not to find a game they would enjoy.

There are also two dining areas. On the fifth floor you can get lunch or dinner, choosing from hamburgers, hot dogs pasta and more. Then once done, pick out a sweet dessert on the fourth floor at the Wonderland Café and settle back in large Alice-in-Wonderland chairs and booths to relax. It was here that we found some parents taking a nap while their kids lost themselves on virtual reality. This is where I think I will hide next time, after a game of Donkey Kong, of course.

All of this is received with the price of admission. Except for the food and drink, you could spend all day here and never spend another dime. Of course, Disney knows the truth of location, location, location, and as you leave you have to pass through the DisneyQuest Emporium. Now the little tykes are screaming for the souvenirs you were hoping they would have forgotten about while they were fighting off aliens. Still, you don’t feel so bad letting them get something because look at the quarters and tokens you saved inside. DisneyQuest is a fun experience for all as younger generations enjoy the violence of the new games, adults can wax nostalgic at the original arcade games, and everyone can get lost in a virtual reality world. For a day full of adventure, it is well worth the price of admission.

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