Land of the Rising Mickey - Aug 9, 2001

Land of the Rising Mickey
Page 3 of 13

Journey to the Center of the Earth
FastPass Attraction

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Ok. Here we go - I don't think it's a bad attraction, but I feel it has some genuine problems. First off, after an absolutely wonderful entrance and queue, guests board an elevator for what is supposed to be a trip many thousands of feet down into the earth. Unfortunately, I found the effect just plain unconvincing. It's my hope that, due to the fact that this was a pre-opening preview, there are effects in addition to the moving dial and the breeze from the floor that will be added soon. (The breeze is awfully nice on a hot day and it brings to mind Marilyn Monroe:)  I think a sudden start, some pronounced "buffeting", and a sudden stop would help a lot.

The guest load/unload area is fantastic and I love the ride vehicles.
But at only three minutes, the ride short, especially when a good chunk of that time is a virtually uneventful trip back to the loading area. (Is it slower than planned? I don't know.)

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There are some beautiful scenes inside the attraction and many creative uses of ultraviolet light and forced perspective. The inhabitants of this netherworld are interesting and quite strange in both their appearance and their movement.

Unfortunately, the attraction's narrative doesn't come close to living up to its often striking visuals. Unlike 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I was all too aware of the fact that I was on a ride, being paraded by a variety of scenes.  I also felt the moment of "crisis" was far to similar, particularly in the visual sense, to the Indiana Jones Adventures.

I think some of the other problems lie in the timing/pacing of the ride. Perhaps some tweaking of that timing might lead to an improvement, but I know there are technical considerations which limit how much can be done in that area.

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All that having been said, I still fully recommend riding Journey to the Center of the Earth. It's a bigtime attraction that I feel is worth the time, if done in the right way.

Tip: Be sure to take advantage of the attraction's FastPass system and, now this is important - time it for a nighttime ride. Not only will your eyes be better adjusted to view the attraction's outstanding but dark queue, load areas, and scenes, I've found the drop and the lead-up to it much more thrilling at night.

Note: I intend to reevaluate this very complex attraction and my review of it after it's had some more time to settle in.

Facts at a Glance

Attraction Time: Approx. 3 minutes
Capacity: 6 passengers per vehicle
Maximum Speed: Approx. 40 mph

Backstory and Spoilers