Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Midway Mania

We’re fast approaching the load area, and a male cast member is working there, assigning guests to specific load rows.

He asks how many in our party – five – and I ask him if there is a no-stairs exit available. I think he nods, but he seems preoccupied with the task of dividing everyone up. He then asks us to hold where we are for a moment – aha, I think, he’s going to send us to the special loading area – but then he assigns us to specific rows right here. I never see him speak to the ride dispatcher or anyone else about my request.

I find myself wondering if I should have been more assertive, but oh well. I’ll make the best of it.

Our ride vehicle approaches. It’s an interesting setup. Two linked cars travel together, with each car having two rows of seating for two, but the seats are back-to-back, both facing outward in opposite directions. I get a row to myself, and we all put on our 3-D glasses.

There are two cartoony-looking pop guns mounted on each row, each with a pull string at the back. There’s not a lot of travel on the string, maybe an inch with each pull, so it’s easy to get a lot of shots off with quick pulls.

Our ride vehicles accelerate quickly and slide into the first target area. Each of these game areas consist of four large (floor to ceiling) screens, two on the left and two on the right. The two cars rotate as you arrive so that its rows of riders are facing left and right, so that each car is directly between the left and right pairs of screens. I know I’m making it sound much more complicated than it is. Basically, every pair of riders faces their own screen.

The first screens just give us target practice to get used to the guns. It really is cool. We aim our guns, pull the strings, and somehow the image on the screen shows a 3-D object which appears to come from our gun in the direction we have it pointed, and it interacts with the various targets.

I quickly learn that there are unlimited shots, so my strategy is the keep the shots coming and fine-tune the aim as I go.

We’re at the first station for about 30 or 45 seconds, and then we speed and twist to a new location. The tracks ahead of us are dark, but I can tell that there are different paths and directions we can be taking.

Each station has a new game, with both a new setting, new targets, and new projectiles – darts, baseballs, etc. It’s great fun, no matter how you’re doing game-wise. The targets on the screen all show a point value, and smaller and faster moving targets are usually worth more. Often hitting one target will unleash a flood of others. We are all laughing our way through this.

There are several stations, several games, and then finally there’s a “run up your score” place where the targets are easy to hit, coming rapid fire, and the more you hit the higher the point values get. Great fun. This attraction is a home run for Disney.

I end up with 121,500 points. I have no idea if that is good, bad, or just respectable, until I ask my family’s scores. None of them came close.

Our ride vehicles head out of the ride building back into the light, and – hey! We’re swerving to one side, to that special unload area! Awesome! We climb out of the vehicles, exit a gate, and go through the door into the attached gift shop. We’re out, with absolutely no stairs.

Bravo, Disney, bravo.

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