The Sum of All Thrills: Attraction Reviewby Mary Albright, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 01/14/2010
Make your own roller coaster! You read that right. Have you ever thought about how you'd make your own roller coaster or thrill ride? Maybe Space Mountain or Expedition Everest is just too tame for you and you feel the sky should really be the limit! If so, you should experience The Sum of All Thrills.
A new addition to Innoventions East in Epcot's Future World, The Sum of All Thrills is a fantastic new interactive exhibit where you get to design and experience your own thrill ride.
My teenage daughter and I gave The Sum of All Thrills a whirl in early December. We arrived at the Innoventions East building in the early evening. That was definitely the time to be there, as the line was very short.
You are able to do this attraction in singles or in pairs. There are only eight stations, so a maximum of 16 people can participate at each point in the process.
Once you are selected to begin, you are assigned a number and enter the Briefing Room. There you watch a short video introducing the concept of The Sum of All Thrills, which puts specific emphasis on how much math, science, and engineering goes into the creation of these attractions. But don't worry; you don't need to know calculus to enjoy this attraction.
Before you know it, you are exiting the briefing room to the design area. We were assigned to Design Station #1.
The design station was a large computer touch screen set into a table. We were given cards with a magnetic stripe to store our design on. We had to swipe those on our design table first. After selecting the size of our party (two) and our language preference, we were given the choice of three thrill ride designs: roller coaster, bobsled, or jet ride. We decided to give the jet ride a whirl.
One thing to note is that at each step of the design process, you are shown elements in order from tamest to wildest, so you'll have an idea of what your design would do.
After selecting the jet ride, we were shown three elements we could choose from to begin our design, from tamest to wildest. Once we selected our design feature, we used the virtual tools provided to give our design a test run to see how it would perform. We had to test we'd have enough energy at the speed we were going to complete our chosen maneuver. But we could also test how fast we were going and adjust the ride to go faster, or slower. The test run could also tell us if we were going too fast.
On our first design element, we didn't have enough energy to complete the run. We added speed and then we also raised the height of our design element. We ran the test run again, and had success!
What I found personally interesting was that the program calculated how fast we were going and how much energy we used with our design.
We followed the same procedure for the three design elements that made up our thrill ride.
Once we were finished, we were directed to one of several large robotic arms in the attraction area. If you've been to DisneyQuest, these are similar to the robotic arms used in some of their virtual attractions.
When we got up to our assigned spot, the cast member took our cards and swiped them on the control box for our simulator. Since we weren't going upside down, we didn't have to put our stuff in a locker. But those who had designed a thrill ride with upside down elements were asked to store their items in a locker right there on the platform. There was no cost to use those lockers.
The robot arm had two seats and hoods that fit quite closely against each of us. We couldn't see each other physically, but we each had a screen on our heads-up display that showed an image of our partner's face.
After we were secured in our simulator, they loaded our design into the computer and we experienced the thrill ride we'd just created. Our ride lasted about 90 seconds.
Once we were done, we go to keep our design cards. I was told we could re-ride our thrill ride for up to six months after our initial design session by using that card. The card also has information on Raytheon's push to help more young people study math, science and engineering, promoting their website http://www.mathmoves.com. As an engineering major myself, I'm so excited that they have this info out there. I checked out the website and it's pretty interesting.
It's easy to see how this attraction could develop a long wait. I'd suggest doing this right away in the morning or in the evening when more people are eating dinner or in the World Showcase.
The Sum of All Thrills is definitely a family activity. If you aren't a thrill ride person, you can definitely design a tamer attraction that is still enjoyable. And if you are crazy, like my daughter, you could add as many corkscrews and loops as you want and make it totally wild.
About the Author: Mary Albright is a return PassPorter News Guest Contributor. Married with two children, she lives in Minnesota and works as a Virtual Assistant. She has visited Walt Disney World more than 15 times since 2000. She has two trips in the works for June 2010 and December 2010.
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Updated 01/14/2010 - Article #407
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