Being that we are lucky enough to live in Central Florida, we have dedicated numerous weekends to visiting the Disney theme parks. Even before the boys were born we often partook in visits to the parks, if for no other reason than to just enjoy the atmosphere. After the boys were born, we continued this tradition but agreed that we would try to keep some aspects of the parks new to them as they grew up, so that there would still be things that they hadn’t done. Ultimately they both gravitated, like their motion sick father, to the slower rides that each of the parks have to offer. 2017 was a tough year for us slow ride junkies because we lost two of our favorite rides within a couple weeks of each other. We were there a few weeks ago to bid adieu to The Great Movie Ride, and we found ourselves at Epcot on this beautiful afternoon to say goodbye to Ellen, Bill Nye, and Stupid Judy, as they were closing the Universe of Energy.
For those of you who have ever ridden this attraction, you know that it wasn’t one of Walt Disney World’s proudest moments of attraction success. It was built back in the 80’s and I am fairly confident that they wanted to capture that beautiful piece of history based on the content of the ride. Most people went on the ride to get off their feet for 45 minutes and enjoy the dark, air conditioned, slow moving ride. It didn’t have much to offer in the form of entertainment, as the attraction cast member had to spiel that they ride was 45 minutes and if Guests wanted to opt out they could… and probably should.
We only really started riding this with the boys in the last couple of years. Hunter took a liking to the ride early on, partly because Emily watches Ellen, and partly because there were dinosaurs. For those that never had the chance to ride the attraction, you start in a standing theater that has 5 movie screens that form almost a 180 degree screen, probably cool for its time. You meet Ellen and Bill Nye who are sitting in Ellen’s apartment talking and end up watching Jeopardy where one of Ellen’s old school mates, Judy, is competing. Ellen ends up drifting off to sleep where you enter Ellen’s dream sequence. Following the film you board these huge moving tram type vehicles on tracks and navigate your way through audio animatronic dinosaurs and into another film scene with Ellen and Bill. The focus of the attraction is on power and renewable energy. Unfortunately most Guests have run out of energy midway through the ride and drift off to sleep. The attraction ends with Ellen beating Judy in the final Jeopardy question highlighting the amazing amount of information Ellen learned in 30 minutes. Although the attraction gave us much to laugh at, and with, we were still sad to see it go.
We dried our tears and continued on with the rest of our fun filled day at Epcot. Our next stop was the new Frozen Ever After ride that took the place of the old Maelstrom attraction that used to be in Norway. Although the Frozen Ever After attraction has been around for a while, we hadn’t been able to experience it due to the high demand. We had a FastPass booked for it on one of our outings, but the attraction went down that day and never came back up.
We enjoyed the brief ride through Arendelle with the Frozen characters. They did some really neat things with the audio animations and video. Hunter claims to no longer like Frozen but he sure seemed interested in the ride. I think Emily and I would have rather kept the old ride, which was more unique to the themed land.
Continuing on with our day at Epcot we worked our way back to Mexico for our traditional stop at the great country. The boys enjoy the Mexico boat ride and Emily claimed that she wanted to pay her respects to the long lost Maelstrom attraction by enjoying her favorite margarita drink with the same name. I did my usual wait in the line for drinks while Emily took the boys on the attraction. I was hoping to hear the tunes of the Mariachi Cobre while I waited but no such luck.
We enjoyed our beverages as we headed out of the Mexico pavilion where we were greeted by looming clouds. Since it was around dinner time our plan of attack was to make it to Electric Umbrella to grab some dinner and see if the storm would pass while we were eating. We got a little wet on our way but made it to the restaurant where we enjoyed our dinner on the second floor seating level with many other guests with the same plan.
The weather never ended up passing so we braved the walk back to the car in the rain. Since the boys are so into cars these days we had to walk by the section of the parking lot with the car chargers to see if we could spot a Tesla, which we did. The boys posed for a photo with and as we hustled off to our car.
The drive home was a rainy one but it did provide a beautiful photo opportunity of a double rainbow. The last time we saw a double rainbow was leaving Castaway Cay on our ten night Caribbean cruise. I’d like to think this one represented Ellen and poor Stupid Judy, riding off into the sunset of gone, but never forgotten, Disney attractions.