Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Favorite Attractions Series #1

Its seems like every Disney related podcast I listen to or blog I read, has at one point or another demonstrated their lack of love for one of my top 10 attractions in Disney World: Primeval Whirl. For those of you that haven’t experienced it, it’s a small, spinning, wild mouse coaster in Dino Land of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.


Reason we love it #1: It’s awfully entertaining. It Spins! A lot! And it drops! And has sharp turns!

Reason we love it #2: The design of the attraction is amazing. I can’t imagine how much time Imagineering spent making it look so wonderfully bad. The kitschy design, muted but block coloring and fun illustration really shows how high Imagineering standards are even when funding is fairly low.

A big compliant (aside from the design…which is crazyyyy) is that it’s an out of the box coaster. I do understand that Disney has set some high standards in terms of custom attractions, but we have to realize that it’s impractical to believe they could spend 100,000,000+ on every attraction. Purchasing great carnival rides (but built better) and theming them, is a great solution to add more activities to a Park when funds are low. (Imagine the atmosphere of Fantasyland without Dumbo!!) We love this attraction so much, we have even taken our obsession to seeking out other version of this coaster.

So far we only managed to ride one. This is the Crazy Mouse ride found on Steel Pier in Atlantic City.



Having been on Primeval Whirl about 100 times, I can say that Crazy Mouse seems to be the same exact same track layout, except the construction materials/theme elements are way cheaper than those used on the Whirl. 

The biggiest difference between the 2 is obviously the design. The piping of the track itself and the supports on the Whirl are much thicker whereas the track and supports on the Crazy Mouse seem much much thinner and flimsier. As a result the ride itself pivets and shakes where the Whirl does not. Overall I never felt like I’m risking my life riding Primeval Whirl, where I was terrified on the Crazy Mouse. 

In terms of the theming, the Crazy Mouse has pretty much none. The carts have a badly designed mouse (I think) faces, but that as far as it goes. Eeek!!

Primeval Whirls theming, as stated above, is amazing (in my opinion).
The only thing better on the Crazy Mouse was the frightening factor. Typically when you read about wild mouse coaster, most are designed so you feel like you’re going to fall off the edge before a sharp turn. I never get this feeling when riding the Whirl. I also never noticed this until riding the Crazy Mouse. The coaster sits on a pier; one side is right against the edge of the pier with a very far distance to the ocean.  The other side is unobstructed with a nice view of the pier itself. 

When you ride the Crazy Mouse, you literally are horrified at each turn, feeling like the badly made ride is going to snap in half and send you plunging into the ocean or the splintered wood of the pier. This is lost for some reason on Primeval Whirl. I think its has to do with 2 aspects on the design.

#1: Primeval Whirl is surrounded by lots of stuff. When you come to the turns, the elements of the theming, trees and the mirror track keep you from feeling like you are going to drop off.

#2: The Disney version is much better constructed, so your instinct isn’t forming thoughts of potential peril.
Here’s a great ride thru on the Crazy Mouse. I think you’ll understand what I mean. I included a Primeval Whirl through for comparison.

 

Overall, I love Primeval Whirl so much and I really hope it reopens in September as planned. I also hope others will begin to look as this attraction not as a low budget addition to Animal Kingdom, but the amazing feat of Imagineering and design that it is.

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