Nov 022009
 

By Sarah DeMare

If you have ever been to Epcot at rope drop, you know that there are a few places that everyone rushes to. Most head to Soarin’, some to Test Track, and a few to Character Connection. You expect this. What you don’t expect to see is people rushing to Innoventions. So you can imagine my surprise last weekend when my son and I were waiting at rope drop to see a group of people standing outside the doors to Innoventions East. I recall thinking to myself, “Huh, that’s unusual.” So my son and I went about our morning. This was our last few hours before heading the airport, so we kept it nice and relaxing. Figment, Imageworks, Innoventions West, and finally we headed into Innoventions East right after 10:00 a.m. My first thought was, boy there are a lot more people in here than in Innoventions West. Then I saw the line. And I was sucked in. I didn’t know what the line was for, but figured if there was a line I should be in it, and I’d figure out after we secured our spot if we should stay in it. So into the line we went.

The attraction is called the Sum of All Thrills presented by Raytheon. Then it occurred to me that I had heard something about a new attraction in Innoventions, and that was supposed to be popular. The experience was reported as similar to Cyberspace Mountain at DisneyQuest, but with newer technology. As the light went off in my head, I realized this is where that small crowd was headed at rope drop. So now that I’ve decided we should stay in the line, I had to assess the situation. There were about 35 people in front of us, so I was hopeful that we would be done in time for us to head to the airport by 11:00 a.m. About that time, a group of guests were let into the briefing room, and the line moved forward a fair bit, so I was fairly certain we’d be fine.

When it was going to be our turn to be the next group in the briefing room, the Cast Member took my son aside and measured him. You need to be 48 inches minimum to experience this attraction, and 54 inches minimum if you want to design a thrill ride that goes upside down. My son fell in the above 48 inches but below 54 inches so no upside down thrills for us, which was fine by me. We were each given a small card similar in size to a PhotoPass card with the attraction name and a blue border. Those groups who were all taller than 54 inches were given cards with red borders.

When you enter the briefing room your group is assigned a number 1-8. The numbers are on the floor so you stand on your number when being briefed. There are typically two people per number, but your group can have anywhere from 1-3 people in it…so you can gauge how long it will take you to get into the briefing room based on the number of people in line in front of you. Once in the briefing room you are told all about math and engineering and the art of designing thrill rides. After you are properly briefed, you are let into the design area, where again there are numbers at each station, so you head for your assigned number.

Everyone swipes the card they were given–presumably this tells the system whether or not to allow the upside down options for your design. Then you get to choose if you would like to do a bobsled, roller coaster or jet. My son opted for the jet. We then got to pick our first set of track. These are ranked from mild to wild. Once you pick the track, you use a ruler to adjust the steepness. You can then adjust your speed with a dial. When that part is done your robotic buddy Crash tests it out. If your speed is too fast or too slow, he will let you know and you can adjust–they can’t have you flying off the track now, can they? We were able to pick two more sections of track before we were done. Then you get to name your thrill ride. You pick from a list your first and second words. Ours was the Supersonic Tornado.

When you finish you are directed either to the right or left staircase. There are four simulators total, two on each side. When it is your turn, they have you lock your belongings in a locker, and swipe your card to load your ride. Then you hop into the simulator. It’s important to note that if you are at all claustrophobic this may not be the attraction for you. Each person has their own seat and monitor, so you cannot see your partner except by video screen. And if your partner is on the shorter side, like mine, all you can see is their forehead. Also, when you pull the top of your simulator down, your hands have restricted movement. It is tight in there, so just be warned. Finally, before closing you in they show you were the abort button is, if at any time to need to stop your ride.

And then you are off. You get all the cool graphics that go with flying a jet (or bobsled or roller coaster), along with all of the loops and turns that you chose for your thrill ride. Your ride lasts about two minutes. At the end your thrill ride is given a number to rank how thrilling it was. Ours was 533, and the computer told us we designed a thrilling
ride. Although we weren’t told what the high score is, a score of 1,000 is a high score to aim for.

And then we were done. It was about 10:45 a.m., and the line was considerably longer now than it had been when we got in, which was just around 10:10 a.m. You get to keep your card, so that you can go online when you get home to continue your experience. Even if you haven’t been to the Epcot attraction yet, you can experience a virtual Sum of All Thrills at www.MathMovesU.com.

My six-year-old gave it two thumbs up, and judging by the number of people in line, I expect this to be a very popular addition to Innoventions. Be sure and check it out on your next trip to Epcot.

Ready for more? Watch to the short YouTube video of the attraction here:

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