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Florida Guide > Animal Kingdom

Now, I take great pleasure from visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando and the rides are an important part of my enjoyment, but I know where my limits are, or at least I thought I did.

As far as thrill rides are concerned I draw the line at something like Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom or Test Track in Epcot but would not contemplate anything like Rock ‘n Roll Coaster in Hollywood Studios. All of which left me with a bit of a dilemma when we decided to visit Animal Kingdom, home of Expedition Everest. This had been described to me as a fast ride not dissimilar to Thunder Mountain but with a slight twist.

Hhmm… I wasn’t convinced.

Finding the ride in the park is easy, simply head for the snow capped peak set in the continent of ‘Asia’ and be prepared to wait in line, or grab a fast pass and come back later. As it happens the day we visited was fairly quiet so no excuses that the wait would be too long.

I watched for a while as the thrill seeking riders shrieked their way around the bends at a velocity that seemed a lot faster than Thunder Mountain, but against my better judgement I decided to give it a try.

Cleverly themed in a Tibetan style, we unsuspecting explorers were directed through a museum full of original Himalayan artefacts and news clippings of successful summit attempts which I really found interesting, and it helped take my mind off my own personal descent from this scary mountain just in front of me.

Within, what seemed like the blink of an eye, we were strapped in and making the steep ascent to the summit. The increase in altitude quickly took us above the tree line to give a marvellous view over the immediate area with Epcot’s Spaceship Earth and the Tower of Terror prominent in the near distance.

Then, as we approached the final crest, our way was blocked by the fearful Yeti. The tracks had been ripped up ahead of us, so the only way was down…. . backwards! !

With the brakes failing we were hurled around corners, over sheer precipices and through darkened ice tunnels until finally we shuddered to a halt. But this was the Yeti’s lair and we needed to get out.

Forward this time, with the creature’s roars ringing in our ears, we careered around the mountain, as if in free fall, through high speed turns and rock caves until finally we slowed to find ourselves approaching the safety of base camp where we were welcomed as returning heroes by the cast members.

This is not a ride for the faint hearted but, as I discovered it is not as bad as it looks, and I did enjoy it…. honestly! !

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Page added on: 19 September 2010
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