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Florida Guide > Disney General

Around Epcot by Segway

Apart from just allowing you to meander at will around their theme parks Disney also give you the added option, for a price, to look behind the scenes on a variety of guided tours. Having previously done the Keys to the Kingdom tour, this year, as we were celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary, we decided that we wanted something a bit different, and not quite as tiring!

We opted for the ‘Segway’ tour and were not disappointed.

For the uninitiated a Segway is a two-wheeled personal transportation vehicle, which apart from the wheels, consists of a platform between the wheels and a column, which enables the rider to control direction – hopefully! The machine is kept upright by the interaction of an onboard computer and several gyroscopes.

We arrived at Guest Relations and, having completed the paperwork, were issued with our name badges and introduced to the two cast members, Jason and Mark, who had been charged with teaching us how to operate a Segway without endangering life and limb – both our own and those of anybody in the immediate vicinity! It was then off to Segway Central in Innoventions East.

Segway Central consists of a room where an introductory video is shown and a roped off practice area. Having watched the video and collected our safety headwear we were then first shown how to mount the Segway. In many ways this is the scary part as it difficult to truly believe that a two-wheeled vehicle can stay upright in the hands of a novice. But it does! Then we had to practice staying in one spot. Not as easy as it sounds, as the onboard computer is so sensitive that simply breathing causes the system to self correct. You are then put through a series of practice manoeuvres including moving forwards, backwards, turning to the left and right and following other members of the party around obstacles. Then comes the incline – both up and down - and at great risk to the instructors an ‘emergency stop’! All this was conducted not only under the eagle eyes of our instructors but also many members of the public who were passing by within Innoventions.

When all the party and the instructors were comfortable that we would be safe to go out into the world, we set off on our adventure around World Showcase. We navigated through the Moroccan Bazaar, up through the German railway and meandered between the columns of the Italian palace. On our travels the instructors would stop and gather us together to impart snippets of information about the various ‘lands’. Then came some ‘free style’ time. The instructors roped off an area by the lake where we could practice our own moves and also have photos taken.

All too soon it was time to navigate through the swelling numbers of visitors to Epcot (easy-peasy - we were all experts by now! ) and return to Segway Central and hand back our new toys. Whilst the Segways are limited to 4 miles per hour, this was the fastest two hours of my life and I don’t think anybody could believe just how quickly the time had passed.

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Page added on: 29 September 2008
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