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Around the World @ EPCOT (Segway Tour)

What a great tour/experience. We were able to get the four of us into the tour for our May 2004 trip. The tour consists of two halves. The first 45 minutes or so is learning to ride the Segway and some basic training. The second half you go and ride around World Showcase before it opens to the Public.

This tour is very limited on space (only 10 Segways available for guests when we took it). The two things stressed in this tour are SAFETY and to have fun. Unlike other WDW tours, the focus here is not the parks. Its the Segway. You learn about this human transporter device then get to experience it.

Out of the four of us I was the only one who had been on a Segway before (took the 5 minute experience at Disneyland) and the others had never even touched one. Its amazing how quickly you catch on to riding one. You watch everyone's first step onto it and they look wobbly and unsure, but after 15 minutes or so of the basic training and skills you start to feel more comfortable. After the first hour you feel extremely at ease and the Segway becomes just like a bike to most, second nature. By the end of your two hours all you want to do is ride more. Its such a unique experience and not to mention fun mode of transportation.

Our only complaint is we think there should have been a snack or at a minimum a drink available at the break. It would have been nice to have some water or something. Even though your not walking, your just standing the Florida sun can take a beating on you and having a helmet on doesn't help too much with airflow. Our other recommendation would be to extend the tour another half hour so you can complete your tour. We skipped France, Canada, and the UK, It would have been nice to finish those off before heading back.

While on the tour you go through areas with guests at the beginning of your World Showcase adventure and as you head back at the end. The other guests in the park asked a lot of questions, took pictures, and just star at you. Its really a fun experience and I am sure we sold the tour to several more guests... great advertising.

After taking this tour and seeing how much space the 12 Segways (10 guests + 2 CMs) sucked up and the way the Segway operates I can understand why these devices are not allowed in the park now and in the future (the exception being if they area ADA approved as medical devices then they would be allowed in for certain cases). EPCOT has some of Disney's widest walkways and it still felt tight to us.

We all commented on how it might be interesting to have a similar tour at the Animal Kingdom. You could really cover the park and experience it in a different way. Of course it would have to be before any guests are present, but it would really fit into the environmental theme of the park and offer an incredible experience, say coupled with the sound system that Wild by Design uses.


 

Tour Thoughts (May 2009)
This was my third time on this tour. The tour itself is nearly identical in flow. You spend the first 45 minutes or so learning to ride then the last hour riding around World Showcase. One item of note this time there was a guest relations CM and a Segway CM that went with us. In the past it seemed both were always guest relations (or at least had the same costumes on). Overall the guest relations CM threw some nice little factoids of World Showcase into the tour, but nothing new jumps to mind.. I thought both CMs on the tour were friendly and knowledgeable but neither seemed that outgoing and they seemed more interested in talking to two other CMs who were on the tour than the rest of us. Also they seemed a lot more safety cautious than previous tours, even the one we took in December at Fort Wilderness. They would not allow me to keep my camera bag with me.. nice for my shoulders but I would have liked to have had the lens choices for the photo stop.

Tour Log (May 2004)
  • Met at Guest Relations at
  • Signed our waivers and received our nametags
  • Once everyone was assembled we headed off by foot to Innoventions to get our helmets and watch a Safety Video
  • Also a CM demonstrated a Segway for us
  • Then we headed into a large room where the Segways were all lined up on the far wall and a bunch of cones were set up
  • You learn to turn on your Segway and turn it off
  • You learn to get on the Segway and off it
  • You get some practice standing still
  • Then you learn forward and backward
  • Followed by stationary turns
  • Then you do a couple courses and follow the leader to practice
  • Then you learn how to manually get your Segway over obstacles
  • After everyone in the group masters this its outside for some incline testing
  • Then a quick restroom break before heading to World Showcase
  • You pass some guests in Future World and at the Character Breakfast in Norway as you ride out to China where the regular guests are stopped.
  • The CM guides take you through many trails and walkways as you weave through China, the Outpost, Germany, and Italy.
  • We stopped for Pictures out front of the American Adventure
  • Then continued through Japan and Morocco before having to head back due to our 2 hours being up
  • You park the Segway back in Innoventions where you started
  • Then you fill out the customary survey and get your pin



Tour Comments and Changes (10/2004)

On our September/October visit to WDW we decided to give the Around the World Tour a second go around. Everyone enjoyed it so much the first time and thought we should give it another try. Doing the tour a second time you have a completely different mindset I think. The first time we took it many were concentrating on just riding the Segway and not much else. This time we were able to breeze through the introduction period and were really able to enjoy the ride and the comfort level was there the entire time. Not much had changed in the tour content. You still spend roughly the first hour inside learning to ride then the last hour out on World Showcase. This time we made it a bit further, out to France than the last time. Also the Segway Central training location was moved to the old Imagineering show area in Innoventions West. The space was much more confined, but the room did offer all the space it seemed you needed to learn to ride, including an incline to practice on. Also the concept art and large opening day and contstruction photos on the wall were great to look at. Our guide on this trip, Howard, really did a better job of talking about EPCOT's history and the World Showcase pavilions than on our first trip. Also this time there was a lot more activity around the showcase due to it being the kickoff day for the Food and Wine Festival.

Overall we all did enjoy the second trip around the world. We agree this will probably be our last trip. We would love to see other Segway opportunities around WDW, as we discussed in our original comments above. . Maybe an advanced tour or two with a 30 minute refresher course and then more time out in the park plus more information on the park would be great. We thought this would really open some additional opportunities and it would be a really great experience to be able to ride the Segway at the other parks. Think how much more ground could be covered at say Animal Kingdom or even a smaller park like the Studios.




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