You Guys, They Have a TRON Ride!
My family assures me that the TRON ride was mentioned before we left on our trip, but with the holidays and all the visa stuff I must have missed it. When I found out there was a TRON ride at Shanghai Disneyland I started to get excited. When I found out it was called the TRON Lightcycle Power Run I got more excited. Disney had brought to life one of the coolest things from the movies when I was a kid, the lightcycles from TRON, and I was going to get to ride one.
No one else in my family really understood. I had
forced given my kids the opportunity to watch TRON when they were kids, but they claimed it wasn’t any good or didn’t remember it depending on their age. It wasn’t just the movie where you got to enter the world of the computer, but I spent hours playing the TRON game at the arcade trying to beat the Master Control Program. TRON was the first movie I can remember where the computer geek is the hero. It was also the first movie to use CGI and did I mention it had lightcycles?
I down-played my disappointment when we found out that the ride was closed down. We were in a new park and there was no sense lamenting something I couldn’t change. This did not stop me from mentioning that we should go check the ride every ten minutes or so. Luckily after we did saved the planet on the Buzz Lightyear ride and saw some of the other sights in Tomorrowland we saw that people were getting in line again. I think the wait time said thirty-five minutes, but honestly I didn’t look to closely because we were getting in line. Michael doesn’t do rides that go upside down (or nearly) so we gave the camera and the backpack and headed into the line. Kira isn’t fond of roller coasters either, but she has a “I’ll ride anything at Disneyland once” policy. The line bottlenecked early on into a large mass of people who were being filtered into a side area containing thousands of coin lockers. You don’t need any coins, but you do have to put ALL of you bags into the lockers and this included Kira’s purse. I am certain there is a better way to manage this flow of people and knowing Disney they’ll figure something out. For now it was just one last step for us before getting in the real line for the ride.
In the line you learn the story behind the ride, which is that there are four teams of riders on Lightcycles and we are all on Team Blue. We must complete the Power Run and pass through all eight Energy Gates before the other made up teams. There was also a video showing us how to mount the lightcycle and store our loose articles in a small compartment. It was one of the longer lines we waited in that day and we probably saw the video more times than we wanted to, but before long we entered a large room reminiscent of the loading area for Space Mountain. We could see the light cycles coming in and we could hear the whoops and screams of the riders as they were accelerated away from us.
We came to the front of the line and were assigned our lightcycles. The girls rode together and I rode sitting next to Kira. The way the ride is set up I had to cross behind the lightcycles before getting on the ride. You then place your knees onto rests as you straddle the cycle. You start out sitting but then grab the handlebars in front of you and push forward. As you recline forward bringing the handlebars with you a restraint is pulled down on your back. It is oddly much more comfortable than it sounds. The turtle shell on your back was designed with some give and you can sit up a little if you want. Everyone removed their glasses except Melanie and put them in the a secure compartment. Then we were off.
This ride is basically a roller coaster that does roller coaster things like go very fast, go up and then down, and almost flips over at one part. The acceleration at the beginning remained me of other Disney roller coasters like the Californian Screamin’ or the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster. The whole thing is over in the blink of an eye with barely enough time to count the Energy Gates as you pass through. In short (and I am quoting from my notes here), it was awesome!
As we were walking off the ride Kira informed us that the guide books say the ride is really best appreciated when ridden at night. Even with short lines and a half empty park we were still concerned about how much time we would have so when we were able to Melanie, Sarah, and I snagged some fast passes for later that night and rode it again. There is only one part that goes outside and the rest of the ride is in a dark space so I am not sure riding at night made much of a difference, but it was still worth the second ride.
Sarah was going to wear her glasses on this second attempt because despite all of their warnings it isn’t any more likely that they would fall off on this ride than many others. The ride operators made both of the girls store them before we took off . Melanie put hers back on as soon as we turned the first corner. For the record I wasn’t planning on turning the TRON ride into a single post, but last night at dinner Sarah made a joke about it and the more I thought about it the more it made sense.
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