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Strap yourself in for 10 wild rides... Nobody does theme park rides quite like Disney. PAUL COLE tests the fear factor of the Top 10 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Byline: PAUL COLE

WHEN it comes to thrill rides there's no one quite like Disney. They may not always be the fastest, meanest monsters of the roller coaster world, but they have that sprinkling of fairydust to make them magical. The Disney Imagineers' renowned attention to detail makes each attraction a complete experience, rather than just the 'jump on, jump off rides that other theme parks tend to offer. Often, it's the pre-ride show that builds atmosphere, racking up the tension before the thrills to come. There's nothing more frightening than fear of the unknown, just before the darkness falls. Take the Twilight Zone Tower Of

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Terror. The build-up to the big event is spooky, widi Twilight Zone legend Rod Serling recounting die night that lightning hit the hotel, and sometiiing strange happened. Just how strange, you're just about to find out as you walk through the cobwebbed hotel lobby and meet the gaunt staff who usher you towards die service elevator ... I've just spent a week at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, during which I've dared die top 10 land rides. There's scary stuff in die water parks, too, but I'll leave mat until my next visit. Here are die big attractions, in alphabetical order. Most of diem operate die FastPass system, meaning mat you can pick up a timed admission ticket radier dian queuing too long to get on..

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD WHERE: Frontierland in Magic Kingdom. WHAT: Careering round the mountain in a runaway mine train is real family fun. Not as dramatic ! as some of the odier coasters, but Disney make up for it widi attention to Wild West detail. If you want to I add dirills and atmosphere, dien ride after dark when everydiing seems faster and somehow more dangerous. A real classic mat is much imitated but never matched by odier parks. SPEED: The Big Thunder Mountain train reaches speeds of up to 30 miles an hour and mere are diree significant dips during die diree-minute ride.

FEAR FACTOR: ** EXPEDITION EVEREST, right WHERE: Animal Kingdom WHAT: The ride experience is a bit like Big Thunder Mountain until you encounter die Yeti in a high ice cave and realise diat he's ripped up die track ahead. Your train rushes backwards dirough a tunnel, turns around, and heads out into die open, followed by a deadi-defying drop. SPEED: You'll reach SOmph while going forward, 30mph when careering out of control backwards, and it'll seem even faster when you hit the huge 80ft drop.

FEAR FACTOR: **** KALI RIVER RAPIDS, inset WHERE: Animal Kingdom WHAT: The mother of all theme park raft rides, taking you on a five-minute trip dirough die rainforest, passing gushing geysers, rushing waterfalls, white water rapids, dripping caves, water cannons, and a close encounter widi a logging truck. And dial's not to mention die 20ft drop. The guarantee is mat you will get soaked to die skin, even wetter man on Splash Mountain! SPEED: Slow, of course, because mat's die speed at which you will get very, very wet indeed.

FEAR FACTOR: * >MISSION SPACE WHERE: Epcot WHAT: You blast off on a mission to Mars, experiencing die crushing G forces of lift-off. Disney's cleverest ride is actually a centrifuge like diat used by NASA to train astronauts, but die special effects will convince you diat you're rocketing skywards radier dian whizzing round in circles. SPEED: Unknown, but die ride exposes you to as much as 2.5G - more dian twice die force of gravity at die Eardi's surface. Motion sickness bags are provided in die cabin. Yes, really.

FEAR FACTOR: *** ROCK 'N' ROLLER COASTER STARRING AEROSMITH, left WHERE: Disney Hollywood Studios WHAT: With the rock riffs of Aerosmith pumping from the loudspeakers in your chair, you're shot through a series of loops, corkscrews and twists in the dark, teasingly lit from time to time by road signs. SPEED: Accelerates from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds at the outset. FEAR FACTOR: *** >SOARIN', below left WHERE: Epcot WHAT: It's not a roller coaster, you don't flip upside down, but it's one of die most popular attractions in Disney World. It's an IMAX screen simulator which makes you feel as if you're hang-gliding over California. SPEED: Apart from initial lift-off it doesn't move, odier man gendy swaying, but as you "fly" dirough die mountains, it'll feel much faster.

FEAR FACTOR: * SPACE MOUNTAIN WHERE: Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom WHAT: A rollercoaster in die dark which sees riders descend a short drop and dien race dirough a series of turns, sharp climbs, and steep drops in die darkness of die dome. SPEED: The top speed is just 28 miles per hour but die twists, turns and drops make diis one of die best-loved Disney World rides.

FEAR FACTOR: *** SPLASH MOUNTAIN, inset WHERE: Frontierland in Magic Kingdom WHERE Paul stayed: Walt Disney World Resort as a guest of Walt Disney Destinations International. How long for: Seven nights in Orlando with Travel City Direct, including flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Orlando. Accommodation: At the three-star Disney's Art of Animations on a room-only basis WHAT: Based on The Song Of The Soudi, mis seven-minute ride has a couple of dips and drops - one in die dark - before a plunge down die 52ft flume at a crazy 45 degree angle. Wear a waterproof!. SPEED: Reaches 40mph on die final drop.

FEAR FACTOR: ** TEST TRACK, bottom left WHERE: Epcot WHAT: Get in the car, fasten your seatbelt and experience what it's like to be a test track dummy. You go over bumpy roads, screech to a stop widi and widiout anti-lock brakes, go dirough cold, hot and acid chambers, dien burst out onto die banked track. Screams are guaranteed during die final braking test. SPEED: Disney's fastest ride of all, widi a top speed of 65mph. But it feels even faster as you hurde round die 50-degree banked curve in your test car.

FEAR FACTOR: ** TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR WHERE: Disney Hollywood Studios WHAT: After an amazing introduction to die haunted hotel, you enter die lift, which stops several times for some stunning special effects. The lift malfunctions, falters, gives you a bird's eye view over die park when a window opens, men hurdes down die shaft. SPEED: Who cares? You're plunging down a 13-storey lift shaft. All you have to know is it's seriously scary.

FEAR FACTOR: ***** with car hire included. Prices: From PS1,299 per person, based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room, including taxes and fuel surcharges. Prices are based on departure date April 24, 2013. Terms and conditions apply; prices based on mid-week departure - subject to change. To book: Visit www.travelcitydirect.com or call 0844 557 6965.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2013
Words:1126
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