For some weird reason, I have always wanted to get evacuated off a Disney ride. Not just any ride, but a cool one, like Splash Mountain or The Great Movie Ride (RIP). An attraction where I could see Audio-Animatronics up close, without having to pay money for a backstage tour. Preferably, this attraction would have stairs, and I’d get stuck at the very top.
Luckily, all my dreams came true this past weekend at Epcot, when I got evacuated off Spaceship Earth (the ride inside the big golf ball).
It started out as a normal day at Disney. The husband and I began the morning at Animal Kingdom (to ride Flight of Passage, no less), and then headed over to Epcot to enjoy some Food and Wine.
It was hot that day. Extremely hot. The sun was so relentless; I could barely enjoy any of the delicious food being served up in the specialty booths. All I wanted to do was stay hydrated and find some shade.
It seemed that everyone else had the same idea. The Mexico Pavilion was insanely busy, and even the Gran Fiesta Tour (the boat ride inside Mexico) was 40 minutes long. That ride NEVER has a wait, so I was really surprised. We went next door to ride Frozen Ever After instead, where we had a FastPass and could breeze by the poor souls waiting 105 minutes (I got death glares from all of them).
Nevertheless, even the cool respire from Elsa didn’t do much to rescue me from being on the verge of heatstroke. I quickly found another FastPass for Spaceship Earth, and we headed back to the park entrance.
The ride began normally. Eric and I settled in to listen to the soothing tones of Dame Judy Dench, and I took out my phone to begin choosing my 6th FastPass for the day (the key is to keep refreshing- I’ll write more on my FastPass+ strategies in another post). We smiled for the ride pictures, and made sure to thank the Phoenicians for teaching us our ABCs.
Sometime around the 1970s, we stopped. We had just passed the family watching the moon landing on their shag carpeting (and my husband told me the moon-landing conspiracy theory for the millionth time), when we heard the announcement, “Your time machine vehicle has come to a stop. Please remain seated.” Of course, I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it.
I thought it was just a normal halt. Spaceship Earth vehicles never stop moving (similar to the Doom Buggies in Haunted Mansion, and the Clamshells in The Little Mermaid), so I figured someone with a handicap was boarding. Cast Members can stop or slow down the vehicles if someone has difficulty boarding in a timely manner. Thinking this was nothing too serious, I kept scrolling through my phone and listened to the repeat of “that’s one small step for man…”
After 15 minutes or so, I jokingly turned to my husband and said, “hey, maybe we’ll get walked off!” He nodded and replied, “yeah, that would be cool!”
Then, a cast member’s voice came over the loudspeaker, different than the normal recording you hear when the vehicle makes a normal stop.
“Attention please, your time machine vehicle has made an unscheduled stop. A cast member will be present soon to assist you. In the meantime, please stay seated.”
Well, this was certainly different. Still, I thought we would continue to move in a few seconds. The disembodied voice kept repeating these instructions, with different wording each time, and I had a funny feeling that maybe, finally, I would get evac’d from a Disney attraction.
This feeling was confirmed when the work lights came on, and the music turned off. It was suddenly very eerie. The Audio-Animatronics continued to move, and I swear, the mother watching the moon landing looked RIGHT at me. I will continue to have nightmares about that for the next few months.
The guests in the cars in front of us were starting to get antsy. These were the cars looking out at the chick in the go-go boots working at NASA, and they were apparently trying to entertain themselves by pretending to call out to her. When she didn’t answer, they started singing “Tomorrow” from Annie. I think they had a little too much fun at Food and Wine.
Eric and I saw two cast members walking past us, and knew it was only a matter of time. It felt like half an hour had passed since we stopped, but it was a nice break from the sun, so I didn’t mind. At least we were sitting.
Finally, a cast member opened our vehicle door for us, and we began walking down the track. I knew we were pretty close to the top, and was excited about all the Audio-Animatronics we were about to pass by. Until…
The cast member led us to a hidden emergency exit door. We ended up walking down a normal set of stairs back to the ride entrance. We didn’t see anything that interesting, but still, it was a unique experience. I was majorly geeking out at getting at least a little bit closer to a few of the Animatronics I had been gliding past since I was old enough to ride Spaceship Earth.
I was half-hoping they would give us FastPasses to return and ride the attraction normally later, but nope. We got nothing. I understood, since it was a really busy day, and obviously the breakdown was not anyone’s fault. I’m not sure how long Spaceship Earth remained 101 (Disney speak for “down”) after that, but I wonder what the trouble was. It must have been something mechanical.
Now…no one told us not to take video, so I did get a few shaky shots of what Spaceship Earth looks like with the lights on. It’s pretty neat if you’re interested in how the attraction works!
Anyway, that was my exciting Disney evacuation experience! Has anyone else been walked off a Disney ride? Any other strange theme park ride experiences you’d like to share?
Hugs and Fishes,