They see me roll on my Segway
I know in my heart they think I'm
White and nerdy
- Weird Al Yankovic
During our big family trip to WDW earlier this year, a couple of us did the Around the World at Epcot tour and loved it. It was truly one of the highlights of our vacation. Now that there was a "local" version at DCA, it seemed like something I had to try. This past Sunday, I finally took the plunge and did the tour.
The verdict? It was a blast and lots of fun! I'll have some comparisons between this tour and the Epcot tour a little later, but first the basics.
I'm not a morning person at all, so getting to DLR for a 7:15am meeting time was not the easiest thing in the world, but somehow I managed to make it. Tour participants had the option of parking at DTD for complimentary parking. The brisk walk from the DTD parking lot to the entrance to DCA sure woke me up. According to my car's outdoor thermometer, it was a balmy 46F outside.
One of our tour guides met us at 7:20am and took us to a room behind Guest Relations at DCA. There was coffee (sweet nectar of life!), assorted juices, pastries and fruit. After some introductions, signing the waiver absolving Disney of any responsibility for your lack of coordination and general small talk, we all watched a brief Segway training video. Our tour group was a full complement of 12 guests, and a second tour guide joined us shortly. There was a Segway in the room itself and the guides went over the basics of how it functioned.
After the video was over, we walked over to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot area for training. We split up into two groups of six and learned how to ride our Segways. Including myself, only three of the 12 guests had ever been on a Segway before, but everyone picked it up really quickly. The training consisted of several components: stepping on/off a Segway, rolling forward and turning, walking your Segway over speed bumps, a slalom course around cones, how to limbo under a plastic lightsaber (e.g. ducking under obstacles), and finally going up and down inclines. Once we had mastered all of these skills, it was time for the Tour to commence.
As our guides led us around the park, they would stop at certain points and provide us with various bits of trivia and facts about DCA. Not surprisingly, most of us enjoyed having hidden mickeys pointed out more than anything else.
Our experience and path around the park was quite similar to Wanda Woman's trip report from her Segway tour this past July--with the exception of being in a much larger group. One of the guides said that after a slow start, the tours are pretty much at capacity everyday. I enjoyed the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail the most. We had a 15 minute "free time" segment in Paradise Pier, but due to the construction of Toy Story Mania, our boundaries were more limited than before the construction walls went up. Everyone seemed to enjoy the tour with comments like "I don't want it (the tour) to end" and "I want one of these (Segways) for myself" being uttered quite often.
The warning sticker on our Segways.
I definitely had a wonderful time and highly recommend this tour if riding a Segway holds any interest for you. But how does it compare to the Epcot version? Both tours are great but each version does certain things that I like better than the other.
I truly enjoyed both Segway tours. They're certainly not cheap, but I felt it was money well spent. The combination of riding a Segway *at* a Disney theme park is just lots and lots of fun. I highly recommend it.
- The initial training period at Epcot is much slower and drawn out than the DCA version. A lot of this is predicated on the limited amount of training space in the Innoventions pavilion versus the wider outdoor space at DCA. But the end result was that there was slightly less "riding time" vs. "training time" with the Epcot tour.
- However, once we got rolling in World Showcase, I enjoyed the "tour" aspect at Epcot more than the DCA version. Maybe it's because I'm at DLR about once a month vs. once every 15-18 months at WDW. But I definitely found the information, trivia and facts presented by our Epcot tour guides to be a lot more interesting.
- The DCA tour is more expensive than the Epcot version ($99 vs $85, discounts for APs, AAA, Disney Visa). However, with the additional cost, you get a free group PhotoPass picture at DCA as well as the light continental breakfast.
- At the end of both tours, you get a special tour pin. Both pins are very cool and feature a little sliding Segway, but I like the Epcot version better.