Friday, January 17, 2014

Day 382: FAF: The Universe of Energy

It's time for the second Featured Attraction Friday. Last week we looked at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom, and to continue our theme of "Starting Out," we're headed to Epcot. And since I have most of the big name attractions (Ahem...Spaceship Earth), waiting for June, we're heading to a different part of Future World: The Universe of Energy!

What's On The Map:

The Epcot Park map say s specifically Ellen's Energy Adventure, since that's what the nae was officially changed to when they redid it years ago. Take a multimedia romp through time and Ellen DeGeneres' subconscious. "The show begins with a film (featuring a few familiar faces). In it, Ellen DeGeneres is watching Jeopardy! One of the contestants is Ellen's annoying college roommate, Judy. Ellen plays along but keeps striking out, particularly in the Energy category. As she watches, her neighbor Bill Nye, the Science Guy pops in and is aghast at Ellen's ignorance. Shortly thereafter, Ellen dozes off. Ellen dreams she is a contestant on the show, competing against Albert Einstein and her former friend Judy. This time, all of the questions are about energy" (Birnbaum Guide).

"Thankfully, her friend and neighbor Bill Nye is on hand to tutor her, and you're along for the ride as they embark on a time-traveling quest for energy knowledge. Then witness the Final Jeopardy! showdown as Ellen is pitted against her college rival, a brainiac doctor she sardonically refers to as "Stupid Judy," and see how much you're learned about energy" (WDW Website).

A Brief History Lesson: 

This week's history comes from Lost Epcot!

The Universe of Energy opened on October 1, 1982, one of the original attractions of Epcot, and became Ellen's Energy Adventure in 1996. Originally, it was sponsored by Exxon from the years 1982 to 2004, and while the story has changed a bit, it's always been all about energy!

The first version of the Universe of Energy also had a preshow, although "the screen was made up of 100 turning sections that almost resembled cubes. They were not technically cubes though because they had three sides: one black and two white for projection. The five projectors and the turning cubes were synced together to create a kaleidoscope-like show." The theme here was that "energy is never destroyed, nor is new energy created, but energy is perceived in different forms."

From there you would board the vehicles that still grace the attraction today, you know...the really big giant ones that if you stand up or put your arm out too far shut off the entire attraction (it's a problem...please don't do this). There you watch an animated film on how fossil fuels were created before heading into the most talked about part of the show: Primeval World.

Finally you'd have a presentation on present-day energy sources before heading back to the original theater for the grand finale. "The song 'Universe of Energy' was played. Among many other laser-like images, was an astronaut girl. At the time, this was the biggest computer-generated film to be projected."

In September of 1996, the Universe of Energy reopened with the subtitle "Ellen's Energy Adventure."

Fun Facts: 

  • Look up at the roof. It's covered with 80,000 photo-voltaic cells that provide solar energy, captured and converted into AC, and then used to power the ride. So, as the voice over indicates during your journey, you are literally "riding on sunshine." 
  • During the pre-show, when Ellen realizes she is losing badly at Jeopardy! but has control over the outcome because she's the one dreaming about it, she says, "Freeze!" Note, however, her lips do not move! Oops! 
  • Fans of the 1940 Disney movie Fantasia might recognize a small tribute to Walt's most ambitious cinematic undertaking as they ravel past a confrontation between the T-Rex and Stegosaurus. The same scene can be found in the movie's "Rite of Spring" composition, depicting the creation of the cosmos through to the dinosaur's extinction. 
  • As you exit the dinosaur portion of the ride, you hear a radio broadcast compliments of KNRG News Radio. Do the station's call letters bring anything to mind They are a shortened version of "kinetic energy." 

My Thoughts: 

It's kind of funny actually. I may have told you the story of the first attraction I went on at Walt Disney World: obviously Spaceship Earth. BUT, I don't think I've told you the story of the SECOND attraction I went on! The Universe of Energy was just redone when I made my first trip in 1996, since I went in October and it had just opened in September. That meant that my parents hadn't been on it previous to going on it with me, and had no idea about what was coming. 

Well, if you've been on the Universe of Energy before, you'll know that it's three things other than hilarious and awesome and ELLEN: long, dark and loud. Now, at 15 months old it's kind of hard for me to figure out all of what's going on, and when the Big Bang came along, it's really loud, and I don't remember whether or not I freaked out  (my parents probably do), but I do know that it's the reason I hated loud noises as a kid. I honestly hated fireworks and everything...all because of the Universe of Energy. 

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the attraction now (although I DO wish it were a bit shorter...45 minutes is just a really long time, especially when you're trying to get stuff done). I mean, it has Ellen and Bill Nye and those two are just hilarious. Plus it gets that Jeopardy! theme song just super stuck in your head! What's not to love? taught us the answer to the world's most important question! What is the one type of energy that will never run out! 

And that brings us to the end of our second Featured Attraction Friday. I've still got more to catch up on I'd better keep working! 

What do you think of the Universe of Energy? 

Have a magical day!