I love Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. It is in my top three attractions at Walt Disney World. Exactly where it sits in that top three varies from day to day (Toy Story Mania and the Animation Academy being the other two). Definitely my favourite at Magic Kingdom. When we visited last September we could literally get off and walk back round and wait about 2 mins before we hopped right back on again. The reason we didn’t end up doing that for several hours? (it being one of my faves and all.) Because I lost to my husband every blimming time! And not by a few points – by thousands and thousands!
So for those that don’t know, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is an interactive ride in Tomorrowland. You sit in a little pod or ‘space ranger’ that has two lazer guns and this pod moves along a track, around the ride. Buzz Lightyear has accepted a mission from Star Command to help defeat Evil Emperor Zurg as he tries to steal batteries from toys to power an ultimate weapon (or something like that.) You accept the role of Junior Space Ranger and have to help him defeat Zorg. As you travel round the ride you shoot at targets with your lazer gun. The targets have a big orange Z on them (for Zorg) and some are static and some move or appear out of no where. When you hit a target it makes noises and you’re awarded points. Your points are totalled up and at the end you can see if your point total means you get a promotion. You can compete with your neighbour or just try and get a high score. To add to the fun, there is a little joystick which lets you move your pod around 360 degrees – so if you want to aim better you can move it so that you’re facing the right direction – or to put your mate off, you give it a good swing (but they do it back so its not much of an advantage).
Quick tip though – the space ranger can seat three people (although really only two adults comfortably) – two get the guns and one gets the joystick for moving the pod around, in the middle. I’m sure that’s great for parents who need to help out their kids to try and aim etc. But its no fun if they’re fine and you don’t get a go at actually playing the game – lets face it, moving the pod will get lame pretty quick. If your kids are old enough, split into two groups rather than go as a three – getting a score on your own is still better than not getting a score at all.
Ok, so the concept is pretty simple right? Point and shoot, get points. So why am I so darn bad at it? In competing with my hubby, I think I start at a disadvantage. He has an xbox and while he’s not a compulsive gamer, he does play war type games. The last game I played however was Rayman on the PC – once games became 3D I could never work out how to run in the right direction. Bring back ‘Hopper’ that’s what I say. Anyway, I digress – he’s does this kind of thing, I don’t. But still – this isn’t actually a computer game – its physical – I can move the gun, pull the trigger, see the lazer – all myself not in a game. So even if he has an advantage, he shouldn’t be trouncing me.
Personally, I think he’s figured it out so he gets the bigger points. He won’t tell me what the trick is, but he even managed to beat me when he spent half the time trying to take photos, so there’s got to be something. Now I’m guessing (I concentrate on the targets too hard to actually look at the points and know for sure) that the targets that are smaller, or further away will be worth more. Probably the ones that are harder to hit too. But there’s got to be something more than that – he must know of a target or two that is worth particularly big points. Half of me thinks I should research it so I can try it next time. The other half knows that he didn’t do that, so its kind of cheating.
At the end of the ride, you get your photo taken. The car stops spinning at that point, to make sure you’re in shot. Once you’re off the ride you can preview these in the shop and choose whether to buy it or not. I’ve always thought they were kind of expensive, but plenty of people buy them – I think they’re between about $20 and $30 depending on what you get. One final tip: make sure that you’re ready for the photo – otherwise it looks like you’re taking it waaayy too seriously!