Riding a Segway at Epcot –
Imagine our surprise when, on a recent visit to Epcot, we were
suddenly surrounded by lots of people riding Segways, as we
stood outside the Innoventions Pavilion.
What is a Segway, you may ask? Well it’s a fantastic little gadget
made to transport you around – not on the road, of course,
and here its designed to take you ‘behind the scenes’ in the
World Showcase. It is actually a personal transporter, with
two wheels, on which you have to balance.
It was invented by
Dean Kamen in 2001, and designed to be used on sidewalks
rather than on roads. We once saw a business man in Orlando
riding along on one of these machines, in peak hour. Believe
me, he was definitely going faster than us, stuck in our
car! There are actually computers and motors in the base of
the Segway which keep it upright all the time. When you
lean forwards the machine goes forwards, and when you lean
backwards it goes backwards. There is a platform in the
middle of two wheels which you stand on, and a T-shaped
handle in the middle, which you use to steer left and right.
They have electric motors which allow it to travel at speeds
up to 12.5 miles per hour
These Segways at Epcot were certainly causing a stir, and people
were stopping to photograph them as they passed by. Disney
offer an orientation session first in Innoventions, so that
you can learn how to ride this quite unusual form of
transportation. There is a special centre within Innoventions
which is set up for the Segway tours.
It was great to see
them all lined up ready for use. For safety you have to wear
helmets, and you watch a video as the guide explains how to
control the Segway. Then you have to practice before you are
all taken out to tour the World Showcase. They look pretty
difficult to handle at first, but we were surprised at how
confident the riders were as they toured Epcot with their
guides. The best bit, once you have got the hang of staying
on them and steering them, is that you get to ride around
World Showcase before all the other people in the park are
allowed in, which is a nice feature of the tour. The tour
guides also give interesting facts about each country, and
you get to see all the preparations that take place before
the general public arrives.
The tours are called ‘Around the World at Epcot’ and cost $85
including taxes. The minimum age is 16 and those under 18
have to have a signature from a parent or legal guardian
before they are allowed to ride. Of course, only those in
good health are allowed to ride, and the maximum weight is
There are 4 tours each day, at 7.45 am, 8.30 am, 9.00 am, and 9.30
am. Entrance to the park is not included and is extra.
I know I can’t wait to try this innovative tour. Having spoken to
someone who had taken part, the only downside is that you
may have achey legs and feet after two hours of standing,
but I think it would be well worth the discomfort just to
experience this amazing form of transport, and to be able to
tour the World Showcase before the crowds arrive.