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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Riding The Aqua Duck on the Disney Dream

 Who else has a water coaster at sea?  No one, other than the Disney Dream!  The Aqua Duck is part roller coaster, part water slide, and part raft ride and we rode it!  Numerous times!

The official location of the Aqua Duck is Deck 14 Aft.  The steps are located on Deck 12, just one level above the pools.  There will be a Cast Member monitoring the entrance during operating hours, and another Cast Member monitoring the loading area.  This Cast Member has access to a video monitor with visual access to feed from cameras throughout the ride and watches as rafts travel through the clear acrylic tube and knows when another raft can be launched.  A third Cast Member can be found at the splash zone for the Aqua Duck, where guests get off the raft.  That Cast Member then sends the rafts up an elevator of sorts, so no carrying your raft to the top to ride!  
 Initially, the height limit was 48 inches.  Soon, the height limits changed to 54 inches to ride alone and 42 inches to ride with another rider.  This is more about weight than height, as rafts that are too light will get stuck.  Riders who are tall enough to ride, but not tall enough to ride alone, are given a red bracelet to wear.  We thought the red bracelet meant having to ride with an adult, but we later found out that the red bracelet meant that they could ride with anyone else who is tall enough, including 2 riders with red bracelets.  So, if you have two kids who aren't quite tall enough and get red bracelets, they can ride together. 

The boy drank his milk and ate his vegetables all summer hoping to get to 54 inches, but he was just a hair shy, literally.  He donned a red bracelet and took turns riding with us.  Next cruise, he will definitely be tall enough.
 Wait times are often posted at the entrance steps.  Just know that once you are no longer on the steps outside the funnel, there are another set of steps inside the funnel—it’s actually two sets of steps—one set up one direction with a turn and another set of steps up the other direction to the loading and launching area. 

As soon as we finished lunch at Cabanas on our first afternoon on board, the husband and the boy were in swimsuits and headed for the Aqua Duck.  They had about a 20 minute wait at that point.  The pool deck and steps to the Aqua Duck can get quite hot, so if you plan to ride and wait in line during the day, water shoes are suggested and allowed on the Duck.
That was the first, last, and only time we waited that long in line to ride the Duck.  Our secret?  Riding the Duck at night!  The Aqua Duck is operational until midnight.  So, after eating dinner and taking in the 8:30 show, we were in our swimsuits around 9:30 pm and off to ride the Duck.  The Duck is illuminated at night which adds another dimension. 

One evening, the husband and I rode the Duck while the boy was in the Kids’ Club.  The first time, I was in the front.  OK, but the propulsion was incredible and I felt like my feet were going to hit the incline after the propulsion.  Next turn, the husband rode in front.  He said his feet did hit the incline.  Our decision—not to ride together, but separately, or with the boy.  Done!  And, no matter who you ride with or when, you will get wet.  The water splashes from the bottom but also comes from overhead.

The boy wasn't left out.  The next couple of evenings he was with us when we rode the Duck and loved every minute.  One night, after riding, he took a dip in the pools and watched a movie on the funnel vision screen while soaking in the pool.  Ahh, cruising!

The husband and the boy ride the Aqua Duck!

The Aqua Duck is not without controversy.  We witnessed a parent of a youngster debating with a ship’s officer near the Port Adventures desk on Deck 5 about whether or not his child could ride.  The officer was polite, listened, etc.  Finally, after walking away to the elevator and then being followed by the parent who wasn’t finished or didn’t like the answer, the officer said that his supervisor said it would be dependant on the child’s height.  If he was tall enough to ride, then the answer would be yes.  Duh!  That’s the answer for all of us, but it didn’t seem to be the response this particular parent was arguing for.  Obviously, this parent didn’t do his homework and know the height restrictions prior to building up this experience for his child.  Unfortunately, this whole conversation took place in front of the child as well.  While I understand the parent’s point of view—this may be the one and only time on the Dream, we hoped to take in every experience possible, my child was looking forward to this experience, I promised my child—there has to be some guidelines, even rules, for safety of operation, just like at the Disney parks.  Making my point again about doing your homework before your vacation so you can avoid these situations.  As a mom, I’m certainly not going to build up a ride or attraction to my child if they are unable to ride it due to height restrictions.  And, because I value the safety of my child and others, I’m not going to try and circumvent those restrictions.

Know that the Aqua Duck is operational most of the day—usually 7:00 am until midnight.  There are times when the Cast Members are switching shift which may cause a temporary shut down.  You will know this when you see the gate closed at the bottom of the entrance steps.

Tips for the loading area:  The rafts have bottoms, they are not tubes.  Good thing!  Who wants their swim suited bottom smushed up against clear acrylic for everyone on Deck 11 to see?  Since they are rafts with bottoms, the preferred method of entrance means sitting down, then spinning your legs.  Do not step into the seat!  If you ride in front, stand in front of the raft, then sit down.  You’ll be in position.  If you ride in the back, stand to the side of the raft, sit down, swivel in your seat and swing your legs.  Ok, there is no graceful way to do this and you will be doing it in a swimsuit.  So will everyone else.  I suggested to the Cast Member at the loading/launching area that they needed to create a video on how to load.  Show it either to educate riders or blackmail guests with it on You Tube!  They did think the instructional part might work, but did chuckle at the blackmail part.  Yeah, I’m always full of suggestions!

The Aqua Duck at night!

The Aqua Duck is something Disney Cruise Line got right!

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