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            Universe Of Energy 

                 Ellen’s Energy Adventure 

                                                            By Florida Diva 

Well, where to start; maybe with the best part of the attraction? 

That would be when Ellen says, “Stupid Judy.” 

Really. No joke; that’s the best thing about this “ride”.  

Be warned; this article is long for 2 reasons. First, the ride is 45 minutes long, so I have a lot to cover, and second, I have made a huge attempt to make this article more interesting than the ride. 

But to be fair, my extreme boredom with this attraction may stem from the fact that I live in Alberta, Canada; one of the most diverse energy places on the planet. Even the dinosaur animatronics (another highlight, if I have to choose something else) is something we have at my local zoo and I’m only an hour from both The Royal Tyrell Museum and Dinosaur Provincial Park where you can view and touch actual dinosaur bones. The landscape around my city is dotted with pump jacks, we invented the “wind farm”, LED lights and I have friends who work in the open pit coal mines north west of here; so all of this was old hat to me. 

Having said that, it has the potential to be so much more entertaining and informative, especially in this day and age of hatred for the oil sands; much of which stems from a lack of understanding. But instead, you are subjected to a 45 minute video lecture on the numerous sources of energy, where it all comes from and why “clean” energy is so difficult to integrate. 

The beginning is about a 10 to 15 minute dream sequence where Ellen finds herself on Jeopardy competing against Einstein and “Stupid Judy”, her smarty pants, obnoxious, know-it-all nemesis from college; played by Jamie Lee Curtis. She freezes the game in order to go searching for the answer to an energy question with the help of Bill Nye the Science Guy. 

( NOTE: This may not be a completely accurate description as the theater remains “open” and so people come and go, talking loudly as they enter and try to stay together in the dark. This is an extremely annoying distraction to anyone who has been deluded into believing they might miss something due to these inconsiderate late comers. But Ellen even incorporates this into her monologue, chastising people who showed up late! Why develop an attraction where part of the design is to allow people to wander in at the end and distract and interrupt the experience for those of us who were naive enough to expect to be entertained and immersed into another Disney experience? Jzeeesh! Oh, and did I mention that it’s a 45 minute experience?) 

As the doors open and people are herded into another large chamber, my friend and I were bringing up the rear when I asked, still obviously wet behind the ears, “There’s a lot of people in here, are we going to have to wait for the next one?” 

He laughed, and I soon discovered why. In the next “room” there were 3 of the largest ride cars I’ve ever seen. Each must have been 20 or 30 rows long and each row could hold probably 15-20 people. We had a row to ourselves and the nearest people in front or behind us weren’t even within spitting distance. Then my friend leans over and says, “Hopefully we’ll get through it.” 

“What?!” I replied. 

“Sometimes people get bored and get off in the middle. They have to shut it down and evacuate while they do a sweep of the attraction. It’ll suck if we get half way through and someone gets up.” He explained. 

The look on my face probably expressed my thoughts, “What on earth am I in for here?” 

The ride portion began and we witness the “Big Bang”, then slowly, and I mean slowly, we entered the prehistoric era. Ellen and Bill are running around among the dinosaurs and this is sprinkled with a bit of Ellen’s humor that has spilled over from the initial dream sequence movie. Eventually, the 3 large cars that are moving together through the energy explanation enter another large theater where we watch Bill teach Ellen all about the numerous forms of energy. By this point, I was literally leaning on the seat in front of me wishing someone would make a run for it, while I fought the urge to sleep. This may also have been caused by my 12 hour journey to Orlando the day before, but I doubt it. 

Finally, it’s over and we exit back into the Florida sun. 

What can I say? Honestly? Its 45 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. As far as Disney goes, this attraction is an extreme disappointment. It could have been so much more enjoyable and I have numerous suggestions for how this could become a classic, but alas, that’s not up to me. Let’s just say Leonard and Sheldon explaining all of this to Penny would be a good place to start.
Ride restrictions: None, although young children may not like the few instances of complete darkness, and those who suffer from narcolepsy should avoid this ride. 

Wheelchair accessible: Yes