I fought with myself for a bit before I finally decided to write a post about Sum of All Thrills. I mean, this attraction isn’t exactly a secret. Writing about it on an “offbeat things to do at Walt Disney World” blog seems a little strange on the surface. However, I’ve noticed that this attraction flies under the radar of a lot of park visitors. I’ve mentioned it to friends of mine who were planning trips only to find out that was the first they’d heard of it. I’ve also struck up conversations with people at Epcot while in line for other attractions and very few of them had ever heard of it either. This has to change! This is an amazing attraction, especially if you have a child who is interested in math, science, or engineering. (Or better even, a child whose interest in those subjects still needs to be cultivated.)
Sum of All Thrills is inside Innoventions East (that’s the same side of Future World as Mission: Space and Test Track). There is a 48″ minimum height requirement to ride, and riders 54″ and over are additionally able to program inversions (aka loops, or upside-down portions of roller coaster track) into their coasters. When you near the front of the line, a cast member will present you with your very own Sum of All Thrills card. You’ll get a red bordered card if you (and your ride partner, if any) are 54″ and over, and you’ll get a purple card if anyone in your party is between 48″ and 54″.
Here’s a tip for you! If you are over 54″ and would like to try the ride but you don’t want to experience any inversions, ask the cast member for purple cards instead of red. The ride creation tools won’t even present options that contain inversions to you if you have purple cards, so you can’t include one accidentally.
When it’s your turn to start your Sum of All Thrills adventure, you are escorted into the Briefing Room, where you will watch a short movie starring Grace and Spencer, two engineers who will guide you through the process of designing your ride. They will explain how to use the ruler (which you use the set the height or width of some of your track pieces) and the knob (which you use to increase or decrease the speed of your ride vehicle as it travels along the track). They will also introduce you to Crash, the test dummy character who will help you test your coaster to make sure it’s safe to ride.
After Grace and Spencer lay it out for you, you are shown to your console where you will create your ride. You can choose from three different ride types (bobsled, roller coaster, and jet) and then you can choose a series of four different pieces of track to customize your coaster. As you add each piece, some of them will allow you to set the height and/or width, and you will often have to speed up or slow down your vehicle to make sure it has enough energy to make it through each piece of track, but not so much that it might be unsafe.
Wondering how you can tell if your coaster will “work” or not? Your energy readout in the top left corner of the screen is your friend here, showing you how much energy you need, how much you have, and then giving you either a green (good) or red (either too much or not enough) net energy readout bar. When you’re in the green, have Crash test that piece of track and then you can move on to the next step.
When you’ve completed your coaster, you’ll choose two words from pre-selected coaster name lists and combine them to get the name for your ride. Then upload your ride and a cast member will direct you upstairs to your KUKA Robotics simulator, where you will experience your ride.
After you remove all loose objects from your pockets and stow any other items in a locker (keys provided by the cast members upstairs, and the lockers are free to use during your ride) you will then be able to board the simulator and go on your ride. The screen in front of you will simulate the look of your track, synchronized to the movements of the ride vehicle. You also have a view of the person riding the ride with you (so parents, you won’t be isolated from your child while you’re riding, you’ll be able to see if they’re in distress.) There is also an emergency stop button between both riders which either of you can use if necessary.
When you’re done, the Sum of All Thrills card is yours to keep. The card has a unique code on it that will let you access the coaster you designed at Raytheon’s Math Moves U site. You can also text your code to THRILL to see your video on your video-enabled smart phone. Even if you have yet to experience the attraction in person, if you want a preview, go ahead and visit Raytheon’s Math Moves U site now!
Here is a video of what the KUKA Robotics simulators look like in action:
Give this a try the next time you visit Epcot! I honestly think this is the finest math/science/engineering-related experience currently available in any Disney park.