I found the one thing that’s completely not magical at Walt Disney World: the pinball. For starters, the parks are practically devoid of arcades now. The shop attached to Space Mountain that once had a small assortment of machines is now 100% merchandise. With Pizza Planet at Hollywood Studios being transformed into PizzeRizzo there are even fewer places to find some games at the parks, not to mention pinball.
Our home-away-from-home this time was Port Orleans French Quarter whose tiny, misshapen arcade had one pinball machine, TRON Legacy. We were killing some time waiting for our bus back to the airport so I finally gave it a shot. Almost immediately my ball got wedged in one of the side lanes and the machine had to go through its auto-shaking routine three times before it was finally released. Also, any time “Shoot Again” was active it would return multiple balls so I usually had 2 or 3 in play at once.
Earlier in the trip we stopped over at Port Orleans Riverside, a much larger resort that’s basically attached to French Quarter and shares similar Louisianian theming. Their arcade was three times the size of French Quarter’s and had 4 Stern tables lined up in the back for what amounted to $0.25 per play. The first one I played was Indiana Jones and I knew it was going to be a catastrophic game as soon as my credit activated the table.
The right flipper was not only super weak but it would constantly get lodged in place. Only the ball hitting it would cause it to drop back down. Making any specific shot from the right hand side was more impossible than usual for me. Somehow I still managed to get a multiball which resulted in a satisfying explosion of chrome balls from the Ark of the Covenant. Similar to TRON though, all of the balls were returned after multiball ended for the remainder of my game. Trying to get a ball back into play with 6 of them stacked up was kind of more fun than the table itself.
I didn’t get to check for pinball at any other resorts on this trip but after these experiences it would probably have end with more disappointment. “Ramshackle” is the word I’d use to describe the pinball at Disney World’s resorts. As entertaining as the janky behavior was I would have preferred to fail at pinball on my own terms. The highlight of the trip as far as gaming was concerned definitely goes to Sega’s Jambo! Safari which I haven’t played in … *does the math* … wow, over 15 years! I’ve got some video of it that I’ll hopefully have posted later this week.