Tokyo Disneyland Park contains seven main “lands,” or separate themed areas. One of them is Toontown. It saddens me a little that Walt Disney World’s Toontown is closed for good, because as you can see with Tokyo’s version, it’s a great place for younger Guests to get a first experience with roller coasters. Lots of kids also enjoy visiting the “homes” of some favorite Characters.
At Tokyo Disneyland’s Toontown, Guests can visit Mickey’s and Minnie’s Houses, Donald’s Boat, and one I’d love to see, Chip ‘n Dale’s Treehouse. It’s the perfect place for those two mischievous chipmunks, because it offers a constant supply of their favorite snack, acorns. They happily welcome Guests to their nutty home. Come, climb up the oak tree and into their backyard!
Speaking of acorns…Gadget is an inventor with a passion for recycling who has put together a Toon-sized roller coaster using objects she has found. Ride vehicles on Gadget’s Go Coaster resemble hollowed-out acorns. That’s no problem since Guests have been virtually shrunk to Toon size! The ride duration is only one minute, but it’s full of action, zipping around a rock face and splashing past Toon Lake.
Another fun attraction is Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. Roger Rabbit’s beautiful wife Jessica has been kidnapped, and the villains are out to get Roger… and you! So hop into Lenny the cartoony taxi and shake them off your trail on this wild ride through the back alleys of Toontown. Be careful driving, though, because the villains’ “dip” has gotten all over the wheels. Turning the steering wheel might send your cab into a spin.
There’s also a soft playground area, Toon Park, where the littlest Guests can burn off some energy while moms and dads regain some of theirs.
Follow Gadget’s example and build a rollercoaster out of found items. Amusement Park Science has a great how-to. Follow the directions below and be sure to visit their site to get a better understanding of the physics that make these exciting rides not only fun, but safe!
You can make a roller coaster out of just about anything, but Amusement Park Science recommends the below list of materials, because they work well to use as cars, to make tracks, to support your tracks and to make hills. Experiment to see which materials work better together. Change up the size and shape of your track for speed variance.
Foam insulation tubes
- Spherical objects such as marbles and ball bearings tend to make the best “cars” for your roller coaster. The size of the marbles/balls needed depends on the type of material you use for your tracks. For instance, while vinyl tubing works well to make tracks that bend and curve, only small objects like B-Bs and ball bearings can actually fit in most vinyl tubing. However, vinyl tubing is probably the easiest material to make tracks with, so we recommend using it for your first attempt at making a roller coaster. Most hardware stores carry vinyl tubing in a variety of sizes, so test your cars to make sure they can move through it before you purchase it.
- If you use poster board or cereal boxes, cut out long strips to make your track. You may have to build walls or sides to keep your car from falling off.
- Whatever material you use, build your track so that the cars can run smoothly on it – no cracks or seams that will trip up the cars.
- Use the adhesives to connect track pieces together as well as connect the track to your support system.
- Remember the laws and forces of motion when building your roller coaster track. Your first hill must be the tallest to build up enough potential energy to get your car through the track. Adjust hills and loops so that the car will have enough velocity to make it through the course without having so much speed that it flies off.
- You may want to try several different cars with different sizes and weights to see which car moves through your track the best.
Think outside the textbook with this veteran homeschooling author & editor, and learn while you play!