Stimulating the Senses

Spit in your face or your lunch coming up — there’s a pick-’em, huh?

Surprisingly, it’s more fun than it sounds when it’s a comic water effect in a 4-D cartoon theater (just a quick spritz — wearing a rain slicker would be an overreaction) and a gyrating roller coaster that’s a scream-y good time, even as it spikes your blood pressure and sloshes your stomach contents (digest the chili dog and garlic fries first), marking the latest attractions installed at the Circus Circus Adventuredome last December.

“We try to do new rides at least every other year to try to keep the mix in the park fresh,” says Tom Nolan, director of theme park operations for Circus Circus. “Disk’O is a different experience. You spin forward and backward, and the unique portion of it is that you get to face outward, where in most types of rides, normally you face inward.”

Fearful folks on the ground can summon courage staring into the fearless faces in midair … or confirm why they declined to pick a fight with gravity.

“There’s lots of G-forces,” says 29-year-old Andy Wilson of Billings, Mont., just disembarked from Disk’O and still reasonably vertical. “You definitely felt it pull, it reverses on you. You spin one way, then it turns around and spins you the other way, so you can feel it from all directions.”

A tad dizzy? “Yeah, a little bit.” Ready to repeat? “Sure. … Not right this second.”

Bottom line: Disk’O looks like a candy-colored flying pizza with people pepperoni. Riders are seated around the outer rim of the massive disc on motor scooter-style seats angled at 110 degrees and spun at 22 miles per hour over 14 rotations per minute on a 100-foot, U-shaped track. For those doing the math, that’s … a lot of ride for your airborne hide. Limbs are left free to dangle, swing and spasm wildly in adrenaline overdrive.

Stimulation of another sort awaits inside the other Adventuredome newbie, the 4-D Special FX Theater, complete with those goofy glasses that no one’s managed to make look any cooler since the ’50s. But it’s a hip experience once you’re seated.

“We’re looking at a broader-based demographic with that attraction,” says Marty Desrochers, manager of operations and attractions development for the theater’s creator — let’s see if we can say this properly — SimEx Iwerks. (Remember when they named companies GM and ABC?) “We’re appealing to the child that’s too small to ride the roller coaster, all the way up to Grandma being able to bring her grandson, both of them able to enjoy it, and not with Grandma waiting outside on a bench.”

Inside the 46-seat theater, a Marvin the Martian cartoon unspools — special guest star Daffy Duck, how dethhhhspicable! — supplemented by a host of sensory surprises, as the rigged seats and special effects underline the 4-D antics. Expect to be spritzed (the aforementioned spitter), poked, vibrated, air-puffed and assaulted by fluttering bubbles as the action leaps out straight at your eyeballs.

“The kids love it,” Nolan says. “And for the parents, they like the fact that they get to keep their feet on the ground, and not get the motion sickness that sometimes us older folks get.”

Disk’O and 4-D energize the established slate of attractions that ring the Adventuredome like a sight-and-sound smorgasbord. Directly across from Disk’O — because you never can have enough of being tossed like a salad — is The Inverter, a swinging cable car-like ride that spins you 360 degrees, turning your body upside down and your stomach inside out.

Or there’s the splashy RimRunner water flume or the Canyon Blaster corkscrew coaster or the Xtreme Zone rock climbing/bungee jumping or a slew of other fun stops both high in the air and low to the ground, all strewn with amusement park basics such as photo booths, portrait stands and caricature kiosks where your gorgeous image can commingle with famous faces.

But make a note, Tom: That caricature of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards nuzzling affectionately? It’s already a relic of pop culture’s Paleozoic Age. Still, if you can turn their divorce into a 4-D spectacle, we’re first in line.

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at or (702) 383-0256.


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