My family loves a little healthy competition, and Disney theme parks are a great place to find it. I know it should only be about family bonding but sometimes it's fun to compete a little too; in a friendly way of course.
Becoming one of Buzz Lightyears' Junior Space Rangers is the perfect way to do just that. You can have a little fun and get some frustrations out at the same time. Entering into battle with Emperor Zurg is fun for your whole family. Just walk over to Tomorrowland and you will find Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. The line moves pretty quickly so do not worry if it seems long. I say that because sometimes it looks really really really long. Once you get inside there is also air conditioning and don't we all love that in Walt Disney World?
First, let’s talk about the basics.
After climbing aboard your own XP-38 Space Cruiser (the ride vehicle), you will shoot your way through space. Throughout the ride, you will be aiming at Emperor Zurg insignia (Z type lightning bolts). At the end of the ride, you can compare your score to the Space Ranger chart to find your rank. My family loves seeing where they ended up. It's fun to compete against yourself too. Try to remember what score you got last time then try to beat it next time.
Level 1 Star Cadet: 0 – 1,000
Level 2 Space Ace: 1,001 – 10,000
Level 3 Planetary Pilot: 10,001 – 100,000
Level 4 Space Scout: 100,001 – 300,000
Level 5 Ranger 1st Class: 300,001 – 600,000
Level 6 Cosmic Commando: 600,001 – 999,998
Level 7 Galactic Hero: 999,999
Truth be told, if you hold the laser trigger down and miss all the targets, you can still receive at least 1,300 points. Most people do not know this and it's easy points. I love Disney for this feature. This is great for the smaller members of your family because it will rank them in the second division of “Space Scout” on the scoreboard. They will come out feeling amazing about their score. That's really what Disney is about. Walt Disney wanted a place where everyone could come and enjoy. It's lots of fun regardless of how old you are.
With that being said, the easy score may be great for small children, but you, my fellow Space Ranger, you want to kick some serious space butt. And, I’m going to tell you just how to do it. Let's go beat Emperor Zurg. It's time to reclaim the galaxy.
Before starting there a few small tips that will help you along the way.
- Try to ride this attraction at the very opening or closing of the park. The reason for this is because it will be easier to keep track of which laser dot is yours. Keeping track of that little red dot can get super complicated if the ride is full. It sucks when you think you are hitting a certain target and then realize you are hitting something completely different. Plus there is little to no wait during those periods. You can get all the practice and riding in you want. Practice makes perfect with this game.
- Some guests take this ride very seriously and they will all tell you that not all the guns will shoot straight. I think very few shoot anywhere close to straight. Always test your gun out when you first sit down. This will help you adjust your shooting strategy. Also, sometimes a gun will not work. It will allow you to switch guns if you are alone in your ride vehicle or use the gun your non-shooting partner isn't using. If you happen to get a gun that doesn't shoot straight, don't worry about it, just keep that in mind when you are shooting at the targets. If your gun aims to the right, then aim a little to the left. You will quickly get used to it.
- A super easy tip is to keep your finger on the button for continuously shooting. This comes in handy because you can keep hitting the same target and rack up the points. Just make sure to hit the Z or you won't receive any points. Some guests think you just have to hit the object but you actually have to hit the little target for it to register. If you can hit a high target numerous times, this will make a world of difference in your final score. Also, if your vehicle stops... keep hitting the targets. You can keep racking up the points even if you have hit that target before. This how many people get the top score. Oh, and you might get a thumb cramp but it will be worth it when you see the score later on.
- Always drive the vehicle because then you can control it. You will be able to put yourself in a better position. The vehicles turn around so keep in mind sometimes it is easier to shoot targets going backward or once you passed it. Many guests will use this to their advantage but positing their riding partner in a bad position.
- Aim for the smaller and furthest targets. The harder the target is to hit, the more points it's usually worth. Always remember to weigh your options as well. A target may be worth more, but if you spend forever trying to hit it and miss you get zero. If you hit an easier and smaller target numerous times, you can really get a lot of points. I see people spend too much time on one far target while their ride vehicle companion racks up some quick points on closer ones.
- Finally, if you are lucky, the vehicle will stop during your ride. Use that time wisely and get as many points as possible. I mean shoot shoot shoot. You will see people get excited and you can rack up a great score here. I rode behind a cast member once and he managed to max both guns during a stop. It was pretty cool actually. I wonder how long that took him to learn!
Now here’s the good stuff.
- In this room, look for the red robot on your left-hand side. You honestly can not miss him he is so big. Shoot for the target inside of his left hand to score big. It will always look easy to hit but in reality, you have to hit him as soon as you see him. He is also easier to hit if you are in the left-hand seat; sounds silly but it is true. This is the target that most people know and will be aiming for. Make sure you score big here because your friend or family member will be aiming here too. This is where I usually get my big points. I like that guy.
- Congrats, you have started off great, now turn the vehicle around look for the claw. It is located on the right-hand side near the ceiling. It is worth 100,000 points. Some guests will tell you it is easier to hit as you pass it but that has not been my experience.
- You have made it to the second room. Now look for the volcano and you will notice it has two Zs to shoot at. The higher of the two is worth 50,000 points. So try to hit it as many times as possible. You can do it. I have faith in you. You are a Space Ranger after all, people!
- There is a monster in a box in this area that is worth 50,000 points. Try not to miss him. You want those points here. This guy is actually awesome because you can hit him from multiple angles. Those are always the best targets.
- Before leaving the room look up high. There is a spinning target at the top of the exit and it is worth 25,000 points. You must be getting pretty close to the ultimate goal now. Can you feel the victory? This is when the competition gets super fun because both of you are really trying to get those points.
- Welcome to the third room. Look for Zurg's ship. You can not miss it and the target is worth 100,000 points. These are points that should be easy enough for anyone to hit. The closer you get to him the harder it will be to hit, though, so hit him quick and often – the same speed you eat a Mickey bar at. Take in as many as you can while you are there. That really goes for any points and Mickey bars, actually.
- Continuing along, you will see some batteries. Do your best to hit the bottom batteries. If you can knock them over it will give you 50,000 points. You want every point you can get because we are getting close to the end. I like hitting these ones because it's like an old fashioned shooting game you see at carnivals and fairs. They are always fun and people tend to really enjoy them.
Emergency Escape Hatch
- Remember I told you earlier you can get free points by simply holding the trigger and not doing anything else? You can get 300 of those points here. Take the free points.
- This area is up for debate. Many guests will claim there are numerous targets you can only see for a moment here. I can never find them, though. I have heard numerous guests claim that there are some high-value ones if you look near his ship. The animated Zurg has a target near his head that is worth 75,000 points. It might be the last points you need to push yourself over the score limit. Again, I also really try hard in this section and for me, it comes down to shooting everywhere and wishing.
If you get the max score, a cast member at the photo area will give you a Galactic Hero button which is a great and unique souvenir. Now they have a Galactic Hero sticker as well. You can wear it with pride for the rest of the day. Remember to take a picture of your score to show to your Disney friends too. It's a super fun memory.
Now go out and save the universe!