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Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:41 am
by multimueller
Some of you guys may have met me on one TPR trip or another and may already know some of the stories I want to share with you all. For the rest of you: Hi, I’m Tom, I life in Germany and I thought it would be fun to give you guys an insight of how foreign people experience American theme parks und Floridian theme parks in particular. As you will have noticed, I’m no “native writer”, so please pardon my bad English.

Some of you may have visited some European or even German theme parks in the latest past and found them quite appealing with lots of great and unique attractions. This has not always been the case. When I was a kid, there was no Disneyland Paris or Warner Bros Movie World, no Expedition GeForce or Silver Star. I basically grew up with Phantasialand and fun fairs, where I loved to ride “ghost train” style attractions. Fun fact: a lot of German people have no idea what a “dark ride” is, so they refer to them as “ghost trains” (even the press does). Pirates of the Caribbean? A ghost train. Great Movie Ride? A ghost train with 22 minutes ride time (most people will completely freak out on that one). When I was younger there were only two TV stations (conveniently named “1st” and “2nd”) and there has been a show called “Bilder aus Amerika” (Pictures from America). One episode was about Walt Disney World in Florida. The reporter Dieter Kronzucker told us, that this park was so huge, it had his own radio station so people could find a parking spot. There was also a ride that went under water with submarines. Can you imagine that?

Unfortunately intercontinental flights were super expensive those days, so it took me 31 years to set my foot on American soil for the first time. And although my first visit to the Magic Kingdom was a complete disaster that - “thanks” to a tropical storm - lasted just about 3 hours, I kept coming back for more than 25 times since then. Sometimes with a couple of friends, sometimes with my wife and one time with 40 German theme park enthusiasts. But that’s another story.

Part I: Universal Studios Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:00 am
by multimueller
Part I: Universal Orlando

When you visit the US for the first time, there is quite a “learning curve” of things that you would not expect in the first place:

  1. Automatic transmission in cars. Never use two feet!
  2. They use “Sir” differently than in “Sir Alec Guinness”. The guy who sells pizza at the airport calls you “Sir”. That’s cool. I like it.
  3. All bank notes have the same size and look almost the same. And they are very sticky.
  4. “Yes” is not a valid reply to “Forhereortogo?”
  5. People don’t smoke in the queues; they don’t smoke in the parks. What a relief!
  6. The weather in Florida can change quite quickly and dramatically. That’s different to where I live. If it starts to rain, it will most probably go on for days.

The first thing I remember when I think of my visit to Universal Orlando was the huge parking structure. And that was before they made you park your car at the most distant corner of it, if you do not opt for “preferred parking”.

The second thing that comes to my mind is me sitting at the “Beverly Hills Boulangerie” with a humongous chunk of dough and meat that they gave me, when I ordered a “croissant” for breakfast. It’s sunny and pleasant when all of a sudden Doc Brown turns up and asks me what year it is, running away when I tell him it’s 2001. It’s not that we do not have character encounters in Germany, but that’s strictly for the kids. Everything else would be – of course – super awkward.

Orlando 2016 - 093 - Tom und Chewbacca.jpg
Over time you get used to character encounters. It still feels a little bit strange though. But let's face it: the shirt is awesome.


Speaking of “awkward”: One of my favorite attractions has been “Twister”. Yes, I know, many of you think, that thing was a cheesy, crappy show, but I really enjoyed it. First of all, because it introduced me to the concept of a “pre show”, something that was absolutely new to me. In German parks you wait in line until you can ride and then you ride. That’s it. But a preshow, that gets you into the mood for the main show to come, with real actors, come on, that’s so cool! I also have a crush on Helen Hunt. Don’t tell my wife.

Orlando 2016 - 020 - Universal Studios.jpg
Let's start with a signature shot. You know that place, don't you?


Orlando 2016 - 019 - Universal Studios.jpg
Globe + boat = instantaneous vacation feelings


Orlando 2016 - 024 - Transformers - The Ride 3D.jpg
For me it's an okay ride. I get a little sick on it and the storyline is ... well is there a story line?


Honeymoon 2009 - 0233.jpg
Face it: I grew too fat lately. Can't close the restraint on that one any more. Do not miss it too much.


Orlando 2016 - 025 - Mel's Drive In.jpg
It's a cliché, but a very, very nice one. And hey, it's a George Lucas Movie, right?


Orlando 2016 - 026 - Springfield.jpg
Everybody loves the Simpsons!


Orlando 2016 - 027 - Springfield.jpg
And I am no exception. I think the ride and the whole area are a great improvement over "Back to the future"


Orlando 2016 - 030 - Men in Black - Alien Attack.jpg
I am not the biggest fan of shooting dark rides, but for "Men in Black" I am declined to make an exception


Orlando 2016 - 152 - The Blues Brothers.jpg
In my opinion, the "small" shows like the Blues Brothers make a visit very enjoyable. They are the "icing on the cake".


Orlando 2015 - 023.jpg
Although the chance of being subjected to "guest interaction" at this one freaks me out. Big time.


Orlando 2004 - 427 - Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue.jpg
Not my favorite one but a) you can sit down and b) in a shady place.


Orlando 2004 - 269 - Diagon Alley.jpg
Did anybody say "Harry Potter"? Alright, time for Diagon Alley photos. Find the hidden detail in this shot. Hint: it's not the dragon.


Orlando 2016 - 023 - Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.jpg
Fire breathing dragon - check!


Orlando 2016 - 031 - Hogwarts Express.jpg
Hogwarts Express - check!


Orlando 2016 - 220 - Diagon Alley.jpg
Impressive Nightshot of Diagon Alley with nobody in it - check!


I really like Universal Studios, although little of the attractions that were there when I first visited the park are still there. I loved Kongfrontation, but I think the “Mummy” is one of the greatest Indoor-Coasters. I enjoyed Jaws, but the “New Potter” is also very impressive. I do miss Disaster and I hope that E.T. and Terminator will still stay there for a couple of years. And although I do not go crazy for projection based attractions, I appreciate the way the parks re-invents itself over the years again and again.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:35 am
by SharkTums
Was the hidden detail the girl picking her nose?!?! =)

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:56 am
by robbalvey
All great pics! Going to use some of them on our socials! Great stuff!

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:22 am
by multimueller
SharkTums wrote:Was the hidden detail the girl picking her nose?!?! =)


Yes. Of course. :)

robbalvey wrote:All great pics! Going to use some of them on our socials! Great stuff!


Happy to hear that. I'm certainly not Jack Crouse (I love his work) but I keep trying.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:28 am
by robbalvey
multimueller wrote:Happy to hear that. I'm certainly not Jack Crouse (I love his work) but I keep trying.

It's always nice to have MANY good photographers!

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:56 am
by Henry M
^ As Robb has said, some stunning photos there. I am not a person who has any interest in Florida parks really, but you have actually made me want to go! In a similar way, your pictures have made me visit Phantasialand over Easter. I hope to get some pictures on par with yours from my visit, and even if they are half as good as your I would be happy and get a print. I know this means nothing coming from me, but I am a fan of your pictures, and look forward to more.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:01 am
by jynx242
Hi Tom, thanks so much for the pictures. I regularly go to the parks, but it is so cool to get the viewpoint of someone who isn't as familiar with them. Your pictures are of things I generally don't pay as much attention to as I used to and remind me what I really liked about these parks all along.

Thanks again!

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:30 pm
by multimueller
jynx242 wrote:Your pictures are of things I generally don't pay as much attention to as I used to and remind me what I really liked about these parks all along.


I think this happens when you see your "home park" with someone else's eyes.

T.S. Elliot wrote:And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.


Glad you like the photos.

Re: Photo TR: Theme parks in Florida

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:52 am
by cfc
I particularly liked the shot of Rockit.