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  1. Rode TT2 for my first time this morning and all I can say is wow. Went in with low expectations, came off so pumped up I got right back in line for another lap. To me, it seems like more of a complete ride now. The backwards launch is unlike anything else I have been on and the trip up and over the top hat now is absolutely crazy. CP has a major hit on their hands and I am looking forward to riding again soon.
    10 points
  2. And so at last we come to the final update of the longest trip report I've ever written, about the longest vacation I've ever taken, to the farthest place I've ever gone, to experience the worst roller coaster I've ever ridden. (Tornado at Bakken.) But let us not dwell on the negative, but rather focus our attentions on the very best things we encountered on this amazing trip.... 28: Big Finnish Up with the sunrise to catch our flight. And this is Helsinki, so sunrise is probably earlier than you think. And back home to the little strip of land we share with 750,000 other people near the Pacific Ocean. Time to reflect. Sometimes Smisty and I agreed as to what was the best of a particular thing, and sometimes we didn't. For example: Erik's Park of the Trip - Gröna Lund I really struggled with this one. Yes, I rate Gröna Lund as my second favorite park (with Europa being #1) but Liseberg was just so good on this trip. What I ultimately decided was this: If I can count the Grand Curiousa Hotel as part of Liseberg, then Liseberg wins--and if I can't, then Gröna Lund wins. And since it seems weird to me to count a hotel as part of an amusement park for this purpose, well...Gröna Lund wins. Smisty's Park of the Trip - Power Park I get it. I rated this one quite highly as well, and I skipped the crazy flat rides that Smisty cited as being particular highlights of Power Park. She also mentioned the Devil's Mine Hotel dark ride that gave you a limited number of shots. Best Wooden Coaster - Rutschebanen at Tivoli Gardens According to RCDB, Rutschebanen's elements are: Tunnel, Cable Lift Hill, Tunnel, Tunnel, Tunnel, Tunnel, Tunnel, Tunnel. But I think that's selling it a bit short. There are a few drops. And, of course, a brakeman. Normally, I don't distinguish between wood and steel for purposes of judging rides against one another, but doing it this way kept Misty and I in agreement. Otherwise, my favorite coaster overall would be her second favorite, and vice versa. Which, come to think of it, wouldn't really have changed very much in terms of presentation here. Best Steel Coaster - Fønix at Fårup Sommerland For me, it's not even close. I have Lech as my #1, and this now at #3, with Mako sandwiched in-between them, but probably just because I subconsciously don't want two such similar rides right next to each other at the top of my list. It's like someone took an MRI of my effed-up body, sent it to Vekoma, and challenged them to design a ride that specifically I would enjoy. And they did it twice (at least). Oh yeah, and Smisty likes it also. Best Coaster Collection - Liseberg Is this here just to make me feel better about choosing Gröna Lund over Liseberg? Yeah, probably. But there's not a bad coaster in this park, even if Balder is a bit overrated. Best Dark Ride - The Flying Trunk A weird multi-level dark ride that travels through narrated Hans Christian Andersen stories? Yes, please. I wouldn't say that there were a lot of dark rides on this trip, but many of the ones that did exist were relatively strong. Best Dark Ride Collection - Linnanmäki Witches and clowns, man. Erik's Favorite Water Ride of the Trip - Ragnarok at Tusenfryd On a trip without a lot of good log flumes, a rapids ride sneaks in and pillages my watery heart! (Or something.) Smisty's Favorite Water Ride of the Trip - The Three Hour Buffet Ferry Ride from Denmark to Norway Smisty, I don't think you're taking this very seriously. I was thinking more like an actual ride at a park. Maybe the log flume at Liseberg? No? *sigh* Fine. Erik's Favorite Walk-Through: Lustiga Huset at Gröna Lund I may be old and overweight, but I'm pretty sure-footed, and I love a good fun house. And this is the goodest. Smisty's Favorite Walk-Through: Gasten Ghost Hotel at Liseberg I'd love to show you a picture of it, especially the awesome flooded room--but photos are not allowed inside. So, instead, here's a picture of Smisty's favorite dessert of trip, Strawberry Shortcake Cake at Power Park's Road House. Erik's Favorite Flat Ride - Lake Carousel at Särkänniemi Yes, it's a Schwarzkopf. Yes, it's also very much a family ride. But it's just so gentle and fun! They don't make them like this anymore, but they should. Smisty's Favorite Flat Ride - Aquila at Tivoli Gardens A nicely themed Zamperla Air Race on top of a building. What more could a Smisty want? Transportation/Observation Ride of the Trip - Safari at Kolmården Zoo When I told Smisty the first draft nominee for this category, her response was, "That's it?" So then I threw in Särkänniemi's observation tower and Linnanmäki 's monorail to pad it out. But, really, what other possibility could there be besides this? Erik's Best Park Food/Restaurant - Spökbaren Gasten at Liseberg While food was perhaps not on balance as good as on our two previous European trips, there were some highlights. Such as the Danish Smørrebrød, or Liseberg's haunted pub. Of course, part of this choice is the atmosphere. After all, everyone knows that food tastes better when you're scared. Smisty's Best Park Food/Restaurant - The Disgusting Food Museum in Malmö, Sweden Smisty, you're making a mockery of this whole idea. This isn't even at a park and the whole point of the place is that the food is bad. Why do you hate me?? Erik's Best Non-Park Thing - The Paternoster Elevator What more can I say? Except that Smisty knew full well this was a category when she named a place that serves "three penis wine" as her favorite restaurant, and a buffet as her favorite water ride! Smisty's Best Non-Park Thing - Tropicario (or, as we call it, the Snake Zoo) Oh, I get it. By calling the Disgusting Food Museum your favorite restaurant, you got to mention both that and this. Cheater! Fine! I'm changing my favorite wooden roller coaster to the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum! How do you like those apples?! She likes those apples fine. I'd like to thank the following weirdos: Myself, for writing this trip report and taking most of the photos. Smisty, for proofreading it and being the B-camera. Bert, for being the only one who reads it. Goodballs, for being our pal. Elissa, for organizing the trip and herding the cats. Robb, for hating mango lassi. Peter Ellis, for inventing the Paternoster Elevator. And Hans Christian Andersen, without whom, we would be left with a dark ride themed to Mads Mikkelsen. Actually, that sounds kind of awesome. Goodbye forever!
    5 points
  3. For a small country like Belgium, we kinda have a lot of theme parks. Eight to be exact. From those I only frequent two of them: Plopsaland De Panne & Walibi Belgium. And sometimes Bobbejaanland. A park that's kinda big but misses my boat is Bellewaerde... Now that the park opened a new zone with new rides, it was time to go back to Ypres and hit the park up again. We arrived shortly for opening at the Mexican entrance gate which locates at the back of the park. The weather predictions weren't very good, it would be a clouded day with lots of wind. Not a day to visit a theme park for the general public but us theme park fans know it's an ideal day to go because empty queues! The parking lot was quite empty so we were expecting a calm day. My last visit to the park was 4 years ago when they opened their last big new ride. And now they got some new ride and a new zone to show off, so a good moment to get back to this park. The new zone called Mundo Amazonia was not far from the entrance so we decided to go there straight away. Of course we went first for the biggest new ride of the park: Amazonia. It's a Spinning Rapids from Intamin but it doesn't compare at all to the classic Rapid Rivers we know and are used to like Radja River (Walibi Belgium) & Piranha (Efteling). This resemblances more the old Bobby Drop (Bobbejaanland) and Oxygenarium (Parc Asterix), though it has the classic rapid river boats and not those rubber boats. The whole park seemed to have sprinted towards Amazonia because we still had to queue 30 minutes despite being there quick after opening. And the queue got bigger after us. Before we could enter our boat we also had to be weighed, for the moment they only allow a maximum of 400 kilograms per boat. They had some troubles during testing and from what I understand this measurement would be temporary. Well the term spinning certainly delivers! Those boats spin more than some spinning coasters do in a whole year (looking at you Naga Bay [Bobbejaanland]). The spinning and the edges of the ride being so low, kinda makes it thrilling for me. I have to admit I'm a chicken when it comes to slides and in water parks I even skip those. The fear of going over the edge is always present and that feeling I also got on Amazonia. After the first part, full of turns and spinning, you splash down at the bottom only to be taken back up again by a vertical lift. Now comes the grand final: a big half pipe! It is the star of the show and the best part of the ride for me. It is quite good. It however is not the very last element though you would think you'd float to the station and get out. No, there is a little free fall element right before the station that drops you to an emerald mine. Quite a unique element to have on a water ride. Conclusion: a good added asset for the park. Personally not so into it but that's more because of my dislike/fear of slides. I really can see the general public liking this a lot. They love water rides over here, it's quite something else that other theme parks around here don't have and it looks impressive. And despite the impressive look, it still is accessible for young & old, just like this park likes it. The theming was also great. Loved how the queue meanders beneath the ride. There is plenty of fitting foliage planted that certainly will be gorgeous after some years when it has grown a bit. The whole zone feels slick and fresh too, a nice and needed refurbishment from the old Wild West zone that used to be located here. The park really needed this. Some points of critique however: it is all a bit cliché and cartoonesk sometimes. The Brazilians know more colors than green & yellow and it was weird how they wanted to include the theme of football in the restrooms... The new zone has more new rides, there's also a new mini log flume for little kids but that ride is still unfinished. They got some troubles with late deliveries. The other new ride in this zone is finished and open for us, luckily. Brazilian Buggies is nothing more than a single helix kiddiecoaster from Zamperla. But of course an extra credit is an extra credit! +1 on the counter. As a horizontally-big man I got in there without any problems, bars were no issues. Great! We skipped the log flume, because it wasn't quite warm enough. We deciced to get some food in the nearby Texas Grill restaurant. I always feel ripped off when I get food in Plopsaland De Panne but holy moly, Bellewaerde thought to go one step further. More than 20 euros for fries and a burger with a drink... criminal. I have to admit that the size of the portion was big and it tasted really good. But next time I'll bring my own sandwiches. The logical next stop was Huracan, an indoor coaster from Zierer with some darkride elements. Since it was some time I rode this, I kinda forgot that the first darkride part was quite good and had some nice effects. But it all goes to mediocracy when you go up that lift. It brings you on the roof of the building which I still keep finding it weird. You dive back into the building for the rollercoaster part of this... rollercoaster. But it's mainly in a big black hall without effects. A missed opportunity. The effect in the end brakes are quite good and make for a strong ending however. The guys went to ride El Volador next. I passed, I don't really like the feeling of hanging there slowly in all kind of angles. This ride is known for being prone to technical issues, one of the reasons this ride type doesn't really exist anymore anywhere else. I know the other parks that had one also had issues with them and they closed those. I do hope Bellewaerde does not close El Volador because it just looks so good and it's placed so great there. Maybe they should convert it to a mini free fall?! We could not skip out on a ride on the Boomerang. It's the very first Vekoma Boomerang that opened in the world and it has become such an icon for the park that the parks director said he simply just would order a new boomerang from Vekoma if this one goes to heaven. Understandable, but it's kinda sad how this is the only thrilling rollercoaster in the park and it is just a Vekoma Boomerang... Reride factor: zero. Someone from our group never rode Jungle Mission before. These boat rides aren't really built anymore and you can definitely tell it's an old ride. In these times of being woke and social justice, there are some questionable scenes that the park should reconsider imo. It would be a good excuse to revamp this whole ride or just maybe get rid of it and place something new here. When we passed the tiger- and lion enclose we noticed the park had built a new bridge over the enclosure. So now you can watch this big cats from above! That also kinda makes Bengal Express, the train that goes through these encloses, a bit redundant. I definitely prefer to walk over the bridge since I always felt a bit suffocated in those trains that also can get very hot in summer. Also redundant for me is Bellewaerde's terrain coaster on a flat terrain, aka Dawson Duel. They made some vague decisions here in Ypres but chosing a duelling alpine coaster on supports is without a doubt the dumbest idea they ever had. You even can't enter the vehicle at the bottom and use the lift to go up, no, you have to do a whole climb up there. Not worth it. A better choice was Wakala, a family coaster from Gerstlauer which is the parks latest new big ride before Amazonia opened. Not a bad investment though the park keeps lacking a real thrill coaster, something that really catches the mind and eye of the public. Wakala is however a fun family coaster, the type of family coaster that can also be enjoyed by the older kids and adults like us. It has a flowy layout through the woods, an acceleration on its lift and what they call the antenna here (the spike that makes you go backwards). For me, Wakala is the best coaster of the park. However not good enough to warrant a visit to the park each year. I passed for Screaming Eagle, their space shot tower. Free falls and such are not my cup of tea (vertigo). Nobody of the group was interested in a ride on Niagara, the parks spillwater. That ride can really soak you and it really wasn't warm enough. We were nearby the parks show location and their dive and stunt show would start soon, so we decided to go there. Bengali is new for this year, though the park already had a dive show for years here. The story is cliche and over the top, which is the case for most shows in theme parks. However I did enjoy the stunts and diving. No matter how many times I've seen that, I'm still impressed by it. Jumping from 25 meters into a small bassin is something I'd need a diaper for. The up-tempo Bhangra music also was a big surplus to the show. Time was running out before the park would close, so some of our group ended the day with a last ride on Amazonia. We had a fun day at the park though I don't think I'll be back soon. Bellewaerde is ideal for families with little children but there is just nothing there that appeals for teenagers or adults. There are rumours going around they would invest in a new rollercoaster with inversions but knowing previous investments there, I'm keeping my expectations low. They really could use a stand-out coaster because they are falling behind the other 3 big Belgian parks if they only keep focusing on the little children. ** sorry for any grammar mistakes and such, I'm Belgian and English isn't my first language.
    5 points
  4. Highlights: - The new Power Surge is not a portable model. It's permanent. I didn't even know that they made permanent models. The program will be crazier. The ride will not open on opening day. - They repainted Impulse even though it barely needed it - The park is very well staffed this year already - Every car of the Bayern Kurve apparently had it's own PLC. They've changed that. The delays have been due to that but it should be open in 2024. They also just had to reallocate people to other projects last year, like reopening the Skyway (suck it Lake Compounce). The ride will be the fastest ride in the park. The max speed is 70 mph. They're not sure if they can safely run it at 70 mph but they're going to try and if not, run it as close to 70mph as possible. - Some changes have been made to some haunted mansion scenes. - The cub cars are going away for awhile but will probably be back. This is where the Rock O Plane will go (between Phoenix and Fandango). The ride will not open on opening day. - They replaced a lot of sections of the flume. It will open around Memorial Day. - Paratrooper and the Teacups are both undergoing restorations and will open later in the year. - Sky Slide is coming back after being closed since the start of the Pandemic. It may not reopen this year but it will finally reopen. Hopefully no lawyer actually looks at it. -They've done a bunch of track work on the three wood coasters but that's to be expected.
    5 points
  5. "They opened the gift shop for you, Misty. You *have* to get the big one!"
    4 points
  6. I also rate the three hour buffet as the best water ride of the trip. Smisty is right, as usual, except when she encourages my husband to get even more stuffed animals!!!
    4 points
  7. don't let jealous, judgy, assholes stop you from doing a trip report. I'd love to see your first impression of a park that's been on your bucket-list.
    4 points
  8. And apparently had nothing else worthwhile going on over the last 18 months for a throwaway comment to live rent free in their heads like that...
    4 points
  9. Our last full day in Helsinki, and it was great! Yes, this is the last update. Except there will probably be one more. But other than that, this is the last one! 27: The Holy Grail of Vertical Conveyances Having struck out at Stockmann, my last shot was this office building, Hämeentie 19. My pre-trip research showed it was here, but there was little else to glean. Was it public, guarded, private, touristy? It was time to find out... Ladies and gentlemen, the Paternoster Elevator. As it turned out, there was a sort of reception desk, but it was unmanned. And no one seemed too interested in me or my peculiar interest in their elevators. A photo of the plaque, with Google Lens's translation superimposed over it. I understand that some Paternoster elevators out there warn you not to ride over the top or around the bottom. But this one says it's okay! Did I do that? Yes, yes I did. 08 PXL_20230627_082654535.TS.mp4 Paternoster is Latin for "Our Father." As in, "who art in Heaven." And a common nickname is, "The elevator of death." Which is a bit dramatic, of course. But I'm sure you can see why there are few left, and why none were ever built in the United States. Smisty was not nearly so interested in the Paternoster as I was, eventually just going outside for a sit. So the least I could do, once I was finally finished, was to reward her with lunch at a small ramen shop nearby. A bit warm inside, as unheard of heat likes to follow me around Europe, but the food was quite tasty! Speaking of Smisty rewards, it was time for the snake zoo! The snake zoo does not shortchange you on snakes. It also has things that are not snakes, but are snake-adjacent. Tropicario used to be located in Hämeenlinna, but moved to Helsinki in 2007 due to lack of visitors. Hämeenlinna is about 113 kilometers from Helsinki (or a little over 13,000 American SUVs), and the name means, "Town of Snake-Haters." Which makes you wonder why Tropicario thought it was a good idea to build there in the first place. A bird and some fish can be seen in this photo, and maybe even a snake or two that I haven't spotted. Who can say? I wouldn't get into a staring contest with that one. Smisty has no eyelids. The Finnish word for snake is käärme. The Latin word for snake is serpens. The Japanese word for snake is 蛇. Is that helpful? Does that help? This is not a snake. This is a cutetoes. I'm really good at zoo and aquarium captions. Sad snake doesn't understand why no one will play with him. It's cause he's poisonous. POISONOUS That outta get me some comments. I'm not proud. I didn't see any identifiers for this statue, but Google Lens (to rescue again) reveals it to be called, "The Worker Mother." And, incidentally, I definitely translated that Paternoster sign that says it's okay to ride all the way around before I did it and not after I got home and was going through these photos. I mention that for no reason. I assume this is a smoking shelter, for when it's really cold. That's my best theory anyway. Even Google Lens is baffled by this one. Hmm, what's this? It kind of looks familiar.... And we're back at Linnanmäki! Not for any particular reason. We just happened to be walking by on our way from one place to the next. But, I mean, since we're here. Sea Life's other "outside the park" entrance. Although, again, Linnanmäki is free to enter, so I'm not sure why it's needed. Maybe it's open all year and the park isn't? Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for joining on my brain's journey toward common sense! Taiga is a terrain coaster. Although, really, isn't every coaster a terrain coaster, if you really think about it? I stood here for a while waiting for a train to launch. Must've been down for a bit. A nearby underpass. That's not a very good caption. Wait, I know! A nearby underpass, with art. A very nice public park with some statues and memorial oak trees. I've seen some minor attractions in my time, but this might be the minor-est: "Cathedral of the Nature." It's a tree with a hole in it. There's a tiny matchstick model of a cabin inside and some music. Not that I'm in any way opposed to minor attractions, mind you. Our next stop: Tower of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. The tower is 72.71 metres tall. Or, in American, 72.71 meters. Guess I should go this way. There is an elevator, but you you have to take stairs to get up the last couple floors. The whole thing is quite small, but luckily there was only one other couple there during our visit. Construction of the Stadium began in 1934 and it was completed in 1938, in time for the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were moved from Tokyo to Helsinki before being cancelled due to World War II. So, sorry about that, Finland. It did host the 1952 Summer Olympics, however. Finland did participate in WWII, by the way. In fact, they participated on both sides! (Russia was a problem.) I see you, Linnanmäki. If you look closely you can see a bunch of stuff but I don't know what it is. Hmm. I should've learned more Finnish. The *ahem* "World's Smallest Power Plant." Ice cream. It was pretty good. Not the best I've ever had, but that's a good thing, as it seems unlikely that I shall have it again anytime soon. Also, this is Misty's hand and ice cream. But I had some, too. Had a great time exploring Helsinki. Glad we tacked on the extra couple of days. Two trains! I think I'm going to do one last wrap up post. But if you're not interested in that, then you're done. You're excused. Go outside and play.
    4 points
  10. Where is the fluffy bunnies with medicine and goo filter when you need it?
    4 points
  11. I've seen some pretty over the top locker takes in the last few days, but I will say one thing... if the only way for a guest to read a park map is on their phone, they shouldn't be charged for needing to store it. If the park is already operating under the assumption that every guest will have a smart phone on them, the ride policies need to reflect this as well. I don't understand what could have changed during ride testing that would affect having your phone and keys inside a zipper pocket. Like... the explanation that it was a late change due to testing and Zamperla recommendation doesn't make any sense. And they can't add zipper pouches to the trains like RMC has done?
    4 points
  12. I miss the old "just dump your crap in this bin" systems that were so ubiquitous before Six Flags decided that single-use pay-per-ride lockers were the way to go. Like surge pricing, it has only led to frustrations and annoyance across the industry.
    4 points
  13. Had a great day at the park yesterday, despite the sudden closure of TT2. Everything, except Gemini and Windseeker, seemed to be open and ran reliably all day. Guest services also gave us rain check Fast Lane+ passes that can be used for TT2 on any other day for the rest of the season. Not sure if that was only this past weekend, or if they’ll distribute those the entire duration of the closure for those with FL+, but kudos to them for that. I’m also digging the different vibe in the TT2 area now, and excited to get back and ride it!
    3 points
  14. Should give them time to install free lockers, right? /s
    3 points
  15. This past Thursday (May 9th), I made my first visit of the 2024 season to Canada's Wonderland! A lot of changes have been made during the off-season with a new security checkpoint entrance at the front gate, the demolition of buildings in International Festival (for the next addition), renovation and renaming of Backlot Café, a renovated Wonderland Store, new signage around the park, the removal of Xtreme Skyflyer (announced earlier this year), and, Viking's Rage refurbishment, the removal of the maximum height requirement for most rides in Planet Snoopy and Kidzville (yes, I have now been on all of the roller coasters at Canada's Wonderland!), and a few other things mentioned below! Check out the photos below! New security checkpoint at the front gate. This new layout with the path going under Leviathan has a much better flow than last year's setup! The new structures look great too! New signage at the front gate area has been installed. It looks very clean and easy to read. The Wonderland Store was renovated and expanded during the off-season. New directional signage has been put up around the park. The old Tiny Tom Donuts location in International Festival was demolished during the off-season. The Multi-faith Space building and surrounding structures in International Street had also been demolished this past off-season. Tiny Tom Donuts was relocated around Wonder Mountain where the Alpen Amusements claw machines were. During my visit, the donut making machines were being installed. I assume the new location will open soon. The Coca-Cola Refreshment station in Action Zone was removed and replaced with this structure. I have a feeling it will be a new Coca-Cola refill station, but we shall see! In the Grande World Exposition of 1890, Backlot Café has been transformed into the Grande World Eatery. The building has received a fresh new coat of paint and a major transformation going on inside. I look forward to seeing the final product when it reopens this season as it was quite dated last year. Here is the former location of Xtreme Skyflyer, which was removed earlier this year. Judging by the signage, it looks this area could also be associated with the work happening around Wonder Mountain. The building next to Klockwerks, which has stood abandoned for the past decade, is now being used as a Coca-Cola refresh centre was the other location in International Festival was recently demolished. With the on-going construction in International Festival, the exit path for Thunder Run was rerouted with this nice boardwalk for this year. During the off-season Viking's Rage received a major overhaul consisting of a new electric drive system and a new coat of paint, closely resembling that of what it looked like when the park first opened! Hopefully it will be ready to reopen soon! The old diving structure at Arthur's Baye in Medieval Faire was recently removed. It is said to be replaced with a new one sometime this year. The lockers outside Wonder Mountain's Guardian have been removed. I later learned that the ride now has the moving bin system that Yukon Striker has! Here is a quick look inside the newly renovated and expanded Wonderland Store. The new layout flows a lot better! That is all the updates I have for now!
    3 points
  16. While not on my planned trips for 2023/2024, when my wife found out that Kelly Clarkson was doing a limited residency in Las Vegas, before I knew it, we had tickets booked. This would be my second visit to Las Vegas to date (my first-timer report can be found here) and for this reason, the focus was less on rides and attractions (though I did squeeze in a few) and more on shows, Area 15, experiences and an underlying search for "Lost Vegas" along the way. I have been fascinated with the ebbs and flows of Vegas' attempts to offer family experiences and as such, looking at the legacy resorts on and off of the Strip to see what they tried (and in most cases, ultimately removed) to appeal to travelers with younger guests became a goal to seek out. It is worth noting that the weekend of the concert (Friday and Saturday) was also shared with a little-known sporting event... We might have been the only people in town that came in for the weekend but not to end up here. We left on Saturday afternoon before the Sunday madness set in. We scored a fantastic rate for a recently refurbished room at the Rio. The hotel itself was fairly standard, as was the casino, but as I was leaving the resort to head to their Uber pick-up, I noticed the peculiar structures in the ceiling that distinctly looked like some kind of track. And I'd know a covered station anywhere... As it turns out, there was once an attraction called Masquerade in the Sky, a parade/show of sorts that guests and performers could ride along floats overhead the casino and throw beads from above. In ended its run in 2013 and the track is no longer in use. We arrived late in the evening, but not too late to venture out for a quick stop at The Golden Tiki. The Golden Tiki is filled with tiki decor throughout and features lots of fun surprises in each room. Not unlike Trader Sam's on either coast, this bar does feature some effects that are triggered when guests order specific drinks. Tiki flight for the win! The space is truly gorgeous! And yes, they have a real, working animatronic tiki bird perched above one side of the bar. Fire makes all tiki drinks better! I spy with my little eye, something Mary Blair! The next morning we made our way to our next stop with our drive revealing lots of preparations for the Super Bowl under way. I remember the Eiffel Tower being much larger the last time I saw it up close... While delicious and refreshing, we didn't have time to visit the Coca-Cola Store during this trip. We really enjoyed it last time! I went into this trip fairly confident I wouldn't be riding any coasters this time around, but I would end up being wrong. Unlike our previous visit where the dry heat had us drowning in sweat, this time around we were graced with beautifully cold weather throughout our weekend. A pleasant surprise was the panoramic view of snow-capped mountains not too far off in the distance. Our main objective for the day... Liftoff was something I was very excited to try. I can tell you I was VERY excited to finally get a chance to check out Area 15. We didn't have enough time during our last trip to stop by and especially after the Orlando location was announced, I was doubly eager to visit for myself. I think people often underestimate just how much there is in the current Area 15 complex, not to mention how much more is coming in the year ahead. I've seen VR simulators before but never ones where you can actually simulate the experience of bird-style flight first-hand. The Sanctuary Lounge is a visual focal point inside Area 15 and looks like such a neat venue in which to hang out. Asylum Bar & Arcade is a great place to get a drink and play some games. Omega Mart was the biggest draw for us, having loved experiential explore at your own pace offerings like teamLab Borderless in Japan or City Museum in St. Louis. This would also be our first Meow Wolf installation. Omega Mart starts off feeling very familiar but upon closer inspection, you'll notice little (and sometimes big) details that make everything feel "off." A majority of the products on the shelves of Omega Mart are purchasable... No, this image isn't corrupted. The meat counter is full of fresh options that feel otherworldly and nutritious. Pjork is the most kosher of meats. Without spoiling the "how," you are able to escape the confines of the Omega Mart storefront to unlock worlds of technological, supernatural and multi-dimensional intrigue... Each room offers different experiences, many of them are hands on and interactive and others are passive but lengthy in that you can stay to experience a variety of content if you give it time. Spaces throughout the experience can be as narrow as a tight crawl space (my claustrophobia kicked in at one point) to massive rooms such as this... And visual effects such as projection mapping transform those spaces as you visit them, so exploration and re-visitation is recommended. There is just so much to take in at Omega Mart. And nothing is as it seems here! There's an underlying story about a family who gets involved in an interdimensional produce business and that family's sinister intentions... Some rooms are just ridiculously cool to experience in person. Paying attention to detail as you move between spaces can... Yield some interesting visual payoffs. You can buy Happles from the Omega Mart store if you so wish. I watched this full video loop and I was absolutely engrossed. Familiar but different. Nothing is exactly as it appears in Omega Mart and there's lots to discover. I recommend giving yourself lots of time to take in the stories and explore. You never know what you'll find... There's a lot of spaces within Area 15 that just look ridiculously cool! And yes, the rails you see overhead are for a powered hang-gliding experience around the interior of the complex. Museum Fiasco was an absolute visual overload! Wink World is described as a "psychedelic art house" developed by Chris Wink, one of the founding members of Blue Man Group. I won't ruin the experience other than to say that as you progress from room to room, the effects and visuals (in sync with custom music) as mesmerizing to say the least. Very Tron-esque. While there are more scenes to be experienced, this earlier one was one of my favorites...
    3 points
  17. Day 22: Saturday, June 24th - busy morning at Särkänniemi (before a drive to Helsinki). Part 2 of 2 from the Lake Carousel, I had spotted that giant tire, which seemed to lead to another "themed" area going thru there, and we found a section themed to Motocross (complete with people just sitting on the photo op, as always happens). . over here is the park's final "big" coaster (no, I didn't ride the kiddie coaster, despite it's nice location just off the lake). MotoGee - a fun Zamperla moto-coaster complete with the kinda awkward seating. . .LOL. . but with some nice theming (including starting lights and sound effects) it was a fun coaster, and being so compact, it felt much faster than it was. I liked it. whee!!! not sure who took this. . possibly Andy? we were getting hungry and after looking at options, several of us decided that Smisty and Erik had a good idea to try out the restaurant at the top of the tower. so we headed in that general direction, me stopping to snap pics as we made our way up towards the front of the park / tower entrance. Tornado and the flume, really do almost interact with each other. Not on the level of Grona Lund interaction, but close enough it's impressive. I can't remember if I rode the flume here? I THINK I did (tho I know I didn't ride the rapids ride). ah. . here's the main entrance to Tornado, that we skipped earlier by going in thru the exit. Down the steps into the underground launch. not quite sure what this open space was by Tornado's entrance. was it overflow queue? was it an abandoned Ride Pad? It did kinda look like a small flat ride was here at one point. maybe it's a performance space? there IS seating over there. Great view of Tornado's big loop, from the Flume turn around area taking a peek at the menu, it was a bit. . . fancy. but I like trying fru-fru food, and they had several set menu choices - and were not busy at ALL.. so a bunch of us decided to join and have a fancy dinner. To get there tho? you have to ride in the disco elevator! with kinky 70's mirrored ceiling. . . oooo. .the view from up here is lovely! looking down, this was a whole section of the park I had not been to yet (and wouldn't get much time in, as the meal -as most FANCY places are - was slow and took a while, so it ate up more than an hour of our park time. I'm not complaining, it was SO worth it. and I'd do it again, choose sit down fancy restaurant over area of park. tho this area appeared to be themed to "farm" society (tho I DO believe it's based on a children's show, going by the characters that were around in there). The only "big" ride over here is the rapids ride, you can see just below. ohhh. . the observation level is still one level below the restaurant - which now that I think about it? did rotate. so up the stairs. felt a bit under-dressed, but the hostess (once she got over the surprise of a group showing up on what I suspect is a typically slow-ish day for them, as this seemed to be more of an evening/dinner place) was pleasant and led us to a table. before ordering anything tho, I took a quick walk around (needed restroom) and snapped pics of the views the hostess came up behind me while taking this and explained the area below used to be Christmas Town, and before that ? it was themed to Moomin. she also pointed out the wedge shaped building below and said that used to be the Dolphin theatre, but that the park had filled it in with concrete and were planning some kind of new show/attraction there, but she wasnt' sure what. I took the "long way" around back to our table, so I could snap pics from all angles. they really DO cram quite a bit onto this peninsula. back at our table, the waitress snapped a pic of all of us who were about to enjoy the meal. I think a couple of us went with the set "Finlandia" menu.. hey, when in Rome, right? it was unique, and all of it was very good. the deer was SO good. I think it was the apricot sauce that cinched it for me. you can see, they weren't very busy. I think just one other couple was up there with us. I VERY much enjoyed the experience tho. ' Celery Gelato. . .with hazlenut and I believe this was a moist strawberry vanilla cake. after our meal (which I think took almost 2 hours? maybe slightly less), we had only an hour or so until it was time to meet the bus and head out. since the elevator is in the tower, and the base holds the Aquarium/reptile house, I went to check that out: after a quick stop in the gift shop to pick up a few things, I headed over to the "farm" area for the last 20 minutes I had, to check it out. the rapids ride is very pretty, and it certainly is a showstopper to come across the name of the ride in the middle of a waterfall. but as i was worried about time - and REALLY didn't want to get on the bus for a drive while wet, I skipped it and checked out the area instead. lots and lots of characters, and folks IN character here. I think this *might* be an upcharge area? not 100% sure, but I do remember these two checking to make sure I had an armband on. yeah. . GOTTA be based on a kids show. there were some people over here, who appeared to be waiting for whatever show this was gonna be. and live Pony rides!! haven't seen that in a park in a long time (Six Flags Over Texas used to have pony rides). they were small ponies, so I watched, and didn't even ask. I mean, if adults can't ride the carousel? no point in even asking about the live ponies some live pigs, and sheep over here too. and then some "not so live" cows. making weird faces. ummm. . . ok ? hey, Elissa! at least I didn't Hump it! (and it looks pretty happy. . LOL) there's one you can "milk" too. .and a very nice Finnish Gentleman asked me if I'd like him to take a picture. so in two days, I'd "milked" two cows in Finland! there's a little mini-obstacle course over here too, that was pretty popular with families. (it had a line) and before heading back to the bus, I checked out the gift shop over here, that was full of plushies, and kiddie toys. i honestly *almost* bought this guy. . but as I had some Särkänniemi swag already? I didn't want to overdo it. and then it was time to head back to the bus. . we had a drive to Helsinki ahead of us still today. hope you've enjoyed following along! one evening, and one full day left in the trip!
    3 points
  18. I am always amazed at the number of shows that open right before the Tony deadline. And for the most part, these shows don't last a few months after the awards and they leave empty handed. I thought that was a waste of money to get the show all the way to Broadway only to close soon after. Yet having a show ON Broadway is a HUGE selling feature when the rights are released and every high school, college, and community theater is anxious to do your show. I predict the same fate for shows like How to Dance in Ohio, The Heart of Rock and Roll, and The Great Gatsby. Once you get the Broadway name attached to it, most people outside of NYC have no idea of the show's short history on the Great White Way.
    3 points
  19. Omega Mart is one of my favorite things on Earth.
    3 points
  20. Nobody is going to walk a literal mile round trip to save $2, and if they do... just let them do it. lol
    3 points
  21. Just got back from a quick trip to my old stomping grounds. I used to work at Busch Gardens VA 1994-97, and I had not been there in awhile. I was looking forward to some new credits and riding some of my favorites. Started the trip at Kings Dominion on Sunday May 19th. Cloudy and a bit cool, so crowds were pretty non-existent. Rode Tumbili, my very first S&S 4D free spin. Smooth as anything, and not too crazy. In fact, since I rode by myself, I don't recall flipping upside down even once. Racer 75 was fun although I hate the seat dividers. No need for them when you already have a seat belt and individual locking lap bars. Twisted Timbers. I rode this the first year it was open and enjoyed it. This time it just felt like a never ending set of bunny hills over and over. Not a fan. Grizzly ran well esp. with the new track from last year. Did the log ride which is always fun. I was also doing a livestream on YouTube with my friend, and the viewers insisted I get my face painted. I obliged. After a few hours in the park, I headed down to Busch since they posted on Twitter (I refuse to call it X) that DarKoaster would only be running on weekends. I parked in the Italy section only to find NO TRAMS. Ridiculous. It's almost a half mile walk to the front gate. Got to DarKoaster and joined the 50 minute line. The SLOWEST moving line, and the abundance of Quick Queue made the line even worse. They REALLY need a single rider line since I saw train after train (which only hold 10 people) leave the station with empty seats. Cool concept, but when you're riding in the dark, you cannot brace yourself for the sudden turns. My neck still hurts. Came back on Monday for a full day in the park. First up: Loch Ness Monster. It LOOKS great, but even with the new track, it is still rough as ever. The effects in the tunnel are cool if you could see them. They have projections on the side walls, and with the harnesses, it's really impossible to get a good look. Verbolten was fine, nothing out of the ordinary. Finally got my first ride on Pantheon. Great area, queue, and then....they really cheaped out on the station. It looks like a barn or cheap Home Depot shed. The ride was good though VelociCoaster is WAY better. Comfortable trains and fast dispatches helped to keep the line moving. Alpengeist was closed. Like not even close to being open with park benches blocking the entrance. Strange. I worked in the Entertaiment Department when I was there, so I wanted to see what shows they had. The "Trio De Roma" show in Italy had 2 performers and did exactly ONE sort of Italian song "That's Amore." VERY underwhelmed. Anyway...enjoy the pics! Yeah...light crowds today. About to ride my very first S&S 4D Freespin All in all, not bad. Not crazy and definitely not worth more than a 5-10 minute wait. I had the whole train to myself! The best part of the ride before the non stop bunny hills. Nice job here. Lots of new wood made for a smoother ride. The queue for the log ride. Again....no one here! My face painting as decided by my YouTube viewers. One more pic and then washing it off! This is where I parked. A half mile walk to the park. Cool part of the ride. Whee! Nice entrance....horrible station. Lots of new track and paint. Still photogenic. The new monster statue at the bottom of the 2nd loop. Will still NEVER forgive the park for ripping out the iconic circular stage and putting in this travesty. Eh.... Closed. The view from the skyride. The new and improved tunnel...sort of. Cool tunnel on Invadr.
    2 points
  22. I think you're giving Six Flags way too much credit, though I want to believe that someone somewhere in corporate has a complex excel formula that told them that 1 safari truck every 25 minutes at Safari Off Road Adventure is the absolute sweet spot for dispatch interval.
    2 points
  23. I think one thing that a lot of "should have gone with Intamin" takes are missing is... Cedar Fair owns another Intamin accelerator coaster that's been a huge pain in recent years. In March 2022, Xcelerator at Knott's went SNBO for the 2nd time in only 5 years. The first closure lasted 8 months, the second closure would last almost 2 years. So while CP was planning for a Dragster renovation during the 2022 season, it's sister coaster was facing even more long term downtime while waiting for the manufacturer service department. That, plus all the other issues with Dragster, had to have influenced the choice to find another supplier.
    2 points
  24. Not sure exactly how everyone else does it, but my method feels overly time consuming. I just can't find a faster way that gives me the results I want. First, I go through all the photos (mine and Smisty's) from the place or places I want the update to be about, to familiarize myself with what I've got, and to make the next step a little easier. Then, I go through again, copying every photo that I find good, interesting, or that supports the story I think I want to tell, into a separate folder. Then I take all those photos and start numbering them into a reading order. If photos are similar, they'll get the same number, since I endeavor not to post overly similar photos. Then I go through the photos in order, over and over again, deleting down to just the very best essence of the story, and eliminating "duplicate" photos. Things often get reordered during this stage, as well. When there's nothing left to eliminate, then I'm done. I upload the photos and start captioning them. But often I'm so exhausted by this point that proofreading basically becomes impossible for me, so Misty does that part. Meaning that much of my, *ahem* humor just comes from being delirious. Then I sit back and await my accolades! And wait. And wait.
    2 points
  25. Disney has announced that Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom will open on June 28th! https://wdwnews.com/releases/tianas-bayou-adventure-opens-june-28-at-walt-disney-world/ “Drop on in” with Princess Tiana this summer, as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort on June 28! Tiana’s Bayou Adventure invites guests to join beloved characters Princess Tiana, Mama Odie, Louis, and all-new friends on a thrilling adventure, all set against the music and excitement of a New Orleans celebration. This new attraction will feature dozens of Audio-Animatronics figures, a foot-tapping soundtrack, and a celebration where everyone’s welcome. They got music, it’s always playin’ Music is at the heart of New Orleans, and guests will be tapping their toes all throughout the attraction thanks in part to adorable critters, who play instruments made of natural materials found in the bayou. Tiana’s new friends include an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle and more. Their spirited stylings will turn the bayou into a party with Zydeco, Rara, and Afro-Cuban music authentic to the region of New Orleans. There will be new, original music alongside favorite tunes from the film, created in collaboration with award-winning artists PJ Morton and Terence Blanchard. In addition to musical critters, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure welcomes talent voices from the film as they reprise their roles, including Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen, Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie, Michael-Leon Wooley as Louis, and the one and only Anika Noni Rose as Princess Tiana. Grab somebody, come on down As guests float through the cypress trees and Spanish moss of a beautiful Louisiana bayou, they may see some familiar faces as part of the dozens of entirely new Audio-Animatronics figures. Along with Princess Tiana, Louis and Mama Odie, keep an eye out for Eudora, Charlotte, Prince Ralphie, Prince Naveen and others. Between Disney’s iconic storytelling, technologically advanced Audio-Animatronics figures, and a thrilling 50-foot drop, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has enough fun for everyone! As Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and the Frog” makes its home in the Crescent City, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is more stuffed with authentic NOLA artistry than Charlotte is with Tiana’s “man-catching” beignets! Artwork from Louisiana artist Malaika Favorite will delight guests as part of the queue, and guests can see an original metalwork weathervane from third-generation master blacksmith, Darryl Reeves and his apprentice, Karina Roca. New Orleans artist Sharika Mahdi’s artwork has inspired the attraction from the beginning. And, for some lagniappe (a “little extra”) guests will have a nose full of the sweet scent of beignets being kept warm in the oven – reminiscent of strolling through the French Quarter – as part of the attraction queue. Dreams do come true in New Orleans The heart of Tiana’s story reminds guests that everyone has the potential to make their dreams a reality. With teams of Imagineers, Disney Animation artists, cast members and Louisiana artisans working together, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is sure to pass a good time when it opens at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on June 28, 2024, and later in 2024 at Disneyland Park in California!
    2 points
  26. A couple of years later.... Just bought this thru eBay. It's a wonderful mini of Tokyo Disneyland's Space Mountain, in recognition of it's "Final Ignition." Which will be at the end of July, when it closes for good, and is re-imagined and rebuilt (and moved back several hundred feet), for a 2027(?) opening. When you remove the Mountain itself off the base, the light show can be projected on the ceiling. A very cool souvenir. The box. What it can do. Mine, lit up. Pretty.
    2 points
  27. 2 points
  28. Just looking at the schedule, I'd go Sunday 06/16, Monday 06/17, and Tuesday 06/18. All 10am-10pm operations. If you can swing it, just do FL for all. How often do you get to go to the park? We don't even ride a ton, but when we go to the parks we always buy FL+. We can walk around end enjoy the park instead of waiting in line. If I had to do without it for one day, I'd pick the middle day. Just chill by the pool or something. Beer/cocktails included. FL or bust. Life is too short. (if you can responsibly afford it)
    2 points
  29. Rounding out our time at Area 15, we stopped for a quick drink at the Asylum Bar + Arcade... AREA15 Signal Lager is an exclusive Mexican lager from Able Baker Brewing in Las Vegas and it is quite good! John is a friend I've known through TPR for years (he toured us around Las Vegas during our last visit) and it was great to see him at Area 15 this time around! Liftoff Bar & Ride was something I was eager to try at Area 15... Again, the view of those snowy peaks was a treat! Looking to one side of the Area 15 campus expansion we found the future year-round Halloween Horror Nights attraction construction well under way. Looking back at the Rio from Liftoff... The exterior of this hotel is so cool, regardless of when you look at it! We wouldn't be visiting Circus Circus or The Strat this time around... But it was neat to see The Strat and its attractions off in the distance. Spending time at The Mirage was a priority for us during this trip as it will soon become the new Hard Rock in Las Vegas. But first, something new! The Neon Museum Las Vegas was something we didn't have time to experience during our last visit but was on our must-do list this time around. While the experience is open during the day, I definitely think the appeal of the visit comes from seeing the neon do its thing after dusk. What time is the Bohemian Rhapsody fireworks spectacular? Just need to make sure I'm off of "Nights in White Satin: The Trip" in time to get a good spot! The signage graveyard includes pieces that still work, some that don't and some that don't have any neon left on them... But the collection is incredibly impressive. While the museum grounds aren't huge, there is a lot to see within the space. One of my favorite pieces in the collection. After the Neon Museum we moved over to Resorts World Las Vegas for some New York comfort food at Junior's. Losing Carnegie Deli at The Mirage was a shame but our meal at Junior's took a bit of the sting out. Speaking of The Mirage... Last time we were in Las Vegas we wanted to see The Beatles LOVE but it was dark for two weeks (leading us to see O instead). This time around, it was a major priority for us, especially with rumors at the time that the show would be closing in the near future. The theater in the round is different from the more traditional seating arrangements of Cirque shows like "O" and La Nouba. No photos or video are allowed during the show but I can say that it was a great time, and even if you're not an uber-Beatles fan, you'll still appreciate the combination of visual artistry and the band's most famous tunes. I do believe that the show is a little less "stunt" oriented than O or La Nouba, but we really we were glad to have the chance to see it before the end of the line. Shortly after our visit it was announced that The Beatles LOVE would close after a final performance on July 6th, 2024. There's still time to see it, whether for your first or final time--if you can, I definitely recommend checking it out. Don't mind me... I'm just staring at abandoned ride system infrastructure. The next morning I woke up bright and early to Trek for a bit of Lost Vegas. The Westgate Las Vegas was once the Las Vegas Hilton and it was home to the world's only "Star Trek: The Experience." This ticketing attraction built upon Las Vegas' desire to offer family attractions including rides and shows, offered an immersive trip to the Star Trek universe with experiences inspired by The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. There was a simulator ride (Klingon Encounter), a 4D show (Borg Encounter), a bar and restaurant (Quark's), a museum of sorts plus shopping and roaming characters. The experience was operated by Paramount Parks (ultimately Cedar Fair) in late 2008 with the place to open in an alternate location but that plan never panned out. In the time since the closure of Star Trek: The Experience, the remnants of the old elements at the resort have slowly been removed. There isn't much left to see besides a futuristic gift shop and a preview center for timeshare sales... Tempting but not tempting enough. But if you know what you're looking for, you can find traces of what feels like a future era lost to the past. I couldn't subject myself to a timeshare pitch to take a closer look but this feels like the most "leftover" space remaining. Another gift shop space carries the same Star Trek-ish design. It is my understanding that all of these remaining spaces were outside of the ticketed portion of Star Trek: The Experience (along with the removed SpaceQuest Casino). This would be my first time on the Las Vegas Monorail and it may have been my last as it was recently announced that the monorail will likely be retired in the near future. This was as close as I got to The Sphere during this trip but the scale of it all is way more impressive when you see it up close. I swore I wouldn't do this during this trip... But my feet kept moving in this direction. In the time since my last trip to Vegas, the Manhattan Express/Big Apple Coaster had undergone a refurbishment including replaced track segments, new trains from Premier and a repaint. All aboard the Manhattan Express! The Premier trains and the updated track segments have made the ride a slightly more enjoyable experience... But the "comfort collars" do take a bit away from those gains. Seconds later my comfort collar injected itself into my neck. ] Our train got stuck in the station at the end of my first ride for over 20 minutes and we were offered a free re-ride. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment if the cost is free. I tried to get some better photos of the trains in motion... Going down! I went next to Luxor to see what traces of Lost Vegas I could find... There wasn't much. Enjoy this giant Dorito as a consolation prize. After not finding anything of note at Luxor, I drowned out my sorrows with an excessive number of purchases at Dominique Ansel…
    2 points
  30. Was there on Sunday/Monday. TT2 is insane going backwards and from what I'm hearing the silver train is the one that has shaky moments more than the other two trains. Sunday it broke down twice in line making a one hour wait closer to two and a half hours while Monday it didn't break down nearly as much and they pumped people through and didn't limit Fastlane riders to one ride like they were advertising a few weeks ago, though that might change later this year . This ride is easily top 4 in the park IMO and more reliable than Maverick or Steel Vengeance. It's also a better ride overall than its predecessor.
    2 points
  31. I might be the only one who tends to comment sometimes. . but trust me, many read your reports. and I LOVE them. y'all are freaking hilarious, and I loved spending some time with you both. great pics.
    2 points
  32. Day 21: Friday, June 23rd - travel day to Tampere, Finland (where we'd be going to Särkänniemi the next day) it was a decently long bus ride, so at just under the 1/2 way point, we had a pit stop at a Roadside Traveler Center. it was lovely here - I remain so struck as to how "clean" everything was! this wasn't just ANY traveler center tho. . . this place seemed to be fairly famous, or at least really well known. as it's also a cheese factory! yes, get gas, go potty, get snacks, and watch them make cheese (explains the cow on the roof) not sure what this was next door, but seemed to be getting used as overflow parking. and not only on the roof. . but Cows in side! photo op one can even "milk" them. this one, sadly, didn't "groan" like the one in Japan did when I "milked" it. . but if recalling, this one had plastic udders that stretched as you pulled on them. photo op out of the way, I wandered to the back of the traveler center and peeked down at the "Cheese-making" floor. Seriously, they have large windows, so travelers can watch. .it really is a destination. there's also a pretty large store, that not only sells the cheese (in giant wheels, blocks, cuts) but also all kinds of snacks and hot food. here was my attempt to get something for the bus that was not Licorice flavored. (the Mountain Dew was super sweet and disgusting. . the cookies were good. . .but the coated dried bananas were a bit bland, as was the chocolate bites - they were like larger, flatter, mellower M&Ms, with a thicker shell). arriving in Tampere, we checked into the hotel - where the front desk clerk mentioned it was "Midsommer" - which explained why it seemed so "empty" for a Friday in the city. there were people about, but no where near as busy as I'd expected. And many shops were closed for the day, as it was explained that most go out to the Country to sauna and to celebrate on this day. the hotel was lovely: tho had a weird shower stall, that opened on both sides from the corner. . resulting in more difficulty for this American Idiot to keep the water out of the rest of the bathroom when showering Nice view from the room. it's not a small city, but it was pretty quiet this day. I was gonna meet up with Jon (and I think Jason?) and we were gonna meet up with Andrew, Erik & sMisty to roam around the city. . but on my way down I popped into the Men's Sauna that was offered at the hotel. very lovely, even if empty (again, was told folks leave the area for the holiday). NOTED. . . no naked ass on the benches! I'd never done a Sauna. . but I figured if ever was the time? In Finland on Midsommer? yeah.. I'd break my sauna cherry here later tonight (you're welcome that I won't share that pic) down on the street in front of the hotel, we met up, and I marveled at how gorgeous the day was. a few folks out and about. . but pretty empty for a "not small" city today. we found a few places open in our wandering. . including this fun "novelty" store, that some bought some stuffies at. some random "street" art. . was pretty need to just come across it! really loved the look of this city. and the lack of people around made it even cooler, and allowed for some great pics. this seemed to be a "cultural center" with the water treatment plant (I think that's what it was) as the anchor for the park/restaurants/trails around it. just lovely. it's not a Tum-ahhhhhhhh even here in Finland, the "locks on bridges" movement is going strong. . Disney influenced? got to wonder if there are sometimes paddleboats in this water area. . . otherwise, this statue seems oddly out of place. hey. .a map (I'm assuming a transit map, but also really helpful for tourists) we are at the noted red dot. we started our walk from over by where the comedy/tragedy masks are. and Särkänniemi is up there on the left. but we found a Finnish Grocery Store open. . so of course had to check it out. I was haunted this trip by Olives. (I know who kept putting them on my plate when I wasn't looking), but as we were getting to the end of the trip, I was traumatized by Olives. I wasn't hungry at the moment. . but honestly? this didn't even tempt me. I *think* it was a sweet, even tho it looks like a Hot Dog. back out walking, and enjoying the beautiful weather, and the random statues around the City. we saw a pathway along the waterfront, that seemed to be headed towards an area that would give a nice view of Särkänniemi, so we headed down that way. spooky swimming area. I'm sure on a normal day, this section would be packed with swimmers. the path cuts up thru a park and some more greenery. hi Jon. . . this amused me. . I liked how they tried to camouflage the tunnel with "natural" rock formations. ooo. .I spot the observation tower/restaurant at Särkänniemi up ahead. ok..this i found to be among the coolest stuff I saw while in Finland. Finlandian Graffiti. and it was mostly really well done! it really was so beautiful here. . I know I keep saying that, but it's true! and coming around the curve in the path? across the way - on a peninsula reaching out into the water: Särkänniemi along the waterfront is that horrid torture device known as "Trombi" ( a Zamperla Volare - flying coaster) also behind it in this pic is "Hype" (a Premier skyrocket II), and off to the left is part of "Tornado" (an Intamin suspended coaster - one of only 2 in the world) they were open, as the rides were running - just not really busy today. see? the skyrocket II is running. .the train is about to invert at the top. and the disco over the water, is a great placement. better view of this side of the park - with Tornado (that's hard to miss with it's Neon orange & yellow trains) the park really does look wonderful, and I was very excited about coming back in the morning for our visit. a boat engine of some kind on display at the Marina across from the park. there was a sign on it, but it must not have been in English (or not interesting) as I have no pic of it. view more from the front. . with a better idea of the Skyrocket II layout. and Tornado's neon orange train. turning away from the park to start the trek back, sMisty had found an area called "fairy park" - or something like that. . it sounded interesting, so we detoured that way to check it out. not sure if this was a playscape or a sculpture. (I THINK a playscape tho) thruout the park, there were multiple "hidden" / small sculptures of pixies/faeries playing., this one is definitely a playscape. it had Trampolines. and big red balls.. LOL and a throne? don't mind if I do! tons of fun detail everywhere - like these iron "Spiderwebs" under the roof of this shade structure. whimisical .. and lovely area found another pixie and a handful of folks enjoying the day. from an overlook at the top of the park, you get a lovely view of Särkänniemi across the water Hype doing it's thing notice Trombi hasn't run in any of my pics. I think it's because only fools like us would attempt to ride the horrible thing. I would have checked out the museum. . but it was closed today after a long walk/sight seeing, it was time to head back. Stomachs were rumbling and there was chat in the thread about places for dinner. there were a few options, and I know Erik/sMisty ended up checking out a pub. but some of us decided to check out the pizza place that was spoken very highly of. . with some unique pizzas. so we headed over that way. hmm. .not sure what they are selling Space Bowling!!! (in the dark with neon lights).. but no one was really interested. oh my. . . quite the wait. (and the most people we'd seen all day!). we joined the line, and saw a number of other TPR Trip folks as well. . . a snapshot of the menu. some very interesting options. before too long, we were seated, and our order taken. (notice the line never got shorter! it stayed about that long the whole time. we took an outside seat, so didn't have to wait as long as those waiting to sit inside). a closeup of the unique pizzas. i ended up getting the Struzzo BBQ - ostrich peppers and bbq sauce. (it was SO good) all food comes with a trip to the salad bar first: and my Pizza. which I ate all of - other than the parts I shared with others who wanted a taste. and then it was back to the hotel where i decided I was gonna sauna - and did it the traditional (nekkid) way . . you're welcome again for no pictures. then a shower, and crashed. tomorrow was gonna be a full day, and the truth is? the sauna really was refreshing and knocked me right out.
    2 points
  33. Universal has unveiled new details about Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe! https://media.universalparksusa.com/press-releases/universal-orlando-resort-unveils-exciting-new-details-about-super-nintendo-world/ Next year, guests can jump into the action of their favorite video games when SUPER NINTENDO WORLD makes its much-anticipated debut at Universal Orlando Resort as one of five imaginative worlds at the all-new Universal Epic Universe theme park. Developed in partnership between the visionaries of Universal Creative and Nintendo, the vibrant land combines iconic Nintendo characters with Universal’s renowned craft of creating innovative theme park experiences to deliver a multi-sensory environment where guests can experience the fun and adventure of Nintendo games in a whole new way. Today, Universal Orlando reveals official details about all the excitement that awaits in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Epic Universe – featuring attractions plus dining, shopping and interactive experiences inspired by the Super Mario franchise and – for the first time in the U.S. – Donkey Kong Country. ENTER THE ICONIC GREEN PIPE It all begins the moment guests enter the portal to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, which will transport them through the iconic green pipe into the immersive land. As guests emerge from the pipe, vibrant scenery and exciting kinetic energy surround them as they are greeted by the familiar sights and sounds that they’ve experienced on their Nintendo game consoles – from the towering Mt. Beanpole and majestic Peach’s Castle to swaying Piranha Plants, pacing Goombas, spinning coins, ? Blocks and more. Inside SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, guests will be able to explore Super Mario Land – where they’ll enjoy adventures alongside Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and other characters; and Donkey Kong Country – where they’ll encounter thrills featuring Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and other members of the Kong family. SUPER MARIO LAND The colorful landscapes of the Mushroom Kingdom come to life in Super Mario Land, where guests can experience: • Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge: Guests are invited to join Team Mario and battle Team Bowser for the Golden Cup in this groundbreaking attraction that fuses augmented reality, projection mapping technology and elaborate environments to bring the fun of the Mario Kart video game series to life in a compelling ride-through experience. Guests up for the challenge will enter through Bowser’s Castle – where they’ll wind its corridors and get a glimpse of Bowser’s deceptive plans to stack the odds in his favor – before boarding their kart and heading to the starting line. Then, guests steer through a variety of Mario Kart courses – collecting coins, tossing shells at Team Bowser, dodging obstacles, and more – as they join their favorite characters and compete to help Team Mario win the race. • Yoshi’s Adventure: The delightful Yoshi’s Adventure attraction will make its U.S. debut when SUPER NINTENDO WORLD opens at Universal Epic Universe. On this family-friendly ride, guests of all ages will enjoy breathtaking views of Super Mario Land as they join Yoshis and travel through Mushroom Kingdom landscapes in search of glowing eggs – encountering many familiar characters along the way. • Toadstool Cafe: At Toadstool Cafe, guests can enjoy a variety of tasty dishes inspired by the world of Super Mario and its characters, including Mario and Luigi-themed burgers, Super Mushroom Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, Fire Flower Spaghetti and Meatballs and so much more. Guests will also get glimpses of several Toads cooking up culinary creations through various virtual windows as they dine inside the restaurant. • Yoshi’s Snack Island and Turbo Boost Treats: Guests can also pick up delicious treats, snacks and beverages at these walk-up dining locations. • 1-UP Factory and Mario Motors: Guests can shop for souvenirs, apparel, toys and more inspired by their favorite Super Mario characters and adventures within these retail locations • Meet and Greets: Guests can meet, greet and interact with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad throughout various areas in Super Mario Land. DONKEY KONG COUNTRY At the edge of Super Mario Land, guests will discover an entrance that leads them to Donkey Kong Country, where they’ll explore the lush, tropical landscape from the video game series, complete with tall trees, waterfalls, landmarks such as The Golden Temple and more. Here, guests can enjoy: • Mine-Cart Madness: Guests will hop into a mine cart and careen through the jungle to help Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong protect the coveted golden banana on this first-of-its-kind family coaster. Utilizing an unprecedented ride system, innovative technology and a unique coaster design, Mine-Cart Madness will send riders on a thrilling adventure where they will experience the jaw-dropping maneuvers that they’ve seen Donkey Kong and the mine carts perform in the video games – including getting blasted out of a barrel, seemingly jumping over gaps as they speed along a rickety track, and so much more. • A selection of tropical menu and merchandise offerings in the middle of the jungle – all inspired by the Donkey Kong Country video game franchise and its characters. More details will be shared in the coming months. And that’s not all – guests will find even more exciting experiences and adventures while exploring SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. POWER-UP BANDS Guests can level up their fun in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD with the purchase of a Power-Up Band, a wearable for their wrist that allows them to enhance their play throughout Super Mario Land and Donkey Kong Country. With the Power-Up Band, guests can collect digital coins by punching ? Blocks and playing interactive activities; collect digital stamps on attractions; earn digital keys to unlock an exclusive showdown against Bowser Jr.; and discover other hidden surprises. Guests can also access Leaderboard screens in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD to see where they rank amongst fellow guests. SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Epic Universe will be Universal Destinations and Experiences’ third installment of the immersive land. Right now, guests can enjoy SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan.
    2 points
  34. So it’s like my hopes and dreams… got it.
    2 points
  35. Well now that TT2 with the LSM swing launch is open and has had actual human riders I guess we can officially say that those f*ckin' crackhead enthusiasts were right for once.
    2 points
  36. So, we got on the new FITH yesterday and I thought it was great. Kept all of the original storyline but with updated audio/visual and of course all new set pieces. The differences are slight but only enhance the experience. For those worried about screens instead of physical sets. Don't, 99% are physical sets with just a few discreet, well placed screens. Curious to see if RMC branches out with more of this sort of thing since it was obviously out of their normal wheelhouse. Unfortunately, I really was counting on some more rides to be able to see everything but that didn't happen. After first ride of the day we were supposed to get an hour of ert on it at park close but it went down late in the day and had to be evac'd so never got the extra rides. The park very graciously subbed Outlaw Run for an hour of ert and everyone was pretty happy about that. Anyone who complains about this redo in any way is clearly just and angry old man on the inside, yelling at clouds. As for the rest of the park. Wildfire had apparently been struck by lightening on Friday and the computer kept seeing a third ghost train and doing e-stops. They did get it up and running in the late afternoon but had to go down to one train ops to make that happen. Thunderation was down all day, no idea why. Powder keg and TT both had a little down time but got up and going fairly quickly. Good news, every coaster that was operational was using 2 trains, with the exception of course of Wildfire.
    2 points
  37. Why is everyone all up in arms? Once Six Flags officially merges in, there will be no more free lockers anyway. Cedar Point will basically be Great Adventure without the Saturday night fistfights
    2 points
  38. I usually carry a heavy steel bracket in my cargo shorts, so I get your point.
    2 points
  39. Well, if they're going with Zamperla, this would make an interesting replacement for the Spider, hm? https://www.zamperla.com/product/zarantula
    2 points
  40. I'm actually really surprised people are voting yes, if I'm being completely honest.
    2 points
  41. Europa Park just released the POV of it's newest roller coaster Voltron
    2 points
  42. Paintball park coming in 2025.
    2 points
  43. Where's the "who cares" selection?
    2 points
  44. note that Pepe is there too. nothing to do with "woke". . .which is a GOOD word, it needs to be taken back from those who think it's an insult.
    2 points
  45. I read all your trip reports. Very entertaining!
    1 point
  46. "it's big time dead" - great catch phrase.
    1 point
  47. Wow, I forgot there was ever even the debate about if TTD was going to become an LSM coaster or not.
    1 point
  48. Does anyone know if there was ever a Bayern Kurve in the US that ran at 70 mph? Seriously, that sounds illegal... but I'll be in line for it when it opens!
    1 point
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