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Everything posted by CoasterFanatic

  1. Warning: Please forgive my excessive ramblings. These TRs are long, but that is just the way I do it. You can find these reports along with some photos at: http://www.coasterfanatics.com. Friday 3-11-05 Today, we head to San Diego. Since we both had Busch passes, we decided to make a trip to Sea World and try to take it easy for the day. We were already feeling a little bit exhausted from the 2 days at Disney, and felt that a nice drive would be a good way to break up the trip. From the hotel, it was only about an hour and a half drive to get to Sea World. There wasn't too much sunlight and we were pretty much freezing, so we decided the first thing that we would do is try to locate some nice sweatshirts. We eventually settled on some nice pull-over fleece sweatshirts they had at the reasonable price of $25 a piece. After our little Busch pass discount, it worked out to be a pretty good deal. As a matter of fact, everything in the park was very reasonably priced. After purchasing our shirts, we made our way to the Dolphin stadium for the first show of the day. Since I had never been to Sea World San Diego, I didn't really know what to expect, but the park was very nice. It was a little more open than the one in Orlando, and most of the stadiums were open air. We watched the dolphin show and then waited over near the side of the stadium afterwards to get our picture with a dolphin. I thought that this was a pretty neat idea. If you show up before the show and make a reservation with the "clipboard lady", you can get a picture with one of Sea World's star dolphins without any obligation to buy. We stepped up to the tank and the trainer summoned the dolphin, who swam up and perched his head over the glass right between us. The cameraman took 3 quick pictures and gave us a card for us to preview them later. After the dolphin photo, we got a bite to eat at the hospitality house. If you have never been to a Busch park, they have some of the best turkey sandwiches anywhere, let alone a Theme Park. After lunch, we walked to Journey to Atlantis to check it out. I was very interested in seeing how this version compared to the Florida one, and it doesn't. They are two completely different rides, built around two different concepts. The only thing that they really share in common is their basic design and hardware. We watched a few boats go down the straight drop, so that we could gauge how wet the passengers were getting. It looked like as long as you stay out of the front, you didn't get much water at all. I couldn't convince Catrina to get on it, so I made my way through the queue to check it out for myself. When i got to the loading platform, I was delighted to find that there was no wait, and i could hand pick my row. I opted for the left seat in the last row, and was joined by a lady visiting from Minnesota. We climbed the lift and went straight down the first drop. After turning around at the base, the boat entered a dark room. After another boat joined us in the room, the door closed and we began to rise straight up. As the lift took the boats to the top, it tilted from side-to-side almost like we were floating to the top. Once we reached the top, the doors open and all you can see is coaster. After a couple winding drops, the boat makes a splash down into the second pool. After dodging a few air cannons, we pull into the station, and I am pleasantly surprised that I hardly got any water on me at all. I came out and told Catrina that it isn't too bad and the water is very light. She was convinced and we rode it together. Of course, when the second ride was over she did fine, but i got much more water than the first time around. Next we walked around the park, doing a little souvenir shopping and checked out a couple more places before we left for the day. The shark encounter was very nice, but not nearly the attraction that "Terrors of the Deep" is in Orlando. Before we left we stopped by the photo booth and picked up our photos with the dolphin. Again, it was a very reasonable price. Having tackled everything we wanted to see in Sea World, we took a drive down the street to visit Belmont Park. Belmont Park is not very large by any means, but is a quaint little park. The beachfront location takes you back to a time when this type of park was commonplace and not an endangered species. We walked to the Dipper museum and got ride tickets so we could take a spin on the dipper and ride the carousel. Inside the museum/gift shop you can not only buy dipper merchandise and tickets, but also take a look at historical photos, landmark distinction plaques, various ACE recognitions, an original lead car, a scale model, as well as purchase the current ACE calendar. I took some picture inside the shop and then we headed over to the dipper. Since this was the first day the Dipper was running this year, the ride was in excellent shape. It was flying over the hills and taking the turns at a very good pace. While many make a big deal out of the Morgan trains, they run great on this particular ride. No any threat to break the top ten, but a fun little coaster indeed.
  2. Warning: Please forgive my excessive ramblings. These TRs are long, but that is just the way I do it. You can find these reports along with some photos at: http://www.coasterfanatics.com. Thursday 3-10-05 After a decent night's sleep to make up for the time difference, we made our way to Disneyland for the 2nd day of our 3 day hopper. First, we headed to Fantasyland and took a spin on Storybook Land. This is a pretty unique little ride where you can view miniature versions of some of the Disney movie locations. Not the best ride, but a relaxing way to start the day. Since we were planning on meeting up with Chris, Natalie, and Paul later in the day, we tried to stay away from some of the more popular attractions so we could ride with them later. The next stop was Buzz Lightyears Astro Blasters. The ride was not officially open, but it ran everyday that we were there. In about 10 minutes, we boarded our "omni mover" and grabbed the gun. As usual, Catrina was trying to throw me off my game by pushing the side my head and grabbing my gun. With all the distractions, and a little bit of videotaping, I was still able to put up a respectable score. After the ride, you can go to kiosks located at the exit and send your on-ride photo to any email address of your choosing. We sent it to ourselves, and now she has the proof that she beat me by a close margin. Since Catrina never had the pleasure of experiencing "It's a Small World", we headed over to the ride, so she could see what see had been missing. About half-way through the ride, I hear her say, "There's more". To this I replied, "We are only about halfway through it". By the end of the day, I was probably starting to get on her nerves with the random whistling of the chorus. A few more attractions, and a Chili dog later, we met up with Chris, Natalie, and Paul. They were running a little late due to some problems with their rent-a-car, but we were now on our way. We rode Thunder Mountain, Indy, and the Matterhorn before briefly splitting for a little bit to grad our sweatshirts. We met back up and did Indy again, then made our way to the front of the park. We were all pretty exhausted, so we decided to eat back at the hotel. Later, back at the Radisson at Knotts, we met at Amber Waves for a late dinner. While the food was a little pricey, the service was pretty good. This probably had something to do with us being the only people in the restaurant. I had the sirloin and it was a little rough on the outside, but the beer was good. Never mind the fact that it was nearly $5 for a domestic draft. We talked for a little while and then went upstairs, where I passed out before my head hit the pillow.
  3. Warning: Please forgive my excessive ramblings. These TRs are long, but that is just the way I do it. You can find these reports along with some photos at: http://www.coasterfanatics.com. Wednesday 3-9-05 After just a few hours sleep, Catrina and I wake up and get ready to head to PIT for our 4.5 hour flight to LAX. Our flight leaves at 8:05 and it looks like we will get there with plenty of time to spare. After boarding the plane, we get ourselves comfortable for the trip and fire up the portable DVD so we can get our own personal "in-flight movie" going. The trip drags a little bit, but eventually we arrive at LAX and get our bags, pick up our rental car and head over to the Radisson at Knotts to check in. We arrive at Knotts somewhere around 1pm and Catrina decides to take a little nap, so I headed over to the park to check out Silver Bullet and to get an idea of how Ghost Rider is running. When I get to Ghost Rider, I notice that they have metal bands wrapped around the tracks to hold rotting wood together. Looks more like a quick fix than a long term solution, but the cars seem to be rolling pretty good through the course. After an unsuccessful search for sunglasses, I head back over to the hotel and relax for a little bit, before we head over to Disneyland. At 3:00pm we drove to Disneyland and graabed a parking spot in the Garage. As soon as we got out of the car, I see a guy that I recognized as an actor. I am pretty sure that he was in some Sopranos episodes, but I can't remember what movies the guy is in for the life of me. I figured I would check it out when I got home, because it is really starting to bother me. Anyway, we follow the guy to the tram station and get a lift over to California Adventure. I have never been to California Adventure, so this is all new stuff to me. The park is very nice, although a little thin by Disney Standards. Grizzly is a very impressive looking ride from the outside and Paradise Pier is a real gem. We headed straight over to California Screaming and noticed that it only had a 20 minute stand-by line, so we lined up for our first ride of the trip. California Screaming has very impressive look from the outside and really gives the appearance of a classic sea-side woody, but as soon as you board you can tell that is only in appearance. Once the ride leaves the station, it drops around the corner and parks alongside the man-made lagoon to its left. After a few seconds, the ride launches with a rather mild intensity level up the first hill into the course. The ride is littered with diving turns and drops, but everything is very drawn out and forceless. While this makes the ride very appealing to a wide range of visitors, it takes away from what it is trying to appear to be ... a thrilling sea-side coaster. Screaming did, however, have a nice surprise at the end. It finished off with a couple nice little floater hills before parking back in the station. After Screaming we grabbed a drink and walked towards the front of the park. We took the Fast Passes that we got on the way in for Soaring over California and walked up to the ride building. After quickly realizing that our Fast Passes were not really necessary, we boarded our glider (front-left) and waited for the ride to begin. Having not been to the park before, I really didn't know what to expect from this ride. The lights went out and we were lifted into the theater area. When the video comes on, there is a massive feeling of "WOW!". The image is so huge and you are just floating right there in the middle of it. The movie consists of several cut shots gliding over different parts of the state with wind effects and even smells. While it may not be a thrilling ride by any stretch of the imagination, Soaring is very fun ride that is tame enough for just about any visitor. With two rides under our belt, we walked over to Disneyland. We were hoping to find something to eat, but quickly noticed that almost every food place in the park was closed with a few exceptions. We really wanted to get something to eat so we walked around a little bit then headed back to the hotel, where we figured we could more dining options. When we got back to Buena Park, we stopped in Outback Steakhouse for a bite to eat, and it proved to be a good choice. Even if they don't know what a Sweet Potato is.
  4. I have many favorites from both manufacturers, but I will probably give a slight edge to Intamin. It still amazes me how some their track is laid out. While most manufacturers build the ride around the floor of the train, Intamin builds it right around your center of gravity. The reason that Intamin is always getting a bad rep when it comes to safety is that the parks sue them as soon as the accident occurs. This points the fault back to the manufacturer when the park is actually trying to cover up a mistake in the way that they operated the ride. This is probably the case with 9 out of 10 ride accidents. It is just the way that liability works. Everybody is always trying to pass the buck.
  5. Thanks. I always forget where I post replies and everyonce in a while I like to go back and check the status of old threads. // Always down with new functionality
  6. That would be Elissa on the "Extreme Rollercoasters" DVD. Not sure about Robb though. I only know this because I had it in my Netflix queue and watched it a few months ago. Not a bad DVD, but way to Californicentric. http://www.netflix.com/MovieDisplay?movieid=60028148&trkid=181026
  7. I can only stress it so much, and many people have already said it. The biggest thing to remember about Universal is this: "The early bird gets the worm"
  8. If it is your first time there, I could definately see spending the whole day. If you like country music (guilty here), then you willl have no problem finding stuff to do. If not, there is still quite a bit left to eat up a day. // Highly suggest staying in Gatlinburg over Pigeon Forge
  9. Pretty weak in my opinion. I compare it to a smoother Vekoma Junior SLC with a couple loops. No real sense of speed can be found on the ride. The helix at the end has some force, but too little ... too late. It is decent in the front seat, but the middle of the train just sort of meanders around the track.
  10. Another vote here for Jone's Creme Soda. I love that stuff. A&W, and IBC are also pretty decent Creme Sodas
  11. Agreed, even though the users on my site also put it in the top ten. I will assume that is based on "past" performance.
  12. A 200+ ft tall woodie with double helixes and a vertical loop. You would have to be crazy to build that one.
  13. The humor and photo skills are way above and beyond the average abilities of an 11 yr old. Great TR and photos. Themeparkreview.com "Now with more child prodigies"
  14. ^ not to fan the flames, but I would at least wait till it opens. I had my doubts about Phantoms Revenge. One ride put that to bed real quick. // Anxiously awaiting Hydra
  15. Don't worry. It will come. Unless you have already riden Thunderhead. In that case, you would be a lost cause.
  16. Any Intamin tower will pretty much do it for me. So far, the best is at Kings Dominion (Haven't rode Acro yet) The first time you ride X, the little dip at the top made me feel a little weird. You don't know when the drop is coming. Looking down the first drop of Son of Beast. You know the pain that is inevitable.
  17. Another vote for Wishes at WDW. I like it much better than the previous show. If you get a chance and don't mind crazy crowds, the 4th of July show at WDW's Magic Kingdom is unbelievable. They run a pretty standard show but also launch fireworks from all around the perimeter of the park. Another Note: The best fireworks display I have ever seen was viewed from the WDW's Magic Kingdom parking lot. They were having a large fireworks convention at the Contemporary and set off a display from a nearby little field. It was unbelievable. Most of the shells were the size of the last one set off for "Wishes" and the show was like 30 minutes of Grand Finale.
  18. In my eyes, Comet is a ruined coaster. I does not deliver rides anywhere near it's potential. It is still a decent ride though. Just a sad disappointment to those who rode it before. I will give my underated woodie vote to ... Twister (Knoebels)
  19. Just got back from my annual cross-country adventure to Solace, and I will also give a nod to SFMM for making some improvements. All the ERTs had 2 trains running and were ready to go when the gates opened. Knott's on the other hand was maybe a step down from last year, and "Sliver" Bullet was kind of disappointing, even though I wasn't expecting much. I am getting ready to pull the video from the DV cam and hope to get some trip reports ready in the next day or so. // Sorry I didn't have much time to chat Robb. I think Catrina must have caught something from Elissa.
  20. I though when I grew up, I would be a famous rock and roll singer. I opted instead for the Web Developer gig.
  21. Take a look at this thread for the answer to your question: http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=302 It would help if the author called it something other than "Can I Ask A Personal Question"
  22. Expedition GeForce Pallayup Coaster Deja Vu (Maybe Someday) Superman: Escape (Maybe Sunday ... Fingers Crossed) Beech Bends New GCI (2006) Ozark Wildcat Zonga ... Formerly Tornado ... Formery Taz's tornado ... Formally Thriller
  23. ^ My count would be massive if you counted Himalayas and Musik Expresses.
  24. I talked to Chris Godsey from RideWorld last night, and the ticket offices will not be open at SFMM prior to the ERT sessions. If you do not have a Season Pass, and have not yet purchased your tickets, you need to call SFMM and purchase tickets over the phone. They will only have tickets available to those who have pre-paid. Hope this helps.
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