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About biosciking

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    What's with the donkeys anyway?
  • Birthday 12/20/1979
  1. My 2012 WDW trip included visits to Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf. My 2013 WDW trip then included visits to Epcot and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf. Continuing the trend of visiting major parks along with smaller attractions, this 2014 WDW trip included visits to Magic Kingdom followed by DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney (2014 was prior to Downtown Disney's name change to Disney Springs). I had long been curious about DisneyQuest (I often considered it Disney World's 4.5th theme park), but I'd never tried it out until now. I am
  2. ... Haunted Mansion looks incredible sitting atop its isolated hillside. While Magic Kingdom's appears more "haunted" and Disneyland's appears more "mansion," either way Haunted Mansion is dark ride perfection (the ride itself plus the queue room walkthroughs leading up to the ride). Very appropriately located in Liberty Square is Hall of Presidents. I watch Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland quite regularly, and I had just watched American Adventure at Epcot the previous year, so I was glad to be able to watch Hall of Presidents again this year. And because this tri
  3. The second half of my August 2014 trip took me back to Central Florida, the third August in a row I'd make this trip. As with the previous two years, I wanted to do some Disney World and some beyond Disney World. The only major Disney park left to visit was Magic Kingdom -- I had visited Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom in 2012 and Epcot in 2013. I'd held off on Magic Kingdom though while the new Fantasyland was under construction, but now that it had opened this felt like the perfect time to pay a visit to the original Walt Disney World park. I have been to Magic Kingdom twice befo
  4. Next on the itinerary was my first ever visit to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA. This park doesn't seem to have the greatest of reputations, perhaps because its collection of coasters is not exactly stellar (Cheetah, a CCI woodie, would be the highlight), and / or perhaps because it hardly ever gets anything new (its newest coaster, Viking Voyage, was added way back in 2010; I believe the only addition since this 2014 visit has been Jungle Rumble, a flying carpet-style flat ride). In spite of these shortcomings, I actually quite enjoyed Wild Adventures for several reasons: 1) While the
  5. It's actually a very basic (and quite old) Canon PowerShot, a standard superzoom camera. It gets the job done, though it does need to be serviced (or replaced altogether!), as the low-light setting (at which all of these aquarium pics were taken) ends up with a vertical line running through the right side of the picture. I hope that wasn't too distracting.
  6. I consider the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Georgia Aquarium to be the "big three" aquariums in the United States. While I've been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium several times, I'd never before visited either of the other two. Being in Atlanta, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to give Georgia Aquarium a try. The newest of the three (opened in 2005), it's currently the largest aquarium in the country (it was the largest in the world for a while), and features a couple inhabitants you can't find elsewhere in the U.S. -- whale sharks and manta rays. The whale shark
  7. Following Lake Winnie it was on to Six Flags Over Georgia. One of the original Six Flags parks, the various areas themed to Georgia's history still give the park an early Six Flags feel, despite the many modernizations that have of course occurred over the years. I had first visited SFOG in 2010, and the main changes between that visit and this 2014 visit were the additions of Dare Devil Dive and Sky Screamer, plus the new Hurricane Harbor. In my opinion, though, Goliath remained the top attraction at the park (with Acrophobia a close #2). One of the key things that caught my attention
  8. Huh, I did ride it, but don't remember it leaving an impression on me one way or another. I wish I'd known it had a reputation beforehand, as I would have paid more attention! Anyway, I'm now finally getting to my August 2014 vacation (a trip report two-and-a-half years after the trip itself isn't too unreasonable, right?!). Like August 2012 and August 2013, theme parks and roller coasters were the main emphasis here, though I did include a few related but non-coaster attractions as well. Also like 2012 and 2013, the trip was divided into two parts, though this year the two parts wer
  9. After visiting Fun Spot in Orlando and Kissimmee, the final stop of my August 2013 trip was Old Town in Kissimmee, right next door to Fun Spot. Old Town is a very, um, *interesting* park. First of all, the set-up is quite unusual. The front of the park is the location of the slingshot and skyscraper attractions. Operated by a different vendor are some go-karts, bumper cars, and laser tag. Operated by a third vendor, still in the front part of the park, are the ferris wheel, the drop tower, and the relatively new rock wall, ropes course, and zipline attractions. That same vendor operates
  10. Time for my annual trip report from Six Flags Magic Mountain, this year focusing on the newly renovated Revolution. Like the rest of the coaster enthusiast community, I was ecstatic when it was first announced that Revolution would be returning to trains without the painfully unnecessary over-the-shoulder restraints. When it was later announced that the ride would be given a virtual reality treatment, I was torn. This isn't a fad that I felt all that interested in, but I was curious to at least try it, and it was nice to know that you wouldn't be required to partake in the VR experience if
  11. Central Florida's other Fun Spot park is Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee (I know the park has recently changed its name to Fun Spot America to match the Orlando park, but I'll go ahead and still call it Fun Spot USA, since that was its name when I visited in 2013). This Fun Spot doesn't seem to be quite the company's pride and joy the way the Orlando Fun Spot does. Perhaps that's because this is a smaller park without the same room for potential growth. Perhaps it's because Old Town is immediately next door and some of Old Town's ghetto-ness rubs off on Fun Spot (though that's a discussion for an
  12. Following my visits to two major parks (Epcot and SeaWorld) and two smaller attractions (Winter Summerland and Silver Springs), I still had three small parks left on the itinerary for this August 2013 Central Florida trip. First on the agenda was Fun Spot America in Orlando. Known as Fun Spot Action Park up until earlier that summer, the park received a new name in 2013 to celebrate the very significant expansion it underwent during this record year. The expansion saw the park triple in size and add approximately a dozen new rides, including two awesome roller coasters and the world's secon
  13. Ever since my first Florida visit as a child, I've been curious about the Silver Springs attraction in Ocala. Billed as Florida's original tourist attraction, this amusement park / nature park combo has intrigued both my theme park enthusiast and biologist personas. However, I'd never gotten around to visiting during any of my previous Florida trips. While planning this August 2013 trip, I discovered that the state was planning to take ownership of Silver Springs in September 2013, incorporating it into the state park system, thereby ending the amusement park operations. With that in mind,
  14. Following Disney World, I included a few non-Disney attractions in my 2013 Florida trip. Of the other major parks in Central Florida, I had just visited Busch Gardens in 2012, so I decided against returning there so soon. I also opted against Universal, as those parks had extensive Harry Potter construction going on at the time. I therefore chose SeaWorld -- I didn't do SeaWorld in 2012, since Antarctica was being built that summer, but this summer Antarctica was open and a major new attraction, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to visit. It was also a nice park to follow up Busch Ga
  15. Before leaving Disney World, my 2013 visit included two smaller attractions that I'd never done before. Because my 2012 trip included a stop at Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf, I figured this year I'd go ahead and try Winter Summerland Miniature Golf. Winter Summerland seems to be the slightly lesser known of the two WDW mini golf courses, with a reputation as the "more typical, less elaborate" course. Keep in mind, though, that "more typical" and "less elaborate" by Disney standards still equate to pretty atypical and very elaborate, and I found Winter Summerland to be an excellent mini go
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