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Everything posted by pianojohn

  1. So the question on everyone's mind: Iron Gwazi or Steel Vengeance? I know you've ridden both, and while they're both extreme RMC creations, they look vastly different in the ways they were built. Aesthetically, I am leaning toward MF since it's a tangle of wood AND it sits on the lake. But what are your thoughts? Thanks!
  2. I've worked for both companies for many years (not just a seasonal employee.) Busch USED to be amazing. When the Busch family owned the parks, there was a level and quality and service unmatched elsewhere. Once they sold to Blackstone, things went downhill fast. This past summer, Cedar Point celebrated its 150th with tons of show including a MASSIVE one with a cast of over 70 people. This past Christmas, Sea World could not be bothered to bring back "Oh Wondrous Night," their award winning Christmas show and instead got groups to fill in on weekends. It was lackluster and cheap and showed how different these two parks are in their commitment to entertainment. There is just no comparison between the companies and their two philosophies. Cedar Fair has been around for 150+ years and is an ENTERTAINMENT company. Sea World is owned by Blackstone, an investment firm. They just see the parks as money makers and way to make dividends off of their stocks. And until Sea World Orlando can retain a president for more than one year, they are in no business to be buying other properties.
  3. I am going to say this happening is as likely as that new Six Flags they are building in Orlando. Or that new theme park going up near I Drive. Or.... Basically not going to happen. Why? Sea World could BARELY pay for its coasters, 3 of which have yet to open. They are notorious for having mass layoffs every year. Doesn't sound like a company that can take on a LOT of debt. PLUS Six Flags offered Cedar Fair $4 BILLION last year that they rejected. WHY would the chain even entertain a lower offer? The news made both of their stocks rise. Maybe that was their intention all along.
  4. Dania Beach Hurricane shot on January 29, 2009 IMG_4116.MOV
  5. 676 days. That is how long it has been since I last worked for a company that employed me for 21 years. They keep saying "oh, we're going to bring you back." It's been almost 2 full YEARS. I am OVER it. Literally. Most of my friends have returned to work or were able to transition to remote work. I am a professional musician. There is no "remote work" for me. I did everything right: masked, social distanced, got both Pfizer shots AND the booster. I STILL got Covid right after New Years. It sucked for about 3 days. Still have a lingering cough. But I am here. I survived. So to all those selfish entitled a$$holes who still insist it's not big thing and refuse to get vaccinated, F*CK YOU. It is due to people like you that we are in our 5th wave. I am still holding out hope that I may return to a job I loved and did well for over 2 decades. RANT over.
  6. Thanks and yes I am. FINALLY tested negative after 7 positive tests so I can start rehearsals for a show I am playing!
  7. Kongfrontation Universal Studios Orlando October 1995 837827420_KongfrontationUSFOct1995.mp4
  8. Scooby's Ghoster Coaster May 2000 1023912985_ScoobysGhosterCoasterMay2000.mp4
  9. Kings Island Coasters May 2000 Lots of defunct ones in this video: Son of Beast, King Cobra, and Vortex. You can even see the Red Racer running backwards! 141533452_KICoastersMay2000.mp4
  10. Boardwalk and Baseball April 1989 373453350_BoardwalkandBaseballApril1989.mp4
  11. Williams Grove Cyclone Front Row POV May 1998 1854921379_WilliamsGroveCycloneMay1998.mp4
  12. While I am home recovering from COVID, I have been transferring my old home videos into digital format. Here are a few I have done so far! Clementon Park Jack Rabbit Front row POV June 1998 2086948505_ClementonParkJackRabbitSept1998.mp4
  13. Since I'm home with COVID now, I have nothing but time! I have started transferring old video tapes to digital format. Here is one I shot at Kings Island in May 2000 right after Son of Beast opened. There are 3 defunct coasters in this video: Son of Beast, King Cobra, and Vortex. Enjoy! 2088453902_KICoastersMay2000.mp4
  14. This is a long shot, but..... Is anyone NEAR to Knotts planning to visit before Sunday? I ordered the holiday tshirt and pin, but my friend who lives in CA is unable to make it to the park. I have the pdf with my order and barcode on it. I will pay to have it shipped to me here in Florida. Just send me a private message and we can go from there. Thanks!!
  15. It depends on WHEN I finally get rehired at Disney (it's only been 648 days since I played my last show but who's counting...ME!!) Since I already have season passes for Cedar Fair, Universal, and Busch parks, here are my hopeful plans: March: Knotts for Berry Festival, maybe Disneyland but not planning on it. June: in Ohio for my college reunion so probably a few days at Cedar Point depending on when CoasterStock is, wanna hit that again at Kings Island. July: back to Ohio for my nephew's wedding so MORE Cedar Point! Sometime during the summer: Busch Gardens VA and Kings Dominion. It's been a few years, and I'll need my Pantheon and Tumbili credits. Since I live in Orlando, many many trips to USF/IOA, Busch Gardens Tampa, and Sea World. I also have a Fun Spot USA season pass so I'll use that when I'm really bored! October: Knott's Scary Farm is a must. Dream trip: Indiana to finally go to Indiana Beach and maybe Holiday World.
  16. My two cents: The week before and after Christmas are insanely crowded. Orlando had a day of rainy weather so now there are people who planned to go to the park one day and had to push it to the next. I've been to BGT dozens of times over the last 20 years. Yes, there have been crappy days, but it is FAR from the worst run park in the world. Again, insane crowds this week are to be expected. That's why I avoid the parks this time of year.
  17. Great book and a really nice guy! Definitely pick it up if you're on the fence!!
  18. LOVE this park so much. They will do anything for their guests and it shows. I had the most amazing two days there during Knotts Scary Farm and an incredibly disappointing one down the road at those other parks. I am already planning my next trip to Knotts and not really concerned about giving my time or money to Disneyland.
  19. I've posted this many times before, so why not once more! What the park REALLY needs is a traditional log ride. The other water rides in the park (Snake River Falls and Thunder Canyon) get you soaked. A no-brainer: build a replica of Knott's Timber Mountain Log Ride. 1) Great ride and has been for 50+ years 2) Perfect theming which would fit in with FrontierTown 3) Small footprint would fit perfectly in the empty space DO IT!!
  20. It just seems that the company has been successful with delivering a far inferior product (no shows, no FastPass, no atmosphere) and yet people still pay to come. It's sad, but once a show is cut, it's rare for it to be brought back since it costs money and the pencil pushers don't see the value in spending money if it's not to make money.
  21. Quantum Pretzel with Sharp Cheddar Cheese-Beer Sauce $12.99 PB3 Superb Sandwich, warm PB&J with Banana and Candied Bacon on Pym Particle Bread, served with Micro Banana Smoothie and crispy Potato Bites $12.99 Pretty standard to overpriced food. The dessert, a HUGE candy bar, was very good with Dark Chocolate, Peanuts, Caramel, Nougat and Chocolate Brownie. $7.99 and definitely needed to be shared with at least 3 other people.
  22. It's basically park food but either HUGE or small in size. The pretzel was huge and big enough to share with 3 other people. There was also the PBJ and bacon sandwich with a tiny smoothie. Food was good but the gimmick is the outrageous sizes both big and small.
  23. Just returned from a whirlwind trip to Knotts and Disneyland. Now, I have been to both parks MANY times, but this was going to be different. I have worked as a musician at Walt Disney World since 1999. Whenever I visited Disneyland, I would marvel at how they got everything right. As soon as I got back to Orlando, I would start planning my next trip to the West Coast. But this time, I was visiting with a different perspective. Thanks to COVID, I was furloughed then terminated from WDW. 21 years as a professional musician taken away. I am still being told that I WILL return to work, but at almost 600 days of waiting, that phone call has not come. So, I planned a trip out to Knotts for Scary Farm with one day at Disneyland. Knotts was amazing like it always is. Knotts Scary Farm blew me away. On the first day (Saturday Oct 30th), my husband and I were able to do 7 of the 8 houses in the first HOUR. Yes, we bought the Boo-Fet Dinner which got us in 1/2 hour early, but spending $45 for an all you can eat meal PLUS a souvenir bottle to get 30 minutes of access is a MUCH better deal than dropping $99-125 for Fear Lane. PLUS YOU GET FOOD!! The houses were great. Each one was unique, and the level to detail just blew me away. The overlay for Calico Mine Train is incredible. The park is NOT shy about really hitting the horror aspect! The highlight was seeing Puppet Up, the Henson company show that features improv comedy and puppets. Each show was different and hilarious. And VERY adult. The F bomb was dropped multiple times per show, and the audience could not get enough! On Sunday, we decided to hit the park for its day operation. The gates opened at 8am for Knotts Spooky Farm, and in the first hour, we got multiple rides on XCelerator, Jaguar, Motezooma's Revenge, Pony Express, the Timber Mountain Log Ride, and more. And they had trick or treating! We had visited Sea World's Spooktacular in Orlando on Friday Oct 29th and found it ok. The candy they gave out was definitely 2nd tier (Smarties, gummies, etc) with M&Ms being the only chocolate. And they handed out maybe one or two pieces each time. At Knotts, we were blown away! HUGE amounts of candy (mostly chocolates like Snickers, M&Ms, Hershey's miniatures) were given out by the handful. AND this all started at 8! I know Sea World's event didn't start til later. Sunday night found us returning to KSF for night two. We waited with the hordes of people under Silver Bullet, and right at 7 were able to hit a few houses before the crowds descended. Again, tons of scareactors, fog everywhere, and live entertainment! Monday morning and we were off to Disneyland resort before our red eye flight that evening. We lucked out and got Rise of the Resistance virtual queues. Parking in the parking garage and WALKING about a mile to the park is NOT a good first impression. Whether it's to save money or the excuse that they have to retrain the operators, it adds up to a really bad show. We got in Disneyland and hit the dark rides. Pinocchio and Mr. Toad were walk ons. Did the new and improved Snow White which was nice. Haunted Mansion Holiday was good, although the 20th Anniversary gingerbread house did not seem to be made from gingerbread. Maybe it is, but to me, it looked like plywood and paint. Lunch time and I had to have one of the park's famous corn dogs from the Little Red Wagon. Got in a huge line and placed my order. Unfortunately, you can no longer get the corn dog a la carte. You MUST choose either chips or an orange. Bad show. I didn't want to pay extra for something I was not going to eat, but they give you no choice. Also, almost all food outlets are mobile order only. Even if there is NO ONE in the restaurant. At Red Rose Tavern, we were stopped at the door and told to place the order online. What could have been a quick order at the counter turned into a 10 minute waste of time placing the order and waiting. Why??? At noon, we were able to secure virtual queue for Spiderman. For FOUR HOURS from now. Is the ride really THAT good? At 1pm, we were allowed to park hop and joined HUGE crowd of people doing the same. I REALLY miss the old days of being able to come and go as we please. Entered DCA and went to Philharmagic. What an awful theater. Definitely not made for this film as the screen is too small, and the "wraparound" effect consists of images shown on the side walls. Makes me really miss the far superior WDW version. At this point, every ride in the park was about an hour wait. Crowd control? I didn't see it since the streets were packed. Went to RSR only to find it down for maintenance. We spotted a lonely car crawling along the track. Hmmm...... Finally, our webslingers time came up. But it's not an instant ride. You enter the outdoor queue which still means at least a 15-20 minute wait. I thought the virtual queue took care of that? The ride? Eh. Very underwhelming. And short. And unless it's dropped from virtual queue, I probably won't ride it again. My conclusion: My days at Knotts were great. I could do whatever I wanted multiple times without having to pre-plan my entire day. I could walk back to my hotel, take a break, and still be back the park for more fun. And the park was gorgeous with decorations everywhere and unique food items and merch as well. Disneyland just felt like a chore. You had to get up early to try and secure a virtual queue. Food had to be ordered on your iPhone. The walk to and from the parking garage was a complete waste of time. Maybe this was all due to the fact that I gave so much to this company for over 2 decades and then cast aside. I don't know. I DO know I am already planning my next trip to Knotts. And I may just skip the aggravation and disappointment of Disneyland.
  24. Just read that the park has only had two owners in its history. And as for the current owner: "there have been plenty of offers to buy Lakeside/develop the property... and no, owner Rhoda Krasner is not interested Owner Rhoda Krasner is notoriously uninterested in selling the property or partnering with an investor to put money into "fixing it up." The beauty of Lakeside may be in the eye of the beholder, but anyone who visits the park and gets its old-school charm knows the park is fine just the way it is. Krasner has been known to say that part of the reason she hasn't struck a deal is because she wishes to stick by her father Ben's original intent of keeping the park affordable to all." So keep the park a sh*thole rather than fix it up? Makes no sense.
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