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Everything posted by musicmand

  1. Still waiting for a new one since Time Traveler. In fact, I don't know that I've ridden any coaster since March 2018...
  2. GAHHHHHH I just wrote a long, detailed post about our trip this weekend, but then my computer decided to restart while I made lunch. Short version: We went Sunday. Lined up at the rope at 9:15 (opened at 9:30). Time Traveler was not running at 9:30 due to it being too cold. We grabbed breakfast then queued up for TT at about 9:55. "Fun pic" station is a choke point in the queue - we got through it and the bottom level of TT was about 80% empty- makes you wonder how it will affect crowd control once TT is running at full capacity. The first TT train of the day rolled at 10:15. We climbed on the ride at 11:15. At its best, they were releasing a train every 90 seconds. The worst time between trains that I timed was 4 and a half minutes. In the queue, we enjoyed what theming there was (less theming means less to turn off and let rot - here's looking at you, WildFire) and especially enjoyed the game of identifying the songs on the PA and why they were included on the playlist (we're still confused by "Free Bird"). The ride itself was awesome. My wife and I giggled the whole time, and it was the most flat-out FUN that we've had on a ride in a long time. It's just 60 seconds long, but with no lift hills or other time wasters, it's a very tight 60 seconds and felt worth the wait. Now the bad: A lot of things felt the weight of daily operation. Our photo card, for example, pulled up a completely different bunch of guests and our photo was nowhere to be found. Above, I mentioned the disparity between launch times. We had some students behind us in line, perhaps 30-60 minutes behind. Their car came into the station sideways and had to pull into the loading platform to be straightened. The entire ride closed shortly after that. Around 3:30 we came back to the area to ride Thunderation and the ride was still closed. While we rode Thunderation, we watched them cycle one of the trains, but the other stayed parked at the first launch until well after we were off Thunderation. As a side note, it feels strange to have a coaster right next to Thunderation. The jury is still out in my head if Thunderation is made better or worse by its new neighbor. As you would expect, about a hundred people or so remained lined up OUTSIDE OF THE QUEUE for Time Traveler, hoping that it would reopen. It did not. Notes for the rest of the park: It was an average attendance day, in my opinion. We didn't get over to Powderkeg, but we waited about 45 minutes for WildFire, maybe 20 minutes for Fire In The Hole, 10 minutes for Thunderation (TT was closed, and that cleared out this area of the park), and shockingly, Outlaw Run was a walk-on in the early afternoon. I think signage might have had something to do with this. If you didn't have a map in your hand, a first-time or occasional guest would have no idea you'd have to go through an archway labeled "Giant Barn Swing" in order to get to Outlaw Run. Or that an archway labeled "American Plunge" is a regular walkway and NOT actually the queue for American Plunge... or WildFire, for that matter. The map was frustrating as well. There were several times when we got turned around and the map couldn't help us- it only labels major things and all others are assigned using coordinates like "D-4," which is really confusing on a small scale map. The cartoon style map didn't always relate to real-world pathways and buildings. All in, though, I still adore Silver Dollar City. I need to get out to some more parks, but I haven't seen anything outside of the Disney/Universal level of park that "buys in" to the theming as much as SDC. With their newest investments into the park, it's certainly a top-tier park in my eyes. And Time Traveler? For the moment, it dethrones Outlaw Run as my new #1 coaster (although admittedly my coaster count is a pretty modest 48).
  3. Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but there are a lot of pages to sort through on this thread. For some reason, the ranking list is having issues re-ordering itself. When I manually re-order them, it sometimes works, but sometimes won't reorder the coasters after it... and sometimes only registers the first digit (21 becomes 2). When I drag and drop, it's assigning a number that is sometimes #1 (despite being dropped between 11 and 13, for example), and sometimes is a completely different number. All of these problems are on Chrome. Sidewinder from Elitch Gardens is still missing. Is it still operating? Also, have you thought about letting the user search the park directly and get that park page instead of having to click through a roller coaster from the park first? It's just an extra click for me, but for some of you guys who have ridden hundreds of coasters, it might save some work load. Finally, I wonder if you might want to include extinct coasters on this list as well. Obviously, that's a lot of work, but it would be interesting to compare some of the coasters that have gone before. For example, I would rank the Mega Zeph from Jazzland fairly high on my modest list. Overall, looks great! Thanks for doing this!
  4. ^^ This is true. We've been three times this season so far, and Finnish Fling has been down all day, all three times. Viking Voyager was down twice that we saw (admittedly once was due to weather). Prowler, Mamba, Spinning Dragons, and Timberwolf were each down at least once for at least part of the day (I've been touring with preschoolers, so I've just been noticing the coasters in passing). In a couple weeks I hope to go solo to get my coasters in, and I don't have a lot of confidence that all the majors will be running. Not really sure what's going on. Before this season, we hadn't been to the park since 2012, but park operations have been really bizarre this year. We rode the Sea Dragon last weekend, and the ride operator was training two lifeguards to run the ride. I get the cross training bit, particularly when it's stormy, but it took FOREVER to get the ride running. For some reason, a lot of the flats have only one person running the ride (which always makes me chuckle when they give thumbs up and call "clear" over the mic to... nobody). For what it's worth, though, our visits have all been between 10am and 2pm, so lines haven't had a chance to build. Thus, even though it takes WAY too long for a cycle, the lines themselves aren't long enough to be bothersome.
  5. It was closed on Saturday when we went, and they had an employee sitting in front shooing people away. Could have been due to weather though, as it was pretty stormy when we were walking by.
  6. I just watch on Youtube, mostly because I'm showing my daughters different roller coasters for parks we will be visiting... or I'm checking out coasters I will likely never see- overseas, for example.
  7. Well, like I said (or maybe not; I edited that post so many times), I'm not at all a fan of Hulk or RRR. Hulk was a pretty OK coaster, but not worth the wait. RRR's non-inverted loop was SO underwhelming compared to a regular loop. Both the Flying Dino and Hollywood Dream look amazing as roller coasters go. Does the backward version count as another coaster credit? Okay, you've convinced me. Next time I'm in Japan, I'll have to check out USJ. Should it be seen before or after Tokyo Disneyland?
  8. I'm not even sure what you're saying in your response. If you're saying that Universal Japan looks like Six Flags, you're insane and totally mistaken. If you're saying that Universal Japan doesn't look anywhere near as good as Universal Orlando, you're insane and totally mistaken. Universal Japan is significantly better than Orlando in every way. Operations, clientele, selection of rides, guest service, food and drink options, merchandise, entertainment, and an overall guest experience. Maybe if you were a bit more clear with your words I could understand what your thought was, but really I have no idea and I'm just guessing at this point. I apologize for the miscommunication - I originally had a longer post, but it was coming across as adversarial, so I gutted it, and lost my point in the process. I really need to quit violating my "no posting after midnight" rule. In fact, I've rewritten this post several times as well, trying to figure out how to articulate what I wanted to say. Six Flags parks seem to like slapping a DC Comics character on a roller coaster and call that "theming." The coaster is still front and center, not the cohesive theme or the overall experience of the attraction. It's the same thing I disliked about IoA enough that we didn't even go to the park the first time I went as an adult in 2007 (I regret that now as I would like to have seen it pre-Potterland). It's the same aesthetic that I hate about Rip Ride Rockit, and frankly, I was so underwhelmed by that ride that I will probably never ride it again. There's no story, no adventure. Just "stand in this queue line, strap in to this roller coaster, and hold on!" Ditto for California Screamin' in Anaheim, albeit with a much better roller coaster. *Please understand, I LOVE roller coasters, but Disney and Universal have consistently raised the bar for themed experiences. By contrast, consider the Revenge of the Mummy. Theming throughout, especially the "brain burn" scene. It actually took me by surprise on my first ride. It takes a pretty unremarkable roller coaster and elevates it to a much more exciting experience. Space Mountain, Rock N Roller Coaster, et al have a story that's set up throughout the area around the attraction, through the queue line, and continues through the attraction itself. For crying out loud, people are throwing a fit about the Tower of Terror in DCA closing, and it's nothing more than a drop tower! A drop tower with top shelf theming. The appeal of Potterland, to me, is extending that theming to an entire section of park. A consistent and pervasive theme can be really effective (Silver Dollar City in Branson is a great example of this), and while the traffic flow is definitely an issue, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley provide a unique chance to really immerse yourself in that theme. The Potter rides could never live up to their hype (I was particularly underwhelmed by Escape From Gringott's - a bad roller coaster mixed with a watered down version of Spider-Man), but the theming means that the rides don't have to stand alone. It's my favorite aspect of Animal Kingdom or Epcot's World Showcase- the feeling of actually being transported to another place. Disney is continuing the trend, with fully immersive Avatar, Star Wars, and Toy Story lands in the works. I do agree with you that the storage situation could be avoided, but they'd have to be more creative than plastic bins in order to maintain the theme. So I guess the short version of my post is this: how is the theming of the park? IoA has flashes of brilliance; USO is limited in this aspect. I want to visit Tokyo DisneySea at least once in my life because it seems to be the mecca of impeccable theming and themed experiences.
  9. Looks cool, but I really feel like "immersion" and theming is what separates Disney and Universal from the "Six Flags"-style parks of the world. It just doesn't look like it's there on these roller coasters (although admittedly you didn't show us the queue lines). Don't get me wrong - I'd still visit if I were in the neighborhood, but I don't see anything that rivals USO. Cool trip, though!
  10. Orlando Informer makes an interesting argument that they might soft open the Hogwarts Express. They point out that the IoA and USO hours synchronize for the first time in March and April and also the fact that King's Cross (train station) can be open while still keeping Diagon Alley itself closed. March might be early, but they might be doing technical rehearsals by then with full operations by April or May...
  11. Dummy windows then? I wouldn't imagine they'd want guests staring at untreated backstage areas.
  12. Curious to see if this will be open in late May/early June when I'm there... but I kinda doubt it. "Summer" seems to mean July/August. Here's something that bugs me- when we're going down, we're allowing two days for Universal (which is actually twice as long as we've EVER spent down there). We plan to do one day in IOA and one in USO. Assuming that Diagon Alley is actually open (which I doubt), I will be more than a little annoyed if they will not let us ride the train just because we don't have park hoppers. Honestly, it's not that hard to figure out. You just have turnstiles on either end (which you would need anyway) and make sure the patron's ticket matches the park you're walking into. Disney handles it just fine with the Monorail. There are many parks out there that share a ride between the park and the water park (Worlds of Fun's Monsoon, for example). If this is meant as an upsell item, well, it had been be bloody amazing. More interesting is this- since the train will have to go in both directions, will the experience be different each way? Will there be a "going to Hogwarts" and "going home for holiday" experience? Right now I'm expecting a dynamic somewhat similar to the Jurassic Park river ride... except that JP has only one load/unload point. A show building would be optimized for one direction only. I suppose they could easily work out a track configuration wherein both trains could enter a show building at the same place... or perhaps there will be no show building at all... maybe all the effects will be housed on the train itself. Is it bad that I'm more interested in the train than in the thrill ride? LOL...
  13. I didn't think Vekoma did BTMRR, and I thought they only did Gadgets Go Coaster in Paris. I was just using Wikipedia for confirmation so I could be completely wrong about that.
  14. -Boomerang at Elitch Gardens, Zydeco Scream at Jazzland (Six Flags New Orleans), and then many more times at Worlds of Fun. Not clones, but I love Expedition Everest and Rock N Roller Coaster.
  15. I'll have to say that front seat on Outlaw's Run is ridiculous. Hanging on the edge of the drop and you STILL can't see the track on the way down due to the angle? Amazing. On top of that, they use the terrain to add an extra 50+ feet to the first drop and then kick it up to a speed that would make most steel coasters nervous. Get there if you can, and ride this sucker!
  16. Quick trip report. My DW and I went to SDC as chaperones for a school trip Monday. We hadn't been there since July of 2011, so we were pleasantly surprised by the changes. Ten thoughts, arranged in random order: 1) First and foremost, Outlaw's Run is the best roller coaster I've ever been on, period. When you perch atop that first drop and can't see the entire track until you're actually falling, you know you're in for an exciting ride. It just kicked Worlds of Fun's Prowler off the top of my woody list. 2) The new Tom Sawyer area is really nicely themed. We didn't ride the ride, but it looks pretty nifty. The whole area looks great. 3) We braved the park this time without benefit of a map (the group sort of charged in before we could grab one and after that we decided to challenge ourselves). This park is really tough to navigate without a map- just wanted to throw that out there. Lots of twisting and turning walkways, and lots of dead ends. Outlaw's Run was the most difficult to locate. The direction signage hadn't yet been updated, so they painted directions on the sidewalk. Due to the twisting pathways, however, we quickly got lost. We ended up over by Powder Keg and had to ride it just to find Outlaw's Run from the top of the lift hill! 4) With this addition of "real" coaster number four (I still count "Fire in the Hole" as a fun dark ride rather than a true coaster, even though I gladly accept the coaster credit), SDC elevates in my mind to a top tier theme park, right up there with Universal and any Disney park. They have always had the theming to back this up, but I've had to go elsewhere if I was really wanting a day of exciting rides. Outlaw's Run completes the set- one killer extreme woody, one extreme looper, an excellent launch (with a rather unique loading system), and a really fun mine train (I've always loved Thunderation for not having to bother with an initial lift hill). 5) SDC is a workout. Period. I always forget how steep those hills are until the fifteenth time I am climbing them. 6) We always discover something new at SDC. This time it was a little bread bakery sort of by the train station. They serve little cream cheese pastries for 80 cents. 80 cents! We ended up eating three apiece, and spent about 5 bucks doing it. What other theme park lets you do that? 7) We had a group meal ticket which promised an entree, side dish, and drink at any non-buffet restaurant. We decided to brave the brick oven baked pizza by the Tom Sawyer area, and were told that our ticket limited us to an 8" pizza and a drink, despite the fact that other menu options were the same price (including the calzone that I wanted to try). If they want to use this option more often, they need to be a little more clear as to what's included. 8) I realize this was a little early in the season, but there were very few operating shows. I don't know if they plan to run some more headliner shows later this season (2011's acrobats in the Opera House was breathtaking and was quite simply the best theme park show I've ever seen), but these are welcome diversions and great alternatives to the musical groups in other venues of the park. 9) If you go, please stop and talk to some of the artisans! To my DW and I, this is the charm and lifeblood of SDC- the crafters and artists creating the candy, soap, ironwork, woodwork, glass, pottery, and countless other things in the park. They love to demonstrate and love to talk with you about their craft. Let's see Disney do that! 10) We didn't do the Marvel Cave this time, but we should have. The cave is simply mesmerizing, and would be worth the price of admission all on its own. If you come to SDC, PLEASE carve out 60-90 minutes to tour the cave, or you're missing out.
  17. Since we have family in SW Missouri, we've done the Branson thing (we really like Silver Dollar City). Also, since we're only a few hours from KC, we've done that trip too. The Indiana suggestion is interesting... I had no idea that there were so many parks in that area!
  18. Hey, guys! Trying to pick a nice driveable vacation this year for our anniversary trip in May. Of course, I want to hit exciting roller coasters and tourist attractions, and my wife wants things like museums, river walks, and the like. We're sort of looking at a 10-12 hour radius from KS (at the farthest). I just need some suggestions for whether or not the theme parks would be worth the trip or not. Here are our thoughts: Drive 12 hours up to Chicago, spend a day there, then 3 hours out to Indiana to visit my best friend and his wife, then 3 hours out to Sandusky, OH, for Cedar Point. The only problem with this vacation is that it would be a minimum 6 days, and 3 full days of that would be driving (it would be 2 full days of driving coming back from Sandusky- we'd stop in St. Louis, but our budget probably wouldn't allow for Six Flags and a seventh day). Drive 12 hours down to San Antonio and do the SeaWorld/Six Flags thing. They've also got the River Walk and all that interesting stuff, but it is a pretty long haul. If we stay the night at my in-laws' house, it's only 10 hours... I've never been there, but my wife has and she likes it. Oklahoma City: Only about 3 hours away and I've never been to Frontier City. My "home" park is Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, though, so I don't know if I want to make the trip if Frontier City can't compare to WoF. I know I felt a little disappointed when I went to Jazzland in New Orleans... Arlington, TX: 7 hours from us, or we could shave off an hour or two by staying with in-laws. Six Flags over Texas. That new "Texas Giant" looks really intriguing... Surely there's a lot of other things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth? Denver: 8 hours away, and my wife has never been to Colorado or seen the Rockies (weird since she used to live only ten or twenty miles away from the CO border). I've been to Elitch Gardens, though, and I wasn't at all impressed. Casa Bonita's would be fun to take her to, I suppose, and I know they have cool shopping districts. St. Louis: Neither of us particularly want to go to St. Louis... we've both been there before, and we weren't impressed. Minneapolis: Pretty much the only thing up here is the Mall of America, which I've done before (my wife hasn't). Hate to do a "vacation" that centers around going to a mall... Hot Springs, AR: 8 hours from us, or we have some family in Missouri only 4 hours away. Magic Springs is there, which looks cool, and I guess we could loop back up to Eureka Springs or something...
  19. I was reading that the Paramount Parks used to be more heavily themed before they were sold. It's sad to see this sort of thing go by the wayside. One of my favorite parks is Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. The entire park feels like you've stepped back in time, and the rides continue that illusion, whether the story calls for an exploding dynamite shed or a turn of the century weather device. No ride exists for its own sake, but they all play into the fantasy of the park. To me it's a richer experience (plus the SDC roller coasters are no slouches).
  20. Well, I already know where I can go for exciting roller coasters. My question is this- after Disney and Universal, what parks in the US are the best in terms of THEMED rides? We're talking miles of ambiance, elaborate pre-shows and queues, and other theming designed to remove you from the amusement park vibe. Does anything stack up against what goes down in Orlando and Cali?
  21. "You have to let us in today, the internet said it would be open!" Wow. People are dumb. I suspect Universal will have plenty of soft opening opportunities for the folks who paid through the teeth for a vacation package. How did the crowd over there look? If it's as many as I suspect, I don't think Universal would need to even bother with a GP soft open before the grand opening. I mean, what's the point of a soft open? I'm not a brilliant expert, but I can only think of two reasons: 1) As a sort of beta test for new attractions- put some stress on them with actual guests and see how the procedures, staff, and hardware hold up. That helps avoid a Disneyland opening day incident. 2) To build buzz for your attraction. #1 is handled by the vacation package crowd, assuming that there are enough people to put a little bit of stress on the attractions. #2 is completely unnecessary, considering the amount of press that WWoHP continues to get. Are there other reasons for a soft open? If not, Universal has nothing to gain and much to lose (especially if someone sneaks a camera onto Forbidden Journey and posts to Youtube) by doing a soft open.
  22. But it's not ERT if the GP gets in, too. I don't know. I think I'd be more upset if I paid for a Harry Potter package and the area isn't up to 100% functionality, which I doubt it is. Back in February, they were touting the land as being OPEN, but kudos to Universal for making good with the package guests.
  23. Why would you speculate that they would let you in without buying the package? That would be a great way to make the paying customers upset. How would you feel if you paid extra for a Harry Potter package and then they let everybody else in?
  24. ^^ Shoot, that part's easy. You just hand eligible guests a voucher when they check in that they must present when they arrive at IOA. Either they present it at the Hogsmeade gate or they put together a secondary gate for Harry Potter Package guests. Not difficult in the least. I'd expect nothing but the shops to be open, though (excluding Dragon Challenge, of course).
  25. So my wife and I are considering a trip from the Kansas City area down to Houston this summer to visit her best friend. Any thoughts for parks we might visit on the way or parks we should avoid?
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