Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 


  • Posts

  • Joined

Everything posted by davidmorton

  1. In IT system management terms, Project Portfolio Management. Dave "PPM consultant! (no, really!)" M.
  2. TPR seems to have let the passing slip by without comment So heres a report I stumbled across; http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features_orlando/2008/09/pleasure-island.html
  3. I'm sad for Corkscrew. It was my very first coaster - in its opening season too. All caught up in the "coaster-hysteria" generated by a couple of reports on the local news and Blue Peter. Has a lot to answer for. It has a big place in the theme park history of Britain, and I do hope they make a statue out of its loops or something. But hey - progress - move with the times - get a new flash sexy ride in there - thats the spirit! It was a 30 year old pile of junk in the end; doesn't mean we didn't love it. RIP
  4. That is a fast dispatch!!! (maybe out by a factor of 10?)
  5. I must be cheap (!), its about a 15 min walk thru the not-Downtown-Disney area, past the new Cirque-theatre and round the corner! Pretty sure theres 2 rooms, just configured a bit differently (its not a symmetrical building) - the pre-show is shared and you either stand up on the left or right of it as you walk in (screens drop down to hide the other pre-show area)? Great (ongoing) TR BTW.... brings back my memories of just over 2 months ago ( http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44428 )
  6. ^ Ta! I have much fun taking the photos too!
  7. (on the home stretch now!) Wednesday 11/6 After my rather good day at DisneySea, I was a bit worried that I'd trek off somewhere today and be all "meh!" with the place. As it happened that was not really the case at all... Easy train ride up from Shinjuku to the KeioYomiuriland station, walk up the hill a bit to the left, get in a cable-car up over the big hill and bingo, there I am at Yomiuriland. Whats that coming over the hill? Quite a cool location, perched up at the top of a hill, floating past what looked like the training ground for the major league baseball team on the way up on the cable car. The place was EMPTY though. Its not an exaggeration to say there were probably 20 people there to ride the rides (there were a couple of OAPs just wandering around for something to do I guess!). Despite this, the ride ops were fairly chirpy and friendly - I guess they just wanted something to do to relive their boredom! So I ended up riding big rides like Bandit, all on my own - how odd! Bandit, loitering above the rather rubbish SL Coaster Bandit I liked - it always pleases me to see a coaster that takes into account its location - what I mean is that if you have a nice big hill nearby, the coaster should make use of this, and Bandit certainly does. The first half is all big drop and twisty helix business, then it seems to remember where it is and dives off at great speed down a valley across the park before it returns to the station. A good ride then! Weather wasn't quite as bad as it looks! The other "big" coaster they have is White Canyon, basically a wooden cyclone. It wasn't great, but not as rough as I anticipated despite the completely bonkers restraints! (Because of the non-running ride at Spaland, this turned out to be the only wooden coaster on the trip!) White Canyon in the distance Canyon's bonkers restraints (and amazingly other punters) Theres a horrible standing/sitting coaster Momonga, which was as painful in either position, a mine-train type called SL Coaster (which is in the running for the worst coaster on the trip) and a kiddie ride which I am again ashamed to say I did ride! So along with a couple of smallish S&S shot/drop towers, the world's smallest bungee jump upcharge ride, a smattering of flats and a rather long (non-upcharge) go-kart circuit thats about that. More risky jumping off my sofa! Gotta get the Ferris-credit of course Apart from the one real surprise ride they had; it looked like it was really part of the associated (closed) water-park rather than the amusement park, but it was actually open (even if I never saw anyone else ride it that morning!) - there is a big white inflatable spinning water rapid thingy (like they have at SFA, SFNE etc) - but BIGGER and BETTER and FASTER than them. A really long course, and you get up to some speed in the thing - probably the best ride at the park! Shame I don't have any great pictures of it though. Main midway with the big excellent water-ride at the far end All in all a rather pleasant place, certainly enough to occupy a few happy hours, and with a rather fantastic mascot too; Woof! ---- Since Yomiuriland had only occupied half a day, I went up to Asakusa for the afternoon, half intending to ride the coaster up there, but in the end gave it a miss (I have this potentially OCD thing that the last coaster I ride has to be a good one, just in case you get killed on the way home (you have to go out with a good ride!) so I wasn't going to spoil Bandit by replacing it with the rather dull-looking "Roller Coaster" at Hanayashiki!). Anyway Asakusa has lots of culture credits to keep me happy for a few hours too; Big lanterns Nice pagodas Temples and stuff Lucky smoke apparently Similar setup to Nara (a few pages ago!) And back to Shinjuku at night Thursday 12/6 I had half-planned to go up to Tobu Zoo today, but the weather was a bit rubbish and I did fancy just wandering around Shinjuku for a few hours and then going up the big building in Roppongi....so I did that instead! View from Takashima Time Square (my hotel is just behind the Olympus building) From Roppongi Hills you can see the SBNO coaster on the rooftop Weather a bit grim so couldn't see that far from the Hills But its a pretty good observation floor; "City View" Roppongi Hills from the outside Streetlevel views of Tokyo Tower Just my luck, the weather all cleared up by the time I was back in Shinjuku Some more neon then Friday 13/6 Thats it then... get up this morning, get a bus to the airport, get on a plane, get off the plane in Paris, get on another plane, get off that plane in Manchester, give an audible "yelp" of relief when my baggage turned up (I didn't trust CDG airport to get my bags from one plane to another in 50 minutes), get taxi, get home, sleep. ------------------- Some promised "logistics"; I flew MCR-AMS-KIX with KLM and NRT-CDG-MAN with Air France - ticket ~£500 Stayed at Granvia hiroshima for 2 nights ~£50/night at Hotel Monterey in Osaka for 4 nights ~£50/night at Royal Park Inn in Nagoya for 3 nights ~£40/night and Sunroute Plaza in Shinjuku for 7 nights ~£75/night All booked thru Expedia (since they had the cheapest prices and the best web-site). No complaints with any of the hotels, would recommend them all. Getting around - had a 14 day JR Rail pass (£228 from "thetrainline" of all places) and then just used local transport when it had expired. Note that the pass was not good for all of the trips - eg out to ParqueEspana you are on a different company's track so you have to pay for that. I burned about £750 on parks and food and stuff (note credit cards ar not that widely taken so you do need a fair amount of currency to get by - ATMs generally take UK cards tho). ------------------- Coaters += 38 Ferris wheels += 10 Happy days! Sayonara!
  8. Tuesday 10/6 FINALLY I get to DisneySea... I was deliberately leaving this until last to leave the country on a high - but as it turned out I went somewhere else the next day, mainly because the weather looked good today and I figured I'd be at the park all day! First things first though, DisneySea is easy to get to from Shinjuku, just change lines at Tokyo station (bit of a trek between the lines here though) and you are away! BUT since I was pausing at Tokyo station I popped over to the Imperial Palace (10 mins walk away) for a culture credit or two. Palace and bridge Odd, this is just about as close as you can get to it, apart from 2 days a year when the hoi-polloi are allowed inside! Classic "tourist shots" these! Right, done the culture for the day, off to Mickey-ville. I didn't do DisneyLand for a number of reasons... 1) I'd been there before 2) I'd been to LA's and Orlando's within recent memory 3) and I don't really like them - they leave me a bit cold and "so what?". I guess I'm just not the target audience! But I'd been to DisneySea before and loved it...so off I went again. Its.......DISNEYSEA Now I'm not going to ramble on about my excellent day in the park too much that'd take me AGES, so I'll just make a few observations and dump a load of pictures on you! Since I'd been before, they had added two new rides, Raging Spirits and of course Tower of Terror. I was rather underwhelmed by Raging Spirits to be honest, its pretty compact and a bit soulless (for a Disney ride). Fire effects were good on it - I actually rather thought it let down the rest of the park, being (IMHO) a bit low-quality for the place! Raging Spirits, it loops you know Tower of Terror - this however was excellent! Obviously the same sort of thing as the Orlando/LA ones (not been to Paris though to see that one), but a different back-story involving some olde-worlde explorer and a evil haunted idol. Some groovy effects in the pre-show rooms (which even in Japanese were probably better that the Twilight Zone story). The ride was on a par with the DCA one, the drops not as varied as the Orlando one, but still excellent. And the building rather dominates that end of the park! Quite a big building then! Indoor zone themeing bit This was "down" - something to do with a crashed ride vehicle? (Ok not really, just more great themeing Ships and Volcanoes They don't do "Parades" but big "water-shows" Boats run all around the park (Raging Spirits skulking there in the background) More boats and themeing in one of the kiddie areas Turns out I'm in Venice really Towers, Boats Not a real ship, posh restaurants! More boats and Volcanoes Towers, Ships AND Boats Some rather good rides in amongst the themeing! Aquatopia; Stacking on Raging Spirits! (just a temporary glitch) Coaster credit #2 (since I didn't ride it last time I was here) The volcano was running occasionally, even if "Journey" wasn't Just ugly this place isn't it? No attention to detail or anything! Boats and Indiana Jones in the background They made a film of this ride (ok not really). The ride is better. Some nifty fire effects on raging Spirits (best bit of the ride) Theres a whole Arabian section too More Arabian goodness Look, I've found Nemo. The Tower is all rather well done And as it gets dark.... Dusk approaches over the lake Its getting darker... Lights off, Volcano on When the light goes down the place looks even better! More night shots! This is all the on-site hotel I guess its a bit pricey? The night time spectacular was a bit impressive, all "Fire and Water" played out over the lake... This would be the "Fire" bit, a big dragon, flames on the lake that sort of thing This would be the "Water" bit, a big fountain thing wandering around Apparently they are in love and this is all very amicable It was a bit windy, so they cancelled the fireworks - about the only downer of the day. Bye bye DisneySea, thanks for having me! Best park in the world? You know, I don't think its even a close race!
  9. Monday 9/6 A weird day today...in parts; brilliant, in parts; really frustrating and annoying. Yep, today was the day for Fuji-Q Highland! Getting there; not too tricky from Shinjuku, theres a regular bus service running from the highway bus station about 5 mins from my hotel, but I still had days on my rail pass and I figured that the flexibility from the trains might suit me better, so I ended up going by train - pretty simple too. You just get the Chuo line (limited express so theres not so many stops) out to Otsuki (cunningly pronounced oat-skee) and swap to the rather rural Fuji line up to Fujikyu-hairando. So I'm at the park by 9, but (and its a big BUT), rather annoyingly it has been raining most of the latter part of the trip up through the mountains and I'm not feeling too optimistic. In fairness to the park, they tried to sell me a "entry only" ticket (and then pay-per-ride) rather than a 1-day freepass ticket (because of the rainy weather conditions you see), but I was having none of it and bought the daypass anyway (they don't take credit cards tho'). Now I'd read up on the place and knew how rain-sensitive they were (fair enough I guess) so I was resigned to wandering around the place in the rain for a while. The indoor coaster Zola7 (why its named after the diminutive Italian striker I don't know) opened up at 930 and quickly got a bit of a Q (since it was just about the only thinking in the place running) - say 20 minutes. Rather rubbish ride though, the first half is really shooter type thing, then the guns lock in place for a quick roller coaster bit. All quite odd and uninspiring, but hey it was indoors and I was dry! So I rode the Ferris wheel...they insisted in putting me in the "see through car", basically all perspex for a 360 degree view. Unfortunately the perspex was all scratched up with Japanese graffiti so you couldn't even take a clear photo from the thing. Dodonpa in the rain So I just loitered around for a while...briefly the rain paused and to the park's credit they got Fujiyama up running within about 5 minutes - consequently everyone in the park rushed to it (which was not really that many people!). Luckily I was pretty close to it when it opened up so ended up on the third train out...but boy do they have slow operations; you'd think that they'd come up with a more efficient way of loading the passengers, the train must have been sat in the station for the best part of 5 minutes whilst the passengers got off, get their stuff out the lockers, cleared the platform, hey let the new passengers onto the platform, they cross the train to put the stuff in the lockers, get back on the train then the ops check them and dispatch... I thought the Japanese were efficient; apparent not here! Quick, quick its open!!! Anyway as we are making our way of the lift-hill I finally see Mount Fuji, I knew it was around there somewhere but the rain-clouds were so bad I honestly didn't know where until it appeared through the clouds as I rode Fujiyama! Now that all might not sound that silly, but Mount Fuji absolutely dominates the park, it hovers over everything and I must have been there 2 hours and not even seen it! Made me laugh anyway! The ride itself was good but not great. The first half is very good, really big, big first drop, fast, but the last half is a bit painful and silly, some odd hills and twists that are just painful after the pretty smooth first half. Quite a long ride as well, so overall I liked it, but it could have been a bit better with a smoother ending. Oh and it started to rain again as I was riding it, so they shut it down again. So now having located Mount Fuji, I went off and watched it for a while as it hid amongst the clouds. Its there somewhere...big mountain, can't miss it? Still raining I had a go on Gundam Crisis, only because it was indoors! I had no idea exactly what a "Gundam" was, not why he might be in crisis, but when in Rome... It seems that there is a big robot thing (aha thats a Gundam) and he'd needs an upgrade to beat some bad-buys. So all the Gundam-helpers (ie us punters) have to run around with some PDA things, swiping them on some panels dotted around this building. When we've done that for a while (I swear mine was broken as it never seemed to work) we get let through to the next room, where we meet the big robot guy, only he's a bit rubbish as he's all lying down and broken-like (actually he's quite impressive, its huge and well- detailed). We do the running around swiping thing for a while longer and thats about it. I'm sure I'm missing some subtleties of the thing, but hey its all Japanese to me! Actually was well done if you knew what was going on. The capacity must suck though as its easily a 15 minute cycle. Having rescued/helped/killed/broken/repaired Gundam and had some food while watching Fujisan hide behind the weather.... Fujisan with Clouds ...I notice something that brigs joy to my heart...blue sky.... Yippee! ...and yes the rain has stopped! Now Fujiyama gets running quite quickly, but they are a bit more circumspect with the other rides. So I stand in the middle of the park, trying to spot which ride will open first. They start testing the mouse so that wins! They test the mouse for a very long time indeed (OK probably 20 minutes) and then let the queue in, so after another 5 minutes I get to ride the second coaster of the day! Not your normal mouse, so that was different, not as smooth as a Mack but OK I guess. Mouse from a bit later on that day, Zola7 in the background As I'm queuing for the mouse, they had started to test Dodonpa, and then a couple of minutes later Eejanaika starts up. The day has suddenly got better, much better indeed. So I race over to Dodonpa and they have only just opened the queue, there are 19 people ahead of me in the queue. Result. Dodonpa suffers the same rather inefficient boarding as Fujiyama, but with only 3 trains ahead of me (they were only loading 3 rows out of 4?) I end up on the front row pretty quickly. The launch is very very impressive, well at least the first second or so of it as you launch out of the tunnel. Somehow I found the launch on TTD and KK more impressive overall, but that first instant is wonderful. You race around and up over the hill, which is just brutal, you'd expect it float over nicely but it just yanks you over the top. Ouch. Dodonpa, and look at all that blue sky! Right then, now we're talking. Off to Eejanaika which has built up a bit of a queue whilst I was playing on Dodonpa, but nothing too bad. 15 minutes enjoying the lovely music in the station (and I did enjoy it really) and we are on! Now let me pause for a second here, I was REALLY looking forward to this one. I'd been to SFMM twice since X opened and it was broken both times so this was going to be totally new for me. And I loved it. The operations were a bit better thought out here, they could cope with loading and unloading at the same time, but it was still fairly sluggish and they were only running one train, but I get assigned the back row and off we go. Eejanaika! Opinions seemed to be divided on these coasters, yep it was a bit rough in places, but thats the point isn't it? Totally disorientating and just wonderful. Can you tell I'm a fan? Eejanaika!! If I come off a ride laughing to myself then thats a good sign, and I was giggling away on this one! Eejanaika!!! Straight back on and I'm on the front row this time. I will go as far as to say that the instant when you are sat on the front row and spin off the lift hill into that first drop is the single most impressive "coaster-moment" I can remember. It only lasts a moment and then you are away off into fast,spinny chaos. But it is beautiful. Me like much So having "done the big 3" I wander off round the rest of the park, this time in the sunshine. The Hamster-coaster thing is a bit dull but offers a nice view of the building site for next season's water-raft ride (located between the Hamster ride and the haunted hospital (which I didn't go through)). Hamster:The Ride Take a few photos for posterity... Fujisan and Dodonpa (quite pleased with that one!) Turned out nice again. Rode the kiddie coaster for the credit (not proud about that and they only give you one lap, rubbish). Get to reride all of the big 3 again with no wait (in fact Eejanaika they are waiting to fill trains up before they dispatch), happy mood! Come 5pm, the rain clouds are on their way back so I call it a day. A good day, well a good half day after a poor morning. I can totally see why the place gets slated for slow ops, poor themeing (vast expanses of concrete, the odd nice area like Thomas-Town then more concrete!), and low capacity. But since I was there on a very quiet day I had done everything I wanted to in the space of about 2 hours! Now I mention the rain - well it did come back, and how. Get the train back to the thriving metropolis of Otsuki; Downtown Otsuki and then the train back to Shinjuku.... BUT about 20 mins out of Shinjuku we stop. And wait at a station. Odd. Japanese trains are always on time? And wait. And then get hit my a ALMIGHTLY storm, throwing it down, lighting bolts, the lot. So we wait on the train stationary for an hour before the weather relents and I get back to Shinjuku in 3 hours not 2. Didn't really spoil my mood, had a good day and figure tomorrow I'll go to DisneySea to keep them good vibes rolling....
  10. Saturday 7/6 Wanting to avoid "big" parks on the weekend, this seemed like the right day to visit somewhere I meant to get to last time I was in Japan, but nasty Brazil knocked us out in the quarter-finals on a roasting day in Shizuoka and we never made it to the final... which was of course in Yokohama. So with no football to watch, I went off to Yokohama anyway. All big buildings and a very pleasant bayside area. Cosmoworld wasn't desperately exciting though; Cosmoworld Overview I thought that Vanish:Diving Coaster was fairly rubbish and the standard mouse didn't excite me too much either. I passed on the new kiddy credit too. Vanish, uhh...vanishing Clock21, the Ferris credit Got my Ferris-Wheel credit though and spent a while looking at the rather spectacular view from the top of Japan's tallest building. Landmark Tower, c/w a rather coaster-like sculpture! Bit more detail of Cosmoworld A lovely (and not at all really really tacky) touch in the cafe at the top of the Landmark tower was that they had special lovely romantic tables to enjoy the view from, complete with charming (!) electric candelabras. Fantastic! Quality (not) So after mooching around there for the morning, I hop on the train and then onto a driverless electric tram thing (think like the shuttles at airports) and off to Sea Paradise a bit further down the coast I go. This was also a nice place to spend a few hours, just the one coaster nowadays; Surf Coaster A bit more Surf Coaster Which was a Togo, but not as bad as that sounds - quite a good ride, if a little over-blessed with helixes. The cool bit was that it is built out over the sea, which is nice. Splish splash? The other ride of note out here is the rather tall drop ride Blue Fall; Blue Fall, uhh... falling. This one is 351ft high, which I think is the second biggest after Dreamworld's (377ft). I am always spoiled a bit on drop rides, since the first one I ever went on was Dreamworld's (scared me silly) so they all pale in comparison to that! Blue Fall was nice though. The rest of Sea Paradise is made up with various dolphin based activities and the like, but makes for a nice enough place to spend a few hours on a hot Saturday afternoon. I recall the TPR guys being impressed by the one ride, where guys jump off boats as they crashed down into the water (http://www.themeparkreview.com/japan2004/sp3.htm), well they'll be pleased to see that they have made it even more deadly by inserting some power-boat things to avaoid as well now; Now thats gotta be tricky? Or maybe they just don't run the boat/man jumping business anymore. Back to Shinjuku for the evening, it all looks very nice lit up you know; Neon City Lights everywhere Sunday 8/6 Figured I'd head up to Toshimaen this morning as its an easy trip up the subway from Shinjuku. Probably shouldn't have bothered as I thought the place was very poor. Bizarre log-like train! Of their 4 coasters (if you include a little powered one), only the odd-log ride Cyclone was running, in fairness I quite liked that. Their shuttle loop and Corkscrew were all just "abandoned", trains wrapped up in sheets and no signs of life. Shuttle Loop, broke Corkscrew, broke I had a wander around their various flat rides (generally located on top of the park buildings, which was kinda cool in itself), but they were a bit uninspiring also. Having laughed at Spaland's 3 (count 'em) Pirate ships a few days earlier I was gob-stuck by the fact that this place has 3 as well! basically the same set up, 1 giant double-pirate ship and a smaller one off to the side (you can't tell so well from the picture, but the giant ones are in the background). Honestly, do you REALLY need that many? Thoroughly unimpressed by the place, I amused myself for a while taking pics of their horticulture and then went off... Better than the rides Blue? Was I ever! Macro, macro, macro Anyway I went off in the Shibuya direction to get some "culture credits", wandered around a rather pleasant temple; Meiji-jingu, in a park; Big Torii at the way in Which I seem to have taken no great photos of! Its back there somewhere really You write your prayer on a thing, hang the thing in the temple for a while and it all gets sorted...apparently. Letters to (a) god or two Wandered around Shibuya for a while, this is as bonkers busy as Shinjuku but with more department stores! This was a weekend afternoon, hate to see it when its proper busy" Quiet afternoon in Shibuya Thats is for now, still to come; Fuji-Q, DisneySea and a bit more besides!
  11. Thursday 5/6 A real early start today as I need (well "need" is a bit strong , but...) a train at ~7am to get me out down in the general vicinity of Parque Espana for 9am. Anyway I muck up my instructions and get the train to Shima-Isobe thinking that I can get a bus to the park from there. Well you can't. After discovering this via a very odd "pointing and shaking of the head" conversation with the nice people in the bus station office, I get a bus to the NEXT stop down on the train line (i.e. where I should have got off the train!), namely Ugata and from there I can get a bus to Parque Espana. Never mind, had a bit of an adventure travelling around the back-end of nowhere on local buses for a while! (Yes, you can get a taxi from Shima-Isobe, but thats cheating isn't it!) Anyway, you get the point, Parque Espana (or Shima Spain Village depending on your mood at the time) is out in the middle of a big "national park" type area, about 2 hours out of Nagoya by train - well off the Shinkansen route at any rate. It all looked like a really nice area, lots of big hills, trees, water and the like, but the weather was pretty miserable that day, so its natural splendour was a bit lost on me! Not so nice weather, but you get the idea The park itself was quite nice, if a little odd. The top half of the park is on the flat, where there are some recreated Spanish streets/plazas and then a big area with some rides. Then the back half of the park slopes off down the mountain- side to a lake at the bottom. Makes for quite a pleasant circuit of the park, picking off the attractions as you meander around. (The highlight attraction of course being the world famous "Escalator The Ride"; basically a bunch of escalators to help you up/down the slope, but with a very upbeat music system and lots of flashing lights.) Escalator:The Ride If you've made you way down E:TR, you find yourself at the bottom of the park, where there is a rather good (huge) boat ride thing and flying dark ride affair, both pretty well done. The big building in the background is all the boat ride But pleasant boat rides and strolling around the empty park in the rain is not why I've got up early this morning. This is why I've got up early this morning... Old-school B&M at your service Of course its all about coming out here to see the rather excellent B&M invert Pyrenees. Thats more like it! Its got all the elements you'd like, and one that is unique (?), in a loop with added helix; Now you don't see that often And its good. Very good. Shame about the weather though Its kinda like a stretched out bigger Batman, with a cobra roll and helix and airtime pop thrown in. See, I said there was a Cobra Roll The weather works both for and against me. "For" in that the place is pretty empty so I can just walk on the rides when they are running (it rained on and off). "Against" in that when it rained and you rode Pyrenees it hurt. But they were running it in the rain, oddly they ran one train with only the front and back rows loaded, then they swapped the trains over and ran the whole carriage? Riding in the Rain As an aside - everyone else's pics I'd ever seen of Pyrenees were taken from a Flying Island next door to it, which certainly made for good photo-ops. But they have ripped it out, just a big hole remains in the ground, so all my photos are strictly ground-based Next door to Pyrenees is Gran Montserrat, a mine train. This is also pretty good indeed, although they wouldn't run that in the rain at all. Strangely I appear to have taken no pictures of that ride at all - must have been raining too much when I was stood by it! They also have a wacky indoor coaster, all themed as if you are a bull in a bullfight, how tasteful. Its not too bad, but its very odd as you stop in the middle of the bullfight arena awaiting your demise. I wander though the ice-house, the operator tries to tell me something important in Japanese and I indicate that I don't understand him at all. So he repeats what he just said, only this time slower and louder. It doesn't help, but it makes me smile. Chilly! And bless them all, despite the park being empty and it raining away, they all come out to do their parade (but in rain coats). Professionals to the last! Parade in the rain, with that odd Bullfight thing in the building in the background All in all, a pleasant enough place, one excellent coaster (if a little out of place) and nicely run. I get a bus back to the right train station this time and trek back to Nagoya happy with my day out! Friday 6/6 Done with Nagoya now, have a lie-in and get the Shinkansen up to Tokyo. I spent about 3 weeks in Tokyo the first time I was in Japan, so I'd done all the museum stuff and exploring the city that I needed to and I was pretty comfortable about the whole place. So get off the Shinkansen in Shinagawa (right next to Aqua Stadium, but we'll come back to that!), get on the Yamanote to Shinjuku and find the hotel - 2 mins walk from the station exit, sorted! I can't check in just yet, so dump the bags and head on off (up) the Metro Govt Building for some cityscapes; And my hotel is the little pink one right in the middle! Shinjuku is just bonkers. Real busy, real crowded, real bright, excellent! Lost in Translation And you can spot a ride from here (but again, back to that in a bit). Maybe closer would help? Thunder Dolphin in the distance So after the hotel lets me check in (nice room by the way, HDTV as well!) I head on back to Shinagawa and find Aqua Stadium (just outside train station, so thats pretty easy!). Aqua Stadium is some dolphin-show affair attached to a hotel, but being the clever sorts, they spotted that they had a bit of space around the big water tank, so they cleverly slipped in a rather surprisingly not-mini coaster; Galaxy Express 999. I knew this was an Intamin tyre-launched looper, but what did surprise me (after the exceedingly long pre-show!) was that it actually launched around the first bend - I'd expected it to roll round the bend and then launch - what do I know! So it launches you off, does a loop, and rattles around in a couple of circuits - not wonderful but pretty good use of space I thought! Of course you can't see any of the ride from outside, so a station shot is the best you are going to get! You can tell a lot about a ride from a picture of the station Theres also an indoor Pirate ship, but since I don't do them, off we go! I wander around a few of my old haunts in Tokyo, only because they are on the way up to what was known as the "Big Egg" or "Korakoen", but is now "Tokyo Dome City" or "La Qua" (why do they always have so many names for the same place!). So this is a reasonable amusement area attached to the local indoor baseball stadium (the "Big Egg") - and houses the Intamin mega Thunder Dolphin. This was being built the last time I was in Tokyo so I was quite excited about it. Loading the Dolphin First drop Now Thunder Dolphin often gets labelled a "bit disappointing" or "a letdown", but I really liked it. Quite surprised by the negative press it gets infact. Big steep lift hill, great first drop, overbank turns, airtime hops on top of buildings and after the next drop, nipping through Ferris wheels and holes in buildings. Great stuff. OK not quite on the scale of MF or as airtime loaded as Superman (NE) or Ge:Force but still in that league. And you gotta be impressed with it slap bang in the middle of one of the busiest cities on the planet! Nice steep lift... I like The other rides at the park were not really on that scale though. The Big Wheel was good enough (got to get that Ferris-Wheel credit), but Linear Gale (the first LIM impulse thing) was a bit rubbish, and it sounded very creaky, like it was on its last legs! There was a run of the mill spinning mouse, nothing too exciting there, and the other coaster, Geopanic, is currently closed for refurb (reopening 2009 they say). Dolphins and Wheels (Next up Toshimaen, which was not so good)
  12. ^ the park map I have in front of me says; "130cm or taller, from 10 to 54 years". Probably not what you wanted to hear. In fact you can see a PDF of the map/restrictions online at http://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/spaland/guidemap.html/ (Map 1)
  13. so here we go again.... Tuesday 3/6 Bit of a travel day today, just get the train up from Osaka to Nagoya and then have a wander around the city. They have a (seemingly new?) "Ferris wheel on a building" thing going on, but not quite as impressive as the HEP one in Osaka; The Nagoya Big Wheel! OK, just kidding I mean this one on the other side of the road really Sunshine Sakae Quite a nice city really, much less frantic than Osaka (but the underground shopping areas near the station were still confusing me after being there 3 days). Some wacky buildings in downtown Nagoya So after my ferris-wheel credit, I got the subway up to the castle area just North of the city centre and their castle was pretty good indeed (despite it again being just a modern-day rebuild). Nagoya-Jo Wandered around there for quite a while, taking a few pics (apparently the golden dolphins on the roof of the place are quite significant to the locals) and that was about the day done for me. Here fishy-fishy... Wednesday 4/6 OK, now why I was really in Nagoya, was to get up, get the train (30mins) out to Kuwana station, get on a local bus (Stand #2, Bus#53 500yen) and get to Nagashima Spaland. Enough of them castles, back to big toys now Thats more like it! The place was pretty quiet, made a bit of a queue at one point for Steel Dragon, but otherwise pretty much walk on everything. As for the Dragon, it is absolutely massive and kinda looks bigger than any other conventional coaster I've been on before (I mean that mainly about Millennium Force (even though its only a bit taller) because MF has a steeper hill and turns around after its first drop, whereas Steel Dragon runs straight over its second hill before it turns around, Steel Dragon just looks bigger?) Its really, really BIG More BIGness And a few airtime hills for good measure Anyway, I really liked it, I mean its SECOND hill would still make the top 10 list of big coasters in the world - gotta admire that! The second hill, still MASSIVE The rest of the park was pretty good, even if it pales into insignificance in the shadow of that big Dragon! I worked my way around the coasters, particularly enjoying the Shuttle Loop and the Looping Star. Its hard to avoid that Steel Dragon Unfortunately for me, the Jet Coaster seemed to be undergoing maintenance (it was all roped off and they looked like they were painting it) and the Corkscrew didn't run all day. Even more unfortunately, White Canyon was not running by the time I got around to it (I swear I saw people on it earlier but I cant be sure) - anyway it did run all afternoon, but EMPTY; they kept cycling an empty train for all the afternoon that I stood watching it, but never opened the ride. My Japanese not being good enough (!) to question the state of affairs I never got to ride it It looked pretty pretty though. See, its running, just not with any punters! Obligatory Ferris-Wheel Credit One ride that surprised me as I'd never seen one like it before was the "Bobkart" sitting out underneath Steel Dragon. It appeared basically like a self-driven powered coaster, but was great fun. You controlled its speed yourself and it raced out along this huge steel track. Excellent! Bobkart Station The huge Bobkart track More Bobkart goodness The place also has a couple of wild-mice and an Ultra-Twister (which was reasonably uncomfortable), I'd been on Astroworld's (RIP) and the vertical lift at Spaland was better (but MORE painful, if thats possible). Odd rides, more interesting to watch I think than ride! Ultra-weird-twister-thing and the broken Corkscrew And another thing, Pirate Ships, now I don't like them much but theres usually one in the park. I've seen places (Heide Park) that had two, which always stuck me as odd. But this place had THREE, all next to each other. Granted 2 of them were kinda the same ride and giant pirate ships and the other one was a "normal" sized one, but still... Just how many of these do you need? All in all a really good day! Bye bye Spaland, thanks for a good day out OK, this is the only CP comparison that I agree with! (to be continued!)
  14. Friday 30/5 So back in Hiroshima, today was my day for doing the history stuff. I wanted to go to the Peace Museum http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/top_e.html, so headed there first thing. I am not usually a sensitive sort, but have to say that the place almost brought me to tears. The pictures showing the immediate aftermath of the A-bomb are just incredible, the entire city flattened etc. All something I'll never forget. Hiroshima peace park, from the museum After a few hours in the peace museum I needed lightening up, so wandered up to the local castle, which was flattened by the bomb, and rebuilt in 1958. Looks a bit older than 50 years? After a wander around that, there is a "typical" old-style Japanese garden just up the road, which was rather wonderful.. Shukkeien Gardens Rather splendid indeed Right then, enough culture for now, hop on the Shinkansen again and move base up to Osaka, get a hotel (Hotel Monterey, which was fine) up by the station with a nice view of the Umeda Sky building from the window in the hallway... Umeda Sky Building (will be coming back here in a bit) I'd been to Osaka before so I wander around the Kita area looking up some old sights. To my consternation, the one old railway station/department store building I remember vividly from my earlier visit (and indeed which features significantly in the Black Rain movie) was undergoing refit and they had managed to introduce a false ceiling in this one area with a stunning roof. Bizarre. Anyway I finally find the Ferris Wheel I'm looking for (not too hard but I had totally missed it on my previous time in Osaka and take a spin). HEP Ferris Wheel Rather good really, you can't tell from that pic but its on the roof of a 10 story building so by the time you get to the top of the Ferris wheel you are pretty high up indeed! Saturday 31/5 I had half-planned to go to either Himeji Central Park or Hirakata Park today, but the draw of a single Batman clone was not enough for me, so I did a bit of Osaka exploring instead. Off to the Aquarium (I like aquariums) at the dockside I went in the morning... Jelly Which had the added feature of being next door to a rather big wheel... Can you see a Ferris wheel theme developing yet? But it was raining, so there wasn't too much to see from the top... Universal Studios in the rain, from the big wheel Trekked over to Tennoji to see what was going on at Festival Gate...as expected the place was deserted, a single coffee shop was open in the place although you could wander around the ground floor all ok. There were signs up that I assume were saying "Coaster is shut, nothing to see here" so I wandered off again. SBNO I knew where I was off to, and that was the Minami area of Osaka, famous for its neon, nightlife and general craziness. Some of the specific crazyness was the drop-ride on this H!PS building; Yabofa is its name... and the not-quite-a-ferris-wheel just around the corner; Wonder Wheel is this one's Both of which were fun, the wheel being better value that the drop ride as that is over a bit quickly naturally! And you can tell they are close to each other After bit more wandering around, seeing the sights We'll come back to this picture later... it gets dark and I head back up to Kita to go up that big building we saw earlier.. Quite a view from up here And you can now see that Ferris wheel on top of the building I was on about earlier... All lit up at night... And the building itself looks cool at night; Looking up Wish I'd remembered to take my mini-tripod out with me! Sunday 1/6 Today was going to be another "culture day", I'd toyed with going to Kyoto but I'd been there before, so fancied something different, so despite Dreamland being defunct, it was off to Nara I went (about 50mins on the train from Osaka). Well what a lovely place Nara was. The town was a bit unexciting, but none the worse for it, but once you got into Nara Park (Nara Koen) it was great. First up there are loads of tame deer just wandering around all the tourists, getting fed and their photos taken; Deer being fed by tame tourists But apart from the deer, the park is full of temples, shrines and the like, Pagodas and temples And some more culture overall a very pleasant place to wander around on a hot sunny day. By far the most impressive was this place, apparently the largest wooden building in the world. And it was HUGE. All to contain a big statue of Buddha. Very cool. Daibutsuden at Todai-ji Temple From the one temple near the top of a hill, you could even see the extinct coasters Another coaster in the SBNO theme...thats 3 so far in this trip So after a rather pleasant day in Nara, I went back to Minami in the evening for some quality neon-time... See, I said we'd come back to that picture from earlier... Wonder Wheel again Oh yeah, Osaka; bicycles everywhere (in the way usually) Dotombori Monday 2/6 You might suggest that its been a while since we rode any coasters? OK then off to Universal Studios Japan then. Nice good coaster Unluckily it rained most of today, not heavily, but consistently which made it all a bit miserable. Got a few rides in on the B&M though and really liked it, not a BIG RIDE, but a consistent one and a good one for the more "middle of the road" Universal Studios audience. You can select your background music for the ride from a system built into the lap-restraint. I felt that the J-Pop just didn't work for me, but a bit of "Lose Yourself" worked just fine. Even the Beatles worked better than the J-Pop Wheeeee Single Rider Q helped on this too, when it wasn't raining there was upto 45m wait, but pretty much straight on with the SRQ. Later in the day it was raining all the time and the ride was walk on (nice that they were still running it in the rain though!). No-one fancies the front in the rain! The park itself was pretty good, similar layout to Orlando, but felt bigger somehow (even though it probably wasn't). Nicer feel to the place than Orlando as well I thought, but maybe I can just put that down to the lack of British tourists The rides are pretty much the same (apart from the dialogue being in Japanese of course), but fun all the same. Waterworld didn't make much sense to me, but having seen it in LA I knew when the big finish was coming Splash! And a bit of time-travel.... Back to the Future indeed Good day, but the weather didn't help for any super-photos! Compare that with the stunning day the day before in Nara - Japan's weather is rather changeable at this time of year!!
  15. So I've recently got back from 2.5 weeks in Japan (which was great)... I'll pull together the story bit by bit (unlike my previous TRs, which tend to be a bit stream-of-conciousness in their composition!), and I'll try to add in a bit of "logistics" detail and a few cultural (or not) sights along the way....so bear with me, this might take a while... To save repeating myself, all my flights and hotels were booked though Expedia, who have a pretty good web-interface and the cheapest prices I could see for the various places - recommended! EDIT - (And click though the pictures for bigger sizes (if you care!)) ============================ The back-story... Back in 2002, I quit work for a while (turned out to be ~2 years!) and generally bummed around a lot. Part of that slobbing around involved sloping off "around the world for a bit" (like you do), and part of that involved about a month in Japan for the 2002 World Cup. Now whilst on this trip I had started to spend days here and there at random theme parks (having loved Alton Towers as a kid, but lost the habit as I "grew up"). I can thank a rather splendid day I spent at Dreamworld in Australia for reigniting my enthusiasm and thereafter hit a few parks along my way. BUT since this was at the time a largely unplanned deviation from my "just trek around the world and see whats up" plan, I didn't have much of a clue where to go or what to see (park-wise), so I was restricted to the "obvious" - like SFMM when I was in LA, SeaWorld in San Diego and when I was in Japan, just the Disney parks in Tokyo. Combined with the fact that I was really in Japan for the football meant I was not too bothered, I was rather enjoying stuff like this at the time; Sapporo 2002, Final Whistle against Argentina ...but looking back, I felt that I had missed an opportunity to get to some wacky places...so I resolved "I must get back there some day, see a bit more of the place, and go play on some of their nice coasters"...... Well that day had come...and so a couple of weeks ago I found myself flying from Manchester to Kansai (Osaka) Airport with Yen in my pocket and a plan! (I'll try do it day-by-day with the logistics in there, just to help anyone out who is thinking of the same sort of thing...planning is everything!!!) Tuesday 27/5 Get a flight (KLM) from MAN to AMS then AMS to KIX (~£500) returning from NRT in a couple of weeks time. Long flight and time zones mean I get to Kansai airport at 930AM the next day... Wednesday 28/5 Get off the plane, get through immigration (a bit slow, but not too painful), wander out to the train terminal, validate the rail pass (£220 for 2 weeks go-anywhere-on-JR train travel - invaluable if you are moving around the place anywhere) and hop on a train to Shin-Osaka (cultural aside - its worth getting familiar with a few of the oft-used place name terms...."Shin" = New, "Kita" = North, "Minami" = South, "Higashi" = East and "Nishi" = West and indeed the kanji for these and the place names you are going to, you feel a lot more confident when you can spot the symbols for Shin-Osaka for example. (these just being the kanji for "Shin" then the 2 symbols for Osaka). Having said that, ALL the trains have information in English signs, ALL the train stations have information in English and most of the maps at stations have English on them also.) Anyway I'm not heading for Osaka yet, so at Shin-Osaka I change trains and get on a Shinkansen headed south. (The Shinkansen tracks are always in a separate bit of the station form the "regular" trains, so its a bit more involved than just changing trains, you have to go through at least 1 ticket barrier to swap to/from the Shinkansen, but none of that is a problem.) The Shinkansen zips along south from Osaka and 90 minutes later I'm at Hiroshima station and check into the first hotel I have booked (right by the station, Hotel Granvia, for about £45/night). View from Hotel, Hiroshima By this time I'm pretty zoned out, not slept on the plane so I had been awake for ~30 hours and it was midday... I kept awake the rest of the day by wandering out into Hiroshima city (15 mins walk from the hotel) to have a look around... Hiroshima, the A-bomb dome I'd wanted to come to Hiroshima to see all the A-bomb museums etc, but I was leaving that until I was more awake (!), so I was just strolling for a while, nice city actually. Beside the A-bomb dome Thursday 29/5 Get myself booked (with the rail pass, you get free reservations on trains, worth it to get in the less-busy carriages I guess, the "unreserved carriages" tend to get a bit busy, whilst the "reserved carriages" tended to be more empty) on the 730 Shinkansen down to Kokura (takes just over an hour - fantastic!), hop on a local train 15mins south and here we are at Space World. http://www.spaceworld.co.jp The weather today was (it turns out to be fairly typical for my holiday!), pretty warm, but pretty cloudy/overcast (so my photos don't tend to be wonderful). It rained a bit, but not for more than a couple of minutes and not enough to shut the rides down. The place was empty, a couple of school groups there, but they had all gone my the afternoon, so by then everything was literally walk-on, the ops waiting for riders in fact! I liked the place, it has a fairly uninspired setting, plonked in the middle of some urban-sprawl, but was nice and tidy with a pretty good selection of rides. Coaster wise, TitanV was shut (which was a bit of a shame but I tries not to dwell on that), TitanV, Closed I really liked the looping VenusGP, loops and fast overbanked turns - excellent! VenusGP, looping away like it does VenusGP from the Space Eye and the mini-accelerator was fun (amusingly I've not been on the one in the UK, I have been on a fair few of the other ones tho'), but why don't they build Xcelerator clones rather than these, to me thats a much better use of the space? Zaturn, not Stealth The other coasters were OK, the indoor Black Hole Scramble, Boogie Woogie Space Coaster was novel in that you can sit forwards or backwards (can't recall going backwards on a steel coaster before (apart from XLR-8) - that made me feel ill as well though!) and even the kiddie Clipper was a bit bigger than the usual kiddie rides. Overall a pretty good place and a nice (if overcast) day! Easy trip back to Hiroshima in the late afternoon (gotta love them trains) - job done!
  16. Voted Tokyo. ...and for the record I have been on all 3, but Tokyo's was my first (my cherry breaker if you will), and it probably contributed to me making the effort to go see the other 2.
  17. Hello, me again - you know what happens, every couple of months I'm bored so I nip off to do a load of parks and have some fun. Well this time I was bored in winter, and since I'd been to LA last year I picked the only other "warm place, lots of coasters" I could think of and off to Orlando I go for a week.... Booked a nice hotel across the road from Downtown Disney.... Nice hotel, lovely exchange rate = £40/night ...and recovering from my flight, nipped off for the first trip of the trip to; Cypress Gardens - 2/12 ====================== This place was odd. I liked it - but not really for the rides. The coasters were OK for what they were, but the place was just a nice place and putting the rides in there (a recent addition) just seemed a shame. I think the place should have stayed as it was, a nice place, a few attractions (water-skis and shows) and should not have tried to compete with the big boys up the road? Anyway, "Starliner" I liked, "Triple Hurricane" I liked (neither what you'd call good rides, but fun in their own little way!). The rest of the coasters were generic rubbish; their generic Vekoma sitdown "Okeechobee Rampage", the generic Vekoma suspended "Swamp Thing", spinning mouse "Galaxy Spin" and amazing (!) "Fiesta Express". These all seemed a bit pointless?? But the park was dead (I was 1 of about 5 punters wandering around the rides section for the first hour I was there), so I even rode Fiesta Express. I'm not proud of that. Empty rides! But then I wandered through to the gardens side and had a much nicer rest of the day, just wandering around, watching the water-skiing. A pretty pleasant day all-in-all! Nice lake, nice sky-ride-thingy Reverse view from the nice sky-ride-thingy Lovely trees....! Animal Kingdom - 3/12 ===================== From the dead-park of yesterday to the opposite... I'd not been here before (hence the visit), and they'd opened a new big ride since I was last on Florida a few years ago - so I was quite interested in this place. And on the whole, I liked it. First up was "Expedition Everest", which it was not until I'd made my way through the Q and got a fastpass for a later ride, did I notice had a SRQ for it - d'oh. Looking gooooood I was quite disappointed with this - it LOOKS great, the themeing is great, heck of an attention to detail in all that - but the ride is a all a bit meh. Probably being a bit unfair on it, its OK but perhaps I just expected a better ride after all the build up. I did the "Primeval Whirls", just for the sake of it and I was pretty impressed with "Dinosaur" (or Indiana Jones, I get confused) - this I actually thought was by far the most frightening ride I've ever been on at a Disney park!! Lots of noise and scary monsters - NOT one for the little kids I think! The jeep-safari was good (much better than Busch's kinda-equivalent) and I got SOAKED on the rapids ride (you know when you are queuing for a rapids ride and you are watching the people coming off and theres always one guy in about 50 who is absolutely soaked, well I was that guy - and I was not happy!). Going jeep Quite a pleasant park, nice scenery, good way to spend a day! But honestly whats with that stupid tree - Disney have this thing about "mountains" so they open a park and build a tree. Bonkers. Not a real tree And as an aside - I thought Disney had this rule that Mickey could only ever be in one place at a time (in a park) - so I was shocked (!!) to see Mickey both at the end of the parade AND doing character signings at the same time - shame you cry! Universal Studios - 4/12 ======================== The weather was meant to be a bit cooler today (it was really warm every other day of the trip apart from this day) - so I went off to the park with the most "indoor rides" today. And it was empty About as busy as it got... I think I've got bored of this place though (I'd been twice before, once about 13 years ago and once 3.5 years ago), can't imagine going again (not even for the Simpsons ride). Not open yet - D'oh Did all the stuff that you'd spend hours Q-ing for in the high-season, all walk-on, suppose thats a good thing. Shrek, Jaws, Mummy, ET (!), Woody, MiB and a couple of trips around T2 (which I really like!) A short day then! Magic Kingdom - 5/12 ==================== Odd that the Universal parks could be so empty...MK was busy today (mind you I've not seen it in peak-busy, so maybe this busy was quiet, relatively). I got there early to get the big stuff done, and so had made my way around Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Big Thunder and Splash Mountain when (as I was coming off Splash, and was VERY soaked - theres a theme developing here) a nice Disney person was standing there handing out "Magic Fastpass Thingies" - which were basically a bunch of free fastpasses to the rides. Since I had been on the big rides by then I gave mine to the chap behind me whose wife hadn't gone on the ride - I think it made his day, he was very excited by it! Splash Mountain Action Shot! I'd been to Tokyo and Anaheim Disneylands before, but not this one. To be honest they leave me a bit cold, I can't see what the attraction is really, but I spent a reasonable time just wandering aimlessly around. A few observations though - that Stich thing - useless. And "Its a Small World" - its obviously a "white world" too - there didn't appear to be any small-people of any colour in anywhere apart from the Africa section???? Old-school Disney rears its head again? Theres only one Mickey! I had a trip around the monorails too, that was probably a bit more interesting than a lot of the time I spent in the park! Obligatory castle shot Islands of Adventure - 6/12 =========================== Easily the best park of the trip - but you know that already! And it was dead, everything apart from Pteranodon Flyers was walk on (and PT still managed an hours wait with an empty park, so I didn’t do that!). Watch the feet, oh theres noone on it, never mind I got (by now expected) completely soaked on the water rides, even worse than the Disney rides earlier in the week, again making me unhappy. People were actually pointing and laughing I was that wet... how rude! Grrrr I'm an angry green thing The Space Shuttle was meant to launch in the afternoon, so I positioned myself with a bunch of other mis-informed tourists to watch it over the lake. We spend a fun few minutes pointing at various airplane vapour trails before we gave up. (Launch was delayed, now until January). Big Sky, no shuttles though In the evening I went to the Blue Man Group. This was very good, if basically 90% the same as the Vegas show I saw 12 months previously (and on a slightly less-grand scale). Milling around CityWalk Busch Tampa/Africa/Whatever - 7/12 ================================== Just as I got to the gates at Busch, I noticed a sign that put dread in my heart... "Physics Day" it read. "Uh-oh that explains all those school buses in the car park" thought I. So basically the park was full of school trips - under the guise of an educational "Physics Day" there were coachloads of brats out to spoil my day! In the end it was not too bad, despite an hour wait for Sheikra early on, the Qs evened out later on and it was only a 20min wait in the afternoon, I can cope with that. Strangely Montu was walk-on even in the morning when everything else "big" (from SheiKra, Kumba to Scorpion) had a big line! But I'd only really come to have a go on the big dive machine, and it was good, and very photogenic.... Very... ..pretty... ...indeed Although the "water-bit" doesn't add anything to the on-ride experience, it does get the on-lookers wet I guess! Reasonably pointless indeed Pleasure Island - 8/12 ====================== Ok not a park, but on the Saturday I went shopping, went to the Cirque Du Soleil show (very good I thought!) and then went and got drunk at Pleasure Island (being as my hotel was 5 minutes walk away I thought this was a good plan!). Thought the clubs were OK - the comedy warehouse was bit painful and the adventurers like being in a Disney ride (I guess thats the point). The music clubs were better, spent most of the time at the RockNRoll one as they had a loud (pretty good) covers band on, but the Mannequins had some loud trancey/dancy stuff on which was good, and the 80s club was nice'n'cheesy. Couldn't do more than a quick trip around the more mainstream stuff in Motion or the BET place as the music ain't my bag! But pretty good evening. (Only the 80s place was what you'd call busy though). Sunday - 9/12 ============= Had a look around the Disney hotels and Celebration, got a plane, came home. End of. Ta.
  18. Hi there, (best Simpsons voice)....you may remember me from such previous P:TRs as "LA/LV", "Germany" , "Spain" , "Holland" and "Texas" ...well this year's installment is along the lines of "bumming around the North East US for a couple of weeks". Well here we go.... ----- So I was looking for what to do this year, deciding that I would try going to some US parks before the kids broke up for holidays, so booked myself a bit of time of work and booked a flight from the UK to the colonies (into Buffalo and out of JFK) and off we went. My plan was along the lines of; Darien Lake, have a look at that waterfall, Canadas Wonderland, (then if they let me back into the country), Knoebels, Hershey, Great Adventure, New England and a couple of days in Boston. After a few ridiculous plane delays all due to weather in the US, I finally get to Buffalo around 10pm on Sat 2nd June. Crash out and then up nice and early for a quick trip to; Darien Lake - 3/6 ================= My hotel was right by Buffalo airport (in hindsight an extremely wise idea given the delays I had the previous night), so the trip out to DL was a simple 25 mile or so wander through some rather pleasant countryside. Realised I was near the place when you could just see a rather large coaster poking up through the trees, excellent we're off..... Car park was empty, park was empty, I get myself a Season Pass (for reasons that will be clearer later on for $60) and in we go. Leg it straight to !Superman, and notice that the track going out was stuck on the lift hill - poor people, how I laughed. They eventually get the train moving and I manage to get on the next train out....which promptly gets stuck on the lift hill, this time right next the top. Not laughing so much now am I. The poor ride-op had to walk all the way up the hill to come to chat to us, but after 5 mins or so they cleared it and we made our way over the crest. Top ride. I'd been on SFA's a couple of years ago and loved that, so I knew what to expect - didn't really notice any roughness that people have been moaning about, it certainly wasn't smooth, but fast. impressive, wonderful hills and all round fun fun fun. Then by the time we get back in the station, they shut the ride down and I don’t see it running loaded for the rest of the day (but I'm not there that long!). Even the test runs they were doing were getting stuck on the hill; Stuck:Ride of Steel Shame. A ride-op tells me they are continually having problems with it - come on DL sort it out! Frankly that ride was my sole reason for coming out there, having really liked SFA's and I did really like it, but it was v.annoying that I only got to ride it once, mind you, 2 minutes later into the Q and I wouldn't have got to ride it at all Now THAT would have annoyed me. So I do a slow loop of the park - not so bad, not so good. Predator however was completely awful. Shocking ride. It isn't that big so how can it be that painful? I wanted to get off half way round, thats ridiculous. I can get broken 2 coasters into my holiday can I? No wonder it was walk-on. The boomer is in a reasonably scenic position on the lake, as is the SLC (different lake). Shame it was overcast, otherwise this would have turned out ok! Their Arrow looper (Viper) wasn't bad, I resisted the kiddie ride and decided to go off to see the waterfall by about 12:30 - I hadn't set out with the intention of this just being a quick "credit run", thats NOT what its all about for me, I just decided that it would be a better use of my time.... ...and it was, blimey is that impressive! From the American-side observation tower I wandered around the American side for the rest of the day, did the Maid of the Mist thingy (which was FANTASTIC - but a bit hard to photograph as you are basically in a cloud of water for the trip). Excellent, definitely a better idea that sitting around in a mediocre theme park waiting for a coaster to get mended! So the next day I go back to the falls and cross over into Canada (relatively simply). The Canadian side was much more commercialised than the US (surprisingly) - while the US is just one big commercial mess, they do do their National Parks really well, and a lot of the US side of the falls is a National Park, whereas the Canadian side is pretty much a tourist-trap town. Kudos to the US then! However, the view of the horseshoe falls is somewhat better from the Canadian side though; From the Skylon tower - part of the Canadian commercialisation Lovely! After a few hours staring at the impressive water (theres just SO MUCH of it), head off to Toronto, mainly to visit Wonderland, but there’s something else I need to do first.... ...and that’s go up the big building.... View down from the CN Tower I do like those big towers, and the CN Tower is pretty darned impressive. 147 stories they reckon the top viewing pod is at (where that photo (which my mate with Vertigo can't even look at!) was taken from). Just needs a drop ride on the side I think The next day its off to; Canada's Wonderland - 5/6 ========================= Didn't really know what to expect from this place. Biggest (best?) park in Canada? Part (well used to be part) of the Paramount chain (and I liked PKI, PKD and Carowinds a lot (PGA not so much)). They've got a lot of coasters? Hmmm, well I wasn't very impressed. Yeah they have a lot of coasters, but not a standout one at all. I suppose the Italian Job is meant to be that, but that wasn't too impressive really (not been on any of the other IT:STs). I probably liked the big woody "Minebuster" or "Vortex" the suspended the most, although bizarrely I also quite liked the Tomb Raider flyer that everyone hates, sure it was bit rough, but it was trying real hard and it was different, come on its not so bad really is it? Hmmmm Zamperla goodness!!!! Took most of the day to loop around the park, riding all the rides - I even popped my Top Scan cherry on "Shockwave", weird to realise that I don't think I'd ever even seen one of these before. Not being too much of a fan of spinny rides (I force myself to go on Top Spin's occasionally), I was a bit unsure how I'd react to it. But I thought it was great! Theres not too much more I can say about CW, the locals all seemed to love the SLC (!?!) and didn't really care that they didn't have any real good coasters. There is a good selection of flats (like that wacky Sledge Hammer ride) and the place looked like it had good "capacity", shame they just don't have a stand-out ride. Oh and the funny thing about the day was that it was FREEZING. I notice from Tom's report that it had been 35 degrees there a few days before, well it was something like 7 degrees the day I went! I had checked the weather and gone wrapped up, but the number of locals there freezing their ****s off in tshirts and shorts was very amusing. The shops did a brisk trade in Wonderland hoodies that day! So after a day long drive (and a real grilling from US border guard, who just couldn't understand the concept of touring around theme parks - or maybe thats what terrorists are using as cover stories now?), I was back in the US, central PA in fact and off to a nice park the next morning; Knoebels - 7/6 ============== What a nice place. Couple of really well looked after woodies, lots of flat rides, lots of trees, lots of friendly people. Lovely. Look at all them trees, lovely! I thought the woodies were both really good (shame they hadn't finished the new Flying Turns though, that looked very nice, but I can't even hold that against the place!) and I even went on the (very thrilling) kiddie ride for a change. What do you mean I can't ride it, looks OK to me! After a few hours having a lovely time at the lovely Knoebels, I make the short drive to my hotel for the night and in preparation for the next day at; HersheyPark - 8/6 ================= Now I'd been here before, in 2003, so the only thing I HAD to ride was Storm Runner (which they had inconsiderately built after I was last there). Quite liked it, bit short, but miles better than Rita for example. I guess you can compare it to Xcelerator, but the launch was much better on its Californian cousin. I guess it (SR) is still fairly unique in doing inversions on an accelerator (theres a couple of Europe ones though). I'd really like to see an accelerator on the scale of TTD,KK that did something like the Superman rides, really use all that momentum to do something other than up/down. Accelerator+Inversion=Good Anyway, I like HersheyPark. It was pretty crowded, lots of school groups in for the day, but you could still get around without too much waiting. Revised my opinion of Great Bear somewhat (I'd thought it a bit dull, but now have appreciated it more!) and the new trains on WildCat made it a much better ride than I remembered from the previous visit. No-one has ever taken this shot before, no-one I tell ya However, this time I also had a wander around the ZooAmerica thing attached to HesheyPark. What a soul-destroyingly awful experience that was. I'm sure that they have good intentions running that place, but the cramped pokey places those animals were kept in was heart-breaking. I couldn't wait to get out of there. It really left me with an unpleasant feeling. Honestly I had to have a few more rides on the Lighting Racer to cheer me up. (I trivialize, I really was upset to see two fully grown crocs in a space the size of my bathroom!) Right then, had a the weekend to kill (hadn't really planned on any parks at the weekend), so I drove into Philadelphia with the expectation of having a look around. Had a look around and decided I did not want to stay there that night at all so carried on out to the coast, knowing that there were a few rides at North Wildwood..... Morey's Piers - 9/6 =================== ....having had a look around at North Wildwood I decided I didn't want to stay there either (if you've been you'll know what I mean!) - I drove up the coast a bit and its really really nice around there, lovely beaches, nice small beach town, some fantastic houses (weekend get aways for the rich of Philly/NYC I guess). Wildwood itself was just a bit "ugh". But I forced myself to get the credits and they weren't cheap either - if you were paying with tokens, it was something like $7 for a ride on the boomerang! It was quite interesting to see the coasters out on a pier; Great, another SLC In fairness to the place (Morey's that is), the piers were a lot less tacky that I thought that they were going to be. They had a lot of rides (not great coasters, but..) and they appeared to be in good shape. All the ride-ops seemed to be foreign teenagers as well, which provided you with a variety on non-Jersey accents to cope with. I drive up the coast and get a random (expensive) motel outside Atlantic City and the next day have a look around AC. Didn't like it at all. Like the crap-part of Vegas without any of the good-parts of Vegas. I don't even wait around long enough for them to open the one coaster that they have (its just a mouse, albeit a spinning one) and head out of there almost as fast as I can (pausing only to take a few "arty" photos)! Atlantic City. Great. Six Flags Great Adventure - 11/6 ================================ This is more like it. I'd been here before also in 2003 but for some reason I'd had a pretty rubbish day. I remember being in a bad mood and having a headache all day, combined with not staying anywhere close and having a 100+ mile drive to/from the park probably made for my bad mood. Well this time I'd booked in somewhere 20 minutes away and I was there nice and early and in the right frame of mind to have a good day out, and I did! Now the comment about the DL season pass (all the way back up there) makes sense, since the $60 DL pass also gets me into SFGAdv and SFNE - bargain. And off we walk (briskly) to KK. But its shut. So we walk off to El Toro, which is open, short Q (10 minutes tops) and we are off. I thought this was fantastic. Smoothest woody ever (went on HP's Colossos last year and thought that was smooth, well its got nothing on El Toro). I'm kinda in two minds about the arguments around "its not a real woody" - of course its a real woody (hell of a lot more real then those awful hybrid woodies) - too true it rides like a big smooth steel coaster and not an old rickety wood coaster, but thats progress for you. If steel coasters had never evolved we'd all still be riding around on Matterhorn:The Ride everywhere, so why can't woodies evolve into something "better"? Anyway, its great. Great drop, great airtime hills, great drop into the in-field, great speed, great twists, great. Colossos was my favourite woody, but this eclipses it by far. And I was riding it on its birthday (1 year old that day!). And boy is it photogenic (well from one side at least, bit of a pig to get from the other side, that Rolling Thunder thing is in the way). Again, another 100% unique photo So I liked El Toro then. Oh yes. By the time I'd had a few goes on El Toro and Medusa, and taken a few photos of them all; Clear skies = good silhouettes I spot KK testing, so make my way back there - they are still not letting anyone into the Q, so I loiter for 5 minutes and they open up. Smashing, get to an empty platform as the Q builds behind me and get in line for the front seat on the second train out. I'd been on TTD before and had to Q for something like 4 hours (!!!) for that, so I was in a pretty good mood given my 2.5 minute Q experience for the front of KK! TTD broke down when I was on the train, and KK didn’t disappoint either; got as far as the launch position, rolled back the foot or so (like it does) and nothing happened. So we sat there for 10 minutes in the baking sun in those stupid uncomfortable seats (they are OK for 2 minutes, not so much for 20 minutes). Eventually they sorted it out, rolled us back into the station, then back out for launch. Yippee. It did seem faster (and rougher) than TTD and the hill does make a slight difference, but its still that same ride. Excellent view, very exhilarating. I like. (The one thing that TTD does that KK is doesn't, is dominate the park. TDD you can get up close to, see in the Grandstand overlooking it, really adds to the anticipation. KK is kinda stuck out in the car park, so I don't think the "drama" of it worked as well as TTD) At this point (midday) I started to regret NOT getting one of those gold-bots, as the Qs had started to build up, say 40 minutes for Superman, an hour for Nitro, but it didn't really bother me. I rode all the rides I'd missed last time I was here (apart from the stupid mine train which wasn't working AGAIN) and had a good day. They even opened up the Chiller:Robin in the afternoon and even though THAT broke down just as I was going to get on it, they mended it long enough to clear the Q and then closed it down again. The park was scheduled to shut at 7, so around 6 I thought about getting a KK reride to close out the day (the Qs in the afternoon were "2 hours"). Much to my surprise, I wandered through the Q and was on the load platform without a sole in front of me. Cool. So I did KK again a couple of times walkon and closed out with some more El Toro goodness (also walk on). Moral of this is get your rides in just as the place shuts (I'm sure it doesn't always work out like that!) How about that for timing? KK and Toro in sync Top day. Best day of the trip. After a painful drive up (what about that NYC traffic!!!) from NJ to MA the next day I found myself at; Six Flags New England - 13/6 ============================ Last park of the trip, and frankly this was always only ever going to be about Superman wasn't it? They did seem to have some problems with the ride, stood outside the Q for 40+ minutes (before I gave up and went on something else) at the start of the day while they tested it - ride ops reckoned its up and down all the time? Anyway after that abortive start, I did all the other coasters before getting back to Superman mid afternoon. I did like quite a few of the other coasters as well. Enjoyed their floorless Batman a lot, was pleasantly surprised by the old Cyclone (since it was not the usual Cyclone-copy but a completely different ride), had a go on Astroworld's Sky Swatter (which I'd been on in Astroworld's last season ) and generally had a nice day at the park. But now it was time for the highlight. By then a big Q (they said 90 minutes, but it was really about 45) had built up and I trapsed through it, realising that it'd be worth it. And of course it was. Excellent ride. Quite a bit better than the other S:RoS , and I like them! Strangely, after I have my ride and then wander around for another hour I come back, and theres no Q. Well 10 minutes at most. Right then, so I just cycle round for the next hour or so ride, 10 minute Q, ride. Excellent. Even get the front seat from the SRQ! (Speaking of which, the SRQ is useless, you have to Q through all the Q line to get to it and then it probably doesn't save you any time in the station. I only used it out of politeness (since it was there I felt I "should" use it (how English am I???)!). However then I had a bad thing happen, my camera glitched and I lost my days photos, which was a shame. After rebooting it, it seemed ok so I got a few shots of the lovely Superman Tunnel, wet. The park had Tony Hawk fulfilling his contractual obligations by giving a show out in the car park or something like that, anyway, some of that was pretty impressive, mainly the flying motorcycles. Pretty good show - 50 minutes or so long as well! I want a go on THAT! So that was that for the coasters. Spent the next few days in Boston having a look around (nice enough!). Highlights of the trip? CN Tower, Niagara Falls, El Toro and Superman@NE. Lowlights? Nothing too much, bit un-inspired by a few places (Philly,AC) but maybe I just wasn't in the right mood that day? Overall, good times! Ta, Dave. (I'll post a load more photos at some point) Concentrating hard on the audio tour in the Prudential Skywalk in Boston
  19. Hey Tom, I hit 300 at CW just the other week too - spooky huh!!! I timed it wrong though, and it was Silver Streak....... (I kinda wanted it to be Dragon Fire in memory of all the Arrows done, but hey, turned out it was a Vekoma in memory of all those instead)
  20. I have a new toy. Its name is; 4972-6618-7768-6132 I'll slowly add the peeps in this thread! Ta, Daviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid
  21. (apologies to Tom for plagiarising his TR Title!) So there I was at work, get an email reminding me to use up the year's holiday entitlement, work out I've got about 7 days to spare, a quick whizz on t'internet and I'm off to LA for some warm weather and some silly coasters..... -- Sat 18/11 - Get up stupidly early (~3am) to get a flight from Manchester to LA (via Paris - all I can say about THAT is NEVER change planes at CDG airport - nightmare, and I'm pretty used to this airplane-age). 14.5 hour flight later, at LAX (by Saturday lunchtime), so get me car, get on the interstate and find the hotel (Hilton, right by Disneyland, bargain for $99/night - I'm partial to Hilton's as I have a Platinum Loyalty card with them (due to excessive business usage) so I always get cool upgrades and free rooms....) I didn't think you meant to be able to see into Disney? Well you can from my hotel Too wiped out to do anything exciting on the Saturday, so a bit of fast food and its off to sleep for me! Sunday, I deliberately didn't want to go to a park, so I wander off to Long Beach for the day, mainly because of the Aquarium (bit of a aquarium-geek as well as a coaster-geek you see), which was good, weather was ridiculously hot and they have a bridge that looks like a coaster, in tribute to the old coaster that lived there. Seems to me it would have been better to have a coaster there rather than the bridge, but what do I know. So I walked over the bridge, thats a credit right? Mary and some ducks Queen Mary was reasonably impressive, and the downtown/marina area very pleasant place to kill a few hours in the sunshine. A lighthouse Had a wander around Downtown Disney in the evening, wasn't very impressed with it to be honest, the place was packed with people and packed with pretty soulless restaurants and the like. Caught a flick at the cinema there and called it a day. Monday 20th... Park 1 - nip up the road from Disney and there I was at Knotts Berry Farm. I was reasonably excited about this place, something about it being pretty old yet having to keep up with the Disney neighbours appealed to me!?! Anyhoo, first up was the beamer, Silver Bullet - now this gets a lot of slagging off from all quarters for being a bit dull and forceless...but I liked it! Quite a bit. Now I'm no B&M virgin, far from it, been on all the big inverts in my time and I thought it was definitely worthy - nice to see something that isn't a B:TR (nothing wrong with B:TRs but after your n-th clone, the novelty wears off). Anyway, Silver Bullet, nice 1st drop, interesting banked turn thingy, cobra roll over the entrance plaza, zero-g roll (I do like them) - job done! Cobras to you! Zero-G silhouette Wandered over to Ghostrider (back of the park didn't open until 11 so you can't rush off to XCelerator straight away) next. Again wasn't sure what I would get here - this always looked good to me on the "coaster-shows", but again heard a lot of bad press too. As it happens I quite liked this, but I could see why people complain. Its a good layout and all, big and twisting in on itself all the time, but pretty rough. I guess if was nice and smooth back when it opened it would have been excellent, but probably a bit under-loved - a shame. Best picture I have of Ghostrider (honest) By now the back of the park had opened and off to Xcelerator I went. Again I was a bit intrigued by this one, the first accelerator and all. And again I liked it. Not quite got the sheer oomph of TTD or quite as imposing, but much better than Rita (these being my only accelerator comparisons, I can't be bothered with Thorpe's poor effort!). The launch is excellent and I do like the overbank business after the top hat, it always seems a waste to me to have all that speed built up and to do nothing with it (looking at YOU TTD!!). Brake run was a bit harsh though, throws you into the restraints something rotten. As for the other coasters there, Montezooma's was not open, which I was disappointed with, I do like a good shuttle loop, but Jaguar was OK. The Boomerang was a boomerang, not the most painful I've been on, in fact one of the least painful, maybe I just got a lucky ride? They didn't open the big wet ride until later - I don't tend to do these though so I wasn't too fussed, but it was hot day so the other patrons were quite keen on it. Really slow cycling though, there was pretty big Q for it and boats were taking well over 5 minutes to get out - a bit poor! The park wasn't too busy, not empty at all but at most 10 minutes Q for Xcelerator in the afternoon. I managed to entertain myself for the rest of the day happily playing on the trains and stuff, didn't do the kiddy coaster, I try not to stoop to that level! Whats that over there? Tuesday 21st... Off to Disneyland then. Might be strange, but this was the park I was least looking forward to. There’s just something about Disney that leaves me cold. Don't get me wrong, they do a good job (I loved DisneySea for example) and they do the odd ride really well too (ToT etc), but I think the whole Disneyland thing is all a bit old-hat. I mean Jungle Cruise, Small World, Innovations, that Tiki-room thing, crickey what’s that all about? I liked Space Mountain though, very nice. Better than Tokyo's I think, less violent anyway? Big Thunder Mountain was OK, but not a great "mine train" ride and the Matterhorn is shut at the moment (boo!). (didn't do the kiddy coaster). For the non-coaster stuff, Indy was really good, as was the Haunted Mansion / Nightmare stuff. Pirates was full of teenaged girls in Johnny Depp T-shirts, the new Disney demographic? And I got SOAKED on Splash Mountain you'll be pleased to know. Place was packed as well, the busiest I've seen a park for quite a while. And I suspect it wasn't THAT busy at all in the scheme of things, no wonder they open from 8am till midnight! Not too shabby! When it got dark, I wandered over the plaza to California Adventure. This WAS a place I was looking forward to (maybe I'm just odd?). Anyway I liked it, much more than the old place over the road. It was pretty good to get in there when it was dark, the place l lit up very nicely indeed. I had a few dark rides on California Screamin', which I initially liked a lot, but got less keen the more I rode it. By the end I just thought it was just a Disney production-line. And what do you need speakers on the trains for? Is the ride not enough for you? Hmmmm. The other coaster is just a production line Mack mouse, I actually like these, think that they are a good addition to a park for the GP, been on too many of them to get too excited by it though! I liked Soarin' a lot (single rider Q helped) and of course Tower of Terror. Now this gets some slating as not being as good as Florida's version, but I think I liked it more? Its a couple of years since I went on the original (and I'm by no means an expert on it), so I couldn't do a direct comparison as I went along, but what I thought was better was the transition from the loading bit to the drop bit - at Florida’s don't you mess around in some big room full of stars and you have to move forward on a track and stuff until you get to the drop shaft - in DCA's you just slide back from the loading bit and you are in the drop shaft. I really liked the transition effects there as well, with the room dissolving into the star-field, and then in reverse at the end. Well cool, and great fun! Otherwise at DCA, I liked the Sun-wheel thing, and the wave-swinger-in-giant-orange-thing. All very photo-genic at night. Wave-swinger-in-giant-orange-thing More stuff at night that looks cool all lit up Wednesday 22nd... Went back to DCA the following morning in the daylight to do everything again and all the things I missed. Got soaked on the rapids (boo), which were pretty good. Thought the Monsters Inc was a bit lame (but I'm not the target audience am I), MuppetVision is good though, if that Whoopi Goldberg film was not. Launcy launchy Loopy loopy No-one has EVER taken this photo before I was kindof mesmorised by the waterfall at the rapids! Overall then, I much preferred DCA to DL. Am I just strange, or perhaps I just don't have the cultural reference points (not having grown up in SoCal!) to really enjoy DL? Then, I made a major error it seems. I had planned to drive up to Valencia in the afternoon - that was my mistake. Day before Thanksgiving and I5 was just one big car park. 60 miles in just under 4 hours, not a fun drive. But I ended up at the Garden Inn right outside Magic Mountain (saved myself $15 SFMM parking - whopee! - actually this was a free stay, paid for with my "Hilton Points" - double whopee!!), ate at the Wendys over the road and recovered from my ordeal! Thursday 23rd... Look, I can see MM from the hotel (not quite as impressive as the Anaheim Hilton) I thought I was being clever; go to SFMM on Thanksgiving, it'll be quiet. The gangs will be home doing drive-by turkey shootings and I'll have a good day. Well I was spot on, apart from Tatsu I did not wait more than 2 trains for anything all day and most of the day it was walk-on. Excellent. I'd been here before, about 4.5 years ago and had a good day then, (despite X being down then as well as today). I was familiar with the park layout from my earlier visit so, a brisk walk from when the gates open got me on the first Tatsu train of the day! Tatsu is good, some great bits to it, easily the best first drop on a flyer, massive pretzel loop etc, but the majority of the ride is done so far up above the ground it detracts a bit from the experience. The thing that makes Air for example is all the interaction with the ground, and you just don't get that on Tatsu. Don't get me wrong, it is a better ride than Air or the S:UF (or the Vekomas, but that’s not a fair comparison), but could have been much better if it just spent a bit of time ground hugging! It rather dominates the park as well, dwarfing Revolution something rotten. I must watch "Rollercoaster" again to see how good Revolution looked new! Revolution is in there somewhere! After Tatsu, I managed to walk around the rest of the park in the next 2 hours walking onto every ride I wanted to. Straight onto DejaVu (much better than Stuntfall, my last GIB, I think Stuntfall just went too slowly through the inversions?), straight onto Ninja (which was closed last time I was here - yay), straight onto Superman (in fact there were only 3 of us on the train, so rerides in order - and it was the "other side" to when I rode it previously (extra credit right???), straight onto Goldrusher (nothing to shout about though), straight onto Riddler's (my first and my favourite B&M standup (done them all!)), straight onto Batman (good as usually), straight onto Scream (new to me, this was still a car park when I was last here (oh yeah it still is a car park) - a great ride, but that car park, crickey!), straight onto Colossus (duller than I remember) and then I hit my first wait of the day, a 2 train wait for Goliath. Phew! DejaVu - open, good!! DejaVu - open, good!! Goliath I like, I preferred its Texan cousin, just from the extra helix, but it is a monster ride and very impressive. Yum, Goliath, another original photo I think Flashback shut (natch), X shut (natch), straight onto Revolution and then Viper (both MUCH more painful that I remember them being). Twice I've been here, twice this has been shut - pah! Decent snap of Superman, thats about as high as it got though Didn't do the kiddy coaster and Psyclone was closed - odd though, there wasn't any sign indicating it was closed so there were people (me included) periodically wandering up the Q-line only to get to the deserted station and coming back again - bit like RCT when you suddenly shout a ride Queued for about an hour in the afternoon for Tatsu again, but the place was pretty quiet otherwise. An excellent day, even if I did feel quite ill after all the riding! Again SFMM gets slated by people but based on my day I thought it was excellent and anyone who is keen on their coasters really should go here, its just packed with the things! Tatsu and some clouds - had to wait a while to get this shot right! Anyway, that was the end of my original holiday plan... but I still had a few days left in the country, so Friday 24th... Get up, get in a car, drive to Las Vegas (like you do). Stop off at Primm as you hit NV, hang around until noon when they open the coaster and have a quick go on Desparado. I was reasonably interested in this ride, but didn't think a lot of it after riding it. Sure it was quick big, and its quite a long ride, but its full of poor transitions and ultimately a bit meh! Quite enjoyed the drive to Vegas though, some cool scenery, unnervingly straight roads broken up by the odd (and I mean odd) populated place. You can see Primm from miles away, and when you turn a slight corner in the road and see Vegas 10 miles in the distance, that’s pretty cool! Whats that coming over the hill, is it a monster? After getting sorted at the hotel (the big pyramid one) just spent the rest of the day wandering up and down the strip looking at all the pretty lights! Pretty lights Saturday 25th... This was going to be my "ride day" in Vegas, so get the monorail up to the Sahara and wander up to the Stratosphere for starters. Now this I was worried about. Coasters never scare me anymore. Drop rides I can deal with. Heights I am OK with, big fan of tall buildings. The Big Shot didn't worry me, been on enough S&S towers to be blasé about that. Rides that throw you off the edge of big buildings I WAS NOT HAPPY with. But you just have to do it. Warmed up on Big Shot, and in fairness this WAS quite a bit more unnerving that I thought it would be. In fact I cam off that a bit shaky, which surprised me. In for a penny, in for a pound and over to XScream. That I did not like. Not only did it scare me senseless, I actually thought it was a pretty poor ride. Bit rich of me saying that a ride that scared me silly was poor, but there you go. After being even shaky-er after Xscream I just got onto Insanity before I lost my bottle. Without any doubt whatsoever, this was the most scared I've been on a ride ever. It was a really pleasant change to feel that way instead of the normal rather too-cool way I end up riding stuff. Insanity was just brilliant. From the slow drag of the arm taking you out over the side, the gradual build up of speed and the when you are going full tilt the view down the tower to the ground far below you - fantastic! Pretty scary indeed Very scary indeed It was good job that the gift shop at the top sold beer, I just had to sit down for a while after that. If you can't tell, I LIKED IT (and at the same time I HATED IT) - Excellent! After calming myself down somewhat, had a go on Speed at the Sahara, was OK, over a bit quick though. A guy on the Strip tried to sell me some Speed, is this what he meant? Shootin' up? Bit of a walk later down to Circus Circus (by far the least impressive hotel I went into on the strip, really dingy and crowded - must be something to do with the cheap rooms?) and out the back to their bizarre indoor theme park. I was only ever going to ride the coaster (and I did, actually thought it was pretty good considering its constraints) but I wandered around for a while, the place was packed with people so it made it all a bit unpleasant, impressed how they managed to get so much stuff in such a small place though! Not bad at all! and its all under a big pink roof, very odd! Later in the day I was back towards the south of the strip so had a couple of go's on Manhattan Express (and what was all that business about it changing its name, everywhere it was referred to as M/E, not some "the coaster at NewYorkNewYork"). Strangely I quite liked this one too. It wasn't as painful as I thought it was going to be (although that snake-dive thingy wasn't at all comfortable), not great but better than I thought it was going to be. That’s it for the rides, rest of the time in Vegas wandering around, the odd-beer, the odd-fruit machine (I must have lost all of $10), couple of shows (Blue Man Group - excellent and one I can't talk about in a family forum (technically the girls weren't naked, after all sequins count don't they????)) Random hotel shot Go up the Eiffel tower and watch the Bellagio, nice! Monday 27th... Get up at 5am, drive 5 hours to LA, get on a plane, get to Paris, have your duty free stolen off you by ba*tard French security (and YES I knew the rules and YES I was following them as far as I was concerned), get on another plane, get home Tuesday afternoon. Job done.
  22. So... (and please excuse my general stupidity here, I'm kinda trying to ask a "how busy will the park be?" question, without actually saying that, as its always a dumb question, so bear with me).... ...but (and I don't know all this 'cos I'm from the UK).... How does it work in the US around that there Thanksgiving holiday? I guess you all get the Thursday off as a National Holiday, but what about the other days around then, do the schools/colleges have the whole week off or just the Thursday??? And obviously I'm asking 'cos I just booked myself a week in LA and was planning when to hit the parks - bottom line, is the Thursday going to be a good day (queue-wise) to go to the Mountain or a bad day? Currently thinking a good day, but what do I know? (MM is open the Wed/Thus/Fri that week and I plan a bit of KDF,DL and DCA too. I've been to MM before, but not the others.) Ta for any tips! Dave "Confused of Cheshire" M.
  23. Went to 3 of your 4 last summer; http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18830 -Parque de Attraciones de Madrid - is right in the center of Madrid - on the "subway" line -Parque Warner Madrid - is about 40 minutes south of Madrid by train (easy train trip) -PortAventura - is about an hour south of Barcelona by train (again an easy trip) Tibidabo is a little park in the hills above Barcelona - only 1 real coaster (plus a new one for next year tho') and a powered coaster.
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/