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Everything posted by davidmorton

  1. All round, not a happy story. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051202/media_nm/disney_lawsuit_dc
  2. Ooh, ooh...I've been on them all too! Riddlers the best for me (maybe 'cos it was the first one I went on) Then Georgia, Chang, Mantis, Carowinds' Vortex, Iron Wolf, PGAs Vortex
  3. Buy cheap here http://www.towersalmanac.com/index.php?page=site&id=12 (probably UK only tho)
  4. ^^ Actually that IS exactly what happened - the Ropers were there BEFORE Alton Towers started turning utself into a big theme park back in 1980. Still, the Towers were there (and as a tourist attraction) well before the Ropers were there (but with nice polite 1920s tourists rather than nasty noisy roller coaster tourists). Don't get me wrong, not defending them IN THE SLIGHTEST - bloomin' hypocrites. Why dont they just move somewhere else? "No I love my house" - but they dont love WHERE it is, next door to a theme park. Stupid Ropers. Dave.
  5. I've been on (in order of going on them - I think that that affects your judgement somewhat - the first one that I go on has that novelty factor which tends to make me like it); Batman Knight Flight @ SFWoA Medusa @ SFGAdv Kraken @ SWO Superman Krypton Coaster @ SFFT Superman Atraccione de Acero @ WBMW and I think that Kraken edges it - its just kinda got it all.... I do like them all tho'
  6. I think that the book was originally produced to accompany an exhibition concerning his work a few years back, rather than being a "real" book about the subject. I wouldn't hold your breath for it.....
  7. I happily spent a whole day in DisneySea. If you've been to other Disney parks then you should go to this one as well - just for the difference!!
  8. http://www.divx.com/anniversaryoffer/ Free today only apparently. (Usually $20)
  9. ^Yep, great huh! Its like KK, but without the height, speed or twist. Will probably look quite nice down there, but I can't get excitied about this at all. Be a big hit with the lovely patrons of Thorpe though I'm sure.... Dave "Meh" M.
  10. Nope, just got one at 9:30 on the Saturday morning out of Barca - into Madrid by 2 - (First class as well, tourist was full up) just in time to get to the hotel and get out to the nearest Oirish-bar that was showing the England Wales match!
  11. Since y'liked them, a couple more of Tibidabo from below; Hyper zoomed in, taken from Gaudi's park Guell, which is about half way up the hill towards the park. You can see (from left to right) the ferris wheel (with the drop ride in front), the giant lever thingy, the big church behind the park, the coaster is below the right hand side of the church, the airplane ride and the log flume is at the extreme right on the lower level. Not sure what the other tower thing is near the airplane, not part of the park. And that drop tower with a bit more context (this one (but much higher res) is currently set as my wallpaper at work!) Again.. And to show off the view from the coaster (that one of Robb's in HK hasn't quite got the scale of this one I think!)
  12. Chronolgically; Alton Towers Six Flags over Texas Six Flags AstroWorld (RIP) Six Flags Fiesta Texas SeaWorld San Antonio Port Aventura Tibidabo Warner Bros Movie World Madrid Parque de Atracciones Madrid
  13. From SixFlag$; http://investors.sixflags.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=61629&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=755546
  14. World Cup 2002 - Sapporo (final whistle upon beating Argentina!) Stupid Brazil really ruined my hols
  15. Hmmm - I didn't think that I was being negative about Port Aventura, I enjoyed the place. Just some aspects of it weren't "up to scratch" which I found surprising! After all I said it had the best show I'd ever seen, a great B&M looper, a great woody, a good drop ride etc - I was only really negative about the stuff outside the park? Dave "Honest, its worth the trip!" M.
  16. Can't comment on Paris, but the Tokyo parks were definately "English-Friendly". It took me until the end of the day to actually realise that all the rides were named in English rather than Japanese. Some shows had English-audio - through headphones rather than through the PA, others had English "subtitles" on a display, although I remember the Aladdin 3D show not having anything. Anyway, the Tokyo parks are easily manageable for non-Japanese speakers.
  17. So there I was at work the other week, reasonably bored as I was not busy - "I know" thinks me, "I'll nip off on a quick holiday", so promptly book a flight, a couple of hotels and shortly thereafter I'm off to Barcelona for a few days followed by Madrid for a few days. I kid myself that I was going for a bit of culture, but we all know that its really only for the coasters.... After a tour around the Camp Nou (a pretty impressive place) and a day spent wandering around the streets of Barcelona (very nice) I turn up at the main railway station for the 08:30 train to Port Aventura (€38 for return train and park entry), and just over an hour later I'm at Port Aventura for the first park of the trip; Port Aventura 31/8 ------------------ http://www.portaventura.es/home.asp?pIdi=uk It has to be said, initial impressions are not good. Get off the train at the rather grotty and graffiti trashed train station, cross the road to the park entrance and are met by the sight of a vandalized park mascot. Disney would never let anyone do this to their mouse would they? Wandering up the hill past the defiled mascot, you wander past a few of the resort hotels. They didn't look terribly impressive to me either, just your run of the mill Spanish hotel. Getting into the park it starts to get a lot better, enter through the "Meditterrania" area (who'd of thought it, go to a theme park in the Mediterranean only to be met by a theme Mediterranean zone - just like going to DCA to see what California is like??). Anyway, wander around the lake and up into the park proper. The place isn't the easiest to navigate, there are four other themed zones; Mexico, China, Polynesia and Far West and they are all in a rough circuit - ie you can't get from A to C without going through B. My plan was to get to the new attraction first (the Intamin drop ride) to beat the queues so I head in what seems like the quickest route, through Polynesia and China towards Mexico (my geography being tested somewhat by this). By the time I find myself in China approaching the rather impressive looking Dragon Khan, the drop ride still has started testing so I divert from the plan and hope ride or three on the B&M looper; Dragon Khan - an excellent looper, 10 years old, nowadays I guess that it'd be a floorless, but to me its great just as it is. Big hill, drop, loop, dive loop, zero-g roll, cobra roll, MCBR, second loop, interlocking corkscrew finale. Interestingly it was sign outside announcing it as the world’s only 8-inversion coaster, more marketing spin there then. Some excellent views going up the lift hill, try to look to the right over the resort down to the sea rather than to the left, over the ugly industrial area that adjoins the park! After sating myself of the B&M I finally get over to Mexico and the drop ride; Hurakan Condor - an Intamin giant drop, themed as a Mexican temple and unusually with a roof bit on it. It has different configurations of seats - tilting floorless (pretty uncomfortable for the gentleman!), seats, tilting seats. Anyway its a drop ride, takes you up, hangs around for a few seconds, drops you, job done. Surprised to see that you do not actually get up into the roof bit, you stop short of it (so its just themeing after all). has to be said that the on-ride photo is really well done though, they get it portrait style so you can see all the way down the drop on it (you'll have to look elsewhere for an example of one of them though as I don't do on-ride photos - cheapskate!) I try out the other stuff in Mexico; Templo del Fuego - pyrotechnic show, lots of fire effects and stuff, a bit "Backdraft"y a bit "Poseidons Fury"y. Pretty good though. Yucatan - spin and chuck ride ala a Music Express. Big laterals! El Diablo Tren de la Mine - The mine train is up next, has to be said that it looks pretty good as you approach it, lots of themeing and the trains whizzing around you. However that where it ceases to be impressive, its a really poor ride. Its got three largish lift hills so you'd expect it to be good, however its not. Apart from the last hill a nd drop it never really does anything. the second hill just drops you into a tame turnaround into the third hill...rubbish pacing. Anyway, not a great mine train. They have a big theatre sitting between the China and Mexico zones. Cleverly you can enter from the China side where its themed as the "Grand Theatre Imperial" or from the Mexican side where its just the Mexican "Grand Theatre" - cool. Anyway I wander in here to see the "El Sol de Oriente" show, just on a whim, BUT it is by far the best show I have ever seen in a park! Fantastic, full of Chinese acrobatics, lots of effects, Chinese dragons etc. Absolutely fantastic - and that’s from an old cynic like me! Wander into the Far West and you are into woody zone, they have two next to each other, and the amount of people who were in the queue for the kiddie Tomahawk who thought that they were in the queue for the big Stampida you would not believe! Stampida - Racing woody that turns into a duelling woody, cool. Pretty good racing coaster, well paced and which tricks you when halfway around you enter a tunnel racing parallel with the other train, only to emerge without the opposing train - "what the? where have they gone?", only to turn the next bend to find them racing towards you, now duelling away! An excellent trick, making this a pretty good ride indeed. Bit hard to photograph though so no great shots of it I'm afraid! Tomahawk - the aforementioned kiddie woody is intertwined with Stampida at one end. Its not a very good ride and I wonder why they bothered with it really, buy 2 get 1 free perhaps? I manage to spend the rest of the day happily doing the other stuff, a Vekoma junior (a Roller Skater job) "Tami-tami", there’s a pretty good rapids ride (although they do seem to have overdone the fibre glass rocks somewhat!), a simulator "Sea Odyssey" (which seemed familiar to me, I swear I'd seen the film before but I can't place it, anyone???), and all the usual theme park trimmings; a nice train ride, pleasant boat ride, a shoot-the-chutes ride, wave swinger, kiddie zone, various shows etc.... Overall a pretty good park. Not too busy the day I went, but reasonably popular. Easy to get to from Barcelona and all the local tourist areas. Cool. Spanish local trains however seem to be a different thing, obviously the advertised schedule is more of a suggestion; I turn up for the 19:38 back to Barcelona, which never turns up, then the 19:47 eventually turns up at about 20:15. Oh well, the "Waiting at the crap train station for nearly an hour" ride was the day's downside! ================== The next morning I spend wandering around the hill in Barcelona where they had the 1992 Olympics - Montjuic. Really pleasant place with some rather stunning buildings dotted around. However you don't care about that, you are more interested in the afternoon; what you do is get the metro out of the city, get on a tram ride halfway up the mountain overlooking Barcelona, get onto a funicular railway that takes to up the rest of the mountain and bingo, you are at the local "funfair"; Tibidabo 31/8 ------------- http://www.tibidabo.es/default_eng.asp The main thing about this place is just where it is. Right on the peak of the mountain overlooking the city. The views are just stunning. Combine the view with some decent rides and you have a winner. For example, there’s a pretty unexciting suspended train ride thing, doesn't do a lot, but it does do this; Theres a coaster up here, a wildcat-esque thing called "Montanya Rusa" (that’s Russian Mountain to me, the Spanish for roller coaster), this isn't very exciting, but does have a rather spectacular view. There's a powered coaster too, called Tibidabo Express, actually quite good - no pictures though, its a bit hidden! Perhaps the highlight ride is this ancient "flight simulator" from something like 1927, basically its on a big arm and "flys" you out over the mountain side for a few circuits. And its got a bit of a view! The scariest ride (for me) was this "Giant Lever" thing that dates from the middle-ages sometime (I exaggerate), you stand in an open basket on the end of this arm and they rotate you up to the top. No pictures from the top I'm afraid, I'm not ashamed to say that I had slowly put the camera away and was gripping onto the basket for dear life - that basket rocks around a bit too much for me! And as for the drop ride, how cool is that; Overall a really cool place, they have a top spin, a pirate boat, wave swinger, Ferris wheel, log flume, fun house, loads of stuff. And all topped off with THAT view! ================== A few more days in Barcelona, doing the sights. That Gaudi stuff is really good. And that big cathedral they are building; bonkers! Got a train over to Madrid and after a day touring the sights there I was off to get the 10:02 train from Atocha (€32 train fare and park entry combo) to get to; Warner Bros Movie World 5/9 --------------------------- http://www.warnerbrospark.com/ingles/ This place is in the middle of nowhere. Not even a resort hotel. There’s a train station, a car park and a theme park. Can't complain really. Waiting for them to open up the gates to the rest of the park, I can't help but notice the distinct lack of other punters - odd. They open up proper at 11am and I lead the dribs and drabs around the park and get on the first train of the day on Superman. Stay on for the second and third trains of the day, then wander next door to Batman and ride the first and second trains on that. Bizarrely unbusy! By now its 40 minutes in and I've been on ALL the cycles of the 2 big coasters! Superman:Atraccion de Acero - (which would be Spanish for "Ride of Steel") - this is a nice big B&M floorless. There are literally 3 people on the train on my first ride, the park is that busy. Anyway, its lift hill, drop, loop, immelmann, zero-g roll, cobra roll, airtime hill (what no MCBR?), interlocking corkscrews, mini-helix. And its good, really good. The lack of a MCBR really makes a difference and its easily the best coaster on this trip. Batman La Fuga - your standard B&M Batman clone. Themed differently to all the American ones, instead of the "trashed Gotham city" theme, this is set in an "Arkham Asylum" building, lots of gothic stuff going on, quite well done actually. You could also walk right under the first loop, and if you stuck your camera out of the side of the covered walkway you could shoot things like this; I wander back down to their GIB and they are holding trains until there’s enough passengers, somewhat different to my experiences with SFMM and SFGAM's Deja-Vus where I waiting for > 1 hour for either (or SFoG's one, which wasn't even running when I was there). Oddly they aren't opening the front or back rows at all, so I get a couple of rides in row 2 and the penultimate row. This is a BIG ride, I really like the "suspended vertically" business on the first spike, something really different with that. I felt this was rougher than the Deja-Vus I ridden (but I only managed 1 ride on each of those so maybe the novelty clouded my judgement?). Also thought that this one went very slow through the cobra-roll on the return trip? I've not said much about this park generally yet - well I thought that it was great. In fact the only other park that I feel was better themed is DisneySea, and that’s high praise indeed I think! Its well layed-out, not too big, not too small, fantastic attention to the themeing, really clean, really interesting, some really good rides, lots for the kiddies too. And it was empty. Hardly any punters at all. The only queue I had ALL DAY, was for the kiddie coaster, and I had to wait 1 train. The only time I've ever been to a park this quite was Sydney's Wonderland, which closed down shortly afterwards. I really hope that I'd just come on a quiet day (that was my plan after all) and that this place does get busy in season because its really excellent. Someone (Madrid city I believe) has thrown a heck of a lot of many at this place (and it shows) and it really does deserve to be a massive park on an international scale! Anyway I digress, the centrepiece of the park is the big S&S tower "La venganza del Enigma" (aka Riddler's Revenge), which works in either shot, drop or combo mode depending on the time of day. Am I missing something here - what’s the point of that, why isn't it just always combo mode? Anyway, that’s what I rode. The woody, "Coaster Express" (formally known as "Wild Wild West" - wonder why they dropped that, I know that the Australian MW park renamed their Wild Wild West ride too?), was actually a bit dull. The trains were bizarre, not your usual woody trains but Intamin ones, complete with Intamin's tiered seating business and individual seats. Didn't really like them on a woody at all, seemed wrong somehow. Speaking of the Australian WBMW park - there is a number of rides here in common with that one - Madrid's Batman:Knight Flight was the same simulator ride that appears as Batman Adventure:The Ride 2, Madrid's Rio Bravo water ride is Australia's Wild West Falls, Marvin the Martian 3D appears at both (although I read the Aus one is being replaced by Shrek), both park's share a "Police Academy Stunt Show" too - although I have to admit I did follow what was going on a bit more in the Australian one rather than the Spanish one. This place however was miles better than the Australian one (which I thought was a bit poor when I was there 3 years ago). Can't recommend it enough - excellent. For a change the train back to the city was on time too! ================== So after a day touring a few museums and the Santiago Bernabau (a theme park AND football stadium holiday!) I get the Madrid Metro out to; Parque de Atracciones 7/9 ------------------------- http://www.parquedeatracciones.es Actually a reasonably impressive place. More themeing than I'd expected and probably more rides. This park was much more popular with the locals than the WBMW park - guess because it is right in the city centre and you can pop in for a few hours or so. Also its cheaper, €22.60 entry. I start out on Tornado, the Intamin SLC. Pretty good but it doesn't do too much; lift hill, drop, loop, loop, inline, helix. They seem to have an odd policy for loading it too, basically if they haven't got a train full, they'll wait, and wait, and wait. I was waiting for a good 20 minutes at one point for them to get enough people to be bothered running the thing. Very odd. The Schwartzkopf wildcat "7 Picos" was OK but interestingly I see a tv crew and later it is on local TV. Think that they are closing it soon? A shame, its old and was pretty busy while I was there. Tarantula, their new Maurer Sohne spinner, opened late, but was pretty good - on a par with AT's Spinball Whizzer but perhaps not quite a good a ride, interesting layout though and you could get it spinning pretty well. Nice themeing too with plenty of big plastic spider bits lying around! The rest of the rides that I did; their medium sized Intamin drop tower, a rotor, a wave swinger, zeppelin (another suspended train thingy), the Ferris wheel, a bizarre gentle boat ride, a "Small World" type ride, the worst "4d" film showing I've ever seen (tiny screen, rubbish 3d and their 4d amounted to a few lights and a bit of smoke) but by far the best of all, was Alton Towers' old Mississippi Steamboat!!! I remember this being at Alton Towers when i was a lad (going back a bit now) and I used to really like it there so I was well-chuffed to find it in this park! It was in a bit of a state though unfortunately, a bit run down and trashed. No jazz band on the roof either. The other cool thing about the Parque was that I could see it from the balcony of my hotel room, so at night you could see the Intamin all lit up, cool; Thats all folks....! Dave "No hablo Espanol" M.
  18. Interestingly I've recently been on 2 of the "Scooby-Do" shooter thingys - (they both had exactly the same story and props to them); BUT the one at SFFT was on a track, the one at WBMW Madrid was all high tech and trackless - cool!
  19. Whilst at the Parque de Atracciones in Madrid the other day I noticed a TV crew a wandering about. Later that day I caught a TV report on a local news show featuring the "7 Picos" as filmed by that camera crew. My Spanish being particularily rubbish I couldn't really tell what they were on about, only that the report was headlined with what looked very much like the Spanish for "dismantled". Earlier today I caught another TV report on another channel which appeared to say the same. Another Schwartzkopf bites the dust? (Probably using the space for the X-car coaster RCDB has details of) http://www.rcdb.com/id1320.htm
  20. I was there 3 weeks ago; http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17830 - some pretty similar pictures! Anyway, my point is that Spongebob was also in 2D "today" then too.... looks like it takes more that a day to fix the second projector then? Dave "I liked SFoT very much" M.
  21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/leicestershire/4130264.stm Still ill, but back home.
  22. Also this site has a load of links to parks (and other things besides...) Quite a few Euro-parks linked on; http://www.googleearthhacks.com/dlcat29/Vacation-Locations:-Theme-Parks.htm
  23. On the subject of airports/baggage - those of you who read my TR the other day will know that my bags were missing after a flight from Dallas-Chicago-Manchester.... ...well the update is that I finally got my bag on Saturday (5 1/2 days after I got back) - and some baggage handler had nicked a load of stuff out of it...rather random stuff at that; My electric shaver (which was quite good, but quite old and held together with tape!!) A guide book on Texas (but they left the OTHER guide book on Texas!?!?) A mini-camera tripod (worth about £5 - and left the flash card thingy worth about £45) 10 packets of candy (using up my holiday $$$$s) And my England football top (presumably a Mexican baggage handler had nicked this as I'm sure an American would not have recognised it, nor cared about it!!!!) Bemused! :?
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