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Everything posted by xVicesAndVirtues

  1. We visited the park last Saturday. Operations in the park ranged from pretty good at Twisted Timbers to "meh" at Racer, Dominator, and Reptilian to absolutely terrible at i305 and Flight of Fear. I've always liked KD but if I had been living under a rock for a year and you told me Six Flags bought it, I'd believe you. We had the benefit of FL+ as we do pretty much everywhere we go, so we still got as many rides as we wanted for the most part. It was also my first time riding i305 since 2019, as we were unlucky enough last spring to visit on a weekend it was down. i305 is still a religious experience and a top like 3 coaster. But wow were operations appalling and the coaster looks like crap. Almost every time, they'd just be locking restraints when the other train stopped in the transfer block. There was no station control whatsoever so the wait for Fast Lane was about the same as the regular line. Getting into a row was a shit show. Half the day, the person at the entrance either wasn't trained in the loose articles policy or didn't care, so bags kept making it into the station, causing conflicts between guests and staff that could've been avoided and making the wait time even longer. i305 also looks like it's aged 10 years in 3. The track paint is badly faded and the trains looked like they needed a pressure wash or 3. However, i305 was running amazingly, so if all their budget goes into keeping it running well, who cares about the paint. We got about 5 rides throughout the day and I can't believe how smooth it still is 12 years on. I really hope Intamin manages to sell another Giga coaster one of these years. I also always seem to forget how wild Dominator is. It has an intensity unmatched by any other B&M flourless and generally kicks ass. Same thing here, though. The trains and restraint covers looked like they'd just been shipped in as used items from Six Flags America. Operations here were better but the crew still got flustered if there was any situation such as someone not fitting in a seat, and operations would slow to a stop for a few minutes because of it. It's like all the training went to the employees running Twisted Timbers. They'd count down the gates closing, instruct people to do the usual "seat belts first, lap bars second", and 4/5 times they'd be dispatching by the time the other train was returning. I also finally found a way to enjoy the coaster a lot more. I love airtime as much as the next person but there's a repeated violence to TT that's always been a bit much for me. If you ride in the second to last car, it becomes way more re-rideable. Now, some photos. The entrance plaza, signs, and Eiffel Tower with trees in full bloom. I accidentally made my bf a little bit nervous to ride i305 for the first time, so we warmed ourselves up by getting Dominated first. I love this coaster so much. Parks think we want more B&M Gigas, but what we really need is more of these. Nothing like a little booze to take the edge off the shit operations. Getting Twisted after getting a little twisted. This cat just hanging around in the park was the highlight of our day. Another view of Dominator. This seriously blows the rest of the B&M floorless coasters away. We actually forgot to get the credit on Tumbili. But from what I've read it wasn't on Fast Lane anyway. It's a photo finish! I love i305 so much and overall we had a good day at the park. But they need to do some serious work with employee training. And Cedar Fair should give them some paint/pressure washing budget.
  2. Ugh, that's not surprising but so stupid. Is there any kind of way to skip the ridiculous Flash Pass line if you buy in advance? We're thinking about going next month and I never want to wait in that line again. Last summer it took us like 90 mins.
  3. +1 for Iron Gwazi. Twisting out the bottom of the death roll on the right side of the train in the back 2 cars is so nuts. That and the sideways airtime hill are more intense than any element on SV. I do like the abundance of head choppers on SV though. Iron Gwazi is also both easier and harder to marathon at the same time. Easier because of Busch Gardens' amazingly crowd-free weekdays, harder because the more intense airtime and elements destroy my shins. I can see why someone might prefer SV for a more comfortable ride, but in terms of intensity/thrill, Iron Gwazi is significantly better.
  4. ^My bf and I go every year, although we haven't yet gone this year. A few posts back, I think it was Canobie Coaster, said that LR had been finnicky when he went a week or two ago but it was also combined with some weather issues as well. LR will be LR. It's the best steel coaster I've ever been on, but yes it sees a good amount of downtime. If you're there an entire weekend I think you'll get to ride it. We've always had really good luck with it but there's always at least some time during our visit when it's down. Walk to the right when you walk in the past and ride it first, at least a few times. The TimeSaver pick-up area is on the way to it. Weekends can be unpredictable for the park. Buy TimeSaver Unlimited at least 3-5 days in advance, they sell out fast. But the price is very reasonable and even if the park isn't that busy, you'll walk past a 15-20 minute LR line and ride it over and over again. If the park is slammed, you'll be glad you bought it, as I've been there on weekends when even Tennessee Tornado had 60+ minute waits. Not too sure about the app or photos, as after one year of making the mistake of not getting TimeSaver and it being sold out, we never made that mistake again. With TimeSaver Unlimited, you won't wait at all for the attractions on it, so we don't even look at wait times.
  5. I honestly regret even quoting Screamscape about this in the first place. There's more to the story from the Screamscape side that I've seen on social media today that I'm frankly disgusted by. I'll give Bill credit for mentioning the fact that they just re-painted Kumba a few years ago, then pointing out the fact that Screamscape seems to be really going on a tangent with this whole story about B&M being in the park and then conveniently evaluating Kumba for another? repaint, then "oh looks like you need a new coaster here". I feel like the guy who runs Screamscape has some other agenda like trying to get site traffic, social media shares, trying to get clicks on his 200 ads on his 1995 web page, or just trying to stay relevant/be talked about. Judging by his social media posts in which he's STILL trying to weirdly keep the rumor alive by replying to posts citing Busch Gardens' post and/or calling out his BS with replies like "The park confirming that it will do what it takes to keep it [Kumba] and following through with that would be the best news possible", just erodes any credibility and really, makes him look like a desperate idiot caught in a lie. Is he so entitled that he thinks Busch Gardens owes him some kind of commitment or answer to a rumor that he himself started and spread? Even though I've always taken everything on that site with some grain of salt, I've still been a reader for like 15+ years, as Screamscape has, at minimum, been a one-stop page to read a list of actual announcements in a centralized list form so I don't have to jump to 20 different sites and social media pages to have an overview of what's going on in different areas of the industry. But this one, at least for me, is pretty revealing and makes me think that the rot goes even deeper. At that point, what can you really trust from that source? In short, f*ck that guy.
  6. ^Sounds like you've got it planned out! One thing I'd highly recommend for affordable but great eats is Taco Bus. They're a local chain and if you're staying up close to USF, they have a location on Fletcher Ave, although for some reason we've always found the food quality to be best at their original location in Seminole Heights on Hillsborough Ave. The Fletcher Ave location is likely within walking distance but ofc Uber Eats is always an option too.
  7. I really hope not too. And as stated above, if they are at a crossroads in terms of it's viability, I too hope they go with the repair route instead of the scrap yard. Kumba still to this day is the best B&M and so much better than some boring B&M wing or hyper they may be considering replacing it with (if something like that is on their minds). To the hotel guy, people are right, the area immediately surrounding Busch Gardens, a few streets south, and a few streets west are quite murder-y, particularly at night. I'd also say that the assumption that Uber will be cheaper is a mistake. Airports are particularly prone to Uber surge pricing and starting 3/16 they will be raising fares to compensate for additional fuel expenses (read: fares are going up and will stay that way). I live about 20 minutes/12ish miles from Orlando airport and while I can often get a morning Uber to the airport for $25-30, the return trip is almost always surge-priced and sometimes it's $40, but sometimes it's $75. With having to take additional Uber rides to/from the park (which themselves may be subject to surge pricing), which, as has been stated, you will have to do, it's really a good idea to go on Expedia or a travel site and look up affordable rental cars. You may be cursed with a small, slow, crappy car, but at least that'll then open up the options of hotels that are a little further out and cheaper. Maybe check out the Brandon/Riverview area as there are hotels by the malls and shopping centers. That area is residential and you could likely find something like a Hampton Inn/Home2Suites/Courtyard by Marriott for cheaper than you'd pay in the city.
  8. From Screamscape I really hope this is just "Screamscape nonsense"...
  9. ^Not to mention, weekdays during the off season at Busch Gardens Tampa are crazy dead. Like walk onto the back row of Kumba despite it only running one train dead. So definitely hoping that stays true and come early May, we can get some pre-summer ERT courtesy of my PTO and it being a weekday in May.
  10. We went to the park again on Friday to get one last day (for us at least) of passholder previews before Iron Gwazi opens to the public next week. As my bf and I both have busy and conflicting work schedules, coupled with not being all that interested in visiting any of the parks during spring break, we likely won't make it back out to the park again until sometime in April. After fighting absolutely horrendous pre-weekend I-4 traffic, we were dreading a busy park and prepared to buy QQ just in case, but we got to the park around 3:00 PM and we got a bunch of Iron Gwazi rides with 2-4 train waits, max. Operations were super fast and consistent, and as on our first day riding it, Iron Gwazi was kicking all sorts of ass. One thing we either didn't notice before or was added since the VIP event was a small selection of pre-mixed drinks sold at the popcorn stand outside Iron Gwazi's entrance. We got the Iron Gwazi Fizz, which was some kind of gin-lemonade drink and it was really good and fairly strong. We also love that SeaWorld continues to be the only park chain to do a passholder discount on alcohol! After some of these, we headed up the left path and found SheiKra operating with riders, a surprise we didn't expect to see. The park finished maintenance work early and decided to re-open it a day early, sweet! They were only using one station but operating 3 trains, so the 10-minute or so wait moved fast. We also rode Kumba, which was running two trains with zero wait, so we rode our hearts out on what was Florida's best coaster for like 25+ years until these new gen-Zers came in with their iron alligators and velociraptor nonsense. While I'd say it's now the third-best coaster in Florida, Kumba still kicks all sorts of ass and is still a top-15 or so coaster for me. Ride it in the back on an edge seat for positive-G bliss. We saw Montu cycling and got excited for a second, but it was to cycle past park close with no riders. It wasn't scheduled to re-open until Saturday anyway, so oh well, but we definitely miss our only B&M invert in Florida. We went back and got some more rides on Iron Gwazi, with a line that at first was 30ish minutes, then died completely out again. Overall we were in the park for about 5ish hours and got to do everything we wanted to do. Operations were good and we're happy that the park continues to improve. The fact that we've now been able to get something like 20 rides on a brand new RMC so easily in just 2 visits is so, so awesome. To compare, I think I've been on Steel Vengeance like 15ish times total and we've gone every year with multi-day stays onsite with Fast Lane. This isn't a knock to Cedar Point, as we also take kind of a "chill" approach to parks we go to and don't get there at the crack of dawn nor run around like maniacs to ride every coaster during every possible moment until we're blue in the face, but it shows how easily accessible Iron Gwazi has been during just two visits during passholder previews. I already can't wait to get back to the park when it's off-peak again.
  11. That Flash Pass line at Great Adventure is probably the worst I've waited in at any park. I think we waited over an hour on our last visit. The one benefit I really wish they'd sort out online is the free membership flash pass tier upgrade. Platinum flash pass can be like $150 per person online but in person the tier upgrade can bring it down to like $100ish per person. And usually they'd achieve it by pressing some kind of $20 off button on their computer and I can't tell you how any times at various parks we've gotten a trigger-happy employee who hit that $20 off button a few too many times and saved us an extra $60-80 on top of that.
  12. So I've been avoiding POVs, reports, etc to kind of keep the element of surprise up and opinions my own, as my bf and I were attending the Passport to Thrills event today. Also the past year or so I've been kind of negative about operations/issues we've had going to this park. We've actively avoided it in favor of the other parks in Central Florida due to our experiences. I'm happy to say that the park totally nailed it for this event and went a long way getting some of that old charm back. The employees working the event were hyping it up with everyone, operations were great, even the coaster cooperated well and we didn't see any downtime while we were there (though I heard there was some brief downtime earlier in the morning). They also extended the event so that registered guests could ride all day instead of just during the original reserved time slots. This was a great decision and we had an awesome day! As for the coaster, it's truly amazing and I can't believe we have this to ride here in Florida. We got to the park in the early afternoon and with our first 2 or so rides on it, I would have probably told you that I prefer Steel Vengeance. We've also had a good amount of rides on Steel Vengeance as we usually visit once a year for 3-4 days at a time, usually in August. As the afternoon warmed up into the mid-70s and the coaster warmed up with it, it became a whole new beast altogether, and this increased more with our night rides. The only RMCs that can leave my shins as bruised as they are right now are Twisted Timbers and Lightning Rod. I got grey bubbles in my vision pulling out of the first drop and the "death roll" is one of my favorite elements on an any coaster. Twisting out of it at the bottom of that element is seriously nuts, especially if you sit on the right side of the train. If you watch a POV it looks like there's no airtime. The wave turn and every one of the little bumps in the second half of the ride gave ejector air by the end of the day. The sensation of speed and "out of control" feeling (I feel like I'm quoting the old Mitch Hawker poll here) are so much better than on Steel Vengeance, of which I find can be a slightly repetitive coaster that feels a bit less "out of control" and more deliberate in it's motions. Just like...wow. I knew it was going to be good, I didn't think it was going to be this good. If the 2022 TPR Poll was being held tomorrow, I'd say I prefer Lightning Rod and Untamed, tie Iron Gwazi with Zadra next, and put Steel Vengeance right after. We got about a dozen rides on Iron Gwazi in total and I seriously can't wait to go back and ride it again.
  13. This 100%. I rode Velocicoaster and Maverick like 12-16ish hours apart last year, multiple rides on each in different seats on the trains, and while Velocicoaster is absolutely a top ten coaster, there really is no comparison in terms of intensity between the two. Maverick is solid top-five, Velocicoaster lower top-ten. That being said Velocicoaster is the best coaster in Florida and I can't believe in the space of a year we've gone from being a mostly B&M state to having an incredible Intamin Blitz coaster and as of this weekend we'll officially have a kickass RMC in the same park as Kumba. I personally love that Lightning Rod took the top steel spot. That should slap some sense into the people who weirdly want Dollywood to tear down that amazing coaster and replace it with another snooze-worthy B&M hyper because it might operate more days out of the season. And I'd love for the mutual riders that prefer Fury 325 over i305 to drop me a line on what bar they're going to because they must have some really good sh*t. El Toro is god, of course.
  14. I can't believe it's finally going to open. Like is this a dream? The bf and I made enough visits to go to the Passport to Thrills event. Definitely excited since it's a new coaster and apparently they're going to feed us a free snack. I wonder if it'll be busier at the event than say, just going to the park on a weekday any month that isn't summer or christmas season.
  15. Plus if you sit in the "magic seat" on the right train, you'll get a fifth drop track for free* with premier pass purchase. But we can't tell you which seat that is so just keep riding. Lol in all reality it's so awesome having this coaster so close to where I live. I can't wait for the winter tourists and snowbirds to go away again so we can get back to 10-15 minute weekday morning waits and I can pop over on lunch breaks again. I stand by what I said that after riding Velocicoaster and Maverick back to back multiple times only about 15 hours apart, Maverick is still the clear winner for me. But if Universal just wants to go ahead and keep making all their new coasters launched Intamins, I'm not gonna be mad about it.
  16. By the time they dispatch the train in Tampa the rainstorm will be over anyway so no need for a fair-weather ride. Lol, had to. But in all seriousness this smaller launched coaster is a great idea and they honestly should clone it and bring it to SeaWorld Orlando as another medium-thrill ride there.
  17. Finally got around to doing it after missing the deadline last year! https://coasterpoll.com/u/xvicesandvirtues/rankings?shared Like many I do the group ranking method because there are dozens of coasters that I can't decide between. Then I'm not sure if everyone else does this but I rank my wood and steel separate, so for example Thunderhead is my #4 wood and I still rank it at #4 even though I wouldn't consider it my #4 coaster overall. I also have 15 coasters in my steel top ten because so many of them deserve to be there. Oh and also I'm not sure how Lightning Rod is planning to be counted this year but I figured since it's now 60% steel, we'll go ahead and call it steel. This is also the first time Millennium Force has fallen out of my top ten, but I did rank it #11. Steel: 1. Lightning Rod 2. Hyperion 2. Zadra 3. Skyrush 3. Intimidator 305 3. Maverick 4. Expedition GeForce 5. Steel Vengeance 5. Untamed 6. Superman SFNE 6. Iron Rattler 7. Goliath Walibi Holland 8. Jurassic World Velocicoaster 9. Wicked Cyclone 10. Storm Chaser Wood: 1. El Toro 2. Outlaw Run 3. Colossos Heide Park 3. Goliath Great America 4. Thunderhead 4. Renegade 5. Mystic Timbers 6. Phoenix 7. Boardwalk Bullet 8. Ravine Flyer II 9. Boulder Dash 10. Comet Great Escape
  18. ^You should be ok in May; typically we try to go on a weekday in general so it's hard to speak for the weekends. Late spring is pretty slow season in Florida since spring break is done but people aren't on summer trips yet. If you were to go just one day later, a Monday, you'd likely have the run of the entire park to yourself, Iron Gwazi (hopefully) included, with everything a walk-on.
  19. I hope they cut those trees back before I ride it. Lol, this honestly looks like an awesome ride but the animation quality is hilarious.
  20. So we went back to the park on the 23rd and I will say we had a better experience than we did last week in terms of operations moving faster. So as @thrillseeker4552stated, maybe they really do reserve better staff/have more oversight/make more of an effort on the busier days. However, had we not needed one more visit to secure our entry to whatever the VIP Iron Gwazi party turns out to be, we would not have visited again until Iron Gwazi opened based on our last visit...so consistency is definitely needed. Kumba actually did have a grouper this time and they were doing a pretty decent job of keeping the station wait a maximum of two trains. Montu was kind of the same thing per usual, they let the station get absolutely mobbed before cutting off the regular line, so station waits were still 5-6 trains. Cheetah Hunt was still running two trains with one station, so the posted standby line was about 120-150 minutes all day. When we got there, the greeter suggested not even waiting for QQ because they filled the entire QQ line and they said we'd likely be waiting as long as the regular line...ok. We came back much later in the night and got on in about 20 minutes. The park was considerably more crowded and they seemed to do a bit of a better job managing it. On a side note unrelated to the park, I'll shoot myself before I ever drive from Tampa to Orlando again the night before Christmas eve. So many people hogging the left lane on I-4 going 10-20mph under the speed limit, random cars passing furiously on the right to get around the idiots holding everyone up. 0/10 would not recommend.
  21. ^^We went yesterday and if you want to ride Cheetah Hunt, then yes, you'll want Quick Queue. But how long you'll be waiting for it with QQ is a mystery. Operations at this park continue to be the worst in the industry, sadly. Cheetah Hunt just came back up from it's rehab and re-painting that the park put all over social media...to run one station and consistently stack two trains. Wait time was posted 155 minutes, we waited about 65 minutes the first time with QQ, about 20 minutes the second time with QQ due to operations and the inconsistent way they managed the QQ line. Despite having a station grouper, they randomly fill the station either completely or halfway so even with QQ you have to deal with that clusterf*ck. Sometimes they pulled about 20 from the QQ line, sometimes it was like 4 people. I'd definitely say it could be worse, as being platinum passholders we only paid $130 total for two of us for QQ for the day, which the website told us was 60% off. But if that's true and the non-passholder QQ price is really that much, you're better off just taking your money and buying a one-day ticket to Disney or something. There'd be more value in QQ if the lines were managed properly when the park is busy. Kumba had the best operations (and doesn't have a grouper) and you might save 10-20 minutes if the line is completely full, Montu has a grouper but they just let people run past them from the regular line while lazily checking your QQ and you basically wait the same as everybody else 90% of the time. SheiKra is a little bit better post-grouper but also people were just skipping under to the QQ side and nobody was even checking/scanning QQ there. Sometimes your station wait is like 10 minutes, sometimes more like 30 depending on how dispatches are going and it changes throughout the day. Also I have literally no idea how it is possible for 3 B&Ms to simultaneously go down, but we were waiting in line at SheiKra and they went down, and after about 15 minutes we went to Kumba. We were next in line and Kumba went down, but the only techs working that day were busy at SheiKra still so they didn't know how long it'd take them to finish there and come over and fix Kumba. So we were planning on just leaving anyway and decided to hit Montu on the way out. And we were in the station and it went down, too. I don't know, man. I used to love this park and I still really want to like it, but to quote my boyfriend as we were walking out of there yesterday, "I feel like there's always something, every time we come out here".
  22. I'm so glad this is open until January since work is nuts for me this month up until the week of Christmas, not counting this weekend's short getaway to SDC. I also do the group method because I really can't decide the difference between my #26 coaster and #34 coaster and even my "top 10" has like 18 coasters in it usually. One thing my boyfriend and I wondered and absolutely decided for ourselves this summer is the superiority of Maverick over Velocicoaster. We live a mile from Universal and we go pretty often to show our appreciation, and while Velocicoaster is an absolutely amazing ride I never thought Universal would build post-Potter, I'd say it's more like Velocicoaster is top-10 and Maverick is top-5. We did some "scientific research" where we went to Islands the night before our Cedar Point trip in August and got like 8 rides, then the next afternoon we rode Maverick a few times when we first got to CP. When riding them back-to-back like that, there's just an intensity (insanity?) to Maverick that Velocicoaster doesn't quite touch. But would we trade Maverick's b*tch slap in the face to Velocicoaster's smooth re-rideability if we could somehow swap their places? I say yes, but boyfriend says no.
  23. ^Atlanta also has a really good food scene! One thing I might have missed or maybe they didn't mention is their planned timeline for construction and what time of year they're planning to open the new coaster. I'd love to plan a spring trip but that may be a little optimistic. I'm definitely not trying to be in Georgia in summer/after like late May because it gets deathly hot and humid up there.
  24. I cannot with this thread. I know it does suck that LR continues to be a problem for them but hopefully the steel re-tracking of the rest of the coaster will do the trick. IMO it's the best RMC creation by far (I'm only missing Hakugei and Wildfire) and I think it's pretty cynical to wish they'd just give up and rip it out. I'd literally rather have a LR that only operates 3 days out of the year in that spot than another soul-less B&M hyper I could fall asleep on. Luckily for the optimists, the park doesn't care what the cynics think and they continue to work on it. It may require some more iteration because that's just how the design process can be sometimes. Also somehow we've been lucky 7 out of 8 visits to the park since LR opened and been able to get pretty much as many rides as we've wanted. Last spring we were there for two days and got at least 30 rides on it. It was running great, didn't break down at all the two days we were there, and downtime according to Queue Times doesn't look to be *that* bad as some people make it out to be. I mean yeah, it sucks when you visit the park and it's down. i305 was down when we went to KD this year and that was a bummer. But I think it's really weird to be one of the people who are like "I'm not planning a visit until LR works all day, every day" because most of the time it does. Also, Dollywood is still awesome if LR is down. I've had better luck with LR's uptime than Millennium Force the past 5 years.
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