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cfc last won the day on April 11

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  • Birthday 02/16/1960

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    Williamsburg, VA
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  1. Some Thoughts on the Loch Ness Monster: The Legend Lives On The Loch Ness Monster started thrilling riders the same year that I graduated from high school--1978. Although I think the word “icon” is overused to describe some theme-park attractions, I think it fits the Loch Ness Monster. It would be hard to imagine Busch Gardens without the sight of Nessie’s interlocking loops from Grimm’s Crossing or the bridge between Italy and Germany. Her nearest coaster neighbors, Alpengeist and Griffon, may be taller and faster, but the Loch Ness Monster really sets the scene. Plus, for many local residents (and their kids), it was their first “big coaster.” It made sense for Busch Gardens to restore and enhance this already classic ride. So, after replacing 900 feet of track (including the two loops) and adding to the theming in the ride’s queue, station, and helix cave (call it “Nessie’s Lair”), how did they do? I’d say quite well. The ride itself is still the Loch Ness Monster we remember, but it’s less clunky and janky than it had become during the last few years--about as smooth as a 1970s Arrow coaster can get. This retracking should ensure the coaster is around for a long time to come. The park has been building the ride’s backstory for a while, too. The Loch Ness Monster has been spotted for the first time in years, and there’s a contest and cash prize for the first person to provide any photographic evidence of its existence. They’ve been playing up this story on social media through a series of videos featuring “Duncan,” a Scotsman obsessed with spotting Nessie and winning the cash. The main queue is filled with artifacts, such as old photos and news stories, about Loch Ness. There’s a small radio room that offers a few hints at what you’ll encounter during the ride, and the station itself has been repainted and decorated to better resemble an old Scottish castle. There’s new train-dispatch music, and the safety spiel is now delivered in a Scottish brogue. As for the ride, you’ll encounter the first evidence of the monster’s existence as you round the turn to the lift hill. There’s a radio shack broadcasting a message about a “wee craft” they found washed up on the shore--a wrecked coaster car with what looks like a dragon’s tooth sticking out of it. Nessie’s Lair now boasts spooky lighting, roaring sound effects, and Nessie menacing you (via video) as you twist around the helix. She gets another shot at you right after the second loop before you return to the station. Busch Gardens managed to upgrade a classic ride while maintaining the experience of the original coaster when it opened back in 1978. Well done! Here's a look at the Loch Ness Monster's media day. Theme Park Review thanks Busch Gardens for inviting us to participate. Just hanging out with my new Scottish chum, Duncan, who assured me that he was going to win the big prize. Hmm--a harbinger of things to come, perhaps? How can Nessie hope to elude capture when they have all this high-tech gear? I've seen a craft like this before . . . but where? You might see a tooth like this again. Keep your eyes open. Here's your chance to win big money. But don't be taken in by clever fakes like this. I know that monster is around here somewhere. Maybe I'll have better luck from bridge between Italy and Germany. Wait a second! What's that? Aha! The big prize is mine, I tell you! Mine! How do you like that, Duncan? "Grr! Nessie eat you now!" Don't miss your chance to join the Loch Ness Expedition. Thanks for reading.
  2. Media Day: A Sneak Peek at the Loch Ness Monster & More The steep plunge, interlocking loops, and dark cavern helix of Busch Gardens’ Loch Ness Monster have been thrilling riders since 1978. For many Virginia locals, it was the first “big” coaster their kids could ride, and the park takes a lot of pride in it. But age, metal fatigue, and maintenance issues can catch up with any coaster, and the Monster was no exception. But anyone worried about the ride’s future can relax when the Loch Ness Monster: The Legend Lives On opens this May. The park shutdown the ride last year and started a major renovation project. The coaster’s classic profile now boasts 900 feet of shiny new track fabricated by Premier in Utah--this includes the signature loops. But the track isn’t the only part getting some love. New thematic elements are being added to the queue and station, along with a new sound system, to help tell the story of the hunt for the legendary sea serpent. New special effects, especially in the cavern, will give riders the chance to see the Loch Ness Monster “very vividly,” according to Kevin Lembke, the park president--but that’s a story for another day (I presume next month). Busch Gardens invited Theme Park Review for a first look at the Loch Ness Monster Sighting Center and the refreshed queue and station. They also shared what they’ve been doing to bring the 50-year-old Squire’s Grill restaurant up-to-date and let us sample a bit of the new fare for this year’s Food and Wine Festival. I didn’t see the Monster today--maybe I should’ve brought binoculars--but I can give you a look at the queue, station, and some other things. Come on in. Theme Park Review thanks Busch Gardens Williamsburg for inviting us to their media event. See you in May! EDIT: May 10 is the official opening date. Platinum and Premier members will have exclusive early ride time on May 2. All members have early ride time May 3-5. Welcome to Scotland! Nessie's entrance is looking quite spiffy. Kevin Lembke, park president, and Suzy Cheely, vice president, design and engineering, fill us in on how the legend will be living on. OK, adventurers--follow Suzy! The station now looks more like an old castle than it used to--complete with with rather medieval looking winches. They've added more "texture" to the walls and floors, too--along with a new Quick Queue entrance. I like that the transfer track is covered now. A little shade will help on hot, sunny days. They added an office to the queue, with plenty of high-tech (well, for the early 1900s) gadgetry. Photograph the Monster of Loch Ness! Win money, money money! (Well, if they allow you to take your camera on the ride.) Richard Smith, of Guernsey Tingle Architects in Williamsburg, tells us a bit about the coaster's back story: Nessie has finally been seen again after a long absence, and guests now have a chance to join the expedition searching for her. They're still adding thematic elements to the queue, as well. About 50% of the contractors working on the ride are local, and companies from Orlando and elsewhere are also involved in the Loch Ness Monster renovation. Here's the lower queue installed for the ride's 40th anniversary. It's pretty much the same. Look at those shiny new loops. Who wants to dine at the new Squire's Grill? They're upgrading the menu, too. Plans call for some seasonal burgers, with a chili-cheese burger to start. Hmm--I wonder what sorts of burgers they have planned for Howl-o-Scream and Christmas Town. Hungry guests will enter through this door and order and pay for their food. Guests pick up their food in here--under the watchful lords of the House of Spork. Here's what interior will look like. Seating will be outdoors, and there's a new covered seating area off to the left as you face the restaurant (around the corner). It should be a big improvement over the old facility. Big Ben is getting some love too--including a new motor. The Loch Ness Monster: The Legend Lives On Sighting Center opens "officially" this Friday (April 5). Read all about the history of this classic coaster here . . . . . . and see some classic photos, such as the "Flying Elvi." I think Nessie is related to Mega Shark. Speaking of "chomp," here's a sample of what to expect at this year's Food and Wine Festival: Peri Peri Chicken (Africa), Dalgona Korean Coffee (South Korea), Simit (a savory bread ring from Turkey), Bourbon Chocolate Tart (BarKastle), and Coban Salatasi (Turkey). There will be 85 new food items this year--these are 5 of them. "See you in May--GRRR! ROAR! GROWL!" Thanks for reading.
  3. The prophecy is fulfilled! Or maybe not. But isn't it pretty to think so?
  4. I have a piece of friendly advice. Go to Dollywood, ride it. and decide for yourself. Another piece of friendly advice: Saying "I'm certainly not one to cause problems or throw shade" is just a signal that you plan to do exactly that. If Robb said he "couldn't tell one bit of difference," he's giving you his true opinion.
  5. Looks great, and I'm intrigued by the "roast beef" popcorn.
  6. This is very sad news. I always liked those Schwarzkopf shuttles, but most of them are gone.
  7. It's good to see a park adding a skyride. I'm always in favor of transportation rides to help guests get around.
  8. I've always been fond of Montezooma's Revenge. My older brother and I rode it numerous times back when it was new. It's too bad that this classic type of coaster has disappeared in the the U.S.
  9. Yep--exactly! That weird boat ride could be an effective "haunt," too. It was pretty creepy.
  10. Part 17 Our Revels Now Are (Almost) Ended: Linnanmaki We have reached the most melancholy part of any trip report--the last park. Fortunately, it’s a good one: Linnanmaki in Helsinki. Although it’s not on the scale of Liseberg, Linnanmaki is a solid urban park, with a good assortment of attractions and some very aggressive seagulls (kind of like Liseberg). It’s also the home of my personal favorite “new-to-me” coaster of the trip: Taiga, a multi-launch Intamin creation. Taiga features not only forceful launches, but also a crazy, disorienting layout with equally crazy airtime. I was wondering if any ride could top Farup’s Fønix, but Taiga pulled it off; Taiga is even “Phoenix themed,” too. ERT on this ride was great! But there’s more to Linnanmaki than Taiga. They also have a classic wooden coaster with brake men and brake women; two dark rides--a “haunted hotel” for witches and a goofy circus ride with clowns and elephant feces; an “outer space” indoor coaster; Tulireki, a weird Mack coaster than makes no sense at all; and a ball of fire! Here’s a look at the finale of TPR’s 2023 Scandanavia Trip. My thanks to Robb and Elissa for making it all happen. This fountain is either adorable or frightening. Up to you. I’m having Tivoli Gardens/Bakken flashbacks here. So many serious faces! I guess being in the middle of a classic woodie is serious business. Are you "Oikopolu" or "Taigapolu"? Not to worry. We won't judge you. I'm Taigopolu and I'm proud! Intamin has done it again. With this, VelociCoaster, and Pantheon, I'm a happy man. You don’t know whether you’re coming or going in this layout. "What is happening to us? Save us, Jeebus!" Er, how does this work, exactly? Talk about “twisty.” If Taiga is too much for you, you can always play the Linnanmaki home game. Or perhaps you would rather challenge the Dark Forces? ”Yes, come a play a little game with us, dearie.” ”Roll the dice to see which demon you will invoke!” “You have summoned Tulireki! The most messed up demon of them all!” ”He has the power to cloud your mind and convince you that this is a good ride!” If Grona Lund’s Insane was a bit much for you, try Kirnu. ”Kirnu” is Finnish for “chum.” This ride just wants to be your Kirnu (not to throw you to the sharks). But maybe you’d rather have Ukko, the Finnish God of Thunder, as your Kirnu. Vuoristorata (“roller coaster”) might be a good Kirnu for you. it’s just not the same with computer-operated magnetic brakes. Linnanmaki and Tivoli Gardens are doing it right by sticking with brake men and brake women. Oh, lord--this ride still exists! It’s scarier and smellier than the hotel-for-witches ride! If they break into “Dancin’ Queen,” I’m outta here. When at Linnanmaki, take this sign seriously! Er, heads up, Jere! It’s Linnan-anarchy with these freakin’ birds! What out for your goodies there, guys! The gulls are hungry! Just about time to go. Here’s one last look at a classic from the past . . . . . . and Taiga, the classic of today. I leave you now with an old classic and a ball of fire! Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this look back at Scandinavia 2023. Once again, my thanks to Robb and Elissa for another great TPR trip!
  11. Ultra Twister (Nagashima Spaland)
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