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Everything posted by Mrenata

  1. I rode the Haunted Mine Drop yesterday and it was actually more terrifying than I thought it would be! It certainly feels you are dropping more than 120ft. It was 10x scarier than the Canyon Swing. The only downpoints of my visit were the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster being closed and the fact that they didn't let me take my GoPro on the Alpine Coaster, even with it attached to my arm. Not that they don't allow you to take your GoPro, it's just that it needs to be attached to your head or chest (as if a camera attached to your head was safer than one in your wrists).
  2. My feeling about Cuba is you either go now, or don't bother to go at all. I have a feeling that in just a couple of years Cuba (Havana specially) will be just another latin american city. Most cubans already have cell phones, internet, there were lot's of hotels from famous chains being built in Havana/Varadero and modern cars everywhere. I also heard there's a plan to build a water park in Varadero. I'm sure once more companies/countries lift their embargo more amusement parks will be built around the country. As I said, most people picture Cuba as a place where people have no money, no food, nothing. So I was actuall happy to realize those people were wrong and to see so many cuban families at the amusement parks, having fun, spending money, taking pictures with their smartphone. It was a nice surprise.
  3. My next stop on this trip was Parque Lenin, a huge urban park located roughtly 10min from the international airport and 5min from Expocuba. There are many activities to do and places to visit at Parque Lenin, including a steam train (that doesn't work, of course), an equestrian center and the amusement park, called Parque Mariposa. For some unknown reason, the few coaster enthusiasts that visited Cuba before me failed to let Duane know about the correct name, so RCDB still has this location listed as Parque Lenin and not Parque Mariposa ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶I̶'̶m̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶g̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶e̶r̶s̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶h̶e̶l̶p̶ ̶h̶i̶m̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶ I have a couple of friends that visited Parque Mariposa back in 2015 and judging by the pictures taken on their trip, the park went downhill since then. I was really looking forward to riding the powered shuttle "coaster", but saying the ride was closed is an understatement. Same with the log flume and the infamous Arrow knockoff Single Loop Double Spiral Roller Coaster called Montaña Rusa. To be fair, it looks like some work was being done on that coaster, I'm just not sure whether they were trying to repair it or prevent if from falling apart. They have a second coaster, called Oruga (a chinese wacky worm) and this one was ̶b̶a̶r̶e̶l̶y̶ operating! Adults need 2 tickets, at a cost of 4CUC. If you ever go to Cuba, have in mind that turnstiles and lines are subjective there. My english vocabulaty lacks words to describe cubans notion of what a line is, and since an image is worth a thousand words, here's a video of how bad it is: [youtu_be] [/youtu_be] Parque Mariposa, NOT Parque Lenin Yup, the ferris wheel was operating, but the "line" was huge and the wheel was rotating so slow that it took me a while to realize it was actually moving More closed rides Bummer! I was actually looking forward to riding one of these Yup, definitely SBNO An operating log flume! Not the one I was expecting to ride though Credit! #703!!!! The coaster has seen better days, for sure I wasn't kidding when I said the coaster was barely operating The infamous Montaña Rusa What do you think those structures are for? Repairing the coaster or preventing it from falling apart? Next and last stop: Isla Del Coco
  4. On my second day in Havana I decided to pay a cab for the hour (25CUC/Hour) to take me to Expocuba and Parque Lenin, which are about 45min from the city centre. Expocuba is one giant convention center that hosts the annual Havana International Fair. The government advertises Expocuba as a cross between a fairground, a museum and a convention center where the achievements of the revolution are displayed in detail. I'm assuming that during the fair they take care of the ladscape and manage to fix the rides, while for the remaining of the year they just keep the place open ooing just the bare minimun. The place was actually pretty packed on a sunday afternoon. Lots of cuban families where visiting the area, that consists in a few open pavillions, some food stands, a lake with some boats to rent and the amusement park. Foreginers pay 1CUC to enter Expocuba while locals pay only 0.25CUP. All the rides at Expocuba are from a chinese company called Beijing Shibaolai Amusement Equipment Co., Ltd. You can tell they once had a nice collection of rides, but they are now SBNO in their majority, including the Wacky Worm called Montaña China that has been closed for years. One of the mais attractions is a real airplane from Cubana de Aviación where visitors can see how a real plane is inside. The park also has an observation tower, but unfortunately the line was too long and I had no idea that the parks in Cuba close so early in the day (5PM), so I had to rush in order to get to the next one! Map of Expocuba Lots of SBNO rides Some of each seemed pretty cool One of the few operating rides The boats. It seems that they used to have an aerial ride and a monorail at some point, but only the track is left. The Airplane was one of the main attractions! Chinese Frog Hopper Seems Legit! More chinese rides Montaña China No credit for me here either Next stop, Parque Lenin
  5. After 3 amazing days in Varadero it was time to see "real" Cuba and of course visit some more amusement parks. I booked my shuttle to Havana with Kronos, and the voucher they sent me said "pick up time 13:30 at Barcelo Solymar". So at 13:30 sharp I was waiting at the hotel lobby. Twenty minutes went by and not a sign of my bus, so I decided to call the number on the voucher. A woman picked up the phone, I explained that the shuttle was 20 minutes late and that I was afraid they had forgotten about me, but the woman, very calmly, told me that they START the pick up process at 13:30 but they stop at various hotels in Varadero and that they would eventually get to me. They did. At 14:50! There are many things wrong with Cuba, and unfortunatelly that kind of situation where I expected a certain professionalism from a service I had paid for and they acted like they didn't give a f**k happened a few other times during my trip. However, I blame this more on the 3rd world latin american mentality than on socialism. Don't get me wrong here, Cuba is a beautiful and interesting country to visit, but that inocense and friendliness is long gone, at least among people that work in tourism. So since I arrived in Havana a bit later than I had planned, I only had time to wander around a little bit and visit one amusement park that day. My choice was Jalisco Park, a park that is open since the 50's and with it's glory days behind them. Jalisco Park is the closest amusement park to the touristic areas of old Havana an Vedado and can be acessed through the cemetery stop on the Hop on Hop Off bus (10CUC/day). Jalisco Park is now just a really small park with 5 or 6 kiddie rides, including the roller coaster called Montaña Rusa. Unfortunatelly adults are not allowed on the coaster. Believe me, I tried. I talked to the operator and he told me that if his supervisor saw me on the coaster he would get fired. I then proceeded to talk to the supervisor, who explained to me that the coaster was very old, and that it was very difficult to get spare parts for it, so she decided to ban all adults from riding it so the weight wouldn't affect the -already rusty - structure. Even though I didn't get this credit, it was great to see all those vintage rides still operating and the kids enjoying them. Mandatory shot of the Capitol and the old cars Cuba is just like any other country Getting money from the ATM in Cuba is just as easy as anywhere else Coke (the original) is available in Cuba, but it's considered imported beverage and charged as such (3CUC) so I decided to give the local coke a try and for 1CUC it is a pretty decent substitute! MSC Armonia docked at the cruise ship terminal Yes, there are buildings in Cuba Havana is much more than just old cars Cruise ships docked in Havana Havana seen from the other side of the bay Jalisco Park The kids were having a blast. Unfortunatelly no credit for me Next stop, Expocuba!
  6. Being from Brazil I got used to traveling to amusement parks alone. Roller Coasters are just not part of latin america culture, so people down here just won't spend time or money traveling to amusement parks that don't have a famous mouse as a mascott. That being said, I've been to over 200 parks worldwide in about 30 countries, and I would say 90% of the times I was alone, but it never bothered me or made the experience less enjoyable. On the contrary, the times I traveled to foreign amusement parks with non coaster friends I had to spend so much time translating everything and explaining why this and that ride were considered good or bad that I didn't get to enjoy the park as much as I would have enjoyed alone. Nowadays if someone asks to join me on a trip I usually say no, unless it is someone that knows how to appreciate the little things at parks like I do. I love sitting alone at foreign amusement parks and just watch the people pass by, see how they react to the rides, how they dress up for amusement parks, how the teenagers behave, etc.
  7. Being from Brazil I got used to traveling to amusement parks alone. Roller Coasters are just not part of latin america culture, so people down here just won't spend time or money traveling to amusement parks that don't have a famous mouse as a mascott. That being said, I've been to over 200 parks worldwide in about 30 countries, and I would say 90% of the times I was alone, but it never bothered me or made the experience less enjoyable. On the contrary, the times I traveled to foreign amusement parks with non coaster friends I had to spend so much time translating everything and explaining why this and that ride were considered good or bad that I didn't get to enjoy the park as much as I would have enjoyed alone. Nowadays if someone asks to join me on a trip I usually say no, unless it is someone that knows how to appreciate the little things at parks like I do. I love sitting alone at foreign amusement parks and just watch the people pass by, see how they react to the rides, how they dress up for amusement parks, how the teenagers behave, etc.
  8. Two weeks ago I decided to visit a country that not many coaster enthusiasts get to visit: Cuba! The first thing you need to know about Cuba is that most travel blogs and foruns about Cuba are outdated. I was expecting to encounter a post apocalyptic scenario where there was no food, no communication and where the people didn't know if there were other survivors outside the island and what I found was a rather modern country, not much different from so many third world countries in Latin America. And as any other third world country in Latin America some things take a little more time and patience to get done (I'll get to that later), but I blame this more on the culture as a whole than on the socialist regimen. To be honest, I completely forgot that I was in a socialist country while I was there. During my whole stay I had access to internet (3G) on my cell phone, wifi was available at most hotels and squares and I could withdraw money from the local ATM machines like everywhere else in the world. Cubans do have smartphones, wifi is cheaper for them (0.25CUC/h x 1.50CUC/h for tourists), no website is blocked in Cuba (I was able to access Facebook, Google, Youtube, Skype and even play Pokemon Go) and they are very well informed about what happens inside and outside the island. That all being said, let's talk amusement parks! There are 4 amusement parks in Cuba with rollercoasters. Only 1 of them is located in Varadero, a very popular touristic destination among Canadians and Europeans about 2h30min from Havana. Todo en Uno (Varadero) Varadero is known for it's breathtaking beaches and all inclusive resorts. In order to go from Havana to Varadero you can either take a cab (which will cost you 180/200CUC one way), take the Viazul bus from Havana Bus Terminal (10CUC) or book a shared transfer (25CUC) from the airport or the hotels in Havana. I booked the shared transfer from the airport to Varadero with Kronos and paid online with my credit card. It does take a while to get your confirmation e-mail, but things in Cuba are a bit slower than everywhere else. I decided to stay 3 days in Varadero and booked a hotel at Barceló Solymar Arenas Blancas. If you are looking for a mid range price 4 star all inclusive hotel in Varadero, you can't go wrong with that one. The food was good, wifi was reliable and it was within a walking distance from shops and Todo en Uno. Varadero is known for it's breathtaking beaches The view from my room at Barceló Solymar Arenas Blancas Todo en Uno is what the name says: A lot of stuff in one place. Yes, it is an amusement park, but it's also a gas station and a small street mall with lots of food places and shops selling clothes, perfumes and toys. It's also a wifi hotspot, so it attracts lots of locals. The place is open daily from 11am to 11pm, but if you decide to visit the place during the week on less busy hours you might need to find someone to operate the rides for you. There are about 8 rides at Todo en Uno, the biggest one being Montaña Rusa, a zyklon/galaxi from Interpark that recently received a new paint and added extra seat belts. Adults need 2 tickets in order to ride Montaña Rusa, at a cost of 1CUC total. Gas station at Todo en Uno Rides Bumper Cars Montaña Rusa Montaña Rusa 2 tickets needed OTSR were added to the coaster. The trains also got a new paint scheme Weird OTSR The coaster actually looks nicer than most Zyklons The view from the coaster isn't bad either Credit #702 Next stop: Havana!
  9. Oh thanks for that info, Sounded a little fishy now looking back at it, why buy a new coaster when half the rides you have aren't working most of the year? It would be better to fix those then go for something even bigger imo. This coaster was bought in 2011 as part of a USD100million investment and just two months after the coaster arrived in Brazil the girl died at the park and they never had the money to build it. A few months ago the park lost the ownership of this coaster to one of it's investors, who took the coaster as payment for the debt the park had with him. He then sold the coaster do MAPS in Malaysia in September. Hopi Hari closed it's doors in August and remained closed for about 45 days. The park declared bankrupcy and filed a request for judicial reorganization. The justice allowed the park to reopen with the condition that the park developed a long term plan to pay off the debts. That's why, I believe, they lied about the coaster opening in 2017, so they could attract new investors and more public. A picture of the coaster being removed in shipping containers taken a month ago and posted on a Facebook group
  10. Nope... A week later the coaster was seen being removed from the storage area in shipping containers. When asked, the driver said he was taking the coaster to the port, which means it's going to Malaysia and Hopi Hari is lying in order to get money from investors.
  11. Yeah, that's what I thought, but I messaged them on Facebook and... Any updates on MAPS?
  12. #DUMB #UNDERSTATEMENT #LIE #FIXED #DUMB ...and not just because you don't know the difference between "there" and "their" I know I'm late to this party but I wish I could like this post 1000000000 times. Also (since we are giving out grammar advice): Would have can never be written "would of." However, the latter does exist: when the present conditional would is followed by an expression that begins with of.
  13. It finall happened. Hopi Hari closed it's doors earlier this month and filed for financial and judicial recovery. www.sidneyrezende.com/noticia/266917+hopi+hari+fecha+e+pede+recuperacao+judicial+para+evitar+falencia
  14. Dollywood should at least train it's employees better since they are consistently giving out mixed information. Guy at the ticket booth: LR should be open today, I don't see a reason for it not to open. Maintenance guy: It won't open today or tomorrow Operator at Wild Eagle: Sometimes they have that sign on but open the coaster by the end of the day Another park employee: It says on our website that the coaster is not open today Guest relations: It's definitely not going to open today or tomorrow. The coaster is closed indefinitely. And they all used the technical rehearsal excuse for the coaster not being open, as if the people were to blame for showing up at the park expecting to ride the coaster. Guest relations even told me that the coaster never officially open and it's still under the manufacturer responsibility and that they were just following what the manufacturer said.
  15. Lightning Rod is down today. Talked to the maintenance guy and he said it's not going to be open today or tomorrow. Dollywood owes me $65 worth of Cinnamon bread.
  16. Oh god, this accident made the news... Here in BRAZIL!
  17. Look no further! Montezum at Hopi Hari is by far the worst coaster in the world. It shakes so much that you get dizzy just by wathing the POV
  18. Maybe I was just unlucky and visited Europa Park in a very crowded day. Both times I visited Phantasialand and Efteling (and I can even add Hansa Park to that list of awesome parks as well) all lines were a walk on or had a 15min wait, everthing was easy to find on the park map and even when I didn't have a map with me I could easily figure out how to get to where I intended to go. At Europa Park I tried to get all the credits in one day and couldn't since it took me over one hour to get each one of the bigger credits. Even the smaller ones had a 45+ min wait. Also, even with the park map on my hands I still had a hard time figuring out the fastest route to point A to point B due to the overwhelming abundance of themeing, paths, gardens and walkways. Maybe if I had more time at the park or if my visit was split into 2 or more days I would have liked the park better, but then again the quality of the park can't be defined but how many days you need to visit it in order to fully appreciate it specially when It only took me half day to fall in love with Efteling, Phantasialand and even Hansa Park
  19. I really, really didn't like Europa Park when I visited the park back in 2012. In my opinion what makes a park stand out is the hability to make a single, foreigner visitor to feel welcome and included all the time. Most parks around the world rely on the fact that their visitors are there mainly to hang out with their friends and family and not to have the amusement park experience (Six Flags, Cedar Fair and Dollywood, I'm looking at you) A great amusement park must offer visitors the hability to purchase tickets on their website with a foreign credit cards, must have a multi-lingual staff, a single rider line, staff that are able to accomodate guest with different needs and an overall welcoming atmosphere. I found Europa Park to be just an average park if you take all that into consideration. Lines were very long - (1h+) for most rides and no single rider, the whole layout of the park is just confusing and not very intuitive and ride-wise the only really good ride was Blue Fire. Maybe if you are in a group you won't pay attention to those details and have a great time, but I felt much more welcome at Phantasialand and Efteling than I did at Europa Park.
  20. I think I should start looking at a house to buy near Dollywood. I figured it would be cheaper to move there and wait for the coaster to open than to keep paying for international flights. Apparently my second attempt to ride LR this year will also be a #fail 1happygirl4u explained what she saw yesterday:
  21. In my whole life I had never had a problem fitting a RMC coaster. I've ridden Outlaw, New Texas Giant, Goliath, Iron Ratler and never even needed that extra push. However last year I was at SFNE and rode Wicked Cyclone both in the front and last row (and I fit just fine) and before leaving the park that day I decided I wanted to ride it one more time. Since I had already ridden in both front and back, I decided I was gonna seat at whatever seat it was originally assigned to me. So I got to my seat (row 3 or 4 maybe?), pulled down the lapbar and the operator told me it didn't fit. I told her that was odd, cause I had ridden that coaster twice that day. Assuming that seat had a much less foriginvg sensor than the others, I asked her if I could exit the train and wait for the next one to ride at either the front or back, where I had previously ridden before and fit with room to spare. She told me that every seat was the same and that if I don't fit one, I won't fit any of them (which we all know it's a lie regarding RMC). In the end they pushed a bit harder and I was ok to go, but this proves that sometimes it's not the riders fault and that operators should be more prepared to deal with that kind of situation.
  22. That's my rare 1-2 riders list. Most of the coasters on this list were found and added by me and are located in South America, hence the fact that I'm the only one who rode them
  23. In my case it's not a matter of riding it first, but a matter of logistics. I'm from Brazil, so I'm not exactly close to Dollywood. Last March I had a trip planned to Orlando, Wild Adventures and Carowinds. Since LR was still scheduled to open by mid March when I booked the trip (back in January), I decided to add a 3 day trip to Pigeon Forge so I wouldn't have to go back later this year. Now I'm going to the US back again in July. I'll land in Texas and depart from Ohio. The original plan was to do the parks in Dallas/Oklahoma area then fly to Ohio and to the parks there. Then Lightning Rod soft openened. So I figured I could drive instead of flying and stop once again in Pigeon Forge, since this might be my last chance of riding LR this year (or maybe ever). I guess what I'm trying to say is that everyone has their reasons for trying to ride the coaster as soon as it opens and the moment the park says the coaster will open/is about to open (and it doesn't) we can't be held accountable for our failed travel plans.
  24. One of the first things I learned in college was that shit is going to happen to every businness every once in a while, and what really separates the wheat from the chaff is how they deal with it. And Dollywood is dealing poorly. I planned an international trip to visit Dollywood (among other parks) for the first week of April because the park stated the coaster would be open by then. One would assume that if there was any change the park would come to public a few weeks before (so anyone with plans to visit the park could still cancel/change those plans) and let them know about the delays and apologize. That's not what happened. Then they said, back in April, that the coaster would open to the public in a few short weeks. One would imagine that if it was not open in 3/4 weeks, they would come to public to apologize and ask for a bit more patience. That's not what happened. Then the coaster soft-opened. One would expect that the park would come to public and let us know what their expectations are, how long it will take until a full opening. That's not what happened. So I'm going to the US again in July, and planned another trip to Dollywood, since the coaster was about to open, according to the park. Let me remind you I'm from Brazil and Dollywood is not exactly an easy place to get to, even though I'll be visiting other parks on this trip. Thank godness I learned from my mistakes and haven't paid for hotels yet. Either way, it's an international trip and it sucks that I have to have plan A and plan B just because the park won't tell us the truth. If they don't know what's wrong with the coaster or how long it's gonna take, they should be honest, apologize and tell the truth. Just because us, coaster enthusiasts, represent just a small percentage of Dollywood's public that doesn't mean we don't deserve to be treated with respect. So just to be clear (so Dollywood fans don't start bashing me and calling me self entitled) : I'm not blaming the park for their issues with the coaster. I'm blaming them for being shady and not giving us any concrete or real information. If they don't have one, say "sorry, we wish we knew but we don't". Just don't pretend everything is under control and the coaster will be open in a few short days/weeks when they already know it won't.
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