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outbackjack's Achievements


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  1. Thanks for the pictures. I really enjoy DCA, and two of my favorites aren't tops on most people's lists. I LOVE Mermaid and Monsters Inc. Great colors, great sounds/songs in Mermaid...and I've always liked the Monsters Inc movie. Can't wait for CarsLand.
  2. This week I had the opportunity (at the last second) to go to Atlantis. I didn't see it listed so I thought I'd provide a report, though it's only a trip report, no photos. At the last second, my wife decided we should skip our original excursion and pay the $$$ and go to Atlantis. I couldn't have been more thrilled, regardless of cost. I was unprepared with the camera, so hopefully my words will give you an idea of the park. While it's $680 for two adults and two kids through the cruise ship, we heard from a casino dealer (of all people) to take the water taxi there and just pay for a day pass. The water taxi was $8 a person (round trip) and a neat 10 minute ride with a hilarious guide, who pointed out celebrity homes on Paradise Island...the tiny island is primo real estate, and it includes Atlantis and just a few residences (Nick Cage, Mick Jaggar, Sidney Poitier and Sean Connery, among others). After the ride, it's a long walk through the Atlantis property, past breathtaking yachts and extremely cute shops, kind of reminded me of a small Disney area. We finally reached the massive main building, and were directed through the casino (yes, with my two little kids) to the guest desk, which is smack dab in the middle of the casino. Pretty obvious we aren't in America now. We paid $430 for all 4 of us to get the day pass. Time to hit the park, I couldn't wait. After another long walk through the hotel, we reached the aquarium, which is more like a walk through well themed attraction. You've all seen aquariums, some of the neat things in this one was the biggest sting ray I've ever seen and the eel area. It was themed like a lost city (duh), and the eels were so cool. Vibrant greenish yellow, just popping out of holes, backing back into them, and THICK. I thought they were more like snakes in size, but while they might have been 4 to 8 feet, the thickness was amazing. Everything else was normal aquarium stuff, but it was so cool to be the walk through to the water park. Once we got there, it's really more about the entire resort than the water park. The beach has waves that are incredibly powerful, the pools are huge and unique (one is massive yet the entire pool is 3 feet all the way through). Other pools has mall slides coming in at crazy angles, and finding the walkways to each little hidden slide is very challenging. It was really a cool set up. The slides are around 2 major buildings, the Power Tower and the Mayan Temple. All major slides connect to these two structures, while there are more kid/medium slides just in obscure places ending in the swimming pools. The Mayan Temple is the one everyone knows, with the steep body slide shooting through the shark tank. Way too fast to even consider seeing anything, still a fun slide. The other main slide from that one is the Challenger, a simple double down that races and provides good speed and airtime. But the most fun slide on the Temple is the tube ride, a simple tube slide in the dark, but you know the exit into the shark tank is coming. I know that I'm safe and the layer of protective glass is plenty thick, but there's still something disturbing creepy about being in water, floating in a tube, and having sharks swimming directly at you and 5 feet above you. Maybe it's me, but it's a completely different feel than looking at sharks, standing on the ground dry and in your clothes. It was even creepier as you know you are getting close, and the light begins creeping into the dark tunnel. But the real treat was the Power Tower. I been to plenty of water parks, certainly not as many as the bigs on this board, but I've been to a fair number. And this had some of the coolest features I'd ever seen. First off, I'm a lazy river freak. Absolutely love floating in them. Never miss a lazy river. This one was just incredible. It was more a rapids ride than a lazy river I guess. And it is 1 mile long. You begin in a simple lazy river, then twice enter caves in which the water runs slightly down and has really fun rapids. You definitely need to hold on and can get flipped. In between each rapids section the water just floated nice and easy. Then came the coolest feature I'd ever seen. You drift along, and pouring into the river is a wave machine. Every 7 seconds, it dumps a good deal of water down a slope entering the river, causing rough water. However, the sides are now about 10 feet high, and the river is maybe 20 feet wide. The wave has nowhere to go but continue down the river. So when it first hits, it's a tad rough. But it builds and builds. I guess each wave carries 100 feet, seemingly growing more and more as it carries along. The sides are high and it goes high. Through this part, the river has tight turns and therefore you cannot see far back up the river. You are just sitting, and BOOM, here comes the wave and it's big. Person after person were flipped, I learned that the left side (the outside part of the turn) really took the brunt, and it gets near the top. The inside side was where my daughter insisted on staying, high but not near as dangerous. I seriously cannot imagine anything this rough in America, as I was viciously flipped at the rock wall, completely losing my bearings for a few seconds. And yes, my tube was long gone, no big deal in Bahamas I guess. The wave would finally crest and crash right before the next entry section, and I was able to get a new tube. This seemed dangerous yet SO FUN, and I will say there were plenty of lifeguards standing on the sides watching everything. Soon after, the river comes to a conveyor lift in a cave. Completely awesome. Then, after the next entry pool, the river comes to a fork. You can go to the left (more rapids, and these are nasty and fast) or the right to the Power Tower. We switched it up each time. To the right, another first for me. You slowly drift down the level 4/5 foot wide path. Next thing I know I'm still in my tube, in the que line, just slowly drifting through the path. After a while, the path leads to a conveyor lift (like Wildebeast) of a good 120 feet, all the while chilling in my tube. Once at the top of the lift, you enter a covered cave looking area, and you can just drift into whichever line you want, eventually getting to the front and going down the slide (the best one was one that sent you down then back up with forceful water). Once you exit the slide, you cost down some rapids, right back into the "lazy" river. I spent a good 2 hours in that area, riding slide after slide, rapid after rapid, never once leaving my tube (except when the waves and rapids knocked me out). If I go again, I will surely have my camera. Hopefully some have been there and taken photos. MOD EDIT: I hope you don't mind that I hijacked your thread by adding pictures from my visit.
  3. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only park (mid to large size) to be built since 2000 is DCA. I know Legoland is new, but it's basically using several things from CG. The new dark ride park has a shot. I find this shocking that no one has been able to put something brand new, from ground up, somewhere that worked in an entire decade. Parks closing, Hard Rock bombed, Wild West bombed, Cypress Gardens bombed, Astroworld, KKingdom, etc. The parks that are designed well, in good locations, continue to keep rolling them in...which shows that if you do it right, there is a "want" for great parks. In my spare time, I always dream of designing a great park from the ground up. I can only imagine the brains and experience on this board could come up with a nearly perfect park.
  4. Aren't all companies built with "investors"? Although I do agree it's very odd they want Joe Schmoe to send in $25.
  5. The fundraising goal, at least part 1, is much smaller. I'm almost tempted to invest....just in case. I'll waste $25 somehow today anyway that I haven't planned for, at Target or Walmart or somewhere. And just in case this makes, that would be a cool feeling. I know it goes against all types of conventional thinking, but the fact remains it is a good area....within a 4-6 hour drive of tons of people, and Nashville is an AWESOME city. For people that think it's hicksville, they do have a NFL team and an NHL team, as well as a major D1 college. The music aspect alone brings millions to Nashville yearly, and I'm always enjoyed weekend trips there from Atlanta. In addition, they sold me with the 2, yes 2, dark rides. They key will be lower ticket prices to start. I can't even think of the last "new" park to make it on it's own, we're due. And I really liked the concepts of the lands. It all sounds very intriguing to me.
  6. Thanks. I know HM is a holiday overlay.....but it's 6 weeks before Halloween and 3 months before Christmas. And the original ride is perfect, seasonal overlays ruin the original (in my opinion). I guess MK is beautiful as well (it really is), I've just been so many times. Where as I was taking EVERYTHING in DL, just so awesome. Saw World of Color, and yes, it's really impressive. And you MUST get across the country for MK. It is so cool to compare with your own eyes. You will not believe the size of the resort.....and if you like dark rides, the "Great Movie Ride" in Hollywood Studios is completely original. I will definitely be returning for Screamin, Cars and POTC.
  7. Many of you are probably yawning, as you've been there plenty of times. But as a 40 year old Disney freak, I FINALLY got to go (just returned today). I grew up in FL, live in Atl, and have been to DW numerous times, loving it even more as I get older. I couldn't wait to make my own comparisons. No need to tell you what everyone knows....DW resort is better, Walt's influence is felt at DL, DCA is odd, rides aren't terribly "thrilling", DL is smack dab in Anaheim, walking distance of 7-11, IHOP, McDonalds, etc. But I thought I could add some things we noticed that we loved...and overall, I liked DL better than DW. There were several times I just stopped, looked around, and could not believe the beauty of the place. Especially around NOrleans, Rivers of America. There is not a square inch that doesn't appear to be thought out precisely. The constant music, played loudly, always makes it feel like a park should. Main Street is stunning. The rides seem so LONG...Nemo, Autopia, Small World, Space Mountain. Space Mountains darkness is so much more effective than at DW. Star Tours is just weak. It just feels like motion simulators are so cheesy for Disney (though the cue line was awesome). The cue lines are incredible....long, winding, never boring, detailed to a T (Star Tours, Space, BTMR, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones... Speaking of Indiana Jones, OMGosh. The room where it opens up, across the bridge, it does not get cooler than that. The only thing I didn't like at DL was the Haunted mansion is so classic, I'm not a fan of pumpkin and Christmas theming. The ride is literally perfect as is....in fact, where I'm hoping to get a ghost riding along side my daughter and I, we got a....present. An actual wrapped present, floated with us. Boo. Pirates was closed, nobody's fault, just sad to not get to see it. And Storybook Canal, absolutely awesome. What amazing detail in the miniatures. Rode Matterhorn several times, just tried to think about what people thought riding this thing in the early 60's. It must have blown their mind. Across the courtyard to DCA. I didn't want to like this park, as it seemed the opposite of Disney to me. And I thought it would be scattered, taking some of the best parts from the great parks of DW. Plus the horrible construction fences, no I refuse to like it. After going, I still can't tell if I like it or not. There were times sitting by the swings that I thought..."I get it. The California theming, the boardwalk, Hollywood, the Pacific, OK." Then I'd hate the park because swings, Zephyr, Mouse coasters, midway games...WAY too cheesy for Disney. But I have to admit, it was themed really well. And I love the rides, individually. Toy Story is just so unique and awesome. TT, Soarin, all awesome. And I'm a major sucker for dark rides, and Little Mermaid blew me away. The colors, the songs, the fun, the dead on perfect Ariel and Ursela. And I loved Monsters Inc. Again, they don't rely on cardboard cutouts, rather in depth AA's and great sets, like the city, the chinese restaurant, and the doors in the scare factory. I guess I ended up liking it more than I thought I would, and really liked the dark rides. I think once Cars is complete and the front fences come down, it will be good.....but it isn't DL. Overall, I really loved the trip.
  8. Also, if you wouldn't mind, let me know ANY time that is great...and times that are must avoids. Thanks so much!!!
  9. Kids have both cleared the 54" mark this season and I'm dying to take them to BGT for a few days. We really try had to plan trips around crowded times, which is easy to determine at most parks. But the Central Florida crowd patterns are unique.... I figured if anyone knew the ins and outs of BGT crowds, it would be our friends on TPR. We are initially looking at the S-M-T before Thanksgiving, or a MTW in the middle of March. Also, are their water rides open in November? Thanks in advance, Outback
  10. I'm always shocked when parks take out, or even worse, never have had a train. Trains, along with a roller coaster, bumper or antique cars, and a carosuel are park staples. EVERY park should have this 4 pack.
  11. As a park enthusiast much more than a coaster enthusiast (I only love wooden or mega/giga speed coasters with no inversions)....I always ride the train ride at each park. Just like anything else, these can go from outstanding to pathetic. Something about the way train tracks cut through wooded areas, over bridges, through tunnels, always been a huge fan. My favorite train rides... 1. Dollywood. That bending curve back in the woods, where you can see the rest of the train, majestic. Plus the steam engines are just gorgeous. 2. Busch Gardens Virginia. Beautiful park deserves a beautiful train ride, and the best bridge run of any train ride ever. 3. Knoebels.....take your pick of awesome and unique miniature trains. One running by the campsite, one running under Twister. 4. Magic Kingdom. Decent ride, but the main station is stunning and is EXACTLY what a theme park train station should look like. Anyone else a train geek and have some favorites?
  12. What day did you go that was empty? Planning a first ever trip there next year, would love to go about the same time.
  13. Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!! Did I read your post right????? HM, SM AND POTC are scheduled to be refurbed during that week??? All 3?? Please tell me your kidding?
  14. Oh my...I am floored at the time and detail in these reports. You guys are so kind. I'm even more excited, and have spent tonight formulating our plan. I can't thank you enough, extremely helpful. Some has asked, so to answer the questions.....we are going September 19, 20, 21...(actually an off week in Georgia schools...and a dream for amusement park enthusiasts). We are staying across the street...Portofino. Thanks again for all of the help...I can't wait to go!
  15. They have done this reoccurring skit twice. It is so cool. Two people (Jason Sudekis and Nasim Pedrad) ride through a dark ride. When they enter a scene, the "audio animatronics" rise up and move to the song. Three move like robots, then once the song ends, they drop back. The ride gets jammed, they rise again, and get more aggressive to the girl, etc. This is the skit, but it was so cool having it on SNL... Both times were this season, one time with Jim Carrey as host, the other was Justin Timberlake (I think??). (By the way, this thread isn't a disucssion on how SNL was so much better back in the day )
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