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Everything posted by Bryce

  1. I was just pointing out how much I liked that part of the comic. Yes, I realize that the comic was at least in part referring to the discussion going on earlier about the relevance (or rather lack thereof) of Toon Lagoon's characters. Personally, I don't think the characters featured on the facades of shops and along the main strip matter that much. Sure, you may recognize a few, but that isn't their purpose. They're there to help symbolize that you're walking through the Sunday pages. The land is more geared to the whole, broad topic of newspaper comics, not towards specific characters. That's why there is so many featured and that's why the meet & greets and the two attractions are based on the more well-known ones.
  2. Been following this for a while. I honestly love Universal for all that they're doing, and this just helps my increased love for them. The dark-ride sounds completely amazing. I feel like Universal's Islands of Adventure needs more family rides, and this sounds perfect. Plus it's canon.
  3. All of my custom scenery got erased, so I re-visited one my old non-CS projects... The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror! I was quite happy with myself at the time...
  4. Thank you for the suggestions! I agree that those fences need to be higher, particularly around The Corkscrew. One of the new areas planned will be very bright, don't worry! I will probably repaint some of the buildings to a brighter tone, like you suggested. The park has big plans for the future.
  5. Great Wonders Amusement Park - June 21st, 1982 It has been a few months since I've visited Great Wonders, and I decided yesterday that I had to get to the park to see what has been going on. As a approached the exit for the park, I saw two giant cranes emerging from above the tree-line, even taller than The Corkscrew... First off, the park has added some new signage out in the parking lot! And a new "entrance" that holds the first set of turnstiles for bag check before guests must take the long walk to the main entrance. This makes things much more efficent because now at the main entrance all guests have to do is either buy their ticket or enter with a ticket that they already have. There is no more bag check then ticket check right after another. As you approach the main entrance you see the two cranes. One is near The Corkscrew and the other is near Wooden Warrior. Lets take a look inside the park... The park is, once again, fairly busy. The main strip is relatively unchanged from my last visit. This shows The Town Square, where guests will find Wild Whirl, Vintage Cars, Wooden Warrior, Swamp Monster and Cowboys and Vampires. Wild Whirl was having some major issues. The ride was down for a lot of the day. This is in the morning, before it started having problems. The ride-ops for this ride were also very troublesome, as they were slow to load guests on to the ride. Swamp Monster had just as slow ride-ops as Wild Whirl did. However, they managed to keep this ride running consistently for the entire day... Cowboys and Vampires was not running any shows today... Darn. I really hope the park does something with this sad waste of space. And here is the first construction site, going on right by Wooden Warrior. The workers were busy, as you could hear the buzz of power tools eminating from over the fence. As for Wooden Warrior, the park was only running a single train today, which meant for extremely long lines. Here is the second construction site, happening around the back half of The Corkscrew. This site was far quieter, but you could tell something is planned for back there...
  6. That was so cool, and something that deserves to be in Epcot! It is just... Amazing. I don't understand the negative feedback on the video. The old Test Track, while fun, had this giant warehouse vibe. It felt empty. Like it was missing something. Now, it's a bonafide E-Ticket and extremely beautiful in the interior. The projections and scenes are stunning. I can't comment on the whole experience, but I'm sure I'll be even more amazed once I ride it in person.
  7. I don't know if it would be called "refurbishment", but when Dueling Dragons was changed to Dragon Challenge, it all went downhill. It no longer duels, the amazing queue is now just a long and dark tunnel, the dragon statues are missing and now you just walk under an arch and the name isn't as cool.
  8. Atleast JPRA's building ties in with the story... It's the Water Containment Facility and is where all the bad dinosaurs are running wild. The Forbidden Journey's building is just awful looking from Jurassic Park.
  9. @Christopoll - Thank you! Great Wonders Amusement Park - April 22nd, 1982 I recently found out who owned Great Wonders Amusement Park... the elusive McGarnott family. They purchased the property in the early 70s from another family who operated the previous go-kart tracks. The park has flourished since then and has become a local hang-out, but rarely attracts people a lot of outside visitors who aren't from Virginia. Getting this back-story was interesting and left me excited for my next visit... If only park operations were better... I snagged a picture of the parking lot. The Corkscrew looms over the lot, beckoning people in. The Corkscrew is also very much visible from the highway the park is located off of. The walk from the parking lot to the main entrance is ridiculously long. At least it looks empty from here... possibly due to the fact I arrived around 4 in the afternoon. The park entrance really is charming. Again, it looks relatively empty at first glance. Then you enter and you realize how crowded it is with school kids and families who love visiting this park. The sad part is that some locals don't care about the conditions of the park and carelessly litter, only to have the trash roll around, going unnoticed by park employees. Anyways, I decided to give the old Wonder Wheel a spin, and it was nice and relaxing. I headed to the right-side of the park for The Town Square. I hopped in line for Wild Whirl, and after about 15 minutes of waiting, a group of teenage girls skipped me. I tried notifying a near-by employee, but he shrugged it off and the girls were let on before me. Swamp Thing was another must, as I skipped out on this attraction last time. This ride sounds awful. Every time it begins, it sounds like it is about to collapse at any moment, sending happy families for a swim... on the asphalt. The ride would be rather enjoyable, if it was actually maintained well. The indoor queue is nice though. I thought I'd brave Great Wonder's "Broadway style" show; Cowboys and Vampires. Note: This was how it was listed on the park map. Just to let you know, this is mid-show. Guests just got up and left through the emergency exits. People were laughing, some were rolling their eyes and others plugged their ears due to the singing that "Borthmomma the Vampress" belted out to her cowboy lover, James Horse. What even was this show? This is disgrace. Some of the worst singing and acting I have ever seen. The idea is horrible to begin with! After that fiasco, I quickly walked to the Vintage Cars, where I had a nice relaxing ride through the woods. A few families were clearly enjoying every minute of this cute little family attraction. The alleyway where Wooden Warrior is was very crowded... and yes, I said Warrior. The attraction was recently renamed because some guests thought it would be an unpleasant ride due to the name "Rumbler". Yes, this was an actual concern from some guests... Anyways, this was another great ride on this classic coaster, even though the line clocked in at around 35 minutes. I headed to the left-side of the park to give The Corkscrew another go. This time, I sat in the middle part of the train and it wasn't as rough as before... actually, it was pretty tolerable and made the ride much more enjoyable. Those corkscrews are pretty forceful, but very fun! The wait for this attraction was around 45 minutes. Very busy! The Blue Banquet cafe was a no-go for me today. I wasn't hungry and last time's experience was... awful. As I was leaving the park, I realized that this was, in fact, a locally owned park. I couldn't expect everything to be perfect. And given the circumstances that the park is over-run by wild kids and young adults 24/7, they've got a lot on their hands. That being said, they still need much better customer service and ride maintenance.
  10. Actually, I believe it's the effect where your own face (and the faces of your other fellow riders) is projected in the fog between you and a Dementor. When it's not working (which would be most of the times that I've ridden) you see a projection of something resembling four skulls side by side instead. I was surprised it worked for me. It was a very interesting and cool effect. However, I was making a very... interesting face that showed in the projection...
  11. It was the first time it worked for me, and that was probably my 10th time riding it. That was also the first time the soul-sucking Dementor worked for me.
  12. Pleasant: 1. Tennessee Tornado (Dollywood) - like everyone has said, the short layout looks weak, but dang this ride is fun and smooth. And it's built into a freaking mountain! 2. Blazing Fury (Dollywood) - Didn't think this was a roller coaster, so it was a VERY pleasant surprise. Plus I'm a big fan of dark-rides, especially dark-ride/coaster hybrids. 3. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem (Universal Studios Florida) - Rode this during HHN 22, and I didn't know what to expect. It was very fun, silly and perfect for families. Definitely a must-do every time I visit Universal Orlando. 4. DINOSAUR (Disney's Animal Kingdom) - Didn't think a ride at Disney could get this scary! It's loud, dark and bumpy. There are also tons of terrifying animatronic dinosaurs. Definitely the scariest ride at Walt Disney World. 5. Maelstom (Epcot) - The infamous "Norway boat-ride" that ended up being so much fun. I love the retro-ness of the ride, the random trolls, the drops and the cool lift hill. I don't know what I was expecting the first time I rode it, but I love it. "The spirit of Norway." Hahahahaha. Un-pleasant: 1. Hollywood Rip, Ride, RockIt (Universal Studios Florida) - This past weekend I visited Universal Orlando and when I went to the Studios, I was expecting the great ride I got during HHN 22. I was wrong. The roller coaster smashed my head around quite a bit and I left the ride with a headache. I don't know what was different between these two visits, which were very close. Plus, I'm a big fan of themed attractions and parks with overall great theming, and Universal/Disney excel at theming. However, you think after creating Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure and all of the great attractions and themed lands in each, they could do better than obnoxious cartoon characters and a queue that involves *gasp* plain metal rails. 2. Soarin' (Epcot) - I just don't like how they placed this ride in The Land. It should have it's own pavilion so you don't enter through what looks like a food court in a shopping mall. The ride was also marred by splotches and spots all over the screen. After riding this ride about 6 times over the years through my frequent visits to WDW, the splotches disappoint me. 3. Ninja (Six Flags over Georgia) - You know why... 4. Superman: Ultimate Flight (Six Flags over Georgia) - A dull layout, save the pretzel loop. Also has very un-inspired theming. But hey, it's Six Flags. 5. Grab Fiesta Tour (Epcot) - The awesome beginning of this ride through the night-time atmosphere of the Mexico pavilion and a ride past a volcano does not make up for the lame rest of the ride that is a basically "it's a small world" with Mexican dolls and annoying cartoon characters.
  13. I hope I'm allowed to post trip-reports here... November 17th, 2012 I returned to Universal Orlando with my mother, step-father and little sister, just after being there a few weeks earlier for HHN 22... Hahaha. We had a very full day at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios and it proved to be one of the best times I've had at either Disney or Universal. Islands of Adventure All of the Christmas decorations are up! I don't know how long these have been up, but I sure do love Islands of Adventure during Christmas time. The Port of Entry looked amazing, as usual. I seriously love the entrance to Islands of Adventure. It's a seamless transition from the loud music of CityWalk to the tranquil and epic soundtrack that Islands of Adventure has. And seeing the lighthouse and hearing The Incredible Hulk's roar always gets me so excited. And all of the details in Port of Entry are just amazing. All of these things help make Port of Entry my favorite theme park entrance ever. Seuss Landing All I have to say is that Seuss Landing looked amazing. The new, vibrant colors really "popped" compared to the last time I visited where most of Seuss Landing was faded. The Christmas decorations really added to the vibrance and atmosphere of Seuss Landing. The theming in Seuss Landing is among the best in the world, just like the rest of Islands of Adventure. The Cat in the Hat was running very well and with a zero minute wait time. It had been a while since I'd ridden this and I have to say it is up there with all of the Fantasyland dark-rides. Though my 3 year old sister got terrified once it got a little darker. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish was an interesting ride that I'd never cared to ride before. I know it's the same type of spinner that Dumbo is, but it was interesting with the song and the water, which successfully soaked me because I couldn't follow those directions for some reason... The Lost Continent The Lost Continent will always be one of my favorite islands at Islands of Adventure. Though it lacks attractions, the theming is always a redeeming factor for me. I could just sit and marvel at all of the awe-inspiring structures and rock formations in the Atlantis area. Even my step-dad turned and looked at the facade for Poseidon's Fury and said "wow". The Arabian area is also impressive with all of the details and little touches. There was a lot of construction happening in this area, which is obviously for the Harry Potter expansion. I was sad we didn't do Poseidon's Fury which I haven't done in a very long time. I know I heard it's not that great these days, but it's something I wanted to do (though my sister would have freaked out). I also hope Harry Potter doesn't completely destroy The Lost Continent. I seriously love the theming here and it's one of the very few islands in Islands of Adventure not based off of a franchise. You can tell that the park designers really let their imaginations run wild with The Lost Continent. Plus... I love Mythos and the talking fountain. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter My breath is almost always taken away from me when I enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The detailing and theming is so wonderful and it really just takes you right into the books, which I am a huge fan of. Once again, my step-dad stopped and looked around and said "wow". My mom was giddy about seeing this area because the last time she went to Islands of Adventure, WWoHP just opened and the crowds were immense. We immediately headed over to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey had a 15 minute wait posted, but it was far less. The queue for this ride is amazing, clearly the best queue ever made. Now, a few days ago I could have argued that The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror's queue was better, but walking through Hogwarts once again really put it above Tower of Terror's queue for both me and mom. We basically walked through the whole queue without stopping once, which was nice, but we didn't go too fast because we were in such awe with our surroundings. We eventually made it to the Room of Requirement, where our benches awaited us. Here are a few notes about the ride... - The green orb that follows you at the very beginning is much more effective than flying through the floo network or whatever that was supposed to be. The green orb really helps to show that you are flying due to Hermione's magic. - The dragon was not working properly. Instead of the "flames" coming out of his mouth, it was just a weird red glow with no flames. - The Whomping Willow was working. - The soul-sucking Dementor effect was properly working. After riding Forbidden Journey twice, we decided we would come back later for Dragon Challenge, so we headed into Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park Jurassic Park is such a beautiful island in Islands of Adventure. I really feel as if I'm walking through what the "real" Jurassic Park was supposed to be. However, entering at the right side from Harry Potter is it's only downfall. I love seeing the epic entrance gate to Jurassic Park and hearing the film score, however it's marred by Hogwarts and the Forbidden Journey's massive white show building. Once I'm past this, I end up really loving the rest of Jurassic Park. My mother and I headed to Jurassic Park River Adventure while my step-dad took my sister to Camp Jurassic and the Discovery Center. Jurassic Park River Adventure is one of my favorite rides at Islands of Adventure. Last time I visited it February, it was down for refurbishment, which was a bummer. This time it was open, and it had a 5 minute wait time posted! However, it was basically a walk on, which was really great. Every single effect on the ride was working, and working well. I do agree that some of the outside dinosaurs, particularly the stegosaurus and ultrasaurus, need some work. The interior dinosaurs were great, as usual. One thing that many will disagree with me on is that I find the crate effect much more effective than Hollywood's car effect. The crate feels more intimate than the car effect, and garnered quite a few screams out of my boat. However, it's probably not right for me to say that because I've only seen videos of the Hollywood version. The splash got me quite wet, which was unexpected because I don't ever remember getting that wet from the splash. After Jurassic Park River Adventure we went looking for my sister and step-father in Camp Jurassic. Camp Jurassic was amazing. I've never taken the time to explore this, but wow. I was at awe on how expansive this is to explore. It's really beautiful too with the caves and the rock-work and the waterfalls. I could have explored for hours. We never found them (they were at the bathroom) but we did find this creepy, creepy cave. We both stumbled upon it and I was scared to walk through it! It was massive and there was an eerie fog and a waterfall and the fog was purple. Plus, there was some creepy dinosaur sounds in there. Small details like this always impress me when I visit Universal and Disney. We regrouped and exited Jurassic Park for Toon Lagoon. Toon Lagoon I love Toon Lagoon as it is just like stepping into the bright and colorful pages of the Sunday comics. I think the theming is marvelous throughout the whole island and it always keeps me smiling. My sister was enthralled watching Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, which is a very photogenic and eye-catching ride. Sadly, we didn't this ride or Popeye & Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges as we didn't want to get soaked. Instead, we just ate a quick lunch in Comic Strip Cafe, which was okay. The food was just normal theme park fare, with a few Asian options thrown it. But that's okay, we didn't want a huge sit down meal, so quick service was completely fine. After this, we explored Toon Lagoon a little longer and let my sister play with all of the interactive things you can find in Toon Lagoon. After this, we headed to Marvel Superhero Island. *The pictures in Toon Lagoon didn't turn out so well due to the sun... Blah. Marvel Superhero Island This is one of my favorite islands at Islands of Adventure. A lot of people don't like the theming here, but I don't see what people don't like about it. It's like stepping into the pages of the comics, with comic-like buildings and stores that are named generic things like "Comics" or "Food". The buildings are very eye-catching and fun. Plus, there is a lot happening in this island such as The Incredible Hulk Coaster roaring over-head, screams from Doctor Doom's FearFall and action-packed music. All in all, I think the theming is great here and with the new paint-job, it looks better than ever. The first thing we did was head for the The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man while my mother stayed with my sister. b]The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man[/b] is one of my favorite rides in the world and I was very anxious to ride it since I last rode it in February and it wasn't yet in HD. The wait was posted as 25 minutes, but we did single rider, so it was yet another walk-on. And all I have to say is WOW. This ride is better than ever with the HD screens. The transition between set and screen is now flawless and at some parts I had a hard time deciphering what was real and what wasn't. Honestly, this ride blew my mind when it wasn't in HD. This time, I basically had a brain aneurism because it was SO AMAZING. After the ride, we re-grouped with my mother and sister who had a very special surprise. For some reason, my 3 year old sister loves Spider-Man, and when I told her that Spider-Man was at Universal, all she wanted to do was meet him and... she did! She got to talk to Spider-Man and he asked if he was her favorite superhero, and she said yes. Then he showed her how to position her hands to shoot webs. She was enthralled and still talks about it! After this, we decided to take on The Incredible Hulk Coaster while my step-dad took my sister on Storm Force Accelatron. The Incredible Hulk Coaster is definitely up there as being one of my all-time favorite roller coasters and once again it was a walk-on because we utilized single rider. The first launch into the zero-g roll is the most amazing roller coaster moment for me. It just feels so... Cool and exhilarating! Accompanied with lighting effects, audio, the iconic launch tunnel, 40 MPH launch into an inversion and a massive cobra-roll and loop over the park's lake, there is no other roller coaster like it. It's just so visually stunning and always fun to ride. I read complaints about it getting rough, but if you actually just keep your head against the head-rest, you'll be fine. I rode twice, in rows 6 and 2, with no head-banging. After The Incredible Hulk Coaster, my mother ran to the bathroom and I headed to Storm Force Accelatron. My step-dad and sister were getting off their first ride (yes, that's how fast we were on and off Hulk) and she absolutely loved it. She had the biggest smile on her face as she got off and wanted to go again. My mother came out of the bathroom and we all went on as a family, which she loved! If they were to ever upgrade this ride, they should fully enclose it and add some cool lighting and simulated weather effects. It would be a lot better. Though it's still a fun "teacups" ride and my sister claimed it was her favorite ride. I decided to not ride Doctor Doom's FearFall, as my mother and step-dad had no interest. Plus, I'm secretly afraid of it. I've been on it about 3 times before and I hate sitting there in the seat, not knowing when you're going to launch. I can do Tower of Terror all day, but not Doctor Doom. I do really like the queue though. It as around 1:00 and we decided to leave Islands of Adventure and head to Universal Studios!
  14. Islands of Adventure has been going through some intense re-painting. They were even blasting off the old paint before adding a new layer! I'll be there tomorrow to see the new paint in person at Islands of Adventure and all of the new construction going on at both parks!
  15. I thought it was confirmed to be premier who were making this coaster. Also, the track is the same style as the mummy ride. I wonder if this means they are taking out the Mummy ride soon as this will the same ride? I sure hope not! I heard this will be more of a motion ride, mixed with some coaster elements(?)
  16. The Springfield plans have been leaked... Don't know how valid this is, but check it out! Springfield Expansion And a photo of the Gringott's coaster track! Just scroll down to the bottom of the page. What manufacturer could this be? Gringott's Coaster Track
  17. Great Wonders Amusement Park - April 2nd, 1982 A small park located in my hometown has grown from a Ferris wheel, a hot dog stand, and some go-karts to a tiny amusement park. The park opened in 1980 and I've yet to experience it! I've recently moved back to the area and I've been dying to see the park in person, as I've heard some pretty great things about it... I arrived at Great Wonders at around 2 in the afternoon. The entrance was empty, and I expected the same for the park. The view is very photogenic, with the old Wonder Wheel and all. As I stepped through the gates, it became evident how crowded the park was, judging by the line of the Wonder Wheel... I noticed immediately the amount of large and obnoxious groups of teenagers/young adults... I decided to head left to Twister Plaza. The crowds were large and a very... awful smell filled the air. It was like walking next to a dumpster and my appetite was lost. I pushed my way through the crowds and made a rush towards The Corkscrew. The Corkscrew is a very photogenic and beautiful ride, but sadly the ride experience doesn't live up to the visuals. The chain-lift sounded like a chainsaw hitting concrete. The first drop and loops smashed my head into the shoulder harness multiple times and gave me a headache. I'd never been so happy to get off a roller coaster... This is the Blue Banquet Cafe and the restrooms building, taken from the line of The Corkscrew. I was looking forward to the Blue Banquet, as it is the park's full-service dining location. I was seated and it took about 10 minutes for the waitress to notice I was here. She quickly ran over and asked what I wanted to eat. I order a veggie lasagna and a water. It took an additional 40 minutes for my food to come out and the lasagna was COLD! This restaurant was a very un-pleasant experience, though it was supposed to be the "nice" restaurant of the park. After "lunch", I headed out of Twister Plaza to the right-side of the park; The Town Square. Here is the Wild Whirl, just a classic Tilt-a-Whirl. These rides are always fun and there was about a 20 minute wait. This building is the queue for Swamp Thing, a spinning ride themed to a monster. You can't really make out the ride, but it's through the trees. Where those rocks are is the Wonder Spring, a natural spring that has been here before the park and what the park was named after. Nice seeing something as natural as this! This is the theater which houses the live action show, "Cowboys and Vampires". I skipped out on this show after seeing the peoples faces as they exited the show... (they weren't very enthralled and some were laughing... at how bad it was.) These are the Vintage Cars. They are very relaxing as they wind through the trees and rocks and even past a waterfall. Kids and adults can enjoy this attraction together and I highly recommend it. This little "alley" takes guests past the Vintage Cars and the queue for Swamp Thing to the best ride in the park; Wooden Rumbler! Wooden Rumbler is hidden by the trees, so I couldn't get a lot of pictures, but what a fun ride! Though I had to wait for about 35 minutes, it was worth it! The ride is a simple "out and back" coaster, but it offers plenty of airtime. Heck, it was far smoother than The Corkscrew. Overall, Great Wonders Amusement park had it's ups and downs, but it was still an enjoyable park, and I can't wait to visit in the future!
  18. It looks great! Sorry I keep nagging, but where did you get the Universal Studios Florida entrance? I can't find it anywhere and I'm also working on a park recreation. Thank you!
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