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Everything posted by azza29

  1. After something of a lull in activity lately, all three of the bigger Gold Coast parks are undertaking major works at the moment. It's not all rides, but I was up there over the weekend to share some photos of recent improvements and attractions-in-progress. Let's start with Dreamworld. They have a brand new globe that not only looks great, but is also definitely not copied from any other park. Cyclone has completed its transition to Hot Wheels Sidewinder, breathing some new life into what had become a relatively rough ride. Hot Wheels might not be the most obvious retheme for an aging Arrow looper, nonetheless it's nice to see this part of the park get some love. The queue is still a nonsensical four-level ramp. This new centrepiece is a vast improvement on the old turbine thing. The new trains are pretty bright and feature vests rather than OTSRs. It's still not the smoothest ride but the ear-bashing is gone forever. Hooray! Next door the park has built a museum-cum-event centre themed to Australian motorsport. Inside is a collection of racecars from the V8 Supercars series - basically our version of Nascar, but with more corners. Unsurprisingly there's a gift shop at the exit, selling various motorsport merchandise, and (of course) Hot Wheels toys! The old Kevil Hill laser tag/scare maze has been taken over by Dreamworld's latest acquisition, a pair of white tiger cubs. The tigers were brought over from Hirakawa Zoo. They're now out of quarantine and have joined the two other cubs born at the park last year. A temporary play area has been built for the tigers while their new enclosure is built. Tiger cubs in action, behind some annoyingly reflective perspex. These guys are super popular with park guests! To get the cubs used to weird theme park goers the handlers take them out for walks. In true theme park fashion, Dreamworld will happily let you buy a photo with them as well! The old Tiger Island couldn't handle crowds at all, so it's been demolished and will be replaced by a new stadium. A thrilling construction fence. Sneak peek - a wall and some dirt. Still about six months until this is ready to open. The park added an awesome ride last year - Tailspin, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly. This thing is great, riders move the wings to make their seat flip. With the right technique and a helpful gust of wind it's possible to get some serious spin action happening! The park have done a great job with the themeing as well. Hopefully these show up in more parks soon, definitely one of the best flat rides around! Dreamworld has also gone to some effort to improve its menu offerings lately - the pulled pork pizza option is delicious. Sadly even on the weekend this RCT-inspired hot dog stand is out of action. Eureka Mountain Mine Ride remains SBNO. Depending on who you talk to, this is either on the cusp of reopening or is being sold for scrap metal. Thunder River Rapids is down for maintenance, and revealing its secrets. These newish-looking rails have been installed before the lift hill. I have no idea what purpose they serve. The log flume is back in action after a brief unplanned closure. Some genius decided to try to do a handstand mid-ride, fell out and nearly drowned. Despite media reports that it had closed forever, the ride reopened a few days later. No modifications were made except for a few stern signs to discourage any other would-be acrobats from practising on the ride. Please nobody tell PETA, but the wallabies are still available for "interaction". After an extended period of looking like a bowling green, the river is now algae-free. It's be great to see the park use this area a little more in the future, it has plenty of potential. The park announced last week that it was getting Australia's first LEGO store, and from what I can tell it's replacing this tacky discount outlet - good riddance! Over the road to Movie World, where they really need to swap out those banners. For some reason there were construction fences around the ticket booths. I don't know what's going on that's so secret but I'll assume it's not a ride. Batman would like you to know that Superman is closed today. It's getting a new launch cable. Exciting stuff. After being closed for almost a year Green Lantern has reopened. It won't make any top ten lists but this is still a great ride. The Roxy Theater has cycled through some pretty terrible films since they lost the rights to Shrek, but the latest addition - Looney Tunes 4D - is pretty solid. This year's big addition is Doomsday, an Intamin Suspended Twin Hammer. Part of the old Wild West area has been torn up and will be remade as a new themed area based on DC comics villains. Peeking over the fence I spy a giant footer. And some dirt. I assume this is the control building or queue. More construction. The show stage has been vacant for a while. Beyond supporting that mural the park haven't announced any plans for it. One more look at the dirt. That facade at the back is new, I guess it's a courthouse or town hall maybe? Anyway the ride opens in October! During April and May, Movie World are running their Carnivale event on Saturday nights. This is loosely based on Universal's Mardi Gras thing. The event is quite popular with the locals. For a regional theme park they do a great job. Each night only runs for a few hours but there's a good variety of entertainment to keep the crowds amused. The food wasn't bad either. I picked the jambalya - don't know how authentic this is but it definitely tasted great! Bugs Bunny working the crowd. Best part of the evening - night rides! It might just be an SLC, but since the new trains were added Arkham Asylum is a much less painful, and a lot more enjoyable. It was a pretty wet day at Sea World, but still surprisingly busy. I hope this little addition is as temporary as the tattoos they sell. Yuck! Sea World has never been the easiest park to get around, and they're currently in the middle of a major revamp which involves rerouting the main walkway through the park. For example, there used to be a bridge here. The only way to get from one end of the park to the other at the moment is via the Creatures of the Deep walkthrough. This is relatively new, and a better fit for the park than the dinosaur exhibit they ran with previously. Unfortunately it is also terrifying if you're a small child. Turns out the kiddies do not like big sharks, even if they are made of fibreglass. Some of the creatures aren't as, uh, real, as others. The kids area has received a refresh in the form of a Nickelodeon retheme. So Spongebob, Dora and Ninja Turtles feature prominently. A few new rides have been added, all from the same manufacturer. It's like a Zamperla showroom. New family coaster. I don't know if adults are allowed to ride, and decided not to find out. The spot where Sea Viper, aka Corkscrew, used to be is now a lawn. Future megalite location? One can only hope... I assume that Village have a warehouse full of that green hedge tarp somewhere. The park are replacing their fairly terrible food court and games area with a new covered food/retail space that will double as an event venue. Given that the old area had all the charm of a bus station, this is well overdue. No footers, plenty of dirt. There is a lot for them to rip up here, including the old train line that used to run around the park. More demolition. The monorail is staying but won't reopen until after the works are complete. Storm coaster was only improved by the rain. Jet Rescue doesn't run in the wet, so no seals would be liberated today. The "water park", consisting of a kiddie pool and single slide, is gone forever. Nothing has been demolished yet, but there's plenty of room for the park to work with here. Mandatory tropical reef photo. These fish are oblivious to the poor tourists getting soaked outside. The polar bear cubs have moved to Canada, so this big fella had the place to himself today. Creatures of the Deep also has an indoor section with some smaller creatures. Let's end with the Ocean Sunfish. Thanks for reading!
  2. Tie between Superman Escape and Xcelerator for me. Xcelerator is a little more thrilling but Superman's dark ride section makes it a close call.
  3. Thad, you need to at least get the Liseberg update out before we go back there!
  4. Sounds like I need to head back and try it again, the layout and location are definitely spectacular enough to warrant a repeat visit!
  5. Great photos, now I miss Hong Kong all of a sudden! Glad to hear Hair Raiser was running well, back in 2014... well let's just say I've been on smoother SLCs. Hong Kong Disneyland might be small but it has some excellent rides in Grizzly and Mystic Manor.
  6. The Ghostbusters dark ride alone makes me excited to visit, and the overall selection sounds pretty good for a brand new park. On face value at least, Motiongate certainly looks to have a greater depth of attractions than IMG Worlds of Adventure.
  7. Definitely a sad piece of news. I doubt anything less than the removal of all animals from the park will make the animal rights groups happy.
  8. Got all the prizes from round two, and 250-odd coins hoarded for tomorrow's update. Hopefully they'll be a little more generous with the crafting items in this one as I'm well behind on that.
  9. I was pleased to find out that a tour of Kinky Boots is coming to Australia later this year, it looks great!
  10. Great pics, Dave. Sounds like Ferrari World is becoming something of a destination park. I'm curious, did they give any hints as to when the shuttle coaster might be opening?
  11. The rumour doing the rounds is that the new attraction will be an Intamin Suspended Twin Hammer: www.intaminworldwide.com/amusement/RoundRides/Suspended+Twin+Hammer/tabid/141/ProductNumber/Suspended+Twin+Hammer/language/de-DE/Default.aspx If this is indeed what they're adding, it certainly fits the space they're currently preparing for the ride. I'm cautiously optimistic - Movie World definitely needs some flat ride capacity, and it would add some much-needed "kinetic energy" to that corner the park as well.
  12. Tokyo Disneysea Moving on to the highlight of this trip, and arguably Disney's best park anywhere, we finished our time in a Japan at Tokyo Disneysea. I knew this place would be great, but was still overwhelmed at the level of detail that runs throughout the entire park. Think Cars Land or Diagon Alley-style immersion, and apply that to an entire park - it's very clear that no expense has been spared to make DIsneysea stunning. The attractions are generally excellent. Journey to the Center of the Earth is definitely one of Disney's best dark rides, and Indiana Jones is just as good in Tokyo as it is in Anaheim, maybe even a little better. Even the second-tier rides are very, very good - we made multiple repeat visits to Sindbad, 20,000 Leagues and Aquatopia. As with Tokyo Disneyland, the attractions that have been brought over from other parks are all "plussed" in some manner, Tower of Terror and Turtle Talk in particular have some great improvements on their American counterparts. And if that wasn't enough, Disneysea has some excellent live entertainment as well, from a brilliant Little Mermaid live show to what is easily the most spectacular version of Fantasmic! Waiting to get in, notice the blue sky. We were lucky with the weather at Disney, I think it only rained on one day while we were there, and June is typically the wet season. Entry plaza with spinning globe might be reminiscent of Universal, but nothing else in this park is. You enter the park under Hotel Miracosta - if you didn't stay there overnight, of course. Rooms at the hotel start at around 0 a night, and that's if you don't want to stay on the Mediterranean Harbor side. I was super excited when I realised we'd be visiting on my birthday, so I dutifully went to guest services for a sticker. This made for a very fun day - when they noticed the sticker, cast members would applaud and exclaim "Happy Birthday!" I loved it, even if my group got a bit sick of the theatrics after a few hours. Mediterranean Harbor and the hotel are themed to an Italian port city, complete with gondoliers. The gondola rides would stop whenever there was a show on the harbor, which because it's Japan was like every 30 minutes. So I guess I'm saving this for a future trip. Yeah, they built this from scratch! And this too. The scaffolding gets in the way a little, but Mount Prometheus cuts an imposing presence. Heading from Mediterranean Harbor to Mysterious Island, this bridge is better themed than most parks! There are two rides and multiple restaurants inside this mountain. And it occasionally erupts. The amazing thing is, you can't even see any seams, let alone a show building. So this is inside Mount Prometheus, everything has very Jules Verne-steampunk aesthetic. The Nautilus sits in the lake, waiting for its next adventure. I love how they left the tunneling machine here, as though it was used to build the ride. I only ever saw these signs in English, maybe the Japanese think Westerners need help figuring out where to take a photo? Hearing that Journey gets some long lines, we grabbed a fastpass and then went straight into the standby queue. As it turns out, most locals go to Toy Story first thing, so the wait was all of five minutes. After taking an elevator to the centre of the earth, we were ready to board. Journey is probably the most immersive ride anywhere in the world. At no point is there any feeling that you are in a show building, it really is as though Disney built a ride because they found an amazing lava monster below their park. Granted the immersion dropped a little when we were evac'd out of the queue (like Test Track, it's not the most reliable ride) but I'd suggest that this ride alone is worth visiting Disneysea for. The "other" ride inside Mount Prometheus is 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Due to some refurbishments on the queue it was a little hidden away, but I'm glad we didn't miss this one. You ride in a submersible (pictured) and take a journey through caverns deep in the ocean. The sensation of "going underwater" is very well done, and if this was in one of the US parks I think it would be many people's "Top 10 Disney Rides" lists. A little further away from the mountain, this is where the Arabian Coast meets the Lost River Delta. And here we have the best-looking terrible ride ever built. Raging Spirits' immaculate presentation sadly doesn't make up for its failure as a rollercoaster. The queue was estimated at a lengthy 90 minutes, and with fastpass unavailable we decided to go single rider. The cast member really tried to discourage us from doing this, claiming that the wait would be even longer, but we were all on in five minutes. Again, much better to look at than ride. The layout isn't too dissimilar from a Pinfari looper, and the restraints are only slightly more comfortable. At least it has an inversion. The effects are great though, plenty of fire throughout and this cloud of mist would always appear right before a car came through. Jeff looks pretty happy that the beating has come to an end. The Arabian Coast "port" is loosely themed to Aladdin, and once again was incredible to experience. The Magic Lamp theater housed a slightly strange show about a magician who found the titular lamp. It wasn't bad but just didn't make a whole lot of sense, even with the English subtitle device they gave us. The building is quite spectacular though. Moving on to the less regal parts of Agrabah/Arabian Coast, still intricately detailed. It does remind me a bit of Epcot's Morocco pavillion. You'd think this building housed some sort of ride, or at least a meet-and-greet. Nope, they went all out for a shop. Even the toilets get the "whatever it costs" treatment. million of Flying Carpet ride. This was good fun - the riders in the front control the height, and passengers in the back get to tilt the vehicle. Sindbad's Storybook Voyage was the surprise packet of the trip. I went in expecting a Little Mermaid-style dark ride, but instead it's a full Small World-meets-Pirates musical boat trip, complete with catchy song. The premise is that you follow Sindbad on his adventures around the world. The animatronics in this ride are amazing - each one has as much movement as the characters in Pirates of the Caribbean, and there are a few hundred of them! One group member in particular liked Sindbad quite a bit, so we returned to "follow the compass of our heart" a few times. I wasn't complaining, it's far preferable to Small World. Eruption! The opposite side of Mediterranean Harbor has something of a Game of Thrones-King's Landing vibe. Lots of turrets and ramparts. This is kind of Disneysea's equivalent of Tom Sawyer Island, a playground of sorts to explore and discover. The fortress contains a number of science-based diversions, including this clock that uses a pendulum to knock over pegs. Or this painting, all skewed... ...until you look through the viewfinder. The cannons were fun. Sadly my efforts to sink carve out additional Fantasmic seating were unsuccessful. There was a minor attraction here too, the Leonardo Challenge. A cast member gave you a sheet of paper and a starting point, and you had to figure out puzzles based on things around the fort. As it was entirely in Japanese this proved surprisingly challenging, so I was pretty proud that we managed to finish. For my lunch we went to Magellan's, like everything else at Disneysea this was an excellent choice. Magellan's has an "explorer's club" theme, with artefacts and paintings from around the world. Considering it's a Disney restaurant it wasn't too expensive either, and the food was great. Happy diners. I think this one is up there with Mythos in the "best theme park restaurant" category. I got a special dessert, along with the standard applause and congratulations. Heading around to Port Discovery, we found the hotly anticipated Aquatopia. Both trackless and pointless, Aquatopia is nonetheless much more fun than you'd expect. Just in case we thought the park had run out of spectacular, here is the American Waterfront. If you're making a list of "top Disney bathrooms" (and you really shouldn't), this would be #1. Like all of the ports at Disneysea, American Waterfront is ridiculously detailed. Gotta love those moving pictures. Maybe this is the ticket to my big break? Not that I have any need for this... Big Band Beat is a live jazz show housed in the Broadway Theatre. This one is incredibly popular, and has a definite cult following. Also, it was entirely in English, so we understood what was going on! From the moment that curtain went up the crowd were very enthusiastic. I'd love to find out how an American jazz show garnered such a strong following at a Japanese theme park. Toy Story Mania is just as popular in Tokyo as its counterparts around the world, possibly more so. I get why people like this ride but do not really understand why it's so ridiculously popular. The fastpasses for this get snapped up very quickly, so the best way to ride seemed to be to go right at park opening and get in the standby queue - we only waited about 15 minutes compared to 90 later in the day. The Hightower Hotel houses Tokyo's version of the Tower of Terror. The drop sequence on this is a little shorter than similar rides elsewhere, but it has a very cool preshow and queue. Aforementioned queue. After seeing the preshow once I had to immediately head back to figure out how the effects worked. Shiriki!!! Mermaid Lagoon is a mostly indoor port, unsurprisingly themed to The Little Mermaid. Flounder's Flying Fish coaster is the best credit in the park. Every second car is having a good time! Apparently smoking is bad for fish too. The outside of Mermaid Lagoon looks great... ...and the "under the sea" effect indoors is quite something. All the rides here are aimed at younger kids, kind of like A Bug's Land, but not terrible. Staring contest! Inside this theater is King Triton's Concert. This is a new addition to the park, having replaced the previous show. I was expecting something along the lines of Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Hollywood Studios, and could not have been more wrong. King Triton's Concert is a full-on musical spectacular, with some amazing wire and stunt work, and visual effects. It was quite popular, and deservedly so. Once night fell, the park took on a whole new look. Aquatopia had been fun during the day, but took on a whole new silliness at night. There were no lines, and I think we ended up riding it for half an hour to try and hit all of the different pathways. Spin, look at rocks, spin, look at fountain, go backward, spin, spin again, go forward... Aquatopia! If the update of Luigi's Flying Tires resembles anything close to Aquatopia I'm sure it will be very popular. Indiana Jones Adventure was also better at night. I like the one in Anaheim a lot, but Disneysea has completely outdone them on the theming. No lengthy tunnels under the railway here, you really are in an ancient temple! And Paco is even more entertaining than Sallah. So the ride itself is quite similar to California, a few differences here and there but I'd have a hard time picking which one is "better". On the night we went though, the ride ops were basically having a party - I've never seen people enjoying their job so much! This ride is right at the back of the park so there wasn't much of a queue in the evening, and on our third re-ride they decided to serenade me with a rendition of Happy Birthday - awesome! I've always been a big fan of Fantasmic at Disneyland, and at Disneysea it gets a much bigger arena. The story is similar but the show has been significantly upgraded, and it's quite easy to find a good spot to watch. Maleficent still gets her comeuppance in the end. Characters waving scarfs from the Mark Twain are charming and all, but this hat makes for a much more impressive finale. The park looks equally stunning after dark. There is a bar on the SS Columbia, forgot to check it out this trip. Next time! In case you haven't noticed, it's super easy to take great photos of Disneysea. Let's not forget the popcorn. There are about a dozen flavours of popcorn available from carts around both parks. They ranged from plain old salt to chocolate or honey. My picks were black pepper, and this jalapeno and cheese offering. Toyville's lighting package reminds me a lot of Luna Park Sydney at night. Straight out of the thirties. That's it from Disneysea, and indeed from Japan. If you've read this far, thanks very much. I hope you've enjoyed my trip report and are already researching how to visit!
  13. There wasn't much of a crowd when we visited, so they were waiting to fill the train between dispatches. But like a lot of Japanese parks the ride ops at La Qua are very safety conscious and do not rush the loading process, so operations are typically slower than you might see in the US or Europe. A day pass might still be worth it - there's a great Spiderman-style dark ride (Tokyo Panic Cruise), and the flume ride (closed when I was there) looked good.
  14. After riding Tulireki, hopefully they've figured out how make the ride less bouncy if that's the case. I will be surprised if this turns out to be a spinner, but having seen the layout (especially what looks like an unbanked 180-degree turn) it's not completely out the question I guess. Definitely one of the most "interesting" rides being built this year, anyway.
  15. Thanks for posting this report, I'm thinking of heading to Yas Waterworld during a long layover in Abu Dhabi later this year. I'm curious to know - how long did you guys end up spending at the park?
  16. Booked my tickets to Little Shop of Horrors this week. Very much looking forward to this one - I thought the film was great so can't wait to see it on stage. Also grabbed my seat for Book of Mormon, which starts its Australian run in January next year. They really are selling tickets that far ahead!
  17. ^I'm skeptical of VR as well, have tried a few demos and while the tech is impressive it doesn't seem like something I'd like to use for an extended period of time. But I'm keen to check this out next time I visit Europa, at least for the novelty factor.
  18. That castle looks enormous, reminds me a little of Shrek's castle at Universal Singapore! I am very interested to see how this park is received once it opens.
  19. Obviously the park will be ruined! Based on that artwork the new "bend" will be much more than just a bunch of trees. The riverboat ride is a bit long anyway, and that corner of the park needs an update so it's great that it'll get one courtesy of Star Wars land.
  20. Those new trains have onboard audio as well, I have not had the chance to ride yet but hear they are a significant improvement on what was there previously. The old Cyclone queue was looking very tired/dilapidated so it's great to see that part of the park get some love. Dreamworld on the whole is looking far better than it did 3-4 years ago, a number of rundown areas have been updated and refreshed, something the park really needed after being somewhat neglected by the previous management. Hopefully a big new attraction isn't too far off now that they've spent a few years making smaller improvements.
  21. I'm up to part 15, and have just unlocked Mrs Sinclair. I would happily part with donuts for her brother Llewellyn, A Streetcar Named Marge is one of my all-time favourite Simpsons episodes.
  22. Thanks for the trip report, Liseberg is one of my favourite parks. Balder, Helix, Hotel Gasten, Flumeride, Lisebergbanan - plenty of great attractions in one place!
  23. It's great that the park is continuing to improve the parade. I saw the Magic Kingdom's Electrical Parade for the first time in 2014 and while it was good, seemed like a bit of a nostalgia trip for the older folk. In comparison Dream Lights actually felt like it belonged in this century, and some of the floats (particularly Genie) are quite impressive.
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