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mckayj93

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Everything posted by mckayj93

  1. I'm kinda a noob with Florida park planning. I am coming down June 17-22 with the duel purpose of parks and visiting some friends. I have about 3.5 days for parks in my trip- 1 at Busch, 2.5 for others. Ruled out Disney because of cost / lack of time. It seems the factor that I'm debating is I know Hagrid opens the week before. Would this make crowds still nuts for the new ride a week later? Will it make both parks / lines more crowded than average then? I'll be single rider wherever I can. Is 2.5 days enough for both Universal parks for a 1st timer? Any other tips? Thanks
  2. I got a survey from Dollywood about new options for a dark ride and new festival ideas. It first had you rank between a traditional dark ride, a flying theater attraction, and a interactive walk through experience. It then had you go through about 5 themes for the traditional dark ride. Based on the themes this sounds like a Phase 2 attraction for Wildwood Grove. Themes ranged from bears, fireflies, counterfeit money maker, map maker, etc. They also had detail about a new Christmas show that was a orchestrated candlelit experience with the Nativity story, and a daily Summer parade (looked Wildwood Grove themed). I can upload screenshots I took if anyone is interested.
  3. Hey everyone- starting to solidify more details for my trip. I'm looking at traveling June 9th - 15th. My goal for the trip is visiting friends that live in Jacksonville, Lakeland, and Sarasota , while also fitting in as much theme park time as possible. It's possible I might have friends that go to the parks with me, but I might be solo. Travel- Planning on flying in and out of Jacksonville, as flights and rental car are considerably cheaper there compared to other 4 airports I looked at. (also can stay with friends free day of flights) Parks- I'm debating which parks to do. Trying to spend as little as possible while doing a lot. Looks like best deal is 5 days of Universal for $250ish, or some sort of combo ticket for Busch / Seaworld for like $150ish. Varients of that included perks like waterparks, parking, or dining. I'd love to go to Disney, but the others are higher on the bucket list for this trip. Will probably go to both Fun Spots as well. I probably have 4 full days between Mon - Fri that week for parks. -Should I do all or stick to just 1 chain for the amount of time I have? -How many days would you allow for a 1st timer at Seaworld or Busch Gardens? I like walking around and enjoying, not just rushing to get credits. I'd also enjoy a lot of the animal shows at Seaworld, and possibly Busch Gardens too. -Is timing bad for Unversal? I know the new HP coaster opens the 13th. I didn't plan it that way, just coincidence with when I'm off work. Everything will be basically new for me at all the parks. Is lines going to be nuts everywhere, or do you think it would be tame the 14th, or earlier in the week? Riding the new one would be cool, just don't want to spend all day in line to do so when time is limited. -If I picked 1, I'd say Universal if crowds wouldn't be too crazy. If I repeat this trip, I know RMC Gwazi is coming next year. Travel- In Orlando, depending on hotel, would it be stupid to walk to Universal if hotel was close? I know some offer free shuttles, and I know if I make near SeaWorld base, there are the Lynx bus routes, have no experience with that though. Or would Uber be fairly inexpensive in town, or do I just need to suck it up and pay the fee to park the rental car? Anything else I should be thinking of? Thanks!
  4. Season Passholder Day went well. To my knowledge LR was up most of day, 1 train operation. Went down once, but stayed a fairly low wait. Mystery Mine never opened today. Mountain Sidewinder had signage removed and from the map. Festival of Nations food major step up from last year. All the drinks were good in my party, I had poutine (Canada) which was great. The Cuban food was also highly rated, as were the South Korean nachos. Wildwood Grove from Wild Eagle / Drop Line looks like all the rides and structures are about in place, looks like mostly landscaping is left.
  5. Dollywood's shows are phenomenal, especially at Christmas. The lights and decorations are top quality as well. I wouldn't base a rides only trip in winter though, as the park is open, cold temperatures can close rides.
  6. I hope they will actually have a season pass holder day this year. There were a few discounts opening day, but it was nice having the day before.
  7. I was there yesterday and today. I only got night rides on Lightning Rod today, but didn't notice the "pothole". Couldn't tell of any structural changes with the wood due to the dark. I did notice the sound effects worked during much more of the launch than before. Had 5 minute waits last couple hours park was open. Let's hope it stays running long term!
  8. I'd love a dining plan! Either per day or per year, I'd be interested. I live 3 hours away, and I'm always shocked at how people shell out more at the shows and tacky places on the strip- and never touch Dollywood or the National Park. Dollywood's one day ticket I think is too much, but not bad with the 2 or 3 day deals they do in the summer. I think value dropped a bit when they got rid of the free after 3pm / 6pm deal. Season Pass I feel is very reasonable though. I always get Gold, I never have enough time to justify getting Super. I'd only be able go like once in the summer.
  9. I am planning to take a trip to Florida sometime in 2019. It will be in June, July or October. I have some flexibility on when I go with my work schedule. I've had a bunch of friends move to Florida, so I thought I would make a combo friends and theme park trip. Here are some ideas, just wanted some people to tell me if anything needs tweaked. Places I'm going are Tampa (Sarasota), Lakeland, Palm Coast (near Jacksonville / St Augustine), and Orlando. I will be solo for my time in Orlando. Also let me know if there is anything else that is must see, like any cool historical, natural hikes or water areas etc. Day 1- Fly in Tampa or Sarasota. Hang out with friend #1. Day 2- Busch Gardens Tampa with friend #1 Day 3- Drive from Sarasota to Lakeland, spend day with friend #2. Drive on to Orlando. Day 4-6?- Orlando parks. More on that below. Still debating how many days. Hotel in Orlando. Last day of park drive to Palm Coast Last day- hang out in Palm Coast with friend #3 and fly home Flight- I live in Nashville so I'm hoping to get a good deal on either Frontier or Southwest. I'm looking to fly into probably Tampa, fly home from Jacksonville. I'll rent a car, looks to be under $300 for a week. I'm also open to starting or ending from Orlando and switching up my trip days, will just depend on if there is a large cost difference in flights. I've only flown once, so not an expert in this category. Parks- I know I want to go to Busch Gardens Tampa. I will probably do SeaWorld because you can get a combo ticket between SW and BGT. I'm debating which other parks to hit. BGT will probably be the only park I have a friend at, so I will be solo / single rider the rest of the parks. Legoland Florida is sort of on my way, didn't think the price warranted the cost for what it is so I didn't include it. Is Fun Spot worth the money to tack on to the the travel day or SeaWorld day? Both or which one? My main debate is which Disney / Universal Parks to do. I will have probably 3-4 days in Orlando. SeaWorld being 1, what should I feel the rest with? I haven't been to Disney since I was 8 in 2003, and didn't see much of Animal Kingdom at all due to only being half day. Epcot was my favorite as a kid. I went to Islands of Adventure right when Harry Potter opened, but didn't ride anything due to just about every major ride breaking down. I thought about sticking to just Universal so I can see rest of Harry Potter and actually ride things. Would 2 days be enough or need 3 for both parks? Not too interested in the water park, but correct me if I'm wrong. Also will be by myself in Orlando and could use single rider lines and not have to worry about keeping up with Fast Pass. It seems Disney would be better saving for a future trip and doing it all at once. Thoughts on that? Hotel- I will stay to utilize my Wyndham rewards in Orlando. If I did Disney I'd probably stay at the Wyndham at Downtown Disney. I don't want to redeem points for anywhere because I won't be in the room much, really just need cheapest clean Wyndham option. Ideally it would be somewhere that had shuttle that got me to parks before opening to avoid parking fees. Or is Uber better or just driving and paying the fee? I'm opening to adding days or moving stuff around, just seeing what yall think about the rough plan and what I should add. Thanks!
  10. Thanks for all this. The Great Smokey Mountain National park is definitely on our to do list. And we're getting skip the line passes everywhere they are offered so I'm not worried about lines. I'm usually not into water rides if you get absolutely soaked like the ones at cedar point. How wet should I expect to get on those at Dollywood? You might not need TimeSaver at Dollywood, or maybe could get by with the cheaper of the 2 options. It also gives reserved seating for most shows. IMO Lightning Rod / Firechaser benefit from it the most, but with my visit last week LR was under 10min wait after about 4pm. Of Dollywood's 3 water rides- Smoky Mountain River Rampage is a fairly good rapids ride. I normally get the most wet on it. Daredevil Falls was the country's tallest log ride when it was new. If you lift your feet up when you hit the water on the big drop, your feet don't get wet. I normally don't get very wet on this one. Mountain Sidewinder is a very unique mix of raft ride and water slide. You get about medium wet on this one. How wet you get heavily depends on the weight and who all is in your raft. Have a blast
  11. For Dollywood- be sure to check out the Great Smoky Mountain National Park since you listed the area for 2 days. I live in Nashville and often take the scenic route taking I140 to bypass Knoxville and go in the back way through the park. Lots to see even if you only have an hour or two. All kinds of great local restaurants as well. Some of my favorites are the Apple Barn, Pottery House, Huck Finns, Bennetts, Make sure you try Dollywood's cinnamon bread. The food at Dollywood is pretty good as well, the 2 buffets Aunt Grannys and Miss Lillians are pretty good value for what they offer. The shows are also top quality at Dollywood. Whatever is showing in the Celebrity Theater is always good, as is Dolly's My People show if your into country or Dolly. Everyone flocks to Lightning Rod and Firechaser Express, but lines always die out around 4pm, and the park is open until 10pm. Also make sure to not miss Mountain Sidewinder and Daredevil Falls, some people miss them because they are tucked away in the hills, both unique water rides. If you don't know where you are staying I can help with that as well. Also can help with Nashville area tips too.
  12. I got my current pair of glasses last October. I never thought about the glasses on rides because they were so tight on my face, my new ones are much bigger. Bought a strap and glad I did, I could tell it was needed, especially Lightning Rod. I'm fine with parks asking and checking, just hope I can keep them on. My eyes are too bad for contacts, I wouldn't be able to see anything riding without my glasses.
  13. I was there last half of the day Sunday. Everything was a walk on, it was great! Some rides including LR started shutting down around 8pm though. Something new this visit from my last one 2 weeks ago was Mystery Mine and Wild Eagle ride ops asked about my glasses. I showed them my glasses strap and that satisfied them. Never had a ride op mention glasses before, maybe it was coincidence.
  14. For those loyal to Wyndham, then have recently acquired LaQuinta and are offering a 1:1 match on points and status between the two rewards programs until they merge them next year. A lot of LQ properties are nicer than typical Wyndham fare and redeem free nights for much less points than the 15000 for Wyndham. There are 3 LQ properties in the area, 6k, 8k, 11k free nights at them. This might be useful info to some of you
  15. I was in charge of a group of 40 people visiting Holiday World yesterday. I haven't been in over a decade. Raven was the only coaster I did before, so even though I knew I'd be tied up a lot being the group leader, I was excited for some new rides. First the park was clean and well landscaped. It wasn't quite Herschend or Busch level but was very nice. A lot of my mental comparisons were to Dollywood as I consider it my home park, even though Holiday World is the same distance from home. Employees in general were great. Food service, tickets, lifeguards were all top notch. Thunderbird was insane. The launch was way stronger than it looked from the ground. It also was the best themed coaster. My only other wing rider is Wild Eagle, and I feel that I can't pick one over the other as they are very different rides. The water park was one of the best- Mammoth is hands down the best water ride I have ever been on. I only had one chance to ride the three woodies, they were all good, Legend was my least favorite of the 3. Raven is still one of the best wooden coasters out there. I really liked Voyage, but with only one ride on it I can't really say too much more yet, need to go back again and experience it more. Great park!
  16. Just got a email survey from Dollywood about a new spring festival focused on entertainment and gardening. Based on the questions it sounded like either doing both Festival of Nations and the new one or getting rid of Festival of Nations and replacing it with this.
  17. I'd say he or something would be back. It seems Mystery Mine always has a rough start every season. Didn't get a chance to ride so I can't comment on how many of the ride's special effects were working right
  18. It is indeed gone. You can see the dirt where it was against the rock wall if your standing farther back.
  19. Are they good for the $.99 refill prices on the mugs or the $3.99? .99 for popcorn and mugs. Both are the exact same design as last year. Verified by experience doing it today and by employees haha.
  20. Today was a great first opening day. Crowds weren't as near as bad as I expected. I got in at 9 on the dot, and most of the other season pass holders swarmed the Celebrity Theater upon receiving their wristband for the press event. I went from 9-10 and rode all the open coasters. By the time I got back to Celebrity theater the line was from there to past Ham N Beans in Craftsman's Valley. The press event was phenomenal. They had a dancing painter that will be there this summer paint a picture of Dolly, a country artist, a gospel artist, Orleans, and even Dolly sang a song. Dolly cracked a few jokes too- my favorite was a random guy screamed "Dolly your beautiful" while she was talking, and she just said "Didn't I tell you to wait out in the truck" haha. A few notes on other things in the park: - Popcorn buckets and mugs from last year are good this year. Staff verified this at multiple vendors. - Thunderhead was a wee bit rough today. It looks like some of the beams and support got new wood. I contribute that to the first day of the season though. - Mystery Mine was down all day, Lighting Rod was down for a couple hours but was open at opening and at the end. I rode at about 9:30, they were dispatching both trains but leaving one empty. - Rivertown's upgrades look great. Really opened up the space where Apple Jack's used to be. It's an open area now. A lot of the buildings had a fresh coat of paint. - The new plaza where River Battle was is exactly what that area needed. It really opens up the space, there are new seating options everywhere, and you can cut through it to make a straight shot instead of walking around like before. A great day! Staff, rides, and shows were all top notch today.
  21. Dollywood just posted an update video about Rivertown on their Facebook. I'm impressed with Aunt Granny's look, doesn't even look like the same space. That building needed a refresh bad. Also it looks like they said Heartsong got redone on the inside, curious to see if there is a new film or if they just remastered the old one. Looking forward to being there tomorrow and Saturday!
  22. I called the other day and they told me it would be open to everyone this year, but passholders get to go in earlier. I just called and was told that pass holders could get in at 9am, and they didn't know when the public could get in. I assume 10am if the website is right. I hate they are doing away with the whole day, I really enjoyed the low crowds and discounts they offered last year.
  23. Anyone got word on season passholder day? It appears from the website that it is opening to the pubic Friday the 16th.
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