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Everything posted by smells_like_team_disney

  1. I actually think Star Tours is better suited in Tomorrowland. The attraction works as a Spaceport here on Earth taking us to the Star Wars universe. If anything, I would love to see a new kind of transport-themed attraction in Star Wars Land that somehow works in conjunction with Star Tours, or a new scene in Star Tours that takes us to the new land. Only time will tell.
  2. Thank you much for posting this awesome photo TR. It definitely brought back a lot of great memories. Everything about this trip was just amazing!! I couldn't have imagined a better planned trip than what Robb and Elissa pulled out for us. And I actually enjoyed all the dilapidated parks off the beaten path with their questionable coasters. They were a huge highlight for me and gave us a taste of China few people ever experience. After three trips with TPR, two of them international, I'm convinced this is the only way to travel!
  3. I would love to see something on how landlocked theme parks maximize on limited space. This has always fascinated me from an urban design standpoint. For example, one would never guess that Disneyland's Autopia is literally on top of the Subs show building, or that Alice is on the second story of Mr. Toad's.
  4. More than anything, I would love to see a direct road constructed from NW Arkansas to my home park, which is Silver Dollar City. Secluded, winding, country roads are the only way to the park right now. My parents and I love to go for the shows alone, but they get car sick just from the drive to the park and back.
  5. Longest line: Indiana Jones Adventure at DL. Line ran all the way down Main Street and waited 3 hours during its inaugural year. Slowest line: X2. Every dispatch took 10-15 minutes. Worst line: Tomb Raider (Top Spin) at Movieland Studios. Ride vehicle was less than half full every cycle and load/unload was very inconsistent.
  6. Wow, I am very impressed with this incarnation of Fantasmic!. I loved how they kept the feel and emotion of the Disneyland original, however, with Tokyo Disney fashion, done on a much grander scope. I was blown away by the size of those barges, something that could never work at Disneyland, which is not a bad thing. Where Disneyland succeeds on a smaller, more intimate scale, this Fantasmic! succeeds in bringing the intimacy of Disneyland's into a larger scale. I found the dragon to be very effective, coming out of the mirror the way it did. And the tweaking of the original soundtrack didn't really bother me, considering I've never been a huge fan of Fantasmic!'s music. However, I wasn't too big a fan of the animation clips on the cone, but then again I was watching a video of it. Hope to see this version live in the near future.
  7. Why do you hate me? We were looking for the chick with no arms (Venus de Milo). You're welcome. On another note, not bad with the pictures at all. The Louvre was definitely my favorite part of Paris. Very impressive, the building itself is a work of art, and we were only in there for about 90 minutes! While the people we encountered were rude, and the city was kind of dirty, there were so many amazing pockets throughout the urban core, such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame. Our lunch on the Eiffel Tower was probably the best meal I had in Europe, and I had the best Indian food ever not far from our hotel. I would definitely go back for the Louvre alone, just to find the chick with no arms. P.S. The Mona Lisa was highly overrated. I found the picture below, which is on the wall facing Leo's "masterpiece," far more impressive.
  8. Ditto! I absolutely love the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, and the Magic Kingdom's version was one of only two rides which, in my humble (and very subjective ) opinion, was superior to rides also found at Disneyland* (Tower being the other one). The setting is just perfect. The MK takes what worked for Disneyland and expands upon it. The minute you enter the Mansion, you are completely immersed in this very creepy and foreboding, yet witty and comical atmosphere. I find it to be the epitome of Disney, even more so than Tower, only because it's more accommodating to everyone in the family. It's done very effectively, and the new Escher-inspired staircase room is too cool. *For the record, I found all other DL-equivalents (Big Thunder, Space, Winnie, etc.) to be pleasantly different, even the shorter version of Pirates.
  9. Absolutely amazing recap, Joey... and the pictures weren't bad, either. Efteling was truly a great park, with many "unique" characteristics (what the heck was up with the creepy fairies?! ). The Spook Slut was definitely a not-to-be-missed experience (especially for first-timers) only because I can't think of any place else where you can experience something like this. I'm not even sure if we have something close to a USA-equivalent. The beef carpaccio at the farewell dinner was beyond heavenly! My mouth gets watery just thinking about it! At this point in the trip, the fatigue had completely consumed me, and I was starting to feel the European death flu slowly take over. By the time we got to Paris, I was full-blown sick! Definitely a great trip, however, and I look forward to the next time TPR decides to go back to Europe.
  10. I just came back from a week-long trip to WDW, yet grew up with Disneyland. I have included my 2 cents below. Hope this helps you out further in making your decision. *Disclaimer: the following review is completely subjective, please take with a grain of salt.* While I really liked the Magic Kingdom, I absolutely love Disneyland, and I am entirely in the opposite spectrum when it comes to why. While most people appreciate the vast expansive feeling of the MK, I have always gravitated to smaller, more cozy environments. I love how small and quaint Disneyland is. I love being able to walk from Splash to Space in 4 minutes or less. I love how jam-packed the place is with rides, shows, and attractions. I understand it's a result of lack of space on Disney's part, but there really is something to discover in almost every nook and cranny. And it's incredible how well-planned everything is. One would never guess that Alice in Wonderland sits directly on top of Mr. Toad's, or that Autopia is on top of the Submarines' show building. The way they were able to accommodate everything is just fascinating to me. I really enjoyed myself at the MK, but the fact that everything was so spread out made the experience feel somewhat anemic for me. The park did not feel as complete to me as Disneyland does. I did, however, love the Haunted Mansion at the MK, much better than Disneyland's. And the MK automatically wins points for the Carrousel of Progress and still having the People Mover (much better ride system than Disneyland's ever was). I never did experience Alien Encounter, but Stitch's Great Escape was not that bad, kind of cute, actually. I will say the following about Space: I found the coaster experience to be superior to Disneyland's, but in my opinion, the theming on Disneyland's is superior to MK's. With that said, I prefer Disneyland's, only because I am more inclined to a rich, immersive, themed experience that a roller coaster experience any day. When it comes to resort experiences, hands down WDW wins. I can never imagine staying on property at Disneyland, it has always been a 2-day experience for me, at best. WDW is expensive, but the resort does such an amazing job at pulling you into its world. We stayed at a moderate, and it literally felt like staying in another place and time. I can't begin to imagine how much more heightened the experience is at a deluxe resort. And the perk of park-hopping cannot be matched anywhere else. It was also an awesome experience seeing attractions I've ridden at Disneyland in a whole new park, with different surroundings. I did find that the WDW resort as a whole is just a bit more relaxed on their upkeep (chipped paint here and there, a few animatronics out of sync, an overfilled trash can now and then) but nothing too dramatic that will detract from your experience. I have found several times on other boards that claim that WDW is literally falling apart due to their maintenance problems, but that was not the case when I was there. It's still a worthwhile experience, and far cleaner than most other amusement parks. My advice would be to do a weekend trip to Disneyland with your 4-year old, and in a few years, definitely do the WDW trip. I was debating taking my 3-year old nephew with me (he frequents DL with his mother all the time), but after further discussion with my sister, we decided to wait until he's at least 5 or 6. Either way, you can't go wrong with a Disney vacation, unless you're visiting Disneyland Paris, but that's a discussion for another board. Good luck with your decision making.
  11. Funny, I don't remember changing my name to Fernando. Absolutely amazing park! Far superior to Disneyland Paris in every way imaginable!!! It's definitely a toss-up between this one and Phantasialand as my two favorite European parks. If either one is ever in a future itinerary, I'm there. Can't wait to see more of your report!
  12. You better believe it, haha! It was so amazingly hot that day, and the heat just seemed to follow us around the entire trip (can't say I'm complaining). I think it finally cooled a bit by the time we got to Efteling. Awesome report so far, Joey. Can't wait to read the rest of it. Correct, we did go back to Gardaland that night. Just in time to enjoy an encore of the Disney Electrical Parade knock-off.
  13. This year's Halloween season has been very rewarding, and I can honestly say that I'm already pumped for next year. So far, I've been to the following events: Knott's Scary Farm The original Halloween Haunt has definitely improved over the last time I was there (5-6 years ago). The production level has definitely been raised, and the set design for all the mazes did not disappoint. Favorites this year were the Terror of London, Cornstalkers, Fallout Shelter, and the log ride's Sleepy Hollow overlay. The Hanging, while still fun, was lost on me this year since I have not been keeping up with pop culture (Justin who?). Ghosttown also seemed to be more deeply shrouded in dense fog, with amazing talent lurking in every nook and cranny. Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights (on both coasts) This was my first year attending both events, and I was greatly impressed. The production level on both coasts cannot compare to anything else I've experienced. While the Hollywood event is still in its infancy, they're definitely heading in the right direction. Terror Tram was cool if not for the sole reason of walking through the backlot at night. Friday the 13th and House of 1,000 Corpses were my favorite houses. While I have heard that this year's Orlando event was a bit disappointing compared to previous years, as a first timer I had no other precedence to base it on. And as a result, I was literally blown away! Hades, Legendary Truth and Catacombs were favorites, and while I really enjoyed the Hallowed Past house, it was almost bittersweet to realize what I have missed in previous years. Bill and Ted's is definitley an acquired taste, and one I just could not sink my teeth into. It was impressive to see the loyal following it had in Orlando. Either way, an amazing experience at both events. I don't believe I've ever genuinely jumped so much in my life. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party This was just an overall fun event, perfect for the whole family, or a perfect excuse for you and your 20- & 30-something friends to dress up and load up on free candy. It was awesome seeing the Magic Kingdom shrouded in a veil of Halloween goodness, and the lighter crowds were a huge welcome. The perimeter fireworks were impressive, and while the Boo to You Parade was cute, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I would definitely recommend this event to anyone, just for the fun of dressing up and experiencing the Magic Kingdom under a new light. Worlds of Fun While I'm not a fan of Cedar Fair using the Knott's-specific Halloween Haunt name for all it's properties (minus Cedar Point... ???), I have to admit that I was really impressed with this event. It can't compete with the big boys as far as production and budgets go, but from a local haunt standpoint, it really seems to deliver. There was a cool preshow at the start of the event where the "undead" are summoned by the Overlord, run through the audience and form a procession to their respective houses. Having done this on the Saturday one week before Halloween, it was extremely crowded. We only got to hit Corn Stalkers, Doll Factory, and Lore of the Vampire/Club Blood. All three houses were well done and were long and elaborate, although the real scares never quite materialized. From a production standpoint and layout, my favorite had to be Corn Stalkers. I definitley wouldn't mind returning to this event next year. Spanish Treasure Cave This is a local haunt that takes place in one of the areas many natural caves. Honestly, it was nothing special. This haunt seemed to focus more on the tight enclosed spaces of the cave itself and just didn't produce any real scares. The talent was really lacking. I'm looking into attending two more local haunts (Nightmares Haunted House and Raycliff Manor) before close of the season. Making some new friends at Knott's Halloween Haunt. Very cool sign to a very cool maze. The Fire Gate (not sure if it has an official name) at Hollywood's HHN. Entrance to House of 1,000 Corpes at HHN. Orlando's Fire Gate was equally as impressive! Cutting it close (pun intended) at Orlando's HHN. With my favorite Disney villain at MNSSHP. Corn Stalkers, my favorite house at Worlds of Fun. The only picture I got of the Spanish Treasure Cave, as cameras were not allowed inside. Maps of all the theme park events I've been to this year. Can't wait until next year!
  14. Awesome TR so far, Joey. Very clever captions... why haven't you done one of these yet? Although not sure about your wife's creepy eyes. I hadn't done Knott's Scary Farm for years, and I have to admit that I was very impressed with this year's event. The production level seemed more developed than in previous years. And Universal's HHN, for what it was, really blew me away. The Hollywood event is definitely on the right track, and hopefully not too far away from reaching the same caliber as Orlando's superior event. I definitely hope to return to both SoCal events next year.
  15. This all sounds beyond awesome, and would have been perfect timing for me, as I will be in town that weekend. However, I'll be flying back home that morning (stupid limited flights to NW Arkansas!). Oh well, I'm sure it will be all kinds of exciting, and hopefully this event will happen again next year.
  16. Between the Europe trip, business travels, and hosting out of towners, my running pattern has become very sporadic this summer (getting the European death flu didn't help much, either). One week I'll be doing great, doing 40-60 minute workouts 4-5 days, and the next week or two I completely fall from running grace. I've tried to fit in at least one run during my business travels, and I actually managed to run once during the Europe trip, but I can forget about fitting in a workout when I have friends and family over. One of my best friends from California is here this weekend, so I'm definitely out for the next 3 days (love you, Marina!). I'm also not running the Disneyland 1/2 marathon anymore, since I failed to register on time. I am, however, running the WDW 1/2 in January, so I have a little more time to get into shape. I still haven't gotten into the habit of measuring my distance, and continue to measure my workouts by length of time. Not sure if that will work against me come race day.
  17. This sure is a lot of information to take in all at once. Thank you, Robb, for starting this thread, and thanks to everyone who have contributed their advice. I never got into the habit of posting many pics on myspace, and I am still very new to facebook. I can honestly say that I have tagged a few people that weren't the main subject matter of a picture, although I don't believe I have tagged anyone in an unflattering pose. However, if you feel the need to untag yourself from one of my pictures, please do. I will not take offense. Like I said before, I'm still very new to facebook and continue to learn the dos and don'ts of posting pictures.
  18. We must have been at a different Thorpe Park, because I saw two (count 'em, TWO) women in bikini tops our entire day. We were bombarded with images of the "other" sex walking around shirtless which, in fact, seemed like the thing to do at Thorpe if you were a guy. Then again, we didn't spend too much time near the Tidal Wave area. I share the same sentiments as others, thanks for starting this thread Elissa. It's very refreshing to read about the organizers' perspective on the trip. The amount of time and effort you and Robb put into these trips is surpassed by none. While we may have missed out on Holiday Park, the Wurzburg fair more than made up for its loss, and had to be the highlight of the trip for me! It was an amazing alternative, and one you and Robb weren't required to do. In the end, you really can't please everyone, but I know your efforts will continue to be greatly appreciated and praised by the majority of participants. Again, thank you, and you can expect to see me on a 2011 trip!
  19. Beautiful pictures, Eric! I believe you were able to capture less obstructions than I did, even though we were sitting in the same area of the bus. Good job! Driving through the Swiss Alps was one of the many highlights of this trip.
  20. Great trip report, Larry! Some absolutely amazing pictures! I really can't think of one highlight to this trip, as there were many good times (ERT on Joris en de Draak definitely being one of them). And while I, too, wasn't able to say good bye to everyone, I look forward to meeting up with all of you on another trip!
  21. ^Dahlonega has to be the roughest mine train I've ever ridden. The Big Thunders, for the most part, offer a solid and fairly smooth ride, although I can do without the deafening anti-rollbacks on the Paris version. My favorite Arrow mine ride is ThuNderatioN, with Adventure Express being a close second. I found both to be very smooth and, overall, a lot of fun. However, my favorite mine ride PERIOD is definitely Colorado Adventure by Vekoma at Phantasialand! I've yet to ride the one at SFFT.
  22. I still feel that Jaguar at Knott's was the most overhyped ride when it first opened... just my humble opinion, of course. While it seems to disappoint when considering what it's being advertised as, I still see a lot of factors that I know I will appreciate if and when I ride this. It may not blow me away, but I know it's a ride what I will enjoy for what it is. And I rarely allow myself to be consumed by the hype of, well, anything (I learned my lesson from Jaguar ). Overall, amazing trip report so far. It just makes me that much more excited for the Europe Trip!
  23. There's another 5K in the area this evening, benefitting local schools. However, my allergies are really acting up so I won't be able to run it.
  24. ^Wow, that's really good, congratulations! I just found out my time and placement for the 5K I just ran Saturday. My time was 25:16 and I placed 126th out of 265 in the men's division. I'd say not bad for an 11-year hiatus. There's another 5K coming up in the area on May 7th, and I'm definitely going to run it!
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