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Jahan's Super Sweet October Trip-Trip Report!

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Beware of the Kraken! This Kraken may smell like a firecracker, but at least it doesn’t eat cell phones!



I think I am one of the few who will get this joke.


Good thing Kraken Sh*t it back out by the end of closing so I could get it the next day.


Awesome TR Jahan! Your insight is whimsical yet... ...pointless.


Great stuff! Keep up the good work.

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Thanks for the comments Guy and Julie! Except for Julie's comment about how she finds my face disturbing!


I really must be moving on if I wish to ever get this baby done! So without further adieu…


Park VII: Epcot



Now Epcot—I was definitely excited to visit Epcot. Not only had a liked my little taste of the park, two nights earlier, but Epcot was one of the few memories I have from my original Florida trip, 12 years ago. Future World…not so much. But the World Showcase. Yes…all of my life I have had these memory-flashes of seeing great world icons, despite the fact that I hadn’t left the United States. It wasn’t until I became a theme park enthusiast that I had realized that what I was remembering was in fact my original trip through the World Showcase. So pulling up to the park and watching the monorail glide past above our heads, was definitely getting me excited for the day before me.


Anyway, after we entered the park, we hurried over to get our Soarin’ fast passes. Now, we do have Soarin’ in California (over…to be exact ), but I happen to really enjoy the ride, so I didn’t mind doing it in Epcot either. After getting our Fastpasses, we headed over to the first ride of the day…



“California Traffic Test”


“California Weather Test”


Test Track was a really solid attraction. Loads of fun and great reride value. The crash-test was a very sweet little novelty, as was the environmental tests. The handling tests were just good fun and the speed test was surprisingly better than I had pictured. The only thing that I don’t get, is after you have completed the handling test where you zigzag back and forth, before you reach the crash-test room, there is all of a sudden a large truck driving towards you, that you have to drive around. WTF?! Where did that come from?!


Last time I let Ryan borrow the car!




After Test Track, it was time to put my life on the line…


I had actually prepared a Will earlier that morning.


All jokes aside, I think I have to say that the Mission: Space building has the most beautiful façade of any other building that I have ever seen…in and out of theme parks. I wish I had more time to grab pictures of it! It’s just such a unique entrance. So a pat on the back and gold stars for whoever worked on that one!


I was very curious as to what I would think of Mission: Space. Dead people aside, it has been getting quite a bit of negative remarks lately. At least in what I have read. The queue for the ride was pretty neat. And then…well…


He’s looking right at you, Wes! A little seductively, might I add. This concerns me.


…Yes…Gary. I actually thought the preshows were quite fun. Or is that because we made them fun for ourselves? Anyway, every time we rode, the whole queue was literally just waiting through the preshows! Finally, we ride…


Mission: Space was a very very very fun ride! My favorite “ride” in Epcot, fo’ sho’! It is really, as I had been told, perfectly engineered! The forces are in perfect sync with the visuals, as with the movement themselves. And forces aside, the sheer, for lack of a better word, “intimacy” of a four-person cabin makes the experience so much wackier and more fun than something like Star Tours, as does the “interactivity” of the ride. I mean, who doesn’t like a good dose of insertion! I was definitely impressed and pleasantly surprised by Mission: Space!


The exit gives geeks like me a chance to check out the infrastructure of the ride.


This never-ending exit hallway makes me feel like I am right home at Disneyland!


GO TEAM TRITON! 98 freakin percent!


Up next, we made the half a mile trek over to use our Soarin’ FastPasses.


Nothing says “The Land” like Soarin’ away from it!


Best row in the house!


Soarin’ was a great ride as usual. Same exact thing as California’s version, just the screens are still clean, so the projection looked nicer. I really like this ride back in California, because it is the one large attraction in DCA that really everybody, big and small, young and old, can do. In Epcot, I admit it felt a little bit ill-placed and being a much more developed park, it didn’t seem as grand of an attraction. And there was no denying that it felt awkward having flown 3,000 miles, only to watch a movie about my own state! After Soarin’, it was back into The Land pavilion, to take advantage of the boat ride!


Again, the theme feels very “airborne” for a pavilion named “The Land”


Lame, you say? Well, the wait for this was longer than the wait for Mission: Space and Test Track!


The Living with the Land Boat Ride was pretty much a solid dark ride—had a good balance of stuff to look at, cheesyness, and all at a nap-inducing pace.


Oh the excitement!


A natural specimen compressed within a corporate vice! Oh the symbolism!


…although, I cant say that I didn’t enjoy my ride. Even if everybody glanced my way when we passed the male-chicken. Bastards!



Anyway, after the Boat Ride, we continued our darkride-tour by heading down to The Seas (with Nemo and Friends). This ride was “cute”, fo’ sho’. It was very well staged, in how the queue begins on a beach and you find yourself slowly transitioning to under the water. As a matter of fact, I found the queue cooler than the ride itself. But the ride was still enjoyable.


Sally sell seashells on the seashore…Sally sells seashells on the seashore…Sally…


I think this picture came out pretty groovy!


…notice the well done transition between the scenic-borders and the screen technology.


Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude…we’re totally on the E.A.C.!



…and for a Californian like me, the highlight was definitely my chance to see the “dry projection technology”, which will be the staple of our “new” “Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage” attraction at Disneyland.


Very cool! Florida already 1-ups us, with the real fish!



At this point of the day, the rest of the crew was really starting to get anxious to try out their precious cheddar cheese soup, but I cant say that I was feeling all that hungry yet. After all, I eat breakfast. So I allowed us to postpone the second half of the darkride-tour for after our eating around the world. I decided to go ahead, and make one and a half laps around the World Showcase lagoon, before meeting back up with the TPR group. Quite a journey! It’s a mile in diameter! I basically used this opportunity to take pictures like a good tourist. Here’s a sampling of what I was able to grab!...



This picture makes me have to go, wee.



Morocco was probably my favorite pavilion, for its “tucked away” feel, like in New Orleans Square back home.




That Soarin’ building really screws over Canada! …oh well.


An obligatory Germany shot, to try and compensate for the lack of a “Jahan with Soren” picture.


I guess it was sort of pointless that by the time I actually felt like eating, I was in Mexico! Very unoriginal, I know!


Duuuuude! I’m totally digging the “making little kids pick up our trash” show!


Only if I get to pick my companion!



It’s the drum game!



Finally, I regrouped with the rest of the gang in America…well, I guess that’s true by default. Then, we finished up the edible tour of the world, and I was finally able to complete my darkride tour!


Maelstrom had a massive queue, but I was rolling with the right people, yo.


Maelstrom was a unique ride, no doubt. But it was sort of just like… “okie doke”. It was very much shorter than I had anticipated. And the drop was so insignificant, that I almost wondered why it was included in the first place! Or am I just looking it from the “having to watch Elissa sit out because of that stupid drop” point of view?


Continuing our darkride tour (we had actually hit up the boat ride in the Mexican pavilion two nights ago, so we skipped it today), it was time to face the infamous “Journey into Imagination” ride. On the walk to the ride, Robb and Reed were kind enough to inform me as to the history of the ride, to better put it into perspective for me.


Is that the Imagination?


Are we in the imagination yet?


I call him my Mini-Me!


Journey wasn’t necessarily as bad as it could have been, according to the horror stories I have heard about it in years past. I cant say that I was familiar with the actual character of Figment before my ride on it, and I will say that Erik Idle hurts the ride as much as the ride hurts Erik Idle! Regardless of the history of the attraction, as far as the concept itself of “a journey into imagination”, I feel like the ride only tapped the surface. This is Disney! They practically own imagination! And this is the best representation of a journey into it that they could muster up? So much unfulfilled potential.


Anyway, after Journey, it was time to just chill out and have some fun.


Yea…this fountain could use a little TLC!


Yes!!! After seeing this place in so many PTRs, it finally finds its way into mine!


Soren challenges Beverly (of course) for Robb.


I myself did try the infamous Beverly. It’s one of the few things in my life that have pretty much met my expectations dead on…it sucked as badly as I had thought it would! It doesn’t really hit you at first, but kicks in just as it’s far enough back to prompt the gag reflex. The closest flavor I could equate it too was liquid Nyquil!


That’s what she said.


Hmmm…no obnoxious preshow. Yea…Florida pretty much owns this round.


But, truth be told, there was actually a reason to why we’re venturing into Innoventions…


It’s getting hot in here!


The “Where’s the Fire?” game in Innovations is essentially the prototype for the new “Midway Mania” ride coming to DCA, and later MGM. And you know it has to be good, because the OLC footed the developmental costs for this technology, for Tokyo’s Monster’s Inc. ride! It’s also good because our team on the right side kicked the left side’s burning asses!



The game was actually very fun and very addicting. I cant wait to see a ride system applied to this technology! Although the biggest apparent downside, is that the system doesn’t work under any sort of flash photography! So that’s going to be a major no-no on the rides!


Finally, after “Where’s the Fire?”, it was time for the final darkride, in this trips darkride tour—Spaceship Earth!


Seimens. Heh. Heheh. Heh.


The irony of Spaceship Earth, is despite its location within the sole icon and centerpiece of the park, my parents didn’t even realize that it was there when we made our trip here 12 years ago! To this day, when I told them we went on the ride, the existence of the ride completely escapes them!



“You—you have balls. I like balls.”


I really enjoyed Spaceship Earth!


Sure, it was cheesy. But in my mind, at this point, that is sort of a requirement for a good darkride!


Really, its biggest flaw, as much as I hate to say it, is its stupid Arrow ride system. The constant stops were confusing, eerie, pathetic, and completely ruins the flow of the ride. Stupid Arrow. *sigh* It’s ok…I blame Magic Mountain.


This looks like a group of peeps I could easily get along with!


But from a kid whose considering majoring in History, the ride had a real great story to tell! I’m pretty sure its theme was my thesis in a paper last year! I was pretty much amazed that what I was watching was in fact a theme park attraction! Heh.


“Zebra bastard zebra, zebra, zebra, zebra F****R!”


After a picture like that, I also want to give a big “thank you” to Robb and Elissa! They were always making sure that I would enjoy myself throughout the whole entire day! I totally appreciate that. They shed so much concern for my de-virginizing, inaugural rides on these attractions…I cant think of anyone else I would rather share “my first” with.






In the end, I really enjoyed Epcot! It was definitely my favorite park of the whole Florida trip and the most beautiful park that I have ever been to! A lot of people tend to view the park as bi-thematic, but if I had to sum up the entire park under one theme, it would be "Humanity". The World Showcase exhibiting the culture, tradition, and civilizations established thus far and Future World forcasting how these cultures, traditions, and civilizations will combine with technology to pave out the future of the human race. Wow...I just wrote a thesis for "Epcot". Perhaps I deserve to kill myself! Regardless, its true. I'm still trying to figure out where "Beverly" fits into all of it, but still...its true.


Heh…anyway, on that note, I want to say thank you for putting up with me, yet again! As always, I really appreciate it! Please feel free to leave your questions, comments, concerns, or as always, praise! I shall leave you with one parting picture thanks to the kind Seimens over at Spaceship Earth. See you next time!




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Yeah, the Arrow ride system does suck quite a bit. It's incredibly noisy, also. It sounds like: whurr, whurr, whurr, curchunk! It is also really rough in its movements. But what completely ruins the ending of the ride (the 'climax' ) is the annoying warning voice that tells you that you are turning around backwards.

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Alright, its time for some more PTR fun! This one’s relatively short, but super-sweet! Enjoy!







…after Epcot we piled into the short bus and headed over to the Polynesian Resort for some Ohanas action!


Between these five, this is bound to be an interesting character dinner!



Ohana’s was definitely a great environment! With our super-stretch table, a very nice yet kickass chef, and the some Hawaiian stereotype entertainer dude, we were totally surrounded in family fun.


The family—I was all the way across from Joe and his hairless ass...


…and I was next to Erik and his hairy ass!


Congratulations terrorists!


Ryan King built his Montezooma’s Revenge straw-of-doom!


Anyway, like an hour and a half later, or however long dinner took, we left, 33 bucks poorer and 33 pounds heavier. Ohanas was a great experience and a great atmosphere…but I can’t say that I really found the food to be all that exceptional. Not 33 bucks exceptional, fo’ sho’. I really enjoyed and found about two or three of the selections to be very flavorful, but the rest of it was actually sort of tasteless. And to top it off, our service was disappointing. It took Jon Lacoco 15 minutes of “hang-tening” before he could get a refill on his drink! Some attribute it the poor service to the size of our table, but I say for 33 bucks, it shouldn’t matter!


Anyway, as I was saying…after dinner we rolled out of Ohanas and got in line for the Monorail. I was really excited to ride the real, non-theme park attraction monorail! The monorail crews have some pretty efficient dispatches too, so props to them.


Omg! This monorail actually goes somewhere!


Finally we were dropped off at the gates of the Magic Kingdom, and it was time to face destiny!…






Park VIII: The Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!



Now you have no idea how excited I was to finally get to the Magic Kingdom. But I guess before I go any further, it would be beneficial to provide a slight disclaimer…I am human. My brain therefore takes in new experiences and stores them right next to older experiences. So it is nearly impossible for me to look at one experience, independently of another, related experience. What I’m trying to say, is I cant help but to view the Magic Kingdom through the eyes of someone who frequently visits MY Disneyland, in California. I really can’t help it. But don’t leave!... I promise to try my best to not be annoying about it. Perhaps I’ll adopt a “if you cant say something nice, don’t say anything at all” policy.


And if anybody found my commentary this night to be annoying, I apologize for my behavior! …at least I’m not Al Lutz!


I must also, er…disclaim, that there are no pictures for a good while, due to the fact that its night and the few pictures I did take didn’t come out! Don’t worry, I went back on Sunday to get my picture fix…but for the first few rides of the night, you’ll just have to go on without photos. If you can’t do that, feel free to skip ahead to the available pictures…jerk.



Anyway, I entered the park and immediately received a bag for “Trick or treating”…for those who aren’t familiar with it, the staple of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the fact that you can go trick or treating and get free candy, regardless of age, regardless of if you even have a costume! I loved it!


I walked onto Main Street and immediately realized that I had no clue where the rest of the group had gone! I was all awone! *sniffle* But I decided to press onwards anyways, knowing that man had invented the cell phone for a reason…and sure enough, half way down Main Street I get a call from Robb saying they’re just entering Adventureland. So with the reassurance, I had decided to take my time. It’s very interesting the set up they have going on Main Street for these events…there is literally a rope splitting the street in half, with incoming special event folks on the right and outgoing normal operating hours folks on the left. Finally, I had reached the hub and I came face to face with it…the castle.


I wanted to hate it. I really did. Ok, maybe not hate it. But I didn’t want it to be as awesome of a castle as it was! It was a really nice castle! My concern was that the “realistic” structure, which I find to be more “cold” than say the Paris or California castles, would be uninviting and a blatant contrast to the fact that it remains the entrance of Fantasyland. But that wasn’t the case. The scale and coloring of the castle simply emulates a “grand” feeling. Like your now apart of something way larger than you had anticipated. I now can admit, that I found Florida’s castle to be better than California’s.


I then trekked over to Adventureland, which was much farther from the hub than I am used too, and went to meet up with the gang. I finally found them trick or treating (figures), and pretty soon we were ready to do more than simply raiding candy.


First up was Pirates of the Caribbean. The queue was very cool. I liked unloading at the bottom and speed ramping my way to the top. That’s about it.


Other than that it felt like the dated, abbreviated version of the ride we have in California. And when you throw in the fact that the CA ride received, on top of the movie installments, a brand new lighting package and a revamped digital surround-sound system, this Florida version just felt like I was watching the scaled down “edited for television” version of a movie that I just saw in full quality on the big screen.


But perhaps I’ve said too much.


After Pirates we hit up Splash Mountain. For your information, a Splash Mountain boat traditionally holds 8 passengers. We, being Theme Park Review, thought it would be best to load a whole 12 people into a boat, as they had done in the previous year! I thought I was lucky to get a front row seat…I thought wrong.


Before I forget, I’ll have to say it. Yes, I really enjoyed Splash Mountain. The story was told real well and wasn’t as confusing, for a change. The ride was immensely detailed and the fact that the animatronics weren’t just “America Sings” leftovers made for a more true rendition. And I would expect these 8 passenger logs to be better than the 6-7 passenger, in-line seating logs in California…but I wouldn’t really know, especially since by this point, I literally could not feel the seat, as my butt was honest-to-God-numb from squeezing 3 people into a row!


Another thing…the added weight in the log caused us to really dip into the water and well…remember how sitting in the front was a bad idea?...


I really didn’t escape with one dry spot!


…We literally dipped right into a wave! A wave that I just ate into! Lets just put it this way…I hadn’t hung my clothes up to dry when we got back to the house that night, and when I unpacked my clothes after getting back home in California, they clothes were still wet!


After Splash Mountain, it was time for some more trick or treating, and a quick ride on Big Thunder Mountain, which I personally enjoyed and preferred the Florida version to the California version. Either way, they are real solid rides! After all…I’m pretty sure that their footers are anchored to the mountain properly!


After Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, we ran across the park to grab our Barnstormer credit. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure that this was the longest wait of the night! But I got to see Darth Vader ride Barnstormer, and that made it all worth it! After Barnstormer, it was time for some more unavoidable candy on the Alice in Wonderland themed candy trail!


Oh I get it…I cant go to Disneyland because I will cramp Robb’s style with the ladies…but when I go to the Magic Kingdom, Robb cramps my style with the ladies!




After some candy, it was time to go watch the fireworks spectacular HalloWishes!


I personally suck at fireworks pictures, but I tried really hard, so your going to like them!


I see a firework!


The fireworks were a really nice show and we had a very nice viewing area for them. Definitely not bad for simply a special-event fireworks show, shown one month out of the entire year!


Finally it was time for the biggest attraction in the park:


Space Mountain



I got a queue length determination lanyard! My dream came true!



I really wanted to like Space Mountain. And I did. The ride was a fun ride. That’s all I can give it. Solely as a roller coaster ride, I wasn’t that impressed. I did everything I was told to do…sat in the back, gave myself some lapbar room and everything…but that “OMG…Florida Space Mountain airtime!” was just so unsatisfying. The coasters were fun and I wont say that they were entirely “rough” or “bumpy”, but it definitely wasn’t as Joe’s butt smooth as Disneyland’s Space Mountain, that’s fo’ sho’! (Two Joe’s butt jokes in one PTR…a bit much? ).


And then as a themed ride, I mean…I wont even mention California’s Space Mountain. I think I prefer the makeshift themeing in the Space Mountain that I rode in Thailand this summer, to Florida’s Space Mountain! And Thailand’s Space Mountain was smoother too! The experience just felt so much less thematic than I’m used too. It just felt like an indoor coaster with spots on the walls. I prefer the Matterhorn Bobsleds to it! I’m just so frustrated with it…I want to like it so badly, because so many people I know hold it in high regards or whatnot…but I cant.



Anyway…my frivolous rant is over.



After Space Mountain, Reed was kind enough to rush us over to where the gang had staked their spot for the parade.


It’s the freakin Headless Horseman!


“Boo to you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you, Happy Halloween!”


…I still hear that damn song in my nightmares!


The Mickey’s Boo to You Parade was a cute little parade, no doubt. I enjoyed it. I mean, c’mon…they gave out more candy!


Haunted Mansion ballroom dancers! Except the women aren’t leading the men!


I swear I wasn’t trying to capture the gravediggers in this pose, I swear!


Grrr…Stupid Goofy’s Candy Company had to discontinue the bags of green goofy balls!




After the parade, it was time to hit up the last real ride that we missed out on…the Haunted Mansion. The added scenes (in comparison to DL’s HM) are a much welcomed addition! For example, that “bust stares at you as you pass by” effect is much more effective in the library here! And the loading area was better, I guess, as I’ve never understood the “limbo loading” area at the other one. The one major drawback however, is it is obvious that this Haunted Mansion isn’t able to benefit from yearly refurbishments as a result of the Haunted Mansion Holiday layover. The audio was static-y, the sets were poorly staged, and some of the animatronics felt like they could use some major TLC!


Just how I feel.




After the Haunted Mansion, we all really just continued walking around the park, raiding out candy where we could. I believe that we rode Snow White’s Scary Adventure, and then just trick or treated our hearts out. But we couldn’t leave without doing one attraction that I had longed to do…Tomorrowland Transit Authority!


Hell yea, I’m totally on the Peoplemover!


I cant say that I ever remembered Disneyland’s Peoplemover, so I was excited to ride this one. And, truth be told—I simply rode the ride out of novelty…I thought it would be cute. But out of all honesty, it is a really great ride! I totally enjoyed it! I dream of the day that Disneyland gets its back, if ever.


It’s the freaking Epcot model!



After TTA, we hurried into line for Buzz Lightyear. I’ll be honest, I just don’t really care for the ride in either Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom, so it was all “ok, whatever”. Heh. Anyway, after Buzz, the park had closed. We slowly shimmied our way down Main Street and out to the Monorails. It was yet another late drive home, and another big day was ahead of us!




Thanks for reading again guys! I really appreciate it! I know this one was a crap load of words to read, but if you made it this far, I congratulate and thank you dearly! I really only have one more day of Florida trip report left (Saturday), as Sunday I really just walked around WDW snapping pictures, not really doing any attractions. So you can celebrate—I am slowly but surely finishing this trip report! After Florida, SoCal should be a breeze to pound out, and I’m done!


Thanks again! Any questions, comments, concerns, or praise are welcome, as always!



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How much longer do we have to wait for Busch Gardens photos??!!? Sheesh!!!!




I love you Robb! …anyway, you’ll get your Busch Gardens trip report after the Cypress Gardens trip report…


The following trip report is dedicated to all of the Cypress Gardens fanboys…


Park 8 and a half: Cypress Gardens



Alright….lets jump right into this, so we can get it over with…


This particular morning we were luckily afforded the ability to sleep in an extra hour or two, before we had to be out, so I had a chance to actually heal a bit! I decided to drive with Joe on this journey, as it seemed like a long drive and the van was crammed…good thing too, or else I would have to of sat between 10 uncontrollable adults poking fun at my grammar in a particular “note”! So a big uber thanks to Joe, for that one!


We got at Cypress Gardens on time, but made a wrong turn from the rest of the group and ended up having to pay for parking, only to then have to immediately leave the parking lot and park with the rest of the gang, for free. Laaame. Anyway, once we got out of the car, we found that the rest of the group had already met up with the nice Cypress Gardens lady and we were ready to start our day!


Getting the unique history of Cypress Gardens from a park Rep…I know a few fanboys who would drool over the opportunity.


We walked right into the park, via the backstage…and I would have thought that the park was closed had our 9-dollar parking ticket not said that it was open! There was absolutely no one on the midways!


See!...between the Halloween themeing and the lack of guests, it really felt like a ghost town.


…and then drive into that tree over there!


First ride of the day: Okeechobee Rampage! Okeechobee sounds like some sort of IKEA trash-can name!


Unnecessary picture of the train entering the station!


Ryan: “I don’t know what the fuss is about! Cypress Gardens doesn’t seem that bad!”

Carlos: “I don’t know what the fuss is about! Ryan King doesn’t seem that bad!”


We shout our Okeechobee battle cries to the air, effectively confusing Robb!


I believe it was Gandhi who said: “O’ God!”


The Storm Surge Spinning Rapids Ride is rather deceiving in that the “Spinning” part is much too small in the title. I rarely get dizzy on rides, but this thing just kept going and going and going….between the relentless spinning and the Doppler-effect of Guy’s screaming going back and forth in my head, I was getting nauseas! I’m sure Erik Johnson has a video poking around to prove it, too.


After Storm Surge SPINNING Rapids Ride, it was time for Triple Hurricane…


TPR can turn even the smallest rides into juicy thrills…


…they just have to bring their own juices.


Is that little girl stealing a particular someone’s signature move?!



You know, as much as it pains me to say it, I loved Triple Hurricane! As a matter of fact, I would have to place it in my Top 5 Woodies, no lie!!!





…if it makes you feel any better, I only have 9 Wooden-credits. NOW you see why I didn’t vote in Mitch’s poll.


Next up it was time for a whirl on the Fiesta Express!...


This is the most “sad and pathetic” credit I have ever gotten…and I technically have my Goliath Jr. credit!


OMG…each and every one of their faces is priceless! They all seem to radiate excitement!


Touch hands, touch hands, touch hands!


Admittedly, Fiesta Express was more fun than the super-themed Galaxy Spin!


After Galaxy Spin, there was one more credit to be gotten…an inverted Vekoma roller skater, with an identical layout to the Okeechobee Rampage! Besides my Dejavu credit, it was the first inverted Vekoma I had ever been on! And boy did it bash an impression…and this is just a family ride!


Next year we totally have to come back for Phobia, Cypress’s Halloween event!


My first Disk-O, aswell! These things are pretty fun!


…Hi Mike!


I pose with a long-time friend of mine.


And with that, we were off!


Cypress Gardens was actually very different from how I had imagined. It had really been hyped up as something horrible, to me, but I found it to be quite opposite of that. It was clean and cute. It was really a nice little family park, with small yet enjoyable rides, shade, entertainment offerings, so on and so forth. Even for all of these rides being simply off-the-shelf attractions, “plopped” along a midway, they were nicely enclosed and landscaped.


One of its worst assets however, is its location. Florida. As far as I’m concerned, the premier theme park/resort destination in all of the United States. With Disney, Universal, Sea World, and Busch all down the road from this quiet little park, it is no wonder to me why it isn’t performing. I mean, it was a Saturday and I’m pretty sure we were the only guests in the park!


And really, that is all that I can say about Cypress Gardens. Did I forget to mention anything? I just cant seem to find the need to argue any more about it!


Anyway, thanks for reading this smaller section of the update! I appreciate it! As always, questions, comments, concerns, or praise are welcome, as always.



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Yeah, I totally agree, if this park was in a hell hole such as, I don't know, FRESNO...It would be a jewel! (Well, that might be pushing it!)


Dave and I did not find as much Shade as you did! But maybe that was cause you were actually on the rides and we were searching for benches, and benches in the shade!


BTW, Spinning Raft Rides are EVIL!

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Jahan, I concur with you on the Disneyland/Magic Kingdom debate. I was actually a bit distressed by the shape MK's Haunted Mansion was in, and I've always preferred the West Coast versions of Space Mountain and Pirates. But I do wish Disneyland had kept their Peoplemovers.



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Wow! Quite a response! Thank you, all of you for your nice comments! I agree with you Reed, that that was a good time that night, shooting off remarks back and forth! And very cool to hear that you agree, Chuck! And Derek, if the Grill is cheaper than Ohanas, than I'm there!




Park X: Busch Gardens Africa

Howl O Scream


“God damn sign!”


Welcome to yet another installment of the trip report! I’m really starting to get into the final additions, but if you’re just joining us now, welcome aboard!


Busch Gardens Africa was one of my most anticipated parks of the trip! Usually when you have high-hopes for a park, your chances that it will come up short-of-expectations are higher. Despite this, BGA came up as one of my favorite parks of the whole trip! I really hope to spend more time there next year, because I feel like there’s so much more to be explored. I vastly underestimated the size of that park!




After Cypress Gardens, Joe was kind enough to let me mooch off of his ride again. We all went and hit up a very random McDonalds (it was in the middle of nowhere, was themed to be ‘retro’, and had a touch-screen ordering system!...WTF!) Soon, we were all on the road for BGA.


What a beautiful parking-lot greeting!


Now we obviously got there with a couple hours to spare before the Howl O Scream event, so we paid for a normal admission and went into the park. Understanding what short time frame we were working under, we rushed to the first ride on the adgender…Gwazi.



I really didn’t know what to expect from this ride(s). I wasn’t aware of all the commentary on it or whatnot. I rode in the back row for both rides, and I personally really liked both rides! When I got back home and started reading up on it, I was shocked to find out how many people found it horridly bumpy!...I mean, I thought it was rough. But so far, of the 8 woodies I’ve been on, most of them have been rough! I personally think that Gwazi is far better than Ghostrider, that’s fo sho! In my opinion, the worst part about it was the poor operations!


At this point, Jon, Guy, and I had fallen behind the rest of the group by about 1 ride! Jon and Guy were filming footage for their awesome videos and I just chilled with them. But after a bit, I felt like I was being pressed on time as I still needed to get all my credits, so I decided to run ahead and try to catch up with the rest of the group.


I got to Sheikra about 10 minutes behind the group, and due to delayed operations or something, I ended up being about one or two loads behind them! More on Sheikra in a bit.


So after Skeikra, I ran even more and finally caught up with the group right before they got onto Python!


Robb and Reed take the snake for a spin!


You know, I know my screen name is “arrowfanman” and all, but I have to be honest with you…prior to this trip, I’ve only been on 7 Arrow coasters! And that’s if you consider the Matterhorn, let alone both sides! But the truth in all of this, is that I have yet to ride an Arrow that I didn’t enjoy! And Python stood true to this—I enjoyed it very much! My only complaint is that I find it rather short. But other than that, it was a great little ride. I don’t really see what can fit in that small of a foot-print, but I’m sad to see it go. At least I got my ride on it.


I appear to be yodeling my approval!


After Python, it was time for Kumba.


Kumba….hmmm, what to say…




I don’t know what it was about this ride that made me enjoy it as much as I did! I would probably say that it was my favorite coaster of the trip! It just felt so “natural” and “right”, if you know what I mean. Its element order also had a taste of Riddler’s Revenge in it (and sounded most-similar to Riddler’s, of all the B&M’s I have heard), so of course I’m going to like it! I was lucky enough to get two rides on it, both in the back, left seat. Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to arrange that for me! I’m forever in debt to you!


Also, upon exiting the ride, we found that the forces had naturally forced my hair up, where it actually got stuck in a “Jew-froish” way! So the term has officially been coined and now whenever that happens to me, it is said that I have “Kumba hair”!


After Kumba, with nearly 15 minutes until the park would close, Robb was awesome enough to split with me and rush me over to get my Montu credit! So big thanks Robb! Montu was fun, no doubt. The first half has so much sheer-awesomeness, that if it were able to sustain it the entire ride, it would no doubt shoot to become my favorite invert. But the fact that the mid-course was trimmed so severely!...wow! Talk about chopping the momentum out of a ride! I will say, however, that I enjoyed the batwing far more than any cobra roll I’ve ever been on.


As soon as we stepped off of Montu, the park was closed. So then we slowly walked back to meet up with the rest of the group, who were all waiting out front the restaurant we were supposed to meet at. See, for the Howl O Scream event, we decided to do the “pre-scare dinner”-type of option. Therefore, we remained in the park and got to watch some dinner show for dinner and then we gained admission to the park, half an hour early.


Dude! Ryan is totally a Ketchup bottle!



Now while at dinner, I made the obvious mistake of leaving my camera at the table and furthermore asking those around me to watch it. …long story short, when I got to my PC and uploaded the day’s pictures, I was shocked to find 15 photos that I don’t quite remember taking…well, just look for yourself…





…I learned my lesson.


As for the dinner show itself, well, I cant say that any of us were too impressed by it, to say the least! It was called “Control-Alt-Deceased”, and while I admit I was partial to the theme of “dorky-internet blogger’s quest to find sex”, I cant say that the rest of the plot was much to write home about. It was another failed attempt to create their own “Bill and Ted”-esque show. As a matter of fact, I think I prefer Universal Studios Hollywood’s crappy “Fear Factor Live” show to this…especially since we had the choice to walk out on it, where as we were forced to sit throughout the duration of this show.


…*sigh* At least they tried.




After the show, we were let loose into the park again, now officially for the Howl O Scream event. We quickly ran to the nearby Scorpion and effectively beat all the other crowds. I really enjoyed Scorpion! A real solid little ride, and I’m totally digging the lap-bars!


After Scorpion it was another rat race over to Cheetah Chase (that rhymed…heh). We got on in great time. Cheetah Chase was Mulholland Madness…there’s not much more I can say about it, other than it seemed almost as poorly planned and just “plopped” down as Mulholland Madness does! But props to whoever was shouting Buffy-swearing-keyboard-phrases around the mouse’s turns!


After Cheetah Chase, we gathered together for a group photo, and then decided that as we had VIP passes to all of the mazes, why not try for one more ride on Sheikra before the line becomes unbearable? So we split for it!




I think that Sheikra had to be my most anticipated coaster of the whole trip and I have to say, I think it really delivered! The view from the top is absolutely amazing! (once you can look past the bees trying to kill you, that is!). And as for the “hold” at the top, I have to say I felt a little nervous! It’s rare I get that feeling on a coaster these days, so major props for that one! The immelman is absolutely gorgeous…you heard me, gorgeous. And the rest of the ride was fun, as well. My biggest complaint was that there wasn’t more! I enjoyed it so much, that I wanted more!


I got a solid two rides on Sheikra this day, so I was happy! But after Sheikra, it was pretty much time to stop with the rides and start with the mazes…which would be very easy to digest, thanks to the VIP passes we all got.


I cant say that I really remember what we did that night, so I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves for a bit!...(with the aid of a few captions, of course)…



Lightsaber of Justice?! Oh, I get it now!...


…I don’t know if he gets it yet, though.



Sheesh! Fine!...I’ll just have to get my own cow, no thanks to you!


Mr. Bungee guy was having a wee bit too much fun!


I’m not even going to ask!


Elissa brings order, with her mini-lightsaber.








….of justice!





These guys reminded me of the two old guys from the Muppets…just not as cool. No one can be as cool as the Muppets!


*sigh*…I’m sure you all know why I’m crying right now.


The EVIL section of theme park stores—name specific merchandise! Nobody ever has “Jahan” keychains!




Well, that was really the bulk of the Howl O Scream event. After doing Universal just two nights prior, I cant say that I was really all that impressed with HOS. Don’t get me wrong!—It was actually a nice event…way better than Fright Fest, that’s for sure. I would say it was about on par with Knott’s Haunt. It had some lengthy, enjoyable mazes, but in comparison to the Universal stuff I had seen, it was just pale in comparison. It all felt very “home made”…then again, that worked to its advantage a bit. For example, Universal’s felt so “professional” that at times, it felt too good to be scary! It was beyond-real, thereby making it like a fabricated theme-park-dark-ride-fake sort of feel. Where as when the maze feels home made, your more willing to succumb to fear when you get chased down with a chain saw! Still, I wouldn’t say that it was really all that scary. Hell, the scariest image of the night wasn’t even from the event…I’ll place it at the very end of this installment. Viewer discretion is definitely advised!


Either way, I cant say that I didn’t enjoy myself at a great night at Busch Gardens Africa!





Alright, that should do it for this installment! I know it was rather short, but it’s very late and I really needed to get it done! As you can tell, I really enjoyed BGA, and look forward to a more complete trip there, next time!


Thank you for putting up with me again! Questions, comments, concerns, or praise, are all welcome, of course!




I told you it was scary!

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OK I guess I will comment at this time. I have really enjoyed your Photo TR so far. As everyone says, it is very honest and I think it is what makes it such a compelling read. (plus it has pictures! ) We were really happy to join everyone for this trip, and look foward to the next one. Even though we will go just to prove to you that MK's Space Mountain rocks!

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After seeing Control-Alt-Deceased, I can safely say that I now know what the entertaiment in Hell is going to be like. Easily the worst show I've ever seen, it made the previous owner of that title (The Road Show at SFA) look like Citizen Kane.


I've really been enjoying these TRs. Though I can't believe you didn't get your spine shattered on Gwazi. Then again, I guess if you ride Psyclone and Colossus on a regular basis, Gwazi might not seem so bad!



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