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Photo TR: Beemer's weeklong trip back home to Florida...


BeemerBoy
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October 5th-15th - Finally, our long-awaited and much needed week vacaction back home had arrived. And to sweeten the deal, this time I'd have a brand new Canon digital in hand....and that can only mean one thing - a plethora of pictures for your viewing pleasure....or disgust, depending on how you look at it, I guess.

 

As with any vacation Shannon and I plan, there would be a good balance of coasters and culture invovled. But instead of breaking the trip report up into this and the Random forum, I'm just gonna roll it all out in here. Hope you all don't mind. You'll see a little bit of everything....from historic Boston, to Dueling Dragons, to the Conch Republic. And possibly a celebrity cameo, or two.

 

I promise the report will be educational as well. There are at least 7 important questions that scholars have wrestled with for ages, and that's why I'm here. I'll shed some light on the following:

1. When was the city of Boston founded?

2. What is the Conch Republic?

3. Are undercooked burgers a health risk?

4. Is Ronald McDonald on crack?

5. Who has the world's greatest mullet?

6. How many beers does it take to get me on the dance floor?

AND

7. What would Marc Davis have thought about the newest generation of Pirates of the Caribbean?

 

The report will be quite large by my standards, and will undoubtedly come in sections. Therefore, feel free to comment anytime, about anything. I appreciate all comments.

 

We start our trip in Massachusetts, where the first order of business was, well, business. I needed to tranport a car from Martha's Vineyard to Fort Lauderdale, so that's how it all begins. I simply took this opportunity to stop at my brother's place in Orlando on the ride south. Of course, that meant a chance to visit the mouse for a day before meeting up with my wife, her brother, and his wife in Fort Lauderdale for the week.

 

Let's get started, shall we?

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The ferry awaits.

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Before boarding, I tried my best to extract some top-secret information. I was only able to walk away with a cookies and cream packet of “Ice Cream of the Future.”

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Random restaurant I waited in while the ferry was arriving. Fascinating stuff, I know.

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More B&B laughter perhaps.

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Two hours later, the bus arrived at Woods Hole. Insert Beavis and Butthead laughter.

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Well, goodbye Boston, and your two thousand Dunkin Donuts stores. I'll see you in the spring.

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Oddly, not a single person behind this door knew my name.

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Proof I was really there. Again.

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Time for a beer.

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Inspiration for the best TV show ever.

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Now you know. And knowing's half the battle.

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Darn, you mean I packed my skates for nothing?

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Okay, here's a coaster pic to hold you over until that part of the show starts.

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More of that old and new stuff I spoke of.

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And Ben Franklin couldn't be happier about that.

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Boston is TPR Friendly.

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I bet 95% of American students couldn't tell you who this was.

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Another fine example of an old headstone.

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Not a prop from HHN. Notice the date, 17 freakin 69!! Wow, um, that's pretty old, huh? I'm sure some of you are wondering why today's headstones can't be as cool as this, right?

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Many famous Americans were buried here. Almost right across the street from where potential Islamic militants currently own and operate a thriving Dunkin Donuts.

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I had a few hours to kill before I needed to pick up a bus headed towards the vineyard, so I decided to take some pics of stuff I'd seen before, but never captured on film. This old burial ground is one fine example.

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....and more Dunkin Donuts.

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More random buildings. I love Boston for the way old world architecture mixes well with modern day skyscrapers.

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Sam Adams. One of those forefathers I mentioned. A pretty good beer as well.

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Although the city was built by our founding forefathers with a bluecollar work ethic, it is apparently now simply sponsored by Dunkin Donuts.

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Random buildings in "Beantown."

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All together........awwwwwwww.

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Paid a visit to the greatest head coach in NBA history. Well, his statue, at least. That's Arnold "Red" Auerbach to those of you who only know modern day thug style NBA. Yep, Red coached when guys could actually hit a 15 foot jumper.

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I shall be dining on a $10.00 lobster roll, chips and Coke. Holy crap! Did I really pay that much? Damn, the receipt says I did. Well worth it though. You can't find lobstah like that in Dalton, GA. Trust me.

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The aforementioned market, filled with many wonderful food choices. It's basically and old marketplace that is now a long food court of sorts. Good stuff though, not your typical shopping mall crap.

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Finally on the Blue line headed toward the Aquarium, and lunch at Quincy Market.

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After arriving in Boston, it was time to pick up the subway, or "T" as it's called at South Station.....where I was reminded by Apple that I will apparently be the last soul on earth to own an iPod.

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Okay, about 36 hours after leaving Boston, and pissed off about being countless hours behind schedule due to two blown out tires along the way, I arrived in Orlando. I was exhausted, yet still anxious about the day's festivities. Here's how it played out....

 

 

 

As for Everest, I was pleasantly surprised. Although the projection of the Yeti during the mid-ride hold wasn't showing, it still didn't spoil what was an overall fun ride. I guess that's the one time that all the online povs helped out a bit. Otherwise, I would've left wondering what I had missed. I certainly wasn't expecting the drop out of the mountain to be as forcefull as it was. Nothing mindblowing, but definitely really fun.The only downside is that the eixt area and gift shop are crammed together horribly. I know it's been said before, but now I definitely agree with everyone else on this point.

 

There was really nothing else I needed to see here. The primary objective had been fulfilled, so it was now on to a day I thought would be split between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot's Food & Wine. We'll see though. That's up next.

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After a couple quick bananas, we quickly make our way out to head towards EPCOT.

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Well, it’s not a TR without this, I guess. EE through the trees.

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The best $5.00 I spent all day.

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Frozen chocolate covered bananas….on a stick!

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While Dolewhips at the Magic Kingdom are great in their own right, even they’re jealous of my favorite treat @ WDW.

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Most important design feature…Disney spent months on the track layout to enable amateur photographers the ability to capture a two train shot! No, really. I’ve seen the story boards and meeting notes.

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You get the idea.

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The second of several successful POV shots.

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The first of several successful POV shots.

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Mountain = 50 million. Track = 25 million. Queue line = 24,999,990. Ride exit/ gift shop design = $10.00. Bird on a stick = Priceless.

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Now THAT seems more like the usual Vekoma engineering we’re all familiar with.

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An overview of the park from the lift hill.

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If you didn’t already know better, at this point in the ride you’d think you were in for a letdown.

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Dare I say, smoothest and most comfortable Vekoma ever?

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I loves me some great steam effects.

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Even with all that apparently huge line, and seemingly thousands of pics, we only waited about 15-20 minutes.

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Will it ever end?

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Yep.

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The Yeti’s pawn shop?

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You seriously love great looking queue lines as much as I do. I just know it.

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You’re really wishing you were here right now.

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You are amazed by the intricate details.

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Remember, you’ve never seen any of this before.

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This begins our series of queue line pics. I think Disney felt upstaged by Dueling Dragons, so they came back with a vengeance.

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Upon entering the line, we were informed that due to our lack of orange attire, the Yeti would punish us by not showing the mid-ride projection, and then force us to spend the rest of our stay in Dino Land. Turns out they weren’t lying about part 1 of tha

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My brother Gary, and new wife, Itamar.

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The ONLY reason I entered the park today.

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Hey, where’s everyone going? What, Primeval Whirl doesn’t captivate you??

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No one has ever attempted this pic before.

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Welcome to WDW’s least inspiring “land.”

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Another look at the oil rig, er, tree.

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The Tree of Life. Ironically, not “living” at all.

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There is absolutely nothing exciting about this picture. But you have to admit, the composition is wonderful, and the colors….simply vivid. You know you were thinking that. Admit it.

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Hey, don’t go telling me what to do.

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Finally….I’m here!! Happiness is having a cast member relative who gets you free parking and admission.

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Okay, so here's the portion I had been looking forward to for months. As soon as I arrived in Olrando I could already taste the Food & Wine at Epcot. And that was where I was to end my glorious WDW day, so we parked there and took the monorail to the MK. Not a bad idea either, because it gave me a chance to take the monorail.....ALWAYS my favorite thing to do at WDW. A bit crazy, but true.

 

For starters, this day was perfect so far. Mid to upper 80's, blue skies, blah blah blah. Oops, then I remembered it was Saturday, and that meant the crowds would be just a bit bigger than what I wanted, but still very manageable in order to split the day evenly between the two parks.....or so I thought. By the time we made our way around towards Tomorrowland, it was pretty evident that I'd either have to skip a few favorites and head back to Epcot, or simply ride out the rest of my time in the MK.

 

I decided Epcot could wait until next year. Heck, I was having a blast reliving some great times at the park, and I wasn't about to miss one last ride on several things that could easily be changed by the next time I was in town. So the decision was easy, and it worked out great.

 

Now, concerning Marc Davis and POTC, here's what I was very fortunate to hear. As we were heading out of the park, we stopped on Main Street to grab a snack, shop, etc. By chance, we walked into the jewelry store and was amazed to see Ms. Alice Davis sitting there greeting guests. We waited patiently for some folks to clear out, and then made our way over to the table where she sat with another woman, whose name I apologize for forgetting.

 

Graciously, she agreed to take a couple pics with us, and then I was able to talk to her for several minutes. Naturally, I had one burning question in my mind, and undoubtedly I was gonna ask it in the nicest, most politically correct way possible, considering where we were, and due to the two Disney cast members assigned to be her. So I asked, "If you don't mind me asking, I'm very curious to know how you feel, and how Mr. Davis would have felt about the new look of his classic ride?" Without hesitation, she told me that Marc would have really liked the first movie due to the fact that it, and I quote, "Had a solid beginning, middle and end. The second one maybe not as much." Sensing she was being careful about how she answered, she told me "I was asked to use discretion about how I answered these questions, so I hope you understand." With a look of you get what I mean, right?, she avoided answering how he would've felt about the ride changes.

 

Okay, now I know that can be taken many different ways by many different people, but I for one walked out of there hearing everything I needed to hear. Does it make any difference in the world? No. But it did satisfy my curiousity, and my guess about how he might have felt.

 

And with all that said, I'll tell you that for the most part, I was impressed with the way they approached, and handled the changes made to the ride. Although really cool looking, the Davey Jones effect was sort of pointless to me. Same goes for taking out the skull and crossbones. Not sure that needed to be done. Oh well. And finally, Captain Jack looked unbelievably real, and could easily be ingored if you so chose, all except for the final scene at the deboarding. Wes, I know you and I discussed this a while back, and I agree with the fact that the changes made definitely bring new "life" to the attraction as a whole. It was honestly nice to see a line, even if only for the obvious reason. And the pic I took with Jack and the kids (below) makes it all worthwhile, and make sense in the long run, I guess.

 

Okay, on with the show.....

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POV goodness. And with this pic, we'll take a break and be back with more soon. Thanks for looking.

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My current desktop wallpaper. Pm me if you’re interested in your very own full size copy.

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No, I’m not winking at you, I just forgot my glasses.

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Stalactites or stalagmites?

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Our reaction to a changed "hang on to them hats and glasses" announcement. Obviously not thirlled.

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Absolutely no “getting your grove on,” “cutting a rug,” “disco dancing the night away,” “serving someone,” or even “bringing it” while riding. Thank you.

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Which wheels are bigger….these, or a 4D’s wheels?

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Fine, here's a shot for the coaster dorks. ;)

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After lunch, it was time to visit an old favorite.

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Lunch. A salad Elaine Benes would be proud of over at Pecos Bill.

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See?

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Awww, cmon Jerry. This guy’s really dead on….and the kids really love him.

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“How’s he doing? Just remind that guy if DVD sales at the park start to drop, he’s fired.”

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After swashbuckling our way through a ton of movie related merchandise, we found the captain……Morgan would have been nice, but we’ll settle for Jack. ;)

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That’s right….I’m the bomb. (okay, I should apologize immediately for that one.)

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Even Anna Kournikova showed up. Which makes sense given her current schedule.

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I haven’t seen the line like this since the Reagan administration.

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Ok, well, so much for the compliments. Arrr. Avast, I shall find the scurvy bilge rat who stole my parrot....or um, something like that.

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Actually looks pretty sweet.

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Ok, at first, I was afraid this ride would really put the “AD” in adventure, but so far, so good. New sign = not bad.

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The time has come.

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"Give yourselves a hand. You've all been outstanding guests. In just a few minutes, you'll be out standing in another line." wakka wakka

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Who else here sees Danny DeVito in this role?

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More elephants.

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"It's amazing I'm not battling a pirate or something by now, huh?"

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I love this shot.

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That should be Eisner on the bottom.

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Elephant.

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“They got the engine to turnover.” For the 98982347329453297th time, yet still brings a smile to my face.

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I’m inspired to go deeper into the jungle. You?

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With a movie version evidently in the works, will this be the last time I see this classic ride in it’s original form?

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Our next stop adventurous stop.

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Nice view, huh?

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Random Swiss Family Robinson Tree house walkway pic.

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Funny, I’d still love to live here.

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Um, the water wheel.

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Again, one of two Disney trees in which photosynthesis will not occur.

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Not sure about you, but I feel adventure coming on.

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Dammit Gary, I’m warning you…..get out of my good pics.

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That’s the stuff.

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Knights of Columbus!! Hurry, take plenty of pics NOW, before they butcher it again.

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Great Odin’s raven!! What’s that? Cinderella’s Castle in it’s original form?!?!?!?

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Purty flowers for the flower enthusiasts in here.

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mmmmmm, good breakfast. Just not today.

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The first time I’ve ever been to the park and not eaten breakfast here. Time just didn’t allow it today.

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The highest Disney honor one could receive, and an excellent chance to put Google to use, kids.

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Always nice to get a greeting from the mayor. Of what exactly, I’m not sure. But a very nice guy nonetheless…..and hey, it’s campaign time anyway, right?

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How many of you knew there was a barbershop there?

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A fire truck once sat in this fire station on Main Street. One in which you could actually sit on, take a picture of, and even ride down Main Street. How novel, huh? What’s there now, you ask? Oh, just another merchandising opportunity for the mouse.

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Word.

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Roy and I just chillin’.

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A look back at the train station from just inside the park. Wow, that was a boring caption.

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Holy crap! A train station pic without a dozen morons walking through the shot. I have literally never seen this before.

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The last time I stayed here, it cost less than a good pair of good running shoes.

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I mean, c`mon, you can actually walk out of your hotel room and onto the monorail. It's easy to forget how freakin' cool that is!

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I love this shot.

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The happy couple….still only engaged when this pic was snapped.

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I kick the driver out, and take the controls.

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Our chariot arrives.

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The monorail > any other mode of transportation known to man.

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Fully expecting to return to Epcot later in the day, we jumped on the coolest ride @ WDW, and headed over to the MK.

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Now if I could just break this stupid thing off, you’d see it on Ebay tomorrow.

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Okay, round 2 of the Magic Kingdom pics.

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Next stop, Fort Liquordale. See ya there.

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I can do this. I know I can, I know I can. Pleeease?

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Our last ride of the day.

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What can I say? I didn’t wanna see the poor guy get fired.

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It was a true pleasure to speak with Ms. Davis.

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Nope, that was not a stunt hand in the previous pic.

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Unfortunately, it was time to hit the road, but not before a double scoop strawberry cone on Main Street and some shopping.

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Look, normal looking castle as viewed from the Tomorrowland side.

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Stitch is annoying, and this was a bad idea no matter how you slice it.

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Camera phones the size of a folded $1 bill, wireless internet, portable gaming systems, and even all of the above on one freakin’ device, and yet a real-time broadcast of your own image via a simple video camera and tv still captivates thousands daily.

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Moving sidewalks can only mean one thing……rampant Jamiroquia impressions were soon to follow. This one was to celebrate Space Mountain jumping back into my top ten list……it’s just that fun!

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As soon as we hit this tunnel, I was reevaluating my personal top ten list.

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I forgot how much I love this ride.....my first coaster ever.

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Time to get one last ride before any changes are made.

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Scaparri, this one’s for you, bro.

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I’ll never understand how some drivers can walk away from a 200mph crash in these things. Unreal.

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The only ride at MK that I’ve ever been completely confused over. I mean, it’s in Tomorrowland, yet was never “futuristic” in any way, shape, or form. Oh well. It’s always been cool though.

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Boooo. A wise man once said, and I quote, “Be fair, alright, everyone wants Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.”

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The less-often seen backside of the Cinderella’s castle.

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Obligatory 3D glasses pic.

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Great 4D show!

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I told you to stay out of my pictures.

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Booo to Saturday crowds.

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Ooh, look….I need to see that show.

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Carousels never get old.

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My horse for today.

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The carousel was running at warp speed. Maybe they were trying to top Mission: Space for the year’s top death toll.

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Pinocchio Village Haus

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On our way through Fantasyland, this song was embedded in my brain. It’s only fair I should share it with you.

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Still freaky looking.

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I still think this one has the best looking exterior, and especially at night.

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With the addition of Captain Jack on POTC, Haunted Mansion slides into the number one spot for me as far as MK rides go.

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It’s not a trip through Liberty Square without a pic like this. Well, for me, anyway.

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Random Frontierland musicians. Rock on, guys.

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No ride today. Father time would prevent that from happening.

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Don’t you dare touch that castle!

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Thanks for the compliments guys. It's a shame our paths couldn't cross at some point in time in Orlando. It's still weird how so many of us picked the same general time to visit.....maybe next year, we'll catch up with you! Anyway, time for the next segment of this epic story.

 

After I left WDW, I delivered the car in Fort Lauderdale, met up with the gang at the resort. On Sunday, we kicked back, lounged by the pool, had a few beers at the tiki bar, and watched the Dolphins lose again to New England.

 

On Monday, it was time to make the 4 hour drive south to Key West....one of my favorite places on earth. It's not like it was in the old days, when Jimmy Buffett still lived there, but still a great place to relax and enjoy yourself. And since we never really get out anymore, it was nice to have a night to cut loose a bit, and party like the old days. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law's wife, Jennifer, recently received the news that she was pregnant with their first child. Now I know that's actually not unfortunate at all, but sadly, it did mean that she had to retire back to the room after dinner, and couldn't join us at Sloppy Joe's this time around. Thankfully, she's really cool about it all, and wished us the best time. We love her for that!

 

Time to let the pics tell the story.....

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And then the last thing I ever expected happened. This became ours. Trust me, a major art purchase was not originally in the playbook. Definitely an audible at the line.

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Beautiful stuff.

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Just before we left the island, it was time to stop in and drool at one of my favorite artist’s work.

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Instead, we had to settle for an early lunch here at Willy T’s (don’t let the sign fool you). You see how thrilled Shannon is…..I concur.

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The best breakfast in the Keys. One that we would not get to enjoy this morning.

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Tuesday morning brought a chance to revisit a couple more touristy things….such as this. What? C’mon conchs! I know you’re all on island time, but you couldn’t repaint “ost” by now?

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On the long walk back to the hotel, we stopped into a pizza joint run by some Philly guys. I toasted a fallen `Cane, and we continued our trek back to the room.

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She succeeded, in my opinion. Oh, and also managed to make this happen….get me on tha flo. Six beers to that point in the evening didn't hurt.

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On a mission to bring sexy back.

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"Bringin' it"

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Yep, A-Town…….Yeeeyah.

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The cover band for the evening was from Atlanta.

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We’ll only be drinking cheap beer from this point on, thank you.

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Ummm,so don’t undercook my burger then, ok?

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I want that marlin for my wall at home.

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After a couple more Red Stripes at Tony’s, it was time to hit up Sloppy Joe’s. A slow Tuesday night crowd, which was a change for us since we always seem to visit when it’s a packed house.

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Sorry Tony, you’re not getting my wife’s bra.

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I’m definitely at home here.

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Now for that interior decorating….

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Me, I’ll take the comedic choice.

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Shannon’s either very happy about sitting on Eric Clapton’s bar stool, or still hasn’t adapted to the camera’s flash….or both, I’m not sure.

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Time for more beer and some interior decorating.

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The ceiling fans over the indoor bar section. Very clever don’t you think? Their Golden Ale was the hoppiest I've ever tasted, too. A couple and I was set.

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This. Owned by actor, Kelly McGillis, who once co-starred with well-respected Harrison Ford in “Witness,” and freakshow scientologist, Tom Cruise in “Top Gun.”

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Time for some grub. Yep, this is now home to….

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On this spot, Jeremy became the first person in the Eastern time zone to puke in the new millennium. Seriously, at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2000, I was present to witness the historic event. We were sad that there was no plaque to commemorate it

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Shannon visits with a local resident of Mallory Square.

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“I said gimme some candy!!”

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A peek inside the aquarium at Mallory Square.

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While we’re on the Seinfeld kick, Shannon proclaims I am “spongeworthy.”

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"Little Jerrys" and stray cats rule the island.

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Papa Hemingway’s old hangout….and one of my personal favorite watering holes. Good times are sure to be had here later.

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It may be a bit cheesy, touristy, and aggrevate the locals at times, but it’s still a great way to see and learn about the island.

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No women going crazy here today…..yet. Only Parrotheads will understand that.

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Ok, first, it’s pronounced “konk.” And secondly, this was the original flag used for the island’s secession in 1982.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conch_Republic

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When in Rome….

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As are we. And Shannon has yet to adapt to the flash on the camera.

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Jennifer and Jeremy enjoying it.

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I’m at one of my favorite places on earth. For years, the adopted home of my all-time favorite musical artist; so naturally we’re gonna end up here for lunch.

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Pina Colodaburg was closed, so we had to settle for this.

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The pool.

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The lobby.

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Our destination.

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Any True Lies fans? If so, you may recognize this.....I'm sure Jamie Lee Curtis does.

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Yes, it’s really 7 miles long.

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A couple million would no doubt elicit this reaction.

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A house that was never completed. Well not until I can come up with a couple million, anyway.

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Your driver for the day – Jeremy. I’ll be playing the part of navigator…..and obviously, photographer as well.

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Okay, so after our one "wild" night of the year, it was time to get back to reality. I also realized real quick that those days are past me for a reason. The body takes a little longer to recoup now.

 

Anyway, Wednesday brought us back to Orlando for some Universal goodness. Again, Jennifer wasn't quite feeling up to the 6 hours of driving for the day, and really couldn't enjoy the parks like she'd want to, so she sent us off with best wishes, and chilled at the resort for the day. We missed ya though, Jen.

 

First up for the day was USF. A few quick thoughts. Mummy delivered! Besides MIB and Mummy, there really isn't much else here to keep me interested. We didn't spend much time here....therefore, not as many pics. Oh, but IOA is up next....and that always makes up for the lameness of USF. Well, at least IMHO.

 

On to the pics....

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We liked the movies, but skipped the show. It wasn't a priority today. The donkey, however; does make this a certifiable TPR photo TR.

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There's a connection there somewhere.

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Harassment! Call HR, check his emails! Heck, he's probably been secretly hitting on Jimmy Neutron. We're suing, and I'm taking you down, Universal!

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EXTREME POV!!

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Just happy to pick up the missed credit from the last visit, and a walk-on as well.

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Yay for another kiddie credit.

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Just a reminder. Men, you should frequently inspect 'em. Early detection is critical to surviving testicular cancer.

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Space-related trick shot, yet no Sinise. Sorry Wes. You're Mission: Space stuff triumphs.

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How long 'till the Simpsons ride?

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Still open, yet I have no interest in outdated simulator rides not starting with "Star" and ending with "Tours."

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I like the design of the ride vehicle. That's really not interesting at all, is it? Sorry.

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These gusy are disturbingly creepy, yet funny at the same time.

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I have yet to see this movie from start to finish. But hey, the ride's cool.

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I should be rewarded for actually riding this crap.

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I'm at a loss for words on this one. lol

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Almost looks like the evolution of man chart, or a Cingular ad.

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Impressive queue. Most impressive.

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Of anyone in here, you'd think I'd be the one bothered by the blatant VW promotion. Oddly enough, I didn't mind it at all.

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Time for the second new credit of the trip.

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The benefit of arriving when the park opens on a Wednesday in October.

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Do I spy a redneck's dream?

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Xavier, Gary, and Ita. Just another day at the park for them. Sometimes I wish I lived in Orlando too.....sometimes.

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At lunch the other day, Jeremy asked me, "Scott, has there ever been an unwatchable big budget storm chasing film with it's own theme park show/exhibit which was ruined by a fake cow swinging on obvious wires?"

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That spinning globe will always look cool.

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...Major League Baseball....

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The NBA.........

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As you can see, Universal Orlando has made an excellent effort to recognize many of America's biggest professional sports......NASCAR.......

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This Stitch Assist option on the camera works pretty well.

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And the race is on.

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The trek begins.

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Ok, so we parked in Jaws, apparently with a gum problem. Someone please remember where we parked, ok?

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Okay, so it was time to jump over to IOA for the rest of the day. The crowds were pretty light today, which was very nice to see. Here's the quick rundown:

 

Hulk, 2 rides - 1 front row wait/ 20 minutes, 1 "big boy row" ride later in the day when the crowds got a bit heavier before HHN/ 25 minutes.

 

Hulk was running 3 trains all day, but one remained emtpy in order to meet the testing requirments of a new train.....or so I was told. Was kinda tough to tell. Anyone know if there's any truth to that "new train" claim they made?

 

Doom, 2 rides - One in the morning, and one before we left/ each 5-10 minute waits.

 

Spidey, 2 rides - both no longer than 20 minutes.

 

Dueling Dragons, 3 rides, 2 Fire, 1 Ice - all front row rides, none more than a 15 minute wait.

 

All in all, a great day at the park.

 

It's picture time again, boys and girls......

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Yes sir, Mr. Spielberg.

And with this pic, we'll take a short commercial break.

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“Okay, now I wanna see an EPIC splash at the end of this thing, ok? I don’t care how you get it done…just get it done!”

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As much as he liked it, Jeremy will not be getting that tattoed anytime, anywhere.

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Broken raptor pen….and I’m afraid you will not be seeing the raptors either. I couldn’t get the camera turned back on in time. I’m such a putz sometimes.

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Our dino?

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“Hey Scott, what has 2 thumbs and likes the fact that Jurassic Park shares the same initials as me?” Yes, Jer, I know.

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Lift hill enthusiasts….

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Well, that’s nice, but there really was 10-15 minutes worth of people around the corner.

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Yep, that works for me.

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And now it’s time for the act like a 10 year old segment. Truth is, I was right there with ‘em . Stepping on cutouts to make dino sounds is the coolest thing you can do when, um, you exit the Pt. Flyers in Jurassic Park.

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Shannon approves, and Jeremy once again fails to recognize he’s in the pic.

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I love this ride. There, I said it. Short, but still pretty sweet. Would I wait more than 10 minutes to ever ride it again? Nope, but still pretty fun once around.

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Pov excitement.

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Our bird is ready.

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Almost an hour later.

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Wait. No guide dogs, but peg leg pirates are welcome? Crap, don’t tell Disney.

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You guessed it….through the trees.

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The bad part – having to think about how cool this ride would be if it was about 20 times bigger than it is.

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I love the setting of this ride.

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Finally getting the freakin’ Pteranodon Flyers credit!!

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I’m not gonna lie. What’s the best thing about having a new 5 year old nephew?

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This is your cue.

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Now everybody, in just a moment, we’ll need your beset Richard Attenborough voice while saying “Welcome, to Jurassic Park.” Any locals know if this look-a-like still wanders the park from time to time? The pic was circa 1999.

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Looking as good as ever. But we skipped it to stay dry.

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Hilarity ensued.

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The golfers in here would refer to this as ground under repair. Free drop.

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Yep.

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Kirsten Dunst has nothing on my leading lady. You just watch your hands, you web freak.

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Another satisfied customer.

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Well, you take a group pic wearing 3D glasses, of course.

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What do you do at this point in line?

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Sadly, these computers are probably still faster than the crap at work.

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Two words: Still AWESOME.

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Spidey arrives on the scene. Evidently, the whole swinging from building to building thing has lost its charm or something.

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Toss up: a billion dollar theme park to explore, or blowing money in the arcade? Hmmm…

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May I claim “exclusive shot?”

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"Grrrr……..don’t use the 'gimme some candy' line." Sorry doctor, too late…you just did.

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Ah, there we go.

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Hooray for 5 minute Dr. Doom waits.

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Will do, Mr. Doom. Sorry, Doctor…I mean, Doctor.

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Awesome queue line scores high marks with me.

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Still my favorite S&S tower. Especially when riding with someone clueless as to what they do. Jeremy’s reaction was priceless. Just a shame we couldn’t capture it on film….and also a shame that line doesn’t really apply anymore due to the digital age, huh

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Bam.

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Wait for it.....

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The 1,976,347th time you've seen this shot.

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I like the wide angle look.

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So this is Hulk.

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Okay, so there's my real baby, standing by our first order of business – lunch. ;)

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There’s my baby. I’ve missed you!

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Do we look ready? Well, actually, judging by the pic, not really. But trust me, we we’re stoked about our free adventure thanks to a generous friend! Thanks again, Justin

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Indeed it does.

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Picking up where we left off....

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Oh, that's right. Now back to Fort Lauderdale so we can close out this report. Thanks for reading. See ya soon!

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You’re welcome. Hope to see you again asap. Okay, who remembers where we parked?

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Unfortunately, the closest I got to doing any surfing this week.

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The closest we came to HHN. Large crowds of moronic drunk Floridians is something we could find back home in downtown Fort Liqourdale, so we skipped it.

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2 Margaritaville credit in 2 days. Not too shabby.

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Gimme a Corona Light and I’m set.

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Especially his plane, the Hemisphere Dancer. I’ve actually seen him fly this thing over the tailgating crowd in West Palm Beach several times over the years. Good times.

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Anything Buffett-related is okay by me.

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Oh, you bet it does. The Florida Turnpike is always thrilling.

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No hun, I can't buy that tiger. Sorry.

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This pic is here for no other reason than I like this sign.

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Sadly, it was time to leave.

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Mmmmm, just mmmm.

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Mmmmm, loopy.

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One last Hulk ride before we left. And since the late afternoon/early evening lighting looked so good, it was picture time as well. Mmmmm, purty.

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Okay, let's try this one. Hulk….through the trolley, topiary, Seuss Landing sign, carousel, and random trees.

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The carousel always delivers a smile. Well, until some idiot stopped our ride short due to hanging off the side and not understanding the 4 warnings from the ride op. Thanks, moron.

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I’m not even gonna try to type out the name of this since I can’t ever remember what it’s called. Carousel in Seuss landing. There, that should do it.

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I just simply wasn't interested in riding. And even if I was, 35 minutes? No thanks. Sorry guys.

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Joe, there'll be no pics of the trolley itself, but does this count as half a point?

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Bet you can’t guess where we’re headed next?

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A quick obligatory look at Mythos for all the Mythos fans out there.

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Whoa. There it is. Sorry, kinda tough to get a good pic in there, but you get the idea. Well, those of us lucky to have seen it, I guess.

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Is this the water feature you speak of? Nope. Keep moving. Next show in 5 minutes.

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Um, theming and stuff.

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Nothing clever to say here. Move along. Oh wait. Dude, your sister’s hot!

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It’s time to see the coolest water feature known to man. And no, not the one pictured here.

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Small mid-week crowds before HHN meant 15 minute front row waits.

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It’s that time again.

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I’ve gotta side with Ice on this one. Even I’m jealous.

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Yeah, but I was ranked higher in Mitch’s poll.

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Hi, I’m Ice Dragon. I’m the lesser of the two, but the ladies love me.

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And continue.

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Let the dueling begin.

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We managed to find it. Not lost anymore now, is it?

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"Dude." "What?"

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I wasn't lying.

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Wow, it’s like something out of a movie.

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Let's go inside. Because it's super incredibly awesome fun time in there? Well, not really, but there is a cool photo spot out back.

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^ Thanks. Glad you enjoyed 'em. If you're down there around Christmas, then New Year's is always a great party if you can make it.

 

I'll try to put a wrap on this report sometime tonight. Again, I appreciate the compliments.

 

 

Stalactites. Everyone knows that ... right?

Thanks Ted. Somehow I knew it wouldn't take long.

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Wow! Great trip report, bro. It was so good that it brought me out of forum posting hibernation.

 

Loved the Boston pics. But I guess that's because I'm a geek like that about places with actual important historical value. I can't believe someone forgot to put on that tombstone that Samuel Adams invented beer. What's up with that!?

 

So... did you get Anna's phone number for me?

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So... did you get Anna's phone number for me?

 

Funny you should ask. We were talking, and she said she was in need of a date for Maverick's Media Day next year. Turns out she's a huge aquatrax fan! I'll hook you up, bro. I always look out for my friends.

 

 

 

Okay, now it's time to close out this epic adventure. It's a tall order trying to finish strong behind a bunch of IOA pics, so I hope I don't let you down too much. The last few days of our trip gave me a chance to visit some old places, and old faces in my hometown.

 

Most importantly, we were in town for my brother's wedding. Instead of the typical generic bachelor party thing that we've all been through a million times with other friends, my brother opted for a change of pace. Rather than blowing money on cheap $2 skanks working a pole in an overpriced strip joint with cheap beer, it meant a day of hangin out with the guys and playing sports, etc.

 

As competitive as we all are, this was definitely a fun choice, and it wouldn't matter what we were playing, as it was always for ultimate bragging rights. Luckily, it also brought us to Boomers, where I'd have a chance to ride the DBH again!! Or so I thought. Amazingly, it was closed off to us as there was a school group using it to study physics on that day. Grrrrrr. Stupid physics. Oh well, I'll be back soon enough.

 

Without further ado, the pics that tell the story.....

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While stopping for lunch on our way back home the next day, we knew we were back in Georgia when this woman walked by. A nod of approval was all that was needed to compliment the greatest mullet I’ve ever seen. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Afterward, the reception was here. As a consolation to the Steelers fans in our group, the restaurant/bar just so happened to be another Pittsburgh place. You’ll notice the flag just out of view has a Steelers helmet facemask on it.

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This is where the ceremony eventually took place. It would have been on the sand had a thunderstorm not rolled in only minutes before it was to begin. Instead, across the street was where we ended up. Still very nice though.

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Yep, that’s right…….Primanti Brothers, minus a few unlit letters in the sign. Mmmmm. Unfortunately, the reception would not be held here.

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Well, first, here’s where the wedding was to take place. Okay, now on to the next pic for the answer.

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Ted, and everyone else connected to Pittsburgh in some way, stop here. Do you see what’s poking it’s head over the top right part of the sign?

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Then the lights went out for that fog-filled/ music video/ laser show thingy they do late in the evening. The beer started flowing, and hilarity once again ensued.

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I really should of put some money down on this shot.

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And how do you cap off a testosterone-filled day of competition? A wise man once said, “fudge it dude, let’s go bowling.”

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After Boomers, we played 18….and Gary’s aim was just slightly off on this shot. Hehe.

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Well, not only am I being laughed at by my favorite woodie, but now I’m stuck with a car that any Acer could easily outrun.

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Dammit. I see you DBH. Quit taunting me!

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Oooooookay, so instead it was go-cart time. Self, remember, it’s your brother’s big day out. Just forget about the Hurricane and enjoy your time out with the guys. Oh, and do not bump the car ahead.

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Denied due to a physics class???? I’m trying my absolute best to laugh it off. Trying REAL hard.

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After a couple games of laser tag (not shown, if you couldn’t tell that anyway), it was on to the best reason for coming here….

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With Gary’s friend Bill happy to win the first showdown.

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The competitive juices started flowing. A heated game of air hockey ensued.

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Okay, what’s that I see? Why, that would be the best wooden coaster south of Dollywood – also known as The Dania Beach Hurricane at Boomers.

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This place is somewhat of a dive, but a true South Florida institution.

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Then it was down the block to my favorite Fort Lauderdale bar. Located right on the beach at Las Olas and A1A.

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That night, it was time to hit up the Quarterdeck for some great seafood, and a couple Yuenglings to wash it all down.

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But they did get a brief shot of the field and used Coach Smith’s voiceover as well. Bragging time: When you’re the #3 rated high school sports program in the nation, according to Sports Illustrated, you end up in Nike ads.

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A peek inside the locked gym. Football fans may recognize this gym from the Nike’s high school football ads that ran last season. Why they used a shot of the gym for football? I’ll never know.

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Wow, a freakin’ parking garage now!? Where was that when I had to cram my truck into a space made more for a Mini Cooper?

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It was then time to take a nostalgic visit back to high school.

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Ahhh, now we’re talking. Friends, do yourselves a favor. If you’re ever in Fort Lauderdale, and you like a great sub, please avoid SubWay, Quizzno’s, etc., etc, and find your way here. You’ll thank me.

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OH MY GOD!!! Not here though! Scariest. McDonald’s ad. Ever. New McCrack….only for a limited time.

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If we didn't relocate to the North Georgia mountains, I’d probably be captaining one of these things right about now. Instead, let’s just grab some lunch somewhere.

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Fort Lauderdale is commonly referred to as “The Venice of America.” Here is a pretty good example why.

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Wyland was begging us to buy more art. Our credit cards screamed, and then suddenly jumped directly out of our wallets and into the canal.

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It was time to stroll down Las Olas Blvd to do a little shopping. Las Olas – Spanish for “the olas.”

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Joe?

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Friday morning. Man, I miss waking up to this kind of thing. After enjoying the beach and pool a little, it was time to head out.

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See above caption.

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When we finally got back from Universal Orlando, it was time to relax out on the balcony.

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