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Photo TR: Off season fun in Florida


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Just about every year, Catrina and I take a long weekend and head to Florida for some sunny coaster fun. The crowds are always light and weather is mild. With all things considered, it is my favorite time to head south.

 

Enjoy the photos! More to come as we are still down here.

 

Thursday evening we headed to Disney where the Port Orleans French Quarter would become our homebase. I decided to do a little thinking about where we would go. Where do all mem do their best thinking. You guessed it ...

 

The showers at the Port Orleans are NOT "Casey Approved"

 

For Catrina, all showers are approved.

 

The hotel room at Port Orleans reminded me a lot of Splash Landings at Alton. Except for one major difference

 

Catrina was really happy to find double beds in the room. Perhaps she would be able to get some real sleep.

 

In the room, everything had Mickey on it. Right down to the coffee cups.

 

I had a little fun with Catrina's name at the front counter. She better start getting used to this.

 

The fountain in the center courtyard.

 

Strategically placed bells on the hotel's jester.

 

Catrina posing with one of the Florida Gators.

 

Since the day was half over, we grabbed a bus to head over to Downtown Disney for a while.

 

Once at Downtown Disney, we grabbed some food at the Rainforest Cafe. One big benefit to coming in November is the table availability.

 

We grabbed a table next to the naked man fountain.

 

Shrimp Skewers are good for the soul. Everyone should have some.

 

Over at the shops, Catrina wanted to grab some shots of me in silly hats. I was more than happy to oblige.

 

Silly hat photo number 2

 

We checked out the Harley shop near Pleasure Island.

 

Peter Fonda eat your heart out.

 

Catrina won't get on my bike anymore, but she felt confident on this ride.

 

Friday morning it was time to head over to Epcot. The first item of the day was to check out the new Nemo ride.

 

The seagulls outside were genius, but the ride inside was also good. The only complaint I have is that the area was really nice before and while this new theme compliments that, it also removes a lot of nice views of the tank.

 

"Mine! Mine! Mine!"

 

In my "Ode to Chuck" photo, Bruce enjoys an afternoon snack.

 

Catrina poses with the hammerhead shark in a new play area.

 

Over at Journey to Imagination, we grabbed a shot with Figment.

 

It's official. Canadian beer = good. Canadians = bad.

 

Time to grab some samples.

 

Catrina wasn't a big fan of the cheddar cheese soup, but she did enjoy the noodles in Japan.

 

Time to head over to my favorite type of food sampling.

 

Catrina is ready to sample a bunch of beers that she is sure to hate.

 

My samples lined up and waiting for consumption.

 

Our host for the sampling was this representative from the Boston Beer Company. He was very knowledgable and didn't have even a hint of "Beer snob" in him.

 

Catrina's disliking for beer meant more samples for me!

 

Over at the Hops and Barley market it was time to try one of the few Sam Adams beers I have yet to taste. The Pale Ale.

 

After going back to the hotel for a little nap, we headed back to Epcot for some Extra Magic Hours.

 

Posing in front of the giant golf-ball.

 

Test Track displays why I love Epcot at night.

 

Detail of the Test Track sign.

 

Over at Germany, there was no Soren to be found. But we did find some Brautwurst and Beck's Dark!

 

Troika Troika Troika

 

No trip to Norway is complete without a silly picture in a viking helmet.

 

Time to grab a seat for Illuminations.

 

Illuminations lighting up the sky.

 

Another night shot.

 

Are you ready for rocket insertion?

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Saturday morning, we checked out of our Disney digs and headed over to Universal for the day.

 

More photos:

 

That photo spot that everyone knows about.

 

Over at the Studios, Ricki and Luci were rocking out for the masses.

 

We enjoyed one last (Catrina's first) ride on Back to The Future before it is destroyed in the name of progress.

 

Farewell photo of Back to the Future.

 

Men in Black remains the greatest shooting game ever.

 

Fear Factor Live was not going today. My guess is that they are still making the conversion from Horror Nights.

 

Over at Jaws, Catrina put me on the outside to protect her from the big bad shark.

 

Our fearless skipper.

 

I love Universal and their penchant for big balls of fire.

 

Help!

 

After an excellent ride on Mummy, we saw the Blues Brothers on our way to the Beetlejuice review.

 

Time for some monster rock.

 

Complete with Universal approved T&A.

 

Beetlejuice rocks it out with the help of classic Universal monsters.

 

Karma is a funny thing and "My Name is Earl" is a great show.

 

The sun was heading down and it was time to head back to IOA for some night rides.

 

Mmmmmmm. Dueling Dragons.

 

Exclusive night shot of the Flying Unicorn sign.

 

I will leave you for now with this night shot of Dudley Dooright's Ripsaw Falls.

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Fear Factor Live was not going today. My guess is that they are still making the conversion from Horror Nights.

I think I heard somewhere that Fear Factor Live is gone now. I think its because the show [TV Show, not the park show] was recently cancelled.

 

Other then that, great TR!

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Men in Black remains the greatest shooting game ever.

Really? I was kind of dissappointed with the ride myself, I didn't exactly get what I was shooting at. And neither did anyone else. The person with the highest score in our car was about 8 years old, so you know... But some of the animatronics are pretty cool.

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Men in Black remains the greatest shooting game ever.

Really? I was kind of dissappointed with the ride myself, I didn't exactly get what I was shooting at. And neither did anyone else. The person with the highest score in our car was about 8 years old, so you know... But some of the animatronics are pretty cool.

 

The animatronics are what you shoot at.It's a great ride if you know how to play

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Sunday was a delay of relaxation with no parks. We started of the day by slowly motivating ourselves to get ready.

 

Looks like my Step-Mothers cat had the same idea. Yes ... he is THAT fat.

 

Our first stop was one of my old hang outs on Armenia Ave in Tampa. Wholly Smokes!

 

Wholly Smokes offers a wide variety of authentic southern Bar-B-Q.

 

Catrina is ready for some Bar-B-Q action. I think ...

 

Next up was a stop at Citris Park Mall to kill some time before the game.

 

For the game, we went to one of my old hang-outs in Carrollwood, O'Briens Pub. The best Steeler bar in the WORLD!

 

The bar has several beers on draft a very insane collection of Scotches and Whiskeys. On tap were such favorites as Guinness, Beamish, Harp, Newcastle, Bass, Stella and much more. I opted for the Hoegaarden.

 

Unfortunately, most of the Steeler Nation was sitting by the end of the game.

 

// Today BGT with the "Other Eric Johnson"

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That's amazing that the seagulls say "Mine!"

 

Anyways,Nice pictures!Hope you guys had fun.

 

After seeing this TR I was inspired to make "mine" the noise my mobile makes when receiving a text message.

 

Knowing this my girlfriend sent me five messages in a row while I was in work

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Well. Onto our final day in sunny Florida ...

 

If Nikki would move her ass out of the way, we might be able to get to BGT on time.

 

We met up with Eric Johnson, whom we met on the UK trip, for a day at BGT. The first stop was the very busy Timbuktu Theater for some lunch.

 

After some lunch it was on to the Anton classic ... Scorpion.

 

Eric is ready for the first ride of the day. Actually, it was the second as we made a quick stop at SheiKra on the way to lunch.

 

Climbing the lifthill.

 

Our small group poses for a picture outside of Rhino Rally.

 

Next, it was onto some Montu goodness. After riding Nemesis in the UK this thing still stands on it's one. One of the finer B&M Inverts.

 

Tut's Tomb = Scary.

 

While at BGT, one can't help but to grab a train ride to check out all the little critters that wonder about.

 

Like this cute little Ford 250.

 

Zebras can use their stripes to hide their numbers. This guy isn't fooling anyone.

 

Just outside the train station is the entrance to once of my personal favorites ... Kumba. Eric and Catrina get ready for their ride.

 

It is impossible to do a trip report on BGT without discussing the yummy goodness that is SheiKra.

 

Mmmmm. Immelmann.

 

Mmmmm. Vertical Drop.

 

Mmmmm. Second Vertical Drop.

 

SheiKra holds it's own as a great ride. Sure it isn't the most forceful or complete coaster out there. But it is a LOT of fun.

 

SheiKra almost appears to resemble some sort of powerboat from this angle.

 

Now, over to Lorakeet landing.

 

Eric attempts to feed the Lorakeets. They were not being very cooperative on this particular day.

 

Looks like the birds were more interested in human flesh today.

 

Catrina and I posing in front of the butterfly.

 

On our way out, I stopped by the Hospitality House for what was probably the best beer I ever drank at BGT. A nice cold Red Hook IPA on draft.

 

Our last big treat was found at Sultan's Sweets where we indulged in these fine desserts.

 

Thanks for reading. The coaster season is offically over for us

 

See everyone at Solace!

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Great trip report Ted, It was a great day hanging with both you and Catrina. Those desserts at the end were pretty good! I'm glad to see the photo you took on the train didn't look like my head was a thousand times bigger than everone else and I could eat all of you in one bite! Hopefully you got home ok last night. I'll definetly keep Solace in March in mind. Take care.

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Good to see somebody else who's willing to die for a Photo TR! Somehow, I missed dying in the shark's mouth at Epcot (but I did like Nemo).

 

Glad you and Catrina had a good time. Last month was my first visit to BGA, and I thought it was great (and Eric is a great host). Lemme know if you plan to visit Euroburg.

 

Chuck

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Great TR Ted! I wish the outcome to the Steelers game could have been different. Gyendolynne is happy though. I had to mention to her a couple of times about last years loss to the Steelers.

 

We are heading to Orlando shortly. I always loved the Living Seas and I can't wait to see the changes. I saw some of them in January, but it wasn't completely done.

 

Have a safe winter....

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Yes, It was more of a "The Canadians" rib.

 

// Pens fan

 

Jokes on you, Montreal isn't even in Canada, it's in Quebec.

 

Still gonna be a Pens fan when Jim Balsillie moves them to Waterloo and renames them the RIM Jobs.

 

Nice TR, looks like you guys had lots of fun.

 

// I don't actually beleive Balsillie would be dumb enough to move the team here by the way.

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