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Photo TR: Non-German Tom's California Adventure


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I've never seen him at knotts, and I frequent the place. I out to keep an eye out for him.

 

As for your ride on silverbullet... it's too bad. I've been on days where the ride is really running great (usually in warmer weather with a full load of people) and on days where it's just a very boring ride. Though usually it's just a very "meh" ride.

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Dude, this has been an awesome TR. Despite the mediocrity you've experienced at some of the parks, it still makes me really jealous. I've been wanting to get out to Cali for so long just to experience everything myself. Keep the updates flowin' Tom. The people want updates!

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Good news folks, we've now got to the best parks on the trip!

 

The shots from Disneyland and California Adventure were taken over two days. I'm sorry there aren't too many shots that I would have liked, but I was enjoying myself far too much, which is what you should do at a Disney resort.

 

The Original Disneyland

 

Disneyland itself was very compact compared to the Florida version, but that only meant less walking to the bigger attractions. And yes, the castle is tiny compared to both the others I've seen.

 

I was very impressed by their Space Mountain, and it's probably my favourite out of the three I've done so far. Regardless of how much was or wasn't changed during the revamp, it's a great ride.

 

Big Thunder Mountain was very fast and boisterous, and because we got the seat of death, I was especially worried! But we survived. Unfortunately like the two others I've done, I only got one ride on it, when I would have loved to have done a few more.

 

Splash Mountain was good fun. Perhaps not my favourite because of the inline seating and not folwing as well as Orlando's version (no pun intended), but it was very well done.

 

Matterhorn was closed. So it better be open next time I go back.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean, now complete with Johnny Depp in a pirate costume was a great ride. I really don't see why people kicked up such a fuss about it, if they understood what Disney has been doing to their rides ever since they started Disneyland.

 

Autopia was great! Much better than the stupid six lane freeway at Orlando, and this one even went off road! I can't help thinking they got the Autopias the wrong way round, but when it was originally built, Los Angeles was not the mass of freeways it is now.

 

But by far my favourite ride there has to be the excellent Holiday Haunted Mansion. Jack Skellington and his Halloween buddies all come out to celebrate the festive season. It was quirky, funny, even scary at the start, but most of all brilliantly thought out. I actually prefer it to the normal Haunted Mansion.

 

Other rides worthy of mentioning are the Roger Rabbit dark ride which was a hoot, Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland, where I could see so much influence from the Blackpool version (I still prefer Blackpool's), the Enchanted Tiki Room (a Disneyland original) which must have been incredibly advanced for its time, the Indiana Jones adventure which was much better than Dinosaur! (sorry Dave), and I finally got on a Jungle Cruise and watched our boat captain tell a load of tribesmen in no uncertain terms to sod off!

 

Disney's Calirfornia Adventure

 

DCA isn't a bad park by any means. The theming is always excellent, the rides are still very good, and the Paradise Pier at night is beautfully lit. But somehow, it doesn't seem to gel as well as all the other Disney parks I've been to.

 

As far as the main attractions go, Tower of Terror was much more condensed than Orlando's. The queue was much shorter, and there was no forward/backward section. It wasn't bad, but it's just not as good as the other Tower in Florida.

 

Soarin was pretty much identical to Epcot's. the aircraft theming feels much more appropriate than housing it in a big complex, but they both work on different levels.

 

California Screamin' was plain good fun. Shame they had to trim it, I can only imagine how those bunny hills must have been before those two trains decided to kiss eachother. The other coaster Mulholland Madness was pretty much a standard steel wild mouse coaster, run very effeiciently by Disney staff.

 

Grizzly Rapids was one of the better ones I've been on. More rapids rides should have drops.

 

We didn't end up riding Maliboomer or Orange Stinger, and Sun Wheel broke down. But I'm sure I'll be back sometime in the future for longer than a few hours. Not the greatest Disney park ever built, but still better than almost everything else in California.

 

So what did I learn out of the Disneyland Resort?

 

1. November is a good time to go. Even if Matterhorn is being rehabbed.

 

2. The Monte Cristo Sandwich is amazing. More on that further down the page.

 

3. Try and spend a bit longer at the resort than I did if you really want to get everything done, including a gander downtown.

 

4. Not really a lesson, but some good advice - as with any Disney park, use the fastpass system and use it a lot.

 

And here's some photos:

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And here's our first group shot.

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Hey Elissa, you're not the only person on TPR with a bulge!

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Even Jack Sparrow caught a scent of Monte Cristo sandwich.

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After all those rides, we headed to New Orleans for lunch, and what a lunch!

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And here's a high speed coaster from Vekoma!

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At least this mountain wasn't closed.

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Stupid Matterhorn! So this is broken Arrow ride No.2 of the trip.

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Oh look. Now I know we're in California after all!

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"You bump my ass, I'll get outta my car and bury yours!"

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You're not supposed to bump, but it was too late.

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I was driving hard, and chasing down Don & Monica fast.

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This'll do!

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This is what happened after I told Darth Maul that he sucked at using a kid's light sabre. I need a getaway car, and fast.

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Left, right, duck, right leg, left leg, slice!

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Would you pick a fight with him?

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So Vader introduced his secret weapon.

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You won't believe it. but this kid kicked Darth Vader's ass.

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"You cannot resist the power of the Dark Side. So you will join me, unless you have any Vapor Rub, because my breathing is getting worse."

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Oh no! Looks like Darth Vader is here to take the kids over to the Dark Side!

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"Remember, you must only use the light sabre to defend, not attack. Or if you don't have a knife, you can make a sandwich, but only in emergencies!"

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Now here's one thing I didn't tell you about! They had a Jedi School for young padouins wishing to become the next Luke Skywalker.

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"And the award for Best Non-German of the year goes to..."

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We also got to blast a few aliens.

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Space Mountain Logo silhouette! I loved this version of the ride.

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But still big enough to put me in the shade though.

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Wait, there it is! That really is tiny! I swear that my house is bigger than that thing!

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Now down on Main St USA, I can't see a castle, and Monica can't see it either!

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Here's the resort entrance from Harbor Boulevard.

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Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!!!

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Jimmy, you're glowing!

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And now time to run in the dark with my camera!

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As does the whole of Paradise Pier.

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Mickey Mouse Loop looks better lit up.

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Scary ghost train!

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We're gonna launch and we're gonna go REALLYREALLYFASTDANANANANANANANANANANANANANANAANANANA...DAA DAA DAA!! DAA DAA DA DAA DA DAA DAAA!

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Seeing as you are, let's go ride California Screamin'!

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Hey Jimmy, how'd you get here?

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Picked up another credit on Mulholland Madness.

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But no S&S Sneezeguard towers for us today.

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The cast member at Maliboomer was taking it easy.

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Sun Wheel. Broken!

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Bad Tower. Not that bad, just not as good as Orlando.

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Now onto the next park! And Don was especially pleased to see that the Golden Gate Bridge had been shortened, so now his drive to work is five minutes quicker!

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I think my Dad's favorite attraction at DL is the monte cristo sandwich--it is pretty damn good (and so good for you).

 

Overall, I do prefer DL to MK (especially their versions of Pirates and Haunted Mansion--Florida's need some TLC).

 

Glad you had a good time, Tom.

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I was very impressed by their Space Mountain, and it's probably my favourite out of the three I've done so far. Regardless of how much was or wasn't changed during the revamp, it's a great ride.

 

Quoted for truthiness.

 

 

 

 

Great TR Tom! Glad you enjoyed yourself!

 

-Jahan

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Great stuff Tom! Can't wait to see the rest of your trip. Too bad the sunwheel had to have a pissy fit when you were out here, I went on it this past weekend and Jeff Johnson still counts the sunwheel as 16 credits...Whore!

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Thanks for everyones kind words!

 

Sorry I've not been on top of the updates recently, but I said to Erik that I would get this report done, and I'm not gonna rest till I have. It's now time for the last big park of the trip, Universal Studios Hollywood.

 

It was very quiet at the park, so I got the big attractions done in a relaxing 4 hours. Not much really to say about this park to be honest, but when the theming in the CityWalk section overshadows the park that's not really surprising. Yes, I have been spoiled by the very good Floridian parks. Yes it's certainly not a bad park and they do put a lot of effort in, but for me it's a lot like Hollywood itself - a let down.

 

In fact, I didn't even learn much today. All I learned was that Bad Mummy was bad, Backdraft was good, Jurassic Park wasn't bad, Terminator 2: 3D wasn't bad but wasn't that good either, Back To The Future is still there, and the Tram Tour was very good.

 

Here's what happened.

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So it's "Smell You Later" Los Angeles, cos I'm off into the desert!

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I also felt a lot better about not taking the Aeroplane Tour. But I did have to drive to Las Vegas.

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Anyone for a car on a stick?

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You decide - Flash flood, or Joey finally gets laid?

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If there is a God, you will make Eva Longoria come out of that house in nothing but a strapless bikini.

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After seeing this, I felt a bit better about taking the Tram Tour and not the Helicopter Tour.

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As is this. Can't remember what they're from, but they're famous!

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This is quite a famous set.

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USH's signature ride.

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After Derek's bad week, I sent him this Get Well Soon card.

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And sorry, I used up all the Arnie jokes at Legoland.

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Superheros never were meant for quad bikes.

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Sorry Ed. It had to be done.

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And she's not really dead.

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And we all listen to the Austin Powers theme doing this.

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For those of you you have never seen England, it all looks like this.

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We've never finished a trip report before, and I'll be damned if I get through this one!

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Thanks to some crazy brakes after the big drop, this one is more Dan-friendly than I expected.

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Jurrasic Park! A-ha! Smell my cheese, you mother! (You probably have to be English to get that.)

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Backdraft was damn hot. So I checked out a wet ride, called Jurassic Park.

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And David Byrne would probably melt in there.

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But they wouldn't use any pyros.

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Talking Heads would get bigger queues.

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If this ride were a song, it would be Burning Down The House by Talking Heads. And nearly just as old.

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If this ride were a song, it would be Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm by Crash Test Dummies. And just as average.

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The escalators might be big, but without any cool effects inside the tunnels they might as well be stairs.

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Tired is the word you're probably looking for now. I'm just looking for the words that say Red Bull.

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I still don't quite understand the "Cars on Sticks" attraction. Either does anyone else apperently...

 

And LOL at Joey's dumb no airtime/no fire Mummy Movie Ride being compared to 4(mmm). They are both so excruciatingly average...just like Joey!

 

I guess Uni Hollywood is just the park that's really not worth the drive out there, unless you're from Japan or something.

 

You may actually finish this PTR! I'm actually impressed!

 

See you in 6 months!

-Don

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^No airtime? The effects might suck, but there is definitely a couple of decent pops of air on Mummy in the back.

 

-Joey "we have the better control room, break room, and offices...so it's all good!" Mandel

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I still don't quite understand the "Cars on Sticks" attraction. Either does anyone else apperently...

 

And LOL at Joey's dumb no airtime/no fire Mummy Movie Ride being compared to 4(mmm). They are both so excruciatingly average...just like Joey!

 

I guess Uni Hollywood is just the park that's really not worth the drive out there, unless you're from Japan or something.

 

You may actually finish this Photo TR! I'm actually impressed!

 

See you in 6 months!

-Don

 

I actually enjoyed the Cars on Sticks! It was just kinda cool seeing cars thrown in the air by a pissed off robotic arm. The tour there is much better then in Florida. So no worries on that...I just like seeing a wide range of different effects. Oh well

 

-Ryan

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Universal Studios Hollywood is a good park on the side if you're going to Disneyland for a few days. Mummy was a really good WTF - the steam at the end was cool but it's not a patch on Florida's.

 

OK, so this is the last section of the update! And a nice anecdote to end on.

 

After Universal, I was faced with a 5 hour drive to Las Vegas. No problem I figured - I'd driven from Atlanta back to Florida in a day, so how hard could this be?

 

Well, it was very hard. the journey took 8 hours, and it wasn't much fun. The traffic was horrible. I was exhausted, and pulled over at least four times for coffee just to keep me awake. It took so long to get out there, I missed riding Desperado night, as by the time I got there, and I was so tired, I managed to miss the exit twice, only to find out it had closed. But finally after 8 hours, I made it off the freeway, and towards Las Vegas Boulevard.

 

Now at this point I was only a few hundred yards from my hotel, but somehow at the Boulevard, I put the car into reverse instead of drive. I hit the pedal and got two of the biggest shocks of my life. First when I went backwards instead of forwards, and second when I reversed into the back of the big Hispanic guy behind me. That really woke me up. I immediately put the car in drive and floored it. Wheelspinning like crazy, I drove off from the lights very, very fast. I have never driven so fast in my entire life. A few minutes later, I got to a McDonalds car park where I stopped the car, stopped hyperventilating and inspected the damage. To my utter disbelief, there wasn't any bodywork dents. just a few chunks of paint from the other car. I then got back into the car, drive to the hotel, checked into the hotel, lay on the bed and laughed a lot.

 

After two days checking out the Las Vegas strip, and getting back to Desperado, I headed back to the urban jungle to visit Castle Park and Scandia Park. I wasn't in the mood to run back to Magic Mountain for Riddler or whore Adventure City. I think I'd had enough excitement for one trip.

 

Now I'm not proud of what happened. But I do appreciate the importance of staying focused behind the wheel. Gil Grissom is probably on a manhunt for me, and I might be on some Hispanic gang's hitlist, but I'm still here, and learned the most important lesson of all - responsibility.

 

Here's Part 1 of "The End".

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ZEBRA BASTARD!!!

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But I don't think they would have made much difference to the other ones! It was still very rough.

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The new trains look swanky.

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Yep, it's getting closer. The pain, not the ride.

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I can feel the pain from here.

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Manhattan Express! Complete with new trains!

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New York, New York. You know what that means...

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...and strippers. Note: Actual stripper may not appear as advertised.

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And now for two of Las Vegas' biggest inhabitants. God Botherers...

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I never knew they named the James Bond film after a Denny's!

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Personally, I'm more impressed by the fountains at the Bellagio.

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For anyone who's a Toni Braxton fan.

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Caesar's Palace would look even better if Celine Dion wasn't on there!

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But they do look very good!

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Las Vegas has a lot of lavish and overpriced hotels.

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Now that looks much better! A Spaceship Mall!

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$2 Craps. Sounds about right for a place next door to Circus Circus.

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MIIIINGE!

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Half of the Buffy Swears alphabet came out right about here.

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Wow, a 13 year old Arrow looper with silly trains! I can't wait.

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At this point I thank Robb & Elissa for advising me to not stay here. It's horrible!

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Ooh, classy!

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This would have been even better with a train on it.

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Apparently they're going to remove this loop as well!

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Speed is good fun. Definetly worth a few re-rides.

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Just over the road from Strat, there's this thing.

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I still can't get over how really tall that thing is.

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The view was quite something. I've never seen so many building sites from so high up!

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Shortly after this photo was taken, two people were found in several pieces about 900ft below.

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It's not a place to take your cousin with advanced vertigo.

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This one's pretty scary too.

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X-Scream is pretty scary, but not as scary as those jolts when you stop over the edge!

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This is the first in a series of stupid faces.

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Well, this is a sort-of credit. If you're Jeff Johnson!

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Damn, I missed the High Roller credit! :lol:

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Here's the first one. A Space Shot made a lot more intimidating by putting it 1000ft up.

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Yep, I stayed at Stratosphere! The nicest hotel at the North end of the strip. It's got some rides too!

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^Martyn, it's not too bad as long as you select drive instead of reverse when you want to pull away at the lights!

 

Driving an automatic is probably the easiest thing I've ever done. Everything is generally very well signposted, so it's easy to see where you're going.

 

But the drivers in California are a bit crazy, people on their cellphones left right and centre, lots of lane hogging, cutting eachother up, etc etc. So be prepared to drive a bit aggresively to get where you want to go. Also, you should try and avoid driving at times when the traffic will be horrendous, i.e. rush hour.

 

OK, here's Part 2 of "The End".

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And because I didn't take his photo, here's an Arrow coaster for Jahan - thansk for hanging out at the Mountain!

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Thanks to Robb for coming down and being a great laugh as always.

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Thanks to Elissa for taking time out from having a kid to come out.

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Thanks to Darth Maul for this shot.

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I'd like to say thanks to Jimmy, Don & Monica for taking the time to come and hang out with me.

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...and missed a few as well. So I will be back.

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...some not-so-great coasters...

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And that's it! I finished the trip report! I rode some great coasters..

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It was quite smooth, a little shaky in some places, but...well yeah.

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Screamer was, well, interesting I suppose.

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These people are really ghosts. The ejector airtime killed them all earlier!

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But they had a couple of credits too.

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I skipped this Gravitron.

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Or Sandia, as this ride calls it.

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My final park of the trip was Scandia.

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The Gravitron nearly killed me.

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This one even sprays you with a light mist!

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And here's the second.

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There's even a couple of credits. Here's the first.

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And there's a Pirate Boat too.

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There's a Log Flume in there somewhere.

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It's a looping thing! I think I'll pass.

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I made it to Castle Park while it was still light! Just.

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At least I'd be easy to find in your address book if I lived here.

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Just don't ride it in every seat.

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So there you have it. Desperado - About twice as violent as the Big One, but it did have a couple of pops of airtime.

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I wonder how many Pandas died to make this food?

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Oriental Takeaway! Sounds interesting.

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But I pulled through! With only a few bruises to show for my hard work.

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Halfway down the train, I was nearly dead.

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Here I am after the first ride.

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But I had the train to myself, so I decided to take the ultimate challenge, and ride in every row.

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This way to cheap spinal adjustment! I couldn't believe how much you got shaken around.

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Desperado! One the the most violent rides I've ever done.

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But there was one coaster I still needed to do...

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Talking of beer, you can drink in the street in Las Vegas! And I wasn't joking about the silly faces either.

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It doesn't get any better!

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Now I actually forgot to mention this earlier, but whilst in Adventuredome, I saw this. In rhyming slang, this ride would be a bit "Ginger Beer".

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Great Trip Report Tom. Nice to see you finish one! Glad you had fun out here in the US of A. Now you have to come to Castles N Coasters in Arizona to get those credits!

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