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Photo TR: Divv's U.S. (and U.K.) Adventure...


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Yes here it is - my super sized, super long trip report that encompasses my four day England tour, the TPR Midwest Trip and my own "Post-Midwest" tour.

 

I should say that I was plagued with camera issues throughout the trip - be it with batteries or memory cards and then the screen broke quite early in the trip. I wasn't able to replace the camera until I visited the Mall of America much later in the trip. As a result a lot of the photos from the TPR portion of the trip were taken blind but hopefully I've got enough here to cobble together some kind of trip report from those parks. If not then well, there are already loads of great TRs from the Midwest trip out there!

 

Anyway - let's begin...

 

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PART ONE: CAMELOT

 

So I left on Friday evening and got my train no problem and Tom arrived right on time to pick me up and take me back to his (thanks again to Tom for putting me up those first few nights).

 

Got up bright and early on Saturday morning and headed to Camelot to see the good folks from Coasterforce. Now I had visited Camelot with the school about ten years ago but pretty much all the rollercoasters have changed since then. In fact the park's newest rollercoaster "Knightmare" had only officially opened the day before we visited. I was quite looking forward to riding Knightmare after seeing video of it in its former home of Japan. While the ride was good it did have quite a few rough spots which was a shame. The "psycho drop" half way through really was great though. I was pretty non-plussed about the rest of Camelot though. Tom put it best when he said the place was "tired". Not much upkeep has been done and the rides are mostly pretty crappy. The atmosphere just isn't there. And the food was awful. But still it was a great day and I also got three new credits!

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That'll do it for Camelot! The park really isn't up to much but I still had a great day there! A great way to kick off my trip!

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Fed up with the rides at Camelot, Tom decides to invent his own fun...

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Back to Knightmare - it's the best ride in the park. Although it does have a few rough spots. It definitely doesn't come close to touching the greatness that is Lisebergbanan.

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But it's nowhere near is good as Dragon's Fury or Spinball Whizzer.

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Camelot also have a Maurer Sohne spinner.

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The "psycho drop" is really what makes the ride worthwhile.

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But it's not "OMFG Amazing!" or anything like that.

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It's a good ride for the park.

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The reason for visiting Camelot today? Knightmare!

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Although a few of us decided to take the slide down the hill.

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Tom gets the ball rolling by announcing that we're heading straight to Knightmare!

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The first park of the trip - Camelot!

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Divv! You've started your update! Great stuff. I'm yet to make it over to the UK, so it'll be nice to see new parks that don't get alot of coverage on TPR!

 

It really was too bad that your camera screen cracked so early on during the Mid-West trip, but atleast it was still taking pictures!

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I still can't believe this all began over a month ago!

 

Yeah, Knightmare was OK, but nothing special.

 

It would be much better if they still had the mountain facade, but with the park's bad history with themed Schwarzkopf coasters I don't blame them for leaving this one bare.

 

Great photos Divv, looking forward to the rest!

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^ I know I also can't believe that was all a month ago!

 

PART TWO: NEW PLEASURELAND SOUTHPORT

 

After Camelot Tom and I took a quick jaunt down to the recently opened fun fair which now occupies the old Pleasureland Southport site. Imaginatively called "New Pleasureland" I was pleasantly surprised this place. Yes it's just a bunch of carnival rides thrown down on the ground but most of the rides are better than what was there before. Plus there was a wacky worm rollercoaster there which neither of us had ridden so we got a bonus credit! We also rode a powered coaster and a frisbee which did do a fair bit of spinning.

 

We also checked out the funhouse, it was pretty depressing to see the place gutted out, but at least its still standing and there are some things to do inside.

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And here is said frisbee. Spinny enough for me. New Pleasureland actually looks very promising. I'm sure I'll be back before too long!

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Here's the token they gave us to ride the frisbee. Yes it's in Italian!

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And even though we don't count powered coasters we rode the powered coaster to spite anyone that does!

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We did get a bonus credit on the Wacky Worm!

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Even more depressing was the inside of the funhouse. At least there's some stuff inside to keep it going.

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The former site of the Cyclone. Yeah it was a crappy woodie but it was still sad to see a big gap where it used to be.

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After Camelot Tom suggested we check out New Pleasureland Southport. Naturally that sounded like a good idea to me!

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Nice photos Divv, that was some trip you have just done, you must have some amount of photos collected. Bit of a pain hearing about the camera problems, always happens at the wrong time.

 

Funny to see you hated the food at Camelot too. I found the chips awful, they sure weren't from potatoes anyway .

 

Finally, is that 'The Drachen' or 'Crazy Chase' you are on at New Pleasureland? I can't figure it out.

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^^ I don't know how I'm managing to function either. Since I've got home I had two consecutive nights of heavy drinking and I pulled an all-nighter too!

 

Into "recovery week" now - which will chiefly consist of writing this report!

 

^ Yeah, the camera problems were a downer but I suppose you just need to take these things in your stride.

 

I honestly can't remember the name of the coaster at Southport - any ideas Tom?

 

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PART THREE: GULLIVER'S WORLD

 

The next day we went to Gulliver's World in Warrington, a small family park. It was actually really nice. None of the rides blew you away or anything but there was a real friendly atmosphere and everyone seemed to have a good time. Gullivers does have a small wooden coaster called Antelope. Nothing special, it jolted you back and forward a bit which wasn't great. But still, it was good to ride a wooden coaster again - something I hadn't done since Balder last September. Another three credits in the bag.

 

I should also give a shout out to the great food and the laugh we had whilst eating the food!

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And that was my day at Gulliver's World! Thanks to all the good people at Coasterforce who were there!

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Trademark Tom leap...

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Although Tom was a little more agile than Nadia.

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Oh and Tom got chucked in too...

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Like throwing Nadia into a minging cauldron.

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With the credits out the way it was time to make some fun for ourselves...

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There's also a wild mouse - which is always good at throwing you from side to side.

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The credit whores were out in full force!

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There was also this mine train/wild mouse/kiddie coaster hybrid.

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The first of many wood coasters for me on this trip.

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Then we head straight for the small woodie - Antelope!

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Tom kicks off the festivities once again.

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Another sunny day, another park! I'll need to get used to this!

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LMAOOOO Divv!! I have tearss!! Those pictures brought back soo many memories haha!! me in the minging cauldron full of mud and those polystyrene bow things!! and yes, what a laugh at dinner, so so funny!! Homemade expensive food n lotsa random stories!!!

 

Can't wait to see all your other piccie reports, keep them coming dood!!

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PART FOUR: ADVENTURE ISLAND

 

This morning I left early and I travelled to London without much incident. Checked into my hostel then headed for Adventure Island which is in Southend-on-Sea. This was the first park on the trip that I visited alone. Something I was going to have to get used to for later in the trip.

 

It was a nice enough park - kinda reminded me of Codona's and Margate mixed together. The new coaster there is Rage. It was my first Euro-fighter coaster. It has a vertical lift-hill and a 97 degree drop. It was nothing too special and a little shakey at bits but the lift hill and first drop were very good. It really is a great coaster for the park. The other three credits are basically oversized kiddie coasters but credits nonetheless.

 

I always seem to really enjoy seaside parks for some reason. Must be all those childhood visits to Blackpool.

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Adventure Island is a small park but I still quite liked it!

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Rage is pretty much the only "big ride" in the park.

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Sadly this Pinfari didn't have the slight moment of airtime that the clone in Aberdeen has.

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Adventure Island also has a few random kiddie coasters.

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But it does have its fun moments.

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To be honest it's nothing spectacular and a little rough.

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Rage is one of only a few new coasters in the UK this year.

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Time for the first solo park of the trip!

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Thanks everyone for the positive comments! Keep 'em coming!

 

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PART FIVE: THORPE PARK (& LONDON EYE)

I spent two and a half hours at Thorpe Park on this morning... It wasn't the best.

 

Got there and got my annual pass made up and then headed to the park. First thing I see is a big sign says "Stealth is closed today". Great, the first Intamin of the trip is closed hopefully this isn't a bad omen. Luckily I already had the Stealth credit, but still, I fancied another ride to help compare the launch to Dragster and Kingda Ka!

 

Anyway I get into the park and go to get a locker to put some bits and bobs in but I don't have a fifty pence piece that the locker takes. So I go around the various shops and arcades asking various staff members if they can give me change for a locker. "No", "no", "no" was my response for fifteen minutes! I finally found a staff member in Burger King who helped me out. So after being first into the park with my annual pass all momentum is lost because everyone else has now taken over me. If you asked a cast member in a Disney park for change and they couldn't help you then they'd stay with you until they had found someone who could help you. The Thorpe staff just didn't care. I was pretty pissed off.

 

Anyway, I rode Nemesis Inferno twice. Once in the front and once in the back and I still think it's a great little coaster. Not as intense as its Alton sister but it still has some good forces.

 

Colossus was worse than last time. It's just so rattly I can't enjoy it. Suffice to say one ride was enough. X:\ No Way Out is still as WTF as ever. I Rode the powered coaster too which I didn't do last time.

 

By 12 I'd had enough of the chavs, the staff, the heat and the lack of rides that excited me. So I left.

 

Seeing as it's free with my annual pass I hit the London Eye in the afternoon. Nothing too exciting but some really nice views, especially since it was such a nice day.

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That'll do it for the London Eye.

 

Coming next - the journey from hell!!!

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I got on for free with my Tussauds Pass!

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On a clear day you can get some really cool views.

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...and look about London.

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Like this...

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You go up really high in your "pod".

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Like the London Eye!

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Two hours at Thorpe park was plenty. Time to try something else...

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Which is also much better than Colossus.

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Thorpe brought back their powered coaster this year...

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The opposite is Colossus, which may well be the worst ride in the park.

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It may be a shadow of the original Nemesis but its still the best ride in Thorpe Park!

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This was the first of five B&M inverts on the trip for me.

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Thankfully Stealth being closed isn't too much of a downer with Nemesis Inferno next door!

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With signs like this I can believe that!

I was hoping that dead Intamins wouldn't become a theme for the trip.

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This the last park on my trip that I'd visited before. I've heard of lot of people say Thorpe Park is like a Six Flags park...

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Great report so far Divv: I found Thorpe Park a let down this year, not bothered with "chavs,pikies,hoodies or all the other silly names which people are called" in the Q lines as long as everyone is normal and do not try to Q jump, shouting etc.

 

With hiring younger staff below 30 years old, customer service and quick ride turn a-rounds do not exsist anymore, the Ops go at their own pace and everyone q's longer.

 

The best Ops were on "Inferno", very fast and quick to unload and despatch the trains. Makes a chance for once..

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Hey man Great TR so far! Yeah i've never really been a big fan of Thorpe Park...and where do people get this idea it's like six flag park???

 

Anyway, really looking forward to seeing the rest of your TR!

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^ Having visited four Six Flags parks and Thorpe Park in the space of 26 days I can tell you that Thorpe Park does feel like a Six Flags park. I'm not sure exactly what it is. Maybe the way the rides are just set down on the flat ground, the staff and general atmosphere. It just has a Six Flags "feel" to it. At least that's what i found.

 

Anyway, onto to the portion of my story which you just HAVE to read!

 

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PART SIX: THE JOURNEY FROM HELL & CONEY ISLAND

 

This is where the real fun kicks in!

 

When planning the trip I managed to find what I thought was an ingenious way of getting to Cincinnati which would have me paying about £350 - £400 less than the other people from the UK who were on the Midwest trip. Basically this was my plan:

11am (BST) - Flight Leaves Gatwick for JFK via Bermuda to some drop people off.

4pm (EST) - Flight arrives at JFK

7:30pm - Fly JFK to Chicago

11:30pm - Megabus from Chicago to Cincinnati

7am - arrive Cincinnati

 

Of course I had contingencies in there had I missed any of these connections. Namely, the Greyhound which I could get from New York to Cincinnati at 11:15pm or from Chicago to Cincinnati at 3:30am. Looks like quite a journey, but it seemed doable to me, especially since I was saving so much money by doing it this way!

 

So I get up at 6am (UK time) on the Wednesday morning, I get some breakfast and take my time in heading to Gatwick. I get to the airport just after 8am where I get told my flight has been delayed an hour. Ok, it's gonna be a little tighter getting my connection but I figure I'll still make it. 12pm comes and goes and still no one is getting on the plane. At 12:30pm an announcement is made that there is a technical fault with the plane which should be resolved shortly. We get onto the plane at 1pm, and wait... Finally at 2pm the plane takes off.

 

By this point I realise that there's a pretty good chance I'll be missing my connection so decide not to sleep on the plane in the knowledge that I'll be spending the night on the Greyhound from New York to Cincinnati and I'd much rather sleep during that fourteen hour journey.

 

Eventually we arrive in Bermuda, where everyone has to get off the plane for security reasons, fair enough. Whilst we're in the Bermuda airport they find the same technical problem in the plane. I end up sitting in the Bermuda airport for two hours. By this point I'm just hoping I get to New York in time to get this bus.

 

At 9:30pm (US Time) I arrive in New York. I managed to get through security pretty quickly and head straight for the subway to get to the bus station on 42nd Street. I get there about 10:30pm and go ahead and buy my ticket for the Greyhound. It's supposed to leave NYC at 11:15pm and I've to change buses in Pittsburgh with a 55 minute layover there before arriving in Cincinnati at 2:15pm. 11:15pm comes and goes with no sign of the bus and just a lot of angry passengers. Once it hit 12:15am I realise I'm not gonna be making my connection and am going to end up stuck in Pittsburgh waiting for another bus causing me to miss the start of the TPR trip. At 1am I decide to head back to the airport and get a flight since the bus still has not appeared. Bear in mind this is the first time I've travelled outside the UK alone and my first time in the U.S. in nine years.

 

So I get the Subway back towards the airport, although it turns out that there was works on the line near the air train station and so I got kicked off the train a few stops before the air train station. Shit. It's now 2am so I've been awake for 25 hours. I've been kicked out the Subway somewhere in New York. All I know is that it's Brooklyn or Queens and I really don't want to be stuck in the streets of either at this time of the morning. Luckily some bin man comes up to me and realises that I'm lost. He tells me I've got to walk a few blocks to get to the air train. That sounded like fun! Thankfully a little Asian man overheard our conversation and offered to walk me to the Air Train station. I couldn't have been more thankful. He walked me all the way to the station, right past some very undesirable looking people on a few occasions.

 

I eventually get to the airport about 3am where naturally everything is closed. So I start trying to get a hold of Delta on the phone since I know they have a flight going to Cincinnati at 6am. I didn't manage to get a hold of anyone at Delta until 5:30am. When I do I'm told that I can get on the 6am flight, although it's gonna cost almost $800. Ouch, but at this point I'm willing to pay anything just to get out of New York! She takes my card details and all that jazz, we're looking good. Then she tells me its actually too late to get on that flight! What a tease! The girl then tells me she can get me on another flight that gets into Cincinnati at 3:15pm which I told her was no good to me and ask if there's any connecting flights she can get me on which would get me there earlier.

 

After a few minutes she tells me I can get on a flight to Columbus leaving at 9am arriving just after 11am and then an onward flight which leaves Columbus for Cincinnati at 11:40am and arrives at 12:30pm. The connection time sounded pretty tight to me but the girls assures me that should make it ok. So I go ahead and pay almost $800 for these flights and check in for my flight leaving at 9am.

 

So I'm sitting in the departure lounge right next to my gate and watch every flight of the morning leave right on time. Things are looking good. Then it hit 9am... A announcement comes over telling the passengers to Columbus that our air hostess has not shown up for work this morning so the flight will be delayed until she shows up! I couldn't believe it, how much bad luck travelling can one guy get?! Finally at 10:30am the hostess shows up and we get under way. Although I've resigned myself to missing Coney Island by this point because there's probably no way I'll be able to get on a flight to Cincinnati arriving before 3pm (which is when the bus was to leave for the bonus park). I finally arrive in Columbus just after 12:30pm and find out that the same air hostess was actually supposed to be on my second flight! So that flight hadn't left yet - finally a little luck!

 

I got my flight and arrived in Cincinnati somewhere around 2pm. I went for the long walk from one side of the terminal to the other where I found the TPR people waiting to greet me. I'm sure Elissa asked me if I had come by bus. Instead of telling the whole story I think I replied that I had "just decided to fly" - sorry Elissa, I just really didn't feel like retelling my story at that moment. By this point I'd been awake for 37 hours, but I think the excitement of actually making it through that whole ordeal was keeping me going.

 

I was finally on the Midwest Trip! At 3pm we left for the bonus park which was, as expected, Coney Island. The park looked pretty cool for what it was but I only rode the coaster because I really didn't feel like riding anything else after what I'd just been through. Funnily enough we managed to break the coaster which wouldn't leave the station for some reason. We got back on a few minutes later though.

After riding the coaster I found Nadia, the only person I knew before the trip and told her my story, she looked pretty shocked.

 

After Coney Island we headed to the hotel where a bunch of us went to Olive Garden for dinner where I became a member of the Hooters Crew. Thanks for letting me in guys!

 

Oh yeah, we also had some fun in this little place in the hotel called the Pegasus Room! I think I got to bed about 2am (7am in the UK) meaning I'd been awake 49 hours!

 

I only took two pictures during my journey which is kinda sad, since it was so epic. But whilst going through all that taking photos wasn't really on my mind.

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And one final picture. From the longest day in my life! But at least it had a happy ending!

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Here's another one for you, Drew!

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Pegasus Room!

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Of course Drew likes us posting interesting photos of him, so I'll do that now.

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The Dutch boys show everyone the best places to find porn online.

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But the real fun started back at the hotel...

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After the park some of us headed to Olive Garden where I enjoyed this interesting contraption.

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And enjoy it TPR did.

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which had a credit for us all to enjoy.

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Our bonus park was Coney Island...

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37 sleepless hours later... finally I'm in Cincinnati.

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There's my plane at 11am at Gatwick Airport...

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Divv, that was 1 helluva journey you had, and like I said to ya at Olive Garden that made my lil plane delay so so insignificant hehe!! Mr Miagi came to your rescue though at least

 

Also, I'm sooooooo chuffed you've got pics showing the full extent of the most amazing room: Pegasus room, there was so much to do in that tiny room and even it's own special "restroom". So much fun was had in that little room, "meet you in there" to everyone!!

 

So many memories of that first night too, was brilliant!! Lovin the updates!!

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Yeah, I learned a valuable lesson on that journey - fly direct, or at least connect with the same airline. It might cost a little more but at least you won't have to go through anything like that!

 

But hey, at least its a good story to tell!

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God what a trip. I know how much travelling takes it out of me and I have never had a trip so long (touch wood).

Atleast you stayed level headed, many of my friends would have just freaked out.

Although with so much fun on the horizon, I'm sure you just wanted to concentrate on getting there quickly.

PTR is awesome though. Looks like loads of fun, cant help but agree with all of your Thorpe comments.

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That certainly was an epic journey Divv! It reminds me of the movie planes trains and automobiles. You do have an awesome story because of it now, just like the maverick queue. Glad to see the pics of the pegasus room.

 

- Andrew "Always waiting for Nadia" Janes

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You're waiting for Nadia again?

 

good update, what a horrible story, I couldn't tell you were up for so long that first night at the Pegasus room.

 

Ah well. Thanks for letting us stay in your room, which I guess technically was the first Pegasus room. Yay for Hooters Crew!!

 

|-|(.)(.) erm, yeah whatever.

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^ Haha so did I too we so made that our own lil pad, tv on, couch, retirement chairs, brillness!!!

 

I loved the way we just took em over, at the final one too, we tried to get into a few of the conference rooms but all the doors were locked grrr lol!!!

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