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PTR - Dave Goes To SeaWorld (and other FL stuff!)


Meteornotes
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OK, recently a bunch of us went down to Orlando for Halloween stuff and other nonsense. What follows are some commentary and pics of the action. Before we get started, let's review the Dave's Rules Of Engagement For His PTR:

 

- I am Camera Dopey. Often, I will turn it off instead of taking a picture. And it requires me to hold the camera still, which is also a challenge. So some of these pics may be of "questionable" quality. You have been warned.

 

- There will be more text than you are likely used to. I make a living from writing, and I like words, and think everyone should read more. So there.

 

- There will likely be a caption that will either offend you and/or make absolutely zero sense unless the same random crap that rattles around my head all day bounces around in yours. I apologize in advance.

 

Having said that, let's begin our story...

 

I flew into Orlando Tuesday afternoon, and stayed at the in-airport Hyatt. I highly recommend this hotel. It's very nice, has a great location, and made it super-easy to meet everyone the next morning. The airport doesn't have the greatest food choices (when I made it down to the Food Court, the only things open were McDonald's Sbarro and Chik Foul A), so I ate dinner at Macaroni Grill. I don't normally eat there, but the chicken dish I ordered ended up being really good. It was an early night, as I had to get up at like 5:30 the next morning.

 

Soon enough, morning arrives, and everyone shows up, and we get the van and we're off. After a stop at Waffle House for breakfast (where I made the mistake of drinking three cups of coffee, thereby making sure I would have to visit every bathroom I passed for the rest of the day), we headed off to SeaWorld. I had not been to this park in a very, very long time, and honestly didn't remember much about it, but knew there were actual credits there for me. Yay!

 

SeaWorld is a very nice park, well themed and landscaped. We headed to Journey To Atlantis first, to avoid lines. This is not a credit, but is a fun ride. It's not amazing, and the downstairs portion makes NO sense, but I was still entertained. I have to say, though, after riding Valhalla at BPB, all other water rides like this seem really tame. I made sure to not sit in the front so I didn't get soaked (it wasn't that warm, a huge change for any FL visit for me), and only got a little wet.

 

Next up was Kraken. I thought this was the best floorless I've ever been on, and really enjoyed my back seat ride with Elissa (who has gotten over her fear of sitting next to me on a coaster... ). I found it fairly forceful with some cool elements. Some of the other folkds in the group were not as impressed, so perhaps the back gives a much better ride. Sadly, due to crowds, we only got one ride on it, but I did enjoy it.

 

About a billion miles away (seriously, this place is huge) we found the other credit, Shamu Express. I figured it was going to be a Python Pit sized coaster, so was shocked to see how big it was. It's a kiddie coaster, so the ride is nothing worth getting excited over, but was OK fun.

 

After that, we checked out some of the exhibits, some people got free beer, and we walked around a bit. We then got some of the late arrivals for our group their credits before heading out to Buffalo Wild Wings where it took us about a month and a half to get our order (seriously, the crappiest service I've ever seen at one of these places).

 

Overall I liked SeaWorld, but it's not a park that I would want to visit a lot. Most of the park is based around shows, and since I'd pretty much rather set myself on fire than watch a show or parade, this isn't really my style of park. But like I said, it's very nice, and Kraken was certainly enjoyable. There are much better places in FL, but you could certainly kill a half a day here without too much effort.

 

Anyway, enough of my yammering, let's go to the visuals!

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And we end this segment of the PTR with Joey looking mesmerized by something. Thanks for playing! More at some point, when I'm not distracted by trying to figure out how to get by pesky laws that keep me from putting a gator pit in my yard...

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Coming soon...Shark TV! Only on the Dave Network. Call your cable or satellite provider for more information.

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Thanks, Captain Salty, for that soul stirring tale. Now, if you're all hungry after looking at the sharks, well, now you can eat them.

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"Thus concludes my fable of the sea! Angry Dragons for everyone! Don't forget to tip your waitresses!"

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"...A SHARK ATE HIS FACE!!!"

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"I remember a time when we were out fishing, and Old Jim stumbled over an empty can of Schlitz Malt Liquor and fell into the water. And before you know it..."

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"Ah, the sea! She is a beautiful but harsh mistress."

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OK, Captain Salty wants to do the next couple of captions, so prepare thyself!

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"Hey Falafel, check me out! I have tentacles!"

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Random creepy pumpkin things

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Speaking of Joe...this reminds me, there needs to be WAY more Cooking With Joe PTRs! I need to see more examples of how taco shells, tomato sauce and sausages can be combined into a tasty treat...

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I guess Joe is not the only one with a headless penguin

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HAHAHAHAHA JAHAN!!!! WE WILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE AT NIGHT AND EAT YOUR SOUL!!!! Well, if we had a car or a plane or some way to get there, anyway. You're safe. FOR NOW!!!

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Hey, let's check out the penguin exhibit, also known as the Jahan House Of Horrors.

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Many in our group had some sort of pumpkin ale, which they all said did not taste anything like pumpkin. I was not surprised by this, given the fact that any of this beer is, um, not really good...

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It's Robb. There are balls. Make up your own joke here...

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Chuck totally owns this ride.

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After walking half way around the planet, we get to the other credit, Shamu Express. And despite the name, it's not an express line to the ACEr buffet (ACE jokes NEVER get old!).

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Hot looping action! I really did enjoy this ride.

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Kraken Monster is all angry and stuff. Someone must have taken his cheese.

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Kraken Time!

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Journey To Atlantis. A dolphin talks to you, random things light up, there's an evil laugh, you get wet, and Jeff Johnson counts at 753 credits. It's OK, but it's no Valhalla (FIRE HOT!).

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See? Told you there were fish. I would never lie. Unless you ask me for money. Then I would make up a story about how bears with rocket launches that shoot rabid badgers at you stole all of it so I can't give you any. Which actually happened at Tokyo Train Station. I swear.

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We're at SeaWorld. There are like fish and stuff...

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SPOONWAFFLE!!!

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Elissa and Kidtums are a bit apprehensive about what might be served at Waffle House

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Is that a real space shuttle?

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Did anyone read some of the awesome Sea World signs???

 

 

Double amputees can't ride unless they have some really awesome fake legs?!!? Nice!

 

 

Dirty Sock Funtime Band!?!? That's like the best band name ever, and it's wasted on a kids group???

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Thanks for the comments so far. These PTRs are really hard to do at the moment, as I cannot see correctly. Stupid surgery better work!

 

One question remains. How many times did gravity try to make you eat pavement?

 

Um, that would be...NONE! My eyesight sucks immesurable ass at the moment, but I would just like to point out that I did not (unlike some people):

 

- trip over something entering the Haunted Mansion

- walk into a sliding glass door

- get my ass kicked on Men In Black (Hey, Big Mike, how's it going?!?)

 

I did almost trip over a bench while the rest of you were watching that torture parade at WDW, but my excuse is that it's almost pitch black back in that corner of the park, and I was talking on my phone at the time. Plus no one was there to see it, so therefore it didn't happen. And I might be making it up, just to confuse people. Unlike how we were attacked by rabid bees with flamethrowers at Tokyo Train Station, because that totally happened...

 

dt

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Um, that would be...NONE! My eyesight sucks immesurable a$$ at the moment, but I would just like to point out that I did not (unlike some people):

 

- trip over something entering the Haunted Mansion

- walk into a sliding glass door

- get my a$$ kicked on Men In Black (Hey, Big Mike, how's it going?!?)

 

You even managed to avoid Canabians who stop walking to take pics of Spaceship Earth without checking if anyone is walking behind them.

 

Awesome captions.

 

I for one enjoyed Kraken. Just that in the front seat it was really forceless. Great, smooth fun ride, however it kind of felt like watching a video POV ofit.

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I hear there's not much worse than a tank full of morey eels drunk on a case of schlitz. Not only are they angry and violent, then they get moody, and make you come back to their cave to listen to their Morrissey albums. This is of course only hearsay for me, i'm recovering in the burn ward after the bees with flame throwers, they're small flame throwers, but quite accurate, especially when wielded by pissed off bees (which i have on good authority were also drunk off their little bee asses on Schlitz Malt liquor......or was it Colt 45...???)

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OK, time for the next part. I'll warn you right up front that these next couple of sections will not have a lot of pictures, as I just did not take that many. But I will still do my best to entertain. Having said that, let's recollect about our day at...IOA/USF/HHN!

 

An early morning finds us gathering outside of IOA. Today would be a long one, as the HHN event usually runs well past midnight. The plan was to split time between the two parks before getting our awesome pre-HHN dinner (thanks R&E!). The park didn't seem like it was going to be too crazy that morning, so it looked like we'd be able to get all the new people all their rides and stuff. Personally, I've been to IOA many, many times, and while I still like the park, it seems like it has gone down in its level of service over the last couple of visits. The place is amazing looking (one of the nicest parks in the world), but half-assed operations have marred some of our recent visits. Hopefully today would be better.

 

We started the day at Hulk, because that's what you always do. And surprisingly, Hulk kicked immesurable ass on this particular visit. It seemed like it was running better than it had in years. And they were running more than one train, so the wait was short. Things were already looking up.

 

Spiderman was next, and it did something that I've never seen it do: break down. Hard. I've occasionally not seen the effects work, but the whole system crashed. At least the staff was cool and sent us right back around for another ride, so everyone could experience it correctly. This is still a great ride, and still entertains.

 

After this, it was time to head back to the Dragons. These are among my favorite B&M rides ever, and they were both running great that day. I do not look forward to any sort of Harry Potter re-theme to this, as I still think the queue is amazing, even if it is about twenty miles longer than it needs to be.

 

After this, we made a circle around the park, where some folks got their Flying Unicorn credit, dinosaurs were spotted (but not the very rare second t-rex), some really brave people rode the water rides (you'd get less wet if you went and sat at the bottom of the ocean rather than riding these two attractions), Seuss Landing was conquered, and we ate lunch at Mythos. This restaurant is still nothing like it was a few years ago with it's dumb-downed menu, but it's still one of the better theme park restaurants, and is certainly the best choice inside IOA for food. I am all but convinced that management will make it "disappear" when HP Land is opened. I really get the sense that they hate this place. Which is a shame, as it's nice to have a choice beyond hot dogs and fries and whatever in a park.

 

An afternoon visit to USF followed, which seemed to go by very quickly, and where some attractions were skipped as we would be doing them that night during HHN. Soon enough, it was time to gather for our pre-HHN dinner, where once again we were joined by Creative Director Michael Roddy, who told us all sorts of stories about the design of the event and the new use of licensed properties and such while we were feasting.

 

I normally look forward to HHN every year, as it is easily the most elaborate and well-done park Halloween event, but I knew that I personally would not have as much fun this year, because of my stupid eyesight. Until I get my surgery, my eyesight is bad at best, but in the dark I'm almost blind, so I knew that I would likely not be doing any mazes. Sure enough, when we were taken to the first maze, I took one look inside the door, saw a wall of fog, and quickly decided that no, mazes would be a bad idea for me this year, and went to wait at the exit. The odds of me walking into something and injuring myself were too great (granted, I can do this when I have 20/20 vision and in broad daylight, but that's a tale for another time), and I knew with this group there was no way I could trust any of them to not guide me into a wall (bastards, all of them! ). So I spent the evening hanging out outside the mazes, watching the insane crowd (seriously, this was the busiest I've ever seen this event), and watching chainsaw guys randomly terrorize people. Watching this really made me want to be a chainsaw guy once in my life, as this looked like way too much fun.

 

I did get to enjoy the annual Bill & Ted show (not the best, not the worst I've ever seen), kicked Big Mike's ass on Men In Black, and the one scare zone. And here will be my main comment about HHN: one scare zone?!? Um, not acceptable. It seems like the overall outdoor atmosphere of HHN was down, and I think the lack of scare zones was a big part of this. I wondered if paying licensing fees for established characters did not put a dent into the budget, which then limited the amount of outdoor stuff they could do. Whatever the reason, I think this is a HUGE error, and hopefully it's corrected next year.

 

Because of my crap eyesight, I bailed early with Elissa and her Dad (Elissa's dad is awesome, BTW. One of the funniest people I have ever met), and pretty much passed out long before the rest of the troublemakers returned. Overall, it was a great day at Universal, one of the best I've had in a couple of years. And despite the fact that I couldn't do any mazes, I still had fun at HHN, and look forward to returning next year, hopefully with working eyes. Thanks Robb & Elissa for again organizing a great trip to HHN.

 

Anyway, enough of my yammering, let's go to the visuals!

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And we end this report with a random image of Ron Howard. Which is actually from USH, but hey, it's Ron Howard! Remember kids, if you see a Dave PTR coming at you, get out of the way, as it's not going to the movies. More later, when I finish off my plans for conquering the planet using an army of cats with laser cannons...

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This is Catrina. She is awesome, and hung out with me while other people were in mazes. We still had a good time watching chainsaw guys and random drunk people stagger about.

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I really wanted to see this maze, as this is one of my all-time favorite movies. Although I can just recall my first marriage and come up with something scarier...

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OK, when you cannot see because you need eye surgery, and you're walking and randomly snapping off pictures, this is the sort of quality photography you get. Though this is pretty much what HHN looked like for me most of the evening.

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I'm thinking this maze might have something to do with chainsaws. I'm not positive, though. They might just be playing a trick on you and you think that this maze will be full of chainsaw guys, but then you go in there and you're all prepared for hot chainsaw action and then there are all sorts of hermaphrodite clowns throwing rabid badgers at you. Then you're screwed...

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Random fire never gets old

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Yeah, it's pretty much the law that any HHN PTR needs to contain this picture. I post this so as not to upset the authorities.

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OK, HHN time! It's dark! And there are all sorts of scary things about. Like $9 drinks. And those that have consumed far too many of them...

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Dragons! Still an amazing ride. And it has actual forces, which many people are not used to and/or have never experienced (see: Silver Bullet).

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I'm guessing this will be gone too. Replaced with some sort of singing and dancing show that will not in any way entertain. Seriously, can anything that involves singing and dancing ever entertain? Maybe if it somehow involved strippers and death metal and chainsaws and explosions and random audience members being forced to fight angry bears with pool cues. That might be OK.

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Mythos! I'm sure park management can't wait to turn this place into a Harry Potter hamburger and milkshake stand. I suppose it will be the most elaborately themed burger place in all the land. Unless I ever get around to building DaveWorld, which would have a burger place themed around dinosaurs fighting giant carnivorous bees. That would rock.

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This is pretty much the sort of implement that's going to get shoved into my eye in about a week or so. I am not pleased.

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This dude looks all angry and stuff. I guess you'd be angry too if you had to spend the day spewing water our of your mouth to entertain people. I suppose it beats working at a WalMart. Actually, being part of the first manned expedition to the sun would likely be more fun than working at WalMart. Unless your favorite pastime is playing "Guess The Psychosis Of That Mutant", in which case, WalMart is the perfect place for you to spend your time.

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Spiderman rocks! Well, this version does, anyway. It could be made even cooler if at some point during the ride Spiderman has to fight a yeti that controls and army of robotic penguins that breathe fire and shoot laser beams out of their eyes. But that would be so awesome that it would likely kill you with it's sheer awesomeness. So I guess we'll stick with this version for the safety of the world...

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Hulk was running great during our visit. My faith in humanity has been restored! That would only last for about a minute, but it's the thought that counts. Or something like that...

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It's more fun than a slinky made of butter

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Start your day on Hulk. It's the law.

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Woo, we're at IOA, and the lighthouse is VERY happy to see us!

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What an awesome update. Dave, you really know how to entertain us! I am sorry that your eyes are not so good and you could not enjoy the mazes as last year. I hope it will all be better next year.

 

Since I am an optician I need to ask, what exactly is wrong with your eyes? I hope that is not to personal!

 

--Soren

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