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Photo TR: Three Weeks of Insanity! From BGE to BGA to DCA.


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OK everyone. This is by far the longest PTR I have ever posted. Because of that, I will be posting in sections. I do plan on having the whole thing up within 24 hours, though. Basically, I spent three weeks away from home for a number of different reasons. For it all to make sense, I need to give a quick back story. I'll try to make it short. For those of you who could really care less, by all means, just skip to the pictures. For the other five or six of you, here's the scoop.....

 

- Around mid July of this year, my family and I decided to make plans to go to Orlando this October to meet up with some friends from TPR and enjoy the parks while their Halloween events were going on. We were very excited as my wife and I hadn't been to Orlando in over ten years and the kids had never been at all. We booked our flights, purchased some of our event tickets, and were just counting down the days. Then, everything changed.

 

As some of you know, I drag race my '65 Buick Skylark. I race every week at Portland International Raceway competing for points in my class to qualify to race at the NHRA Division Six Final every year during the second weekend in September. Long story short, I won! But, that isn't even the best part (although it was pretty freakin awesome). The best part, was that by winning, and becoming the division champion, I was paid $3500 by Summit Racing Equipment in traveling expenses to race at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, CA for a national championship! The only bad thing was that I had to be in Pomona on Oct. 31st, the day we were scheduled to fly home from Orlando. Oh well, we'll just reschedule our flight home and pay the airline penalties. I mean I just won $3500, right? Well, then something REALLY major came up.

 

I have been wanting to go into business for myself for several years now, but having a secure job, and wanting to take my time to make sure I made the right decision, had kept me from doing anything. Then the perfect opportunity came along. A Meineke franchise came up for sale and I had the inside track on buying it, so I did! One of the requirements to becoming a Meineke franchisee, is to attend a two week long training course in Charlotte, North Carolina. The class was from Oct 15th to the 26th. Florida was going to have be canceled.............well, almost.

 

 

Part One: Carowinds (This Post)

Part Two: Busch Gardens Europe (Scroll Down)

Part Three: Kings Dominion Click HERE

Part Four: Busch Gardens Africa Click HERE

Part Five: Cypress Gardens Click HERE

Part Six: Animal Kingdom and Epcot Click HERE

Part Seven: Halloween at The Disneyland Resort Click HERE

Part Eight: Day Two at DLR and I Get Paid! Click HERE

Part Nine: Six Flags Magic Mountain And A Little More Disney Click HERE

Part Ten: The Race Click HERE

 

I arrived in Charlotte around 11am on Sunday, so naturally, I planned some time to go to Carowinds.

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And I will end this section with a picture of the famous Carowinds pole.

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On the way out I saw they were selling old Paramount shirts 2 for 5 bucks! Now that's a deal.

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I rode in the back for my last ride and it was a little better. Even at the bottom of my invert list, I would still give it a solid 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. Did I say I love these things?

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Speaking of Top Gun. Might as well get in one more ride while I'm here.

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Really a very clean, nice, pretty park. Even on a day as slow as this, every coaster that could was running two trains. Only problem.... the coasters suck! Aside from Top Gun, there were two other decent, but nothing special, coasters, and then the rest was absolute crap. Actually, I didn't ride Ricochet. Too bad. It was probably the next best coaster in the park next to Top Gun.

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Much better than Hurler. Not nearly as good as the Fairy Coaster. Backwards side was not running. Probably a good thing.

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Now, who says Cedar Fair isn't "large people" friendly?

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Didn't get a chance to ride the Scooby Doo dark ride. I'm guessing I didn't miss much.

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The powers that be.

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Wow! A coaster that doesn't totally suck. Score!

 

Time to head back to the other end of the park for a credit I missed earlier.

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There it is. Looks like a lot of people on it too.

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Wow, a line! That must be, what, ten minutes? Again, the credit whore in me just wasn't showing up, and ten minutes is a very long time to wait for a wild mouse, so I passed. Plus, there was a mine train somewhere over here I wanted to ride.

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Wrong.

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After Hurler, Carolina Cyclone can't be that bad, right?

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I took this picture before riding. It is the only picture I got of Hurler, because I was too busy getting my spine adjusted, and a few cracked ribs taken care of after riding, to get any more pictures. Seriously, the best way I can describe Hurler, is, Psyclone with air-time.

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Alright. Woodie credit #2 for the day.

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Actually, not to horrible.

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You guys getting tired of seeing pictures of empty stations yet? No? Good, because I got more.

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Vortex. I hope this one is better than the other old school stand-up on the other side of the country with the same name.

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This part of the ride is still a lot of fun. The rest..........not so much.

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Laying on your back, with all the blood rushing to your head, waiting for the slow ops to send the train. FUN! B&M really took everything about these, and made it better.

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Another long wait. I remember waiting for an hour to ride this thing when it was at KCGACF.

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Since I had just gotten my brains beat in, I figured I was on a roll. Why stop now.

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Yeah, right about here is where the pain begins. Seriously, these things are terrible. For a coaster that probably never goes more than 20mph, this thing beats the crap out of you.

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For all the lift POV fanboys.

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I had never been on a Jr. SLC before. Looks pretty tame. Can't be too bad, right?

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Hey BeemerBoy, does this count as a monorail shout out? No? Oh well, I tried.

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How's it going Ed?

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No line for this one either, but I just wasn't feeling enough like a whore to ride it. I could have probably asked my new friend to ride with me too, if needed. I know, I'm a discrace to dredit whores everywhere.

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The Fairy Coaster was actually the surprise of the day for me. I thought it was really good.

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"Um, mom. Are you sure I'll be OK riding with this guy? He keeps taking pictures of himself."

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Time for the fairy coaster.

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Honestly, I was a little disappointed. It was still a great coaster overall, but I would rate it at the bottom of my B&M invert list with Great Bear.

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1:00 in the afternoon on a Sunday and this is what the station looked like. Not too bad.

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Now we're talking. I am admittedly a B&M invert fanboy. I had always heard good things about this one so I was pretty excited.

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I had already rode BORG when it was at Knott's Cedar Great America California Fair so I will be skipping it for now.

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I see Stealth....er....I mean, BORG Assimilator.

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Very scary orange water fountain.

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Scarowinds was in full swing.

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After a nice relaxing nine hour flight, I am here. I really hadn't heard much about this park one way or the other, so I didn't know really what to expect.

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Part Two: Busch Gardens Europe

 

So, after a week of classes, including half a day on Saturday, I was free for the rest of the weekend. After weighing all of my options, I decided my best course of action would be to drive up to Virginia and hit BGE and KD. Since they were so close together, I figured I could do them both in the limited amount of time I had. Plus, I had been wanting to go to BGE for a long time now. I left Charlote at about 3:30 in the afternoon and arrived at BGE in time to get my season pass processed and spend a few hours in the park before closing.

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Hey, I've looked like that on skis before.

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Big thumbs up! Thought it was great.

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OK, back to Alpengeist.

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Hey Ted!

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Money shot right there. Oh, speaking of log flumes.

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Inverted loopiness.

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Have I mentioned that I LOVE these things yet?

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What is that I see?!

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And one last shot of the best coaster in the park.

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Here's a picture you've never seen before.

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Totally awesome first drop!

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And another =)

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Another angle.

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One of the best inversions on any coaster out there, IMO.

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Not only was Griffon a fantastic coaster, but it was also a very photogenic coaster.

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Griffon already had about a 20 minute wait and the park had technically only been open for about 5 minutes. One of the many things I loved about this park is that they let you in, and even had some of the rides going, before they were scheduled to open.

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The real wolves were out today.

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Even during the day they really went all out with there Halloween theming.

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This is now my favorite Arrow looper. Loved the tunnel helix.

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Lock Ness Monster was the first ride of the day.

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The next morning I arrived bright and early. Scary dude was still there holding his sign. I was able to get in rides on Alpengeist, Big Bad Wolf, and Apollo's Chariot before leaving last night, so I was sitting good to start the day.

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See, trees are scary.

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Clowns. Ever since watching Poltergeist for the first time as a kid, clowns have always kind of freaked me out. Clowns and chicken. And braces. And trees.

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Ooooooh.

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Darkastle was looking pretty sweet after dark.

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Griffon was down. Hopefully, it would be up and running again by tomorrow.

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One of the scare zones was by the wolf exhibit. Naturally, they had werewolves hanging out in this zone. Apparently, this warewolf was on a break.

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Most of the park was all fogged up. I thought they did a really nice job overall.

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These guys were chillin out just inside the entrance.

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They were also geared up for Halloween.

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Five hours later, I arrive at BGE.

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Virginia has the nicest rest area's EVER! Seriously, this is just a rest area. I must have passed at least three or four just like it.

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Yay, state credit #15. I know, I really need to get out more.

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That's better! Now I'm set.

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Time to hit the road. But I seem to be missing something very important.

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Bet you've never seen this picture before! I know, I know, I have a gift.

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Just a very beautifull park.

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Theming is pretty good too.

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Another reason I love Busch parks. The food is fantastic. All of this for 16 bucks. It would cost you ten buck for a lousy hamburger and a soft drink at almost any other park.

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I always thought Ninja at SFMM was good, but this thing is just sick! Totally awesome!

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A few of them even hang out during the day.

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This is where the evil clowns live.

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I think I'll pass on the highly themed, but very wet, boat ride.

 

So that was my time at BGE. Simply put, fantastic park! Easily one of the top five parks I have ever been to.

 

Kings Dominion coming up next. Stay tunned.........

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Again with the theming.

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Time for one last ride on Apollo's Chariot. I got three rides in all. It was a good coaster, but I thought Goliath at SFoG was considerably better.

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Hey BeemerBoy, does this count as a monorail shout out? No? Oh well, I tried.

Well, as they say, it's the thought and the effort that really count.

 

Congrats are in order on the victory, the franchise, and a big trip on top of all that! (yep, I'm one of the 5 or 6 that read the lead-in.) Oh yeah, and awesome report thus far, with some great pics.

 

As a fellow B&M invert fanboy, I'm a bit dismayed to hear your account of Top Gun. I've heard great things too, but now I'm even more curious. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to find out for myself next season.

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Great TR! I love BGE and I recently moved about two hours away from Carowinds but have yet to get a visit in.

 

I love B&M inverts, they're pretty much amazing. Alpengeist sits at the bottom of my list of inverts, below Silver Bullet and Great Bear. It's the only B&M invert that I've been on that I really didn't enjoy that much.

 

I think Apollo's Chariot > SFOG's Goliath, but they're both incredible rides.

 

Keep up the good updates!

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I think I felt the same way about Carowinds as you did, Justin: one great coaster (Top Gun), one "interesting" coaster (Borg), and a bunch of mediocre (Carolina Cyclone) to lousy (Reptar) coasters. It's an OK park, but I don't think I'd make a special trip just to go there, although Top Gun is more awesome at night.

 

Yay for Euroburg!

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As a fellow B&M invert fanboy, I'm a bit dismayed to hear your account of Top Gun. I've heard great things too, but now I'm even more curious. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to find out for myself next season.

 

I really don't know what it was about that one. Don't get me wrong, I still thought it was a great coaster, as was Great Bear. They just didn't quite stack up to the others. But, I really like Alpengeist and Silver Bullet, and those are probably the two most bashed inverts out there.

 

I think Apollo's Chariot > SFOG's Goliath, but they're both incredible rides.

 

Yeah, I'm sure people would be pretty divided on that one. Apollo was a great ride. What does it for me with Goliath is simply the extra-ordinary amount of air-time as compared to any other coaster I have been on.

 

Thanks for all of the comments so far. I have a dentist appointment (YAY!) in about 20 minutes. But, I am off the entire day, so I hope to get this beast finished up by tonight!

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But, I really like Alpengeist and Silver Bullet, and those are probably the two most bashed inverts out there.

 

I really like Silver Bullet as well, but I think its lack of intensity is what causes it to get such bad reviews when compaired to other B&M inverts. Silver Bullet is really fun, but rides like Montu and DD are simply amazing, so it really just suffers from getting bad comparisons.

 

Alpengeist was rough and not fun IMO, but I may have just caught it on a really bad day. That cobra roll had some killer snapping.

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Part Three: Kings Dominion

 

After a few hours in the morning at BGE, I was ready to hit the road, yet again. In just under one hour, I was at my next destination. Kings Dominion.

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A Starbucks IN a theme park! I take back everything bad I said. KD is now my favorite park ever.

 

Ah, who am kidding. Even Starbucks can't make this park great. It was better than Carowinds, but not by a whole lot. I would probably go back if I was visiting BGE again just because of how close it is.

 

Now I just have to get through another week of classes and it's off to FLORIDA BABY!

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Wait just one minute! What is that I see in the distance?

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The sun is down and it time for me to start my 5 hour drive back to Charlotte.

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I would have never believed it, but this contraption actually had air-time. Who'd a thunk it?

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Wow! This thing didn't completely suck at all. And none of the cars came loose and killed anyone, so that is always a plus.

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Oh my. What the heck am I thinking.

 

That kid is totally mocking me isn't he?

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Time to ride Non-German Tom.

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Alomst dark, looks like it is just about time for the monsters to come out. Which means it was time for me to rap things up. THe day had gotten considerably better so I was feeling brave.

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Hurler was still closed. Probably all for the best anyway. It made a nice picture as the sun was going down though.

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AND, Ricoche was now a walk on, so I did at least get one of two Ricochet credits on this trip.

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Since I was right here, I decided to try Rebel Thunder Yell Road backwards. Amazingly, I thought it was considerably better than the forward side.

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I love these things. They are litterally the only rides out there that still to this day scare the crap out of me every time I ride.

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Holy crap on toast!

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Anaconda was up and running again, too. This is much better. Maybe, just maybe, Drop Zone would be open.

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Yay! More parks need coasters like this. I thought it was great! A coaster that the entire family can enjoy.

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Another of the MANY similarities between here and Carowinds.

 

Time to wander back and see if any of the coasters have opened up yet.

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Time for Great American Rebel Screamin Thunder Eagle Run Road.

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THis is about the only good shot you can get of Grizzly. Not too bad, but really nothing special. I did like the tunnel though.

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Ricochet. Although it was running, it had about a 30 minute wait, far exceeding my max time limit for a wild mouse. Next.

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I wonder how this Hurler would rate against its twin. Oh, wait.......IT'S FREAKING CLOSED!!

 

OK, by now I am pissed. I just left one of the best parks ever and now, it appears, I'm in one of the worst. But, I'm already here, and at this rate, will probably never be back, so I took a deep breath and tryed to calm down. After all, there were still plenty of coasters here to ride. Including the one right behind me.

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I really like launch coasters! The launch was great on this thing. The rest was pretty brutal. Overall, not that great of a coaster.

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A TRAIN! Quick, RUN!

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I had heard a lot of good things about this monster. Yeah.......it was closed.

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I had never been on an Italian Job coaster before. Too bad it was closed, too. Well, Drop Zone is just down the way, and I love drop towers.

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I was making a clockwise pattern through the park, so Anaconda was next. Too bad it was down. Oh well, it's just an Arrow. Hey Jahan!

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I personally hate these things, but I had to stop and get a picture for coasterdave.

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I was expecting nothing from this coaster and ended up really liking it. Had some nice fun sections in it, like this one.

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Heeeeeliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiix!!!

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My first ever bobsled coaster.

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Along with the first launch, this was my favorite part of the ride.

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This lived up to hype. I thought it was great! Only bad thing about the ride was the 45 minute wait that should have been about 15 minutes. Opperations were terrible.

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Volcano. Yet another coaster I have heard many good things about.

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I'm not sure if this counts as "through the trees" but it's as close as we're going to get in this TR, I'm afraid. Sorry, "through the trees" fanboys.

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So, yeah, they have a Fairy Coaster here, too. Oddly enough, it was just as good as the one at Carowinds.

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Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you, we got some work to do now.....

 

Sorry, just got stuck in my head for some reason.

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Wait.........where am I again?

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Here's another one of those shots everyone takes. Only this one comes complete with dead people transportation vehicle and evil scarecrow dude.

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Cedar Fair customer sevice at its best! Over 50 bucks for a one day pass and you aint gettin back in after 7....SO DON"T EVEN ASK!

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Haunt - Coming Soon. Chuck also noted this in his TR, but I really think someone might want to let them know that their Halloween Haunt had already begun.

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Upon my arrival, I see all these neat pieces of track laying in the parking lot. Lucky for me, I already have that credit.

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A Starbucks IN a theme park! I take back everything bad I said. KD is now my favorite park ever.

 

Ah, who am kidding. Even Starbucks can't make this park great. It was better than Carowinds, but not by a whole lot. I would probably go back if I was visiting BGE again just because of how close it is.

 

You should come up to Canada sometime.

 

We have even MORE average crappy coasters, a drop tower, one should be awesome coaster, and a Starbucks. Probably the only place in the country where you can find a Starbucks and not a Tim Hortons.

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I love these things. They are litterally the only rides out there that still to this day scare the crap out of me every time I ride.

 

My thoughts exactly! I can NOT wait for Giant Drop. (The Australian one)

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Part Four: Busch Gardens Africa

 

Finally, my class was finished, and my presentation went great! Now, with all the pressure of finishing my training and giving my presentation, I can celebrate with a couple of days in Florida.

 

I got the house at about 1am in the morning to find most everyone still up. I'm sure they were all anxiously awaiting my arrival. Either that, or they were still up because they had been at the Magic Kingdom until after midnight. Either way, we stayed up BSing until 2:30 in the morning. 7am came really fast!

 

P.S. I am probably the last one to post picures from Florida, so this part of the TR might seem a little fimiliar to most of you. I'll try to keep it somewhat different, but I'm sure you'll see a few pictures you have already seen.

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Finished off the day with a couple rides on Gwazi. I actually thought it was OK. It was my first ride though.

 

So, it had been all of two hours, and we knocked out every credit, and one half ass safari ride. I can't say enough about Busch parks. BGA was great, although even with it having a better coaster lineup than BGE, I still would give the edge to the park in Williamsburg. Both are great, though!

 

Cypress Gardens is next.

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Ever since becoming the NHRA Division 6 Sportaman champion, my co-workers have been giving me a hard time about having a big head. Boy are they wrong.

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This is Montu. It is a B&M inverted roller coaster and it is THE S**T! Sitting atop my invert list are now Montu, Raptor, and Top Gun at Great America.

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I have no idea.

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Justin, taking a picture of Paul, taking a picture of...........What? Its been done before? Are you kidding me!?

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The water portion of the ride was closed. But hey, it looks like it would be fun, yes?

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The view was quite nice.

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Next was the safari ride.

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Not really too intense for a Schwartzkopf, but still a lot of fun.

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Finally, I get to ride Scorpion. It was one of only two coasters in the park the last time I was there, but it was closed.

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Catrina did a lot of sitting out the coasters. I think she may have been traumatized by "stalker bird".

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That's so cute!

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Paul looks entirely too happy to be riding Cheetah Chase.

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Speaking of amazing coasters.

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So Kumba was awesome. Easily in my personal top ten. Maybe even top five.

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I know. Incredible. I amaze even myself.

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We had to wait all of 22.7 seconds to ride. It was tough, but we stuck it out.

 

I must warn you in advance of the next picture. It is quite simply amazing. I really have a natural ability to come up with these highly original shots that you never see anyone else take. So here ya go.........

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Kumba! Yet another coaster that I have heard only good things about.

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Sheikra or Griffon, either way, you've got one heck of a good coaster.

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Sheikra was great as expected, but after having just been on Griffon seven days earlier, I would give Griffon the edge. Sheikra was more highly themed, but Griffon was a better overall ride, IMO.

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Poor Matt. All alone in the back of the station.

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First ride of the day was Sheikra.

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Hey, there's some people we know.

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It seemed to like Catrina, though.

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I don't know what this is.

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These are flamingos. Moving on....

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I was told the rain had made Gwazi not horrible today.

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It was just a little wet when we got there. This was actually a good thing.

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Not too sure about the driver, though.

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Heading to BGA in style. Honda Element represent.

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Not sure if Dave even went to sleep. You never know about those British peeps.

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"Who's awake? Where we going? Where am I?"

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Matt is wide awake and ready to go!

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P.S. I am probably the last one to post picures from Florida, so this part of the TR might seem a little fimiliar to most of you. I'll try to keep it somewhat different, but I'm sure you'll see a few pictures you have already seen.

 

Not true. I'm on schedule to post my pictures in January.

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Its too bad you didnt enjoy Top Gun though, I have always enjoyed riding it.

 

I really enjoyed Top Gun. I just thought it fell short of most of the other B&M inverts I have been on. But even a bad B&M invert is better than most coasters out there, IMO.

 

 

 

Part Five: Cypress Gardens

 

So we headed out of Tampa, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then met up again at Cypress.

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Goodbye Cypress Gardens.

 

The general opinion of most of us there was that Cypress would be a great little park in most cities, but in Orlando, it just doesn't really fit. I hate to see another park get axed, but I'm afraid that is exactly what I beleive will happen to Cypress. I hope I'm wrong, though!

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Yeah........I'm gonna go ahead and pass.

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Robb gets ready to ride the "all the blood rushing to your head until it pops" ride.

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I was told Ted could snap any flyer out there. It was a lie.

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Time for some flyers.

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Underbanked, hairpin corners of death. We were going so fast I couldn't even get a clear picture. Look at Colin holding on for dear life. I'm just glad we got to ride it SEVEN times in a row thanks to those loosers who weren't man enough to ride it themselves.

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And you thought Sheikra's lift was steep!

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"Yes we are!"

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What a bunch of whores.

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Now this a coaster!

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At least the view was nice, because the coaster really kind of sucked.

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Now let do the spinning coaster that doesn't spin.

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Random picture of a '57 "chevey".

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"Are you talkin to me? Are you talkin to ME!?"

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Tripple Hurricane. Honestly I wasn't too impressed. Of the four jr. woodies I have been on, this one ranks at the bottom.

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Time to emply out the water from our shoes and head for the next coaster.

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At least these guys got wet too. Now I feel better.

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At least our raft is slowly filling up with water.

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"OK, maybe you get just a little bit wet."

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"WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!"

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"I'm not too sure I would believe Ted. It may just be the Guinness talking."

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"Of couse we don't get wet! Relax!"

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Are you sure we don't get wet on this thing?

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It is time for the spinning raft that wasn't spinning.

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Best roller skater EVER! Seriously, this thing was great!

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The turn around was very odd. Not really rough, but definately needed some re-tracking. (Watch Robb's video if you haven't already and you'll see what I mean)

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Fun woodie but nothing special. I've been on better and I have certainly been on worse.

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Starliner was a nice little out and back. Decent air on the way out, not so much on the way back.

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What a bunch of nerds!

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Starliner was the real reason we were there.

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The other raft must of had all the big guys in it. I got some decent spins when I rode it in March, and didn't get wet, but there was only two of us on the raft. As for the roller skater, I got my mom and sister on it. My sister said it was the last coaster that she would ride and it cost me my cheapo digital camera (I gave it to her because I said I would give her something if she rode a coaster).

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The other raft must of had all the big guys in it. I got some decent spins when I rode it in March, and didn't get wet, but there was only two of us on the raft.

 

Actually our raft probably had the most weight.

 

Neither raft spun at all. That was pretty much a common trend at the park.

 

The crazy mouse was the worst I've ever seen. On one ride it didn't even spin once until after the final bunny hop. It went through every single switch back up top stuck perfectly side wise. I've never seen a crazy mouse do that.

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