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


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Part Six: Animal Kingdom and Epcot


So today would be the last day before flying home. I got up nice and early again, (one thing I did not get on this trip was very much sleep) got all my stuff packed, loaded up the rental car, and was set for a short day at WDW. The plan was to start off at Animal Kingdom and then I was going to head over to Epcot with Ted and Catrina to finish out the day.


So that raps up things in Florida for me. Hopefully I will be able to return before too long with the whole family.


Most trips I am not looking forward to going home, but this was the longest I had ever been away from my wife and kids and I was definitely ready to get back home and see them. Plus, the vacation wasn't over yet. I had one day back home to get my car loaded up and ready to head down to SoCal for the biggest race of my life. And a few theme parks too!


There's a real one for ya Scott. Man you've really been getting the monorail love here the last few weeks.


We finished off the day with a spin on Mission Space.


Oh, I almost forgot.......


On the way back, we did the boat ride in Norway and also the one in Mexico.


Soooo good!


"Eh, no big loss if she does."


I really hope Sandi doesn't kill me for coming here without her.


Because of this! I love this place.


Ah here we are, Italy. And why, you ask, did we come here?


Almost there. Hey Soren!


We made our way to the World Showcase. We really didn't have a whole lot of time but we wanted to get something to eat, so we started around the loop.


Speeding cars makes Justin very happy.


The last time I was here, Test Track was under construction.


Here we go! Epcot. Still my very favorite theme park. I love this place.


Even Kristen was ready to bail.


So, about 1 hour later, we are ready to go. I admittedly did not see the whole park, but I really wasn't that impressed with what I did see.


The infamous, Dinosaur. Hard to believe it is mechanically the exact same ride as Indy.


They look very excited!


This one did actually spin though.


Time for a quick credit stop. I have no idea what they were thinking when they came up with the theming (or lack there of) for this area of the park. All of those people who have a problem with DCA, must have never been to this park before.


It may not be the best Disney coaster out there but it sure is the most impressive to look at.


From the lift hill you get a nice view of lots of real trees and one really big fake tree.


The Yeti awaits.


Lets ride!


There it is. Really the only reason I cared to come here.


Animal Kingdom awaits!

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What's sad about KD is that when they opened last spring, operations were pretty good--but they declined as the season went on.


They should move Cypress Gardens' ride section to Virginia Beach--it could use a nice little amusement park.

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Part Seven: Halloween at The Disneyland Resort


So, I was home for a whole day! Just enough time to get unpacked and then repacked again for the long, slow (because I was towing my car) drive down to SoCal.


More DLR to come.


Bags were full, and we were beat. Time for sleep.


This section of the park always looks great at night.


Best ride in the park. Even with the added trims.


Yes, I know it is not as good as Florida's. But, it is still fun.


There's the candy! Now lets ride ToT.


Hollywood Pictures backlot was the first stop.


Kids were ready.


Candy corn seemed to be the theme for this event.


Where's the candy?


Time to head over to DCA for some Trick or Treating!


This is a picture I took of the onride picture Disney took. If this was Cedar Point, there would be three pages of posts about how I should be hauled off to jail for daring to post this "bootleged" photo. Thankfully, this is Disney, and they actually want their guests to return. Wierd, I know.


We did ride the awesomely UN-rockin Space Mountain. If I never ride Rockin Space Mountain again, it will be too soon.


We actually didn't even ride the new subs. They look nice though.


Mine. Mine. Mine.


Not nearly as impressive as EE, but still a great ride.


3pm and this was the waiting times. I love the off season.


I still prefer the original, but it was fun for a change.


Of all the times I have been to Disneyland, I have never been on Holiday Mansion.


Hey......Oh wait, that wouldn't be very nice at all. Sorry.


Hey Jahan.


Hey Wes.


There is lots of animals on the Jungle Cruise.


Ellie was designated captain of this particular cruise.


First ride of the day, Jungle Cruise.


Plus, they have a Disney Dreams Come True monorail.


OK, honestly I have no idea if WDW has one or not, but I didn't see one when I was there, so score one for Disneyland!


Yes the castle is small, but I've got to say, there is still only one Disneyland. I absolutely love this place. WDW as a whole has much more to offer, and man do I love Epcot, but I've got to say for the record here: Disneyland > Magic Kindom. BIG TIME!


Gotta get a shot of the kids in front of the station.


Halloween stuff was everywhere.


This view is going to change soon.


Throw all the crap on the bed and lets go to Disneyland.


Don't they look so cute together.


Now we're ready!


5am and we are ready to go. Almost......


Getting the car loaded up so I will be ready to head out early in the morning.

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Oh yeah, do we get a TR of the biggest race of your life, along with socal parks? This one was quite enjoyable, so I'm hoping so!


First part of the fun in SoCal is up. I of course, didn't get the whole thing up yesterday as planned. Hopefully, I'll get it finished by tomorrow. Glad you've like it so far!

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^ Yeah, I cramed in as much as I could. I was in those areas anyway, so I figured I would fit in as many parks as I could during my spare time rather than sit in a hotel room or at the race track doing nothing.


There is still another day at Disney, an afternoon at SFMM, and a bunch of racing pictures left to come. I am going to have to wait until tomorrow evening to finish it up, though. Stay tunned............

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


The next day we headed back into Disneyland. We got there 30 minutes before opening and lined up with the masses on main street so we could get right in Finding Nemo. Unfortunately, it was an early entry day for DLR resort guests and the line was already an hour wait. Other than that, the day went great. Later that evening it was off to the NHRA Museum for an awards dinner where I received a nice check from Summit Racing Equipment for winning my division.


And one last shot of the whole family, parents and all, before heading out.


Still to come: A few more Disney pics, SFMM, and the Auto Club NHRA Finals!


All seven division champions along with a Summit rep and Hillary Will, an NHRA Top Fuel driver. And yes, the kid on the left who looks like he is maybe 15 is one of the division champs.


Going up to the podium to get my check.


Greg Anderson (if you follow drag racing you know who he is) gives us a speech/pep talk to get us motivated for the big race.


They had some very famous race cars on display.


Me standing in front of the largest Wally in the world - In the NHRA, if you win a national or divisional event, you get a trophy called a "Wally" (Named after NHRA founder Wally Parks) and it looks just like the one behind me, only much smaller.


And here we are. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.


I said I'd buy them each an ice cream bar if they pretended as if they liked each other for this picture.


It was another great day at Disneyland and now it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the banquet.


But, my kids like it, so I'll smile anyway.


Here is one ride we actually get to use our special fastpasses on. I really, really, really, hate this ride.


I'm very surprised this ride is even still here. Even on the very crowded days this is usually a 10 minute wait at the most. Today, it was a walk on.


No visit to Disneyland would be complete without a ride on Splash Mountain. One of the few rides that is better at the Magic Kingdom.


Chad demonstrates how to properly wear a paper pirate hat.


Ellie can't quite figure out how the hat is supposed to go.




Can you say, Monte Cristo!


Some of the new pirates theming on Tom Sawyer's Island.


Now let's go eat!


Mark Twain POV!!!!


After BTM, we had just enough time to take a ride on the Mark Twain before our reservation was up for the greatest restaurant on planet earth.


Ellie is very excited!


Time for some Big Thunder Mountain.


Yay! Too bad every ride has about a 10 minute wait and we can't take advantage of them. But, hey, we still won and they'll make a nice souvenir.


The dream squad gave us fastpasses for every single fastpass attraction at Disneyland and CA.


I'm not sure why, but Chad really wanted to walk through the castle. However, they weren't letting anyone through the castle because of a show so we had to go around, which turned out to be great because..........


Sandi and Ellie enjoyed their wild ride to hell and back.


Another ride we always do is Mr Toad's Wild Ride. What other dark is there that you get ran over by a train and then sent to hell. Fun for the whole family!


There aren't very many original Disneyland rides left. Here's two in one shot!


We always do Storybook Land. I actually really like this ride.


That's the last one Scott. Merry Christmas.


Chad and Sandi get ready for another ride on the Matterhorn.


Since none of us wanted to wait an hour for Nemo, we headed to the next closest ride.

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


Friday ended up being a split day for our family. I had to spend the day at the race track and Sandi, my mom and the kids went back to Disney. Saturday I started out at the track for my last two qualifying runs while Sandi and the kids stayed at the hotel and got caught up on some sleep. I made my last pass by 11am and then drove back to the hotel. My parents ended up taking the kids to Knott's, while Sandi and I drove up to SFMM.


And that will do it for this visit. One thing I must say, this my first ever trip to SFMM where every single coaster in the park was open. Well, except for Flashback of course. I still am seeing steady improvement overall every time I visit. Maybe in about another 15 years they'll have this park dialed in ;)


Up next is my final update! Including highlights of the big race AND I have a new sponsor for my car!


Always a nice police presence at the park. You know, just incase.


The last ride of the day would be none other than Gold Rusher.


Batman still had a long wait, so we passed.


As night falls, we head back to Goliath to say hi to Jahan (sorry, no pic) and then make one more loop around the park. Might as well take one more ride on Scream.


Um, we just got off of Viper. I don't think we'll be riding this contraption today. Sorry Joe.


Yeah, that guys face in the front row pretty much says it all.


Maybe it was because we didn't ride Vu and had no intensions of riding X, aka "Paint Can Shaker: The Ride", that caused us to make the decision to ride Viper. Or maybe it was because Psyclone was gone and Colossus was actually running kind of good. Either way, it just wouldn't be a trip to The Mountain without riding at least one coaster that beat your brains in.


It is nice having this back up and running again.


The gynormous pretzel loop is possibly the best element on a coster, ever.


Tatsu. Easily in my top ten.


Ah yes, Ninja, you are still fun, but I'm afraid you will never be the same to me again after riding the Big Bad Wolf. We'll always have the memories, though.


Still brings a tear of joy to my eye.


Ted wasn't here today, so Deja Vu was running. But, the line was long, we already had the credit, and I really was enjoying not having a headache, so we passsed.


Still a whole lot of nothing going on with this piece of track.


The line was very long though, so we didn't ride.


My second favorite coaster in the park now that Tatsu has arrived.


This is new since out last visit earlier this year.


Superman's train is still making it just over half way up the spike. Kind of sad really.


Colossus doen't get much of a line these days either. I wonder why?


In all honesty though, I have to say it is running better this year than it has in a long time.


Scream is still one of my favorite coasters at SFMM and it never has a line.


We came all this way just to see Jahan and he wasn't there. We found him later though =)


It may be the least of all the Goliath's out there, but it still fun.


Big fake tree that serves no purpose what so ever.


And here we are. X1 is still in opperation.


At least it is a Saturday so we can cruise along at a nice pace instead of just sitting still.


The next day Sandi and I hit the road for The Mountain. I love LA traffic!


We end our time at Disney with the awesome Disney Dreams fireworks show and Fantasmic! DLR was great as always.


Later that evening I met back up to do a few more rides.


High School Musical show. Boy am I glad I am at the race track right now!


Chad gets some Jedi training. Speaking of Chad, go to youtube and search "Chad Vader". Good stuff.


While chad gets his hat taken away.


Ellie gets the stare down for Captain Jack Sparrow.


Man I could really do a lot to my car if I had some of that.


"Great! Now what?"


Excellent! A dead pirate!


"We're gonna find out."


They finaly got to explore Tom Sawyer's Island. I wonder what is under that chest?


Meanwhile, the kids enjoy there last day at Disneyland. This time with Grandma.


I took this picture just to give a little perspective on how big this race is. It was only Friday and they were just running qualifying passes at a slow pace throughout the day. Still, there were quite a few people on hand.

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The new pirate stuff on Tom Sawyer's Island actually looks pretty good.


Nice TR, Justin--I think "paint-can shaker" is the perfect way to describe those 4D coasters, at least based on the Eejanika experience in Japan.

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Part Ten: The Race


It is now Sunday November, 4th. The NHRA Auto Cub Finals. I told myself going into this race that I was really going to try and relax and just take everything in. The hard part was actually winning my division for the chance to race here. This was just a three round race and I was going to enjoy every bit of it because I may very likely never make it back.


Now most of you by now obviously know that along with theme parks and roller coasters, drag racing is another major hobby of mine. In fact, it would be the most important hobby that I have, for a number of reasons that I won't bother to bore you with. Well, I had the opportunity to actually put the two together, so to speak. Every good race car needs a major sponsor. Something that gives the vehicle (and the driver) a little more personality. Every major race car driver - I don't car if it is NHRA, NASCAR, Champ Car - fans associate all of them with their cars and there sponsor. Dale Earnhardt Jr = Budweiser. John Force = Castrol GTX. So I thought it would be a lot of fun to have a "primary sponsor" for my car that would put some identity to it that would reflect me and that I would be happy to have on my car. So what better sponsor than Theme Park Review!


First we'll go back to a picture taken of my car at the division finals.


I'll end with this completely random picture of Mount Shasta that I took on the drive home.


Now, I'm afraid, I am going to be taking a break from coaster trips, so this may be the last PTR you see from me for a while. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks to everyone who made it that much more fun!


With the car loaded up my three weeks of insanity comes to a close. Just the 18 hour drive home left.


Finally the race had come to a close. A short fireworks display to signal the end of the 2007 NHRA drag racing season.


Round two against that beautiful '55 Chevy would unfortunately be my last. I had the better reaction time and we both broke-out, but he broke-out by less. So, it was a very close race and while I was a little dissapointed, I really did have a LOT of fun.


Back in the staging lanes again with my dad. Starting to get a little nervous now.


Two more rounds to go!


Back in the pits, I actually got asked for my autograph!


My car on the big screen after winning the first round!


Just about to the finish line.


Pulling up on my opponent.


While Robb and Jahan watch from the stands.


Taking off in front of over 40,000 people.


Apparently they have started a new class that I did not know about.


Back in the staging lanes.


Time for round one in the TPR car.


They found us! NO!


"Should I take it in one bite?"


And both have some great food.


Both have Dippin Dots.


Both have funnel cake.


Screamin Eagle! Drag racing and theme parks really do have a lot in common.


I really need to get me one of these!


Nice friendly disclaimer. You never know when a car might explode and kill a few spectators with flying debris.


Jahan has his ticket. He is very excited!


Almost there!


Robb and Jahan waiting to park. Have I mentioned yet that this is a really popular race?


One last picture me with my dad and my son before heading back to the pits and waiting for my first run.


These next few pictures are brought to by Robb. Him and Jahan came down to watch the race. I beleive they got to the track around 11am.


OK, time to exit stage left. Our five minutes of fame is up.


The guy on my left was another Portland racer who won the motorcycle class. It made it that much more exciting that two of us from the same track ended up making it to this event. I'm pretty sure that had never happended before, at least in our division.


Up on stage in front of about 20,000 people or so. There would be over 30,000 more people still to arrive before my first pass.


Let's do it!


Looking out into the crowd just a few minutes before I get introduced on stage.


And Hillary Will, who was the one that presented me with my check at the Summit banquet a few days earlier.


Chad with Kenny Bernstein.


Chad got his picture taken with some famous racers. Here he is with Tony Schumaker, who ended up the NHRA Top Fuel Champion for 2007 after taking first place later in the day here.


They even let the family come with me.


Back stage all the racers are hanging out taking pictures and giving autographs before getting introduced to the crowd.


They had a stage set up on the starting line.


There goes any respect I may have had right down the toilet.


Time to get ready for the pre-race ceremonies.


From behind. Notice the rear window.


That's a little better.


Looks nice. But, it almost looks more like a daily driver that a race car. In truth, that is one of the things I really like about my car, but this was not only the biggest race I had ever been in, it was litterally the biggest race on the NHRA Powerade circuit. So, I thought I'd make it look a little more like a race car. Fast forward to Pomona........

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This was very cool to see.



I enjoyed your TR on how the day went for you and The TPR Car in the races, lol.


And Dippin Dots! omg Funnel Cake! yum


Car looked great.


Thanks for sharing this day in your big trip.

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I wonder if those kids are chugging back vodka redbull.. If so that's one ace foam party..


Great TR!! Drag Racing is so cool! I would never personally do it, for the fact i'm a crap driver and can't pull away from lights to save my life. But I love to watch it on the tv.


Mainly the really high powered ones that need parachutes haha.

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