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Eric's 2008 Theme Park Adventures Updated 4/5


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Hello Everyone,

 

Because of work, I have been super behind posting trip reports this year. So I figured I'll do an ongoing compilation photo trip report of all my theme park adventures of 2008. Below are links to the reports of each of the parks I hit in 2008.

 

Disneyland

Six Flags Magic Mountain - West Coast Bash 08'

Aquatica

Busch Gardens Africa

Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios Florida - Mardi Gras

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Sea World San Antonio

San Antonio Area Attractions

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Epcot

Disney's Blizzard Beach

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - LaQua

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Nasu Highland

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Seibuen

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Aqua Stadium

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Toshimaen

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Yomiuriland

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Hanayashiki

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Fuji Q

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Joypolis

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Tokyo Disney Resort - Disney Ambassador Hotel

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Tokyo Disney Resort - Tokyo Disneyland

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Tokyo Disney Resort - Tokyo DisneySEA

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Sea Paradise

TPR 2008 Tokyo Trip - Cosmoworld

Wet n' Wild Orlando

Universal Studios Florida - Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear

The Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Islands of Adventure / HHN Houses behind the scenes tour

Busch Gardens Africa

TPR BBQ, Disney's Animal Kingdom & Epcot

 

I'll start this off with my trip out to California last winter for the West Coast Bash. It was a really jammed packed fun weekend. The first day I joined up with some old TPR friends at Disneyland. Had a fantastic group lunch at the Blue Bayou to celebrate Kristen's 1st birthday. It was nice to be able to relax and enjoy the great food and wonderful company. Once again, thanks to Robb and Elissa for arranging this great time!

 

After lunch Erik (Gainesville Erik Johnson), Cameron from Chicago, Will (WillMontu) and I hit the park. I really love Disneyland. Since being from Florida and gone to the Magic Kingdom agazillion times, it is always a treat to experience the original Magic Kingdom. We had a fantastic day. We made sure we hit all the unique Disneyland attractions: The Matterhorn, Indy, Alice, Pinocchio, Roger Rabbit and the best: Mr. Toad. Had to pay our repect to one my most beloved Disney attractions, Mr. Toad. May Florida's version, rest in piece =(

 

I was able to experience a few new attraction credits during this trip. Autotopia was cool, I liked the surprise off-road part. Nemo's Submarine Voyage was very enjoyable and peaceful at the end of the night. And I got a new credit, Space Mountain! It was closed when I last visited in 2005. I actually really liked Disneyland's Space Mountain. Loved the music and the special effects. Hopefully if we're lucky, maybe Florida will someday get the cool upgrade.

 

Now onto the photos, enjoy!

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Some people will do anything to get the perfect shot! Actually this explains why his night photos are always perfect. Unlike my blurry ones!

Coming up next, West Coast Bash at Six Flags Magic Mountain - Stay tuned!

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The entrance to Disney's California Adventure is nice at night.

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Will, Erik and Cameron finishing up the day at the Disneyland exhibit on Main Street U.S.A.

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I always love theme parks at night.

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The Orbitor is cool looking at night, but I think it belongs higher, back on top of one of the Tomorrowland buildings.

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Cam takes a spin on Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin.

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Erik in Toontown.

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The castles at the Magic Kingdom/Disneyland parks are always gorgeous at night!

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A little rough, but I love the Matterhorn.

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Our fantastic lunch group!

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Robb you're such a princess!

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Colin, Chris and Wes at lunch.

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Erik, myself and Cameron at lunch.

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Kristen celebrates her first birthday at the Blue Bayou!

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I already love the boarding area compared to Florida's.

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Time for a new credit, Space Mountain!

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2 Eric(k) Johnsons driving a toad car, this can't be good!

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I miss this ride! =(

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It's been a long time, glad you are still living out here in the west.

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First up, give Mr. Toad some respect.

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Yeah the castle is small, but it is a icon.

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Can't come all the way to Disneyland and not take a photo of the front entrance!

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The next day was the West Coast Bash at Six Flags Magic Mountain. This was my first time at the event and I had a blast! Robb, Elissa and Ride World organized such a great event! From our many perks like ERT in the morning, private guided tours, lunch, the Q&A sessions with SFMM & S&S officials and the most amazing perk- ERT of the entire coaster collection for 3 hours after the park closed! It was such a great time!

 

Thanks to Robb and Elissa for everything. And to Erik, Cameron, Will you guys were a blast to hang out with for the 2 days. It was great meeting so many new people: Dave, Hector, Rick and many more. And it was great to see old friendly faces. You guys all rock!

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Thanks again to everyone that made my California trip awesome!

Next up: Aquatica & Jungala flashbacks- stay tuned!

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The Magic Mountain trolls rock! The new tower museum was great, well done to all those who helped put it together.

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You can't tell from this photo, but the view from the tower at night is awesome.

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At the Q&A session with Guy, Cameron and Dave.

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One of my top 5 coasters, Goliath.

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So the rides on scream were particularly awesome for me on this day. They were blasting Madonna songs throughout the ride, I was very happy, I'm sure other people weren't! =p

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I actually really enjoyed this visit's rides on Ridler's Revenge. I am usually not a fan of stand-up coasters, so this surprised me.

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Preview of the then closed X.

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On the tour, got to see lots of old attraction artifacts.

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Our group's fearless guide, Jahan - who did an awesome job!

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A classic, the Viper

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You really feel the G's after the gigantic pretzel loop.

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Another new credit for me, Tatsu. This was pretty intense ride. I actually only did this 2 times.

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Cameron and I model our superpower ERT bands.

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A new credit for me, Revolution. It was closed when I was at the park in 2006. All I can say is ouch!

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Let the ERT begin!

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Checking into the West Coast Bash. Again, thanks guys for all the hard work making this happen!

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Awesome start, can't wait to see more pics. It was nice meeting you, and I wish we could have hung out a bit more, but I was trying to entertain a non-enthusiast friend so I didn't want to leave her alone too long lol. Hopefully we'll get to hang out again soon.

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^^ Joe it was good seeing during that trip. At least this time we actually got to ride Tatsu!

 

^ Hector is was nice to meet you even for just a short while. I agree, hopefully we'll get to hang out sometime!

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Hello once again,

 

This next update is a compilation of my 2 visits this winter and spring to Aquatica. In February, Erik, Will and I checked out the passholder's sneak peak of the park. Since it was February, the pools were all heated. If they hadn't been, I 'd probably die! If you haven't seen my preview report, you can check it out here: http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=42040&highlight=aquatica

 

I also came back with Kevin in April. When Kevin and I visited, the park had just officially opened. We got there at 8:30 in the morning and they were letting guests in 30 minutes before the park's scheduled opening. This turned out to be the best thing ever! We walked onto all the attractions in the park within the first hour and a half. It was great. By 11:30 there were over hour waits for everything! So after lunch we left feeling satisfied we had conquered the park. Since Kevin doesn't like anything too intense, Aquatica turned out to be one of his favorite water parks. If you haven't been to Aquatica, you should give it a try. It has a pretty good selection of attractions, minus the free-fall wedgie slides. And it has a very nice colorful atmosphere.

 

Below are a mix of photos from both trips, enjoy

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Like I said the park is very colorful. Coming up next, a compilation of photos from a few different trips to Busch Gardens Africa this past winter and spring. Stay tuned!

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Kevin and me.

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The observation area is pretty cool. Wish it was a little bigger.

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Beautiful animals.

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Zipping through the dolphin habitat.

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The park's signature attraction, Dolphin Plunge.

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Erik is ready to conquer the flumes.

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Pretty fishies!

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I enjoyed this a lot.

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Erik and Will in the real lazy river.

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One of 2 lazy rivers, but this one isn't so lazy, actually it is very fast moving!

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The large racing slide complex.

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Erik during the passholders sneak peak in Feb.

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Aquatica is now one of Kevin's favorite water parks.

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Kevin and I during April's visit.

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Back again, this time I have a few photos from 2 different visits to Busch Gardens Africa. The first one was a quick visit in January meeting up with fellow TPR members, Derek, Nicole, Erik and Colin. The second visit features photo highlights form the Jungala grand opening media day. If you haven't seen my Jungala report you can check it out here: http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=42898&highlight=jungala

Onto the photos!

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Good-bye for now! Next up: LL Cool J at Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando with Erik. You read right! LL Cool J! You know you can't wait!

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This was another highlight of Jungala.

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Very cool.

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What are they looking at?

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Zipline flyers over Jungala's skyline.

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A very awesome tweens adventure play complex.

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Wild Surge peeking over the rock waterfall.

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I love this area!

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The tiger sneaks up on it's prey.

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Best tiger exhibit period.

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At one of the entrances to Jungala.

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Derek, Nicole and Colin surive the off-road adventure that is Rhino Rally.

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The Eric(k) Johnsons prepare to battle Montu.

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Nicole, Derek, Erik and I prepare for the sting of the Scorpion.

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Erik, Derek and Nicole in line for Gwazi.

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I don't know how I've missed this Photo TR, but now that I read it, I have to say I enjoyed it. At the WCB at SFMM, I remember meeting you, Eric, and I believe that you, the "other" Erik Johnson, and I took a photo together by the registration tables or up at Katy's Kettle (I forget which). Unfortunately, I don't think I saw you guys in the park after that. (That was the day I lost my camera, so I was preoccupied with trying to find it.)

 

Perhaps we'll meet up again at some point.

 

Eric

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^ It was nice to meet you too Eric! I remember taking that photo, was it with your camera? That sucks you had to be stressed out about losing the camera. Hopefully you were able to find it? It would be great someday to meet again! Let me know the next time you're in Florida!

 

Time for a long overdue update. So in April, Erik and I met up at Universal to check out Mardi Gras. Normally I would never go to the parks around spring break, but there was a good reason to brave the crowds - LL Cool J was in concert at Madrdi Gras at the Studios! Since Erik and I are big fans we couldn't resist! LL rocks!

 

His concert brought Erik and I back to our middle and high school days! He did a lot of songs and all of his hits like I Need Love, Big Ole Butt, Rock The Bells, Around The Way Girl, All I Have, Hey Lover, Loungin (Who Do You Love), and the 3 highlights of the night: Doing It, Going Back To Cali and Mama Said Knock You Out! The crowd was immense and were all dancing and signing along. This was a really great time! Hopefully he'll be back for Mardi Gras next year![/i]

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Oh and it was little crowded leaving. Next up, my trip to Texas featuring Sea World San Antonio & Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Stay tuned!

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So E&E conquered LL, Mardi Gras and Universal Orlando during Spring Break!

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As you can tell, there was a big crowd that showed up.

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I had a great time!

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The reason why we came - LL Cool J! Mama Said Knock You Out!!!!

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Erik was like "I only got a few beads"

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You can't tell, but the floats are really cool looking.

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So my camera sucks at taking moving night photos. =(

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So the parade crowd during Mardi Gras was interesting. Unlike Disney during parades having parade employees every 10 feet, Universal have parade employee every 100 feet or so. So kids and adults were basically able to run up really close to the moving floats to get the almightly amazing plastic beads! It was really scary but entertaining to watch at the same time.

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Over at the Studios. For people that know me and based on my sreename, why would I want to stand in front of this movie facade? Anyone that can name what this movie is from, will be a God in my book and get a cookie! - And no Erik you can not answer since you took the photo! =)

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Did I mention that it was spring break, so it was a little crowded. Spiderman's outside queue was completely full!

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Yeah, the new restraint bars and seating on Ripsaw falls totally sucks!

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I can't for the life of me understand why I would take this photo. I guess it will remain a mystery. Hee hee.

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Can you believe that out of all the times he had been to IOA, Erik had never been inside The Discovery Center in Jurassic Park - so we had an emergency visit!

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I met a big friend at the Discovery Center.

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A behind the scenes exclusive shot of Erik documenting the former Lost Continent. May The Enchanted Oak rest in peace. =(

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First up: lunch and a few attractions at Islands of Adventure.

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The reason why we are here: to check Mardi Gras 2008!

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^ Hey Brent, it was great to meet you too, it was a fun day!

 

In the end of April, I went out to Austin to visit my good friend Olivia. It was a quick, but fun trip. We drove over to San Antonio and hit up Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Sea World San Antonio, The Riverwalk and Alamo area. This was my first time ever visiting Texas, it was nice, but super hot!

 

First up: our day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. I actually thought this park was very pretty. The natural rock formation with water falls surrounding parts of the park was really nice. One of the only downsides to this park is, I can't even imagine how hot the park is in the summer, there was no shade. We were dying and it was only April and we are both from Florida! We enjoyed all the attractions, rode my 200th credit on Goliath. Superman and Tony Hawk's Big Spin was a lot of fun. Overall we had a great day.

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So it wasn't that crowded, but when we left the park, this was what we encountered. The photo employees made a barricade to make sure everyone leaving the park was asked at least 3 times to check out their photo. We thought this was a little much. Oh well. Next up, the rest of my photos of my trip to Texas. Stay tuned!

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I rode the clone down the street the next day at Sea World San Antonio.

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Goliath was a fun standard inverted coaster.

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Yes, I'm a dork.

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Got to take one more photo by the falls.

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Other than the wierd 2nd half of the ride during the never ending, bumpy helix, the ride was a lot smoother than I thought it would be.

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It is a beautiful looking wooden coaster.

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I was a little worried how rough The Rattler was going to be.

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Road Runner Express was cool the way it was built on the side of the large rocks.

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Superman, like the Dark Knight at SFNE was fun.

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Wanted to do the rapids ride, but the line was too long and didn't except the Flash Pass on this day.

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But because I could see where we were going, Poltergeist, wasn't as rough as being in the dark on the Flight of Fear.

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I like the enclosed version of this coaster at Kings Dominion.

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Had a few fun drops.

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A little bit of theming.

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Bugs Bunny's White Water Rapids flume ride was fun, has lots of potential for great theming, but only seemed half-themed.

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The Hustler was a unique looking version of the Teacups.

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Tony Hawk's Big Spin was a highlight of the day.

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The Crow's Nest ferris wheel and Scream! free-fall ride.

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No matter what park I'm in, I've always got to check out the Scooby Doo ride.

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Frisbee was fun.

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The boardwalk area with a couple of flats.

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The rock formation added to the beauty of this park.

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The waterfalls were nice.

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Olivia in the blazing sun.

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The park is well themed.

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With Olivia before entering the park.

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The next 2 days, Olivia and I checked out Sea World San Antonio, The Alamo and a few of San Antonio's attractions. Sea World was larger than I had expected. The park was dead, so there were no lines which was great. I absolutely loved Steel Eel the first 3 times when we rode it in the front. But than we rode it in the back and I thought I lost my spine on the last part of the bunny hills. It was so smooth in the front, but riding in the back messed up my back for a week! It sucks getting old. =(

 

 

Overall the park was nice. The flume was was pretty big. I think I read somewhere that this was the flume from Boardwalk and Baseball. I used to love to ride that when I was a kid. I love Journey To Atlantis in Orlando, so I have been disappointed riding the ones in San Diego and now San Antonio due to the lack of theming.

 

On our last day in San Antonio we visited The Alamo to check out the basement, which was amazing. We also checked out 2 of the Ripley's attractions across the street: Ripley's Haunted Adventure, which was a pretty good walk-thru haunted house and The Tomb Rider 3D shooting dark ride which was ok. Also across the street I checked out a mirror maze which are always fun. And finally we finished the night off with dinner on the famous Riverwalk. Onto the photos:

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I had a great time in Texas, it was a blast hanging our with Olivia. Next up a visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios to check out the then brand new Toy Story Mania. Stay tuned!

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We had some good Mexican food and yummy drinks along the river.

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The Riverwalk.

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The Mirror Maze was pretty elaborate. The interesting part was that all of the customers had to wear plastic gloves to keep the mirrors clean.

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To bad it wasn't worth the money.

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Pretty good theming.

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Looks promising.

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The ok shooting dark ride, Tomb Rider 3D.

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Before you enter the haunted house, you take a service elevator complete with special effects to the top of the building.

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Olivia was terrified!

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Ripley's Haunted Adventure was a pretty scary walk-thru haunted house.

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Again, beautiful.

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The Alamo's grounds were really beautiful.

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I was told my stolen bike was located in the basement of the Alamo, so we checked it out. But no luck. =(

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Steel Eel was great until I broke my back sitting in the back. Ouch!

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During our visit, Sea World San Antonio was celebrating the park's 20th anniversary.

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Great reports so far Eric! I'm enjoying your Texas stuff because it reminds me of the trip I took a couple summers ago. Was the Mexican place you went to Rita's on the River? That's where we ate when we went there and they had amazing Margarita's! It was also nice to see stuff inside the Alamo since we went able to walk around it too much.

 

Great reports!

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^ & ^^ Thanks guys.

 

Larry- It sucks, we put our stuff including my camera in a locker before we went on the 3 water rides. By the time we circled around the park back to the locker it was time to head out. This explains why I only took 2 photos the entire day! I'll get the JTA sign for you & TPR someday on a return visit.

 

Jimmy- I have no idea what the name of the Mexican place was, but it was good. I didn't have any margaritas, but I did have some of the best sangria that I have ever had!

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Next stop, at the end of May we visited Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot for the International Flower and Garden Festival with our friends Jamie and Suzanne. Had a nice relaxing day. Kevin, Jamie and Suzanne had never been on Toy Story Mania, so that was a priority. We all really enjoyed the ride. The line is so cool, brought back a lot of memories of childhood to this group of early thirtysomething folks. Had a great lunch and fantastic server at the 50's Prime Time Cafe. If you have never been, check it out. The staff is always very entertaining. After the studios we closed out the day at Epcot for the Flower and Garden Festival. A highlight was, we watched the space shuttle launch directly behind Mission Space, kind of ironic, don't you think? Onto the photos, enjoy!

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Thanks to Jamie and Suzanne for making Kevin and my day awesome!

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Couldn't come to Epcot and not make a mandatory stop at the French bakery.

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The Flower and Garden Festival is always a great time of year to visit Epcot.

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The boys hanging out with Donald.

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We arrived at Epcot just in time to see the space launch, directly over Mission Space.

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After a lecture from "Mom", Suzanne ate her veggies.

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"Mom" was upset with Suzanne for not eating her veggies.

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Muppet Vision 4D is the best 3D show attraction ever. You can never go wrong with The Muppets. The Muppets rock!

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Mr. Potato Head is very cool.

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The line brought back a lot of memories of toys and games from our childhood.

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Jamie, Suzanne and Kevin loved this ride.

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First stop, Toy Story Mania. L-R: Kevin, myself, Jamie & Suzanne.

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  • 1 month later...

Next up was our August visit to Disney's Blizzard Beach for our friend Ray's birthday. We had a good half day. We left early because there was a tropical storm approaching so the park's attractions closed early. We still had fun the short time we were there.

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Even though it was a short visit, we had a good time.

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Ray! This is a family park!

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Snow and bathing suits - what a great combo!

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The lazy river in any park is always nice.

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Ray liked the enclosed slide.

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The flume slides were fun.

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First up took the ski lift to experience Teamboat Springs which was a group favorite of the day.

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Ray and I enjoy a snow sled ride at a winter-themed water park in August!

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This was both Ray and Kevin's first visit to Blizzard Beach.

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Only because I am *that* gay: Desperately Seeking Susan!

 

Aw... I wanted to guess!! LOL I knew the answer but only saw this TR today.. I have been to the park zillions of times, how on earth did I not know that was there? UGH! NO BUENO for a M fan like me!

 

Eric, I have to say I am totally enjoying the TR! I am not even done with page two yet... but I can expect nothing less than the best at this point! You get mucho kudos... You did get to see her this year, right? They blasted M alot on that one ride... so lucky!

 

Kudos also to mattnz for guessing!

 

~a fellow M fan

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^ Thanks Lena! The facade from Desperately Seeking Susan is located near the restrooms between the Mummy, Starbucks and Beetlejuice. And to answer your question, I did get to see her in concert this Fall. it was a lot of fun! Here is my concert report: http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=47948

It's good to meet a fellow M fan.

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