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Photo TR: Jason's California Adventure


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my park-used Disneyland Band bass drum head

 

Okay, as a drummer and a Disney fan, I'm jealous of that.

 

This was definitely my favourite day of the trip, not least because of being able to add to my Legoland collection (only Deutschland to get now!..and the various Discovery Centres *geek*), and of course the fantastic opportunity to get behind-the-scenes. Jason, I have your 'pointing-at-the-Lego-dust-grinning-like-a-geek' photo on my phone - if I can figure out how to get phone photos onto the PC, I'll send it to you.

 

And the Adventurers Club walkthrough (as I believe Windsor used to also call theirs) may not have seemed like much, but it's a class example of Lego Master Builders' imagination, AND it's the only one that still exists (I believe): ours closed this year - to make way for an Xbox 360 showroom. The fact that we lost two high quality walkthroughs for videogames promotion is pretty eugh.

 

Anyway, loving the photos, great memories.

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^^You were sick? I had no clue! Apparently neither one of us can ever go on a TPR trip without some kind of illness plaguing us. Hey, at least it wasn't your jaw this year, right?

 

^Awesome! If you can figure it out, I'd love to have it. Hard to believe the Adventurers' Club in California is the last one. I thought it was pretty cool (a lot cooler than an Xbox showroom, for sure).

 

Anyway, real work and volunteer work has kept me away from posting lately, but now that I have a rare free night, welcome to Legoland, part deux. Enjoy!

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Up next: TPR takes over the Fun Town Fire Academy! Stay tuned.

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And we finish part deux with a pair of Andy Warhol-inspired Lego creations.

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"Anybody seen my fried Lego peanut butter and banana sandwich?"

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Unfortunately, they left out the best parts.

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How's that whole budget thing working out for you, Governor Arnie?

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To be made of Legos or not to be made of Legos. That is the question.

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Here's one for the Brits!

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And here's another!

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Speaking of U.S. presidents, here's one!

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It's the inauguration of Legobama! (Sorry, Natalie.)

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Wow, something pretty big is going on at the Capitol. What could it be?

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Probably here! Watch out for Lego snipers, though.

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I wonder where that Lego motorcade could be going.

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Oooh, this must be what the back of a Lego $5 bill looks like!

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Lego Iwo Jima.

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Lego Jefferson Memorial.

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Lego Smithsonian Castle.

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...Washington, D.C.! Cool, that should save me a good amount on plane fare back to Baltimore-Washington International!

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It's about time we cross the Brooklyn Bridge into...

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Wow, they really shouldn't have a window there!

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All that's missing is a little Lego Tina Fey.

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I hear "ChocoNut" is a lot like Chock Full O' Nuts... only with less chance of an infringement lawsuit.

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Hey, I don't remember Dave's Clothes being a major Times Square sponsor last time I was in New York....

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They sure built the Lego Freedom Tower a lot faster than the real thing.

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We now return you to your regularly scheduled tour of Lego New York, already in progress.

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...and a Lego rodeo.

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And now, randomly, here's Lego Daytona Speedway...

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"Excuse me, but can the Fresh Prince of Bel Air come out to play?"

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I kind of wish I'd had time to see the real version of this while we were in Los Angeles... but oh well.

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So does this. Where are the copyright-infringing Lego costumed characters? Where are the 30 billion people? Where are the other buildings? Fun fact, however: the Michael Jackson estate turned down Legoland's plans to make a Lego Michael to put on display in honor of his death, so the "Thriller" on the marquee here is the park's alternate way of honoring him.

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Hmm, this looks familiar... but different.

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Lego Bob Saget and Lego Candace Cameron live here. Fun fact: I sent them both Christmas cards when I was 9 or 10. I still have the autographed postcard Bob Saget sent back!

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Pier 39! I've been here!

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Wouldn't it be awesome if someone built a real boat out of Legos and kept it in a marina like this? It would cost a fortune, and it would have to be well-caulked and sealed, but I bet it could be done.

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Cable car to nowhere!

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Wow, the Lego version actually looks bigger than the real thing did when we saw it earlier during the trip!

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Up next: Lego San Francisco.

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Lego dead people!

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This is the view from the real-life Cafe du Monde. OK, actually this is the view about a block over from the real-life Cafe du Monde. But still, how cool!

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I've been on that riverboat!

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Where are the Lego flashers?

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Next let's take a trip down to Lego New Orleans.

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Lego TPR members!

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Wow, the Stratosphere looks so much smaller here....

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Isn't this where Scott and Jenn said they wanted to end up in Vegas?

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...and their elephant habitat (which I've also seen in real life)!

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...it also had a Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden dolphin habitat (which I've seen in real life)...

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Personally, I think the Lego Mirage was the coolest thing in this section. Not only did it have a reproduction reproduction volcano...

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They even incorporated the new (lamer) sign... and the Vegas monorail! And the Lego monorail works better than the real thing!

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Lego Treasure Island... complete with Bob Gurr pirate show! I wonder if they have wenches on the far ship.

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Lego Paris and Venetian.

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No Lego lions in here... that I could see, anyway.

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I've stayed here! I wonder if there's a little Lego me inside there somewhere.

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...complete with Statue of Liberty and fireboats!

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New York, New York...

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The orange juice hotel.

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But hey, it still has a pool!

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There's the fabulous Luxor resort... now with 90 percent less Egypt!

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This was as close as I got to the Vegas add-on :(

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And finally, we reach my favorite part of Legoland: Miniland USA!

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Another cool kiddie attraction: Royal Joust. It's not exactly the same, but the horse on a track kind of reminded me of the old steeplechase rides (one of the main reasons I really want to get to Blackpool soon).

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...and finally, we conclude our Random Lego Boat Ride of Awesomeness with an all-marine-life blues band... for some reason.

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...the Statue of Liberty...

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...with extra hygiene...

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...Mt. Rushmore...

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...Eiffel Tower...

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...Taj Mahal...

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Next on the Random Lego Boat Ride of Awesomeness: man-made landmarks from around the world, starting with the Sydney Opera House...

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This Lego man screamed imaginarily fell into the water. It's fun teaching kids to laugh at others' pain!

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Lego 'Mingos!

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But then, the dinosaurs seem pretty excited to be there, so whatever.

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Further proof that the Emancipation Proclamation did not include dinosaurs!

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It's mega-treasure chest versus mini-octopus!

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However, we did make time for the Random Lego Boat Ride of Awesomeness. Let's have a look, shall we?

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The safari ride was another neat-looking attraction we didn't have time for. So many blocks, so little time....

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I'm not sure what these pedal-power things were. I'm not sure where the entrance was located. The one thing I am sure of is, Jeff Johnson probably counts them as a credit.

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This was pretty cool. I wonder if the fossils were made of Legos, too.

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"Don't mind him; he's all bark and no bite. However, if you have them to spare, I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a cookie today...."

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"Grrr! I'm scary T-rex! Gimme some cookies!"

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Oooh! There it is!

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I didn't really bother with this credit, though the theming was pretty good (as was the case pretty much throughout Legoland).

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This is the "Three Billy Goats' Gruff." Not quite sure what the title means since it's basically about a troll living under a bridge... but hey, when in Legoland!

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Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to get on this ride, but this is pretty much the concept. Dig the three little pigs!

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The Lost Boys told Peter Pan he looked good in this hat. They totally lied!

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Lego Death Star, on the other hand, is just "meh." But the fact that there even is a Lego Death Star kind of rocks.

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Chewy is always awesome. Even behind glass.

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Or... wait, is this Lego Harrison Ford?

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Lego Harrison Ford looks almost as good as Disney Harrison Ford!

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And lest we forget Duplo! You know, the Lego blocks for small children with chubby, stupid fingers?

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Lego instruments that squirt water? OK....

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I wanna go to the mart!

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Sky Patrol was awesome in its simplicity (though I would imagine having those hydraulics takes more commitment than plopping down a kiddie helicopter flat). I haven't seen anything like this at any other park.

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...brought to you by Lego Volvo!

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Lego Autopia...

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"Check me out, ladies. I'll totally give you a ride on my handlebars."

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Yeah, yeah, I know it's been a long time between posts. You don't have to get all dramatic about it. Also, haven't I seen your twin in Downtown Disney, Orlando?

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We were at Legoland for fewer than six hours, and I never thought my TR on it would turn into a three-section span... but there's so much to see there that it could easily go longer! I'll spare you, however, and finish up with this mini-section that covers another one of the most fun parts of the trip: Fun Town Fire Academy takeover! Enjoy!

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And speaking of Ice Bat, what better way to end the final section of the Legoland TR than with... Lego Ice Bat!

 

Next up: Castle Park and Elissa Bingo!

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Of course, in true TPR fashion, we each had a team name, and the Legoland employee staffing the ride announced them over the loudspeaker. This was Team Ice Bat. Let's just say that they placed behind my team, the Megalodons. And let's just say we placed behind another team whose name I do not recall, even though we were the first ones in our heat to make it to the building and put out the fire. We lost it in the final stretch!

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...then everyone jumped back in the truck and pumped it back to the starting point. The first team back won.

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...then all four jumped out and three of them pumped water into a hole in the "fire" until it was "extinguished"...

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...then two people pumped the truck down the track while the other two sat...

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The concept was deceptively simple. First, four teams of four gathered in their firetrucks...

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To see who got to go first, we played the world's largest game of Twister.

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"I'm going to watch a bunch of idiots take over the Fun Town Fire Academy!"

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"We're going to sell things! Pip pip, then!"

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"You sure do got a purty mouth...."

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"We plan to monkey around."

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"Arr! I plans to catch more birdies with me fancy crank, I do!"

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"I'm still thinking about it."

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"We're going to trick our friend into jumping into a hoop... with no net!"

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Did I mention that it was Legoland's 10th anniversary? Let's see how some of its citizens plan to celebrate.

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These are apple fries! They're a bit difficult to describe. Think deep-fried applesauce sticks with Reddi-Wip. My review: very good... but very messy.

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The evening before, we saw a film clip on the bus of Robb making apple fries in this very restaurant. He hawked them again that morning. So obviously I couldn't leave Legoland without trying some. And what are apple fries, you ask?

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Following another too-long hiatus, we continue with our look back at the 2009 West Coast Trip with... Castle Park! To be honest, I was expecting Castle to be a lot like Scandia, only with a little more acreage. Boy was I wrong! Not only did this park have a large supply of fun little older rides, but it had quite possibly the best miniature golf course in the Western time zone!

 

Here's my take on the afternoon's events. Enjoy!

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Natalie came in behind me and won a spatula (because she's a girl). Matt (who's seen here, lest he be confused with Natalie) also finished either second or third and came away with some sort of mini golf game--the perfect end to our day at Castle Park!

 

I know some of us probably take Dave's work on this game for granted, but seriously, this has been one of the most fun "perks" of the two TPR trips I've had the pleasure to attend. So thank you, Dave, for making these tours that much more amazing!

 

Up next: the best unexpected surprise of any TPR trip ever--two bonus hours in Disneyland!

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And finally, this being the last evening bus ride of the trip, it was time to announce official 2009 West Coast Trip Elissa Bingo winners! I was the first to complete a line, so as only the second two-consecutive-year winner in Elissa Bingo history (Jeff Johnson was the first, I believe), I came away with a plush dolphin (from the Dollar Tree in scenic Lutherville, Maryland), a book by renowned author Brian Keene, and of course, the official 2009 Elissa Bingo CD/drink coaster.

 

(FYI, I couldn't remember the book author's name, and I was too lazy to get up and look, so I just Googled "Maryland + author + zombies" and he came right up... so there you go.)

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On the bus to our final hotel of the trip, TPDave announced he was sharing his good fortune at the arcade by giving us each... neon vampire teeth! And a mini-flashlight! Oh, and 46 Chinese finger traps apiece! (Thanks, Dave; I saved a lot of money on gifts for the folks back home because of you!)

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Wow, he must have been extremely lucky to be dealt that kind of poker hand AND survived a birth defect!

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There it is, folks, the backside of water! (I told you that joke would come back around eventually.)

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With all the course's colored lights and waterfalls, and the warm Golden State breeze wafting through the night, I swear I felt like I was right in the middle of a Jan and Dean or Beach Boys song. This seemed like 1960s vintage California, like Surf City once the sun went down. I loved every moment of it.

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We had four courses to choose from (actually three; one was down for repairs).

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Another castle for Castle Park!

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"Hey guys? Um, can you stop staring at my balls?"

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...and then we played mini golf!

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We spent some time in the arcade...

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Now there's a TV show that never really took off: "Star Trek Babies."

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Hey, amusement devices don't lie!

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Apparently the king had one slice too many of the pepperoni and jalepeno pizza!

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The name of this game just made me laugh; I'm not sure why.

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Though it wasn't much more than a big collection of ticket games, the arcade did have somewhat of a "royal" touch.

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After dinner, they gave us tokens and sent us over to the arcade (yes, it's in a castle--hence the name "Castle Park").

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...and for the second day in a row, our dinner was a pizza buf-fay!

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Vintage circus posters and carousel animals lined the walls and ceiling...

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No matter. This place was pretty awesome inside!

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As nice as this little park was, it really couldn't decide whether it wanted to be themed to Medieval times or a 1950s circus.

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I said "less" scary, dang it!

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Um... let's move on to something less scary.

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Up next: the infamous Screamin' Demon. And yes, as has been reported, the cars really do start spinning as soon as they hit the lift hill!

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"Shut up and quit asking stupid questions or I'll turn you into a toad!"

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The one thing I couldn't quite figure out, though: Why is a coaster themed to a fictional Medieval wizard shaped like rocket ships?

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Yay! The magic is fun!

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Are you guys ready to "ride the magic"?

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After our hour as park VIPs, we met here.

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Bonus points to Castle, though, for having an authentic gypsy wagon!

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I've asked this before: What is the fixation amusement parks have with the Liberty Bell? Every third park I go to seems to have its own unique recreation (and we haven't even gotten to Knott's yet).

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Hey, when we're done here, can we go to that "Stle Amusement Par" place?

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The park's newest ride, Dragon Swings, had been open only a few months by the time we corrupted them!

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Enjoy that tower, guys!

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...and Dragon's Tower.

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...kiddie whip...

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...Spider...

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...Fireball...

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...Crazy Plane...

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...Falling Star (not operating that day)...

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...Thunder Bolt (not the Kennywood kind)...

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...Scramb--er, never mind...

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...bumper cars (and no, they didn't look like the dragster out front... but wouldn't it be cool if they had?)...

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...antique carousel...

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...Sea Dragon...

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...motorcycles...

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...Log Ride (no really, that's what it's called... and this isn't even a Cedar Fair park)...

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...King's Crown (swings)...

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Now it's time for the "other rides in the park" section of this TR. As in: Other rides in the park included helicopters...

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Just do as the angry bear says, and no one gets hurt!

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OMG, Texaco and Shell are having an affair. Shhh, don't tell Exxon!

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These kiddie cars were originally at Knott's, as well. They weren't quite as fun as the ones at Gilroy Gardens... but they were pretty darned close!

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...just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Fun to look at, though.

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...but offering free advertising for Socal's other famous parks on the side of your antique, non-functioning kiddie train...

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OK, this is fine...

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"Wave at the stranger with the camera, honey! It's the polite thing to do."

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Robb told us that the guy who owned castle park used to lease rides, including this train, to Knott's Berry Farm until Knott's decided to buy its own rides outright in the '70s. The leassor then took those original Knott's rides, including this kiddie train, and used them to open Castle Park. All aboard!

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No puck? No problem! We'll just use KidTums!

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We got there about an hour before park closing, so there was a mad rush among dark ride lovers (which turned out to be most of us) to get on this ride, causing a minor "traffic jam." Hey, at least we got to see the arcade while we waited (that's where the entrance to the ride was).

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We'd better do what the sign says....

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We all got treated like Big Mike for the day!

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Following a couple hours' bus ride from Legoland, we saw something that looked kind of like this. Actually... it looked exactly like this!

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And finally, this being the last evening bus ride of the trip, it was time to announce official 2009 West Coast Trip Elissa Bingo winners! I was the first to complete a line, so as only the second two-consecutive-year winner in Elissa Bingo history (Jeff Johnson was the first, I believe),

 

Actually, it's Erik Johnson. I don't believe that Jeff Johnson has the ability at his age to concentrate on somenthing like Elissa Bingo. Or anything else. Except telling everyone stories about how when he first started delivering mail, stamps were actually pebbles.

 

came away with a plush dolphin (from the Dollar Tree in scenic Lutherville, Maryland), a book by renowned author Brian Keene, and of course, the official 2009 Elissa Bingo CD/drink coaster.

 

The awesome Dollar Store is actually located in fabulous Cockeysville, MD. The Elissa Bingo videos are shot in beautiful Lutherville, MD. This is important stuff to know, as they could be questions on TPR trivia some day, and you'd hate to get them wrong and miss out on valuable prizes!

 

I know some of us probably take Dave's work on this game for granted, but seriously, this has been one of the most fun "perks" of the two TPR trips I've had the pleasure to attend. So thank you, Dave, for making these tours that much more amazing!

 

Thanks! Seriously, I figure that I annoy the living hell out of everyone that I come in contact with, so it's good to know that people are actually entertained and amused by my nonsense. It does make me happy when people actually play the game, and especially take MANY MANY photos of Elissa, as she just loves it! So thanks for playing!

 

Your TRs rock. I really liked Castle Park. Kerry and I had the most INSANE ride on the Spider there. Probably the best flat ride of the trip, or at least tied with the Chaos at the Adventuredome, that we got to flip a couple of times.

 

dt

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The awesome Dollar Store is actually located in fabulous Cockeysville, MD. dt

 

Dave - Speaking of which, my award never arrived in the mail for knowing that Cockeysville is the home of the Dollar Store (back in your food thread).

 

But since it took me months to finally tip Robb and Elissa for the awesomeness they provide as tour organizers, I can wait a bit more if necessary.

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Actually, it's Erik Johnson. I don't believe that Jeff Johnson has the ability at his age to concentrate on somenthing like Elissa Bingo. Or anything else. Except telling everyone stories about how when he first started delivering mail, stamps were actually pebbles.

 

Eh, I knew it was one of those Johnsons. I guess I just figured the oldest one would know the most about bingo!

 

The awesome Dollar Store is actually located in fabulous Cockeysville, MD. The Elissa Bingo videos are shot in beautiful Lutherville, MD.

 

But once you get outside Towson, it's pretty much all the same... right?

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OK, so here's the story about our last park of Day 8: I'm not sure where I heard it, but originally I thought we had three-day park hoppers at Disneyland. Well, imagine my surprise when we pull into the final hotel of the trip and Robb announces that not only do we have five-day park hoppers... but Disneyland is also still open for another two hours!

 

I don't think a busload of people has ever gotten off a bus, unloaded luggage, gotten keys and thrown their suitcases in their rooms so fast in the history of modern travel! Adding to that, we got an incredible amount of stuff done that night because the crowds were so light (an advantage we would not have most of the rest of the trip).

 

Keep in mind that my camera doesn't take great photos in low light... and with that, I present to you our first night at Disneyland!

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On our way out, we stumbled upon a film crew preparing the shoot a commercial on Main Street. Between our encounter with Jamie Foxx in Hollywood, this production at Disneyland and an experience the next day at Knott's Berry Farm (up next), we got quite an exposure of the Southern California filming industry during this trip!

 

And thus ends not only our first evening at Disneyland, but possibly the shortest PTR I've ever posted! More Disney goodness to come.

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Crossing back through the Hub again, I ran into Mike Moody, and we agreed that a midnight ride on The Haunted Mansion would be a perfect way to end our first evening at Disneyland.

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OK, so I neither experienced nor witnessed this, but apparently at some point in the trip an entire train of TPR members was dispatched on Space Mountain, only to be pulled off before entering the lift because it exceeded the weight limit. You know, maybe two pizza buffets in two nights wasn't such a good idea after all....

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I did a lot of criss-crossing, but I wanted to hit the big rides while the lines were short. Next stop was Space Mountain. Not to be confused with Space Mountain 2, Rockin' Space Mountain or Ghost Galaxy.

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Very little lighting in the old west... but Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night was fun!

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More nighttime goodness on Main Street!

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A shot of the Mad Tea Party... just because I thought it came out well(Gilroy's Garlic Twirl was about the only tea cup-style ride I dared on this two-week adventure).

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First ride at Disneyland: the Matterhorn (I already had the credits, but I rode both sides for consistency's sake).

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It may be tiny... but at least it's purple!

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Disneyland's turn-of-the-century Main Street probably uses more power at night than most entire towns during the actual turn of the century.

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Much like Motel 6, Disneyland left the lights on for us.

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Hmmm...Does anyone know what this 140 ft thrill ride thing is at Scandia? I don't see any speculation on it yet? Skyscraper is about all I can think of.

The Scandia in Sacramento has a skyscraper, so that'd be my best bet as well. Hopefully this "Scandia Screamer" will actually allow riders to scream on it though

 

Edit: Oh, and great PTR as usual

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Can't we all just be friends?

 

I'm away at my girlfriend's sister's horror show of a wedding this weekend (seriously, it's the joining of the world's two most dysfunctional people in holy matrimony, followed by lobster ravioli), but I have the "Knott Berry Good" photos all resized, edited and ready for posting when I get home Sunday evening, complete with witty and scandalous commentary.

 

Be patient, and rewarded your patience will be, young Padawan.

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Wow, with that much anticipation, I'd better get to it! OK, so when I was 12, way back in 1990, my family took a two-week vacation to California, a highlight of which was a visit to Knott's Berry Farm. My, how times have changed. Despite some warnings by Robb and Elissa during the bus ride on the way to the park and my knowledge that this was no a (God no) Cedar Fair park, my expectations were still fairly high.

 

My mistake.

 

It didn't take long to dub this park "Knott Berry Good," and I wasn't alone in this estimation. I left the park 45 minutes before our scheduled departure to check out some other Knott attractions across the street and do some gift shopping, and there was already a disproportionately large contingent of TPR members either sitting outside the gates or scouring the parking lot in search of our bus. Note to Cedar Fair: When a large group of coaster enthusiasts, who are pre-dispositioned to enjoy your park, pay lots of money to come to your park and ultimately decide they'd rather spend part of their allotted time sitting outside your gates, wishing their bus would show up early instead of wasting another second inside your place of business... that's not good.

 

Having said that, the fried chicken luncheon and free T-shirts were nice, and at least their group sales people made an attempt with the free photo passes (see photos for that and other stories). But ultimately, I agree with the song Elissa sang once we got back on the bus (sorry, if you weren't there, you missed it). Knott's was very, very easily the worst park in an otherwise very enjoyable trip.

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Observation No. 1: The claim that Knott's is "America's 1st Theme Park" is larger than the actual sign for the park itself.

 

Observation No. 2: The sign painters misunderstood the directions and put "1st" instead of "Worst."

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"...now go home!"

 

Honestly, Knotts did have some highlights and a couple of very nice employees... but most of its staff ranged from lethargic to just plane rude, and like most Cedar Fair parks, its policies were often illogical and never uniformly enforced. I guess what they say is true: You really can't go home again. Not even to Knott's Berry Farm.

 

Next up: Adventure City!

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Just outside, some chickens were trying to escape from Mrs. Knott's restaurant!

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Unlike the authentic Independence Hall, the Knott's reproduction included larger-than-life wax dioramas of a couple historical events from the Revolutionary period. Truth be told, the real thing could probably use a few of those, as well, if only to hold the kids' interest.

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Once again, we have a park with a Liberty Bell fascination. This recreation allegedly weighs just five pounds less than the real thing. (The original is housed in a visitors' center across the street from the real Independence Hall, not inside it.)

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The Continental Congress meeting room was the only room fully recreated inside. As far as I could tell, this was 100 percent authentic from the molding style to the shade of green used for the tablecloths! If you showed me a picture of this room and a picture of the real thing (and I have both), I couldn't tell you which was which.

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Ah, but the real reason I traveled to this side of the Knott's property was to see the three-quarter-scale replica of Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed) that Walter Knott had built in 1966... mostly just because he could. Legend has it the reproduction is so authentic, it even captures the fingerprints of the masons who laid the bricks in the original. Having toured the original just three weeks before the West Coast Trip, I can honestly say they did a pretty darned good job!

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For anyone on the trip who didn't get to see Soak City... here it is.

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Across the street was like a whole 'nother world... even though it was still on Knott's/Cedar Fair property.

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OMG! OMG! It's Snoopy!

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Ladies and gentlemen: Jaguar!

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This image will be familiar in a lot more Cedar Fair parks soon.

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Look closely at this sign, and you'll find a prime candidate for the TPR "You're Doing It Wrong" series.

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This guy looks like he's been here for quite awhile....

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Ah, the "Pan for Gold" attraction. This was my favorite part of Knott's the last time I visited. I still have my little vial of gold shavings, along with a tiny replica mining pan with a "Knott's Berry Farm" sticker on it that I bought at the gift shop.

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The barrel house was kind of cool.

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...

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Meanwhile, more theme park death loomed outside.

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This sassparilla really hit the spot!

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It was a hazy afternoon, and having done just about everything I'd wanted to do inside the park, I stopped back in at the Calico Saloon.

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Wow, nothing screams "old west" like an extreme skateboard stunt show and youth accordion orchestra! Way to give the public what it wants, Cedar Fair! But seriously, kudos to Knott's for supporting youth arts. That's one thing they really are doing right.

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Hmm... I don't remember anyone ever wearing baseball caps or sunglasses on the Dodge City Stage in "Gunsmoke."

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Suddenly, I feel like washing my clothes in Borax....

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Nice to see the oldest ride at the park is still going.

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...which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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The Old Schoolhouse was... well, pretty much what I expected...

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One day, I'm going to have a sky tower with my initial on it....

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I contemplated riding the Timber Mountain Log Ride just for its dioramas; however, my distaste for flume rides in general won out. According to those who did ride it, the flume itself didn't really get you wet... it was the six inches of water flooding the cue area that really did it. Another sign of Cedar Fair quality.

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Looks like a great ride, right? Well it was... for about 15 seconds. Robb warned us this was a short ride, but seriously, I've been on kiddie coasters with more track than this!

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And then it was time for Pony Express. Now, having ridden MotoCoaster at Darien Lake during last year's Behemoth/Flyer Trip, I was really looking forward to this ride, which has a similar layout, at least in terms of cars.

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Rapids time! I didn't actually ride... just photographed.

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The train came complete with robbers, though they didn't really do much more than walk through the aisles and then pose for pictures near the depot afterward.

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Next up: train ride! The train at Knott's actually looks more authentic than the one at Disneyland... though the scenery is nowhere near as good.

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Unlike the rest of the park, this show rocked! Unfortunately, due to ancient Indian tribal rites or something like that, the only photography allowed inside was in the pre-show area (where they apprently served the kids some grape Kool-Aid before we got there).

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After our tour of the museum, Mike Moody and I went to see the Mystery Lodge show.

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The candy store across the way was well appointed!

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Poor Water Knott. All he ever wanted to do was sell jelly and entertain kids at a significant profit. Now his name is linked with Cedar Fair. Ashes to ashes....

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These machines were pretty cool. You put in a quarter and got a souvenir coin... and it was the exact same souveinr coin I got from Knott's (probably from the same machine, too) nearly two decades ago!

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Lots of good stuff here.

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A lot of this is still here... but a lot also isn't.

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...but it was also filled with paraphernalia from Knott's Berry Farm's good old days (FYI, I have that second menu from the left in my personal collection.)

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There was a lot of old west paraphernalia in here...

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After lunch, I spent some time in here. As I've said before, I can't pass up a museum in a theme park!

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I really liked the lunch here... mostly because if we hadn't had Mrs. Knott's famous fried chicken, boysenberry punch and boysenberry pie, I was planning on skipping the food portion of lunch and going to the restaurant to sample it anyway. Knott's saved me $15!

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The free T-shirts and lanyards were a nice gesture....

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Time for lunch!

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It was still a fun old ride... though I sincerely doubt "glory hole" meant the same thing when it opened in 1960 as it does today.

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OK, interesting story about the Calico Mine Ride: as I was going through it, the kids in the car with me were running their hands along the walls and throwing coins at the dioramas. "So much for Cedar Fair enforcement," I thought. I later found out that one member of our group (I'll let him identify himself if he wants) got yelled to take his sunglasses off during the ride. It's all about priorities, I guess.

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Sadly, the Indians sold them the land for those coaster supports for just $24 in Peanuts merchandise.

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I loves me a bottle house!

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I sat in on part of the show. Not as good as the Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland, but not bad. They perform right behind the bar.

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Ah, now here's a theme park institution TPR members can relate to!

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They had a wall inside with photos of all the "famous" people who had performed there. These were the only two I'd actually heard of.

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This place was interesting. I guess they used to (or maybe still do) have live performances here.

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More theme park death!

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It reminded me a lot of the Frontier Trail at Cedar Point. Which reminded me a lot of Knott's Berry Farm. So I guess we've come full circle.

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They had a few "period" actors in this section that demonstrated 19th century crafts.

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I meant to go back after lunch and check out this shooting gallery, but I forgot. It actually looked kind of fun (but probably not as fun as the one at Knoebel's).

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Looks like Old Betsy's seen better days.

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Ha ha! Stupid Canadians!

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"Five aces? Do you want to wind up like the guy in the coffin on the other side of the park?"

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The chicken wire-enclosed dioramas were difficult to photograph. Fortunately, Knott's provided a few with plexiglass windows, as well.

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I enjoyed the peek-in scenes... though they did scream "1950s" (which is probably why I enjoyed them). I understand they were recently refurbished.

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The exit from Ghostrider segues pretty well into the original Knott's ghost town.

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The coaster actually crosses the street! Some people absolutely hated how rough this ride was, but I kind of liked it. I'd have ridden it again had the line not grown to over 30 minutes by the time I made my initial lap.

 

And now it's story time: As I mentioned in the intro, we received passes for one free photo each, much like Six Flags Magic Mountain. Unlike SFMM, however, Knott's made their virtually impossible to use. I tried cashing mine in on Ghostrider, and after calling in a manager, the photo person there told me it was only good at the front gate photo location. OK, fine. Later that afternoon, I stopped one of the photographers at the front of the park. We had this conversation:

 

Me: Is this the front gate photo location?

Photographer: What? (Love that Cedar Fair "What?")

Me: Is this where I can have my photo taken at the front gate?

Photogrpaher: Photo? What photo? I don't know what you mean.

Me: If you take a picture of me with that camera, can I give someone money for it and take it home?

Photographer: Oh, yeah. (Takes picture and hands me a ticket.) It'll be ready after 5.

 

Which, of course, doesn't do me much good because we're scheduled to be gone long before then. Elissa later said when she inquired, they told her they weren't accepting photo vouchers at all that day, and it took some... we'll call it "convincing"... to get them to change their minds.

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I was entering the cue for Ghostrider when approximately 50,000 day camp kids ran around either side of me to get in line first. It's just not a day at Knott's until you've been line-jumped, I'm told (though I don't know if this technically counts since I was still two footsteps away from being in the actual cue).

 

On another note, I wasn't there to experience this, but I heard it from enough people who did to believe it really happened: Apparently some TPR members on the tour were in line for a ride when they got line jumped and complained to the operator, who in turn told the line jumpers, "Sorry about that. There's a bunch of cranky coaster enthusiasts in the park today."

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Sierra Sidewinder: world's slowest-loading roller coaster.

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This is one of the few things I remember from my last visit nearly two decades ago.

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Preparations for Haunt were going on while we were there.

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At least I got a good shot of the train before the crowds emerged.

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On our way back to the part of the park that apparently was expecting guests, we saw the last few seconds of some filming going on. A documentary on America's poorest theme park policies, no doubt.

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Look out, Raymond!

 

OK, so this is where the "friendly" veneer of Knott's started to wear off. When we reached this sign, the national anthem was playing, announcing the park's opening. A park employee stopped us, asked us if we were with "that theme park group" and told us we weren't supposed to be in that section of the park. I apologized and said I thought the national anthem meant the park was open. He said it was... but they weren't expecting guests at that end of the park so soon, so we had to turn around. Besides, we shouldn't be wandering off from our tour group. Not, "I'm sorry, but these attractions aren't open yet." Just, "What are you doing here? Go away and stay with your own kind."

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A lot of the California parks we visited seemed to have a thing for theming merchandise kiosks as fire trucks. This one had the best name by far.

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Another park, another boomerang.

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Hey Toyota, you missed this one!

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I'm not sure why Toyota would want its name associated with screaming... but here you go.

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Since neither Silver Bullet nor Xcelerator are my type of coaster, I spent most of ERT taking photos of other attractions, like this stylish carousel, for instance.

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A rare sightning: thumbs-up at Knott's!

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So if Cuba had a roller coaster, it would probably look like this?

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How many Joshes can you spot in this picture?

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I've seen this coaster dubbed "In Need of a Paint Job: The Ride," but I can't help but wonder if it doesn't fit its '50s theme better with this retro pink-and-light blue look... even if it's not intentional.

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...but spent most of our time here.

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We started ERT with a no-wait ride on Silver Bullet...

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Um... we have these things now called digital cameras. This building is obsolete.

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This is quite possibly the coolest-looking station wagon ever. And it takes a lot to make a station wagon look cool.

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And now we transition from a man with a gunshot wound in his head... to Snoopy!

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Granted, they did have the decency to depict Walter Knott as he now exists, spinning in his grave.

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...is not always the best theme park subject.

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Death...

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Cedar Fair: We even paint rules on our theming!

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I'm a sucker for old west theming.

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The "Li'l Abner"-like characters on this windmill twirled, adding a nice kinetic visual to the entryway.

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The random theming at the front gate, including this Team USA bobsled, was kind of cool.

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It takes a manly man to look that tough in pink shades!

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They printed our name on the ticket, which was a nice touch. Unfortunately, most of the nice touches ended immediately following ERT.

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A large fiberglass chicken? Just imagine the inapropriate jokes we could come up with to go here!

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Speaking of Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant... I tried the food. Still waiting on the fun.

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This is the fruit that built the park: the boysenberry. It made Walter Knott a rich, rich man. And as rich men are inclined do, he built an old west "ghost town" to give people something to do while they were waiting to get into his wife's fried chicken restaurant next door. Then he leased some rides. Then his children took over and built some roller coasters. Then they sold the park to Cedar Fair and the whole thing went to he**.

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Nice update.

 

I find it kind of funny that the two other people reading this topic at the momment were the people I was wandering around the parking lot with.

 

I got so desperate I eneded up walking across the street to Quzino's and buying a drink at a quarter of the price sold anywhere in the park.

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I hope to one day visit a park that's better than Knott's was in its heyday. Maybe then I won't be quite so sad about it all.

 

You definitely should have ridden Log Ride, though--for what it's worth.

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^^It's funny you mention that Josh. I couldn't believe the food and drink prices at the park, in fact I even took a picture of them on my phone...

 

Ok, just looked at it...yup. $8 for a small fries and small drink!!!!!!???? And that was the 'make it a combo' discount price!!!

 

I'm sorry, but that is just absolutely insane.

 

Of course, while paying those prices for some food for KT and I, I also had some amazing Knotts employee service where they forgot to make my food, then some employee came over and instead of apologizing to me, blamed the other employee and they started fighting over it instead of making my damn corn dog!

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