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Photo TR: Natatomic does the West Coast Trip


natatomic
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Day 2: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

 

First official day of the trip that included a park, and boy, just when I had given up hope on Six Flags, TPR immediately takes me to a magical, wondrous land that rekindles and stirs up the dying faith within me.

 

*AhhhhAHHHHHahhhhh*

 

(That was angels singing, fyi. Not screaming. Looks like screaming, though, doesn't it? Well, it's not.)

 

So, yes, SFDK. This was the day of the Bay Area Bash, so the park seemed to really lavish us with extras, such as up-close viewings of about a dozen or so animals, Q&A with park management, a raffle with some incredible prizes (I didn't win anything, but 's'ok), a bit of morning ERT on Medusa, and then an hour of evening ERT on Roar, V2, and Tony Hawk, the latter of which included a, uh, water holding contest, which simply cannot be worded in any sort of way that accurately describes just how awesome it was. But basically, we held cups of water while on the ride and tried not to spill any. I, personally, am able to retain more water in a cup while holding it upside-down.

 

It's definitely one of the nicest SF parks in terms of, well, just about everything - cleanliness, friendliness of the staff, and operations. And the coaster collection is really quite decent to boot. I highly, highly recommend it.

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Finally, the only shot I have of the epic event that was Tony Hawk with cups of water. Really captures it, eh?

 

Next: Gilroy Gardens

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All he needed, though, was some nighttime ERT and he was over it.

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It didn't go very well.

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Then towards the end of the night, Robbie ran into his long-estranged father. He decided to take the opportunity to work on what he calls the "father wound."

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And for some reason, I didn't get a SINGLE photo of Tony Hawk's Big Spin, so here you go. Yeah. Totally nailed that layout.

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Two TPR members and two GP members ride together in harmony. Oh how lovely this post-segregation world is.

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We had some time before dinner and ERT, so we used our handy q-bots to get a few more rides on Medusa.

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Ugh, this picture was supposed to go about 10 back, but clearly I'm a bit rusty at this PTR business and can't be bothered to group all the corresponding photos accordingly.

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And proof that megalodons did not floss nearly enough.

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And lazy-ass sharks.

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Like acrobatic whales.

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This park is more than just coasters too. It's about Discovery. And Kingdoms. And while I don't know what they mean by that, they also have animal shows and exhibits.

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And this is the back of the head of the kid I stole.

 

Sadly, I was alone in my whore-dome, as my posse was busy riding the rapids ride, something my hair simply does not agree with.

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Sooooo worth it.

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Can't read my, can't read my, no you can't read my credit whoring face....

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Millennium Flyers did nothing to help out this awful coaster. Well, no, it IS slightly better than it's sister over on the east coast at SFA thanks to the nice trains, but honestly, it's the difference between sticking your hand in a blender and sticking it in a garbage disposal. It's gonna hurt either way.

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Ugh, and there's this horrid thing: Roar

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Jake finds it to be simply orgasmic.

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But aside from looking, well, just plain wrong, it actually is incredibly fun. And unique. Definitely unique.

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...over here? Uh, what the hell?

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It looks normal on this end and all but....

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Now for the world's weirdest impulse coaster.

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If this picture doesn't just melt your cold, little heart, then you and I could never be friends. Sorry.

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AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

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Awwwwwwwwwwww!

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WARNING: CUTE OVERLOAD AHEAD.

 

Awwww!

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I don't remember what exactly was going on here, but clearly Neil is the subordinate one in the relationship.

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Then Tyler even tells the dolphin to, ahem, "stick it back there."

 

See? His mayo-phobia, like his straightness, is all an act.

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The mayo is even thrown at him, yet he appears to be FAR more worried about the tiger with Cheetos in his hand.

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They even took part in some of our typical TPR antics.

 

You're all aware of Tyler's phobia of mayonnaise, yes? Well, I'm pretty sure it's all an act. Here he finds himself next to a dolphin holding a basket FULL of mayo (you know, as one does), and look how calm and nonchalant he appears to be about it.

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During lunch, we had some special guests come for an EXCLUSIVE photo shoot.

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Ben and I took pictures of our Q-bots together. Such kindred spirits, he and I.

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Yet another Elissa Bingo square. And since this brought me up to a total of 4 or 5, none of which even came CLOSE to forming any sort of row/column/whathaveyou so...I gave up.

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World's longest train. Man, there's GOT to be a decent 'your mom' joke in there somewhere. The only one I could think of was pretty bad. Pretty bad, indeed.

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At least that kid in the front gets it.

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I don't get it. It's an SLC! Why are all these people SMILING?!

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For some reason, Ben left me in charge of his stuff while he was off doing something, though I don't remember what. Maybe he had to poop. I don't know. Anyway, while he was gone, I stole his zoom lens, because I knew he secretly wanted me to. Obviously. So, here you go. Fancy close-up shots.

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Kidney bean!

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The sign was much more fun to take pictures of than the coaster was to ride. Less painful, at least.

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I believe this was Matt's milestone coaster of #217 or something. And then he proceeded to marathon it for approximately 832 rides which, according to his excel chart, brought him up to 39 more rides on it than he had ridden at this same time last year, but 28 times less than the year before that. ;)

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An empty queue is a happy queue, that's what I always say.

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And after drooling over the animals, we had some ERT-esque time on Medusa.

 

You know, good thing there isn't some unsightly garbage can right in front of the sign, other wise this beautiful picture would be ruined.

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Ch-ch-chinchila!

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As part of our early entry, we got some private time with the animals.

 

Only Tyler was hoping for some, ahem, "private time" with the animals. He was so disappointed.

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Shouka projectile vomiting an Intamin!

 

Now THIS is an upchucking animal statue I can support.

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After receiving our wristbands, I admire how color coordinated Robbie is.

 

Kind of.

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Ice Bat gave me some 'tude for our prudish method. Whatevs, Ice Bat. Whatevs.

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But first, since Elissa Bingo had just been passed out, I had to get the ever elusive boob-credit square. The puritanical way.

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Wes wasn't in sleeping or anything. I just told him to duck. Or else.

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Does anyone else hear the sound of trumpets upon the first sight of a park? Yes? No? Anyone?

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Lol, Awesome report! I loved the Tony Hawk Picture, that was hillarious!

 

Although this was my favorite:

 

I believe this was Matt's milestone coaster of #217 or something. And then he proceded to marathon it for aproximately 832 rides which, according to his excel chart, brought him up to 39 more rides on it than he had ridden at this same time last year, but 28 times less than the year before that.

 

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^Yes, I quite liked that one too. Tee hee.

 

*gives a friendly wave to Matt*

 

I've always thought that my main concern for going on a full TPR trip would be concentrating every fiber of my being to finishing the subsequent photo TR in under two months.

 

Completely OT, but how did you do with the wisdom teeth recovery?

 

I don't think I finished my Behemoth/Ravine Flyer trip report in less than two months and that was half as many parks as this one. Heh, and I never even finished my Disney report from last Thanksgiving (uh...whoops). This TR really is gonna take me forever.

 

And my wisdom teeth removal wasn't too bad actually, thanks for asking! It was more annoying than anything. I was still syringing my tooth holes for the first few days of the trip.

 

I wonder which trip you'll be going on in 2010? (Middle America, Brazil, and UK Trip #2 are the ones that R&E mentioned in the questionairre awhile back)

 

I'd love, love, LOVE to do a European trip next year, but it's gonna come down to money and I BARELY scraped by for this trip. We'll see, though. I've got almost a year to figure something out.

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I don't think I finished my Behemoth/Ravine Flyer trip report in less than two months and that was half as many parks as this one. Heh, and I never even finished my Disney report from last Thanksgiving (uh...whoops). This TR really is gonna take me forever.

 

I won't let you live this one down Natalie. Don't worry.

 

I just want to let you know, It took me aprox 10-20 mins to load each page of your TR. Not your fault, my internet is at dial-up speed right now. But I was that determined to see it! Great job. I miss you like the desert misses the rain!!!!

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Great TR!

 

And I feel your pain - I was terrified to fly right after 9/11. Xanax was my best friend for getting through those flights. Luckily I don't need that anymore, but I'm still a fan of the occasional in-flight alcoholic beverage.

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^I tend to be more worried about the plane spontaneously exploding or plummeting to the ground at any minute, which was how I felt even before 9/11. My mom and one of my cousins get just as panicked as I while flying, so I'm just waiting for scientists to discover the plane-phobia gene and validate my irrational fears (no, it's NOT all in my head, thank you very much. I was BORN this way!)

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Highlights:

 

Ch-ch-chinchila!

 

See? His mayo-phobia, like his straightness, is all an act.

 

 

Amazing.

 

My wisdom teeth removal wasn't too bad actually, thanks for asking! It was more annoying than anything. I was still syringing my tooth holes for the first few days of the trip.

 

That was, what, two weeks or three after the surgery? I think I stopped doing the saltwater rinse about at about 10 days and I was (surprisingly) fine. Glad to hear it went OK; we need you at the top of your game to post such wondrous items as this.

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Soooo, I don't like flying. At all. Like, I kind of had a major panic attack last time I flew. So I did my research on plane safety tips and discovered that the most dangerous seats on a plane are basically any of the ones with a view. Which is why poor Robbie had to look at a wing the whole time. I, on the other hand, was under the influence of 2 or 3 Xanax (Xanaxes? Xanaxi? Xanaxen?) and a shot of rum. A giant shark could have leapt out of the ocean and devoured us in the air, and I would have been just fiiiiiine with that.

 

This should receive the 'best caption ever' award on a TR! Awesome!

 

Seriously though...panic attacks are not fun. I have the occasional one, but I don't have any problem on planes - a lot of times, they happen in a car. How weird is that? Well, pretty weird, I guess...

 

Anyhow...great trip report. I always enjoy viewing your pictures and comments!

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^Thanks!

 

But I can see why you'd have panic attacks in a car moreso than an airplane given the safety records of the two modes of transportation. Heh, not scare you even more or anything!

 

That was, what, two weeks or three after the surgery? I think I stopped doing the saltwater rinse about at about 10 days and I was (surprisingly) fine. Glad to hear it went OK; we need you at the top of your game to post such wondrous items as this.

 

I had stopped swishing around salt water after the first week, but the oral surgeon said that I might have to use the syringe up to 6 weeks after depending on how deep the holes went (apparently it varies). I think I stopped around week four, though even now, I still will find a whole meal lurking there in the back every once in a while.

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I love your drawing of Tony Hawk's Big Spin, it looked better than what they come up with over at Vekoma.

 

As for flying, I'm still relatively new at it, and almost got ill before getting on the plane--yes, I am dealing with anxiety attacks. But like anything else I'm worried about, I just told myself if anything happens, it'll be so quick, I won't have to worry--and believe it or not, it works.

 

Can't wait to see Gilroy Gardens.

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But I can see why you'd have panic attacks in a car moreso than an airplane given the safety records of the two modes of transportation. Heh, not scare you even more or anything

 

Yeah, I agree...funny how they can seem to crop up out of nowhere - one minute fine and the next minute - panic failure.

 

I also remember having my four wisdom teeth out and having to use the syringe to get all the grody stuff out. Seems like it took forever for the skin to "grow" back.

 

Okay, enough panic-n-tooth talk...let's get back to more fun stuff!!!

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^I tend to be more worried about the plane spontaneously exploding or plummeting to the ground at any minute, which was how I felt even before 9/11. My mom and one of my cousins get just as panicked as I while flying, so I'm just waiting for scientists to discover the plane-phobia gene and validate my irrational fears (no, it's NOT all in my head, thank you very much. I was BORN this way!)

 

I have a friend who feels the same way and absolutely refuses to fly. It's a common fear and you're definitely not alone! That's great that you conquered your fear a bit for this trip!

 

I had the worst panic attack the first time I flew after 9/11. And it was to London, so it was miserable feeling that way for the majority of an 8 hour flight. Now the way people drive around here, I actually do feel much safer flying.

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I believe this was Matt's milestone coaster of #217 or something. And then he proceded to marathon it for aproximately 832 rides which, according to his excel chart, brought him up to 39 more rides on it than he had ridden at this same time last year, but 28 times less than the year before that.

 

Re-quoted for truth (and humor).

 

Natalie, I have a proposal: Since you write the absolute best captions on TPR, why don't we join forces? I'll post my photos, and you can write the captions? Then again, you take better photos than I do, too. So why don't we use your photos and your captions and we can use my... uh... screen name. Yeah, sounds like a plan!

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I'm late but...

 

(Psst...I know this photo doesn't imply a huge amount of drinking what with those measly two beers, just trust me when I say that we were all getting ready to go to Bennigan's and consume a bit more alcohol than what you see here.)

 

I MISS MY DOG

 

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Millennium Flyers did nothing to help out this awful coaster. Well, no, it IS slightly better than it's sister over on the east coast at SFA thanks to the nice trains, but honestly, it's the difference between sticking your hand in a blender and sticking it in a garbage disposal. It's gonna hurt either way.

Believe it or not, Roar was running quite good at the start of the season. Some of the best rides I ever had on it were back in May. But when I went back earlier this month, it was downright awful - much like Hershey's Wildcat with Millennium Flyers. The same thing goes for Kong, which I didn't even bother to give my courtesy ride on my last visit since it was so bad even at the start of the season.

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Dude, Amazing Photos and Trip Report as always!!!,

 

But OMG!! I was sitting in a hotel room in Big Springs Tx getting ready to go see Depeche Mode and it just so happened Motel6 had free internet!! YAY Motel6!

Anyway, When I saw your drawing of Tony Hawk I busted out loud laughing! OMG! My family was looking at me like I was a freak!! But that was a really good laugh!

 

Thank You once again for brightening our lives!!!

Miss You!!!!

 

Forgot to mention, Love the Otter pic!! Another Cute one!!

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Keep up the good work Natalie!

 

While SFDK’s coasters don’t look like anything to write home about, they seem to be decent and can satisfy a lot of what’s out there. Besides, at some point I’ll have to make a visit and Photo TR featuring “the first park to friend me on Myspace!”

 

Somewhat off-topic, but now that the TPR Texas Trip has passed, do you ever plan on doing the Texas parks at some time in the future?

 

Be warned that if you go to Texas on your own trip you'll probably have a to rent a car (even if you do just SFOT or SWSA & SFFT) because our public transit systems are next to useless...and I think there is little doubt that driving in Texas is generally nastier and more stressful than driving in North Carolina!

 

Although I hear the east coast is notorious for people not paying attention to anything on the road...including construction signs to move over because the lane will end.

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Day 3, part 1: Gilroy Gardens

 

(It is 2:15 as I start this - I only have about an hour free today so I'm hitting submit at 3:30* if it KILLS ME AND RUINS THIS WHOLE TR.)

 

(And yes, an hour and 15 minutes is a SHORT amount of time for a trip report. These things are usually an all. day. project. for me.)

 

I love Gilroy Gardens! It's just so lovable and adorable huggable, and if I could compare it to one thing it would be the top of a baby's head after a bath and covered in lotion and baby powder and oh my gosh I just want to put my nose to it and give it a whiff. THAT is Gilroy Gardens. It makes me ovulate.

 

Anyway, there's nothing really thrilling at this park, so if you need an adrenaline rush to enjoy yourself, it's not a place I would recommend for you. But what it lacks in thrill it really makes up for in style. Every thing is food-themed, the park is very well kept, and the staff was incredibly friendly. Quicksilver Express is definitely a new favorite mine train, the mushroom swing is probably the scariest non-starflyer swing I've been on, and there's a teacup-like ride themed to garlic. That's right, garlic. So, all in all, it's a fantastic park.

 

*I held out till 3:46. Close enough.

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Goodbye, you beautiful park!

 

Next up: Part 2 - Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

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Is it just me, or does it look like Tyler lost his dentures?

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And finally, we rode the big, giant mushroom.

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Ben's Driving Miss Kimmy, which yes, is probably the most obvious caption in the history of EVER, but I'm in a rush.

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Don't try looking like you're having a good time or anything, Robbie.

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Here's a bit of car POV action for you.

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By the way, most of their queues did this, provided shade with overhead plants and stuff. It's too much for Cedar Fair and Six Flags to put a no-maintenance tarp over your head, but leave it to Gilroy to use a covering that needs to be watered and trimmed all the time.

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We did 1920s side, and while I don't have a picture of the 1950s cars, they're the exact same kind they use at Dollywood if that gives you any clue.

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Although we did spend a good 30 seconds wondering why oh why would they ever put bunny heads on sticks like that...

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And it was a very scenic ride, what with all the animal topiaries.

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We did this next, which was perfect for little old me who doesn't like to get wet, though I still enjoy the IDEA of water rides.

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Lunchy lunch lunch lunch lunch lunch.

 

I'm not a big fan of cold sandwiches, but I remember finding the included cookies delicious.

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And some looked fake (and I'm not saying it IS fake, because I honestly don't know. I just know that I'm too lazy to grow a tree straight up and down, let alone in complex geometric patterns like this)

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Some caused me to exclaim "God Bless us, everyone!"

 

(Oh how I wish this tree had a sign that said, "Do I remind you of Tiny Tim?")

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Some were definitely real, though obviously a bit coerced in their growth directions.

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Around there park, there were DOZENS of these freaky-deaky trees.

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Much of the monorail ride took us through this gigantic greenhouse.

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Wes, being Canadian, couldn't believe all this fancy technology we had in America. He asked, "Your polar bears, eh, must have some good balance, eh, to pull us along on this here beam, eh?" That face is his response to when I explained that we have electricity and motors, instead of animals, in America to move our vehicles for us. Bless him.

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And yes, this picture shows you the name of the monorail, but it also shows you just how terrible I am at centering pictures. It's like I don't even try sometimes, you know?

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Next we did the monorail.

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I guess everyone just trusted whoever was in the lead and assumed he knew where the hell he was going.

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It actually wasn't too hard. Unless your name was Chris Sawyer.

That's what I hear, anyway.

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I really love mazes. If they were more prevalent, I'd definitely be a maze enthusiast and start my own review site.

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Neil coming up with a strategy for the rest of our day. We're nothing if not hardcore.

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Not exactly a TPR takeover, but we tried.

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Well, at least I finally got a smile out of Jake.

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I don't know what I was aiming for in this picture, because there's not much of a focal point, but whatever. Here's the coaster.

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Wait. There's another credit to get yet?! I can't believe we were so distracted by food-theme rides! What are we, ACErs?

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I'm a sucker for a good hand-slap - it was the highlight of the ride for me.

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I don't have a caption here for this photo, but I'll go ahead and let you know that it's already 2:55. Guh, I'm so screwed. Gotta speed this up.

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I typically prefer there to be some spinach and cheese in my artichoke dip, but I guess I'll just have to wait until I can build one of these my way at my OWN theme park someday.

 

Or until I go to Applebee's. Whichever comes first.

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This is gonna blow your mind, but I'm taking a picture of Ben taking a picture of Neil taking of picture of me taking a picture of Ben taking a picture of Neil taking a picture of me taking a picture of Ben taking a, well, you get the picture.

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I like garlic.

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Those who are pregnant, prone to motion sickness, or a vampire SHOULD NOT RIDE. And if you're a pregnant vampire, say in the morning-sickness stage, AND you're prone to motion sickness...well, God help you.

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Looks like someone's jealous.

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Always has to be the belle of the ball, Ben does.

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You know, a little bit of theming goes a long way.

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No, REALLY.

 

I TRIIIIIIED.

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I swear I did.

 

(What are you doing anyway? Eating your wrist?)

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Oh, Jake...I really did try to get a good photo of you.

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On a scale of Oh-Lord-The-Pain to Holy-Crap-I-Peed-Myself-from-All-The-Awesome, their faces seem to suggest that this coaster falls somewhere in the Aw-How-CUTE range

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Ben doesn't like having his picture taken while he sucks on long, flimsy caramel sticks.

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Then again, who am I to say no to an empty queue such as this one?

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Coaster ERT is sooo overrated. It's Sign ERT that warms the cockles of my heart.

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It's quite picturesque, you must admit.

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You can't see it, but the sign says, "Do I remind you of a revolving door?"

 

Um, no. You remind me of a weird-ass tree with a cube.

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