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PTR: Paul's 2009 TPR West Coast Tour


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One of my most favourite clips from the film - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc5V320fJ8g&NR=1

The expression on Eddie Murphy's face when he walks onto that stage is priceless!

 

According to Wikipedia bilby (yeah, I know), there's still 9 Looping Starships currently operating around the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Looping_Starship

 

This was my first real Cedar Fair Park (Gilroy excluded) and the one thing that got me thinking was that this park was really clean (and has the trademark Cedar Fair Trash Cans) but yeah, it all looked reasonably clean, and most importantly maintained. Thats the one thing I also noticed about Knotts, the park was "clean" to an extent. It didn't feel as clean as Great America, but it still felt reasonably clean.

 

The one thing that I didn't like about Great American is that it seemed to have been stripped of any charm the park once had, it seems quite bland at the moment. Maybe it just has to do with Cedar Fair stripping the charm that Paramount inherited from Marriott, I don't know. But certainly I thought it was a great park. The kids area was a little neglected (so Kidcity and Nick) but as we now know this is pretty much being re-done with a Snoopy area.

 

With Grizzly, for what it's worth, it was actually much better than it's dead Sister in Australia. Maybe it's got something to do with them not running those heavy PTC's, I don't know, but yeah, I would have done it again if we decided to not leave an hour earlier. For the record though, I am happy we did otherwise we wouldn't have got our secret suprise from Magic Mountain that evening.

 

Great America though is the sort of park that I won't go over there to visit specifically, but if I am in the area, I wouldn't have any hesitations on visiting again.

 

Wow, Paul, it sounds like you and I had a lot of similar experiences at this park. I kind of paused when they started playing "The Star-Spangled Banner," as well, then noticed no one else did, so I went on with the search for an open ride.

 

I'm glad though that I wasn't the only one to have the "What should I do" feeling when the Anthem started playing. Obviously it's harder for me since I'm not an American, so I had no idea what to do, but in the end the thought of beating the crowds to the low capacity rides was more important apparently.

 

I also had a similar situation at Disneyland with the flag retrieval, I was walking past and it was all happening, and there were a few people who had stopped what they were doing, not many though. I did stop for a short period for respect, but then I decided if many other Americans kept on going whilst this was happening, why should the Aussie waste previous time at the Happiest Place on Earth, so I got going again.

Hey, at least I tried.

 

Anyway guys, next is Six Flags Magic Mountain, not sure when i'll post it, but we will see.

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Well here we are, might as well continue. I think I am about to over-take Josh on his Trip Reports.

 

Night 4 & Day 5 - Six Flags Magic Mountain

 

Well as it's probably now common knowledge on these boards, the group opted to leave Great America an hour earlier than scheduled for our long and epic drive back down to LA. At first I was on the "I don't particularly want to leave an hour earlier" basket, but by the end of the day I was very grateful.

 

The next hotel was the Holiday Inn Express near Magic Mountain. Anyway, we all thought we were going to be in for an early night, but as we came within a 15 minute distance of Magic Mountain Robb gets on the microphone and asks if we want to go to Magic Mountain tonight, well inital response was lacklustre because I am sure most were thinking he was pulling our leg (I certainly did). It turned out that Robb and Neil from Magic Mountain (if your reading this Neil, G'day) and we had the option of going to Magic Mountain for an hour or so once we unloaded at the Holiday Inn. Great I thought, what a thrill. Many decided not to join us, but those that did had an awesome time. When we arrived at Magic Mountain, Neil got on the bus to an uproar of cheers from TPR members and announced that we should all head to X2 for a night right, then scoot over to Goliath for a surprise ERT after the park had closed. I was gobsmacked already at the park and it's management, and we hadn't already been in the park yet.

 

Anyway, most rushed over for the night ride on X2 which was at an hour wait. What a hoot. I was the first of the TPR members to ride X2, and I got the front inside left seat. It was an awesome experience, the music, the fire, the mist, in probably the best seat of the ride.

After this, the park was starting to close down, so me and Josh (G'day other Josh) rushed over to Goliath to get our ERT in.

 

Goliath, that ride is a beast and in the hindsight of the newer rides is under-rated. The mid course brake run was a little harsh, but it was still an epic ride. We had a dozen or so rides on this great ride. Not as insane as X2, but a bloody good ride. Defiantly on my top 10.

ERT finished at around 10:30-10:45, maybe even 11pm. We needed to get some sleep as we had a heavy next couple of days ahead of us.

But I will say that the hospitality from the park (Neil especially) was overwhelming. Something which would become even more apparent when we have our first official visit the next day.

 

After the Sun rose and we all had some breakfast, it was time to scoot back over the highway over to Magic Mountain.

As soon as we gathered at the parks entry, it was announced that we have ERT on Revolution, Viper, X2 and Tatsu, and were ready for us to ride straight away. So off we went. Revolution was first for me, I wanted to ride this historic attraction. It was a bit painful, but only because of the OTSR's on the trains, but it wasn't terrible. It was then time for Viper. Ouch, but bearable. Since we had already done X2 the previous night, we left that till last to give it a chance to "warm up", so up next was a half dozen or so rides on Tatsu. What an awesome ride. Very smooth, thrilling, and intense (that pretzal loop is ooh so intense). Then it was over to X2 for a few rides. I will say that it wasn't quite as smooth as my ride on it the previous night. It was very brutal. I didn't get a chance to ride in the same seat as the previous night, so that may be why. After that it was off to get our Qbots and time to ride some rides. First stop, Deja Vu. I don't see why this ride gets such a bashing, I thought it was a great ride. Very fast, and reasonably smooth in the front, but I will agree that the amount of seat-belts they buckle up is crazy.

Then it was off to Terminator, what another epic ride. At first I couldn't understand the whole pre-show (possibly because of the mild concussion X2 gave me ) but it was done very nicely. I just hope they are able to maintain it all. Ride wise, very speedy, very zippy, and the tunnel taking is very well done.

 

Some brief caps on the parks other rides, Ninja, again what a great classic ride. I gave it a spin a few times throughout the visit. I even got to meet the famous "Ninja" dude who works on the ride. Hiiiya!

Goldrusher, it was alright, not as good as I was expecting it to be. But it is one of the older rides at the park, so I will cut it some slack.

Riddlers Revenge, it was pretty good, much better than Vortex the previous day.

Batman, I personally didn't care for Batman, I just thought it was a little too fast, and it did seem a little rough around the edges. It was nothing like the ride the previous day on Flight Gun Top Deck.

Colossus, an awesome historic ride which unfortunately is showing it's age cosmetically. Ride-wise though, it was very good, hard to fault it, and certainly not as rough as I was expecting it. I probably rate it over Grizzly at CGA simply due to it's sheer size and head chopper effects.

Superman, It was good. The station and queue theming was better than the Tower of Terror's theming at Dreamworld (which is the rides brother) but I can't help in thinking our Tower of Terror is better, due to the fact that the track is lower to the ground, and because of that your passing things which are close by and you get a faster sensation of speed. I do somehow get the feeling that it will be the next ride to get a major refurb at the park.

Scream, it was ok, I was in the front but i couldn't help but feel that for a B&M ride, it was far from smooth. Don't get me wrong, it was also a good ride (carpark theming aside) but it did feel quite rough and ghetto like on the rides ecit. I just want to know, do I need a hand stamp to re-enter the park after riding it?

 

After some riding it was time for lunch. We had our own special area behind the Johnny Rockets near Batman (because we are special ) and we had SFMM management almost on their hands and knee's serving us this awesome food. This meal experience gets my vote for the best meal of the trip by far.

 

Anyway, it was off to do some more riding. After we completed the parks coaster line-ups, it was time to give some of the Water Rides a whirl. Log Jammer was fun, not too wet and was in a decent setting. We also checked out Jet Stream which despite signs saying we will get wet, we didn't really get that wet. We also did that boat ride that goes up and then goes splash, and yes, again signs saying we will get drenched, I think the people standing on the bridge got more wet than anyone on the boat combined. So with those under our belts, it was time to try out the river rapids. This was a mistake. Because we used our Qbots, we missed the signs that say "You will get saturated", that is if they exist at all. We all lined up at the station ready to go on (at this stage we found a group of TPR members who were willing to ride) and when our boat came in, we knew this was a bad idea when the boat's footwell contained a deep pool of water that just refused to drain out. Nevertheless we rode anyway, getting completely soaked head to toe. It was terrible, and certainly not Dan friendly. After the ride, I swear that pool of water in the boat was deeper than before we boarded.

 

Anyway, most saw this as an opportunity to go to Hurricane Harbour. I eventually joined them for a short period. One thing that I don't like about the park is that they make park hopping a painful process. They make you exit the park to get a hand stamp, then you have to get rechecked at security, then you can enter Hurricane Harbour. Quite silly, unless I am missing something here. Anyway, I checked out Hurricane Harbour, dipped my feet in the Wave Pool (no wonder why the Wave Pool was shortly cleared out after I went in) and had a quick chat to the Alvey family. I decided this wasn't for me (I never visit water parks anyway, so don't take it personally SFMM) and went back into Magic Mountain for some picture taking and re-riding.

 

At 7pm (after TPR had it's ERT on the Waterside in Hurricane Harbour) we had Dinner at Mooseburger Lodge. This was a great dinner, with vegetables (I never before this dinner thought that Veggies existed in America!) and desert, in an awesome environment, which also had a close up magician who provided some entertainment.

For those who don't know, Mooseburger Lodge is a beautifully themed "lodge" restaurant which has animatronic's and a moose who sings. For the record I did ask Neil if the name of the Moose was Marty, he declined and said his name was Wally (for those who don't remember the film National Lampoons Vacation where chevy chase visits the park, the park in which Chevy Chase visit's is called Wally World).

 

After such a great dinner (I recommend anyone who visits to eat at Mooseburger Lodge) we had a few hours to kill till we had ERT on Deja Vu and Terminator, me and young Josh hung out, did some rides and just enjoyed the rest of the parks offerings.

I also found the 1 QTR jets on for Log Jammer, and man are they fun. I'm sure I spend around 3 dollars worth on those. So addictive and fun. Why can't our parks have something like this?

 

Anyway, as the park was cleared out, it was time for ERT on Terminator and Deja Vu. It was here that I finally worked out the story line to Terminator, and I will say that it is very well done, I hope they are able to maintain it and add to it in the future.

 

We had a Massive ERT session on the ride, the crew from Preshow crew to Ride Operations crew were epic, very professional and certainly in character. Anyway, after I had taken enough tunnel, I decided I had better give Deja Vu some love, since not too many were willing to give it some love. A great ride at night, can't decide if I prefer this at night or day, but it was a good ride either way.

After ERT and while waiting for everyone else to finish their final tunnel taking sessions, I waited outside the ride and had a chat to Neil about various things.

 

Anyway, as everyone grouped together we headed back to the bus for our short ride home. It was a shame, I would have loved to have camped out in the park, that would have been great, but as they say all good things must come to an end (so is that why SLC's seem like they are never going to end?)

 

I have said it before, but I will say it again, Six Flags Magic Mountain rocks, and I can only see it getting stronger over many years to come. Thank you Neil and Jay and the rest of the SFMM team for making us so welcome, if I am ever back in your country I will be making my way back to the mountain if it is at all possible.

 

Anyway, I think thats long enough of these damn words (there is over 3 pages worth here), I bet you want pictures. Well you can't have them

 

 

Oh ok, I bow down to you all, pictures are below.

Next up is Universal Studio's Hollywood.

 

Thanks Guys!

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I'll finish on this one. As I said above, thanks guys for a great visit, I will be back (well hopefully). Next up, Universal Studio's.

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As the day drew to an end, so did my picture taking.

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As you can see, it certainly wasn't a peak day at the park. We probably would have been fine without the Qbots, but hey, I ain't complaining.

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An epic ride.

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I always wondered what this tree looking structure was. Now I know.

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Gooooooing Dowwwn.

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What a structure. I think ours is quieter due to the fact that it has a tower which acts as a dampener. I may be mistaken though.

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About as high up as the thing goes. For the record, it's about on par with our's at Dreamworld.

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My only real photo of X2.

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Hi TPR people basking in the pools.

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Man, we must be really high up, all those tiny little people down there.

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Zooooooooom.

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A good solid ride that one. I hope it stays.

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A dry barren landscape.

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Hi Deja Vu. You rock.

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Cue Terminator Theme...

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Damn thats high up.

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There's a big flag above that red flag pole.

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Oh good, they have a city park in honour of the caped crusader.

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Gotham's a nice looking neighbourhood. I wouldn't mind living here.

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Nanananananananananananan BATMAN!

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Through the Coaster?

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I wonder where they park the coaster train at night? There's certainly plenty of space down there.

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We are Hiiiiigh up.

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One thing that I don't understand is why is Superman (assuming we are superman) escaping from the Fortress of Solitude? I thought it was his home.

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Hello Mr X2. How's mrs X going today? Yeah, I know. Parent-in-laws.

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Hi mr Tatsu Dragon thing.

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Thats one Hiiigh up loop.

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It's time to ride you mr Viper.

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How about now?

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Anyone recognise this area?

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Oh no, watch out Bomberman!

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The Whipper Snapper!

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I can't believe I'm here. Where to first?

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The famous Lattice signage.

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The Lollypop sign, already I have seen so many famous things about this park, and I am yet to even enter.

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Our view from the Hotel Car Park. Hmmmm.

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Awesome photos, Paul. This was the TPR trip I was hoping to go on(I'm a so cal resident, but still need quite a few credits in Nor Cal) but the timing was not correct for a TPR trip. Anyways, looks like you had an awesome time in an awesome (If I do say so myself) state for coasters.

 

The California is better than Ohio Ghost

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Hi Ghost.

Thanks for the compliments. It certainly was a great trip, and I do like California, and unlike many other's (not TPR related) have no problem with your country. The only complaint I do have is the food potion sizes. Huuuuge, but at least the pricing is decent, and the Customer Service, seems so much better over there than over here.

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^lol, I can tell you're still quite traumatized from the giant food experiences.

 

Magic Mountain was a downright amazing day, even though it was 110 degrees and we were running the entire time. The nighttime Terminator ERT was possibly the greatest one hour segment of the trip…Maybe even my life!

 

Oh yeah, and that area is where they got arrested in national lampoon.

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Wow, I am suprised people are actually reading the words I type. Very shocked!

 

Josh, still traumatized by the food in the states, but despite how bad it is, all you have to do is eat less. For instance, once I learnt my McDonalds lesson, all I purchased was a drink and some small portion of say chicken nuggets, and that did me for dinner, without the need for snacks during the day. Just because the foods available doesn't mean you need to eat it all.

 

I do like your country though, and I do have plans to come back. Maybe we could all meet up again if and when I do come back in a few years.

 

I also forgot to add that not only on this day did we find out that Invertigo at CGA crapped itself, but also Hollywood director John Hughes died. Why's this significant you ask? Well the day he died we went to Magic Mountain, and John Hughes directed National Lampoons Vacation amongst many other films.

 

Cmpunk, highly reccomend a TPR trip in the future, you just don't realise just how fun they are.

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"I think ours is quieter due to the fact that it has a tower which acts as a dampener." (Paul_Hollibone)

 

Actually, yours is quieter because it's Down Under and the sound goes the other way.

 

Nice take on my home park. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

 

Eric

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Hey Eric.

I totally get that, just like the toilets & water drains the other way

 

Magic Mountain, despite it's small problems is a great park, and definatly beats any of our parks combined.

 

And for the record, On the toilets, why is there so much water in the toilet bowls? Theres like a massive pool of water in each toilet I saw. Nothing like that over here, toilets are very different.

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Josh, still traumatized by the food in the states, but despite how bad it is, all you have to do is eat less. For instance, once I learnt my McDonalds lesson, all I purchased was a drink and some small portion of say chicken nuggets, and that did me for dinner, without the need for snacks during the day. Just because the foods available doesn't mean you need to eat it all.

 

Oh the food in the USA. I miss Australia's meat pies SOOO BAD. I'd do anything for one! Tim Tams, different Doritos, Raspberry and Lime Fanta, The McOz burger! LOL! Oh man. And yeah, your large is like our small.

 

Great report! Looking forward to the next update.

-Zach

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And for the record, On the toilets, why is there so much water in the toilet bowls? Theres like a massive pool of water in each toilet I saw. Nothing like that over here, toilets are very different.

 

Well, you know, with the proportion sizes...the more things go in the more comes out.

 

 

 

I'm sorry...That was completly unnessesary... yet I just had to say it...

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  • 1 month later...

Hahaha, hey at-least I didn't say that Josh!

I can't believe how far behind I have gotten with this TR, I actually had to search for it!

 

Anyway, whats up next? Universal I think.

 

Day Something - Universal Studio's Hollywood

 

Well Universal Studio's was one of those parks where I had no idea what to expect. Well, I lie. I sorta knew what to expect. Some semi-decent theming, not a great deal of rides, but some very well done rides, and ofcourse the War of the Worlds and Desperate Housewives set. Oh and that Alien Encounter set from Beverly Hills Cop 3. Can't forget Alien Encounter.

 

The day started off with an early drive down the highway from Magic Mountain to Universal. We expected to hit a great deal of traffic, thus we left at something like 6:00am for a 7:00am start. Luckily for Larry (the bus driver's) stress levels we didn't really hit much in terms of traffic, and arrived rather early. This however meant a reasonable wait for our park guides to let us in for our exclusive tour of The Mummy ride.

I tried to not find much about this ride pre-trip for total surprise (something which I mostly did once I knew I was coming on the trip).

The backstage tour was really cool, and made me appreciate the ride for what it was. We saw backstage area's, got a look at the actual "coaster" bit of the ride, and the pre-launch section lights on. This is where we also met the infamous Joey (couldn't leave him out now could I). After the tour we had a small (or what seemed small) ERT session on the ride. This was cool, but for me the ride on the first few rounds kinda sucked as it seemed to be missing something. Later on did I find out the ride trains were supposed to have on board audio, which wasn't present in our train. It was fixed though for my last round on the ride. Did anyone else's train also have this problem, or was it just the one I was on?

 

Anyway, after the ERT session, Matt, Josh and I checked out the special effects show, which was surpassingly decent. I didn't learn anything new, but the show was entertaining, so I suppose that counts for something. We didn't get a chance to check out Backdraft (I had no idea what it was originally) but from all reports it was rather lame and not worth the wait. It's on the list for next time though. We headed up to the upper lot next to check out the parks other offerings, but one ride just stood out, begging us to ride it (well, there was literally no line at this stage) so we checked out The Simpsons ride. Even though it is just a simulator, it is one bloody good simulator. The pre-show and queue line is just so simple, and isn't overly intensive, but somehow it just seems to work really well. Whilst I am sad I didn't get to experience Back to the Future, I am certainly glad I had the opportunity to ride The Simpsons ride. It Rocks!

 

We went back down to the lower lot, hoping to ride The Mummy again, but that line got big really quick, so we canned that idea. Instead we checked out Jurassic Park, which surprisingly was a walk on. WOW. Jurassic Park is one of the best Water Flume rides I have ever been on. Well that is rather limited, since the only other water ride like Jurassic (excluding the Log syle of Water Flumes) was at Magic Mountain, but woah, that ride rocks. Sure, we got soaked on the final splashdown (hint, it really isn't the splash which gets you soaked) it was well worth it. Adding the fact that they have free paper towels to dry yourself off with, oh man. Really immersive. I love it!

 

Next was the highlight of the park, the Studio Tour. The studio tour was quite good, but the whole spiel from the guide just seemed way too scripted and corny. Maybe it was just our guide, I don't know, but it really let it down for me. Also if your stuck in the middle of the tram, you can't really get any good clear shots without someone's head/ hand/ arm getting in the way, but not much can be done about that.

 

After lunch we checked out the House of Horrors walkthrough, which Robb explained was like an all year round Halloween Maze. It was here where the park truly shined. It was awesome, and I will admit even had me a little freaked out in some instances. It was pretty cool, and even better Joey gave us Front of the Line Passes, so we were fortunate enough to be able to skip that huge line for the attraction (who in the right mind lines up to get scared out of their wits?).

I was disappointed with how the attraction ends. To me, Universal seem to do a great job a majority of the parks theming, but it's that last 7% that seems to get left out. The way this walkthrough ends is just one way of showing that, as is The Mummy ride. No theming on the outside, and that exit, what were they thinking?

 

Anyway, after all this it was time just to absorb the park, as a majority of it was really nice and well done, as I said it seemed as though the park was missing that last 7% of detail.

 

Not before long though it was time for our journey to continue south towards San Diego. We had dinner at Johns Incredible Pizza (why? because there was a coaster there, thats why!). The incredible Express had one of the best group moments of the trip (well by this stage anyway) as the train of the coaster found it hard to get started. Classic moment. I am sure someone has a video of that somewhere. Anyone care to share?

 

Anyway, tomorrow it was off to Sea World and Belmont Park for some old fashioned fun. We needed our beauty sleep, so it was a rather late night for some (hey, just because we needed our beauty sleep, doesn't mean we were going to take it!).

 

So up next is Sea World and Belmont Park.

For those who prefer the pictorial version of the Trip Report, well tough. It appears that TPR is having some issues at the moment, so i'll have to post them a little later.

 

Anyway, Not Satisfied with your WestcoasttripWOW? Call NOW for a free, no questions asked return. Just send your dis-satisfaction with a one off payment of $149.95 to 1, ShamWOW Way, Shamland, Shamster City. 2914.

Till next time.

- Paul

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Well sorry for the delay, there seemed to be some sort of Server error which prevented me from posting my photo's with the TR, but never fear, they are now here!

 

Next up is Sea World and Belmont Park.

Enjoy!

 

- Paul

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One of the BEST rides of the trip I tell you.

Anyway, thats it for now. Next we have Sea World and Belmont. I hope you've enjoyed this so far. If you want full res versions of the pics, just PM me or something, and i'll happily oblige.

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Hey John!

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Hey, thats better. See, we arrived so early, not even the fountain was awake!

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Bye Universal.

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Who are you gonna call? The Blue's Brothers!

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Britannia. Very nicely done.

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There's more of that 7%

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I am glad they have a reference to The Finstones here.

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That is so awesome.

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Well if Doc Brown says so...

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It was very busy by this stage.

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Not very quick service.

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This ride rocks.

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The characters here are just so well done. Look at those actors playing kids behind that man.

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Hey, it's Donkey's Waffles. This is rather cool, it's a shame though I only saw it operate once during the time we were at the park.

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Poor guy. All he was doing was looking at the white pointers.

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Downtown Hollywood.

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I do feel sorry for the guy who lost the top of his house.

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Ouch, that had to have hurt.

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Nothing to see here people, just a man taking his wife to the hospital.

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Except it over-shadows the Bates Motel. Those hotel guests must be pretty unhappy that their window at the back of their room just looks into another building. No Sun at all.

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Whoville looks pretty sweet.

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Wisteria Lane was closed. A shame, I would have liked to get a closer look at it.

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Aliens Aliens Everywhere, Were gonna get beamed.

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Oh wait, there they are.

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I can't see any white pointers...

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Oh NO, Water Water, it's Everywhere. We're gonna get wet!

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What a nice little village...

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Wow, that bridge really needs some repair. Looks as though it is about to fall down!

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What a hunk of junk. Just as well they made a movie for it, otherwise no-one would have known of it's existence.

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Hang on, no-one told me we were going to one of those Six Flags parks now.

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Hey it's Magnum. That was a surprise.

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So famous it has these 2 people promoting it. Who are these people anyway?

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The World Famous Studio Tour.

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The Mummy? I'm confused.

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Slightly differently framed shot, much nicer.

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Time to cue that classic Jurassic Park Theme.

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For all you Apollo 13 freaks...

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YOUR DOING IT WRONG

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Photo Time. If only we had some of that lovely treasure.

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NERDS. Oh wait.

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There goes that extra 7%

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Oooooh, look at that detail.

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Some head honcho talking about some mechanical stuff and how things work.

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No red carpet yet.

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Can't even go shopping.

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It looks early you say? Yep, it is certainly early.

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We didn't get a chance to check out Backdraft (I had no idea what it was originally) but from all reports it was rather lame and not worth the wait. It's on the list for next time though.

I think the actual final part where you see the inside of the warehouse go up in flames was actually really well done, with some of the fire effects seeming close/strong enough to make you instinctively take a couple of steps back from the railing.

But before you actually get to this part you have to sit through a couple of dead boring preshow rooms that are clearly only there to pad the attraction out.

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Deloreons. Don't get me wrong, very well represented by the film. Great car for the film. Not many cars would have been able to fill that role.

 

Backdraft? Somehow I don't think missing it will be of great loss. Bring on this transformers ride!

 

All in all, Universal was decent, but it did seem to be missing something. It does have great potential, but yeah I wasn't overly impressed by the park. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't terrible (certainly better than Knotts) but has plenty of room for improvment.

 

On a semi-unrelated note, I somehow get the impression though that no-one is willing to share their video of the Incredible Express struggling to get started? Come on, you know you want to.

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