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PTR: Orlando in November


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Last week I was able to get away for a few days to spend some time in Orlando, ride some new coasters, spend some time doing other things, and enjoying WDW. I figured it would be a good time to go, as everything up north is already closed down for the year, it wouldn't be as crowded or hot, and there would be less risk of hurricanes ruining my plans. The weather was pretty much perfect, highs in the low 80s, lows in the upper 60s, and sunny every day. No hurricanes in sight, and while the parks did have people in them, almost every ride was a walk-on.


After flying in on Saturday, the first park stop would be Islands of Adventure since I didn't really get to spend a lot of time there last month.


We ended our day at Universal by shooting some illegal aliens on MIB


I'm usually not a big fan of simulators, but I enjoyed this one. The story is cute, the theme park jokes, and queue show are entertaining


I miss BTTF, but The Simpsons is pretty fun and not nearly as rough at riding in a DeLorean


Mummy was a walk-on. The Mummy animatronic wasn't working and no music after the launch though on our train, boo. Love the ride though


This time around there were no chants of "Shark, shark, shark, shark, shark!" Quite disappointing


I like the ride, but it is very weird in a unique way


I don't know if it was the jerkiness of the ride in the back row or choosing "Movin' Right Along" as my song, but when I got off my sides hurt


HRRR had the longest wait of the trip


With time to kill, Universal was the next stop


Having done everything we wanted including Jurassic Park in about an hour, we say goodbye to Hulk from across the pond until next year


Still two of the best inverts out there


Working on a Saturday at Dueling Dragons castle. They MUST be behind schedule!


The town is coming along nicely. In no time we'll be able to drink again at a bar!


A look at Hogwarts Castle. I'd love to know how the ride will be, but I can pretty much guarantee it won't be as good as Dinosaur!


Doesn't the Ministry of Magic screw up everything in the books and movies?


Skip to Dueling Dragons which is just confusing right now, but at least it's still called Dueling Dragons for the moment, and a walk-on once you can figure out how to get through the lack of line


Spiderman is still running well, but the film is getting a little worn.


Just in case this goes away in the next 5 years, here's a look at Marvel Superhero Island before it becomes something like Universal Monster Island


Signature shot! Hulk really needs a power washing though, he's very brown in the tunnels


Here Dr. Bruce Banner still hasn't successfully rid himself of the Hulk, after 10 years of trying the same experiment day in and day out


The park is now already set up for Christmas. It's a theme that will continue on to the other parks too.


Back at Islands of Adventure. Hard to believe this place is 10 years old


The most important thing to note: No line at Moe's!

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Ugh to Moe's...



Now, Chipotle on the other hand!


While we're on the subject of Moe's and Chipotle(my favorite),has anyone had Panchero's Mexican Grill,I got one opening about 5 minutes from my house and from the website it appears to be another Moe's,Qdoba,Chipotle clone,just wondering if it's good.

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Nice report! It's getting me pumped up for my trip to Disney and Universal in January. I have not been to either park since I was a teen. Just wondering what kind of beer they serve at Moe's?


Speaking of beer, love the avatar! Is that Ruination IPA?? Just had a bottle of that last week that I picked up from Wegmans...loved it!

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After a few hours at Universal (the parks close at 6pm this time of year) I had plenty of time and energy left to kill for the day, thus twas time to visit Old Town, with 2 new credits to obtain!


Old Town is great to visit on a Friday or Saturday night as they have lots of classic cars that come out for what I've named "The Parade of Noise"


There's that dirty feeling again, I may need more body wash than the 3oz the TSA would let me fly with


Over in the "old" back section of Old Town we find the Wacky Worm, which has replaced the Dragon Wagon


Yeah, I feel a little dirty, but a few beers and a shower later on should rid me of that feeling


The reason I'm here, a kiddie coaster which I'm pretty certain came from the Pocono's.


Sometimes parking spots are hard to come by at Old Town, that's when you just slap on some giant honkin' tires and park where you please


The park runs on a ticket system, and each ticket is $1 or thereabouts. Each ride is between 2 and 3 tickets


I haven't done this in years, but will have to wait until I'm there with someone else who wants to try it, too windy to do a solo ride that day


First up is the fairly new Fun Spot USA. What used to just be the 300ft tall skycoaster has blossomed into a fully functional little park

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Nice report! It's getting me pumped up for my trip to Disney and Universal in January. I have not been to either park since I was a teen. Just wondering what kind of beer they serve at Moe's?


Speaking of beer, love the avatar! Is that Ruination IPA?? Just had a bottle of that last week that I picked up from Wegmans...loved it!


I didn't get any beer at Moe's, so they must have only had like Miller Lite and such. Yes, that's Ruination in the avatar, which I'm also drinking right now and also picked up from Wegmans last week...creepy.

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SeaWorld Orlando was always, by far, my favorite of the SeaWorld parks. It seems to have the most animals and exhibits, the nicest JTA, and a really good floorless coaster. But it was never really a full day park to me. Not saying it isn't a full day park if you do all the shows and such, but I never really planned on staying that long in the past. With the addition of Manta, the park now feels more complete, like there's more to keep you entertained until the next show. To me, Manta is the perfect flyer; it still has the intensity of the Pretzel Loop, the pacing is really good, it doesn't spend too much time doing the same thing, and the placement of the ride makes it seem like it's been in the park forever. It also has one of the most beautiful queues I think I've ever encountered. I enjoyed my time there so much I went back for a second day.


Thus concludes the days at SeaWorld. (applauds)


Shamu on a stick!


Shamu on a shore!


If you're in search of Fire Sprinkler Risers this holiday season, I know where you can get them!


The octopus is still trying to audition for SyFy


More wetness and close calls with walls


It's just like being a manta, if mantas lived above the sea and were attached to a track


The Sea Turtles are a little bummed they lost out to the mantas in the ride theme


Here's some more Manta goodness


Colin is all "this isn't the manta I came here to see"


The dolphins next door at the Dolphin Cove were doing their dolphin thing


as well as divers diving, acrobats acrobatting, and birds flying by our heads. Very random


Blue Horizons had dolphins jumping


Andrew had never seen any of the shows at the park, and I've only seen Believe.


We found it odd that the Anheuser Busch Logo was still very prominent throughout the park, unlike at Busch Gardens


and the part of Kraken you can't see from the ride


Atlantis and Aquatica


Hello Manta


Time for a ride on the Sky Tower


Say hello to the baby dolphins


It's great to view Shamu when there isn't a crowd


...the farther they splash


The bigger they are...


Even the baby born in 2004 has to work for his fish now. Free rides over, little Shmuu


Now is time to Believe


Coming soon to SyFy...Super Whale vs Ultra Seal, staring David Hasselhof and Belinda Carlisle. Check your local listings for show times


This is what happens after an all night Coca-cola bender


As is Wild Arctic, now themed to The Polar Express for the holidays


Shamu is in the holiday spirit


The sock puppet must have intimidated everyone, as no one is riding. Poor Kraken


"hey, don't talk bad about me, I'm a vicious sock puppet!"


Kraken is more than a good floorless coaster, it's a floorless coaster with a giant paper mache sock puppet theme


Journey has a nice aquarium too, but you can miss it, where Manta's you cannot


Lots of the effects were working on our ride, even the falling chandelier. Just get there early to avoid the water cannon people


The best of the Journeys, but it would be much better if it was themed around Atlanta instead


The aquarium built with Manta lets you view the fish from the other side and in different ways. Very cool


"Someday I hope to be a Giant Octopus and get my own SyFy movie"


and The Mantanas, dontcha wanna?


Inside the queue is really nice relaxing music, themed lighting, and lots of aquariums


The final inversion followed by a ground hugging turn is a nice way to end the ride


You do get a little misty going through the water feature (note: I'm not dating misty either)


The aerial acrobatics on this flow well. It's not like "wander around, wander around, straight section, here comes an inversion"


As is the norm, the Pretzel Loop is pretty intense, especially in the back. So intense you can pass on the horseradish mustard


and then it gets all dramatic and makes these weird submerging noises as you assume the position


Much like Tatsu, it doesn't need the dropping floors


So yes, this is Manta, B&Ms newest flying coaster, and my favorite one to date (Note: I'm not dating Manta)


"We're over here, that damn Manta stole our spot when we had to make a shrimp run to Publix"


Entering the park it's pretty hard to not see the flamingos first....wait, where are the flamingos?!


Here it's also holiday time


Welcome to SeaWorld Orlando

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Coming soon to SyFy...Super Whale vs Ultra Seal, staring David Hasselhof and Belinda Carlisle. Check your local listings for show times


This could be the ultimate casting for any SyFy movie.

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Ugh to Moe's...



Now, Chipotle on the other hand!


While we're on the subject of Moe's and Chipotle(my favorite),has anyone had Panchero's Mexican Grill,I got one opening about 5 minutes from my house and from the website it appears to be another Moe's,Qdoba,Chipotle clone,just wondering if it's good.


Panchero's is awesome! We had Panchero's here in Michigan before we had Chipotle, Moe's, and Qdoba, so Panchero's is all I used to eat.

I think Qdoba is now my favorite out of the 4, though. I may be biased considering there's one like 5 miles down the road.


To me Moe's seems real bland. I think Qdoba is now my favorite just cause I love their Queso. Chicken Queso Burrito... Mmm!


Now, back to the TR. Manta looks so damn good! I'm a sucker for theming and atmosphere.

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Walt Disney World- what else can be said about this place that hasn't already been said? I hardly consider myself a Disney Fanboy, I don't remember or know every detail about every ride at the resort, but I do know I've enjoyed going there ever since I was little. It's a place that still holds a special place in my heart and is the only place that always has me giddy months before my trip. I knew my time here would be limited to 2, maybe 3 days, but figured with the help of single rider lines, lite crowds, and a gameplan I could get pretty much everything I wanted accomplished, with the exception of Space Mt which was still in rehab. Maybe there was a shot of a soft opening, but I wasn't counting on it. What surprised me the most is that in 2 days I got MORE than I could ever hope for in terms of rides at the parks, all thanks to a huge lack of crowds. To me, the most humorous thing is that as empty as it was for me last week with 5 minute stand-by waits, this week is exactly the opposite, with 115 minute stand-by waits according to certain wait time iPhone apps.


Moral of the story, go the week BEFORE Thanksgiving, not the week of!


and Main Street sees snow fall, resulting in much amazement to the crowd. (following is gags as they try to eat a snowflake or yelps as they get one in their eye)


and once MVMCP starts, the Castle Dream Lights kick on


As night sets in, the castle looks very peaceful


A park visit wouldn't be complete without a ride on the carousel, this one built in 1917 and operated at Detroit's Palace Garden Park and Olympic Park in New Jersey.


Soon this ride shall spawn and move under the Big Top


and Dumbo, which is so simple yet still brings out those memories of being a little kid


Having ridden almost every ride in the park thanks to no lines, I decided to try and go for all of them, including the Astro Orbiter, which I don't think I've ridden since I was like 10


Basically the ride is exactly the same, just a LOT darker inside and a little smoother. Minor touch-ups to the energizing and re-entry tunnels also came about, some new space projections, and no more glowing rockets.


Yay, easier to remember now which side you're riding before you get onto the lift


The ride now has a photo spot and you can see your photo as you exit the rocket


The trains have just slight changes, mainly to the seats. Still wish they had added music though


but now with air gates


Loading is still pretty much the same


The new station, now without a view of the rockets on the track


The queue game wasn't working, but then again there wasn't a wait for the ride anyway, so no need to stop and play


I don't really see this as being too far-fetched!


The queue walk is still the same, but everything inside has changed


Around 3pm or so Space Mt had surprisingly soft opened, hooray!


I loves me some Big Thunder Mt, my first "big" coaster when I was little


Back over by Splash Mt they had turned the riverboat into a show for the new movie "The Princess and the Frog"


and the lights were on inside the Mt.


as the People Mover went through Space Mt they were cycling trains


Erik will be pleased that I used the Sans Skyride Bathroom in his honor.


Space Mt wasn't opened that morning, but the People Mover was, allowing this shot


ooooh, pretty


I don't think I saw this show since like 2001, so I decided to check out Barackin' Hall of Presidents


Haunted Mansion was great as usual, but I really wish they'd try the Nightmare change over


Despite the evil water cannons getting me wet, I rode this 4 or 5 times throughout the day. I just love this ride, as it helped me get over my fear of drops some 14 years ago


Splash Mt wasn't even using the Fastpass machines!


With Space Mt being down, Big Thunder is the only major coaster in the park, so I made my way there first, expecting more of a line. Walk-on all day though


Not nearly as big as the one I created myself over at the Polynesian Resort a few days prior!


First stop, Aloha Isle for a holiday inspired Dole Float


Without too many people in the park, it's easy to get a nice shot of the Cinderella's Castle


Main Street is all decked out for the holidays, and on certain nights Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party occurs (for an additional fee, of course) _insert castle size comment here_


Magic Kingdom, here we are!


Time to hop on the monorail for a fun Disney-filled day. (you're welcome, Scott!)

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These are some great pictures Derek. It kind of makes me wish I went for the holiday season and not Halloween season. Oh well, your pictures are good enough. Glad you got the credit whore credits and Dole Whip is AMAZING!


Jimmy "No beer pictures? WTF!?!?!" Bo

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To end this PTR, we'll spend a day park hopping the other 3 parks of WDW. Originally I was going to do Epcot after Magic Kingdom closed and then again the next day, but knew it wouldn't be necessary to get all the things I wanted to do accomplished, thanks to lack of lines and single rider lines at some key attractions.


or not.


Thanks for reading!


before making our way to Pleasure Island...


and we end our time at Epcot with some explosions


TPDave may not know what a Black and Tan is, but what would he know, it has nothing to do with toilet paper anyway!


Hey look, a place to get a pint!


Yay for belly dancing Moroccans!


America has a tree, which I would gladly trade for a Starship performance


"Ich möchte Bier trinken!" And while I don't leave seeing Sören, I am content with my consolation prize, a Spaten Oktoberfest


Donde esta Sören? Wait, wrong language. Oooh, I know this!


Before Dinosaur came about, this was your source for all things random


The world is a better place after a margarita


But we do find a newly opened tequila bar, Woohoo!!!


Inside Mexico we don't find secrets to 2012


Yup, Epcot has a giant tree too, can't forget that


Just a reminder that not everything free is good


Spaceship Earth at night is probably Matt's last thoughts as he drifts off into dreamland each evening


Our test track ride took us through 2, 5, and 7...yes, 7!


I just get sad when people choose the less intense training. Though any training with Gary Sinise is intense enough!


and then you get to ride your design, (and look at the person's reaction who is riding next to you) on the screen in your own personal robocoaster. Jeff Johnson could end up with a coaster count almost the same number as his age...give or take 1257 years


and then you name it. Because no ride sucks if it's got Bullet as it's last name, I went with that!


here's the horrible layout I concocted


When this baby hits 88mph...


It's pretty much like Cyberspace Mountain at DisneyQuest. You are given a card and a computer and you create your own roller coaster course using elements they offer you at random. Only this time you have to test it first to see if you can make it through the ride. So you adjust the heights and speed


Holy Jebus! Epcot has a robocoaster?! WHY HAS NO ONE MENTIONED THIS BEFORE!?!?


What the heck is the Sum of all Thrills?


This redeux, on the other hand, is a big re-doh!


I really like the change they did to the Living Seas...err, the Seas with Nemo and Friends. The Nemo dark ride is way better than the Hydrolators


Hi Matt, hi Scott


Onward to the final park of the day, Epcot!


"Dark Places.......and some scary dinosaurs occasionally...but pretty much just dark places" is how it should read. And they left out "Lots of confusion" and "Guests may experience loss of IQ"


Before we leave, I have to give my brain something to think about on the drive over to Epcot. Thus, Dinosaur comes into play!


Yeti himself was still not moving and was hardly even noticeable. You'd think they'd put some lights on him or something!!


being a SyFy junkie, I was happy to see they threw Josh Gates in the queue for the Yeti museum


Yes! Bird-on-a-stick is back!!!


A major highlight of the trip was here at Expedition Everest, which was walk-on all day


The Tree of Christmas


The Tree of Life


next, onward to Disney's Animal Kingdom


Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, still starring Aerosmith, until Steven Tyler leaves the group, I guess. It was closed for a little while, but the permanent single rider line was a big help in riding it at least once this visit!


mmmm, good Tower. Made better by the walk-on conditions. One time I rode it with only 2 other people in the same car, so I spent a good deal of my MGM time here


"I'm a big hat, I block out Mann's Chinese Theater and its MGM-ness!"


Even though I didn't arrive at the park until around 10:30 (well after the park opened at 9), Mania was still only a 10 minute wait, even though Fastpasses were being distributed for 1:50-2:50


Where, yes, they do happen to have a big tree


We begin the day at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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