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PTR: Gary's 2009 Florida Finale!!!

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Great report so far, Gary. Keep it up!


Someone mentioned in another thread that the Dania Beach Hurricane has a new rule that they only dispatch a train every 10 minutes so that might explain what you witnessed. Then again, of the 3 times we've been there, we've never seen them move faster than a snail's pace. It's an awesome ride though and the price can't be beat!

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Elissa - Yes I did for a bit, since I had to ask for someone to run the coaster for me But they were really cool about it, especially since it generated some interest in the ride by some of the kids. So yeah, they were friendly in the limited interactions I had with them


Zach - Yes, yes I was! I actually had called you between Boomers and King Richards if I remember correctly.


Sue - Thanks for the compliment! And the idea of delayed runs would make sence, although it doesn't mean they have to necessarily give the ignoring treatment, or occupy themselves by reading/texting ect.


-Gary T.

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Nice report, Gary!


Some kind of a car show in the middle. (in reference to the Swap Shop)


Yeah, that's the owner's personal car collection.....and it's SICK!!! For the car nuts out there like me, here's a closer look. When I lived down there, I heard rumors that he even wrecked an Enzo once. Can't confirm it though.

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Hey everyone!


Thanks for the compliments and for checking out my PTR so far. I apologize for the delay in my updates, but having the school year start back up, my time has been mainly spent doing my lesson plans and getting caught up in my grading of student work, so I have not had as much time to do updates, but certainly will when time is available. You certainly won't see me complain about official updates by Robb, Elissa or others on this site as I have an even better understanding of how tough it can be to manage everyday life, then to try to do updates from trips on top of it.


But that is what is nice about having some free time, I can make the updates when it comes, so here is my next one.....Busch Gardens Africa!


It was a colder day than I thought it would be, so I had to grab a sweatshirt to put under my jacket as I did not anticipate it being that cool while I was in Florida, but I would learn otherwise two days later at Sea World when I got there to the tune of high-30 degree weather! The previous day was spent visiting five different places all over Florida, and this was after my first night of sleep in about two days. While it wasn't a full night, it was still better than nothing. I was intending to stay at the park until about 2-4, that way I could stop in Kissimmee for the two parks there, and then possibly make a run to Universal that night to pick-up my pass and maybe have a little time that night at one of the parks.


Now some thoughts about Busch Gardens. My initial thought about this park was that it was going to be a bit more plain than Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, as the African theme seemed like there was only but so much you could do with. I was quite surprised to see how well they did with it, and how nice the landscaping was all over the park. That taught me to doubt the former AB parks. One thing that really seemed to stick out about BGA is the fact that you can get very close to many of the coasters, which is a very cool feature! I don't think there are as many places in BGE where you can get THAT close to the coasters.


I did not have very many re-rides on the coasters as I wanted to try and get up to Orlando before it got too late, and the crowds really picked up in the afternoon. So I took a bit of advice I had read on here and started with Gwazi, went over to SheiKra, and went through the loop to get all of the credits. I skipped the Lion side of Gwazi the first time by because after I did two rides on the Tiger side, they shut down the Lion side for someone having a bloody nose, so I figured I could catch it on the way out. I also held off on Cheetah Chase and Rhino Rally until after I got my ride on Montu as they both had longer lines. Here are my thoughts on the different rides:




I really enjoyed the Tiger side, it reminded me a lot of Roar! from SFA, and I have come to really like Roar, so I enjoyed the Tiger side, as it had some good speed, and fun transitional turns. The Lion side......not so much. This thing had a wicked shuffle that could have gotten it a job at one of the Indian Casinos of Florida. It wasn't terrible, but it was enough to make one ride enough for the time being. I would ride it again, but I certainly hope the do some work on it like they did for the Tiger side, as I think that is what made the difference.




This was one ride that surpassed my expectations. I did not think I would enjoy it as much as Griffon, but there was a time where I started to think that I may like it even more than Griffon. I still have not quite figured it out yet which I like better. What made SheiKra awesome was how it kind of leisurely exits the immelmann, making for a cool sensation. I also really enjoyed the second half of the ride, with the underwater tunnel and the turnaround to the splash. A great ride that was better than I expected it to be!




Okay, a little personal story about Kumba. Back when I was just staring to get into roller coasters, a time when Cedar Point bragged about having the largest coaster collection at 12, I first saw the original "America's Greatest Roller Coaster Thrills in 3-D." On this video were some coasters that I really wanted to check out. One of the coasters that I wanted to ride the most was Kumba. I am not sure what made Kumba so special of all the different rides from this video, but I knew that I wanted to ride it some day. Well, this trip finally helped me accomplish that, and it did not dissapoint!


While Kumba definatly needs a new coat of paint, it still packs a powerful punch! Good old B&M positive G's! Another thing I love about Kumba is how this most exemplifes the closeness of the paths to the coasters. This ride has so many places where you are right next to the track. Overall an awesome ride that I finally got to ride!




Before 2008, I had only ridden a couple Wildcats, and that was my only experience with Schwarzkopf coasters. While they are fun, I did not really think as much of his work as the rides of other companies. in 2008 I got to experience MindBender at SFOG......AMAZING!!!!! This past July I got to ride Shock Wave during the TPR Texas Trip.......AWESOME!!! So having been more experienced with his coasters, I thought that this would be a bit more tame than the other two mentioned as it did not appear to have the ungodly amount of airtime as the other two. It didn't, but did provide a great ride in general! I have not been on a Schwarzkopf that has disappointed me yet!




This was another highly anticipated coaster of the trip. I have been on Top Burn at Carowinds, which I understand was designed based on this coaster, so I thought that if I liked it as much as I did, Montu would at least be close to as good, and it did! Unfotunatley because of the cooler weather and a bit of rain that came at this point of the day, I did not get to experience it as I would have liked for the first time, but it was still a great ride!


-Cheetah Chase:


Basic Wild Mouse.......only thing that made it different was that many of the brakes were not really on, so it made it a bit more wild. A fun ride, but not necessarily a highlight of the trip.


-Rhino Rally:


This was a ride I was really curious to check out, but I think it may have been my one disappointment. I thought that the river part would have seems a bit more intense, or that there was more that happend while going through the river portion, but alas, it was more like riding on a barge down a creek, and overall just felt very controlled. The one thing that made up for it was the drvier. Pretty funny dialogue as the ride went on.


So overall, I really loved BGA. I would almost say that I like it more than BGE, but I can't quite say that as I have a soft-spot for BGE as it is my favorite home-park. BGA was definatly a great park though, and would recommend that anyone visit it. Thanks for checking it out, I hope you enjoy the pictures!


-Gary T.


A great visit at a great park! I will certainly visit again in the future! Next update will include Fun Spot USA and Old Town. Thanks for checking out my update!


The "rescue" vehicle


While farly tame, it was still pretty cool!




Waterfall that leads to.....



Zebra, the type of print underwear that would not look good on Rosie O'Donnell


Our driver, funny guy!


The vehicle you get into for this ride


And now for the last ride..Rhino Rally


Crikey!!!! Thats a big ass croc!


Lazy Lion





A view of the open range area where animals roam a bit more freely





We now take a break from the rides to see some of the wildlife that makes Busch Gardens Africa different than Busch Gardens Europe




Loop fans rejoice again!


Signature tunnel shot





Moving on to Egypt for another highly anticipated coaster....Montu!


But we can atleast get a sign picture


Cheetah Chase, not as picturesque as some of its friends


One last shot


Lift hill enthusiasts rejoice!



Loop Fans Rejoice!


"Here I am.....rock you like a hurricane!"


Here come a good few "action" shots


From a B&M masterpiece, to a classic Schwarzkopf. May not have been an airtime beast like Mindbender or Shock Wave, but still a great ride!


One last shot, Kumba did not disappoint!


Another closeby shot


This may be the most photogenic coaster in the park!


I love how close you can get to this coaster as it roars by!


Another classic picture.....but through the net!


Signature shot.....I think anyone who has been here has this picture, and if they say they don't, they are in denial....which is not just a river in Egypt!



Loop shot


Finally, I get to ride this coaster that had eluded me for quite some time.


Not very many brave souls wanting to try the water rides on a cooler day.


And a special sign-and-coaster shot


The level out from the first drop.



Out the otherside of the underwater tunnel


Through the tunnel/tomb/whatever it is supposed to be shot.


Just as cool as Griffon's splash



First drop


Brake run drop


Here we have another coaster that is a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit bigger than Air Grover.


Don't worry Air Grover, I'll be back to ride you as well!



Flamingos, or chickens on stilts? You decide!


As well as this


This is what really made me realize that this park isn't toned down in the landscaping department


Now for some pictures of the atmosphere of the park, including this marching band that was a pretty good show to watch.


Tiger's pre-lift drop


I love how close you are to the coasters at this park in many places




and it's downhill from here......literally!


Lion's lift.....the smoothest part of the ride!


The Tiger side in the distance


The pre-lift drop of the Lion side


And again


The first ride of the day, Gwazi!


Their version of the Sesame Street area is still under construction, so Air Grover was obviously going to have to wait for another visit.


They still had their holiday decorations up, and had Christmas music playing all throughout...Not a bad thing, but I was hoping for more of the authentic music.....not really sure how better to explain it.


One of the things that made me realize that this place pays as much attention to landscaping as its Viginia sister park.


Such an awesome looking coaster!



We're here!


Montu from the outside


A view of Kumba through the trees from the outside


One of the best views to start the day....SheiKra!

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Great PTR! Makes me want to return to BGA! I went for the first time last July. And like you, Montu and Kumba did not disappoint at all!! I wanted to ride many more times, but everyone I was with,did not! Sheikra was rained out...so I will get to experience Griffon before Sheikra. Thanks for posting!

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Hey everyone,


Here is my next update which covers my stop at Fun Spot and Old Town in Kissimmee the evening after I went to BGA. A few thoughts on the two places before the pictures


Fun Spot:


I am not sure what it was about this place, but it just felt very random. Between having some rides and random Monster Trucks and race cars sitting around to a statue of a middle aged-white collar worker, this place seemed to be a place that went to the beat of it's own drum. The one thing I wish I had a bit of extra cash for would have been the 300 foot tall sky coaster. I have done the ones at Kings Island, Michigan's Adventure, Cedar Point and Kennywood before, and have really enjoyed them. Overall, this place seems like a good way to spend an hour or so if you are at one of the nearby hotels


Old Town:


This shopping complex with an amusement park had a really cool feel to it, especially with that old 1950's era feel to it. This was the kind of place that you could spend an evening in, taking a few rides, browse through a few stores, and enjoy a couple drinks at one of the bars. I would definately stop by for another visit for a couple hours to really check out the shops.


On to the pictures, which are a bit on the shorter side as the camera battery was about to go dead, but I hope you enjoy!


-Gary T.


And one last picture for this update.....up next will be a day at Universal! Thanks for checking it out.


I love the "speed" factor of this picture....as in it looks faster than it actually is


And the Windstorm! I hope the one from Fun Forest finds a new home, as these ride definately pack a pretty big punch.




The other rides area of Old Town


Another look down the street


Old Town seems like a cool place to hangout in for a couple hours


This may be the best clock ever!


And in case you forgot already....


Next on the agenda...Old Town


And we end the Fun Spot portion of this PTR with a statue of a middle-aged white collar worker....how could you ever leave this place without a picture of this guy?!?!?!




Although I did not realize this had man eating hippos if you fall off, so I better hang on!


The main reason for stopping....another kiddie coaster!!!


Going for artsy again


Never seen this version of the Disk'o coaster before


A look at a few rides at Fun Spot


Like I said.....closet case NASCAR fan


Bigfoot with 10 foot tires





At the top..... and 3.........2.........1......


"I've gotta feva...and the cure....is MORE SKYCOASTA!!!!"


Going for the artsy "reflection off the water" picture


Riders on the skycoaster.....would have loved to try it out, maybe next time.


I had never seen one of these in person before!


Fun Spot is our next stop, with the 300 ft skycoaster hanging out behind the sign!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey everyone!


I know it has been a while since the last update, but the weekends end-up being the best time for me to do updates, and the past couple have been pretty busy, but we have a workday tomorrow because of the weather here in NC tomorrow, so some of the stuff I was planning on doing today is on pause until tomorrow so I can do it at the school as opposed to at home. Now that I got that covered, here is the next update from my adventure in Florida....the Universal Resort, with a special guest, Michael, a.k.a. TheRapidsNerd!


The parks of Universal are the only parks I had previously visited in Florida before, and because of this as well as having company at the park, I did not get as many pictures as I would have normally, but I did get some shots of the headline rides, and some of the new additions since I had last been.


Overall, I had a good day, and was much better when I had a chance to hang out with Michael as there were many laughs to be had, some good conversation, and one of the dumbest things I have ever done at a theme park in cooler weather that included riding Popeye and Bluto twice in a row......still a great ride though. And now for the pictures:


-Gary T


And thus ends this update at Universal. Thanks for checking it out! One last update to go for SeaWorld and Adventure Landing in Jacksonville.


And we decided to bring the night to an end with a round of Spider-Man! Thanks to Michael for hanging out with me for the day! It was a great time, and hope to do it again the next time I happen to be in the area!


A quick return to IOA, and we see that this is about as close to riding a coaster as we will see our nerd for rapids friend


Poor Universal Studios is suffering from a case of Blue Balls!


A look at the Simpsons at night


The most epic round of MiB, with Michael going double!


Michael decided to go all Facebook with the Rockit support


Showing my love for Rockit!


This was the point in which we both decided a change of clothes and some food would be a good idea, then back to the studio side!


Okay, as you can see, he does have a face!


Tired of seeing the back of his head yet? Well..........


And here he is, fulfilling one of his wettest dreams...


Speaking of Michael, here we have him taking a picture of Mavel Superhero Island


The Jurassic Discovery Center, the location of one of the best moments of the day....Michael, you may have to upload the video to this thread! :)


The one thing that unfortunatly is changed which I think they could have left as it was....Dueling Dragons. Who knows though, maybe they will make it cool still as the Dragon Challenge



Still a good bit to go, but some of the details are well done!


a brief look at the new Harry Potter area


A look from the other side of the pond





Hulk time!


It was about this point in which Michael was able to join the festivities, and switch gears to the Islands side.


The same day that I was at Universal, the University of Wisconsin Marching Band was in town, I believe they were playing a bowl game within the next couple of days in the area.




Hanging out at Cyberdon!


I am kind of surprised that this has not yet been replaced yet. Still a good show though



A classic ride


Would have been better if it was a place where you could get some kind of frozen beverage, but still a cool touch!


The part where you wait to get into the individual rooms was a cool touch though.


While it was a fun ride, I had to admit that I would have rather seen Back to the Future saved.


Rockit in the distance


Men in Black in the distance


Mummy had not yet been finished last time I was here. The effects were not quite as impressive as I thought they would be, but it was still a great ride.


Pseudo Loopage!





If there is one thing I thought of when I first saw this ride...it looks like someone designed it on Roller Coaster Tycoon.


Shrek seems to think it was a good idea


I think we will start the day off at the Studio side


Like I said before......well, maybe not such a closet case fan anymore :)


One of the rids they added since my last visit, this thing had some wicked airtime!


The first version of "Choose Thy Fate" you encounter while on the resort



Heading down to CityWalk


Heading down the walkway


HULK! An awesome ride!


Just about there


I see a Rockit in the distance


A little cool for Wet n' Wild


The hotel I stayed at was within walking distance, so I took advantage of this so as to not pay for parking. Nothing better to start the day then seeing rides in the distance!

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Gary, those are by far the best shots of the back of my melon known to man. Especially dig the one "with" Betty Boop.


That really was a great spur of the moment day, and it was awesome to hang out with you again after Dollywood in 2008. MIB started my shooting dark ride addiction and kudos to the awesome cast member for the duel gun fun. You were missed on Toy Story Mania and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin here recently. Next time for sure along with some water parks.


Enjoyed the day and still can't believe how much we froze after Bilgerat Barges. Glad for the credit, but yikes! Well, at least we weren't as crazy as those riding in 30 degree temps near closing time. Also can't believe I stripped naked in my car with people walking by. Wait, yeah I can, because I NEEDED the warm clothes in my duffle bag.


Still one of the best trips to a park I've had and glad to meet up. We need to do that again.


Great job on all the segments of this TR. It's exhausting work to post and caption a ton of photos, so well done sir!

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Nice report! I would have liked to have hit up Fun Spot & Old Town, but we just didn't have enough time during our vacation.


That is funny you snapped a pic of the Speak & Spell in the ET queue! I was thinking that if I wouldn't have failed and left my camera in the car the day we were there, I would have definitely taken a picture of it too!

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Great pictures, they make me not want to wait for May and my trip down here again. I just have one question, did you happen to stay at the Homewood Suites? That's where I stayed the last time I went to Universal, and that looks like the same view I had from the parking lot. I loved being able to just walk to Universal in the mornings.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey everyone,


the past few weeks have been hectic, and today has really been the one day I could do my last update since I am home feeling like someone stuffed sludge up into my sinuses. I toughed it out yesterday, but couldn't today. I did think that it would be a good idea to wrap up my Florida Finale PTR with a look at SeaWorld, and a brief stop to Adventure Landing in Jacksonville on the way back. And now some thoughts about my day at SeaWorld:


This was one of my other most anticipated parks as I had heard great things about Kraken and Manta, and I enjoyed going to SeaWorld in San Antonio with TPR back in July. If there was one theme of the day it was.........HOLY SH*T IT'S COLD!!!! After going through a great weather day with Michael at Universal that saw temps in the mid to high sixties, this day started with the temperature around 37 degrees, which would come with a delay in the openning of Manta and Kraken. What I did until they did open up was to take a spin on Atlantis (didn't turn out as bad as the day before with Popeye twice in the freeze factor), took in a couple shows, Blue Horizons and Believe which were both enjoyable, and then I gained my Shamu Credit. By the time I got the Shamu Express credit, the other two had opened, Kraken with a line around 20 minutes by the time I got in, and Manta going overflow at around 70 minutes. So this would lead to a day with only one ride on each of the coasters, but that was just fine as it leaves me wanting to go back for more!


-Journey to Atlantis:


It is good to know that they are going to put some money into fixing it up to what it used to be, as it was very hard to tell what was going on with the story as you rode. If the sound was more clear, it would have improved the ride greatly. Still more to it than its Texas counter part, and an enjoyable ride


-Shamu Express:


This thing was much bigger than its San Antonio counterpart, and had a rather short line interestingly, even being right after Believe, and a day where there were many kids.




After going on the TPR Texas trip, I felt the Superman was definately THE best floorless I had been on. After riding Kraken, it wasn't so clear. Superman provides an awesome ride, and has the advantage of being on the side of the rock wall, but Kraken provided an awesome ride as well, so I have a hard time determining which was better. I especially enjoyed the portion of the ride after the MCBR.




While this was by far the longest that I waited for any ride on this trip was not as bad since the tanks alongside with the different sea-life were there to look at, and the ride itself was awesome! By far my favorite flyer. I loved the way it flys all around the paths nearby, and also how there are a few good close moments, like when nearly hitting the waterfall around the end of the course.


I really enjoyed my visit to SeaWorld, and look forward to the opportunity to return in the future.


It was a great feeling to have when I realized that now being done with college, it is possible to take trips like this, and I am hope to do more again in the future! Before I put up the pictures, here are a few fun stats from this trip:


-Total Miles Driven: Just Shy of 2000 (1100 of them in the first 24 hours of the trip)

-Parks Visited: 13

-Coasters Ridden: 26


I also want to thank everyone for checking out my updates, and I hope that you have enjoyed seeing the travels that I went on while on this trip. And now..........(Que 80's style music) IT'S THE FINAL UPDATE!!!!!


This way to the last major park of my Florida adventure


Sea World!


I don't care how cold it is, that is a pretty sight first thing in the morning!


Going into the park


Oh yeah, it is a cold one!


Even Shamu thought it was cold today!


A purty coaster, just too cold for it to be going yet


signature sign shot



Kraken wants it to warm up too, but it will just have to wait


Until then, we will go ahead and take a spin on Journey




An upclose look at the flume style drop


The portion that leads to the coaster style part of the ride


Comming back out after the coaster portion of the ride


And this is what the result of riding was, what may be an acceptable amount of wetness


This was the point in which I thought it would be a good time to take in a show, the first would be Blue Horizons


You mean nobody is brave enough to sit in the splash zone while it is still in the low 40's?


Well, I am.........


....not that brave, I will happily take a seat away from the water :)


Well, there is one brave kid


And the show begins




"Noooo, don't jump! It freezing!"




I'll bet she has a pair of diamond cutters on her chest




Woops, they forgot to remove their dead animals from the water


This makes me wonder why Six Flags hasn't decided to do some kind of an Aquaman show at their parks with sea life




This show even has some high divers


Dolphin Skiing


A flock of flying dolphins


And the shows Finale


Time to go see Shamu!


This is the first time I have seen concessions convieniently placed at the stadium.....did what it was intended to, as I picked up some popcorn!


An overview of the stadium


No brave souls for the splash zone again.


Well, nevermind


"...and now that he is gone, little boys like this can live without fear of being taken advantage of on the Neverland Ranch!"


Free Willie moment


You know he's not on a boat


How cute, he is teaching whales how to solute a German dicator


Dances with Whales, staring Roseanne Barr




"AHHHHHHHH!!!!!" This is what happens when you stomp on whales


"And for just 5 easy payments of 9999.99 and protests by PETA, you too can walk on water like Jesus!"



Woops, they left their dead whales in the air above the water






I think the temps were just heating up.....to the high 40's


After the show, it was time for some more riding, this time, the Shamu Express




Why would I not be surprised if someone thought this doubled as a submarine?


Stilt Band


and flying elves


Now I think is a good time for some bigger coasters!


We'll start with a spin on Kraken


What's crakin' Kraken?!


Into the pit.....


.....and back out


Off of the midcourse


A great ride indeed!


Now it is time for this beast!


Signature Shot


And another




Through the falls


One of the best near misses on a roller coaster!


And we end the visit to SeaWorld with some love for Manta....Facebook style!!


Thus we come to the last location of the Florida tour....Adventure Landing


Wacky Worm time!


This is comforting to see :)


And this ends the Florida Finale of 2009! Thank you all for checking it out, and I hope you all enjoyed. If you ever happen to be at a park when I am, feel free to say hey!

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