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Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures


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There's a lot of mini golf in Florida. In fact, without bothering to do any research into the question at all, I'm going to go ahead and speculate that there's more mini golf here than in any other state. Unfortunately, there is a certain sameness to most of it, with very little in the way of what you might call "funk." And, as a guy who spends most of his days-off photographing tourist traps, I find that slightly disappointing. Luckily, I recently uncovered a previously-unknown-to-me mini golf course right here in Orlando that has funkiness in spades. So that's nice.

 

Gator Golf

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It's located on I-drive. And by "on," I mean it has a toe-hold on I-drive. This is literally its entire frontage. Blink as you're driving by and you'll miss it. You might even miss it on foot.

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Little gators out front. Kind of like how Congo River does. But that's where the similarities end.

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There's one 18-hole course and a show(!) Note the cool murals on the *inside* of the ticket shack, so the employees will feel good about what they're selling.

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Most mini golf places all have pretty much the same assortment of colored golf balls. But Gator Golf distinguishes itself in the respect, as well. Viva Canadia!

 

Incidentally, this golf ball was one of the things we sent monkeyoverlord71 as part of the "Bag O' Feces" that never arrived. :(

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Smisty loves her dad. Behind her are the restrooms, which I only mentioned because...

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...this picture is in the ladies room. (Um...photo by speedmetal. Ahem.)

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Next to the restrooms, looking back towards the front, is this weirdness. (Apparently, Payless Shoe Source has a lot of water they need to get rid of.)

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Note that the only way to get back to everything else is to walk on the green of hole 1. So if you're just there for the show, you pretty much have to interfere with the golf (if its busy).

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I know this isn't the best photo, but just look at how random this is: Mini golf, fake rocks, wind chimes, a model ship, and a snake...in a mill.

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"Dude, don't dis my wind chimes."

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Hillbilly trompe l'oeil, a ship's wheel, and signage for a lazy river. I think I'm in love.

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Yes, Gator Golf, be happy with what you are. Because you are marvelous.

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Um...what?

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Oh....

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"Go ahead, hit the ball in the water."

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The gators made me miss. Oh, the shame.

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Well, why wouldn't there be a giant pot there?

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Don't even worry about the alligators; Japanese ghost winds will protect you.

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And also there's turtles.

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Mini golf here, big giant alligator there. His name is Doofy. I'm guessing that's to keep him in his place.

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Some of the middle holes are slightly dull, thematically.

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Still, they offer their own unique challenges.

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If I have a complaint about this course, it's that there seem to be several water-features that have been abandoned or converted into planters or rock gardens.

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Most of the greens are in great shape, though damage to this block of wood has made it impossible to use as a ramp.

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Climbing up. Note the tub o' rocks.

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This hole is weird. You putt hard underneath this thing, which flings you up onto the top, where you then roll off. Unless you're my ball, in which case you get stuck up there somehow. Plus, you know, birdhouses. And that black strap center screen? Why, that's for the roll-up door, of course.

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I dunno, pick one.

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But either way, you have to go down the rape stairs.

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Oh, so that's where they go....!

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AAAAHHHH!!!!

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I expect a big finish.

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Hmmm, rocks in a building with graffiti-covered walls. Well, okay, but can we make it weirder?

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Like, by being dumped unceremoniously into the driveway next door? Perfect!

 

I've actually been sitting on this update for a little while, because I really didn't feel like it would be complete without the Gator Adventure Show. Luckily, an opportunity to see that finally presented itself. So here you go.

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Unfortunately, my better half couldn't be here for the show. Therefore, for the rest of this update, the part of Smisty shall be played by TPR member Andrew "Pufferfish" Singleton.

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Hey, they added a fish tank!

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Okay, on with the show. This guy comes out...

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...drags a gator around by the tail...

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...and then sits on him.

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"Dude, I didn't know Ralph was gay!" - "Depends on how many beers he's had."

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And then you can come sit on a gator yourself. (Although, I was all impressed by the guy until I saw that anyone can do it.)

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Smisty really wanted to to sit on the gator (which isn't like her at all), but had to settle for petting a little one out front instead.

 

Hey, gator-sittin' on ain't free, ya know!

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I had to stand on a fence to get this shot, but I think it was worth it.

 

So yeah, basically, Gator Golf is awesome and you should go there if you like mini golf that is awesome.

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I'm really quite angry about that parcel.

 

I'm slowly piecing together a replacement. But it won't be as cool because I don't want Scotland to be able to break my heart again.

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^^ I know. In this picture, is there seriously just an unguarded chain link fence between the patrons and a gator large enough to snack on annoying children? Not that I'm opposed, just making sure my eyes don't deceive me.

 

Oh, and you're still a comic genius in my book.

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Great photos!

 

I see Erik is a mini-golf enthusaist. I can see it now...he will count the number of mini-golf credits and make a geeky sign for his 100th credit. He will create a website called www.minigolfreview.com. Then he will set up Club MGR (Mini-Golf Review) and arrange for discounts at various mini-golf places. Finally, he will have mini-golf trips to numerous countries. The trips will have ERT and backstage tours!

 

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Do you have any idea how many mini golf places you have been too?

 

No. But now your question has me wondering how much work it would be to try and figure it out. Damn you!

 

 

I can see it now...he will count the number of mini-golf credits and make a geeky sign for his 100th credit. He will create a website called http://www.minigolfreview.com. Then he will set up Club MGR (Mini-Golf Review) and arrange for discounts at various mini-golf places. Finally, he will have mini-golf trips to numerous countries. The trips will have ERT and backstage tours!

 

That thought had occurred to me. (Well, a less crazy version of that thought, anyway.) A couple of people have even suggested that I should be posting all this stuff on a website of my own instead. But I have no patience for designing and maintaining my own site. Plus, I like the idea that I'm kind of "giving back" to TPR.

 

I really wish there was a mini golf site like that, though. There's not much out there about mini golf, really. And it's nearly impossible to find interesting courses ahead of time when traveling to somewhere new.

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^Perhaps once the new Park Index is past Beta testing we can start incorporating Mini-Golf courses in there as well!

 

I think that is a GREAT idea! I try to take my Mom to every Mini-Golf course that we can find, and like Erik said, it's near impossible to try and plan it out cause you can never find anything out about them.

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The saga of Monkey Overlord's Bag O' Rubbish has now reached its thrilling middle, as the US Postal Service attempted to return the package (that I sent out in November) to me yesterday! The catch? Having paid $42 to send it to Scotland, only to have Royal Mail mark it 'Return To Sender, No Such Address,' USPS now wants to charge $23 to give it back to me. (Which, of course, would mean that I would have paid a total of $65 to still have a bunch of stuff that I didn't really want in the first place.)

 

Now, in all fairness, I don't know for sure who's screw up this is, but I do have a whole new respect for official TPR Bags of Crap. This stuff isn't as easy as it looks!

 

So I'm sticking with my plan of putting together a new, cheaper replacement. In the meantime, allow me to regale you with a listing of just some of the items that were in the original package:

 

a genuine SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular lunch pail

a smattering of Disney pins (suitable for trading)

one Canadian golf ball

many assorted brochures and park maps

a KC & the Sunshine Band Greatest Hits CD

pressed pennies from various Orlando-area theme parks

stickers!

a wall-sized park map poster from SFMM, circa 1986

a penguin-shaped writing pad

love

one Tennessee State Bank ink pen

and much, much more!

 

Sadly, Mr. Overlord will now most definitely not be getting any of this, as he lives in Scotland (and possibly does not now his own address).

 

But don't worry, Martin: We're putting together something much smaller and less interesting for you right now!

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Perhaps you should consider sending the big stuff to U.S. addresses only and smaller stuff (like brochures) to non-U.S. countries. It'll save you on postage and more money for more Oddventures!

 

Maybe I should do my own Oddventure and hit the places you and Smisty miss. I should call it "Barry's Unusual Experiences," but I'm way too lazy.

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As a Canadian, I'm sorta curious which course/possible tourist trap you got that golf ball from.

 

Fail. Your sentence is to reread this entire thread. (Hint: start from the end and work your way backwards.)

 

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Gator Golf! I first encountered this tackily awesome place back in the fall of 2007. I was in Orlando for work and my hotel was across the street from this (and the fabulously ghetto Magical Midway). I fed the gators out front the kibble from the little machines. I remember also in the pens out front, one of the gator handlers was out in one and had the gators swimming up to him and trying to jump in his lap like puppies!

 

Last night the boyfriend & I were driving to John's Pass (a little touristy area on the Gulf near Indian Rocks, Reddington, Maderia Beach, etc.) to have dinner at Bubba Gumnp. We passed a couple of really cool themed mini-golf places called Smuggler's Cove (2 different locations down the road from each other). We already had other after dinner plans, but said, "We GOTTA do these sometime!" We did the Congo River golf that's practically around the corner from me in Clearwater. It's nice, but we're always looking for different things to do and play "tourist" sometimes.

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In honor of this thread's one year anniversary (and Erik's birthday yesterday), Erik & Smisty proudly present our longest and most self-indulgent update yet!

 

Disney's Animal Kingdom, Asia

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One of three entrances into Asia, this is arguably the main one, connecting to the park's center, Discovery Island.

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The view from the bridge. The tiny building partially on stilts is a small eating area for the snackery behind it.

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This would be a really good photo of said snackery if I were not smack dab in the middle of it. And also if 'snackery' was a word.

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The inside. As you can see, most of the theming in Asia is sort of junky/campy.

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More seating around the back.

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LOST

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This sort of reminds me of the 'Kidcot' areas at Epcot.

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First up, attractions-wise, is the bird show. Which, this sign assures us, is "wonderful."

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And...this is pretty much it. Birds fly back and forth. Then a performer comes out pretending to be a tour guide and makes fun of tourists for awhile. I suppose it's okay, but there's nothing here to overcome my inherent dislike of shows.

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Afterward, they bring out some birds for pictures.

 

Hey, have you ever heard that thing about how people start to look like their pets after awhile? Just wondering.

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And now for the second-best restaurant in Animal Kingdom! (Although it's still really good.)

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Why would you put the word 'yak' in the name of a restaurant? (For that matter, why would you put the word 'yeti'?)

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Smisty...um...trying to look like the crazy movie posters...?

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Orange chicken and fried rice.

 

LOST

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Mango, lemon, and raspberry sorbet is for me. (I could do without the coconut shavings, though.)

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Next door (and connected) to Yak & Yeti is this similarly-oriented fast food place.

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This stand-alone store is cool, but tiny. (And they sell Yak & Yeti shirts!)

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Like, Harry Potter tiny.

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And you thought what you had to do at work when things got slow was annoying.

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"Don't worry, lady. I'll liven things up!"

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Behind the store is the eating area for the fast food place.

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Sometimes I'm pretty funny. Today is not one of those times. This is a fountain.

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Wait...inflatable?

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There are two big rides in Asia. This is the first: Kali River Rapids.

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The first part of the queue is very "natural."

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Then we begin to see signs of civilization.

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And then we move indoors for wackiness.

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Allegedly, Disney went with the lesser-explored Asiatic countries since they already had Japan and China at Epcot. Which certainly gives Animal Kingdom's Asia a unique feel.

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"Please make sure you're not going to die before worrying about your crap getting wet. Thank you."

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Unlike Universal, Disney has no issue with photos on their outdoor rides.

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Kali is probably my second-favorite rapids ride, behind Popeye & Bluto's at IOA.

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Though the scenery is nice, Kali's main weakness is its lack of rapids. (A fairly serious shortcoming for a rapids ride, in my view.)

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There's also whole "clear-cutting" storyline during the first half of the ride, which is confusing and slightly depressing.

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Oh no, the evil tree-cutter-downers are going to crash for some reason and maybe drown! Which is bad or possibly good!

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But we have bigger things to worry about. Here's where Kali gets good, with a legitimate drop!

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Tunnels are always cool.

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Please do not pee on us, tiny Asian men!

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Big water-spray elephant finale.

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Next up is the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

 

(Yes, Misty, I'm coming.)

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Ooh, this attraction gets its own map! (Map-holding Smisty not included. Get your own.)

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Hey, it's a.... (Well, what does the map say? What, it's not on there? Well, poop.) Hey everybody, it's a goat!

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"And this is what it would look like if we had a tapir."

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"Screw this! On to the tigers!"

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Oh wait, bats!

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"Yes, I have a question: Why is Walt Disney World always so crowded?" - "Well, dear, we're very popular, and--" - "So it's not because you've been pumping the vast majority of the money you put back into the parks on marketing and stupid stunts instead of new attractions?" - "Well, I...." - "Also, why do you have a bat skeleton in that box?"

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I'm just assuming that the phrase "hanging out" comes from bats.

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I love this sign: "Although tigers are present in the forest, you will be very safe by walking on the well-traveled paths."

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"Hey, bitches! Is this what you came for?!"

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I must admit I really dig the ruins theming.

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Pimpin' ain't easy.

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A big open area with deer and such. WHICH IS NOT FUNNY!!!

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"Hey, what kind of animal are you?" - "Huh? I dunno, man. Like, a cow or something?"

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What's over here?

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Hey, more tigers!

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And now for an aviary.

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A cool bath if you're bird. Or Brazilian.

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"Wait, you can see me?? Crap, shouldn't have sang."

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Birds hate plastic chains.

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Back in Asia proper, we find this fountain. (I had a photo of, like, 10 kids sitting in it, but I'll spare you.)

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In case you hadn't figured it out yet, the thematic name of this area is Anandapur. But Asia is easier to spell.

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Monkey island. This can be viewed from at least four different areas of Asia, and acts as a sort of centerpiece.

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One of the locals, attempting to pawn off his wares.

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Hello!

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This really is a gorgeous area of the park. And, indeed, one of the best areas of any park.

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Bad show, Disney! Wait, what? That's theming? Oh...carry on then. (Although, I still think the Palace Hotel is going to be a dump.*)

 

*Yeah, the building is actually a bathroom. I am so clever.

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Ice cream from a broken bus.

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And now begins our love letter to Animal Kingdom's biggest, most-important ride.

 

No, seriously, the next 30 pictures or so are of Expedition Everest. I hope you're okay with that.

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I'm sure no one has ever thought to pose like this here, before me.

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Disney and their wacky height requirements. Hey, who's that in the background...?

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Why, it's TPR's own Natatomic! Hi, Natalie!

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The queue for Everest is quite interesting.

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See? Interesting.

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It starts with hiking stuff, then transistions into more of a yeti museum sort of thing.

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Crap theming.

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Hey, Natalie made it up to the grouping area! Can we sit on the steam donkey? No? Well, how about the front then?

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The station.

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I wanna go left!

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Lift 1 (of 2).

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That's lift 2. It's bigger.

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This is not the wildest ride ever. Fun, though.

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There's a lot of cruising around. Still, it has its moments.

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Cool theming on the second lift.

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Looking back toward Kali and the backstage area. (Note: I just pointed my camera back that way. You can't actually see backstage while riding normally.)

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The park's centerpiece and symbol, The Tree of Life.

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Here's a shot you don't see too often: The big helix finale.

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Coming off of lift 2. Are you bored with Everest photos yet? I hope not.

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The dead end, about to enter the reverse section.

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No, evil shadow yeti! Don't tear apart the track!

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The big drop.

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Helix of doom!

 

It's really hard to get a photo of the giant yeti figure inside the mountain. So I didn't. Sorry.

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And the brake run. Where, on a windy day, Expedition Everest sometimes becomes a water ride.

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On-ride photo sales.

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And the gift shop.

 

I am a giant yeti thing! Give me some candy!

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I like this shirt.

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Exiting Everest's gift shop.

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Prayer tablets or something. I don't know. Theming.

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A view from the ride's main viewing area. (Or was that redundant?)

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And that's it for Animal Kingdom's Asia. Sorry I wasn't funny today. Hopefully all the roller coaster photos will help make up for it. You don't normally get that many in this thread.

Edited by ernierocker
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