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Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

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Very pretty. Epcot - no coasters, who cares? Love it. But not odd. Will you return to your regularly scheduled Florida strangeness soon? No doubt!


Yeah...I'm not so sure any of these are really that odd. "Oddventures" just sounded cool.

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Unlike every other major park in Florida, SeaWorld Orlando is not divided into smaller themed sections. True, there are a handful of individually themed areas--but, between them, they account for only about 40% of the park.


Or so SeaWorld Orlando would have you believe. The truth is much more intriguing. Over 100 years ago, before there were any parks at all in this region of the world, the Masons divided up the land that would eventually become SeaWorld into areas that they called "sublets." As is frequently the case in Freemason affairs, the central "sublet" is often the most important, and usually takes the shape of an animal when viewed from above.


Until very recently, this central area of SeaWorld did not seem to fit that pattern. And then a very interesting thing happened....


Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you: Mantaland.


Above, I have outlined the path we'll be following around the park during this update. Note how it clearly resembles the shape of a manta. Coincidence???


Let us speak of it no more.


I've said it before, but I'm certainly not above repeating myself: SeaWorld Orlando has the prettiest park entrance I've ever seen.


Of course, that's not really the park's entrance (unless you're a Mason, and a really good swimmer). No, just to the right of that--here--is where all the real action happens.


Almost inside! The photo ops taunt me!


Shamu himself. Too bad I'm in shadow.


On second thought, maybe that's a good thing. I'm mysterious....


This is where you get park maps, as well as signing up for special tours and such. I flashed the traditional Mason hand signal at the gentleman manning the desk, but he ignored it. Perhaps he was right; There were too many other people around.


I find it interesting that the stroller rental place is also a gift shop, and not just stroller rentals. But now that I've typed that all out, it doesn't seem that interesting. In any case, we won't be needing a stroller today.


My first tough decision of the day: Roller coaster, or ice cream? After standing paralyzed for nearly 20 minutes, I made my decision.


I've already decided 'ice cream,' SeaWorld, you don't have to entice me with a bakery as well.


Oh...but there's cookies. Curse their chocolaty chip goodness!


Shamu's Emporium is the park's main gift shop (in the sense of being at the front and being named "Emporium," at least).


This is, of course, a well known Mason edict: To appease the gods, all parks' main gift shop must be named either "Emporium" or "Trading Company."


Sure, a candy store. Just rip my heart out, why don't you?


I note with some interest that they still make fudge in the traditional Mason way.


I still can't decide if this marketing ploy is incredibly lame or completely awesome.


There's a boat on the ceiling. I wrack my brain: What does this signify??


I like how the register is made to look like a boat.


At last, my search brings forth results!


Okay, I'm good. Now we can get serious.


The path towards the Waterfront contains a small waterfowl enclosure.


"Earl, over here. The little ones can't read yet."


The Dolphin Nursery, curiously, is nowhere near the other dolphin exhibits. A question of balance, perhaps? The Masons are big on balance.


Surely, this is the cutest thing in the world: A baby dolphin with a flower in its mouth. Awww...!


The thing about dolphins is, they're not really trained to do "tricks." They're just bribed to do on command stuff they would normally do anyway.


The Waterfront is one of SeaWorld's supposed themed areas. Pure obfuscation, if you ask me. We'll be ignoring its artificial borders today, thank you.


What's this? Groundhogs for purchase at the Seafire Inn?? Our luck is astounding!


Well, groundhog is not listed on the menu...but we'll try anyway.


The Masons, of course, frequently ate groundhog (and other rodents) during their most sacred ceremonies.


Sadly, despite the signage out front, they were still only on breakfast.


Wait...does this mean I had ice cream before breakfast?? Not that I'd put it past me. But it's so hard to keep these things straight when your photos were taken over multiple different days.


You can also sit outside, if you like.


But I prefer-- Wait, did Misty eat all the food while I was outside taking photos? Why that little...!


What you're looking at is a series of interconnected shops much bigger and fancier than the one up front. (However, none of them are named "Emporium.")


Ooh...merchandise! (Note the 'Mason Eye' on top of the display rack.)


The far end of said shops.


These guys do a whole comedy routine about recycling. Seriously.


Now, I know that you're all excited about riding Manta, but first we're going to see a show about doggies and kitties. Okay?


Yes, it's "Pets Ahoy"!


Featuring tightrope-walking cats...


...and jump-roping dogs!


(Eh, it was okay. Seems a bit out of place at SeaWorld, though.)


And now for lunch! (But we're getting closer.)


Honestly, with all the good food options at SeaWorld, you can do better than Seaport Pizza.


Sad that this is the only pizza the park offers.


Anyone want to get a funny hat made? What? Oh, right. Very well then.


Yes, here we are at update number 13, and our very first roller coaster, Manta.


Except that Manta isn't just a roller coaster. No, SeaWorld seems to have named the entire area "Manta." You might even say this is sort of a "Mantaland," yes?


Sure, everyone has this photo. But what makes mine unique is the dude with the red and black backpack. Aw yeah.


Caution: You may get wet in this queue.


Comes pretty close to that waterfall.


"Riders of Manta will experience forces."


The entryway to the aquarium part of the queue.


What, seriously? How hard is that?


So, yeah, this queue is awesome.




Stingrays! (No actual manta rays, though. Apparently, they're really tough to take care of. Still, this is SeaWorld. I mean, if the Georgia Aquarium can do it....)


The real reason there are no manta rays here? Freemasonry.


Seriously, this is like my favorite queue ever. Sure, Toy Story Mania's is cool--but it's the same every time. The fish keep this one interesting.


It's a Shamu Ray!


The stairway up to the loading platform. (Or was that obvious?)


I'm sure I don't need to explain the significance of the number 54.


I can't decide if this lift hill shot is totally lame or, like, the best picture ever.


Notice how I timed this shot perfectly.


For some reason, this kind of reminds me of Six Flags Over Georgia.


The very forceful pretzel loop.


The reddish building on the right is the on-ride photo shop.


Okay, my opinion: It's good, it's just not my kind of ride. I prefer Kraken. (Or, better yet, Steel Eel.)


If positive G's are your thing, you'll love it. But I won't be marathoning on it anytime soon.


This roped off area seems to be guarded by an employee at all times. Apparently, it's an unexpected "drop zone."


The phony splashdown finale. It does not make it to the midway, but it does wet the lower legs of riders on the right-hand side of the train.


It's a dual load station design, just like the Supermen.


As awesome as the queue is--and despite the fact that SeaWorld Orlando has traditionally been the king of exit theming--Manta's exit seems almost like an afterthought. (In fact, it sort of reminds me of Gemini.)


The on-ride photo set up is nice, though.


The best part of Manta is that it makes women more busty.


Manta's gift shop is oddly located, making me think it was an already existing building. (I can't remember what it might have been, though.)


It's also a bit undersized.


Cool shirt. (Very well balanced.)


Back closer to the entrance is Manta Market.


Okay, so if you don't want to ride the coaster, you can access the aquarium stuff this way. In fact, it's better this way. (I have no comment on Smisty's manta dance.)


When you're done thanking the Phoenicians, SeaWorld invites you to thank the ocean.


The entrance and exit to the walk-through aquarium are to the left of the lockers (seen earlier) and between the entrance and exit of the ride itself (and its aquarium stuff).


For the most part, you see similar stuff in both.


The presentation is sometimes a bit different, though--such as this "ceiling aquarium."


There are placards like this throughout both aquariums. But what's funny to me is the complete lack of credentials of the people quoted.


Indeed, one suspects that these folks might in fact have some higher, secret credentials. Freemasonry does have its privileges, after all.


Hello, and welcome to the tank of horrors.


"You find me gross, do you? Well, check this out!"


"I'm in yer tube, being amorphous!"


"Hey, I'm gross, too! I have tentacles and everything!"


Now these guys I like. The leafy sea dragon.


There are weedy sea dragons here, as well. There, in the tank on the right. Well, obviously, you can't SEE them. That's the whole point.


Ahhhh! I'm an octopus! Ahhhh!!!


As my final proof, I leave you with this shot of Manta from the park's Sky Tower. From above, you can clearly see how the track makes the shape of a Masonic "Infinitogram."


Open your eyes!


Next up: Key West and its surprising connection to gay Martians.

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That is the BEST Sea World Orlando TR I have EVER SEEN!!! I love the photos of not just the rides aswell as the main points.

What happened to Kraken???? Was it wearing invisable paint today??? Oh well, The Manta photos make up for it. Thank you for the amazing TR Have fun at the next park.

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That is the BEST Sea World Orlando TR I have EVER SEEN!!!


Agreed. Or I guess I should say, it's the best TR of "Mantaland" I've ever seen! Your TRs and especially your captions just seem to get better and better every time. I like your extensive coverage of the Manta queue--it seems to be an experience within itself, which I love.


Looking forward to the next installment!

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^ If it runs the same as other B&M flyers, then yes you do during 3 train operation. If there's only 2 trains running, only one station is open and so, obviously, you return to the same side that you left from

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where's Kraken!!


They tore it down. Sorry.


That is the BEST Sea World Orlando TR I have EVER SEEN!!!


Thanks. But I think this one might be even better: SeaWorld Orlando


Except for the lack of Manta photos, of course.


That was epic coverage of just one small area of this entire park. I'm finding it hard to recollect if you missed anything.


Well, there was a caricature artist stand that I didn't include. (Shameful, I know, but I was running long.)

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Yay for the food of Orlando Mantaland, but one question what is that white stuff on the other plate, next to the bacon and eggs?


Biscuits and country-style gravy. It's a Southern thing.

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Yay for the food of Orlando Mantaland, but one question what is that white stuff on the other plate, next to the bacon and eggs?


Biscuits and country-style gravy. It's a Southern thing.




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Awesome TR! Honestly Manta's que was one of the things I was escited about since the press release, and I have not seen much until now. If you want a good Odventure I suggest Animal Kingdoms Dinosaur area/Dino rama, it was soooo random. Chester and Lester were a failure on Disneys part(thats saying a lot...I'm a disney fanboy) and I think your captions would be really funny.

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^ Definitely going to happen, at some point. Indeed, the plan is to cover every section of every major Florida park, eventually.


Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

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Ross, when you're on the IntimidaTOUR, I'll make sure you have some biscuits and gravy Great TR. Can't wait until I get to Seaworld sometime this summer. Hopefully sometime this month!



Should I be scared!

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This update is going to be a little bit different. In fact, it's going to be a lot different. And, actually, kind of stupid. Ready?


As you may recall back from the Gourmet McDonald's update, Erik & Smisty have a very special (though entirely platonic) relationship with TPR's artificial intelligence TwitterBot, @ThemeParkReview (hereafter referred to simply as "Bryan.") A couple of weeks ago, Bryan contacted us requesting help for a new Twitter contest. The idea was for people to go to parks, write things down on signs that would normally be tweets, take photos, and then upload them to Twitter. He called it "analog tweeting," and he wanted us to provide an example.


Which brings us to this update, which is all about Erik & Smisty scouring Busch Gardens Tampa, making fools of themselves, looking for just the right photo to help launch the contest. I thought up two "analog tweets" that I thought might be interesting and printed them out ahead of time. Then Misty came up with three better ones in the car on the way there and hand-drew them, making me feel stupid and small.


Analog Tweeting at Busch Gardens Tampa



01P5053190.JPG.d481d2af233ec33919b4a843453d53cc.JPGNope, that won’t work. Can’t read the sign.



05IMGP3989.JPG.4c6ed9cf07bd127010db3e5396f045ef.JPGThere, that's better!



08P5053205.JPG.242cae50fe905bb71d5a751fc751a869.JPGI'm pretty sure that's less than 140 characters--but, quite frankly, I'm too lazy to count.



10IMGP4001b.jpg.792cf2569659c29cbe4e4152e80f91f6.jpgYes, yes we are.



12P5053282.JPG.b74b1bba47e2fbc4bc623136a1ce940f.JPGThis ride was closed, and maintenance men were examining it. The other two ran away when Misty approached them, but this one was game.



15P5053215.jpg.b4f251f6bb4981b6542c69647e548fcc.jpgNo comment.



30P5063347.JPG.53ae9078ea51ff302538c874985388b1.JPGImpressed by Smisty's drawing skills? You ain't seen nothin' yet.



35P5063371.JPG.8461d030327f12de24e502ffaa266ea1.JPGThe main reason to be on twitter: #PostAGoatThursday



40IMGP4045.jpg.ab47fb611a42e8eaab125b0b1285a25e.jpgOh my god! Dirt!



46P5063436.JPG.e3da9978de01f295ac541a405a511394.JPGI'm not even sure what we were trying to do here.



55IMGP4115.JPG.db1dc1792226e6a6e4b895f71651c76f.JPGA couple of the performers from the disco show in Timbuktu (who are obviously used to random).



58P5063465.JPG.f2d73e26ac93e29c11a8ef829f2b3254.JPGActually, it kind of is a construction update. Pretty sure there's a new coaster going in here somewhere.



60IMGP4050.JPG.40e0da4b8891dc70db7d4c5c56ba393c.JPGThe best part of this photo is that it was not staged. I was just trying to figure out which sign to hold up.



95IMGP3977e.jpg.e062c145f7030d20a385fcb3fa589a93.jpgThe stilt-walkers were highly intrigued by #PostAGoatThursday. (And who could blame them?)


In fact, they all wanted in on the act.

It is my sincere hope that this update has made exactly as much sense whether you are on twitter or not.


Regardless, Bryan got his example, and the contest has now officially been launched on Twitter. My understanding is that it will run all season, and that everyone who enters (and does it properly) will automatically win a bag o' crap. Check out twitter.com/ThemeParkReview for more details and/or to see how it's going.

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