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Photo TR: Expedition Europe!!


XLRBR
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A good day (or night) to all of you in Theme Park Review land! As you all may or may not know, a little over a week ago marked the TPR 2010 trip to Europe. And luckily for me, I was FINALLY able to attend! Let me tell you now: it's all I thought and wished it could be and more. If I had the money, I would instantly go on another trip with them. (And I will, hopefully soon!)

Anyway, let's move on to the parks, shall we?

Day 0: Thorpe Park

Day 1: Gardaland

Day 2: Mirabilandia/Gardaland

Day 3: Movieland Studios/Aqua Studios

Day 4: Europa Park

Day 5: Europa Park/Wurzburg Fair

Day 6: Phantasialand

Day 7: Efteling

(Bonus) Day 8: Walibi World

 

Overall, it was the time of my life, and I left with so many memories and so many new friends! Speaking of which, maybe I'll include who I hung out with on each park visit...

 

Nah...there's too much to remember as it as, and I don't wanna leave anyone left out. Besides, you know who you are.

 

Thorpe Park is a nice little park. The entrance to the car park includes a sign using roller coaster tracks -- whether real or not, I'm not sure -- which I thought was pretty cool. Almost the entire park is surrounded by a lake, upon which their newest attraction, the SAW: Alive horror walkthrough, is located. It has a good selection of flat rides, a few water rides, and a couple of rollercoasters. Colossus is a pretty somewhat intense ride for what it's worth. The infamous quadruple barrel roles are mad! Also, the walk to the queue provides TONS of amazing photo ops. SAW: The Ride really lives up to its expectations. It's based on a horror movie, so you want it to be themed as such, and it definitely is. I walked through the queue all alone during ERT and it's pretty darn creepy. The ride itself is definitely one of the better Eurofighters, although it was the first I've ridden. It does offer some hidden surprises in the track that you normally can't see. Stealth was actually pretty good for the type of ride it is. It's definitely got some power in the first launch, and some airtime in certain spots on the tophat and following hill. Although, like most Intamin rockets, it doesn't like to run perfectly, so it was probably broken a total of about a quarter of the day. A fun ride nonetheless. And X:\ No Way Out is just weird. It's even weirder when the park runs it with the lights on (my only impression of it). That's all I have to say about that one. Using the Fast Track tickets we got that day, along with ERT on Nemesis Inferno and SAW: The Ride, I'd say we all got all of the credits in, as well as some rides on the flats and water rides. Overall, it was a good way to sort of "ease into" the official Europe Trip. Anyway...enough of my babble. Onto the visuals! (Note to self: Take more pictures featuring humans and yourself next trip.)

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The day begins with our huge, intertwined group waiting for the park reps to give us perks and an early entrance!

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Heheh...Stealth has bird poop on it...

Perhaps revenge for the infamous bird incident that happened during TPR's last visit?

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A new sign for a new ride!

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Wait...I thought we were at Thorpe Park?

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SAW: The Ride in all it's bloody glory. (Get it? Cos we're in England...)

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Testing...testing...one, two, three...

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"Let the games begin..."

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...with a nice round of the Waiting Game. Luckily the park opened the ride early for us! =)

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The rules of the next game...the ride itself.

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Later in the day, after a front seat ride on Stealth, we head on over to the famous (infamous?) Colossus.

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Colossus through the trees!

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Shortly after, we follow up with a ride on Nemesis Inferno (using our Fast Track ticket of course).

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Its track is quite twisty.

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Stealth stands dormant for now.

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Apparently the rapids here didn't get you very wet. Seeing as we didn't ride, I didn't find out first hand. This won't be the first instance of a non-wet water ride, though...

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No movement here just yet.

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This sign's definitely seen better days. (I blame the shark.)

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Our small group liked Colossus so much that we went back for quite a few more rides throughout the day!

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The surprisingly detailed warehouse holding the mediocre (in my opinion) walkthrough sits on the very pretty lake surrounding the front of the park.

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The barrel rolls of insanity!

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Mmm...loop...

Very firm- and squeezeable-looking.

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When the time came, we headed back over to SAW to re-ride it using our Fast Track ticket.

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Life-sized human shredder.

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Mind your heads!

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One of the many tricks Jigsaw has up his sleeve for you on this ride.

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Back to Colossus to snap some awesome shots. This one proves that the ride does in fact invert you.

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INSANITY!

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There's not much to say about what's underneath that weird pyramid-looking thing...

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Hey, look who decided to start working again!

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Go-ing doooowwwwnnnn...

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I top my hat to you. (Wow, that was lame.)

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No rollbacks here. (unfortunately)

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Brakes!

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Riders leveling out into the airtime hill. Kinda looks forceful, eh?

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I thought it was pretty cool that one of the two trains had the England flag on its hood.

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Riders being shot out at high speeds. (heh)

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Back at Nemesis Inferno, riders enter the deep, dark, dank and damp hole. (heh)

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Interlocking corkscrews!

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Interlocking corkscrews!

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Stealth plummets to the earth nearby.

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Check out all of the faces of INSANITY!

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This looks hauntingly familiar...

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More people temporarily (or sometimes permanently) loose their sanity in the quadruple roll.

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The ride comes dangerously (and awesomely) close to the guests and the ground!

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Big butt, so what.

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Further proof that Colossus DOES turn you upside-down.

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A quick look at SAW's station from earlier in the day.

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This picture says it all...

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Look who it is! Juneau looks with drooling chops at the front seat of Colossus earlier in the day.

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Juneau stands (or poses, rather) triumphantly in front Colossus' final barrel roll of insanity. (also the 10th inversion)

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During ERT, Juneau proves her bravery sitting in SAW's station.

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She even decides to ride by herself! (or that's what she wants you to think...)

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As I leave my last ride of the day on SAW (after chatting with one of the ride ops), the building assures me that indeed, the games have just begun...

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The park really shows off its support for their team with this super neat floral display!

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During our farewell/welcome dinner (at Wagamama!), the TPR members get a cultural credit as Windsor Castle was directly across the street from the restaurant!

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TPR culture credit!

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TPR culture credit!

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TPR culture credit!

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TPR culture credit!

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And so ends a fantastic trip to England after being there for a week, and a funtastic first day with TPR!

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for the official start of the Europe Trip in Italy at Gardaland and Mirabilandia!

Edited by XLRBR
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^Why, thank you very much, Steve! ^_^

 

So, continuing on with this trip report, the next day sees us taking over an airplane and flying to Italy! Once there, we had about a two- or three-hour drive to Gardaland where we met up with apparent fellow TPR member Bruno who gave us drinks and snacks and awesome park perks! Although the park closed at 11 PM (the longest open park of the trip), most of us left at about 9 or 9:30 the first night. The next day we had a relatively short 1 to 2 hour drive to Mirabilandia, where we formed groups of 4 and got V-passes (like Q-bots), which are probably the most amazing inventions ever! Our group got on all of the credits and a few of the non-credits without hardly ever having to wait at all!

Now when it comes the quality of the parks, both of them have their perks. Gardaland is fantastically themed, and can almost be dubbed as the Italian version of Disneyland. Everything there is very whimsical and colourful, and it just makes you feel like a kid again (not that TPR members don't feel like kids to begin with). The things that makes it stand out are its rides more than its roller coasters. With an SLC with a bonus helix (which I decided not to ride), a great and fantastically- (though oxymoronically-) themed Vekoma mine train, a surprisingly smooth and enjoyable Vekoma corkscrew ride, an S&S screamin' squirrel that I still have trouble classifying as a roller coaster, and the world's longest wacky worm, there's nothing too special about its coasters. However, there are a few select dark rides there that are amazing. Ramses, the newly renovated shooting dark ride, was amazingly themed and was a lot of fun. It was almost kind of like being in a movie. I Corsari, the park's knockoff version of Pirates, is located completely underneath a section of the park, which is definitely really cool. The ride itself is also amazing, with lots of theming and random nautical stuff. Many people rode the ride more than once! It also has a Vekoma mad house (a new thing for me), which was definitely one of the surprise hits for most of us. The somewhat different people I hung out with did it on both of days our visit. I'd say it was one of the better mad houses we encountered on the trip, and it makes me wish we had more of these things here in the states.

On the other hand, Mirabilandia is lacking in top notch dark rides, but makes up for it with better thrill rides. Boasting Katun -- one of the best B&M inverts in the world -- and iSpeed -- what I consider to be one of the best steel roller coasters I've ever been on -- Mirabilandia gets a one-up for its rides. The V-pass was also an amazing offer, and helped all of us out tremendously.

While Mirabilandia may not be as intricately themed and pretty as Gardaland, and Gardaland may not have as many thrilling rides, both of the parks are great in their own senses.

 

Now, the reason I'm including both Gardaland and Mirabilandia in one update is because I neglected to take many pictures at either parks (especially Gardaland). The camera I currently have is quite bulkier than your normal handheld point-and-shoots available today, so it spent most of the time in my handy dandy TPR bag. (I'll make a note that it doesn't next time. )

 

That being said, I will now stop my rambling before this gets way too long, and leave you with some pictures! (in no chronological or sequential order)

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Our view from our hotel balcony at night.

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We say goodbye to Prezzemolo temporarily as we head over to...

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Mirabilandia!

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We patiently wait around for our ERT to begin on the fabulous, fierce and sexy...

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Katun!

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Robin and I enjoy one of many rides on Katun during ERT.

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Of course, after ERT and getting our V-passes, we all head over to iSpeed!

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Seriously folks, iSpeed is amazing. Some people describe it as a mix between Xcelerator and Maverick, and some people actually say it's a bit better than Maverick! (I of course have yet to ride Maverick myself.) It's got everything you'd find in a coaster enthusiast's wet dream, and is very re-ridable. It's definitely shot up into my top 5 list of great steel coasters.

I did take way more video of this big red beast than I did photos, but I just haven't taken said video off of my camcorder yet.

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Mike and I (along with some random Italian chicks) smile big for the camera on an intensely fun ride on iSpeed.

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Giant @$$ wheel.

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You may not be able to ride some of the rides if you're fit.

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Silly Italians...you go on a water ride to get wet! (although frankly this one didn't get us soaked or anything)

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Katun lurks in the distance...

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Nerd shot!

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Reset is the park's highly themed shooting dark ride. Themed to a post-apocalyptic New York, the ride sits in its own little corner near the edge of the park surrounded by quite a lot of scenery (as you will see). The ride itself is definitely interesting, but I suggest that you ride it at least once without shooting; trying to play the game distracts you from all of the stuff going on around you. (I, of course, only rode it once while shooting.)

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I *think* this billboard knows where we need to go.

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NYC and Italy go hand-in-hand!

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It's actually quite a long walk to the ride's entrance.

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The Statue of Liberty (does she have a normal name?) doesn't look too happy here.

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This picture needs no caption.

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There's something obviously bothering her...

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The Statue doesn't look too happy here either.

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This explains a lot of things...

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Cloverfield, anyone?

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Doesn't look too good for them...

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Ker-SPLASH! (This was probably the wettest [boat] ride in the country.)

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This statue seems to have something sinister planned by the looks of his smirk...

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"Ridiculous, Lucky Captain Rabbit King; Lucky Captain Rabbit King Nuggets are for the youth!"

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Artsy shot?

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And with that, we say goodbye to Katun and Mirabilandia. But more Gardaland awaits us yet!

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Back at Gardaland for Day 2, we are reminded that the world's longest wacky worm is sponsered by Uhu Glue. Uhu -- for all your sticky deeds. ;-)

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Beneath this tree lies a ride of mystery and madness...

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Back over near Ortobruco Tour (the wacky worm) and sitting within the track of Magic Mountain (the Vekoma corkscrew thing), people fall head-over-heels on the odd contraption that is Sequoia Adventure.

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Anth, Morgan, Thom and I experiencing major hangtime on our "Adventure".

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The park reassures you that this specific meat product is NOT dog. (Donkey and cat are still possibilities, though.)

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Anything that combines mummies and robots is awesome in my book.

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As the sun begins to set, a few of us head over to the park's newest attraction Inferis, a year-round horror walkthrough.

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Divv, Larry, TPDave, Brad, Anth and I wait in line in hopes of getting spooked. (Robin and Scottish Steve, for whatever reason, decided not to join us.)

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Empty barrels = fantastic theming!

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Overall, Inferis was actually a pretty good walkthrough. There's a bit of a surprise, I'll say, before you even start the walkthrough (ask TPDave). It's probably one of the best year-round scary walkthroughs I've been through, and I would certainly recommend it. Do keep in mind, though, that these European walkthroughs require you to keep your hands on the person's shoulders in front of you... [ ;-)? ]

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And with that, we make our way out of Gardaland for the last time.

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That is indeed the name of the park.

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This car doesn't look too happy, does it? (Or does it?)

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You and I know a few people who would count this as a credit... ;)

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Back at the hotel, the plaza shines with happiness and frivolity.

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Blurry proof that the plaza did indeed shine. (Also blurry proof that I need a new camera.)

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These things are creepy, and I always imagined them coming to life when they stopped pouring water out of those vases.

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The children sure do love them some Prezzemolo!

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And I leave you with this random shot of our room.

 

I hope you enjoyed part two of this update, and advise (slash plead) you to return tomorrow for an inside look at the most screwed up park in Italy, Movieland Studios! Stay tuned!

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^Thank you as well, Brian!

 

Moving on with our Italian adventures, the next day brought us to a very strange park only about 5 or 10 minutes away from Gardaland: Movieland Studios! Movieland Studios is kind of like Italy's take on Universal Studios, and it's totally messed up and awesome. It's got a Police Academy simulator ride that is epic, a Tomb Raider top spin sort of thing that gets you soaked, a Tower of Terror-themed drop tower, a sweet "backstage tour" that offers some cool effects and surprises, a really good (and really long) horror walkthrough, and a Terminator 5-D (yes, 5-D) game, among other things. It even has a screwed up water park right next door! Overall, even though our day was short, we all seemed to have a good time dwelling in the weirdness that was this park! On to the few photos I took during the day!

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They've got entertainment out before the park even opens!

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For those people with short term memory.

Where are we again?

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Their super rad (and super effed up I've heard) water park neighbour. A lot of us spent most of the day at Movieland Studios and had no time for the water park (like me), while some of us spent most of the day there! I'll have to spend more time here next time...

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I wasn't lying about the game being in five D. I can't wait to see how the future 9D games are!

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TPR members board the Tomb Raider ride dry...

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...and exit the ride not-so dry.

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A flurry of wet and dry TPR-ers head over to the Bront'O'Ring "roller coaster" for some major whoring.

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Of course, it was broken when we got there. I took it as a warning; the ride could foresee the future...

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Yes, most of us are this desperate.

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Their new, up-and-coming Schwarzkopf ride stood tauntingly dormant (and under construction) right next door.

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Like the awesome people they are, the park got the ride up and running for us as soon as they could.

Let the whoring commence.

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They're smiling to hide how filthy the act that they're doing is.

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This is what Scooby Doo looks like in Italy.

Keep out of reach of children.

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We all wait to experience the game in all of its five dimensional goodness. (We died on our go.)

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This looks remarkably familiar...

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One last picture of the old-school (and broken-copyright themed) Intamin drop ride.

 

And so ends our day of awesomeness at Movieland Studios and our trip to Italy! Stay tuned this week for our long bus trip through Switzerland (and the 3rd longest tunnel in the world!) up to Germany for the fantabulous Europa Park! ^_^

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Great pictures Davon! I keep hoping for a good one of me And the ladies that went on I-Speed with us had to apparently suffer for their front seat rides (remember the one getting off and having to hold on to one of the rails at the ride exit because she was feeling not well?) See you on another trip!

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--Larry: Thank you! I think I might like your's a wee bit better.

 

--Mike: Thank you as well! I think those two should've just eased into the front by sitting where we sat. It was almost exactly the same!

 

--Joey: I suppose you could call it a show. But now it's more like part show, part stationary shooting ride. There's lots of red lights on the targets during the shooting part, so it's very confusing. :-S

 

--Ben: I was going to ride it towards the end of the day but the line was too long. I'm pretty bummed that I missed it!

 

--George: Thank you, and you're welcome! Prepare for a new update....now!

 

Now that I've replied to all of the comments, let's go on a bit of a journey!

After our jam-packed, quick day at Movieland Studios (and Aqua Studios), we had a long, 7-hour drive from Italy, through Switzerland (and the Gotthard Tunnel), and up to Germany, followed the next day by a full day at the amazing Europa Park including morning ERT on Blue Fire!

A little bit about Europa Park: it was easily the highlight park for a LOT of the people on the trip. Everything there is highly themed (each area is specifically themed to a European Country), they have many fun (and many unique) rides (being that the park is owned by the Mack family), a great atmosphere, great operations, and lots of other great things!

We had a two-day trip there as well, so this update will consist of the trip there, the first day at the park, and a look around the amazing hotel we stayed in.

 

You can find more info...along with the pictures below!

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Looks like we're not in Italy anymore!

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On the bus ride there, among all of the awesome stuff we watched, my wallet finds its home. ^_^

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I'm likin' this change of scenery.

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If you stare at this picture long enough, a lake monster will appear.

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Ohh it only gets better from here.

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At our dinner stop, most of us eat the most expensive meal we'll ever have. (15 euros for spaghetti?!)

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We also see oversized Chupa Chups...

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...and oversized containers of Nutella.

They must serve giants as well as humans here!

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We also get another culture credit!

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The friggin' Swiss Alps!

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More random greenery around the Alps.

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Beware! More lake means more lake monsters!

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A beautiful sunset over a beautiful country. :-)

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Segue to...our room at Hotel Colosseo! (I slept with the horses.)

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I smell irony! (And it smells like cigarette smoke!)

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"The next day..."

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Another in the line of water rides themed to Atlantis.

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Pirates of the Atlantis!

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Poseidon splash!

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People wet!

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Typical woman...

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Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

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This robot greets us at Eurosat's entrance.

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Venturing into the unknown...

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In case you forgot the currency Germany uses, the ride reminds you.

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Think of the ride in this building like Clive Barker's take on "The Haunted Mansion".

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Proof!

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A spooky face stares down at you in the queue.

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Aha! But I reveal his secret!

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Football with cars? (carball?) Yes, please.

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The Globe Theater finds its way to Germany!

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I wonder what this is a float for?

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Another one of Europe's "Pirates" rip-off. I can't remember how it ended 'cause I fell asleep...

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Dypo?

(Or maybe I've been doing it wrong...)

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Back at the hotel, we've been transported back to Italy!

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It's all about the detail.

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Lots more detail. :-P

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A-ten-hut!

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Oh yeah...this is totally in the lobby.

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During dinner that night, we're all surprised with an awesometastic mariachi band performance! (Complete with a crazy German guy to get us all worked up!)

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Random details around the hotel.

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BOOBS!

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This fountain was really fun to watch, so I just sat there for about ten minutes just watching the kids play in it. (That's not as weird as it sounds.)

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Can I count this as an Italy culture credit?

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The fountain does its thing, and the kids do their's!

 

I hope you enjoyed this longer update, and stay tuned for the next update about the most epic day of the trip: more Europa, the Wurzberg Fair, plenty of German beer, and a bus ride of drunken shenanigans! Don't touch that dial!

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At our dinner stop, most of us eat the most expensive meal we'll ever have. (15 euros for spaghetti?!)

 

Food is quiet expansive in switzerland... and if you have eaten a restaurant at the Autobahn it´s even more expansive.

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Nice TR so far. I see you manage to capture me a few times.

Btw, wasn't especially happy that you checked us out like that. Was hoping to snooze a few more hours.

Lucky I woke up with an uneasy feeling.

 

/Edward

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Remarkable trip report and photos you have there! Thank you so much for sharing them with us, you're getting to do a lot, and at such a young age you'll really appreciate this later in life, look back, and wish you could do it all over again and again. Some of the ones I most enjoyed were the Swiss Alps. I've never there but it looks so majestic and I would love to travel over there and see. One of the many places that I would like to see in my lifetime!

 

The photos that made me laugh the most were the guests standing up on the raft ride (I work on one so this was amusing to me) and the Hollywood Tower at Movieland. Fun stuff.

 

Hope your trip continues to go well and thanks for the updates and photos so much!

-Justin

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Davon, This was a great trip report. It was so much fun and looking at the pictures brought back forgotten memories. I wish I could have spent more time with you to get to know you better. Let's do it again soon. Start saving $$$

Thom

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First off, I sincerely appologize for not updating this thing sooner. I've just been quite lazy lately! :-S

Secondly, I shall reply to all comments collectively with a huge THANK YOU, as I made it to the front page! (thanks Bob!) ^_^

Thirdly, I'll reply to some comments that I feel need replying to :

--Ben: There's a lot of things you don't know about me!

--Morgan: What can I say? That's just how we roll.

--Edward: Hah...sorry about that. I was about to be late for the bus to Walibi World and made a split-second (and admittedly not very wise) decision. :-S

--Robin: Hi Robin! I wonder what you and Morgan had in your room anyway?

--mightbeawannabe (you'll have to tell me your real name hahah): When I arrived in London about a week earlier I remember we drove past it and the flag was flying. I honestly can't remember if it was flying when we ate dinner.

--Justin: Thank you very much for your kind comment! It was definitely the time of a lifetime (especially at my age), and I'll remember it forever. Switzerland was probably my favourite country we "visited"; it's truly breath-taking when you're there in person! Also, people were standing up on pretty much all the raft rides we saw! They're very lenient over there in Europe!

--Thom: I'm sure we'll have plenty of chances to get to know each other more when I'm in college! Also, I'm gonna be doing a lot of saving with all the different things I wanna do in the [hopefully] near future!

 

Now that that's done with, let's move on to the next update! This update chronicles what a lot of us thought to be the most epic day of the entire trip! The day started off with another day at Europa Park with ERT on Eurosat (with the lights on!) and surprise ERT on Silver Star. After a few more hours at Europa, at around noon-ish or so, we packed onto the bus where we headed over to Würzburg, Germany for the opening day of the Würzburg fair; this included ERT on Olympia Looping! The ride was definitely pretty intense for me, but I still rode a good few times. (peer pressure)

After that we headed over to the authentic beer tent where we had at least 12 tables reserved for us for the entire night. Ordering was definitely confusing for most of us, and the entire dinner portion of the night was quite hectic; thankfully, Morgan helped out a LOT, so make sure you send him your regards!

During our food consumption, we were served heaping glasses of German beer while a band came and the beer tapping ceremony began signaling the official opening of the fair. It also meant free beer! (while supplies lasted)

As the day/evening rolled on, some of us stayed at the tent and drank our brains out, while the others (like me) went into the fair to check out some of the fair "attractions" that the fair had. One of those attractions included "Psychodelic", a trippy walk-through where you wear colour-bending glasses, a ghost train that had live actors, a frisbee-like ride with awesome airtime, and a spinning ride where the cars exceeded 90 degrees!

As the day came to a close and night started to fall, we all somehow made it to the bus on time, and were on our way over to the Phantasialand hotel. On my bus imparticular, a lot of people were drunk off their @$$es, and I had to sit in the back (by Vekoma Erik) where almost everyone was drunk. So, eventually Erik fell asleep, and before we left, Larry and Scottish Steve traded places, so lots of fun was had. We took pictures with Erik "asleep", Steve (the non-Scottish one) gave me and BeatleBen mohawks, I moved to the very back of the bus and sat next to Scottish Steve and listened as he and Karl riled each other up and "pseudo-argued", Hans moved up and down the bus taking a picture of EVERYONE (except me) after asking their nationality and if they were nice, we had a very short rest stop (where, of course, some drama went down, but I shall not speak of it (as I wasn't involved)), and we got back on the bus where we all fell asleep, Scottish Steve eventually resting his head on my shoulder. (awww (hahah))

We got to the Phantasialand hotel at about 1 AM, and, thanks to Robb and Elissa, quickly and easily got to our rooms and got to sleep for the next day at Phantasialand! (next update )

All of that taken into account, you can see why the whole day was soo effin' epic.

 

Now I'm going to be in Vegas for the next couple of days, so if you can all hang on for a few more days I promise I'll put up the pictoral part of this update this weekend! Stay tuned!

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