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biosciking's So Cal Thread


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Amazing Photo TR as usual. I always like how you get straight to the point and that you're focused on giving your opinions of the rides. Hopefully I'll go to SWSD sometime in the future as I live in San Diego County.

 

Also, about the wettest water ride in So Cal, I would expect it to be Pirate Reef (Legoland California). Look it up and you'll see how you get drenched on it.

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Also, about the wettest water ride in So Cal, I would expect it to be Pirate Reef (Legoland California). Look it up and you'll see how you get drenched on it.

 

Yeah, Pirate Reef hadn't been built yet during my last visit to Legoland (spring 2011), but I just looked up a video and it does look pretty wet. I would also add that Perilous Plunge at Knott's used to be drenching, though I guess we can't count that one anymore.

 

SeaWorld San Diego continued...

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Right next door to Wild Arctic is Penguin Encounter, so you can essentially go from the North Pole to the South Pole in just a few steps.

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Penguin Encounter is a nice, dark, chilly exhibit, so it's a great place to get out of the bright, hot sun for a while.

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The emperor and king penguins seem to be most people's favorites.

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I always enjoy watching them walk.

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It's also fun seeing them slide around on their bellies, as well as leaping into or out of the water.

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SeaWorld has (I believe) seven different penguin species. These are adelies.

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Also housed within the Penguin Encounter is a separate exhibit featuring Arctic birds (yep, we're back in the Arctic again). Puffins are probably the most abundant birds here.

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Murres are also well represented.

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You can find even more penguins outside the exhibit.

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These are temperate rather than polar species, so they do just fine in So Cal temperatures.

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Very cute.

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I believe there are two different penguin species (Humboldt and Magellanic) in the outdoor habitat.

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Aside from penguins, SeaWorld is pretty famous for another animal that's black and white and swims. What could that be?

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Showtime!

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One Ocean is the current incarnation of the Shamu show.

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The Shamu show is of course all about watching SeaWorld's killer whales demonstrate their behaviors.

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Some pretty impressive behaviors are showcased.

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Side flop.

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I will say that One Ocean, despite being heavily advertised as the new Shamu show (debuting in 2011), felt kind of generic. I actually preferred the storyline of the previous version, Believe.

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The Shamu show always has a conservation message about how to care for the planet and its inhabitants, and that was no exception here, but it really didn't add anything new.

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My intention is not to knock the show, as it's obviously SeaWorld's most popular attraction. I just thought I'd point out that if you've ever seen any version of the Shamu show before, you've seen One Ocean.

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Still, it's always amazing to watch these animals do their thing. I should add that, even though the trainers are no longer allowed to enter the water with the whales, they still interact with them very closely.

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The audience is taught the proper training signal for "splash."

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Shamu is happy to oblige.

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Don't forget the other side of the stadium.

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A few more behaviors to go; these always get plenty of "oohs" and "aahs" from the audience.

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Ooh.

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Aah.

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Pretty neat.

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Simply having the opportunity to watch these incredible animals is the highlight of the show for me; the theme they build around it is very secondary.

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If you haven't had your fill of Shamu, you can always head down to the underwater viewing. It's really great to be able to get this up close to the whales.

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The current dolphin show, Blue Horizons (debuting in 2010), is the complete opposite of One Ocean. Whereas that one was more of a rehash of previous shows, Blue Horizons is a completely revamped dolphin show, significantly different from anything I've seen before at SeaWorld. It's actually quite an elaborate production, more like something I would expect from a Disney park.

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The story focuses on Marina, a girl who has always dreamed of interacting with sea and sky animals.

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It doesn't take very long before she's interacting with them.

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The dolphins demonstrate several "simple" behaviors during this introductory part of the show.

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Plenty of great views of dolphins.

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Once more of the cast starts to join in, the behaviors get a bit more complex. It's always cool to watch the trainers get propelled around the pool by the dolphins.

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Dolphins interacting with the trainers and each other.

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There's more to Blue Horizons than just dolphins. This parrot as well as a few other birds soar onto or past the stage.

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The parrot morphs into this character!

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The parrot woman flies over the stage, pool, and even the audience.

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There's an interlude where divers get to demonstrate their skills.

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You could argue that this portion is just a glamorized theme park high diving show, but many of the jumps are pretty darn impressive.

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These guys come out and do some bungee acrobatics.

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SeaWorld's pilot whales then make their entrance. The park has three pilot whales, but the youngest has yet to be incorporated into the show.

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Marina of course interacts with the whales.

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Awesome animals.

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Awesome skills. If I'm not mistaken, SeaWorld San Diego is the only place in the world where you can see pilot whales perform, so it's a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

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Not to be outdone, the dolphins have some more skills of their own to show off.

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Nice moves.

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It wouldn't be a dolphin show without dolphins leaping.

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There's plenty of that here.

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And of course the trainers get to ride the dolphins.

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Marina gets to ride too.

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I've heard some complaints that Blue Horizons is too heavy on humans with not enough dolphins. I disagree. Take a look back at the last several pictures and you'll see how much dolphin activity there is in this show. The fact is that it's quite a long show, so there's also time for other things as well, and that's what makes it unique. Just look at everything that's going on in this picture; that's Blue Horizons. I applaud SeaWorld for introducing something totally different to the park. (One final note - the show includes an original score that is extremely catchy. I'll be the first to admit that it's very heavy on the schmaltz, but I defy you to not have it stuck in your head for the rest of the day after listening to it throughout the show.)

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Nearby is Dolphin Point.

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Dolphin Point is an opportunity for park guests to get up close and personal with dolphins.

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Dolphin Point used to have a feeding booth where you could purchase fish for the dolphins at select times throughout the day. This is no longer available. Instead, SeaWorld is now doing something a bit different here.

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Dolphin trainers are almost always present at the exhibit these days.

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The trainers are constantly interacting with the dolphins, having them demonstrate learned behaviors, teaching them new behaviors, etc.

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During the process, park guests get kind of a mini dolphin show right there in front of them.

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Because this is still the dolphin encounter exhibit, the trainers frequently bring the dolphins around for everyone to touch and even practice giving signals to.

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Pretty neat.

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This could very well be my favorite picture of the entire bunch.

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Some more skills to demonstrate, right in front of the park's guests.

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My consensus on the new format of Dolphin Point - it's great. While some may be disappointed that they don't get to feed the dolphins anymore, you can always get your feeding fix at the sea lion and ray exhibits. The purpose of feeding the dolphins seemed to be a way to get them to come up to you so you could touch them. You can now do that anyway, for free. Plus, you never know, the trainers may still let you throw in a fish reward. All the new activity (both dolphin and trainer) is what's made this exhibit more exciting than it ever was in the past.

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Also part of Dolphin Point, located in a separate exhibit, is the sea otter habitat.

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Next up is Sea Lions Live, the sea lion and otter show.

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Sea Lions Live is a "spin-off" of Saturday Night Live. The theme of the sea lion show does change every few years, though the basics always remain the same. This works well because 1) they never really promote an updated sea lion show as a brand new attraction and 2) I really don't want the show to change anyway, as it's perfectly funny and enjoyable as is. In Sea Lions Live, Clyde and Seamore spoof several television shows, including CSI.

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Smile.

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Applause.

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The sea lions present their version of Survivor.

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Don't forget that O.P. Otter is also part of the show.

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For the finale, there's Dancing With the Stars, er, Sea Lions. A little swing action here.

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Followed by the tango. The giant bow tie cracks me up.

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Sea lion stud.

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Some hip hop to close the show. Fun stuff; always a must at SeaWorld.

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To go along with the sea lion show, there's Pacific Point.

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Pacific Point is your opportunity to feed sea lions and seals. Like the ray feeding exhibit, each tray of fish costs $7, and you get about five or six fish per tray. It's certainly not cheap, and it's very easy to go through all of them very quickly, but it's definitely a lot of fun. I usually end up forking over money for two or three trays. Keep in mind that the feeding booth is not always open, but I've found that it tends to be open more often than the ray feeding booth.

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Many sea lions have figured out little tricks and poses to get you to throw your fish to them.

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I charge one fish for my pose.

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I'm getting impatient.

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I know you've got fish up there.

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The seals, though smaller than and outnumbered by the sea lions, have their technique for obtaining fish all figured out.

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How can you resist a wave from a seal? That's worth at least two or three fish.

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Some sea lions look so proper and regal.

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So proper.

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So regal.

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Others...not so much.

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Not a care in the world.

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Peek-a-boo.

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You do have to beware of the "evil" birds that hang around Pacific Point. The birds pictured here, as well as the gulls, will aggressively try to steal your fish. A lot of people get angry with or scared by the birds; I actually kind of like them. Either way, you do have to admire their determination (after all, why should we so willing feed one animal but try so hard to avoid feeding another?).

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I'll protect you from the evil birds.

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Nap time.

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So much for protection against the evil birds. Let's let the sea lions sleep. A few more shows and exhibits still to come...

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SeaWorld San Diego concluded...

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The final daytime animal show at the park is Pets Rule, which features quite a large number of trained dogs, cats, birds, pigs, and a few others.

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There's a segment with an obstacle course race between a couple of the dogs.

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The pig gets to "run" the course as well.

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Next is a segment featuring the pets showing off their various behaviors. It's all themed to sports / play / exercise.

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The golfing dog hops around the entire stage on two legs.

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Tennis cat zigzags through her trainer's feet.

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The jump roping dog is impressive.

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Even more impressive.

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Poor piggy is the unwitting butt of many of the show's jokes. Overall Pets Rule is very entertaining. It features a large cast of animals, they're all adorable and well trained, and the show can actually be pretty funny.

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Next up is Cirque de la Mer, an aquatic-themed Cirque du Soleil-style show. The show is only presented during the summer months, and it actually closed up shop a few weeks early this summer to make way for something new next year. I'm not sure why it couldn't have continued for the remainder of the season, especially since very little notice was given and nothing much seemed to be done during those few weeks of closure. In fact, reports are now suggesting that Cirque de la Mer will return next year, in which case the early closing was completely unnecessary. Anyway, time will tell I suppose...

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A sampling of the acrobatics involved.

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What impresses me the most about these Cirque shows is the effortless athleticism displayed by the performers.

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You'd have to have abs of steel to pull off these moves.

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It's kind of neat that the show uses the bay itself as the arena. The skyride travels behind the show (above the bay), and there is this rather large set that occupies much of the arena's space.

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Most of the action, however, occurs on this smaller set up front. The whole thing is one large trampoline on which the performers get to jump around.

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And jump off. Cirque de la Mer is a pretty cool show, and I'll be happy if it returns. If it gets replaced, I hope it's with something that's at least equally as good.

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Located directly underneath the Cirque de la Mer stadium is Aquarium de la Mer; it consists of a long dark room populated by many small individual exhibits, all lined up in a row. I imagine the name of this one will change if the show changes, but my money is on the aquarium itself remaining.

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I always think of this aquarium as housing many of SeaWorld's tropical and exotic specimens. The lionfish is a good example.

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Yes, I sold out and included a picture of the clownfish and anemones.

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A sunflower star.

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Jellies.

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The stonefish, my favorite. There are plenty of other interesting animals, including octopuses and lobsters, that have their own exhibits in Aquarium de la Mer. Many are just too dark to get good pictures of though.

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Very close by is World of the Sea Aquarium. This one consists of a large rectangular room with four separate exhibits (one on each side of the aquarium).

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Taking up one entire wall is the kelp forest exhibit, featuring plenty of leopard sharks.

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A kelp forest wouldn't be complete without garibaldi.

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Opposite the kelp forest is the coral reef exhibit.

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Another of my favorites, the pufferfish, calls the coral reef home.

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On one end of the aquarium is a tank with some rather large and impressive gamefish (though I can't imagine catching and eating these). This is a humphead wrasse.

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A tarpon.

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A grouper.

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Yep, that's a mighty big fish.

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The fourth and final exhibit in World of the Sea Aquarium contains more of the park's sea turtles.

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I believe these turtles are being rehabilitated, though I'm not sure why they couldn't be in the Turtle Reef exhibit. Anyway, everyone seems to enjoy sea turtles, so the more the merrier I suppose.

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Right outside World of the Sea Aquarium is the California tide pool, where you're allowed to touch anything you can get your hands on.

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Sea stars are of course the most abundant animals, though there are additional tide pool residents as well, including sea urchins, sea anemones, and snails.

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Next up is the Freshwater Aquarium. This is a circular room with a couple of large central exhibits and many smaller exhibits that wrap around the periphery.

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Four-eyed fish.

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Nope, not another sea turtle. This time it's a freshwater turtle.

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An electric eel.

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Yet another favorite of mine, the arowana.

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I love the way they look.

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Tilapia. Not only do they look good, they taste good too!

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The piranha will avenge the tilapia.

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Without a doubt, the most popular aquarium exhibit is the Shark Encounter.

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This is of course where park guests get the opportunity to pass through an underwater tunnel surrounded by sharks.

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Though there are several different species represented, the sand tiger shark looks the most menacing and is therefore probably the most popular.

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It's just like the third Jaws movie.

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As previously mentioned, the Bayside Skyride travels over Mission Bay. This is a round-trip ride; you don't exit on the opposite end as that's not even in the park anymore.

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From the Skyride, you get a good view of the now-shuttered Cirque de la Mer stadium.

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Heading back to the station. What's really great about the Skyride these days is that it's included with park admission. It used to be an upcharge (a couple of dollars); now everyone can ride. This can make the line significantly longer, but that's a trade-off I'll take.

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Also no longer an upcharge is the iconic SeaWorld Skytower.

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I've always liked the location of the Skytower and its load / unload platform. It's a very peaceful, serene, relaxing setting.

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With Manta, Journey to Atlantis, Shipwreck Rapids, the Skyride, the Skytower, the Wild Arctic simulator, and Riptide Rescue, SeaWorld San Diego has a reasonably decent collection of rides. It may never be SeaWorld Orlando or SeaWorld San Antonio in the rides department, but it's not bad.

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The Skytower travels up to a height of over 300 feet. From the top you can see Belmont Park, downtown San Diego, and even the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Plus there are of course great views of the entire park itself. This is your best opportunity to get a look at the complete layout of Manta.

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The Skytower becomes very patriotic at night, serving as the backdrop for the nighttime Shamu show, called Shamu Rocks.

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Shamu Rocks differs from One Ocean in that the sappy sentimental music of the daytime show is replaced by a more rock 'n' roll soundtrack.

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There's even an approximately five-minute interlude in the middle of the show where this guy comes out and does a solo jam on his guitar.

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A couple of the female trainers get their groove on with the guy. It's really weird.

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Still, as I said with the daytime show, it doesn't matter how they theme it. The point is watching the killer whales do their thing, and that's always awesome.

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Following the final Shamu Rocks show of the night, SeaWorld puts on its fireworks display, called Into the Blue. The music the fireworks are set to is taken directly from the Blue Horizons show. Therefore, if you've finally been able to get the Blue Horizons song out of your head after being stuck in there all day, it'll get put right back in for the rest of the night.

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You can watch the fireworks from pretty much anywhere in the park, though Shamu Stadium probably provides the best viewing (maybe slightly obstructed by the Skytower!).

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The nighttime sea lion show, called Sea Lions Tonite, is hands down my favorite show at the park. Sea Lions Tonite parodies all of the daytime SeaWorld shows, starting with One Ocean. Notice that One Ocean is so generic that there's really nothing more to parody than the show's rotating screens.

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It's lots of fun to make fun of One Ocean.

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Everybody is One big happy Ocean family.

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Time to mock Pets Rule with a game of frisbee.

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Not even Manta is safe from spoof. O.P. Otter is too short to ride.

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Clyde and Seamore are tall enough though.

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How did you like the ride?

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Hurl.

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Last but definitely not least, it's Blue Horizons time.

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It's all in good fun, but it's interesting that SeaWorld is willing to recognize how much ridiculata there is in Blue Horizons to parody.

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Here comes that theme music again.

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"Dive into the moment."

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"See how floating feels."

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It wouldn't be a true spoof of Blue Horizons without the parrot...

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...or the character it morphs into.

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Sea Lions Tonite had me doubled over with laughter more than once. Really funny stuff. Because it's only presented during Summer Nights at the park, I highly recommend visiting then.

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Well, that's it. I had a great couple of visits, SeaWorld. See you next summer!

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  • 1 month later...

SpeedZone in the City of Industry is a family fun center with a major emphasis on go-karts. Five different tracks are located on the property (four for adults and one for kiddies), while two mini golf courses and an arcade complete the attraction lineup. Prices vary for the different go-kart rides, and there are plenty of different combo packages available. The best deal I found is called the "Pit Pass," which allows you one session on each of the four adult go-karts and one round of miniature golf. This works well if you want to sample everything, plus you can purchase it in advance online for $20, which is a great discount compared to the individual prices. If you purchase the Pit Pass at the park, it is a bit more, but still a good value. Beware that this may be a seasonal offering only, but I'm not entirely sure.

 

SpeedZone is also referred to as Malibu SpeedZone by locals, and this name appears at the park entrance and at the dragsters (the park's top attraction). SpeedZone's online homepage refers to it alternatively as SpeedZone Los Angeles (there is apparently another location in the Dallas area). However, all other mentions of this family fun center, both at the park and online, simply call it SpeedZone, so I will do the same. Let's take a look.

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The entrance to this racing-themed family fun center. The arcade is inside the building, but all of the other attractions (the go-karts and miniature golf) are located outside.

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The park's most popular attraction is the Top Eliminator Dragster.

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Top Eliminator's dragsters are on a track, so there is minimal work required of the driver to control them. It is actually very similar to a launched coaster.

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Despite the fact that the ride is very controlled, you are still responsible for the outcome of your race. Drivers do have to push the accelerator at just the right time and with the most force to gain the best speed.

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The speed is actually quite thrilling; these things can hit 70 mph in 3.5 seconds if you punch the accelerator correctly. There's no shifting gears manually, but there is a button on the steering wheel to push midcourse that will shift the dragsters automatically. You've got to time that just right to get the perfect boost. After the finish line the cars slam to a pretty abrupt halt and are slowly returned to the starting gates. Three races make up one session, so you get a few times to practice or to simply enjoy the thrill.

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And they're off.

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One car burning rubber, one car eating dust.

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A photo finish. I found the dragsters to be great fun. Though they may look kind of intimidating, they're really appropriate for most ages (older kids as well as adults; there is a 56" height requirement).

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The second major attraction at SpeedZone is the Grand Prix.

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The Grand Prix is reminiscent of formula or indy car racing. Three circuits make up one session here. Your time is displayed after each circuit, so you know exactly what to shoot for during the following circuit.

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There is no direct racing here. Although the goal is to of course beat your own times and everyone else's times, the cars are well spaced apart so that you essentially have the course to yourself.

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There's no banking at all to the curves, so you have to take the turns with caution to stay on the track. This is the type of go-kart course where you could really benefit from riding over and over, so that you learn exactly how to brake and accelerate on each turn. This is also the most "demanding" of SpeedZone's attractions; riders must be 60" tall and have a driver's license.

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Next up is the Slick Trax.

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Slick Trax looks like your typical go-kart ride, with multiple cars racing at once.

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However, as the name implies, the track is very slick, which leads to "drift"-style racing. Turning too abruptly will cause your car to spin out. While that can be fun in itself, spinning out tends to send your car into the side rails, where it gets stuck. You then have to wait for the ride operator to free you.

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I really enjoyed this one. I was proud of myself for maintaining control of my vehicle well enough to only spin out once. Fortunately (if two go-karts crashing can be called fortunate), there was another kart right behind me when it happened, and it slammed me back into place! Slick Trax does have a 60" height requirement, but it does not require a driver's license.

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The final adult course is Turbo Track.

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Turbo Track is your standard go-kart ride, with slight banking to the curves and minor changes in elevation.

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I'd probably recommend riding this one first. It's a good starter, but might not seem that exciting after the other three. Don't get me wrong, it's still fun. If it was a stand-alone go-kart ride it would be perfectly acceptable. However, at SpeedZone it has to contend with three other very unique tracks.

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Turbo Track is also the only course to offer double-seater vehicles. Drivers must be 58" minimum, while passengers must be 40" minimum. Notice that all courses at SpeedZone do keep track of individual car times per lap.

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The final (and newest) track at SpeedZone is Lil' Thunder.

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This one is just for racers between 42" and 54". A nice addition for budding thrill seekers who've been excluded from all the other go-kart rides.

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Finally, Speedway Golf features two 18-hole miniature golf courses that are nicely landscaped and well maintained and offer the typical mini golf obstacles. However, I took issue with a couple things about Speedway Golf. First, each hole seemed to slope slightly upward the entire way, so that if you didn't get a hole-in-one your ball would roll right back down to the start of the green. Also, there was a handicap exit to the curb that lined each course. While I have no problem with that, the exit opening was almost always located directly behind the hole, so that the ball, if it didn't roll back, left the course altogether! I therefore got pretty frustrated with this miniature golf. It was difficult not because it was challenging, but because it wasn't designed all that well in my opinion. At any rate, mini golf isn't supposed to be the star attraction at SpeedZone. The go-karts are. And all of those make this family fun center well worth a visit.

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  • 6 months later...

Being summer, it's time for my annual Six Flags Magic Mountain trip report. In 2011, I covered the park's roller coasters (which you can find back on page 5). In 2012, I reported on all of the non-coaster rides at the park (see page 7). Is there anything new in 2013 that will produce a different trip report from the previous two years? Of course there is -- Full Throttle.

 

Though Full Throttle was definitely polarizing during its development, I'm glad reactions to actually riding the coaster have been almost entirely positive. I'm also happy to add my review to the "highly recommended" group. The loop and top hat are the major two elements of the ride, so I'll start with them. As almost everyone has mentioned, because the loop is so huge, the train slows to a crawl within it; this definitely leads to the most upside-down hangtime I've ever had on a coaster. With only a lap bar holding you in, it's totally awesome! Though reports haven't been entirely unanimous regarding the airtime during the top hat, I actually found there to be a great deal. While I was a little disappointed during construction of the coaster to see the brakes start midway down the drop, as others have noted, this itself proves to be a unique and exciting element. Lifting upward during the top hat's airtime followed by immediately being slammed forward into the brakes is actually really fun! Who would have thought? I rode the coaster twice, both times in the back (they weren't allowing preferred seating, so I happened to get the back on both rides). I therefore can't say what the front is like, but I'm glad I did at least get to try out the back, as it seems to be "beating" the front as far as rider reviews go.

 

As for the rest of the coaster, the two forward launches are very enjoyable. Not the most intensity you'll ever experience during a launch, but not too shabby either. The dive loop into the mountain is also good, and the backward launch out of it is cool -- more hangtime, plus it adds a little extra to an otherwise pretty short ride. Overall, I give Full Throttle two thumbs up. One review I read described the coaster as a cross between Xcelerator and California Screamin', which I would say is an accurate description, and also a nice pair of coasters to be compared to!

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Here we are, back at Six Flags Magic Mountain. What's that giant loop newly visible from the park entrance?

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Wait, is it a loop or a hill?

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It is in fact a loop...

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...and a hill! Maybe a gimmick, but a pretty interesting and original one at that.

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First things first, we have to get to the loop. The train launches straight out of the station, hitting 70 mph. It's a very fun launch; maybe not the most intense ever, but you'd never know it from some of the riders' reactions. This picture kind of cracks me up.

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The train is sent directly into the 160-foot tall vertical loop, a world record. Even though it's launched to 70 mph, the loop is so large that the train slows considerably for plenty of great hangtime.

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The train later launches again over the outside of the loop for some airtime before slamming into the brakes.

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From a different angle. Do you recognize the location as that of the former Log Jammer?

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What the heck? Brakes down half of the drop?!? Not to worry. It actually works well for this coaster!

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Let's not ignore the rest of the ride. Following the massive loop the train makes a right turn and leaves the Log Jammer site.

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It then crosses over the walkway leading to Superman.

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Passerby actually get quite close to the track and train (and vice versa).

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Next comes the dive loop. Dive loop into what? Where is the train going?

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Into the mountain naturally! This is a cool use of the park's old monorail tunnel. And FYI, the train's position in this pic is about the maximum it reaches when launched backwards out of the tunnel. Another good hangtime opportunity, especially in the back.

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What do you think, forward or backward? Or forward again? It's a conundrum.

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Twisty angle.

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And yes, you do get a brief scream from Ozzy Osbourne in the tunnel during the backward launch. The forward launch in the tunnel then blasts the train out of the mountain...

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...and over the top hat. I noticed that this is a coaster that MANY people ride with their hands up.

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Hands up through the loop. The lap bar will hold you in.

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Hands up over the hill. Enjoy the airtime!

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From the Sky Tower you can follow the entire layout of the coaster. Launch, loop, cross over the mountain, dive into the mountain, launch out of the mountain, top hat, brakes. You can also still see construction equipment throughout the area. This shot was taken two weeks after the ride opened, and while I'm not entirely sure what the situation was on opening day, there is now a cover over the station as well as over most of the queue. And I'm hopeful that the baby trees will eventually grow up to fill in the open space. The forested setting is part of what made Log Jammer so good.

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Since we just looked at Full Throttle from the Sky Tower, let's now take a look at the Sky Tower from Full Throttle.

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This is my attempt at an artsy shot.

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I shouldn't neglect the fact that one other new ride has opened since my last Magic Mountain trip report. Sling Shot is an upcharge attraction located in the very back corner of the park. It's not quite as far back as Deja Vu used to be, but it's as far back as you can get now. Because of it's out-of-the-way location, I'm not sure how much business it gets. I didn't ride it; in fact, I actually had to wait around for 45 minutes just to get this shot! It's a good thing the candy store is nearby!

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But really, this report is all about Full Throttle.

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To sum up, I very much enjoyed it. I'm optimistic that all the naysayers will enjoy it as well. In my opinion, it's a welcome addition to the park's coaster lineup, and I'd rank it as my favorite Premier coaster yet ridden.

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  • 1 year later...

After a two year hiatus, it's finally time to update this thread. (Note that I haven't gone two years without posting a photo trip report; however, I've been more focused on trying to keep up with biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread, which you can find here.) Since I've made a point to do a Six Flags Magic Mountain update each time the park has opened a major new attraction, I certainly couldn't pass this year by.

 

Twisted Colossus became my very first RMC coaster, so it goes without saying I was beyond eagerly anticipating it. This coaster has already had so much coverage that I'm not sure what more I can add, beyond giving my analysis. I'll share most of my thoughts with the pictures below, but I'll start with a few comments here. (Let me also say this isn't the easiest ride to photograph, since it's really only visible from the parking lot, blocked by lots of fencing. I'd also normally take a few shots from the Sky Tower, but it's unfortunately been out of commission for some time.)

 

I visited the park on Wednesday June 17, and Colossus was running three trains consistently throughout the day. I'd estimate the trains raced approximately 50% of the time. I was impressed that it was even that much, as I honestly thought it would be just too difficult to get trains dispatched in time to sync up. It was very common for the trains to be close, but not quite in sync; I frequently noticed the blue-track train start up the lift hill while the green-track train was still on its lift hill, but no matter how much the green train slowed the blue train just couldn't catch up. (Occasionally the green train slowed so much that the blue train actually passed it by, so they still ended up out of sync!) Interestingly, I don't have a problem with this at all. This may sound weird, but I was actually kind of hoping to not race during my first ride. Being my first RMC, I wanted to really concentrate on all the ride's maneuvers without another train being present as a distraction (a very good distraction of course, but a distraction nonetheless). I did get the racing experience during a few rides, and it was great, but I found I enjoyed the ride equally with or without the racing component. I also didn't get the impression that other riders were necessarily expecting it, so they didn't seem disappointed without the racing; rather, it was more of a special treat when the trains did happen to meet up and race.

 

There was a single rider line available (excellent!) so I used it to get five rides in on TC. My first ride was right in the middle of the train, my second and third rides were near the front, my fourth ride was slightly behind the middle, and my fifth ride was in the very back. I enjoyed all five rides, but I can say the back seat blew all the other seats out of the water. I've always gravitated toward the back seat of any coaster, but it really made a difference here, elevating the ride from "very very good" to "OMG WTF." Let me reiterate that I didn't ride the very front row, so I can't comment on it, though I imagine it would be a different kind of awesome.

 

As for the surrounding Screampunk area, it was kind of random, but still nice. The theater's new show is called Kwerk, which looks to be a carnival-type acrobatic production. It wasn't playing during my visit (I believe it has already started, correct? It just wasn't playing during the weekday?), but as long as it's better than the CSI crap I once saw in this theater it will be fine with me. (Honestly, it would be impossible for anything to be worse than that CSI show.) There were street performers out and about throughout the day, riding unicycles and juggling swords, which was a neat extra. I also tried a sandwich from the new Twisted 'Wiches eatery. I had the Scream-wich -- chicken, bacon, pepper jack cheese, sriracha sauce, ranch sauce, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. It was a tad dry even with the two sauces (probably because the bread was quite large and they toasted the sandwiches), but the jalapenos sure gave it a tasty flavor.

 

Anyway, on to the photos...

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We have arrived. I like the tagline "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." That's a nice way to succinctly describe the steampunk theme for those not in the know. I also like that they're trying to give equal press to Scream and the theater.

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Really, though, this is the reason we're here.

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Colossus discovered Jesus this year. Is the ride a religious experience? Only one way to find out...

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I kind of liked the little bunny hops that led from the station to the lift hill -- more interesting than a boring straightaway. Plus it was funny to listen to the reactions of riders who didn't know they were coming.

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It was also entertaining listening to the reactions of riders who didn't realize how the coaster works get all excited when the train reached the green lift hill. Many delighted shouts of "We get to do the green side too!"

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The lift hill still feels very much like the old Colossus -- a very gradual angle, and the trains move up it in fits and starts of slowing and slightly speeding up.

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The clickety-clack of the chain even sounds like the old Colossus. I appreciate that they were able to preserve (whether intentionally or not) some of the nostalgia of the former ride. While heading up the lift hill, looking out to the parking lot, you could actually forget for a moment you're on a new and different coaster.

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Once you crest the hill, though, you're brought right back to reality.

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In the front, as the train peeks over the hill, you can't even see the drop at first; that's how steep it is. In the back, getting forcefully flung over the hill and down the drop is roller coaster perfection -- so wonderfully steep and fast.

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On how many coasters do you get to do the first drop twice!?

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A slightly different view to see a bit more of the drop -- it really is a great one. I also loved the little floater airtime hill located between the drop and the upcoming hill. It's of course taken very fast, and it does provide good airtime (especially in the back).

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The "high five" element is a very twisty part of Twisted Colossus. Because of how tilted it is, even when there is another train racing across from you, it's kind of hard to see it unless you really look up for it.

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Let me use this opportunity to backtrack for a moment and point out the hills leading up to the high five. Coming over those hills (especially on the blue side for whatever reason) was in my opinion the best airtime of the entire ride. They absolutely launch you out of your seat. I loved it, loved it, LOVED IT!

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How about the drops leading away from the high five? I'll start with the blue drop, which definitely does provide the expected airtime. I think the most significant point about this blue drop, however, is the awesome headchop effect as the train dips under the green track. The green track is of course doing its already infamous double down, which looks so warped and crazy but unfortunately just doesn't quite provide the extreme airtime that a great double down should. While I will say my final ride on the coaster in the back seat made this element significantly better, I still felt this was the one missed opportunity on the coaster. It sure looks cool though.

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Here's a different shot of the first drop, more to point out the elements going on in front of it, the blue track's airtime hill (yet another one!) and the green track's "top gun stall."

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The blue airtime hill is fantastic (as are all of the blue airtime hills!). The green top gun stall is also a very enjoyable element. It was curiously the least intense, most relaxed and comfortable part of the entire ride, which I actually really liked. It felt so natural, just casually traveling above the blue track and train below, like you weren't upside down at all. I'm also glad they went with this "stall" rather than another barrel roll, adding to the coaster's variety.

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The blue side did get the barrel roll, which is probably the most intense element of the entire ride. It whips you through fast and forcefully.

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The last part of each half of the ride is the double up, which does a better job than I was expecting at giving a few final moments of airtime. As the blue track transitions to the green lift hill, it has to dip under the green track's brake run, which is another great headchopper moment.

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While it seems to be claimed that the green side is the more extreme half of the coaster, the blue half gets my vote. Except for the barrel roll, the blue track is simply airtime followed by more airtime followed by even more airtime. The headchopping effects are also only present during the blue half. I noticed a little less airtime during the green half, and the top gun stall, while lots of fun, isn't as extreme as the barrel roll. Don't get me wrong here -- both sides are a blast, and they compliment each other extremely well. I'd just give the slight advantage to blue over green.

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I need to take a quick timeout from Colossus to point out the other new coaster that has opened since my previous Magic Mountain update. In 2014, the park added their fourth kiddie / junior / family coaster, Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers.

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A friend and I decided to be credit whores and ride this, only to be refused because we didn't have any children with us. I would not normally complain about this, except that nowhere does it state that you have to have a child in order to ride this coaster. The ride requirements (posted at the front of the attraction and on the park's website) state that you must be 42" to ride alone, or 36" to ride with an adult, and that's it. Again, it wasn't like I really wanted to ride this or anything; I just didn't like that the attendant was having a power trip and making up rules. Especially since this picture shows two older kids (maybe not adults) riding together without a young child.

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Anyway, this trip report is about Twisted Colossus, so back to it. I'll finish up by saying (a bit hesitantly because I know many may not agree) that X2 is still my favorite coaster at SFMM. I think it's going to be difficult for anything to top X in my book, as it's just so unique and intense and extreme. Having said that, Twisted Colossus would easily be number two. It's a fantastic addition to the park, and a fantastic addition to Southern California in general. I'm so glad we've now got an RMC coaster in my neck of the woods!

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  • 11 months later...

Time for my annual trip report from Six Flags Magic Mountain, this year focusing on the newly renovated Revolution. Like the rest of the coaster enthusiast community, I was ecstatic when it was first announced that Revolution would be returning to trains without the painfully unnecessary over-the-shoulder restraints. When it was later announced that the ride would be given a virtual reality treatment, I was torn. This isn't a fad that I felt all that interested in, but I was curious to at least try it, and it was nice to know that you wouldn't be required to partake in the VR experience if you didn't want to.

 

I decided to make my first ride a "classic" ride, without all the virtual reality. A single rider line is offered that doesn't allow you to wear the headset, but it's great for skipping the slow-moving line if you don't want to wear the headset anyway. Also, by using the single rider line you have a pretty good chance of getting a front-row ride. The headsets apparently need to be calibrated using the back of the seat in front of you, so the first-row seats are always filled by riders without headsets. As for the ride itself, the smooth new trains and lack of headbanging are oh-so-appreciated, a significant improvement as far as that is concerned. Otherwise, though, the ride feels pretty much the same. As has been noted by others, the coaster hasn't been sped up at all, so the slow spots from before (cresting the lift hill into the first drop, threading the loop into the final spiral) are still present.

 

My second ride was a virtual reality ride, so for this one I did have to wait in the normal line. As has already become quite known for all of these VR rides, the line has more or less slowed to a crawl. There really aren't many instructions regarding the use of the VR headsets (there is a sign toward the beginning of the line, but without physically having the headset at that point the instructions aren't terribly useful), so the ride operators have to do almost everything for you -- they put your headset on (right before you take a seat) and secure all the straps (once you're actually seated). You can imagine this makes load and dispatch times a little ridiculous. A line that would have taken half an hour for the "old" Revolution now takes an hour and a half for the new Revolution.

 

My headset ended up not being fastened as well as it could have been, so I had to hold it the entire time to keep it in place rather than sliding down my face. Even doing that, the images were very shaky and blurry and not well focused. Watching a POV video of the ride in advance, the comments all indicated that the video didn't do the actual experience justice. All I have to say is thank goodness I had watched the video before riding; otherwise I probably wouldn't have had a clue what I was seeing. The shakiness and blurriness didn't make me sick (they made me more frustrated than anything else). Still, the heavy headset did kind of pull my head forward during the loop, which is exactly what you don't want your head to be doing during a loop. I therefore wonder/worry about this whole VR experience on other Six Flags coasters more extreme than Revolution (which is pretty much all of them).

 

To summarize, I give a positive review to the new Revolution without VR, but once the virtual reality gimmick is added my review becomes much less positive. I will try it again, but I just wasn't up for waiting another hour and a half in line to do so during this visit.

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The iconic Six Flags Plaza looks even nicer than before thanks to Revolution's spiffy new paint job.

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The coaster has never looked better.

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The bright, fresh color scheme really does pop -- red train, white track, blue supports.

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Very patriotic. Though I think the red train works with the other colors best, the white train actually fits in quite nicely too.

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It's kind of funny watching a train filled with riders -- two "normal" riders up front, followed by a bunch of riders wearing headsets that make them look like Cyclops or one-eyed minions.

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I think the virtual reality addition could have POTENTIALLY made the ride more interesting (the Independence Day-style theming of fighter jets battling alien spacecraft is a decent theme, and the maneuvers experienced on the headset were perfectly synced with the moves of the coaster). It's just that the headset was so awkward and out of focus that the ride was infinitely more comfortable without it.

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Anyway, despite those complaints, there's no denying the coaster's visual appeal -- it looks great.

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I'm not sure how these people are managing to keep their headsets on without holding them up. I sure couldn't do it. I wonder if theirs are less blurry than mine was too.

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This sprawled-out Schwarzkopf coaster traveling among the trees along the hillside remains classic Magic Mountain. (Too bad the Sky Tower hasn't also received some TLC so we could get back up there for a bird's-eye view of Revolution's layout.)

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A final parting shot. While I went in cautiously optimistic that New Revolution might actually crack my top 10 SFMM coaster list, that didn't end up happening (with or without the VR component). Even though I have reservations about this whole virtual reality thing, I do give the park plenty of credit for breathing new life into an older coaster, much as they did with Colossus and Superman these past few years.

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  • 1 year later...

For information about specific software titles, you could search the

the trademarks at the US Patent & Trademark Office. They have an

advanced search query that may be able to sort by your subject

(computer game software), however this is used by Patent and Trademark

attorneys and will require some learning of structure.

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