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Skycoastin' Steve's 2011 Season Extravaganza!!


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The Extravaganza rolls on into 2011 with plenty of early experiences to kick start the year right. This past week while in Florida I was able to get to BGT twice, SeaWorld, and Boomers, as well as two bonus credits at Old Town. As time goes on I'll edit this post around and add in my future trips, but for now, all I got is the little five day excursion I had this past week in the Sunshine State.

 

Good Will Hunting for Cheetahs, Giraffes, and a Hurricane in the Ghetto!

January 17 - Busch Gardens Tampa

January 19 - Busch Gardens Tampa

January 20 - Boomers, Old Town

January 21 - SeaWorld Orlando

 

Spring Time in the Old Dominion!

April 1 - Luray Caverns

April 2 - Kings Dominion

April 3 - Busch Gardens Williamsburg

 

Chang-ing and Whoring in Jersey!

May 20 - Six Flags Great Adventure

May 21 - Nine Shore parks, including Morey's Piers

 

Cheetah Hunt Opening Weekend!

May 25 - SeaWorld Orlando

May 27 - Busch Gardens Tampa

 

TPR Day at BGW!

June 19

 

Seeking Wood and Wind!

June 28 - Camden Park, Columbus Zoo

June 29 - Cedar Point

July 1 - Waldameer, Conneaut Lake Park

 

TPR Northeast Trip and Pre- and Post-Add On Days!

July 26 - Clementon Park, Morey's Piers

July 27 - Bowcraft Amusement Park, New York City

July 28 - Coney Island

July 29 - Quassy Amusement Park, Lake Compounce

July 30 - Bizarro Bash at Six Flags New England

July 31 - Palace Playland, Funtown Splashtown

August 1 - Canobie Lake Park

August 2 - La Ronde

August 3 - The Great Escape, Magic Forest

August 4 - Six Flags Great Adventure (no pictures), Sesame Place

August 5 - Dutch Wonderland, Dorney Park

August 6 - Knoebels (no pictures)

August 7 - East Coast Bash at Hersheypark

 

Quick Links!

 

Luray Caverns Culture Credit - Page 2

 

Kings Dominion opening day and Busch Gardens - Page 2

 

Mach Tower construction update 4/29/11 - Page 3

 

Six Flags Great Adventure, Green Lantern preview - Page 3

 

Whore on the Shore! - Page 4

 

Mini-SeaWorld Report - Page 5

 

Cheetah Hunt Opening Day - Page 5

 

TPR Day at BGW - Page 6

 

Sweet Sunset and Night Time Pictures of KD, and video of SSS! - Page 6

 

Camden Park and Columbus Zoo - Page 8

 

Cedar Point with Daytime Photos - Page 8

 

Wicked, Crazy, Cool Shots of Windseeker at Night - Page 9

 

Waldameer and Conneaut Lake Park, and a cat! - Page 11

 

Illuminights at Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Page 12

 

Pre-pre-pre-trip Day at Clementon Park and Morey's Piers - Page 14

 

Un-Un-Official Day at Bowcraft, and Pizza! - Page 14

 

The Un-Official Day at Coney Island! - Page 17

 

First official day of the TPR Northeast USA Trip at Quassy and Lake Compounce! - Page 19

 

Bizarro Bash! - Page 20

 

Palace Playland and Funtown Splashtown - Page 22

 

Canobie Lake Park - Page 23

 

La Ronde - Page 23

 

The Great Escape and Magic Forest - Page 25

 

Sesame Place - Page 27

 

Dutch Wonderland and Dorney Park - Page 27

 

East Coast Bash at Hersheypark! - Page 28

 

Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial, Lombardi's Pizza - Page 29

 

Christmas Town at BGW - Page 31

Edited by Skycoastin Steve
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For my first trip report of the year, it's time for something a little different. My trips to Busch Gardens involved more animal interaction than coaster riding/photography, but that's ok! Sometimes you gotta appreciate the finer things about a park rather than just the coasters, and with BGT, there's PLENTY to do besides ride coasters. Plus, when you have a Platinum Pass, you can do whatever the hell you want when you visit since it's not costing you any money.

 

Alrighty, so in case you missed it, my first day at BGT last week was to document Cheetah Hunt's progress, which can be seen here. The return trip on Wednesday was all about the Serengeti Safari and feeding giraffes! We got a few laps in each on the big B&Ms, but as I said before, we were definitely there to feed the giraffes. For anyone that hasn't done this before or might be considering it in the future, SPEND THE EXTRA MONEY AND DO THIS!!! This was by far one of the coolest experiences I've ever had, period. Hand feeding creatures as large as giraffes isn't something you get to do every day, and they were as sweet as anything, too. It was to the point where I wanted to take one home with me, but unfortunately they don't fit in overhead compartments on an airplane. If you have any affinity for animals at all, this is most definitely worth the extra cash.

 

On Thursday, Jen and I made the three hour trek from Winter Haven down to Dania Beach to hit up Boomers. As was showcased in Erik and Smisty's thread, Boomers was what you could call.........ghetto. Half the arcade games didn't work, the mini-golf courses were in disrepair, the dilapidated building in front of the go-kart track was a nice touch, and I had a strong feeling that a future episode of CSI: Miami would fit in perfectly there. However, we were there on a $12 Thursday which meant we got to get unlimited arcade/mini-golf passes, and we paid an extra $10 for unlimited go-karts and rides, as well as the $12 for unlimited rides on Dania Beach Hurricane. Everything was forgettable except our rides on DBH. That ride kicks some serious ass! Absolutely crazy airtime on every hill, and while it had some rough spots, it was still maintained pretty well for being at a shithole like Boomers. Thankfully an outside company handles the operation of the coaster.

 

After we left Boomers, we went to the famous Jaxson's ice cream parlor in town, and me being an ice cream-thusiast, it did not disappoint! If I ever make it back down around that area, the ice cream and the Hurricane are the only things that will bring me back to Dania Beach. We also went to Kissimmee on our way back and credit whored at Old Town, picking up the Wacky Worm and Windstorm credits they have there. Nothing exciting really.

 

On Friday, before I drove back to Tampa to fly back home, I made a quick pit stop by SeaWorld to get some rides on Manta and Kraken (my #1 flyer and floorless). I was able to get four laps on Manta and only one on Kraken (one train operation, slow crew). Both delivered fantastic rides, and as previously stated, Manta has now taken over my #1 flyer spot ahead of Tatsu. I had ridden Manta the year it opened and didn't remember it being as forceful as it was on Friday, but this thing was running amazingly well! I've found that the best place to sit is the left side of the back row. You get a nice yank/pop of airtime coming off both drops, and the pretzel loop is just ridiculous in the back! My one ride on Kraken was front row, and it kicked ass as always.

 

Well that's it for my January adventure into Florida. For now I'll have to keep dealing with this atrocious cold weather until the spring, but five days of warmth was certainly worth it! Pictures to follow soon......

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And now for the pictures, the full album can be seen on my facebook page here.

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Foreign tour groups were the theme of the day on Wednesday.

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What I love about the GP is their strikingly hilarious inability to read "Splash Zone" signs.

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Oh foreigners. :)

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Safari time!

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So handsome! His name was Captain.

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"Strike a pose."

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I wish I had spiky hair running down the back of my neck.

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"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close up!"

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Yummy lettuce!

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This one's feeling left out! I can't remember her name, it was something tribal/African.

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I wonder if giraffes ever wanted to be Toys-R-Us kids?

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Success! Now if only making small children eat vegetables was this easy.....

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Emo giraffe needs more food.

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Emo giraffe is now happy giraffe! Check out that tongue......

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Apparently their eyeballs are the size of tennis balls!

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Jen petting one. The first instruction the tour guide gave was to not pet them on their faces. And what do the foreigners do? Pet them on their faces.

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Looking for more food. If he can't find any, an innocent foreigner would suffice.

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Is it just me or do they kinda look like camels?

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Only thankfully they don't spit.

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Glamour shots by Steve! They paid me in giraffe poo.

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NOM NOM NOM NOM!

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"Aw, no more?"

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This was an Eland that came over to see what all the commotion was about.

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The tour guides told us not to touch them, so what do you think the foreigners did?

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If you've ever wondered to yourself, "Gee I wonder what an Eland's nose looks like from 3 inches away," now you know.

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Time to go!

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"Come baaaaaaaaaaack!!!"

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Family of white rhinos. The tour guide says they have sensitive hearing and can be angered or spooked by sudden noises, so that's why they stay quiet around them. So what does a foreigner do? Start whistling VERY loudly at them.

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Another family of rhinos. I believe there are at least three or four baby rhinos in the park (not counting any ACErs that might have been there that day).

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So I guess there's a new coaster being installed?

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More food?

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MEERKATS!

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Such silly little creatures.

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Whatchu lookin' at?

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Cute!

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Mama Lion #1 is sleepy.

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Mama Lion #2 was playing with this palm frond and carrying it around, but kept tripping over it. Cats are so dumb. They are really dumb. For real.

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Back to see the kangaroos again!

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I guess they're sleepy, as well.

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In case any of you ever wondered, "Gee I wonder what a kangaroo's nose looks like from 3 inches away," now you know.

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Thirsty. Moving on!

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I hope you brought your Glock with you to this trip report!

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At least this was good. I can't imagine coming to this place and having the only coaster there suck.

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A few glamour shots of the DBH.

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With a train this time.

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Obligatory sign picture.

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Getting away as fast as possible!

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SkyCoastin,

 

Interested to hear your thoughts on Manta and Cracken...

 

I hadn't been to SeaWorld in a while when we went so I was surprised to even see the coasters (I did no research) and I had a decent time. Didn't have to wait for the cracken and I rode it like 6 times in a row. Not a bad time overall...

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^Manta is just an excellent ride. It has a lot of positive g's throughout, a terrific pretzel loop (although not quite as good as Tatsu's), great theming, and even some airtime mixed in there in some places. Not to mention the water interaction with the wing dip and the near-miss on the cliff right after that. Kraken has a fairly unique layout as far as floorless coasters are concerned (might have the same elements, but they're laid out differently). It's intense, keeps its speed through most of the ride, and the 2nd loop is probably the best part of the ride. The only real negative is the section between the 2nd loop and the corkscrew at the end, it kind of just meanders along through there.

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Awesome pictures, as usual! I'll definitely be keeping up with this thread, as I thought your 2010 Extravaganza was wonderfully done! I'm really hoping the wife and I are able to go on our planned trip this summer to BG Africa. That place looks amazing!

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  • 2 months later...

Well it's time to dust this old thread off for some more updates!

 

Jen has come up for the weekend and we decided to get a nice culture credit today, that being Luray Caverns in Luray, VA. For anyone who has not heard of Luray Caverns, it's the largest cave system in the eastern United States, and I believe the 3rd largest overall in the country. It provided some pretty spectacular photo opportunities, ones that were not wasted!

 

As for the rest of the weekend, it's KD and 305 2.0's opening day tomorrow, and BGW on Sunday, with the Cherry Blossom Festival to top it all off on Monday. Expect updates every night for the next few nights!

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Skyline outside the entrance. Yes, that's snow on the mountains. Still a wee bit nippy 'round these parts.

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That X is the place where two men discovered the caverns in 1878.

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Far and away my favorite picture of the bunch. This is the reflecting pool, where the water constantly delivers a perfect reflection of the ceiling above it.

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Formation called "Pluto's Ghost."

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Just thought this surface looked really cool in the lighting they had for it.

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Another view of it with more background.

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You can see the "Christmas Tree" in the center of the picture.

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Looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

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Looking straight up at the ceiling while right next to a column.

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Pretty cool panorama of a formation called the "Fish Market."

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Panorama of one of the larger rooms in the caverns.

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Alright, well Jen and I spent the last two days having fun at KD and BGW, and I took a lot of non-standard pictures. Seeing as how I've done huge updates on both parks in the last year, I figured doing a normal trip report was a bit repetitive. There was some new stuff to check out at both parks, which will be included, but other than that, it was two pretty standard days at both parks.

 

Intimidator 305 is most definitely back to its original form, as most of you probably already read in the KD thread. The airtime is back in a big way on the 2nd hill, and the first drop is just as good as it was on opening day last year. The only real difference in that first turn is the blackout is sustained for less time than it was last year (even with the trims). The black straps are perfect for this ride, and I'd love to see more Intamins with OTSRs be retrofitted with these restraints (especially Maverick and Storm Runner). From what I could tell, the turn radius has not changed, just the elevation. The brake run on the final airtime hill is also much shorter, which really doesn't make a huge difference either way. Maybe one day they'll get it to the point where they don't need any trims at all.

 

Opening day operations at KD were much better than last year, the only major coasters that had one train operations were Rebel Yell and Backlot, with Backlot being the only one with the wait effected at all (it was 20-30 minutes all day). Volcano and FoF's crews weren't moving very quickly, but they at least had both trains on the tracks. Drop Tower and Grizzly were both down all day, but it was already expected with Grizzly and I don't really care about Drop Tower. Other than it being pretty chilly and rainy at times, it was actually a really good day.

 

Busch Gardens was its usual awesome self. Everything was running, the crews were doing a great job, the staff was extremely friendly (why can't Tampa be the same way?), and the food was delicious. The new pretzel bakery was open, and we tried those out, which were buttery and tasty! The Festhaus show was great as usual, and every coaster was running very well. Apollo's Chariot remains my #1 B&M hyper, and I don't see that changing, Alpengeist needs a new 2nd half, and Griffon is Griffon. All in all, it was yet another great day at one of the best parks in the country.

 

Lap counts for the weekend:

Intimidator 305 - 10

Dominator - 2

Avalanche - 2

Anaconda, Rebel Yell, Ricochet, Flight of Fear, Volcano, Backlot - 1 each

Apollo's Chariot - 4

Alpengeist - 3

Griffon - 2

Loch Ness Monster - 2

 

Pictures soon to follow!

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Enjoy!

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Looking good on opening day!

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The new turn.

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The point in the turn where the old track meets the new track.

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La Tour Eiffel!

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Shockwave and its newest flamboyant paint scheme.

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Dominator showing SFMM the right way to build a floorless coaster in a parking lot.

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Old 305 track.

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They should chop it up and auction it off.

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The last thing that guy saw before jumping?

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The airtime is back!

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And so is the airtime on the pseudo bunny hop!

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Kinda cool shot I got of one of the flags over by 305.

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Panorama that includes all or part of 11 of the 14 coasters, not to mention some cool looking weather on the horizon.

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Time for Busch Gardens and some lovely tulips!

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My new camera does well with these.

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Red.

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Pansies, named after everyone banned from TPR.

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"Hold up dude, make sure you get my good side."

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"Wait, I'm still turning!"

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"Alright good, you got it."

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This guy is a bit of a loner, he considers himself a one-wolf wolfpack.

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But could it be? Yes, two other wolves have joined, and they are now a three-wolf wolfpack running around the desert looking for strippers and cocaine.

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Pretty flowers.

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I think if I saw an eagle with the head of a lion I would call Ripley's.

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This picture brought to you by Max Immelmann.

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Lonely pink flower.

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Lots of yellow flowers.

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The new pretzel shop!

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Willkommen!

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Inside.

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The pretzels were very tasty, covered with butter and salt and you get the option of a dipping sauce. We chose honey dijon and cheddar. And we had beer.

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Lots and lots of flowers.

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My favorite of the bunch.

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Another artsy shot.

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It's no secret why they win Best Landscaping every year.

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Pretty in pink.

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Can't forget about Nessie!

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We took the River Cruise, it had actually been years since I had done this.

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We now pour one in memory of Gertrude's lost relative. :(

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Back row on the first drop is airtime-filled bliss.

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The bridge is taller than Griffon!

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Methinks they should finish the paint job.

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Yeah, yeah. 90 degrees.

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Mondo splash.

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A nice artsy shot of Alpengeist.

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Alpenloop.

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Hey guys, Jesus just woke back up! So let's get some plastic eggs, fill them with candy, and hide them from our children to celebrate! And then let's make up a story about a giant rabbit to tell our children!

 

Not sure which celebration is more ludicrously off-topic from the "moment" it celebrates: Christmas or Easter.

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Beer saves.

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Stew saves more!

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Ok so we noticed some construction markers in the woods behind Big Bad Wolf's former station, so we went to check out the station to see if we could find anymore clues that Busch Gardens might have left us.

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Clue #1 was pretty ambiguous, although it did tell us that something new is coming in 2012. Something with lightning? These Busch people sure know how to market.

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Clue #2 involved some old BBW footers. I don't see the connection with this and Clue #1. Does anyone have any idea what's going on???

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Ah, he does. I guess we'll see!

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^Just a simple point and shoot, Nikon Coolpix S6000. Absolutely incredible camera for the price range, I've been very happy with it so far. It took a little getting used to since I had never had a Nikon before, but it definitely takes some great shots. The flower photos were all in Macro mode, the camera did all the hard work.

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Once again, another fun filled weekend. Awesome days at both KD and BGW, with BGW taking the win for weather and scenery. The tulips were simply amazing.

 

And of course the hints at the 2012 project were intriguing....especially this one...

 

 

Can't wait to hear more about the plans!

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  • 4 weeks later...

So I made a quick trip down to BGW this morning. Ended up being a complete failure because I only had a couple hours to spend, got off to a late start on the day due to unforeseen circumstances, and then was barely able to actually do anything at the park because of ridiculous crowds. However, I was able to get some pictures of what looks to be the topped off Mach Tower! Enjoy!

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Beautiful day!

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Woah! It's something new!

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Looking good coming into Oktoberfest.

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Woohoo! I was here two weeks ago and all that was there was the frame around the bottom and they were painting it. It's amazing how quickly drop towers can get put up!

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Some stuff going on behind the fence.

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Men at work, although these didn't come from the land down under.

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Lots of work has been done.

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Queue house is coming along nicely, too.

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With the new pretzel place next to it. I was bummed to find out it was closed today. :(

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American flag means it's topped off, right?

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Above the trees!

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Under Alpengeist!

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Never rode Griffon, line was INSANE.

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Ruh roh......

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Weeeeeeee!!!!

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Griffon always provides great photo ops.

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Going down faster than Paris Hilton in night vision.

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Too bad ACE didn't have an event here today, two of them could have gone home with lovers!

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I see Mach Tower!

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Thanks for the good report! I really hope Mach Tower isn't topped off, because that doesn't look tall, at all! I know I'm used to Drop Tower at KD, but seriously is that it? I know it is supposed to be slightly more than 240 feet... Hopefully, it is one of those rides that you seem a lot further up than you actually are...

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Thanks for the update. Usually when the flag is placed a ride is topped off but Mach Tower looks like it could go up another two or three sections. Right now it seems too short to be 240 feet (in relation to where the magnetic brakes are).

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