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Chadster's Vacation Adventures: Final Edition!

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Another part of my preWCB tour included a visit to Sea World in San Diego. I was able to assist PAL in getting rid of a free park entry ticket that he had (Thanks again dude!!!!!) to obtain not only a credit on Journey to Atlantis, but to take in my last American Sea World credit. Lot's of construction going on on the new Turtle attraction, some rehab on one of Shamu's pools, and the mystery area blocked off. So, here we go.


YAY!!! Sea World!!!!!


So, the big blue wall surrounding a massive area of the park, wonder what's going on in there, hmmmmmm




Some rehab work going on in the observation/dine with Shamu pool.



On Orca chillin





It's ok little star fish, I'll take care of you.


Some turtles hanging out


The Easter Bunny


Wonder what's going on in this, the new Tortise home


ahhh, dirt pushing.





I love watching these guys, always the showmen, or show offs, beggers, hams, etc.



playing dead


ahhhh that feels gooood


maintaing peace and order


and my time here wouldn't be complete with out a classic shot of JTA


Acceptable amount of wetness in the rear, not so much in the front. This was a great ride, better ride wise than Orlando, but is lacking a clear storyline. Orlando has a nice story line, but short coaster portion. It was my first time on an elevator boat lift.


Bye Sea World, thanks and see you next year for Manta!

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Oh wait, they're sea lions! I was so hung up on whether seals really "ork" that it didn't even occur to me that I got the sound right, but the animal wrong.


SFDK trainer: "Pop quiz! Does anyone know the difference between seals and sea lions?"


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I skipped out of WCB @ SFMM for a few hours on 3.19.11 for a quick credit run to Pacific Park. Turns out, glad I did as the L.A. Marathon pickup zone on the 20th was quite near the park. I ended up making the round trip in just under two hours.


I classify Pacific Park as a kiddie park with a baby morgan coaster. The park seemed to kept well for the most part. The view from the pier was also nice.


The coaster was nothing more than a credit, the brief amount of speed it picked up on the hop was nice, a good beginner coaster for sure. So no more chat, here's the pics, afterall, who reads anymore unless it's a photo caption?


Welcome to Santa Monica Beach


Home of muscle beach. Strange, I feel right at home...


Also home of the original hot dog on a stick.


And home of Pacific Park


These hard working guys deserve some credit


Walking towards the park


Inside this building you will find wooden horses running in circles


told ya so


walking towards the entrance


not sure about this combination


so here we are.


grey skies, but colorful rides


spin and puke kiddie balloons.


down here you can win stuffed things


like a whale


a banana


or a fat wax stick


Wheel that's shown on their webcam


a covered swinging ship, a first for me


Queue line of the coaster


Lift hill






station shot. 5 bucks will get you two spins on the west coaster.


this is the part the train picks up a brief amount of speed, like maybe up to 20 mph


Maintenance area


spare parts


so there you are, a quickie trip to Pacific Park, not much there, but enough to satisfy families with kids in the 13 and under crowd


We will leave the park with this beach shot, adios Santa Monica!

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I've thought about visiting this park for a while, primarily for the credit. It seems like a pretty nice and colorful park. But, like you said, there's not much for the teenage and adult crowd, so if I stopped by I'd get the credit, ride the swinging ship, and leave. Great TR!

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After arriving at the ghetto port (John Wayne) on 3.17.10 for WCB, I made the drive Universal Hollywood. Having had pre-purchased my ticket, which magically turned into a season pass, I thought I would save some time. Much to my surprise the line to process the season passes (as a result of EVERY pass sold that day being a season pass) was horrifying. Wasting time in line is not something I enjoy. Lucky for me, after about 15 minutes of waiting, a staff member noticed I was alone, asked if I had a pre-purchased ticket, and sent me off to a different area to get my SP, score! I was in and out, and in to the park in no time, kudos to that staff member. My time in the park was short (less than 4 hours) as I was to attend the St. Patricks day taping of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. That was an awesome experience in and of itself getting to witness a new world record for the most leprechauns in one room.


Since I left my camera in a free fluffy bunny, I have nothing to share on the Mummy. But I have to say, I really enjoy that fact that while the two rides are similar, they are not the same. I liked the hands coming from the ceiling, but missed all of the fire leading up to the free rolling portion of the ride. To me, that part of ride carried more speed and was more enjoyable than Orlando's version. But in the end, I have to give the slight edge to Orlando, as it had FIRE!!!


My first stop was the Studio Tour, an item on my bucket list and the wait was short. Jurassic was "temporarily" down during my time at the park, and I was somewhat disappointed I couldn't ride it. The park is for sure smaller, with fewer offerings than Orlando, but I liked that. It was enough to get your park on, but not overwhelming. I felt as if you could relax and enjoy the park rather than worry about how much time you had left to be able to hit everything. No need to worry about that here.


So, enough of my pointless commentary, and on to why you are here, the pics!


Welcome to Universal Studios, home of the spinning metal contraption.


Shrek looked cool, although it had a long line, too long for me on this trip. Had I more time, I would have checked it out. Moving on.


I was sooo excited to be here that I almost shot my rocket


In Spanish even


There it is!


Whoopie says down there you will find that A$$ hole Jimmy Fallon trying to take my job.


Whoopie also said she was looking forward to being demoted to tram car attendant.


Sweet Hi-Def screens




maybe this is why the ride is closed, the boats were swimming off!


Cowboy's and Aliens, now there's a winner!


Random set, my brain at this point was in overload.


I asked these guys if they could help to Save TEH BIG DIPPER, they laughed.


So onward to setville. They have done a remarkable job re-building after the fire. Built so that they glisten in Hi-Def, in person they look way different than on film. And in a good way. Looking at my pics I'm like wow, so that's why they built it that way!


So yeah, to those in SoCal, this is no big deal, to us Okies, it's a nice change of pace.


Now, we have had movies filmed here. One most of you probably haven't heard of called "The Outsiders"


Details were everywhere. The drive-in theatre where part of "The Outsiders" was filmed burnt to the ground last year.


We've also had Jessica Alba here filming some movie with Casey Afflack, she spray painted some billboards, got her into some trouble.


Work was going on on practically all of the outdoor sets.


YAY!!! Kong 3D!!! This was awesome. The projection screen was HUGE!!! The film was put together well and the Dino's were practically in your face!!! This is COOL!


Bad attempt at trying to take a picture of 3D


Moving On






ok, that was lame.


random crap


Time for Mexican Food? Is the the Espanol part of the tour?


hmmmmm, WTF?




ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just kidding.





We stopped here so I could get a hair cut.


so yeah, did I mention my brain was on overload?


oh noes!!!!!


there was some story about some famous movie film in this part where the water moves out of way, honestly, I could care less, it gave me the opportunity to get cool shots, like this one.


A local film school was filming some local something another.



random prop crap


time to go fishing


For sharks? People in Cali do things funny.


this was actually pretty lame. so lame in fact that is was funny.


but it had fire


so that made it cool again.


They were filming desperate housewives, so the narrator had to "go off mic" was it for show or not, I say for show.


heck, lets just end it all now.


The actor was a nice touch to this part of tour, without him, it would have been blah.


I'm glad they left this, I thougt it was cool.



Uncle Buck???


YES!!! That movie was great. Too bad John died so young, he was a great comedian.


Now thats a big a$$ screen!


shameless movie promotion.


and this tomb thing was, well, unintersting to me. This is the end of the studio tour. Worth the trip, I wanted to take it again and sit on the other side of the tram, but not enough time. But hey, I have a one year season pass, I can just come back and do it again.


moving on


that's what I say


What do we have down here?


whatever it is, lots of work going on...


ahh, of course, Transformers!


So yeah, I was looking forward to a comparrison on this ride.


but, it wasn't meant to be


still cool looking


i'll just use my imagination and guess at what it would be like to ride.


What kind of convention is this?


walking around on my way out


So yeah, it was a good, short trip. If you are coming for the credit, it's an expensive credit, so why not spend the day, then grab a bite at city walk.


I'm a fan of this version of city walk, why you ask? It's more compact and streamlined. While you still have to walk a mile to get to the park from the garage, I found I liked the overall design better.


So, that's it for Universal Hollywood, thanks Universal for a good time.


Hope I didn't put you guys to sleep!!! Next trip is in 1 week, smaller parks, stay tuned!!

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Damn, if I'd known you were heading to Pacific Park I woulda went, still don't got that credit. I hate the beach, which is why it took me forever to get the Belmont credit.


Kong is pretty awesome, I would love to see it as a stand alone. I love the studio tour, but I've done it like 100's of times and I really can't take more than one ride. I think I'm heading out there today, maybe, or Sea World...Pacific Park?

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It's not for show when they have a quiet zone at desperate housewives. The sound definitely carries onto Colonial Street. They usually turn down the volume on Jaws for the same reason.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Greetings fellow TPR members and welcome to another installment to my 2011 trip diary.


Having been thru Amarillo, Texas on more than one occasion, I never stopped to visit Wonderland. So, this past weekend (4.9.11) I made the trek once again from Tulsa to Amarillo for the sole purpose of visiting the park.


Nestled inside Thompson Memorial Park and near the Amarillo Zoo, Wonderland Park is in the home town of the FREE 72oz Steak!, Amarillo, Texas. After doing some research on this park several years ago, I learned that it had ties to what was my local park, Bell's, as well as Joyland in Kansas. I will share some of those geeky facts that I came across below.


Wonderland sports some classic kiddie and adult rides along with a few modern rides. Wonderland would surely be KT approved with their frog hopper, and they are 100% Chadster approved with their Himalaya. Their classic wild mouse, Cyclone, is 100% hand operated and the Texas Tornado is a classic in and of itself. The park also features a hand built dark ride, a drop tower, and the prototype Shoot the Chute.


If you're traveling down I-40 going cross country or making your way to Six Flags, don't forget about Wonderland, a park that I can say is one of my top 3 underrated parks in the U.S. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the video and pics!



Welcome to Wonderland, where you can find something for everyone.


Even Tiger Woods would like Wonderland. Perhaps he could finish under par.


Toot Toot, oh wait, maybe it's choo choo, or chuga chuga chuga chuga, oh heck, it's the parks train, people!! And you know those annoying crossing bars at other parks? You won't find them here, they just slowly move the train out on the walkway, they figure eventually you'll get out of the way, if you were smart anyway


Here is the midway from the south entry (at least I think it was the south entry, I'm directionally challenged at times) Did you know Wonderland opened originally as Kiddie Land in 1951? Well, it did.


So here we come to the Wonderwheel. Looking good actually.


Bumpity Bump Bump. Ok, so you're asking, when did the park become Wonderland? Well, reports are about 1960ish when Mr. Roads began adding adult rides.


Sweet looking bumpity bump bump cars


Here's the parks short log ride, but it wasn't open quiet yet. A few rides were being a little cranky, but maintenance was quick to get them sorted out and up and running.


Log ride station. We will come back in a bit when it's open.


So off to a dark ride that brings back tons of memories. Fantastic Journey was hand built and designed by the park owner. Basically it's a Wacky Shack knock off. But you know what, it's way cool inside.


He built the rotating drum by hand and coloborated with Bob Bell of Bell's Amusement park on several features. For instance, the water fall at the end of the ride (not operable on my visit) was taken from Bells. The bus and air horn was original to Fantastic Journey and was later used in Phantasmagoria at Bell's.


The vehicles for the ride were made by Bob Bell. As in most Wacky Shacks and knock off shacks, the dip from the second floor was removed due to ride vehicles getting stuck as a result of objects finding their way onto the track. These rides are also subject to people getting out and wandering around. Bells had people who were lookouts, but Mr. Roads charged extra for the ride, which turned out to be a good idea as it kept the vandalizm down. The ride remains an upcharge at $1.50 per ride.


So yeah, now you can see why this ride brings back memories. Some similiar tricks, but serverl different ones, such as a guy getting buzzed in an electric chair. Sweet.


So after my dark ride adventure, I went to ride "Big Coaster" the first of four coasters that the park has.


This ride does not have a modern drive system in the station. Ride ops push the train from unload to load, and then out of the station. The ride op uses a foot lever to release the holding break.


From there, we found this creature. He's part of the parks logo. Notice that he is sitting on a mushroom, which is food, and food equates to...well you know


Nice and colorful tilt-a-whirl


Now we play a little game called WTF is it?


So, WTF is it? It kinda looks like a craftsman drill with one of those mother's car wax wheel cleaner attachments on the end.


Or part of a claw game


But seriously, WTF is it? The park calls it the Texas Intamidator, but it doesn't look like it's made by Intamin. So, like with food, if I don't know WTF it is, I stay away.


Next I headed to the back of the park and found the Himalaya. The Himalaya just happens to be the most awesome flat ride ever built. Fact.


They were not running this one backwards :( But, they were varrying the speed so they get bonus points.


Next door is the prototype Shoot the Chute which is code for it gets you soaking wet, which is code for Dan to stay far far away. Don't believe me, check out my video above :)


They also have these two dingy rides.


Next we will check out the West End, aka, the rear end of the park. Here they have three rides, out of which I will show you two. Want to see the third? Sure you do, it's in the video ;)


So here is Mr. Drop Tower. He's an unpcharge. Hmm...another similarity to their partner parks. A Partner park is defined as group of small park owners who pool their knoweledge and abilites to help each other out without any investment or other interest in each others parks.


They were only running one car today, which, is all they needed.


How about some Hornet action?


Maintenance was lubing her up. Want to see it in action? Yes you say? Well, I'll give you a guess where you can.


Random picture.


So after I had my share of fun in the rear, I moved back towards the front to check out Cyclone, a 1968 wild mouse.


My car had a fully adjustable butt pad. No lapbars, no seat belts, sit in and hold on.


It really wasn't a bad ride, and guess what, ZERO modern day improvements. This ride is 100% controlled by hand. Hand braking, hand dispatching, all with giant levers by one single op.


Gotta respect the op to be on his game. The timing is critical and the op has to stay sharp and know what's going on all the time. No sleeping here. Nice ride.


So the Big Splash Log Ride was running


So, I thought I'd get the traditional shot of the log splashing coming down the chute.


So here we go, wait for it


wait for it....


wait for it some more....


Big Splash! Well...


not so much. This thing travels aways before it comes off the track and into the water. First one I've seen like it.


So time to go check out Texas Tornado, but first, a stop by the old school scrambler.


So, here we are. Note the hours, opens at 2pm Sat/Sun, and 7:30p all other days.






Double Loopy! This was a good ride, espically for it's time period. Not a lot of air, but the second loop into the tunnel is awesome. It's also an upcharge at $3 per ride.


Sky ride, duh.


On the way out I stopped by to check out the gay pride ride.


With cloudy bottom. Runs a great ride program, it's also a trailer model, for those that want to know.


Finally we walk by some horses running in circles.


Getty up


so yeah, there you have horses running in circles.


So there you have it. Wonderland is a great little park offering something for everyone. Again, I think it's a much underrated park, and although it doesn't have a stealthy B&M or 400ft tall Intamin, it's still a very fun place. Food and beverage is affordable. Picnic tables are abundant just outside the park gates for those who like to go that route. Plan to spend about 4 hours, but you could spend longer depending on your re-ride wants.


Thanks Wonderland for a most excellent time!

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I didn't realize how much influence Bob Bell had on all those Wacky Shack's. He had a similar relationship with Joyland and their Wacky Shack. He must have had a side business in creating those cars and parts at some point.


Wonderland looks great. For a small park, they've got a fair coaster collection and a modest assortment of rides. Pity they slap upcharges on everything though.

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I agree, the upcharges are a bummer, I'd rather they up the ride pass a few dollars. But, it's working for them so whatdaya do. The rides appeared to be on excellent condition. The park owner clearly has focused on a clean, safe, and fun environment which is highly respctable.

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Awesome trip report. I actually really liked visiting this park when I went to many parks in Texas in 2007. When I went it was before the "West End" of the park and the Green Hornet wasn't there yet. I really like the new color scheme for the Texas Tornado. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed Fantastic Journey and I am extremely excited to see it's still there in all it's fantastikness!


Awesome stuff!


Jimmy "Wonderland's one of my favorite small parks" Bo

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