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Photo TR: The Kiwis Do Texas Midwest 2013


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Andrew and I did our first trip with TPR in 2010 - the epic Midwest trip that took place during a sweltering heatwave, and followed it up in 2011 with the exhausting but absolutely awesome North East/Road to Cedar Point trips.

 

We have definitely caught the TPR trip bug! I really can't think of too many times in my life when I've had more fun than with TPR. Totally random example: Laughing our asses off on the tiny but insane spinning coaster Jungle Twist at Summer Adventures at Fair Park. A fellow trip participant described TPR trips as "summer camp for adults" and that's a pretty apt description to me!

 

After a year off we had to come back for more and since getting to the U.S. is relatively cheap for us, Texas Midwest looked like a great option. It was a fantastic trip with about 50% new parks and 50% re-visits, which made for a nice mix. It was particularly fun returning to Silver Dollar City and some of the Midwest parks. And of course we had to add on as many other parks as we could (like a lot of international TPR people do...), hitting up Virginia, Orlando/Tampa and L.A.

 

I think we might have displeased the Intamin gods, however, as we had a fairly long list of missed credits, including Iron Rattler, New Texas Giant, Shock Wave, Intimidator 305 and Xcelerator. Yikes! You know it's a bad season for the U.S. parks when a large handful of their very best coasters are closed. We are definitely going to have to return to some of these parks very soon.

 

A huge thank you to Robb and Elissa for all your hard work, especially for all those little things you do behind the scenes that may sometimes go unnoticed by the group. You really have this down to a fine art!

 

And a special shout out to our fellow 'delicious alcoholics' Ian and Neil. It was fun drinking, hanging out and Q-botting with you!

 

A Little Bit of Schlitterbahn (scroll down)

The Loneliest Star in the Chain - Six Flags Fiesta Texas (scroll down)

Change of Pace at SeaWorld San Antonio (pg. 2)

Summer Adventures Trumps Six Flags Over Texas (pg. 3)

Off the Beaten Path in Arkansas - Magic Springs & Crystal Falls (pg. 5)

Silver Dollar City Just Keeps Getting Better and Better (pg. 5)

It Hurts So Good - Knocked About at the City Museum (pg. 6)

A Six Flags Day in St. Louis (pg. 7)

Drunk in the Dells - Mt. Olympus & Timber Falls (pg. 8)

I Love Little Amerricka (pg. 10)

A Sixtastic Day at Great America - Shame About X-Flight (pg. 11)

Thank the Intamin Gods for Fastlane - Cedar Point (pg. 12)

Kings Dominion without Intimidator 305 (pg. 15)

Beautiful Busch Gardens Williamsburg (pg. 16)

In Support of SeaWorld Orlando (pg. 18)

A Mistimed Trip to Epcot (pg. 19)

Hustling the Magic Kingdom (pg. 20)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios in One Day (pg. 21)

Storming Busch Gardens Tampa (pg. 22)

Impressed by Universal Orlando (pg. 22)

The Intamin Cable Strikes Again - Knott’s Berry Farm (pg. 23)

 

A Little Bit of Schlitterbahn

Just words for this update as we didn't take too many photos. Check out Marcel's fabulous photo TR of Schlitterbahn here.

 

Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels was a great water park that fully lived up to its reputation for me. I loved the setting along the Comal River and the old school rides and slides. The newer attractions were fantastic too, especially the Blastenhoff slides and Dragon’s Revenge. I also enjoyed The Falls, the park's new, incredibly long whitewater-style ride and found Congo River Expedition a hilarious experience... It just seemed to go on and ON! The 'nude bus' taking you between Schlitterbahn East and West was a little unsettling as you drive right through the township, but it definitely provided a very 'TPR moment'.

 

After a very full day getting far too much sun, we rounded out our day at the swim up bar. Thanks Schlitterbahn for the great hospitality, welcome breakfast buffet and gift bags!

 

The Loneliest Star in the Chain - Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Each park in the Six Flags family has its own personality. For example, Great Adventure is a loud, brash but fun kid, Magic Mountain is a spoiled brat, Great Escape the delicate, gifted one, and La Ronde the bastard offspring. Six Flags Fiesta Texas reminded me of the independent, rebellious child. It wants to do its own thing, much like San Antonio and Texas at large. In so many ways it did not feel like a Six Flags park, and the shows were a good example of that, especially the hilarious Lone Star Nights.

 

The rock quarry setting is stunning, and the park utilises it very well. There is good themeing here too that I assume is mostly left over from the park's earlier days. Six Flags has added a number of rides that really pack some punch, including the decent B&M floorless Superman: Krypton Coaster, a very intense Batman clone and my favourite ride at the park, Poltergeist.

 

Iron Rattler looks amazing and we were all disappointed that we didn't get to ride this RMC re-creation, closed for purely litigious reasons. But I don't want to end the report on a sour note, as the park gave us so much ERT, some of which was added to make up for the iRat closure, and we had a fun day. So, onto the photos!

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Nothing like walking into a park before opening. Ah, TPR trips, how I've missed you...

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The Boomerang has pride of place right in the middle of the park.

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We have our VIP passes and we're ready to ride!

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First ride of the trip was Superman: Krypton Coaster.

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First squirrel of the trip (they're still such a novelty for us!).

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We love a little morning ERT!

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Superman's amazing 145 foot loop.

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The funky turn on the quarry wall.

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The Superman swamp...

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Superman was a good, solid B&M floorless coaster with a bit of kick to it.

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B&M interlocking corkscrews don't do much for me, but they look cool.

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After Superman, the ERT kept coming, with rides in the Fiesta Bay Boardwalk area open to us before the public.

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Somewhat askew on the Pandemonium lift hill...

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These are fun family rides for sure.

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We tried to make our car spin, but sometimes it's just the luck of the draw!

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The park also gave us ERT on Scooby-Doo Ghostblasters which was a good incarnation of the ride.

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I liked the Fiesta Bay Boardwalk area which had an actual wooden boardwalk. Very nice!

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It was great to catch up with old friends (hey James!).

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We got on Poltergeist next... Love that station.

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This was an AWESOME ride!

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I preferred this over the Flight of Fear coasters, which stop you pretty sharply on mid-course brakes absent on this ride.

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The colourful S&S tower, Scream, was a fun surprise.

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It's a combo tower that shoots you up and blasts you back down!

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I loved how some of the rides at Fiesta Texas had a retro vibe.

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The Rockville area of the park harked back to the 1950s.

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Nice themeing everywhere.

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Every theme park needs a Wave Swinger. This one was called Whirligig (did they nick this off Great America?).

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Yup...

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When you're from a remote country like New Zealand you whore out EVERY coaster you possibly can!

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As a log flume enthusiast, I enjoyed Bugs' White Water Rapids, a Hopkins 'super flume'.

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You get totally drenched on this one, and not from this particular water effect (front row...those small dips can really get you!).

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Skloosh!

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Lunch was a great time to catch up with friends (hey Werner!).

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Roxanne and I love cold, delicious alcohol (thanks Fiesta Texas!).

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Another highlight of the day happened in here...

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The Looney Tunes sing the hits of the 80s! (Tweety sang Do You Really Want to Hurt Me!)

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Bugs interacting with the crowd.

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We had other credits to get...

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The strangely named Goliath kicked ASS! Hurricane Katrina took nothing away from this coaster. Probably the most powerful Batman clone I've been on (along with Vampire at La Ronde).

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I spot TPR peeps!

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This was down for a while...but finally opened. Doesn't Neil look SO happy to ride?

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I remember this one being somewhere in the middle of the Boomerang pack, between 'kinda OK' and 'bad'. Why do the public love these so much?!

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It was a fairly quiet day at the park...

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Road Runner Express was a another surprise!

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It's an Arrow mine train...

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...with BIG drops!

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And powerful helixes. We held on for our lives. Great ride!

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Who buys this crap?

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But... WHY DIDN'T I BUY THIS T-SHIRT!!!

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We had a great backstage tour of Iron Rattler.

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*Sigh*

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We also saw the backside of the Gully Washer rapids ride.

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Neil contemplates the awesomeness of Iron Rattler.

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Goddamit!!

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We were led into this mysterious control room...

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...while we waited to catch a lift up the quarry to get some great views of iRat. Whew!

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Amazing lift hill structure.

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The sexy barrel roll.

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It's one crazy looking ride!

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We are going to have to come back to this park...

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I love it when parks build these structures. You need them in places like Texas!

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I haven't forgotten about you SkyScreamer!

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It's not the tallest StarFlyer out there at 200 feet, but definitely provides an unsettling experience as you soar above the quarry wall.

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TPR was given VIP seating for Lone Star Nights.

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This was a fireworks and laser show that took place on the quarry walls. Loved the shout out to TPR at the beginning!

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It was kind of a cheesy travelogue around Texas.

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Go Texas!!

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At this point we felt far, FAR away from New Zealand...

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We ended our day with ERT on Superman and SkyScreamer, which was fantastic at night. Great ending to a great day!

Edited by mattnz
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I was very impressed with how the park took care of us during our visit. It sucks that Iron Rattler was down, but they still did everything they could to make our day the best it could be. Great start to the TR.

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Nice Photo TR. I really enjoyed SFFT this summer, and though its a bummer that Iron Rattler was closed when you were there, it still seems like you guys had a blast on the TPR Texas/Midwest Trip (then again, you pretty much always have a blast on TPR Trips). Looking foreword to seeing more from this trip.

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Thanks for your comments everyone!

 

The next stop on our trip was SeaWorld San Antonio, which provided a nice change of pace from Six Flags. Again, we had some great ERT lined up, including the three big coasters at the park. SeaWorld also put on a lovely lunch for us, bringing out some animals for us to interact with, and great prizes too.

 

Steel Eel was the surprise of the day, and - having ridden Mamba, Steel Force and Wild Thing - I'd rank it as my no. 1 Morgan coaster. (I'm not counting Phantom's Revenge which is half an Arrow and in another class entirely.) It's not too tall at 150 feet but really delivers in the air time department. The third hill was the biggest surprise - your butt is WAY out of the seat at that point - and even after the midcourse the air keeps coming. A very nice coaster, great at the front and good at the back if you don't mind some butt-slamming air time. I hear that some prefer it!

 

We didn't spend too much time watching shows but checked out the One Ocean Shamu killer whale show as we'd never seen one before. The trainers don't interact with the whales as much as they used to, apparently, but it was an impressive show nonetheless. They are majestic creatures, and it was quite entertaining watching onlookers in the 'soak zone' getting completely and utterly drenched! The one thing we found very strange was the salute to the military at the beginning. What has SeaWorld got to do with the military? Oh well, they did also salute 'our allies' so that includes New Zealand too, I guess!

 

SeaWorld San Antonio is a good aquatic park, particularly excelling in the animal department, but I felt they could do with a couple more signature rides. Even a well-themed flat ride or two. I was also expecting the park to be a little more 'lush', i.e. covered in trees, but I guess it's Texas, which is kind of arid, right? This was the point of the trip where it really started to get very, very hot...

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TPR members can be very orderly sometimes.

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Nothing like riding roller coasters first thing in the morning.

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First coaster of the day was Journey to Atlantis.

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While they tested the ride we tried to gauge how wet it was. After yesterday's very wet log flume, Andrew and I pulled out our trusty TPR ponchos...

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The backwards bit was rather unsettling, but I believe this technically makes it a coaster...

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Turns out, Journey to Atlantis wasn't too wet. Mostly got your upper half.

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Next up was ERT on Steel Eel and Great White. I LOVE the look of that queue!

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Steel Eel sails over the midway.

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The aforementioned third hill.

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SeaWorld LOVES the military!

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Another Batman clone, this time themed to a shark, which makes it extra special for TPR.

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TPR members pick their row.

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This wasn't as good as yesterday's Batman clone, but it's still one of the best coaster designs out there, packing the usual punch into it's short but sweet length.

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The park has a rapids ride, which is a great idea in Texas!

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And gave out prizes!

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Roxanne nabbed Shamu.

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Doug preferred the bear.

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They also brought out some animals. (What even is this thing?)

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After lunch we caught the Cool Vibrations ski show from across the lake.

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I have no idea what is happening here.

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I don't want to mislead people, the park DOES definitely have trees. This looked like a nice picnic area.

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Some areas of the park were really gorgeous.

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We wandered into the Sesame Street Bay of Play area to get the kiddie credit.

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Lots of interactive water fountains to entertain the little ones.

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Time for Shamu.

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Killer whales away!

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A beached whale...

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I thoroughly enjoyed watching people screaming in the soak zone!

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In all, a great show.

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We also spent some time checking out the fishy exhibits, a nice break from the blazing sun.

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They had a diver taking photos with people through a port hole.

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And I'll end this TR with a photo of a shark. Thanks for a very enjoyable day, Sea World San Antonio!

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One great thing about having two theme parks in one town is...multiple hotel nights. I'm feeling refreshed and ready to take on SeaWorld San Antonio!

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A full train of TPR peeps enjoying Steel Eel. I didn't realise we snapped Robb in action filming another fantastic POV!

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The back and the front are where it's at.

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SeaWorld put on a really nice lunch for us.

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Some I stayed well away from!

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SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has always done a lot to cater to military families. Busch Gardens Williamsburg also has special offers for them.

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SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has always done a lot to cater to military families. Busch Gardens Williamsburg also has special offers for them.

 

 

Yeah I was going to say, everytime I have been to Sea World in San Antonio they always have a salute to the military members in the audience. San Antonio has a big military presence with Lackland Airforce Base and Fort Sam Houston right in town.

 

Great report! So nice to see other people's pics from the trip so I can see things from different angles.

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I have no idea what is happening here.

 

That would be a flyboard. If I would stop spending my money on admission tickets, bashes, and tours I would totally save up to buy one (and a jet-ski to go with it). The board itself is around $6,100 USD, the optional electronic hand throttle (so the jet-ski can go unmanned) is another $1,800 USD.

 

Hanno, when you get sick of wakeboarding buy this!

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That lunch was awesome! A tasty taco buffet, and then they bring out a Lemur! It was a total win.

 

Not just a lemur! A lemur that took a huge dump, then jumped on your shoulder!

 

Loving the report so far. I think your picture of Steel Eel is one of the few times I've seen myself on a ride. I look like I'm bored for some reason, which is weird, because I really liked that ride. I'm probably just disappointed that I was riding with Jake.

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