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Photo TR: Baby Polar Bears Storm Christmas

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This past weekend I continued to put off finishing my USA trip report (shameless plug - read it here) and took a very quick trip up to the Gold Coast to get some sun and check out what's changed at a couple of my "local" parks since last summer. And I mean very quick - up Saturday morning, back Sunday night!


The parks have really lifted their game in the past few years, adding new attractions all over the place, and this time the key draw was Sea World's brand new Storm Coaster. The coaster section was fairly tame, but has a great splashdown at the end - so I think of it more as a more extreme flume ride. The park have put a lot of effort into theming the ride, and it looks great on the outside. The indoor flume section. which is supposed to represent the inside of an upturned container ship, isn't quite as successful and seems a little empty at present, but that may be partially due to the fact that the planned flame effects aren't working yet. Inside the ride building is quite hot and steamy, so hopefully the park will add some misters or fans at some point to help you cool off while waiting in line. Anyway what really matters is that you do get incredibly wet, especially in the back row!


Movie World was decked out for Christmas, and the park have continued their White Christmas event with its parade, lighting show and carols. Unfortunately due to a ticketing stuff-up I ended up missing out on that part of the night, but it didn't really matter because there was still plenty to do during the day, including marathoning Green Lantern, which is still my favourite crazy compact coaster. Sea World and Movie World are the two best parks in the country, and it's always great to get the chance to visit. Time for some photos!


4:30am. Bus to the airport.


6am. We didn't miss our flight. Hooray!


6:30am. Never get tired of this view!


7:30am. We arrive at the Gold Coast!


No rental car this weekend. Luckily the bus system is decent.


Bus #2 takes us to Movie World.


9am. Still on the bus.


We arrive just before the park opens. Movie World has plenty of Christmas decorations, but mostly it's not over the top.


Always happy to see Superman, especially since it was closed last visit. Arkham Asylum, on the other hand, had particularly slow operations, only running one train every ten minutes or so. Yep, the park is getting 120 people/hour on an SLC. Well done.


Who doesn't enjoy a giant Christmas tree? Gotta love that Superman is actually "pushing" the train too - one of my favourite little details in this park.


Merry Christmas! Lots and lots of lights for the nightly show.


The park had plenty of grandstand seating set up in the hub for the parade. And yes, that man really is wearing a tiger singlet. I'm as mortified as you are.


I think this is supposed to be snow. Either that or Movie World was recently attacked by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.


Even the gift shop has not been spared the wrath of Mr. Stay Puft!


I don't know why so many people line up for the Ice Age show. It's really, really terrible and yet seems to attract the longest queues in the park.


FMX Overdrive is the show the park has brought in for the summer. Aussies are used to seeing these guys at various state fairs and events around the place, they are pretty talented and help to fill a gap in the park's entertainment lineup.


Look mum! No... feet?


The cars from the stunt show get in on the action as well. Not a bad show, but isn't really specific to the Movie World theme - I feel like this would be just as much at home at any random theme park anywhere.


Wild West Falls looking great, and getting everyone soaked.


Justice League is a really fun ride, and frankly better than anything Disney's done in the interactive dark ride department. But can somebody please fix the projector settings so this fills the screen like it's supposed to? Please?


Hollywood Stunt Driver has been completely reworked since I last visited!


No wait, I meant the opposite of that... it's exactly the same.


Explosions are still fun though!


To the seasoned coaster enthusiast Green Lantern may not look like much, but while it's not notably fast or forceful, it certainly gives an insane ride.


The first drop is great - almost like a diving wild mouse!


There are plenty of twists and turns, and the lack of OTSRs just makes it seem all the more intense. I have to fight the urge to hang on on this final roll.


View from the hotel room. The beach + theme park combo makes for a great trip.


Sunday is Sea World day!




"I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille"


If you like Spongebob, you will love Sea World.


Dinosaurs are still here. Saw these all over the USA earlier in the year, but this is the only park I've visited where they aren't an upcharge.


Sea Viper still doing it's Arrow loopscrew thing.


The new hotness. Or new wetness, in this instance.


But first - a baby polar bear!


Awww. Cute enough to soften the hardest heart.


Got milk?


The synchronised swimming display left much to be desired.


Everybody loves dolphins. I do like seeing that the dolphins here have such a huge space to swim around in. There is even a third lagoon behind the stage!


This is a sea cucumber. I agree, it does look a bit like a penis.


The set of Finding Nemo was particularly active today.


Viking's Revenge is now essentially a boat tour of Storm Coaster's footers and supports.


Jet Rescue is a fantastic family ride - can't wait to ride Juvelen next year!


CSI: Sea World still going strong.


Time to check out the fresh meat. This photo is proof that Sea World can manage to run two trains on a ride if it really wants to.


Ride sign.


The story. I wish Full Throttle had a story.


They have really gone all out with the theming, with a heavy emphasis on shipping containers.


More shipping containers. A quick check on eBay reveals they can be bought for about $1500 each secondhand. Very good value should you ever decide to build your own tropical disaster-themed ride.


The theme extends to the gift shop.


And even the lockers. Well, at least they're consistent.


On the right is the upturned boat you're supposed to be entering in the splashdown.


The propeller is a cool little detail.


If this was a Micechat update you'd see even more photos of streetlamps.


So the drop is fairly tame, but picks up enough speed to make it interesting.


You go into a tunnel...


And take a little bunny hop over some raging water. The change in track colour is a nice touch.


The splashdown is all indoors, and gets riders very, very wet. There is a short dark ride section with a few water and fog effects, but it's quite open so the theme doesn't quite carry through. No photos allowed, so you'll just have to come visit and find out for yourself!


So the ship is upside down but the containers are still neatly stacked. This is because the old Bermuda Triangle ride building looks like a 1980s K-Mart and had to be disguised.


Water everywhere! Well done, Sea World, Storm Coaster is a really good addition to the park!

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I enjoyed the Gold Coast parks in 2011, and it looks like they're just getting better. Thanks for the look at a Gold Coast parks Christmas.


Superman, in particular, is a great coaster.

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^^They didn't do anything for Christmas this year, not sure if they have in the past. Because it's already getting into summer and school holidays are starting, this is their peak season, so they don't really need to do much extra to get people through the gate. Movie World's event is an upcharge unless you're a passholder.

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I just realized that every park called Sea World now has a Mack water coaster. Kind of funny seeing how the Australia location isn't associated with the US parks. Storm looks like it's better than the US ones too (well maybe not Orlando, but the other 2 for sure).

It is definitely better than Orlando's. Orlando has outdated themeing that is "okay", but this park went all out with Storm. Plus, I wouldn't have realized Journey to Atlantis was a water coaster if RCDB hadn't told me.

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