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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Gillian's Wonderland Pier- The calm before the Gale Force

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2020

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Blizzard Beach

Epcot, Magic Kingdom, & Animal Kingdom

Fun Spot America- Kissimmeee

Universal Orlando/Islands of Adventure

Disneyland

Disney California Adventure

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Knott's Berry Farm

SeaWorld San Diego

Belmont Park

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Nickelodeon Universe (MN)

Family Kingdom

Pavilion Park/Broadway at the Beach

Free Fall Thrill Park, Myrtle SkyWheel, & Mini Golf

South of the Border/Pedroland

Holiday World

Indiana Beach

Indiana Caverns

Canobie Lake Park

Cedar Point

Knoebels

Hersheypark

Six Flags Great Adventure

Waldameer

Storybook Land

Steel Pier

Land of Make Believe

Gillian's Wonderland Pier

Playland's Castaway Cove

Morey's Piers

Keansburg Amusement Park

Jenkinson's Boardwalk

Casino Pier

Sesame Place

Dorney Park

Kennywood

Six Flags St. Louis

Silver Dollar City

Bigfoot Fun Park

Magic Springs

Frontier City

Wonderland

Worlds of Fun

Kentucky Kingdom

Dollywood

Kings Island

Lake Compounce

Nickelodeon Universe (NJ)

DreamWorks Water Park

Adventure Park U.S.A.

Six Flags America

Quassy

 

2019

Legoland California

SeaWorld San Diego

Disneyland, January

Disney California Adventure, January

Six Flags Mexico

La Feria de Chapultepec

Wildlife World

Castles n' Coasters

Galaxyland

World Waterpark

West Edmonton Mall

Six Flags Magic Mountain, January

Gunstock Mountain + World's Largest Arcade

VR Park Dubai / Dubai Mall

Ferrari World

FunWorks / Yas Mall

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Yas Waterworld

IMG Worlds of Adventure

Global Village

Legoland Dubai

Motiongate

Adventureland (UAE)

Aquaventure (Atlantis)

Wild Wadi

Burj Khalifa & Ski Dubai

Carowinds- Spring

Dollywood- Spring

Anakeesta

Pigeon Forge Fun- Spring

Six Flags Great Adventure Opening Day

Hersheypark Opening Day

Six Flags New England- April

Disneyland Paris

Walt Disney Studios

Disney Village

Parc Asterix

Eiffel Tower

Nigloland

Parc Saint Paul

Lake Compounce

Cedar Point

Conneaut Lake Park

Waldameer

Canada's Wonderland

Niagara Falls

Six Flags Darien Lake

Kings Island

Indianapolis Zoo

John Ivers Backyard/Blue Flash

Holiday World/Holiwood Nights

Kentucky Kingdom

Six Flags New England- Cyborg Review

Canobie Lake Park

Six Flags New England- Goliath Only

Great Escape and Lake George

Six Flags New England- Redemption

Brockton Fair

Story Land- Coasting for Kids

Adventureland (NY)

Adventurer's Park Family Entertainment Center

Luna Park

Deno's Wonder Wheel Park & Coney Island

Adventureland (Iowa)

Arnolds Park

Nickelodeon Universe/Mall of America

Valleyfair

Noah's Ark

Mount Olympus

Funtown U.S.A.

Palace Playland

Knoebels

Dutch Wonderland

Hersheypark- Summer

Kings Dominion

Fun Land of Fredericksburg

Edaville Family Theme Park

Zoomarine

Cinecitta World

Rainbow MagicLand

Gardaland

Mirabilandia

Bakken

Tivoli Gardens

Hansa Park

Hamburg DOM

Heide Park

Toverland

Walibi Holland

Slagharen

Movie Park Germany

Bobbejaanland

Efteling

Parque de Atracciones Madrid

Parque Warner Madrid

Enchanted Forest

Oregon State Fair

Oaks Park

Seaside, Lusse Scooters, and Fascination

Wild Waves Theme Park

Silverwood

PNE Playland

Washington State Fair (Puyallup Fair)

Epcot

Animal Kingdom

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Universal Studios Florida, Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Studios Florida (Part 2- Daytime)

Islands of Adventure (Part 1- Hagrid's Line from Hell)

Islands of Adventure (Part 2- Everything Else)

Magic Kingdom (Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party)

Canobie Lake Park- Screeemfest

Lake Compounce- Haunted Graveyard

Six Flags New England- Fright Fest

Dollywood- Smoky Mountain Christmas

Pigeon Forge- Island, JurASSic Jungle Boat, Alpine Coasters

Gatlinburg Fun- Anakeesta, Haunts, & Rowdy Bear Mountain

NASCAR SpeedPark

Carowinds- Fall

Stratosphere Tower

Adventuredome

Big Apple Coaster (aka Manhattan Express)

Las Vegas and Grand Canyon Touristy Stuff

Six Flags Magic Mountain- Holiday in the Park

Disneyland- Christmas

Disney California Adventure- Christmas

Knott's Berry Farm

Pacific Park

Nickelodeon Universe (NJ)

Six Flags Great Adventure- Holiday in the Park

 

2018

Fun World

Disney's Hollywood Studios, February

Magic Kingdom, February

Animal Kingdom- February

Epcot

Fun Spot Kissimmee, February

Busch Gardens Tampa

SeaWorld Orlando

Magic Kingdom, March

Disney's Hollywood Studios, March

Fun Spot Kissimee, March

Fun Spot Orlando

Luna Park/Coney Island

Lawrence Carnival/Revere Carnival

Six Flags New England Opening Weekend

Kings Dominion

Go-Karts Plus

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Six Flags America

Six Flags Great Adventure

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

Kemah Boardwalk

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

SeaWorld San Antonio

Fiesta Carnival (Wade Shows)

Six Flags Mexico

La Feria de Chapultepec

Six Flags St. Louis

St. Louis & Incredible Pizza Company

City Museum

Branson Mountain Coasters & Lambert's Cafe

Bigfoot on the Strip

Silver Dollar City

Worlds of Fun

PowerPlay Family Entertainment Center

Six Flags New England- Harley Quinn Spinsanity

Sesame Place

Quassy

Lake Compounce

Yokohama Cosmoworld

Universal Studios Japan

Washuzan Highland

New Reoma World

Hirakata Park

Nagashima Spa Land

Parque Espana

Legoland Japan

Higashiyama Zoo

Hamanako Pal Pal

Lagunasia

Tobu Zoo

Tokyo Dome City

Fuji-Q Highland

Tokyo Joypolis

Yomiuriland

Sea Paradise

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo DisneySea

Adventure City

Knott's Berry Farm

Canobie Lake Park

Funtown U.S.A.

Palace Playland

Lake George/Mini Golf

Great Escape

Knoebels

Water Wizz

Atlantic Beach Park

Washington County Fair

Fun Spot Atlanta

FunXcess

Lake Winnepesaukah

Alabama Splash Adventure

Six Flags Over Georgia

Wisp Resort

Fun Fore All

Cedar Point

Columbus Zoo

Kings Island

Kentucky Kingdom

Beech Bend

Holiday World

Coney Island

Stricker's Grove

Camden Park

Disney's Hollywood Studios- Toy Story Land

Animal Kingdom- September

Magic Kingdom- September

Sea World Orlando- Fall

International Drive

Big E

Canobie Screeemfest

Lagoon

Lake Compounce Haunted Graveyard

Six Flags New England Fright Fest

Knott's Merry Farm

Universal Studios Hollywood

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Disney California Adventure

Disneyland

Scandia

Six Flags Great Adventure

California's Great America

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

San Francisco

 

2017

Revere Carnival

Six Flags New England (Opening Day)

Lake Compounce

Six Flags New England (Joker's First Day)

Michigan's Adventure

Indiana Beach

Holiday World

Splashin' Safari

Six Flags Great America

Dollywood minus Lightning Rod

Dollywood's Splash Country

Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg Mountain Coasters

Pigeon Forge Tourist Traps

Six Flags Great Adventure

Casino Pier

Playland's Castaway Cove

Gillian's Wonderland Pier

Morey's Piers

Sesame Place

Funplex

Clementon Park

Hersheypark

Knoebels

DelGrosso's Amusement Park

Idlewild

Kennywood

Waldameer

Great Escape

Huck Finn's Playland

Story Land

Attitash Mountain Resort

Whale's Tale Water Park

Brockton Fair

Canobie Lake Park

Dollywood (Still no Lightning Rod)

Goats on the Roof, GA

Fun Junction

ZDT's Amusement Park

SeaWorld San Antonio

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Sandy Lake Amusement Park

Six Flags Over Texas

Canobie Lake Park, Visit 2

York's Wild Kingdom

Funtown U.S.A.

Adult Night at the Boston's Children's Museum

Berkshire Mountain Coaster/Lake George

Thorpe Park

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

South Pier

Alton Towers

Ferrari Land

PortAventura

Grona Lund

Kolmarden Zoo

Liseberg

Oktoberfest Part 1- Coasters & Flume

Oktoberfest Part 2- Insane Flat Rides & Dark Rides

Oktoberfest Part 3- Beer and Things to Do While Drunk

Bayern Park

Skyline Park

Europa Park

Holiday Park

Phantasialand

Chessington World of Adventures

Kolbensattel Alpine Coaster & Bavaria

Six Flags New England in the Rain

Canobie Screeemfest

Foxwoods

Lake Compounce Haunted Graveyard

SeaWorld Orlando & Aquatica

Universal Orlando/Islands of Adventure

Fun Spot Orlando

Fun Spot Kissimmee

Legoland Florida

Busch Gardens Tampa

Six Flags New England Holiday in the Park

Dollywood at Christmas and Lightning Rod!

 

2016

Fun World

Disneyland

Disney's California Adventure

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Knott's Berry Farm

Carowinds

Six Flags Over Georgia

Pigeon Forge

Dollywood

Gatlinburg

Kentucky Kingdom

Kings Island

Cedar Point

Kennywood

Knoebels

Dorney Park

Six Flags Great Adventure

Coney Island

York's Wild Kingdom

Funtown U.S.A.

Canobie Lake Park

Story Land

Cranmore Adventure Park

Attitash Mountain Resort

Santa's Village (in summer)

Marshfield Fair

Granby Zoo

La Ronde

Killington Resort

Okemo Mountain Resort

Gunstock Mountain Resort

Adventureland

Bowcraft Amusement Park

Camelback Mountain Resort

Party Zone USA

Big E

Canada's Wonderland

Niagara Falls Fun

Sky High Adventure Park

Lake Compounce

Berkshire East Mountain Resort

Six Flags New England

Santa's Village (in winter)

iPlay America

Six Flags Great Adventure (Holiday in the Park)

 

2014

Disneyland

Disney's California Adventure

Knott's Berry Farm

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

California's Great America

Alameda County Fair

Waterworld California

SeaWorld San Diego

Belmont Park

 

2013

Canobie Lake Park

Great Escape

 

 

 

Fun World

 

Once the calendar flips to January, it’s a dark time for coaster enthusiasts in the northeast. While some enthusiasts flock to Florida, most can be found buried under blankets, sipping hot chocolate, and clutching their phones with a kung fu death grip watching random Vekoma death machines, jealous of the beating riders are experiencing. Anything to get their coaster fix.

 

But I broke free of my blankets and decided I would ride a coaster. So I booked a February flight to Orlando courtesy of Spirit. If I can travel to Europe for two weeks in just a backpack, I can survive a weekend out of an 8” X 8” X 8” or whatever asinine bag size they allow for free. Until then my coaster options seemed bleak as the temperatures were below what Six Flags even considers a minimum operating temperature.

 

But I wanted a coaster now. Then I remembered I was a mere half hour away from New England’s best coaster in the month of January (that last prepositional phase is important). Of course I’m talking about none other than Fun World’s Orient Express. Bold statement? I know. I didn’t want to cause any controversy naming an alpine coaster. Everyone agrees a Wisdom Orient Express is a coaster.

 

Full disclaimer, I already had the Orient Express credit. Would going out of my way solely to ride a kiddie coaster be insane? Absolutely. But I was passing Nashua on the way to a Patriots game party and this Orient Express also happens to be located at my favorite arcade in the area. So it was a win all around for myself and my Patriots on Saturday.

 

As I approached coaster salvation, Fun World’s towering 50 foot castle beckoned as I drove down the road. Now don’t get your hopes up. This isn’t a Disney castle. This isn’t even one of those Chinese ripoff Disney castles. But compared to the generic boxy Dave and Buster’s, I’ll happily take the Fun World’s character even if the castle doesn’t look like it has been updated since the 1980s.

 

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I'm guessing they've never changed this sign.

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Ignore the fallen light post.

Enough dilly dallying, I know you all want to see the coaster. The Orient Express stands a whopping 117 feet tall. Whoops I got that mixed up with Worlds of Fun’s Orient Express. This one is 180 feet above sea level, which when you remove Nashua’s 150 foot tall elevation and the ride’s placement on the second level, you are left with a 10 foot tall roller coaster.

 

The facility has a single operator bouncing between their three rides. Honestly the most impressive of all the rides may be their double decker carousel. Yes this indoor FEC not only has a carousel, but it’s a freaking double decker carousel that stands a good 30 feet tall. Then there’s a mini Himalaya for the real daredevils out there. I got no weird looks from the operator (he had the same indifferent face for everyone in line) and plopped myself down second from the back.

 

As I waited for the restraint check, I couldn’t help but notice the small details. The random Pinocchio squatting in the center of the helix, the mirrors surrounding the coaster, and instead of painting the car numbers, Fun World uses an engineer’s best friend, duct tape. Yes they literally slapped a piece of duct tape on the back of the cars and labeled 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 in Sharpie.

 

“Wait where’s 4?” But before I could finish that thought we rumbled out of the station. According to Ultimate Roller Coaster, this coaster used to have 7 cars. Guess it only has 6 now.

 

Just because a car was removed doesn’t mean a ride is bad. Look at the Voyage. But in this case, Orient Express is a kiddie coaster. As far as kiddie coasters go, this one is decently enjoyable. There’s one bad jerk returning to the station, but outside of that it’s smooth. If this coaster were outside, slapped in a parking lot, this would be a completely mediocre coaster. However, there’s a novelty to an indoor coaster where you genuinely could hit the roof if you raise your hands.

 

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And I present New England's best coaster in January.

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I can't think of another park where a carousel is the tallest attraction.

After three laps on the Orient Express, I had my coaster fix. So I spent the rest of my time playing the arcade games I grew up with. I wouldn’t call Fun World a retro arcade, but it’s not quite a modern arcade either. Yes they have some app based games like Crossy Road and Temple Run, but 80-90% of their games are either non-redemption games or the redemption games from the 1990’s.

 

One of the other major benefits of Fun World is the price. Remember when arcade games cost just 25 cents. Most arcades now have the card based system where you pay X credits to play (see this is why credit whoring is useful). Fun World still has tokens, gold for arcade enthusiasts. More than that, most of the games I played only cost 25 cents! That’s unheard of today.

 

Unfortunately about 20% of the games I played were broken, but the collection was rare and diverse enough that I was able to look past this issue (after getting my token back of course). Some of the highlights were:

 

Pinball- This is still my favorite arcade game. They had a stellar mix of old and new machines. My personal favorite was the X-Men machine. Having Magneto magnetically interfere with the ball was a very clever use of IP and really increased the uniqueness and difficulty level on the machine.

 

Basket Fever- Everyone is familiar with skeeball. However, my local arcade had a variant on the timeless classic where you rolled balls into basketball hoops. This game disappeared along with my local arcade, but Fun World allowed me to relive my childhood.

 

World Series 99- Yes MLB the Show is a technologically more impressive game. The Show has far superior graphics and more advanced controls. But there’s something genuinely cool playing my favorite sport on an oversized cabinet.

 

Bowling- For just $2 (or 8 tokens) you can play a full 10 string game of bowling. Sure the alley isn’t quite regulation size, but tell me where else you can play bowling for a price that low.

 

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I was only able to fit half of the arcade's pinball machine's in this shot. They're tucked away in the back.

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Magneto's powers lend himself very well to a pinball machine. I can see why Wolverine has had difficulty with him all these years.

 

405091057_WorldSeries.thumb.jpg.644e039d7d3dea2bc8be4a3c61493c2d.jpg

1999 Pedro Martinez in a video game is basically a cheat code. So of course I used him.

Bowling.thumb.jpg.6dcd75c9a23e232779353877e364627f.jpg

Why is the left lane different? Who knows. But for , I wasn't going to question it.

For hard core arcade enthusiasts, I should also point out that Fun World has a Galaxian 3 cabinet. From what I understand, this was at one point the “World’s Largest Video Game.” Unfortunately the game has been tarped over for at least the past year and the roof was leaking near the classic game.

 

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This must be a sad sight for fans of classic arcade games.

Will I return to Fun World again this year? Without a doubt. Dave and Buster’s can’t hold a candle to Fun World. Will I ride the coaster again? Not this year. I’ll probably ride it again in future years though. If you’re an arcade fan, Fun World is the place for you. If you’re solely a coaster enthusiast, Fun World is not the place for you unless you’re a true credit whore.

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The kiddo and I ended up making a stop here after Canobie Lake Park last year -- yes, to get the credit, but also to have some fun at an arcade. I gotta say, we ended up spending so much time downstairs playing redemption games that we nearly lost track of time and forgot about the stuff upstairs. I'll definitely be making a return trip the next time we're up that way.

 

And it's not just "could" slap your hands on the ceiling, in my case it was "did, saw the ceiling panel move, then thought better of having a mirrored tile come crashing down on our heads". Yikes.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Disney's Hollywood Studios and America's Worst Airline

 

Walt Disney World is impossible to fully experience in two days. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about that. The resort simply has too much awesomeness. Normally I’d give myself a week, but I now have the opportunity for some spontaneous weekend trips through a high school friend.

 

His spouse works at Walt Disney World, which means he has guest passes available whenver he visits the park. That’s a coaster enthusiast’s dream to hear! Since he has a normal Monday-Friday job, the visits are restricted to weekends he’s free and when there's cheap airfare available. Naturally I took him up on an offer to visit amidst the northeast's wintery weather.

 

But first the whole trip was almost ruined by Spirit Airlines, aka the Greyhound Bus of the Sky. Skip the next few paragraphs if you just want to read about the Mouse.

 

Travel Start

 

To maximize my time at Disney, my ideal flight would depart late Friday and return late Sunday. And wouldn't you know Spirit offered a $30 one way flight to Orlando at 6:45 pm on Friday. That was perfect. With any luck I may even have enough time to pop into Fun Spot on the way to the hotel. Spirit simply laughed. They had a reputation to uphold as America's worst airline.

 

I knew Spirit was notorious for two things- ridiculous bag fees and lateness. Both are expected for such a bargain price. I avoided the first by cramming everything into a tiny drawsting bag. After going to Europe for 2 weeks in just one backpack, this was child’s play. I was at Spirit’s mercy on the latter. It was so bad I couldn't help but laugh at the insanity of the situation, except when my flight seemed largely at risk of being cancelled.

 

Prior to reaching the airport, I received an alert my flight was delayed 2.5 hours. Well that axed Fun Spot, but still would get me to Orlando at a reasonable hour. Then on the way to the airport, I received an alert my flight was delayed another hour. Well I was already on the way, so I figured I mind as well keep going. After getting through TSA in less than 5 minutes (figures that happens when I’m in absolutely no rush), my departure was now midnight. Needless to say I was skeptical it would even take off.

 

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And the delays begin.

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Guess Fun Spot isn't happening tonight.

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Add another hour for good measure.

 

I was one of many who swarmed the Spirit Gate. There had to be another option. And there was! A flight to Tampa at 8:30. It was inconvenient but at least I could make it to Disney. As I was about to switch, I received an alert my flight was now set to depart at 8. I was bewildered but wasn't going to complain!

 

Not even 20 minutes later, I received an alert the flight was again scheduled for midnight. I had seen enough. I switched to the Tampa flight for no extra cost which was at the gate and ready to board.

 

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Could it be? My prayers were answered and my flight was pushed up 3 hours!

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"Nah, let's just eff with people"- Spirit

 

The rich part is why my flight to Orlando was delayed. The plane was on the tarmac. Spirit had borrowed a crew from JetBlue. So what was wrong? Apparently the flight path from Boston to Orlando brought us by Winter Storm Mateo. For those keeping track of weather, Mateo was in the midwest. So let me get this straight. A plane traveling to Orlando was grounded yet a plane flying 60 miles west was unaffected and boarding. Wtf?

 

I landed just after midnight. Getting a one-way rental car was a nuisance, but I deserved it for my frugality. In the end my Spirit flight plus the rental car cost as much as a JetBlue flight. But at least I still made it to Orlando and got a true Spirit experience in the meantime.

 

Travel End

 

With just 2 days at the resort, we planned a greatest hits tour of Walt Disney World. I chose the 2-3 rides at each park I absolutely wanted to ride and anything else would be gravy. Batting leadoff was the park that would be the shortest visit, Hollywood Studios.

 

As we approached the park, I caught glimpses of both Star Wars Land and Slinky Dog Dash. Without a doubt, I’ll be returning later this year for the wiener dog themed coaster but today I had two rides on the agenda- Tower of Terror and Rock “n” Roller Coaster. While I also love Toy Story Mania, it already had a sizable queue as we entered the lot.

 

After passing through the front gate around 9:30, we made a right hand turn down Sunset Boulevard for the resort’s top thrill ride combo. Since it lacked a single rider line, we both agreed to start with Tower of Terror, which was a 13 minute wait (aka a walk-on).

 

Tower of Terror is the pinnacle of Disney imagineering. The facade is iconic. The interior queue and pre-show set the tone for the ride to follow. And then the ride itself is still the best drop tower in the world by far. Sure towers like Hurakan Condor and Lex Luthor have better drops, but none of them offer the same theming and ride length as Tower of Terror.

 

I’ve ridden the version at Disneyland more often than the one at Hollywood Studios. While that one is still incredible, it's missing two things- the ominous 5th dimension room and random drop sequence. The latter was particularly refreshing. I got the perfect mix of stomach wrenching drops and rapid airtime filled ascents.

 

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I love Guardians of the Galaxy. It's one of the better Marvel movies. But I will shed a tear if I see Star Lord anywhere near this tower.

 

We were hopeful to encounter an equally short wait at Rock “n” Roller Coaster but were stunned to see a 90 minute wait this early. No thank you. Instead we used the single rider line. Through a stroke of luck and no one in the normal queue when we reached the station (the pre-show timing was off), they had to fill half a train with single riders. So we ended up in the same row 20-30 minutes later.

 

For an indoor coaster, the theming is quite good, particularly in the launch area. For a Vekoma looper, it's also remarkably smooth. Going in, I had remembered the coaster being equal to Flight of Fear and Poltergeist. Unfortunately it was a bit weaker than I remembered. The launch didn't have the same kick I remembered and it meandered around quite a bit, but the inversions were strong and it's still a fun coaster. 7.5 out of 10

 

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I didn't know Hanes made guitar picks.

 

We wanted to snag another ride on Tower of Terror, but the queue had creeped up to 45 minutes. Because neither of us had been on Star Tours since the Last Jedi scenes were added, we waited 25 minutes to see Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe, and mysteriously no Rey.

 

As a huge Star Wars fan who actually enjoyed Last Jedi (I seem to be one of the few), I was impressed. Star Tours has always been one of my favorite simulators so I’ll always welcome new scenes. I’d especially welcome my pipe dream scene of Jar Jar being executed, but that may be a tad out of place at a Disney park. Then again this is the company who regularly kills off the parents and villains in animated flicks.

 

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Star Tours > Spirit Airlines

 

We had Space Mountain fastpasses at 1 so we decided to park hop over to Magic Kingdom. To be continued...

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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Yeah, you may be thinking you're getting a deal flying Sprit or some of the other 'Low Cost Carriers' but really it costs you more in the long run! Whether it's your time, sanity, actual money, or whatever, you get what you pay for!

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Tower of Terror is the pinnacle of Disney imagineering. The facade is iconic. The interior queue and pre-show set the tone for the ride to follow. And then the ride itself is still the best drop tower in the world by far. Sure towers like Hurakan Condor and Lex Luthor have better drops, but none of them offer the same theming and ride length as Tower of Terror.

 

Awesome report as always. Can't wait to see more!

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Great report!

 

Personally after flying more and more of these ULCCs I'm beginning to find myself pretty firmly on the Frontier Airlines bandwagon. They often get lumped in with Spirit and Allegiant but they don't deserve to be. Their on-time performance last year was 78.91%, a virtual tie with American Airlines. They also beat Southwest and beat Spirit and JetBlue handily. Allegiant wasn't even ranked, but in my experience they've been horrible.

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I am enjoying the report. look forward to reading more.

 

Southwest and Frontier have both been good to me and I have no complaints. Southwest gets the edge for me with their response to the United Airlines beating that happened. " We beat our competition not our customers".

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Am I literally the only person in the world who has yet to have a bad experience with Spirit's punctuality? Flying from Tampa to Minneapolis with a 4 hour layover in Chicago last May, both flights landed early, but I saw at least three Spirit flights delayed during my layover. I will agree with their ridiculous bag fees though as I've been charged multiple times for having overweight luggage.

 

But great report so far!

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Yeah, you may be thinking you're getting a deal flying Sprit or some of the other 'Low Cost Carriers' but really it costs you more in the long run! Whether it's your time, sanity, actual money, or whatever, you get what you pay for!

 

They also had the best departure time that allowed me to work a full day and arrive to get an hour at Fun Spot...if it ran on time. In the end, my flight plus the rental car cost as much as a standard airline like JetBlue so I'll just go with the reliable one next time.

 

Awesome report as always. Can't wait to see more!

 

Thanks! Not surprised you share the same feelings on the Tower with your avatar being the ride.

 

What a great report! It's a shame about the troubles you had with your flight, but it seems like you still had a great trip. Thanks for sharing and I am looking forward to the next update!

 

Thanks! I just needed to get down Friday night at any time for the weekend to work. It was much later than expected but I managed to do so.

 

Great report!

 

Personally after flying more and more of these ULCCs I'm beginning to find myself pretty firmly on the Frontier Airlines bandwagon. They often get lumped in with Spirit and Allegiant but they don't deserve to be. Their on-time performance last year was 78.91%, a virtual tie with American Airlines. They also beat Southwest and beat Spirit and JetBlue handily. Allegiant wasn't even ranked, but in my experience they've been horrible.

 

Thanks!

 

My one experience from Orlando to Cleveland on Frontier went smoothly, but I did notice one of their flights delayed 5 hours as I waited for my return flight. While Frontier may have the same on time percentage as American, why do I have a feeling the former's delays, when they occur, are a whole lot worse?

 

I am enjoying the report. look forward to reading more.

 

Southwest and Frontier have both been good to me and I have no complaints. Southwest gets the edge for me with their response to the United Airlines beating that happened. " We beat our competition not our customers".

 

Thanks! That may be the best tagline ever! It's like Cleveland advertising "At least we're not Detroit."

 

Am I literally the only person in the world who has yet to have a bad experience with Spirit's punctuality? Flying from Tampa to Minneapolis with a 4 hour layover in Chicago last May, both flights landed early, but I saw at least three Spirit flights delayed during my layover. I will agree with their ridiculous bag fees though as I've been charged multiple times for having overweight luggage.

 

But great report so far!

 

Thanks! Spirit is 0/1 for me. If it was just a basic delay, I'd try them again. But the total lack of organization and confusion makes me leery.

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Hey it's me, the twilight zone version of you.

 

Didn't want to post until I landed but I took a Spirit flight from Chicago to LA for Knott's/DL today and it landed on time

 

Hopefully it was just a one off experience for you! Spirit has always been okay for me.

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Glad it worked out for you!

 

I know weather is beyond the control of airlines, but I still can't fathom how a flight from Boston to Orlando would pass through bad weather while a flight from Boston to Tampa wouldn't. How disorganized the departure times were probably won't have me going back to Spirit since there are plenty of other airlines available.

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Magic Kingdom

 

The Magic Kingdom is the busiest park in the world. Once inside the park, that’s apparent. But for such a highly attended park, the journey inside is usually a piece of cake. Much of that can be attributed to the benefits of staying on-site at Disney: early entry and buses. Neither of those amenities were available for this visit. We joined the masses entering the parking lot.

 

Entering the parking lot was easy. The trams were plentiful and prompt. If the time it takes to enter a Six Flags park was a unit of time (we’ll call it a flag), I’d say it took 1/10th of a flag to pass through the metal detectors despite having crowds beyond Six Flags’s wildest dreams. Then getting through the turnstiles didn’t take more than 30 seconds. So why did it take 2 flags to enter the park? The boat.

 

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That's a lot of people.

 

There’s one critical step I omitted between the tram and metal detectors- the boat or monorail. To make the experience even more magical, the Magic Kingdom is isolated from the parking lot. After encountering a full queue for the monorail, we figured the boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon may be faster. As the Holy Grail’s Knight in Indiana Jones would say, “We close…poorly.” It took a half hour to cross the pond, but it provided some beautiful vantage points of the castle.

 

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3 boats later, I was treated to this spectacular view.

 

We still had some time before our Space Mountain FastPasses were valid, so we decided to grab lunch at Casey’s Corner. Now usually I’m more of a burger guy, but if you dangle a 1 foot hot dog in front of me I’m going to shove that thing in my face and love every single inch (I just realize how wrong that sounds). The restaurant was packed, so we had to wait 1 flag, but afterwards it was time for our journey to the cosmos.

 

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My 1 foot long hot Goofy. Or if you don't believe Goofy is a dog, my 1 foot long hot Pluto.

 

Space Mountain’s queue was posted at 80 minutes. Thanks to Fastpass, we boarded as quickly as we could walk through the queue. I’ve ridden Space Mountain dozens of times, but I’m still giddy every time I board those rockets. Yes they’re coaster trains, but they’re more akin to lounge chairs with how low and cushy they are.

 

After waving the French national flag to the on-ride photo (aka leftover napkins from lunch), we were treated to the same great ride as always. While the interiors and exteriors (in appearance at least) are similar between the versions in California and Florida, the rides are significantly different. California’s focuses on turns, with each tighter and more intense than the last. Florida’s focuses on drops, with each longer and taller than the last.

 

There are four drops in total and each gives a nice pop of airtime. Despite being a coaster shrouded in darkness, the scariest feature is the abundance of headchoppers. It is true that vision is pretty poor. But that honestly makes the headchoppers all the scarier. I thought for sure my 6’3 buddy was going to receive a haircut from none other than Mickey Mouse himself. 8.5 out of 10

 

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Still the best Disney coaster there is.

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Outside of Mission Space, this is as close as I'll ever be to an astronaut.

 

If the crowds waiting for the monorail and boat didn’t already indicate a busy day at the park, then the following will. The Peoplemover had a 20-30 minute wait. I didn’t even think that was possible with the ride’s capacity. But sure enough the ride’s queue snaked around Astro Orbiter. We waited it out and it soon became apparent why. The ride wasn’t being run at max capacity. While some trains were full, others were half full, and a few were entirely empty.

 

I’m not sure I’ll ever wait that long for the Peoplemover again, but we still enjoyed ourselves. It’s relaxing and more importantly (especially to those on the west coast) open.

 

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The Peoplemover is the slow-way of the sky. But it lacks the cramped cabins and delays of Spirit.

 

Fastpass number 2 was ready, so we snaked our way through the congested pathways of Fantasyland to ride the wildest ride in the wilderness. That would be none other than Big Thunder Mountain. The regular wait was bordering an hour, so we were ecstatic to skip that. 5 minutes later, we were boarding the back car, which is undoubtedly the place to ride this Disney classic.

 

If you’re lucky enough to ride towards the back, you’re treated to a ride filled with some surprisingly abrupt pops of airtime and wild laterals. The latter are particularly noteworthy during the 360 degree downward helix after the second lift. I really need to try the Paris one someday since that one seems to be the consensus best one, and I already love the installations stateside. 8 out of 10

 

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I spy the wildest ride in the wilderness.

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I kid you not, this ride is pretty wild in the back. Plenty of laterals and abrupt pops of air.

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I think the guy with the afro knew I was taking his photo.

 

We tried to sneak on over to Pecos Bill to grab a drink, but the Festival of Fantasy Parade would have none of it. Guess we’ll watch the parade experts do their thing. I enjoyed the parade back in 2015 and immediately recognized several of the floats. None were more impressive than Maleficent’s fire breathing dragon. The only thing missing was a view free of selfie sticks.

 

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To the person with the selfie stick, I hope the dragon lights your phone on fire.

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Aw man, Maleficent missed :(

 

After a cup of water, we decided to board another classic attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean. I was astounded to see a posted wait of 60 minutes, but we doubted it was really that long. Turns out our skepticism was rewarded, as the wait half of that. We were assigned the front row, which I thought nothing of, but my buddy had a look of consternation in his eye.

 

Apparently the front row gets quite wet now according to him, though we didn’t get more than a gentle splash on the ride’s lone plunge. As great as the feature length films are (the first two at least), I definitely prefer the theme park attractions. The endless array of characters (who aren’t dolls singing an infectious tune) and the grandiose scenes combine to create a memorable attraction.

 

Honestly if I wasn’t told beforehand that the scene of the man chasing the woman was reversed for political correctness, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. There’s simply too much going on. The one scene I hope that never changes is the initial scene after the plunge where you’re dropped into the battle. That scene always has me in awe.

 

We went from a classic dark ride to a newer one (even though it’s 20 years old at this point) for our third FastPass, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. My buddy is an expert and was adamant he’d register a perfect score (999,999) since he knew where the three highest value targets were located. After he continuously nailed the volcano, I believed him.

 

He was absolutely torching me until the ride had a temporary stoppage in front of the Zurg animatronic towards the end. The stoppage wasn’t more than 30-40 seconds, but it was enough time for me to multiply my score faster than a Catholic rabbit and also register a perfect score. Technically we tied, but deep down I’ll admit defeat to an experienced rider.

 

It’s still one of the best shooters out there, but I do wish that the guns weren’t mounted to the vehicles. I can’t think of another non-screen based shooter with mounted guns like this. For that reason, I much prefer the Disneyland installation.

 

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It looks like I forgot to get pictures of Pirates and Buzz, so here's a picture of Chip n Dale instead.

 

It was now 4:30. Our plan for the day was to always end up at Animal Kingdom to enter into Flight of Passage’s queue just before closing. If it came down to it, I would wait almost 3 hours to experience such a new, highly regarded attraction, but it seemed avoidable if queued once all the FastPasses were finished for the day.

 

We had a dilemma. We could leave Magic Kingdom now and give us plenty of time to enter Animal Kingdom. Or we could first hit the lone Magic Kingdom attraction we had left; the one that just happened to be my favorite attraction at the resort.

 

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Just kidding.

 

Seven Dwarfs is a fun coaster, but it's not a must for me in a shortened visit. My favorite is none other than Splash Mountain. Due to downtime earlier in the morning, we were unable to get a FastPass, and once it reopened, the queue was hovering around 90 minutes all day with no FastPasses in sight.

 

We decided to pay Brer Rabbit a visit first. Because of the shear amount of time it took to enter Magic Kingdom, we agreed the time lost entering, exiting, and changing parks would have been equivalent (if not more than) to the posted wait time of 90 minutes. We knew we’d cut it close at Animal Kingdom, especially since I could only move so fast on a busted ankle, but appeared to have enough time assuming they didn’t close off the park entrance.

 

The line moved rapidly for the first 2/3, but then we came to a grinding halt. Oh please tell me the ride didn’t break down again…

 

“Looks like Brer Fox and Brer Bear are causing some kind of commotion downstream…”

 

Son of a biscuit.

 

“Normal operations will continue but you will experience longer than usual wait times.” Wait, what?

 

Confused at what I heard, I quickly put two and two together. All of the downtime earlier in the day led to an influx of FastPasses swamping that queue. As we neared the end of the queue, it seemed the ratio of FastPass to standby guests was close to 9:1. Well that’s quite a commotion by Brer Fox.

 

I also learned one of the reasons why the park was so busy during my wait. Turns out there was a massive cheerleading competition at the resort. We realized this after one of the squads began their routine in the middle of the queue line. While most of the queue cheered them on, the cast member was quick to terminate it after seeing a lift.

 

While the wait took closer to 2 hours, it was still well worth it to experience the best flume anywhere. Actually that’s an understatement. It’s one of the best rides, coaster or non-coaster, anywhere. The attraction has everything you could want- impeccable theming, a cohesive story, a beautiful musical score, several drops, and a long ride time.

 

The final plunge was even more special on this trip. As we re-emerged into the daylight, the sun was setting over the castle. It was gorgeous. But the moment was fleeting as that final plunge was fast and sure packs a wallop.

 

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Everything about Splash Mountain is perfect. Honestly, I'd struggle to name 25 coasters I've been on that top this masterpiece.

 

It was about 6:35. We had calculated that it would take 15 minutes to reach the front gate, another 20 minutes from the gate to the car (via the monorail and tram), 20 minutes to Animal Kingdom, 10 minutes to pass through the gate, and another 10 minutes to reach Pandora. That would bring us to 7:50 pm.

 

As long as Animal Kingdom’s gates were open, we were primed and ready to experience the hottest attraction at the resort for a wait less than what we encountered at Splash Mountain.

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One of my coworkers had a horrible Spirit experience. Her flight back to DTW was cancelled several times, eventually forcing her to pay $300 for a one-way flight (via CLT) on American

 

I had googled how much a flight with JetBlue would have cost if Spirit didn't have the alternate flight and it would have been $500 one-way, which was higher than all my trip's expenses together. It was a late Christmas miracle their flight to Tampa actually took off on time.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 

The stars aligned as we exited the Magic Kingdom. From Splash Mountain’s exit to Animal Kingdom’s main entrance took us just under an hour. There were no parades, the monorail was waiting for us, and most importantly, there were no parades.

 

I had heard nothing but positives about Pandora, but I was still skeptical. Avatar was a great movie and Disney almost always knocks themed lands out of the park unless it’s themed to a dino carnival. However, I was still nervous. Avatar didn’t seem like an IP meant for a Disney park. When I think of Disney, I think of castles and talking animals. But once I set foot in Pandora, all my fears washed away.

 

Seeing Pandora for the first time at night was magical. It felt like a dream. It felt like one of those dreams where every single object has that technicolor haze glistening over it. I honestly had no clue what I was looking at most of the time. Was I looking at a plant, a rock, a creature? I didn’t know and it didn’t matter.

 

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There's absolutely no way my camera could capture the beauty of Pandora at night. It would struggle to capture the moon at night.

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But it does convey just how colorful Pandora is. I was in awe.

 

But we were on a mission. We were determined to avoid waiting in the monstrous 180 minute wait for Flight of Passage. With no FastPasses after closing, we were hopeful to board in 1-1.5 hours. As we approached the queue, it was still hard not to have a feeling of dread at the sight of a 165 minute wait and the queue starting at the ride’s signage. The employee stationed there was saying things such as:

 

“Yes this wait really is 165 minutes.”

“You won’t be getting on the ride until 10:45.”

“The wait time takes into consideration all FastPasses.”

 

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Here we go. Is it 165 minutes? It sure looks it, but I'm betting it isn't.

 

Clearly Disney was doing everything to discourage people from entering the queue. It’s something I’ve encountered in the past around closing for other E tickets such as Toy Story Mania and Seven Dwarfs. Yes it’s deceptive, but if they listed the wait as 60 minutes, I’m sure it would be swarmed like Walmart on Black Friday. And I wasn’t going to argue since it worked to my benefit.

 

The transformation from the beautiful forest of Pandora to the research facility was gripping. The only queue line I can think of with better theming from start to finish is Disneyland’s Indiana Jones. In 75 minutes, less than half what was posted, we were stepping into the first pre-show room. Who would have thought we’d wait longer for Splash Mountain?

 

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The outdoor area was stunningly beautiful like the rest of the land.

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The interior queue starts as a series of beautiful caves and forests.

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Until man came along and built a lab.

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Disney got the lab perfect- items cluttered everywhere and unlabeled containers. Not saying that's what it looks like at my office though ;)

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Well I waited this long, I mind as well get the signature shot.

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75 minutes later, we were at the pre-show. It's rare to thank someone for a lie, but I'll thank Disney for lying about the wait time.

 

If Pandora and the queue didn’t suck you into the spirit of the attraction, the pre-show certainly will. I won’t spoil what happens, but I will say that I wasn’t expecting all of the effects and the interactivity, particularly in the first pre-show. I probably should get to the ride considering I just spent a few paragraphs describing the queue and pre-show, but it really is part of the entire experience.

 

As others have said, the best way to describe Avatar is Soarin’, but better in every single category...and I like Soarin’. You had the colossal screen of Soarin’, but here the screen felt mere inches from my face. You have the stunning imagery of Soarin’, but it was far more interesting to see the world of Pandora than the scenes from my history book.

 

And most importantly, while Soarin’ gently undulates during the ride, Flight of Passage has attitude. With every dive of the banshee, you will feel your stomach drop. I’m not sure if the vehicle actually moved more or not, but the riding position is incredibly immersive. Once the ride finished, both my friend and I were speechless.

 

It was incredible. It was a complete sensory overload. It is without a doubt one of the top 3-4 rides at the entire resort and better than 80% of the coasters out there (at least). We would have loved nothing more than to get back in line for Flight of Passage and experience it again the next day. However, neither of us were interested in queuing an hour prior to opening and moving our way through a mob. Plus we also had the rest of Animal Kingdom and all of Epcot to experience.

 

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Our late night ride granted us the rare opportunity of an almost person-free shot of the Tree of Life!

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Meanwhile just 12 hours later...

 

Cue the time lapse. 12 hours later we were back at Animal Kingdom. Instead of returning to one of the most visually impressive lands of all-time, we made our way through Chester and Hester’s Dino Rama. Fortunately we spent a grand total of 30 seconds in the not-so-fun fair and made our way towards Animal Kingdom’s original thrill ride, Dinosaur.

 

If I hadn’t been on the Indiana Jones Adventure, I’d be more amazed by Dinosaur. The ride system is fantastic. The motion of the EMVs is the difference between this being an enjoyable thrill ride and Ellen’s Energy Adventure. That alone makes the ride interesting.

 

Then you have some incredible dinosaur animatronics. Some is the key word. The few provided look spectacular, particularly the two t-rexes at the end of the attraction. The second-to-last one is a major jump scare and leads to many interesting on-ride photos.

 

But then there are stretches of the ride with nothing. That’s not me insulting an average or forgettable scene. No I literally mean that there’s nothing there. There are actually points in this attraction where you just casually travel through total darkness. I have no explanation other than Disney ran out of money designing this attraction. It’s not perfect but I do always come off with a big, stupid smile on my face.

 

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It's cheesy and half-baked at points, but Dinosaur is a guilty pleasure of mine.

 

The only other ride I intended to ride Expedition Everest. Gasp! I went to Animal Kingdom and didn’t do the safari? Yes, that’s exactly what I did. I have done Kilimanjaro Safaris on past visits. It’s a fun attraction, but I wanted to ensure I had plenty of time at Epcot. Back to Everest, the sight of the mystical Himalayan mountain is still one of the most remarkable sights you can see in any theme park.

 

The stand-by wait was 90 minutes. But fortunately there was a single rider line that had us boarding in no more than 20 minutes. There was a point where Expedition Everest was my favorite coaster in the entire resort. Along with the incredible theming, it also has a massive drop and the unique backwards segment.

 

Yet the coaster isn’t that thrilling and that’s why I prefer Space and Big Thunder Mountain to Expedition Everest. However, it is still a very good coaster that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. 8 out of 10

 

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I'd much rather ride Everest than climb Everest. The former is safer, lazier, and a whole lot of fun.

 

It was tempting to grab a second ride on Everest, but the single rider line’s length appeared to have doubled, so we decided to head towards the gate. But not before stopping back in Pandora. I was secretly (and futilely) hoping Flight of Passage would have a low wait, but realistically I just wanted to see how the land looked in broad daylight.

 

It was still stunning. Although it felt noticeably different. At night, it was hard to distinguish the shape of anything. It was just a bombardment of colors. During the day, my eyes were fixated on the massive floating mountains and colossal waterfalls raining down from them.

 

Oh and my pipe dream of a short wait on Flight of Passage didn’t manifest itself. The wait was posted at 200 minutes. Next time (which may be sooner than anticipated thanks to work).

 

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I don't know if I preferred Pandora during the day or night. Both absolutely took my breath away.

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All my fears about Pandora being worked into a Disney park were alleviated once I set foot in the land. It's a work of art.

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This mountain really looks like a guy holding a rock. Am I the only one who sees it?

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I haven't a clue if these were actually in Avatar or not, but does it even matter? It all looks great.

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Go visit Pandora yourself. As amazing as it looks in pictures, it looks 10X better in person.

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Whoever got this approved deserves a medal. Not only does it look like a penis, but if you rub it fast enough, it sprays water out the top. I kid you not!

 

Animal Kingdom has a very distinct feel to it. While Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, California Adventure, and Hollywood Studios feel like something out of a Disney movie, Animal Kingdom feels like an adventure to another country.

 

With the addition of Pandora, Animal Kingdom is probably my third favorite park at the resort, just narrowly edging out Hollywood Studios. However, the additions of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land could cause the two to flip flop again. Still the worst park at Walt Disney World is better than 80-90% of the parks out there.

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Epcot

 

The fourth and final park in my whirlwind two-day tour of Disney World was one of the world’s most unique parks in Epcot. To say Epcot is unlike any other park in the world is an understatement. If it weren’t for all the Mickey Mouse ears, you’d forget that you were in an amusement park while strolling through World Showcase.

 

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Turns out it was Festival of the Arts.

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Which meant Figment in more places than just your imagination.

 

The forecast originally called for some rain in the afternoon. Overall, Epcot is one of the best parks on a rainy day since all but one ride is located indoors. However, that one outdoor ride just happens to be one of the best rides in the entire resort. Therefore, we made Test Track our first stop.

 

The stand-by queue was posted at 75 minutes, but the single rider line was only 20 minutes so we decided to split up to board faster. Since Test Track has an odd 3-3 seating configuration, the single rider line absolutely flies. Sure I couldn’t design a car, but that has no bearings on the overall ride experience and is a great time killer for younger riders.

 

The time killer for us single riders was watching a stampede in the stand-by queue. If you read my Magic Kingdom report, you may remember there was a big cheerleading competition at the resort. Most people in the stand-by queue exited the pre-show at a brisk, but controlled pace. Except there was one group of cheerleaders that thought they in an Olympic race. Some climbed over the railings while most just sprinted through the switchback. That’s something I expect to see at Kennywood, not Disney.

 

Test Track is one of the best dark ride out there. Actually I’ll just go with rides since it’s kind of hard to classify what exactly Test Track is. The pseudo-Tron overlay creates some interesting and futuristic visuals on the inside of the attraction, but the real highlight is the sensation of speed. But as they say in Top Gun, “I feel the need…the need for speed.”

 

And Test Track certainly delivers in that category. The outdoor section is exhilarating. While most coasters constantly accelerate and decelerate as they crest hills, Test Track continues to get faster and faster. This part always makes me want a convertible for that experience driving to work. But even beyond that, the higher speed responsiveness and handling tests have some rapid accelerations that feel like coaster launches.

 

I think Radiator Springs is a superior attraction because of the coaster-like outdoor section and more immersive theming, but Test Track is still without a doubt a 10/10 attraction for me.

 

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Tron Track.

 

We had an afternoon reservation at Via Napoli, but we had just enough time to cram in a ride on Mission Space. Typically I prefer the more intense orange side, but we decided to spring for green for two reasons. First, the wait was 10 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes. Second, the “relaunched” Mission Space has a radically different mission orbiting Earth while the orange’s mission to Mars has remained unchanged outside of improved graphics.

 

It was a sad sight to see Gary Sinise missing from the pre-show, but the sentiment was quickly forgotten once I boarded the cockpit. The launch had more force than I remembered despite being on the less intense side, but the rest of the ride was relatively tame.

 

I was hopeful the rehab would add in variable outcomes. While this wasn’t realized (as evidenced by my buddy and I trying to crash the ship), the new scene with Earth was a much welcome change. In the past, I wouldn’t have even given a thought to riding Green. Why would I personally ride a tamer version of an identical attraction? But now, the different Green mission gives me incentive to ride both each visit.

 

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The relaunched Mission Space adds some welcome variety between the two missions.

 

We had ~20 minutes before our reservation was due at Via Napoli. We had just enough time to stroll country to country. I still can’t believe the World Showcase area is in an amusement park. The attention to detail in each section is remarkable.

 

Via Napoli is up there with the Garden Grill for my favorite restaurant at the resort. Cesari’s is often considered the best pizza in the amusement park industry. While Cesari’s is good, Via Napoli is an entirely different level. That pizza didn’t last more than 15 minutes.

 

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If you didn't see mouse ears, I could probably pass this off as Italy to most people.

 

Before we made our way through World Showcase, we decided to check the FastPass Plus kiosk. Since we were using Guest Passes, we weren’t able to book any FastPasses until 7 days out. Unfortunately, that led to us being stuck with Spaceship Earth, Journey Into Imagination, and Nemo as our selections; three attractions that you hardly need a FastPass to avoid a sizable queue.

 

But in a stroke of luck, two FastPasses appeared for Soarin’. We gobbled those up faster than enthusiasts wolf down Dollywood’s cinnamon bread. Originally we were planning on skipping Soarin’ since I had limited time before my flight home. However, this changed everything.

 

After losing Lieutenant Dan at Mission Space, I was relieved to see Patrick Warburton still giving his pre-ride spiel. I was even more excited to learn we got the top row. I’ve ridden several of these flying theaters, but I always seem to get one of the lower rows. The visuals are always astounding, but not having the feet in my field of view was a welcomed surprise.

 

Having ridden Avatar the day before, it was interesting to ride Soarin’ shortly after. It’s definitely more relaxing and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The movie does an excellent job highlighting major landmarks around the world and I don’t necessarily want to be wildly flailing around as I appreciate the beauty of the Great Wall or Eiffel Tower.

 

It seems to be the consensus that the new Soarin’ relies too much on CGI. While that in fact be true, I couldn’t notice. It was the same with Justice League. I saw everyone whining online how poorly Henry Cavill’s digitally removed mustache looked, but I didn’t notice anything outside the ordinary.

 

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I wasn't expecting to set foot in here. But when a Soarin' fastpass falls in your lap, you don't question it.

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The entrance sort of looks like one to a night club.

 

The last attraction I was dying to get on was Frozen Ever After. We had budgeted a 2 hour wait into our day, but the wait was only 70 minutes. I will say that it was up there with Peter Pan’s Flight for the slowest moving queue I’ve ever experienced, but it gave my friend plenty of time to geek out about the attraction.

 

Frozen Ever After is also my friend’s favorite attraction at the resort. Why? He participated in the Imagineering co-op program a few summer’s back and this was one of the attractions he helped build. It was cool riding through the attraction and having him point out “I helped design this” or “I helped screw these in.”

 

I’m a big fan of Frozen and the ride delivered. It was hard not to have a smile plastered ear to ear as I heard all my favorite songs from Frozen and saw some of the best animatronics I’ve ever seen. While I don’t think it tops Pirates or Dinosaur, there aren’t many dark rides I’d take over Frozen at Disney.

 

Maelstrom was a decent attraction. It was something I’d ride every visit, but something I wouldn’t shed a tear if I missed. The overlay to Frozen is a major win for the park. My one qualm with the attraction is the capacity. I remember Maelstrom seating 3-4 across, but Frozen Ever After seemed to only load 2 riders per row. Maybe we just hit it on a bad day, but that seemed to be the culprit for our wait.

 

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Needless to say I never saw the line for the Maelstrom this long.

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If you like Frozen, you'll love this ride. If you don't like Frozen, just let it go.

 

With some added time and no rain coming to fruition, we grabbed extra rides on Test Track and Mission Space. For the latter, we gave the orange side a whirl. It was definitely quite a bit more intense than the orange side and I can see how this attraction has a tendency to make people queasy. I’d be hard pressed to marathon it, but for one ride I do like how wild and disorienting the forces are.

 

While it was a shame my visit to Disney World was so brief (all my other trips had been 1-2 weeks), I’ll take some Disney time over no Disney time. And it looks like I’ll have some extra Disney time in just over a week when I’m down in Orlando for a conference.

 

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Goodbye Epcot. Hope to see you soon.

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Great report! Seeing all these Disney reports as of late after ignoring them for quite some time makes me miss living in Florida just a little bit.

 

But in a stroke of luck, two FastPasses appeared for Soarin. We gobbled those up faster than enthusiasts wolf down Dollywood’s cinnamon bread.

 

Is that even possible?

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Nice report! I really do miss Epcot! Especially World Showcase!

 

Thanks! Epcot really is the perfect combination of rides, culture, and food.

 

Great report! I've really enjoyed reading since my DL visit and plan on getting to Orlando this year or next so, I'm definitely taking notes on strategy.

 

Thanks! It's definitely interesting to compare Disneyland and Walt Disney World. For a weekend, I think Disneyland is the superior option since you can easily squeeze most rides in with limited time. Disney World needs more than that to fully appreciate everything, but if you plan a greatest hits tour (like your Disneyland trip), it can be done.

 

A major tip if you travel in a group is to book FastPass one person at a time. For the Soarin' Fastpasses we were able to grab, we couldn't see them if we booked them together. But if we looked individually they were available. I think the times were different by 5 minutes, which wasn't an issue with an hour long window.

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