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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

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Hmm--reminds me a bit of my visit to Conneaut Lake years ago. Same vibe.


I actually feel Conneaut Lake looks better off in comparison to what was shown in this report. It's not surprising that the park was so empty given how it looked. Nice to hear that Big Dipper is running as well as it is though, despite the lap bar issue.


Being there the last two hours of the days probably affected the crowds. I've visited the park on 3 occasions over ten years during the middle of summer (last time being in 2017). While the park was never been packed the parking lot was never empty and there were always a few hundred people in the park. With at least half the people at the kiddie rides.


Camden Park is never going to appeal to the out of town visitor. But if you look at PTRs from years ago you will notice they have improved overall. The only things in worse shape than my first visit are the Big Dipper and the bathrooms. The West Virginia Grill was redone a few years ago. It has strong air conditioning and the burgers were cheap, fresh and juicy last summer. It was probably near closing time at the time of the pictures. I remember on my first visit there was nothing working near the log flume outside of the Tilt-a-Whirl. The mini golf course was over run with weed and closed, the petting zoo did not exist and the sky ride was down and and there was a SBNO Sky Diver. They got all that fixed (except the SkyDiver) and replaced 4 old rides with newer ones: Flying Scooters, Slingshot, Camden Princess and Rattler). The Haunted House was repainted with props restored 7 years ago (it's a shame some props are no longer working properly again).

Edited by larrygator
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Disney’s Hollywood Studios- Toy Story Land


What was the most anticipated coaster for you in 2018? I’m guessing that was Steel Vengeance for 90% of people, me included. But one coaster that really intrigued me more than it had any right to was Slinky Dog Dash.


Some background. I love wiener dogs. Something about their long awkward body and loyal demeanor has made me a big fan of the breed. And as crazy and awkward as some coaster enthusiasts can be, I think the doxie community has us beaten in terms of fanaticism. If you don’t believe me, check out my trip report of the 2017 Cape Code Dachshund Festival. Yes that’s an actual thing and I was dorky enough to attend.


I am also a huge Disney fan. While I like a majority of their characters outside of Duffy, there are three far above the rest- Chip, Dale, and Slinky Dog. My affinity for the chipmunks arises from Chip “n” Dale Rescue Rangers, my favorite childhood show. Meanwhile my favorite childhood movie was Toy Story. And of course my favorite character was Slinky Dog.


So theming a coaster to Slinky Dog was a dream come true.



Slinky, I'm coming!


Upon hearing it was a Mack multi-launch coaster, I was even more excited. For one Mack launchers are among the most comfortable and reridable coasters out there. Second, their launchers are awesome. Now I wasn’t expecting Helix or Blue Fire, but I was optimistic it could be as good as San Diego’s Manta. That coaster has some really impressive airtime considering it’s no taller than 30 feet.


After the restriction on guest passes for Hollywood Studios was lifted in mid-September, I hopped on a flight to Orlando to check out spring wiener. Unfortunately, we were unable to get FastPasses for Slinky Dog. I tried feverishly, but accepted it was a lost cause. I knew the queue would be lengthy, but it’d be worth it for Slinky Dog.



I came dressed for the occasion.


That queue could have said 180 minutes and I still would have waited.


Just look at that stud.


The line was spilling outside the queue. I mentally prepared myself for a wait equal in length to Toy Story’s runtime. The queue was posted at 90 minutes, but amazingly I only had to wait 45 minutes. I’m not sure if all the Fastpass owners were stuck at the Indiana Jones Stunt Show or something, but I wasn’t going to question our luck.


Two parts of the queue line shocked me. For one, I was amazed just how few people Slinky Dog’s queue could hold. I know the coaster has an unbelievable throughput, but it seemed odd that the queue line was overflowing on a reasonably light day with respect to crowds. Second, I was in disbelief by the lack of shade in the queue line. The final third is underneath an oversized toy box, but the rest of it is baking in the Florida sun. This is not a queue you want to be stuck in midday.



The queue had so many neat details.


It was just a shame the first 2/3 took place in the brutal Florida sun.


Anticipation mounted as I saw the adorable trains. Slinky Dog Dash has ended the debate on the best looking coaster trains out there. We were assigned the front row. In retrospect, I think Slinky Dog would be better towards the back. This is one coaster where front seat riders don’t get an unobstructed view. Slinky’s head is humongous. It would have made roided up Barry Bonds jealous. I suspect the visual of Slinky’s coils would be a neat effect towards the back of the train.


We turned out of the station and immediately rolled into the first launch. It was at this point I realized this coaster’s intensity wouldn’t even match Manta. The acceleration was the most gradual I have ever felt on a launch coaster. But it was far from uneventful. Slinky Dog is a coaster of little touches. The launch was forceless, but I had a big smile on my face thanks to the metal coil sound effects (seriously, who but Disney would have thought to add this) and Slinky’s scream which sounded Goofy-esque.


The subsequent hill brought Slinky to a crawl, but Slinky regains his modest speed and navigates an upward helix by the land’s entrance. Again this was another relatively forceful element, but the theming made all the difference. That Jenga tower with Jessie and Rex looks fantastic and perfectly captures the overall feel of the land. That’s followed by a double down that actually gives a tiny pop of air (and the ride’s only airtime for that matter).


The highlight of the coaster was the second launch. It’s another launch with less acceleration than a Prius in a school zone, but the show element is flawlessly executed. Slinky dances back and forth to simulate him being stretched out and it’s impossible not to get amped up with the combination of whirring gears, lighted archways, and sound effects.


The launch lead’s into the ride’s tallest hill and Slinky turns into the Little Engine that Could, barely eclipsing this hill. That leads into a series of tiny hills. You’re not going to get airtime here, but you’re going to get that weird undulating feeling akin to a RMC pre-lift. Slinky then coasts through a few final turns and hits the brake run, where the penguin serenades you with a heartfelt rendition of You’ve Got a Friend in Me.


Slinky Dog Dash is an incredible family coaster. It checks all the boxes- low height requirement, glass smooth, cool theming, and the perfect amount of thrills. I openly admit I’m drinking the Slinky Dog Kool-Aid, but this is probably my favorite coaster at the resort after Space Mountain. The thrills are minimal, but I was smiling ear to ear for the entirety of the ride. 8 out of 10



Meet my new computer background.


Slinky Dog Dash really is a visually stunning coaster (admittedly I'm biased).


Good thing Slinky Dog doesn't travel faster than 30 mph or else that Jenga tower could topple over.


The sound (and act) of Slinky recoiling backwards combined with the lights and sound of the boost sound like small touches, but they really make the ride.


Slinky is just zigging and zagging around.


And he looks so happy doing so.


Do your eyes focus on Slinky or Galaxy Edge?


And of course I had to get a Slinky Dog Dash souvenir. Originally I had aspirations of a t-shirt, but I found something much better. I found a launching Slinky Dog Dash ride vehicle with spinning flames! Basically it was like my old childhood Hot Wheels set with a much more elegant ride vehicle, but that was good enough for me. I was probably 3-4 times older than the toy’s targeted age range, but I can proudly say that the toy sits on my coffee table.



Now this is my type of souvenir! (And no it did not come with the bugs that were getting busy on the box)


Look at Slinky go.


I was impressed by the rest of the land as well. Leading up to Toy Story Land’s opening, I heard rumors of budget cuts. Maybe the budget was cut, but I couldn’t tell. I thought the land looked fantastic. They do an excellent job shrinking you down to the size of a toy. That’s not surprising considering how well this effect was accomplished in the old Honey I Shrunk the Audience Play Area. All of the little details were very nice touches. I particularly liked the huge footprints in the ground.



This land was an absolute delight for a Toy Story fan such as myself.


I skipped Alien Swirling Saucers. I rode the similar Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree a few years ago at California Adventure and enjoyed it; the ride had better whipping than I expected. While it’s a cute ride, I wasn’t going to burn 45 minutes waiting in that line. Until crowds die down, I feel like this will be the new Astro Orbiter for me. It’s a flat ride at Disney that I enjoy, but has a wait far too painful to be worth riding. The ride did look wonderful though and it was all smiles for the riders (probably the ones with FastPass).



The new and improved Mad Tea Party is not worth 45 minutes. But at least it sucks up some Tier 1 FastPasses and let me get one for Toy Story Mania.


I’ve ridden Toy Story Midway Mania before, but technically I had never ridden Toy Story Mania. This ride has been around for 10 years, but the park quietly dropped “midway” from the name when it was integrated into Toy Story Land. We were lucky enough to have snagged same day FastPasses for Toy Story Mania, but the queue never rose above 45 minutes. That additional track really seems to have done wonders for this ride’s queue line.


I was far too accurate this time around. I was ashamed to see my accuracy in the 30s and my buddy thoroughly beat me. In the dozen or so times I’ve ridden this, I’ve found a correlation between lower accuracy and higher scores. Toy Story Mania is one of the most addicting rides out there and I wish it were at a gym near me since it gives one heck of an arm workout. 10 out of 10



I was so thankful to see a proper entrance for this attraction after the kluged queue earlier this year.


We also hit up two longtime favorites in Rock “n” Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. One of the least talked about and best benefits of Toy Story Land opening is how Rock “n” Roller Coaster is no longer a Tier 1 FastPass. Like Toy Story Mania, we were also able to get a same day FastPass and bypassed an hour long queue.


Without any hesitation, we requested the front and waited a few extra cycles for our seat of choice. I’m still stunned to this day that an older Vekoma design can be this smooth, but Rock “n” Roller Coaster doesn’t have a single instance of headbanging. It’s unevenly paced, but the three inversions and launch are quite good and the random theming does add a little something along the way. 7 out of 10



These riders look ready to rock and roll.


Last but not least, we rode Tower of Terror. While Slinky Dog had my inner fanboy shrieking with delight, this is still the star of the park. The presentation is top notch. It’s so convincing that it took me three visits to finally ride it. 7 year old me always got freaked out by the preshow and didn’t want to be turned into a ghost. Meanwhile I had no qualms riding Rock “n” Roller Coaster next door. I was an odd child.


We encountered a 20 minute standby queue and had FastPasses, so we rode this masterpiece twice. After riding it twice in the span of 15 minutes, I can firmly say the ride’s strength is that randomized drop sequence. It definitely adds to the reridability of the attraction and keeps you in suspense. 10 out of 10



TripAdvisor doesn't give this hotel a good rating. Something about it looking rundown and being haunted...


However, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Hollywood Tower Hotel.


Toy Story Land is a wonderful addition for the park. The land really looks awesome and I have no doubt that Slinky Dog Dash will continue to be a draw much like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It really is the perfect family coaster. But as awesome as this addition was, I think everyone has their eyes set on what’s coming in 2019.

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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I LOVE your trip report! Awesome photos and GREAT, in depth reviews!! I laughed way too hard at some points!


This was by far the best:


...It’s another launch with less acceleration than a Prius in a school zone...



Thanks for sharing!

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Nice report from my backyard! Couldn't agree more about Slinky Dog, even though you may be a bit biased. I do prefer Rock n Roller Coaster better, but I'd be hard pressed to name a better family coaster than SDD. Makes me want to try Manta at SeaWorld San Diego, Mack makes some really good stuff.

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Nice report from my backyard! Couldn't agree more about Slinky Dog, even though you may be a bit biased. I do prefer Rock n Roller Coaster better, but I'd be hard pressed to name a better family coaster than SDD. Makes me want to try Manta at SeaWorld San Diego, Mack makes some really good stuff.


Thanks! Honestly I'd say that Manta is a completely different animal. Yes it's also by Mack and stays close to the ground, but that coaster has way more airtime than you'd think. It's like the mini Gravity Group woodie of steel coasters.


^ Goddamn if that isn't the happiest looking coaster in the world. Just seeing him speeding through the greenery like that put a smile on my face.


That's the magic of Slinky Dog Dash.

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Glad you enjoyed Toy Story Land so much! Slinky Dog Dash is a genuinely fun family coaster and the land is a nice addition to the park!


It's another great family ride which the park was in dire need of. And I completely forgot about Mickey's Runaway Railway too. The Studios is having one heck of a transformation.


Awesome update! I live about 7 hours from this park and really want to get there. I love these small hole in the wall parks a lot.


Thanks! I assume you mean Camden and not Disney, right? I wouldn't call a park top 10 in attendance a hole in the wall.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom- September


The allure of riding Slinky Dog Dash at night was strong. I thoroughly enjoyed my day ride and figured the lighting package, particularly during the booster section, would be quite nice. However, there were more pressing matters. When you think of rides you need to experience at night, what comes to mind? Beast, Boulder Dash, Millennium Force? For me, Flight of Passage immediately comes to mind.


From a ride perspective, there’s no difference between riding at the crack of dawn or evening. From a queue perspective, there’s a big difference. With the booking window on my buddy’s guest passes, we knew a Flight of Passage FastPass was unlikely. We did our due diligence and kept refreshing, but we struck out. So that meant either dealing with a mob at rope drop or calling Disney’s bluff on an absurdly high posted wait time at closing. The latter worked well in February, so we planned to do the same.




Until then, we had plenty of time to make a loop around the park. We started with Dinosaur. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If I lived in blissful ignorance and had no knowledge of Indiana Jones Adventure’s existence, I’d be more impressed with Dinosaur. I am absolutely in love with the ride system. That and the layout are shared between the two. However, I think there may have been a discrepancy in the overall budget.


Indiana Jones is a 360 degree spectacle of practical effects and colossal set-pieces. The only scene devoid of theming is that brief jaunt through total darkness, but it works there because it’s not the norm. Dinosaur gets in a rhythm of showing an impressive dinosaur animatronic followed by darkness. While each passing animatronic gets more impressive, the gaps between them get longer. It’s the ride equivalent of a movie building to this awesome climax, but instead spending too much time on a side plot.


Now admittedly, Indiana Jones Adventure is an unfair standard. That ride is an 11 out of 10 and one of the single greatest attractions on the planet. To be perfectly honest, I’d take Indiana Jones over some coasters in my overall top 25. It’s that amazing. It’s impossible not to compare the two because they literally have the exact same layout and ride system. But when viewed in a vacuum, Dinosaur is still plenty impressive and better than 95% of the dark rides out there. I just know it could have been better. 9 out of 10



My teasing and mocking of Dinosaur is out of love.


Meanwhile any hatred directed towards this area is legitimate. This area does not belong in a Disney park.


We did manage to secure Expedition Everest FastPasses, so we made our way to the forbidden mountain. We were a bit early, so we stalled by walking right on via the single rider line! The first third lets you appreciate the Mount Everest in all its glory and then comes out of nowhere with that backwards helix that can even make seasoned coaster riders see some grey. Then the finale has one of the most photographed drops in the world and holds its speed well as it dances around the mountain. While the back has more whip, I do prefer this one in the front to fully take in the visuals.


I probably shouldn’t like Slinky Dog Dash more. One coaster is arguably located in the most visually stunning faux mountain in the world. And the other is in a backyard. One coaster actually has some balls. The other is just a wiener. But I prefer Slinky Dog Dash. I’m not crazy though; Space Mountain is still the resort’s best coaster. 8 out of 10



I'm pretty sure you've all seen this shot.


Disney thanks you for your contribution. It's donations like this that make their purchase of Fox possible. No, not the media chain. I'm talking about some extra downloadable content in a Star Fox video game.


I considered Kali River Rapids, but the risk of wrecking my single pair of shoes was too great. So instead we queued up for Kilimanjaro Safaris. The line didn’t look too long, but we barely moved and it was evident that not all the transits were in use. Usually I ride the safari first thing in the morning, so it was interesting experiencing it near sunset for a change. Several animals were active. Rhinos were running, giraffes and elephants were feeding, and of course the lazy sloths known as lions were doing nothing.


I remembered the ride being bumpy. It’s supposed to simulate an authentic safari after all. However, it seemed bumpier than Dinosaur. This made it quite challenging to grab many photos, but a wildebeest helped me out and tried racing alongside the transit which was a very cool sight. I’m probably a terrible person for saying this (and probably get on PETA’s good side), but I actually prefer the comedy and dry humor of the Jungle Cruise over the real safari. 8 out of 10



Wildebeests were running.


Elephants were eating.


Giraffes were walking.


And lions were doing absolutely nothing as usual.


It was time to return to the crown jewel of animal kingdom, Pandora. I know the Tree of Life is the park’s iconic centerpiece, but I think the floating mountains are even more impressive. That’s nothing against the Tree of Life. Pandora is just that spectacular. Pictures do not do this land justice.



As breathtaking as Pandora looks by day...


it looks even better at night.


I missed out on Na’vi River Journey last time, but it was a must on this trip. The wait was posted at 60 minutes, but we only waited half that. When we reached the station, I was surprised to see boats with just 2 rows of seats. But I quickly realized that didn’t matter. The boats stack up to the point that the ride feels like it has an omnimover system.


Na’vi River Journey felt like the fantasy version of Living with the Land. Instead of seeing real plants that I don’t know the name of, I saw mystical plants from a make believe land that I also couldn’t identify. But the visuals were stunning and serene. I also thought the ride integrated the screens in very well without detracting from the beauty of Pandora.


Then I cannot talk about Na’vi River Journey without talking about that Shaman animatronic. Holy moly does that thing look good! The motion is so varied and fluid. It looks completely realistic if you remove the blue skin. Assuming waits eventually die down for this, Na’vi River Journey will be well worth a ride. Otherwise it could be the new Peter Pan (the dark ride I enjoy but won’t wait an hour for). 8 out of 10



My jaw hit the bottom of the boat when I saw this.


We stopped for a quick dinner at the Avatar restaurant. I was conservative and went with the beef bowl, which is one of the healthiest items I have ever ordered at any amusement park. And it was pretty good too! My buddy wasn’t quite as lucky. He was feeling adventurous so he tried to cheeseburger dumplings and he was not impressed. I almost got them myself, but backed out once I found out the condiments were already mixed inside.



We had heard good things about this restaurant, so we gave it a try.


I really liked my meal, but buddy wasn't as fond of his dumpling.


We made our way over to Flight of Passage only to see a 120 minute wait. We chuckled to ourselves as the employee tried to discourage as many people as possible from entering the queue. The queue was at the same point as it was in February and that wait took just over an hour. This time, the wait flew. The incredible theming kept us preoccupied, but we barely stopped moving as well. We were at the preshow in about 40 minutes. I’ll take a 66% reduction in wait time!


What hasn’t already been said about Flight of Passage? There’s no plot, but it doesn’t need one. It’s a majestic joyride through the sky, but unlike Soarin’, this one actually has some bite to it and that’s why I love it so much. For all those who have anointed Universal the king of screen based rides, Disney says “hold my beer.”


Disney’s best attractions are the ones that are immersive from the moment you enter the queue. Take Indiana Jones and Tower of Terror as prime examples. Flight of Passage is right up there. The queue seamlessly flows into the attraction, which is incredible. Everyone comes off the ride beaming and I’m pretty sure the woman next to me had tears of joy coming off the ride. This truly is one of the best rides at the resort. I honestly think only Splash Mountain tops it. 10 out of 10



Even the queue is thoroughly entertaining.


The sense of flight is incredibly well executed.


Due to time constraints, I had to cut out one park during my weekend trip to Disney. No way that would be Hollywood Studios with Slinky Dog Dash awaiting me and a trip to Disney wouldn’t be complete without the Magic Kingdom. Prior to Pandora, it would have been unthinkable for me to visit Animal Kingdom over Epcot. But that single land is that much of a game changer.

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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Nice report! I've gotten a bowl at the Satu'li Canteen and they're pretty good, but I much prefer Yak & Yeti if I'm at AK. Since the addition of Pandora, the park is probably my favorite in the resort from a theming/rides standpoint. You're drunk, Everest is the best coaster in the resort!

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Great TR, and if I may continue the discussion on Everest, I might actually prefer Slinky Dog Dash to Everest as well. Slinky Dog Dash is one of the best at what it does, whereas I feel Everest is a visually stunning yet, and pardon the harshness of this, pretty weak attempt to be a thrilling coaster. It has some great moments and it isn't a total dud by any means, but I think I expected a lot more from such a massive ride. In my opinion, there are at least three coasters on property better than it, and maybe even a fourth.


TL, DR recap: I don't think Everest is all it's cracked up to be because I had the wrong expectations.

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Nice report! I've gotten a bowl at the Satu'li Canteen and they're pretty good, but I much prefer Yak & Yeti if I'm at AK. Since the addition of Pandora, the park is probably my favorite in the resort from a theming/rides standpoint. You're drunk, Everest is the best coaster in the resort!


Thanks! I've never been to Yak and Yeti's, but I'll consider trying them next time. I still stand by my opinion.


Great TR, and if I may continue the discussion on Everest, I might actually prefer Slinky Dog Dash to Everest as well. Slinky Dog Dash is one of the best at what it does, whereas I feel Everest is a visually stunning yet, and pardon the harshness of this, pretty weak attempt to be a thrilling coaster. It has some great moments and it isn't a total dud by any means, but I think I expected a lot more from such a massive ride. In my opinion, there are at least three coasters on property better than it, and maybe even a fourth.


TL, DR recap: I don't think Everest is all it's cracked up to be because I had the wrong expectations.


Thanks! I don't think Everest is meant to be a mega thrill ride. It's more about the theming and atmosphere. In that regard, it succeeds so any added thrills along the way are just gravy.

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Magic Kingdom- September


My buddy and I had plans to watch the Patriots-Jaguars game, so we had an abbreviated visit to the Magic Kingdom. While the Patriots game was a disaster (Blake Bortles should never shred a defense), our visit to the Magic Kingdom was a success. You could say we were mountain men, as we prioritized the three main mountains and anything else was gravy. And we got some nice gravy, not that sludge served in high school cafeterias.



Most people want the Partners Statue-Castle photo. I just want my Chip n Dale-Castle photo.


Olaf is enjoying summer. I'm not sure about the person underneath though.


Halloween decorations were out in full force.


Magic Kingdom is the best park for last minute FastPasses. Because of the sheer number of attractions, it’s never an issue getting a few E-tickets. This visit was no different as we secured Splash and Space Mountain FastPasses. We also snatched up a surprise Peter Pan FastPass.


Our first stop was the single greatest attraction ever created by Disney, Splash Mountain. Well maybe the second best since I have a slight preference for how the story progresses on Tokyo’s version. FastPass made our journey through the queue brief, but it was plenty of time to notice the new safety videos in the queue line.


Splash Mountain is like Game 3 of the World Series. It just keeps going on and on. If I ever find a flume superior to Splash Mountain, I’ll be stunned. Ripsaw Falls and Chiapas tried, but they came up short like the Dodgers. Even without the drops, the quantity and quality of the animatronics would make Splash Mountain an excellent dark ride. Adding in those outstanding drops, particularly the indoor one and final plunge, is just cheating. 10 out of 10



My favorite mountain.


When were these added?


Big Thunder barely had a queue, so it would have been disrespectful not to ride arguably the best mine train coaster out there. We requested the back and the park happily obliged our request. As long as you’re willing to wait an extra cycle or two, Disney is always willing to give you your seat of choice.


On some coasters, there’s a minor difference between the front on back. On Big Thunder, it makes a world of a difference. In the back, you get a few pops of air and some wicked laterals after the second and third lifts. Combine that with the picturesque mountain and you have a real winner. 7 out of 10



If you ride in the back, you will understand why it's called the "wildest ride in the wilderness"


We stopped for a quick lunch at Pecos Bills and for the most part was satisfied. The tacos were fantastic, but the guacamole was pre-packaged garbage. This and the Columbia Harbor House give the Magic Kingdom a strong one-two punch for quick service restaurants.



Check out this spread. Just shield your eyes from that guac.


We were still 20 minutes early for our Space Mountain FastPass, so we had our eyes set on the Peoplemover. I know it’s called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, but let’s be honest, it’s the Peoplemover. We actually encountered a 15 minute queue snaking it’s way on the midway. I was stunned the Peoplemover had any sort of line on a lighter day, but it was apparent why. They were only loading half the cars. The ride itself was it’s usual relaxing journey through the sky. 8 out of 10



Disneyland homers, are you jealous?


Buzz Lightyear had a posted 15 minute wait and we ended up waiting only a third of that. What sort of parallel universe were we in where Buzz Lightyear and Big Thunder had shorter waits than the Peoplemover? My buddy taught me all the tricks so I can now max out my score, but it still requires a bit of hard work due to those mounted guns.


Also what are you supposed to shoot at in the tunnel? I randomly get a few points here and there, but still don’t know what I did. 8 out of 10





As much as I love Slinky Dog (and believe me I love that ride and the character), Space Mountain is still the king of coasters at Walt Disney World. Not only is it nostalgic, but it has some seriously good airtime. There was a point where I preferred Disneyland’s version. And I think that’s primarily for Giacchino’s brilliant soundtrack. But having ridden an identical layout at Tokyo Disneyland, there’s no contest. Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain is superior.


Then there’s also the added thrill of seeing supports narrowly avoid my 6’3” friend’s head. There are only a few coasters where I am genuinely terrified to raise my hands. SkyRush is one. Space Mountain is another. That says it all considering the latter only has half the speed of SkyRush. 9 out of 10


I was also surprised to exit on the backside of the building. I’m guessing the ramps are undergoing maintenance since the view was uncharacteristically barren for a Disney park. On the bright side, it was possible to catch a glimpse of Tron’s land clearing.



This is a familiar sight.


This temporary exit was not.


Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a fine attraction if you get a FastPass. That’s easier said than done unless you’re a resort guest. I had no intentions of riding it yet again, but noticed an odd sight. The queue wasn’t in the outdoor section. The wait was posted at 60 minutes, but we were optimistic it would be less. Maybe all those closet Jaguars fans went home early to watch the game?


Our wait began by the spinning jewels game. We came close to revealing Snow White (I now realize how wrong that sounds but it’s TPR so it stays ), but there was one motionless barrel. I figured it’d be an adult too cool to participate, but nope, a parent had plopped their child on the barrel.


In not even 20 minutes, the station was in sight. With only two switchbacks to go, my buddy scarfed down his cinnamon roll. His effort was in vain, as those two switchbacks took as long as the final two minutes in a NBA game. The stream of FastPass holders was never ending. Eventually there was a reprieve and we were seated towards the back.


Seven Dwarfs will never be mistaken for a thrill ride, but there was a bit of whip on the drops (no air though). But the highlight is without a doubt that dark ride segment in the middle of the ride. I know some people aren’t the biggest fan of Disney’s projection mapping face technology, but I actually appreciate it. 7 out of 10



I'll definitely take this over the old Snow White ride any day of the week.


Last but not least, we used our Peter Pan FastPass. I was underwhelmed by Tokyo’s version. I always remembered the American versions being superior. Turns out my memories were incorrect. I’m guessing younger me was in love with the suspended ride system because the ride was as short and dark as Tokyo’s version. It’s still a classic and I encourage you to ride it, but the line has to be less than 20 minutes which is very unlikely with that ride’s lackluster throughput. 7 out of 10



They look ready for their journey to Neverland.


Of the three “kingdom” parks I’ve visited, Magic Kingdom is probably my least favorite of the three. It’s larger and grander than the others, but it doesn’t quite have the intimate feel of Tokyo Disneyland or the original Disneyland. That being said, it’s still one of the best parks in the world and the highlight of the resort if you ask me.

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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Great report as always!


I think Tron is exactly what the Magic Kingdom needs. I feel like it's been the same park for the past 20 years I've been going. I find that most of my visits in recent history have been like the one you just mentioned, maybe plus a firework show if I'm there at night. I haven't been on 7DMT yet, because it's tough to prioritize a fastpass on it when there's the other mountains, and as you mentioned the standby is usually insane. For my money EPCOT and Animal Kingdom have overtaken Magic Kingdom because of the great places eat, drink, relax, and mix in some world class attractions.

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Magic Kingdom- September


My buddy and I had plans to watch the Patriots-Jaguars game, so we had an abbreviated visit to the Magic Kingdom. While the Patriots game was a disaster (Blake Bortles should never shred a defense), our visit to the Magic Kingdom was a success.


Sorry about that game, probably be the one and only highlight of this season for the Jags, it was a fun game in person for sure but a day in the Magic Kingdom is justas good.

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SeaWorld Orlando- Fall


The first time I visited SeaWorld Orlando, I made a big mistake. I only gave myself a half day. That was plenty of time to ride all the coasters multiple times; however, I had to sacrifice all of the animal exhibits. I’ve done many credit whorish things (I mean look at some of the parks I’ve visited), but I think that’s my greatest sin. I’ve been repenting ever since by allocating full days at SeaWorld Orlando.


SeaWorld Orlando is an extremely relaxing park. Lines are non-existent. Food options are delicious. And there’s plenty of high-quality shows to get you out of the hot, Florida sun. The only difficult thing about visiting SeaWorld is their limited hours of operation. They closed at 6 on the day I visited, which made it tricky to fit in shows, animal exhibits, and dining experiences. It took a little planning, but it was worth it.


After rope drop, I made a beeline for Kraken. I didn’t realize VR had been removed, so heading there first was completely unnecessary and I got a solo ride on Kraken. Usually solo rides are a cool perk, but it may have been a negative from Kraken. I remembered Kraken being a really enjoyable and smooth looper. However, it had a pretty noticeable rattle.


Robb recently posted in the park discussion thread that Kraken tends to be a bit shakier without a full train. I wish I had known that because I would have returned later in the day. Instead, Kraken was a one and done for me. I still really enjoyed the inversions, particularly the final two in the trenches, but I prioritized re-rides on the other three main coasters. 8 out of 10



I've said it before, but I love straight drops on B&M loopers.


Sea Lion Stadium offers some fantastic views of Kraken and Mako.


I wasn't lucky enough to get a two train shot though.


Kraken was rattling a fair bit in the valleys, but at least the inversions were smooth.


My next stop was Journey to Atlantis. On such a hot and humid day, the front row actually sounded kind of nice. I was *this* close to sentencing myself to a cruel and watery death, but thought better of it since I had a reservation for the penguin tour afterwards. It was a very wise choice.


The first half of Atlantis is top notch. The story is so bad that even Twilight’s may top this attraction, but the scenes look fantastic. In many ways, it reminds me of a fireless Escape from Pompeii. Then there’s that first drop. I think that’s one of the more underrated drops out there. It feels much larger than it really is because it’s on a flume and even has some air. However, the second half has less theming than a carnival dark ride.


Still Journey to Atlantis is one of the best flume rides out there. Yet it’s only the fourth best water ride in Orlando. That’s not a mark against Atlantis, but rather a statement to just how insanely good Orlando’s water ride collection is. With the original effects and theming (which is clearly still there and deactivated), I may even take this over Ripsaw Falls. 9 out of 10


I also never realized until this visit that there was an aquarium in the gift shop next to Atlantis.



Orlando's Atlantis puts the other two to shame.


I found Dory and I didn't even need a movie to do so.


Those eyes look terrifying.


Jellyfish are beautiful unless you see them at the beach.


I still had some time before my penguin tour, so I gave myself a mini preview and rode the Antarctica ride. Antarctica has so much potential. It’s the ride equivalent of a toolsy pro athlete who can never put it all together. Take Reggie Bush for example. He had elite speed and open-field moves. He had all the talent in the world to succeed. Every once and a while you’d see flashes of greatness, but for the most part you saw a league average running back.


That’s how I feel about Antarctica. That ride system alone should place it ahead of 95% of dark rides out there. But outside of the penguin reveal at the end, the ride simply doesn’t do much. It just spins and rocks around in big, wide open rooms. It’s not awful by any means, but it should have been so much better. 6 out of 10


The real star of Antarctica is the penguin exhibit. For this reason, I treated myself to the Penguin Encounter Tour. It was pricey, but well worth it. The experience lasted about 45 minutes and was broken into two segments. The first segment was an info session and Q&A with a trainer. She did an excellent job overviewing all the species of penguins in the exhibit.


The most fascinating thing for me was the breeding. SeaWorld keeps a record of which of their penguins are good parents. If they’re worried a penguin may not successfully hatch one of their eggs, they perform a Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque bait and switch. They take the egg from the suspect parent and give them a blank, identical in size and weight. Then they give the real egg to one of the other penguins. Now I truly know where the term “bird brain” comes from


The second half was a 20 minute encounter with a penguin. The experience was very intimate, as our group only had 6 people. The penguin was very personable and seemed to love all the attention. He enjoyed getting his belly rubbed just like a dog and always seemed to know how to pose for the camera. If penguins are one of your favorite animals, I cannot recommend this tour enough.



You can really get up close with the penguins.


Like really close.


It felt so good being out of the heat.


But the highlight of the visit was reriding Mako. Outside of Fury 325 and Shambhala, this is the best B&M out there. The first half follows a similar layout to their other mega coasters, but the airtime feels so much stronger. It’s not quite ejector, but it’s easily some of the strongest and most sustained floater air out there.


The second half starts with the ride’s final airtime hill and then that’s followed by a funky series turns. Mako isn’t traveling overly fast at this point and you gracefully get thrown to the side on these banks. It’s a really cool feeling, especially since these turns travel over the midway and park’s main lagoon.


Mako started with one train operations. When the line reached an unacceptably long length of 10 minutes, the park added the second train. Once the station was emptied, they bumped Mako back down to one train. I appreciated the move since it cleared out the front row queue. This may be the only B&M hyper where I prefer the front row. Shamu may be the star for most, but for me it’s Mako. 9.5 out of 10



I really think the best shots of Mako could be taken from outside the park.


Cue the theme music.


Here's an artsy shot of Mako and Kraken trying their best Full Throttle double spin impersonation.


I was optimistic I’d be able to ride Infinity Falls during my September visit considering the ride had a “Summer 2018” advertised opening. Technically I think the ride may have soft opened on the last day of summer, but I was a week too early. While the walls around the attraction were still up, the gift shop was open and ready for business. Along with having another solid ride in the park’s lineup, I’m excited the walk between Shamu’s Happy Harbor (or Sesame Street Land or whatever it is next year) and Mako will no longer be a series of hideous construction walls.



I didn't see any rafts testing, but I suspect I may have if I stuck around long enough.


I felt bad for any parents with kids. That knocked out the entire kid's area.


I skipped One Ocean earlier this year since I admittedly was not a fan of the show in San Diego and saw the whales as part of Dine with Shamu. This time, I decided to give One Ocean another chance. But not before getting concessions. I made a quick pit stop at Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen. While they didn’t have my beloved bacon pretzel, they did have a pretzel wrapped turkey leg which sounded too unhealthy and American not to get. And as a bonus, season pass holders got a complimentary beer!



I'm usually not a big beer drinker, but it'd be wasteful not to use my free perk.


I can't say I ever thought I'd be eating a turkey pretzel leg.


I thoroughly enjoyed my pretzel turkey leg while watching One Ocean. I made darn sure to sit way up in the bleachers because I know just how big of a splash the Shamu family can make. The show I saw here was way different than San Diego’s back in 2014. The audience spent more time watching screens than the whales at San Diego’s show. At Orlando’s One Ocean, they spent the entirety of the time showcasing the whales as they should. Needless to say, I enjoyed it this time around.



I had a whale of a time.


After one more ride on Mako and a quick tour of Pacific Point Reserve, I watched my favorite aquatic show at the park, Sea Lion High. Without a doubt, this is the park’s funniest show and there’s just something mesmerizing about seeing the sea lions glide across the stage. This time, the show went off without a hitch. Back in March, there were some hiccups during the science scene that are totally understandable from a live show with animals.



Hello my friend.


Bark bark bark.


Sea Lion High is easily the park's funniest show.


Perfect form.


But my favorite show at SeaWorld is Pets Ahoy. *Places umbrella in front of face to shield myself from tomatoes* It seems wrong to have this as my favorite show at a marine park, but this is the show I enjoy the most. The wide variety of animals are adorable and follow instructions far better than my beagle or corgi ever have.



Release the weenies!


Manta was the last major attraction I rode during my visit. This was a deliberate move since the ride’s proximity to the entrance leads to a lengthy 15-30 minute wait (by SeaWorld standards, that’s colossal) early in the day. By mid-afternoon, Manta was a complete walk-on and they were allowing rerides. This led to four consecutive rides in the very back. As much as I love the visuals up front, it was hard to say no to the whip on the first drop and funky airtime off the MCBR.


While I enjoyed Manta’s clone in Japan (Acrobat), it felt so nice to ride the original. Whereas Acrobat is placed in a wide open field devoid of theming outside of an imitation splash effect, Manta is beautiful. The layout itself is probably the best of any flyer outside of Flying Dinosaur and all the interactions with the pathways, rockwork, and waterfalls makes Manta really stand out. 9.5 out of 10



This is the one theming element Acrobat copied.


I think Flying Dinosaur may be the only flyer with a better layout than Manta.


It's tough to decide whether I prefer this pretzel or the ones from Mama's Pretzel Kitchen.


Dine with Shamu is an amazing value in my opinion. It combines an all you can eat and drink (yes that includes beer) buffet with a mini Shamu show. However, it is impossible not to leave stuffed and waddling like a penguin. I had heard positive things about Shark’s Underwater Grill, so I made the difficult decision to skip Dine with Shamu this visit. And as awesome as Dine with Shamu was, I think I preferred Shark’s more.


Shark’s Underwater Grill is an upscale theme park dining experience, but it’s very much worth it. The atmosphere alone is worth it. It’s impossible not to be in awe at all the sharks swimming in the tank adjacent to the dining room. And those sharks are probably pretty pissed at us humans since most of us are eating fish. I did feel a little shrivel of guilt eating fish next to them, but it was quickly forgotten with how good my salmon tasted.



What a view.


My mouth waters just looking at this again.


After a delicious meal and a few more rerides on Manta, I did the park’s Dolphin Encounter. This is another animal experience, but a far briefer and cheaper one than the penguin tour. SeaWorld does not allow any photography during the experience for the safety of the dolphins. But rest assured, the park has a professional photographer to safely capture the moment for you for $30. However, the photos looked like garbage and I don’t think anyone purchased them. They were timed well, but they were all taken directly into the sun.


As long as you aren’t going in with the intention to get a new profile picture, the experience is very cool. It’s probably about 15 minutes in length, but that’s plenty of time to pet and feed the dolphins. Someday I plan to visit Discovery Cove, but until then, this was a nice opportunity to meet one of my favorite animals.



You can take pictures of dolphins by the nursery at least.


With an hour before closing, I finished with a mini marathon on Mako. The only bummer is that the park didn’t allow rerides on Mako, so I probably made it onto every second or third train with most of my rides coming in the very front. This is one of the most reridable coasters out there. It’s glass smooth and has some fantastic airtime that keeps you coming back for more.



Without a doubt, this is my favorite coaster in Orlando.


SeaWorld may be my favorite park in Orlando after the Magic Kingdom. Unless you’re a member of PETA, you’d be hard pressed to have a bad day at SeaWorld. The park has some fantastic coasters plus awesome food, landscaping, service, and animal shows.

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