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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures


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Magic Kingdom- Fireworks and 2 Mountains

 

While most of my time was spent at the SeaWorld and Fun Spot parks following the conference, I was able to sneak to join my buddy for a few hours at Disney World. I had two evenings and my choice of three of the four parks (Animal Kingdom was blacked out). The first choice was a no-brainer for me, Magic Kingdom.

 

We arrived just as the fireworks show began. Having been to my fair share of Disney parks, I know it's a challenge to fight through the crowds during any fireworks show or parade. That fact combined with the quality show Disney usually provides made it an easy decision to watch the show. I can never keep track of what Disney calls their fireworks show at any given point, but I believe this was the Happily Ever After version.

 

The show was enjoyable. Fireworks alone aren't something I'm too interested in. But when you add in impressive castle projections, different (but wonderful) renditions of Disney classics, and the obligatory Tinkerbell soaring across the sky, it elevates the fireworks into a truly special experience.

 

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Pro- The park sure does clear out after fireworks. Con- Having to fight through that crowd to get into the park.

 

Once the show concluded, we battled through the asphalt jungle. We went upstream against baby strollers, children on leashes, families linking hands, and hordes of teenagers looking for that one last selfie, but eventually we reached a much more appealing jungle and we had reservations for a night cruise. We were at none other than the Jungle Cruise.

 

The Jungle Cruise is an infinitely better experience at night. For one, the cave/ruins scene is pitch black and pretty ominous in the dark of night. More importantly, our tour guide was able to add some more adult jokes to the experience. Before you think Disney has turned into Comedy Central, control yourselves. They kept it PG. However, there were some clever drinking jokes woven in that I've never noticed in past years...unless I was too oblivious . Those jokes combined with the expected dry humor makes this a staple in my visits to the park. 10 out of 10

 

We still had some time before our Splash Mountain Fastpass was ready, so we decided to visit 999 happy haunting ghosts on another classic, the Haunted Mansion. We arrived to find the longest queue I've ever seen for the Haunted Mansion at 30 minutes. Prior to Fastpass Plus, I can't recall ever seeing any noticeable wait for this attraction, but I'll take it over being guaranteed shorter waits for rides on the mountains.

 

It was interesting reriding the Haunted Mansion again after riding the well-done ripoff at Europa Park last fall. Honestly I hesitate to even call that one a ripoff since it was almost equal in quality. Almost. The original is still a better all-around attraction. The Pepper's Ghost effect (only remember that since we had a tour guide ahead of us and overheard as we walked down the exit) is still impressive ever. The ride slowly builds up to the impressive climax in the graveyard. It's quite the site seeing ghosts everywhere while hearing a Disney tune that manages to be both cheerful and ominous at the same time. 10 out of 10

 

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There were a lot of details I never noticed before in the Haunted Mansion's queue.

 

Splash Mountain is my favorite ride at the entire resort. The recipe of large drops and classic animatronics is pretty hard to top in my opinion. It's also one of the longest rides in the world, usually clocking in around 10-11 minutes. I say usually since my buddy and I were treated to a 25 minute experience on Splash Mountain.

 

Our Fastpass was completely unnecessary since the queue was completely empty, a stark contrast to the 100 minutes we waited last month for the attraction. I guess 10 pm and 60 degrees has that effect on a water ride in Florida. We were optimistic we could get a double ride and still have time to make it over to Space Mountain for our final ride.

 

We climbed up the first lift, rounded the corner, got sprayed by the geyser adjacent to the drop, and crept up to the second lift. Business as usual. But then the lights came on and the dreaded announcement could be heard.

 

"Brer Fox and Brer Bear are causing some kind of commotion down stream."

 

A few years ago I was stopped on Dinosaur and that was quite the experience, as I was able to witness what really is in that ride building when the lights went on. Splash Mountain wasn't quite as noteworthy, but I did notice some new theming along the lift I've never noticed on my previous rides. Soon enough I heard:

 

"Please remain seated, motion will begin momentarily."

 

I turned my attention back to the lift which still didn't start. Turns out Disney has a different meaning of momentarily than me. You see, my buddy helped write the technical manual for Splash Mountain. As a result, he knew just what all the announcements during the attraction meant from an operations standpoint. He told me the key word was "immediately." Five minutes of moments later, we heard the "motion will begin immediately" and were back on our journey.

 

We had another 5 minute stop before Slippin' Falls, which was actually somewhat suspenseful since motion began this time after "momentarily" much to my buddy's shock. The rest of the ride was its usual goodness, punctuated by the climatic plunge. The drop is spectacular anytime of day, but I especially like it at night for the view of the castle before descending into the briar patch. 10 out of 10

 

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Today I learned the difference between momentarily and immediately.

 

It was now 10:30, so we began the journey across the park to Space Mountain. We had a little extra time, so we decided to squeeze in one extra dark ride along the way. We needed one with no queue, so that ruled Peter Pan out. We needed one that doesn't drive me insane, so that ruled It's a Small World Out. So the one we passed that fit the bill was the Little Mermaid's Under the Sea.

 

The ride is identical (as far as I can tell) between California and Florida, but the exterior is much more impressive at Magic Kingdom. I actually haven't seen the Little Mermaid from start to finish, but this attraction includes all the key songs and seems to tell the narrative quite well. 9 out of 10

 

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"Darling it's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me" - Monica Lewinsky

 

It was now 10:50, so we had just enough time to enter Space Mountain's queue. Knowing Disney, I was expecting to see a posted 90 minute wait that was actually only 20-30 minutes. The wait time was actually almost correct this night. It said 40 minutes and we waited 30 minutes.

 

Space Mountain is another great example why bigger and faster isn't always better. The fact that a coaster with a top speed of only 27 MPH includes 4-5 solid drops, each with some great airtime in the back, really says it all. And that's combined with almost total darkness. The only things that become visible (and this actually adds to the ride's thrill) are the supports that seem dangerously close above our heads. As great as the headchopper on Phantom's Revenge is, Space Mountain is so much scarier in that regard. 9 out of 10

 

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The perfect way to cap off the night.

 

In just under 2.5 hours, we hit my two favorite mountains and three dark rides I missed in my February visit. Not too bad considering the queues were posted at 45-90 minutes for most attractions around midday.

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Great SeaWorld report. I agree with basically everything you said aside from the fact that I think the Wild Arctic ride is terrible. lol

 

I never thought to Jungle Cruise at night. I guess I'm missing out. We actually skipped the ride entirely on our last visit. I absolutely agree that Splash Mountain is the best ride at Magic Kingdom, though it's certainty debatable. I'd be tempted to agree that it's the best ride at the resort but Expedition Everest and Flight of Passage exist (and I've never ridden TOT... I KNOW, I KNOW). lol

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I'm never going to listen to "Under the Sea" the same way again. Damn it, Monica!

But still, great report.

 

Thanks and you're welcome! The thought dawned on me last time after going to the Hall of Presidents after that ride.

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Great SeaWorld report. I agree with basically everything you said aside from the fact that I think the Wild Arctic ride is terrible. lol

 

I never thought to Jungle Cruise at night. I guess I'm missing out. We actually skipped the ride entirely on our last visit. I absolutely agree that Splash Mountain is the best ride at Magic Kingdom, though it's certainty debatable. I'd be tempted to agree that it's the best ride at the resort but Expedition Everest and Flight of Passage exist (and I've never ridden TOT... I KNOW, I KNOW). lol

 

Thanks! One less person in line for Wild Arctic then...not that it ever becomes an issue with that ride. Or almost any of them at that park.

 

If you're a fan of dry humor (and from your post it sure seems it), the Jungle Cruise is a fantastic attraction. Flight of Passage and Tower of Terror aren't too far behind Splash Mountain for me, but the nostalgia and that ride's sheer length gives it the nod for me. I do enjoy Everest, but I would still take Space Mountain over it as far as coasters at Disney World.

 

Great night shots, there! I love the last one, and as well, the gravestones, lol.

Peace and solitude. Looks good to me.

 

Thanks! I think those fake corpses have a much more peaceful afterlife than those poor souls who've had their ashes sprinkled in It's a Small World.

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Did Hulk ever go down for any kind of extended maintenance like Kumba? I know both are at year-round parks, but I also think Hulk sent trains out much faster than Kumba due to the attendance demands of that park.

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I was wondering the same thing about hulk, I know its one of the main attactions at IOA but I was there last week and the headlights were out on 2 trains and the speakers on my train sounded like the speaker box had blown and was distorted

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I was wondering the same thing about hulk, I know its one of the main attactions at IOA but I was there last week and the headlights were out on 2 trains and the speakers on my train sounded like the speaker box had blown and was distorted

 

That's a shame to hear since it was running fantastic last November. All of the effects were working and the ride was smooth as glass.

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Disney's Hollywood Studios (March)

 

We arrived just 1.5 hours before closing and quite frankly, we anticipated there wouldn't be any Fastpasses available. I wasn't going to be greedy and just wanted to get on Tower of Terror and Rock "n" Roller Coaster. But we still made our first stop at the Fastpass kiosk. We scanned our cards and there were Fastpasses available! But they were only for Muppet Vision 3D or Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Yeah...something tells me those wouldn't be necessary.

 

Instead of giving up, I decided to play games with the kiosk. We decided to try and book Fastpasses separately. You may have heard the quote "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." In 99% of instances, that quote is pretty accurate. But this is the rare 1% case.

 

After 3 tries with nothing other than Muppet Vision or Voyage of the Little Mermaid, a Star Tours fastpass appeared. While it wasn't one of the big 3 attractions, I wasn't going to say no to one of the best simulators out there. Now my buddy just needed a Star Tours with an overlapping time and we'd be all set. After 5 tries of no Star Tours, something better appeared on the 6th try- Tower of Terror.

 

We scooped that one up without any hesitation. My buddy graciously offered the Tower of Terror Fastpass, but I wasn't going to ditch him while riding the best attraction in the park. I was stubborn and steadfast. I tried 20 times to change my Star Tours Fastpass into a Tower of Terror to no avail. But on the 21st try, the angels sung out and Tower of Terror appeared. Mission complete!

 

With a half hour before our Tower of Terror Fastpass, we made our way over to Rock "n" Roller Coaster ready to use the single rider line. It sure would beat the posted 90 minute wait. But then I saw the dreaded rope across the entrance. Oh no, it was closed!

 

We quickly changed our plans to Star Tours, but as we navigated our way down Sunset Boulevard, I saw Toy Story posted at 45 minutes on the app. I honestly wasn't even planning to ride Toy Story. Now I love that ride, even more so than Rock "n" Roller Coaster. But I went in with the mindset that the queue would still be around 90-120 minutes. With such a short queue, we scurried on over to give ourselves tennis elbow.

 

I cannot wait for Toy Story Land to open. Not only will this dachshund enthusiast live his dream by riding a Slinky Dog coaster, but Toy Story Midway Mania will finally not be a dead end. Even though I knew the approximate location of the ride, it was challenging to find due to its location down a dead end. Maybe the 45 minute wait was an exaggeration if people couldn't find it?

 

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I never thought I'd see the queue posted that low.

 

I saw the queue stretched beyond the ride entrance and around a corner. That didn't bode well. I started to question if it was even more than 45 minutes. I remember waiting almost 2 hours in 2008 when every single switchback on the inside was full. But on this visit it quickly became apparent they were stacking the queue.

 

It wasn't even 5 minutes into our wait and we had already reached the FastPass merge point, which was at the start of the well-themed interior queue. Something was off though. Gone were the oversized toys. In place were some loosely themed walls. I was confused why they'd gut such a beautiful queue, but learned after the fact they're rerouting the entrance to their new land, which made sense.

 

After 15 minutes, we boarded the vehicle. After multiple laps on Maus au Chocolat last fall, I was hopeful I'd be able to squash my buddy. If accuracy was scored like golf where the lowest score wins, I dominated my buddy. I'm pretty sure my accuracy was sub-20%, which is putrid considering the finale is free points. Still I had a blast missing most of the time and occasionally nailing the high point value targets. 10 out of 10

 

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I'm just glad the park kept Midway Mania open during Toy Story Land construction. If this ride closed, they'd be down to like 4 rides. Oh god, I was trying to exaggerate, but I think that may actually be the number.

 

Our Tower of Terror FastPasses were about ready, so we made our way across the park and bypassed a 60 minute wait. Unlike Toy Story's exaggerated wait, Tower of Terror's wait actually appeared to be sizable. The queue was stretching through the courtyard and we heard an announcement that guests would experience delays before checking in. Turns out those delays were relegated to the stand-by queue only as the flood of FastPass users were ushered into the pre-show in no time.

 

I was amazed how those Soaring Eagles drop towers only used a single seat belt as a restraint. It was unlike any other drop tower I had experienced. Or so I thought. For some reason I had forgotten about the restraints on my favorite drop tower. Those simplistic seat belts are loose enough to provide some truly spectacular airtime on all the major drops. Despite being at a Disney drop, each drop provides a tummy tickling sensation S&S towers can't come close to matching. And then when you throw the theming in the mix, you truly have one of the best rides on the planet.

 

Hurakan Condor, Falcon's Fury, and Lex Luthor are more terrifying drop towers, but Tower of Terror still dominates with its immersive theming and long drop sequence. Each singular drop isn't as good as the aforementioned towers, but having 4-5 drops in a row in almost total darkness more than makes up for it.

While Guardians of the Galaxy has been warmly received on the west coast, I hope the Orlando one continues to remain themed to the Twilight Zone for the foreseeable future. 10 out of 10

 

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We invite you, if you dare, to step aboard because in tonight’s episode, you are the star. And this elevator travels directly to…the gift shop.

 

Normally I'd want to finish the night with a final ride on Tower of Terror, but the lengthy queue gave me pause. We decided to give Rock "n" Roller Coaster a shot. Maybe the 80 minute posted wait was wrong. And wrong it was! There was no one in the outside queue. There was no one in the inside queue either. We immediately entered into the pre-show and the doors to the station opened before it even ended. It truly was a walk-on!

 

Had we grabbed the first available seat, we probably could have gotten at least two rides on Rock "n" Roller Coaster. But we decided to wait several extra trains for the de facto best seat on a launch coaster, the front. My buddy was especially grateful as the front had significantly more legroom to fit all 6'4" of him. I remember him being pretty darn cramped towards the back on our ride last month.

 

At one time the launch took my breath away. That was when it was both my first launched and looping coaster. The result yielded a comical on-ride photo. Buying an on-ride photo would be too normal. My dad of course bought a full-size poster that still hangs in his office. Now the launch is pretty pedestrian, but it still beats a majority of the first drops out there.

 

The rest of the ride is so much better up front as well. The inversions are surprisingly forceful and great in all seats, but the finale is much better up front. There are a few minimally banked turns with some strong laterals and even a pop of air. Plus there's the unobstructed view of the random assortment of signs and donuts scattered about the ride. It was a perfect way to end the night. 8 out of 10

 

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I struggled to take this photo through the chain link fence until I realized I could just position my camera above the camera.

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If I want a BIG TIP, I'll go to Pandora.

 

Or so I thought it was the perfect ending to the night. Because of how short Rock "n" Roller Coaster's queue was, we made it out in time for the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular. I had never seen it before and it was a very nice tribute to the movies. They covered almost every character people would want to see (so no Jar Jar or Ewoks) while adding the occasional flamethrower and fireworks. It still won't beat Fantasmic as the park's nightly show, but it's a welcome addition for sure.

 

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It's impossible not to get amped up when you hear the iconic theme song.

 

Hollywood Studios is probably the worst park at Disney World. Maybe Toy Story and Star Wars Land changes that, but even the worst park at Disney World is better than 80-90% of the parks out there. The theming is great and the shows are wonderful; I just wish the park had more rides so I didn't have to spend the day constantly consulting the park map for showtimes. The additions opening in the next 2 years will definitely help remedy this.

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Fun Spot Kissimmee- This time starting in the daylight

 

I've already written two relatively recent reports for Fun Spot Kissimmee, but this report is different for two reasons. One, I actually spent some time at the park during broad daylight. With the park's incredible schedule that has it open until midnight every single day, it's hard for me to justify going during the daytime while the other parks are still open. But in this visit, I had some time to kill while I waited for my buddy to run some errands near Old Town.

 

Secondly, I rode the single most terrifying attraction in Kissimmee.

 

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And it surprisingly isn't this thing.

 

Believe it or not, the SkyCoaster isn't the most terrifying attraction in the park. It's terrifying, don't get me wrong. Staring 300 feet straight down at the ground while only being supported by a wee little cable will make most people sweat. The height was even more daunting this time since I remembered a glasses strap. I call that the Falcon's Fury effect.

 

I think I rode it twice, once during the day and once in the evening. The feeling of that initial plunge is exhilarating. Once you pull that ripcord, you bow forwards 90 degrees and plunge towards the ground like a missile. Actually it may be more than 90 degrees since I start to just feel my legs beyond my body before the cable corrects my position. The sheer length of the plunge is the most impressive part. It's probably only a second longer than the smaller SkyCoasters, but that added 100 feet feels like an eternity. 10 out of 10

 

So I continued my way around the park, coming across another candidate for the most terrifying attraction in the park.

 

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One of the most intense wooden coasters out there.

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But still not the scariest attraction in the park.

 

I came close to 30 laps on Mine Blower, each better than the last. Every seat is outstanding on this unbelievably compact coaster, but the money seat is the back row. The whip over that sneakily steep first drop results in some wicked airtime. And that's followed by an aggressive zero-G roll doing its best RMC impression. The start of this ride really does remind me of a smaller Wildfire.

 

The ride does shuffle a bit around the corners, but when you see how tight the turns are, you really should be impressed Gravity Group was able to fit any sort of coaster into this spot, especially one that's as intense as this. The rest of the layout probably has another 9-10 pops of airtime with the airtime of each subsequent hill becoming more and more abrupt. The last 2-3 leading into the brake run really do feel like a buckling bronco. 9 out of 10

 

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Ok I know it's technically not Fun Spot, but it sure does feel like it.

 

Ok I know my title was a bit deceptive. I said I rode the most terrifying ride in Kissimmee and you probably thought it was Fun Spot's SkyCoaster. You also probably thought it was at Fun Spot. The Vomatron is not located at Fun Spot, so it cost an extra $15-20 to ride. Since work had covered my hotel and flight down to Orlando, I decided to spend half of the cost of a Spirit flight on the Vomatron. I've ridden similar ones in a portable KMG Speed, the Zenobio at Coney Island, a miniature one at Skyline Park, and the oddly resistant-to-looping CyperSpace at Oktoberfest.

 

But this one was a bit different. At the end of each arm, there were only two seats instead of the 4 person back-to-back seating arrangement. I wasn't sure if the seating arrangement would result in a wilder ride. It's hard to say whether or not it did. While the others were much more unpredictable, Vomatron performed the same flip in the same location every time. So while I knew exactly when the flip was coming, it was one heck of a fantastic flip. It was much longer and more drawn out than flips on similar rides.

 

The operator also ran a nice, long cycle for this type of attraction. Not sure if that's the norm or not, but I was literally the only person by this attraction and the Slingshot. I think I prefer the more unpredictable nature of the KMG Speed, but this was still one heck of an intense flat. 9 out of 10

 

Yet it still wasn't the scariest ride in Kissimmee. Ok I've drawn it out long enough. It was none other than...their go karts! I kid you not. The most terrifying attraction at a park with an inverting wooden coaster and the world's tallest skycoaster is a go kart track. Specifically their Vortex track.

 

But these are no ordinary go karts.

 

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I much prefer burning rubber, but I guess a blowtorch will do.

 

These are the fastest go karts I've ever ridden. I remember hearing stories about the old Action Park how employees wedged tennis balls into the governors to increase the speed of the carts. I'm not saying Fun Spot is circumventing the governors, but I am saying that these carts have significantly more power than the others I've ridden.

 

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I know the ride has yet to begin, but the employee very well could be on the track mid-race.

 

There are also moving obstacles known as the employees. While every other go kart track I've seen usually has a nice grassy pathway adjacent to the track for the safety of their employees in sue-happy America, Fun Spot doesn't have room for that. Since they have multilevel tracks that (in many cases) are built right on top of each other, the employees must play a game of Crossy Road to help stranded carts. And because of the track design, crashes are abundant. Why?

 

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They have a freaking 25-30 foot plunge followed by an overbank, another 15-20 foot plunge, and a hairpin turn.

 

Vortex was designed by a mad genius. The track begins innocently enough with a 4 story helix. I've seen that before. But what I have never seen any park have the balls to construct is a colossal (by go kart standards) 30 foot plunge followed by a banked turn. Yes you read that right. I'm not describing a coaster here. I'm describing a user controlled set of go karts.

 

Every single time I crested that hill, I prepared for one of the most terrifying moments of airtime ever. I've definitely experienced more negative Gs on roller coasters, but there the train is fastened to the track. This felt more like airtime on a water slide. When you physically feel the cart go slightly airborne and bounce wildly down a 30 foot ramp, it's truly a unique experience. I prayed every single time that I gunned it over that hill that there wouldn't be a multi-car pile-up at the bottom because quite frankly, I don't know if I could stop in time.

 

The banked turn afterwards is perfectly designed such that almost everyone fishtails around it. And if you take the turn really tightly, there's a decent chance you'll still be skidding as you careen down the subsequent 15-20 foot plunge. That alone is insane. Honestly any of the last three elements are insane. But Fun Spot added a fourth in another hairpin turn after this second drop. I laughed how the park had helmets available upon request, but I honestly wouldn't blame one for taking one after driving Vortex.

 

It was one of the most wild and unexpected experiences I've had at any amusement park. I can't believe I skipped Fun Spot's go karts in my past visits, but I'll never make that mistake again. After I got my driver's license, go karts sort of lost their luster. They felt slow and boring. Fun Spot restored my faith in go karts. 10 out of 10

 

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I was on a go kart high. I needed more.

 

With a renewed faith in go karts, I had to try Chaos. Now you'd think a track named Chaos would be wilder than something called Vortex, but it wasn't. The carts were equally as fast, but it lacked the signature WTF moment of Vortex. Instead of building up to a crescendo, Chaos was consistently great. I honestly couldn't recollect the layout as it was an endless array of turns and drops with seemingly no coherent pattern. 9 out of 10

 

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Eureka, it's open!

 

I was stunned to see the park's screamin' swing operational. This was my fourth visit to the park and this is the first time I've seen Hot Seat open. And if I remember correctly, I think the board actually listed it as closed. I certainly wasn't going to complain about one of the best style of flats being open.

 

I rode twice, both times facing the water during the maximum swings. The ride's Achilles heel is shared by all screamin' swings- the cycle length. These things are always short, but you get 3-4 really great moments of floater air. 8 out of 10

 

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Meet the best employee at Fun Spot.

 

All kidding aside, the employees of Fun Spot Kissimmee are quite good. But I still found it hysterical that this cat basically set up camp inside the flying scooters. As I waited for an operator, I began to think the cat was the ride operator. Eventually an operator did arrive and joked the cat was the park's mascot. I guess they wanted a mascot that can hunt mice.

 

I visited the park on a very windy day. Flyer fans like myself lick their lips for conditions like this. With the added boost of 20-25 mph wind gusts, I was able to get some light snapping. Granted everything is light after experiencing the insanity of the Knoebels Flyer, but this was still a really fun ride. 8 out of 10

 

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Oh yeah, the park has another larger coaster too.

 

I did ride the Rockstar Coaster twice. As far as these Zamperla/Reverchon wild mice go, Rockstar is among the best. It's quite smooth and tends to spin a ton. I can say the spinning is consistently wild on this one because of the park's crowd levels. While most parks try and load these vehicles to the max to compensate for their 4 person cars, Fun Spot is perfectly fine sending out single riders, which results in spinning levels rivaling those of tea cups. 6 out of 10

 

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The Big Bone really does look like something.

 

Every time I visit Fun Spot, I discover another awesome reason to love the park. This time I discovered the insane go karts and the park's lovable unofficial mascot. Not sure what I'll discover next time, but I'm guessing it'll involve more rides on Mine Blower, that SkyCoaster, and the go karts.

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^^ I don't agree with how Disney inflates their wait times near the end of the night. It helps them control the crowds and close down the rides earlier, but I hate that they mislead everyone in the process by posting inaccurate times. As someone who knows they are inflated, it's great since crowds are thinning out, but kind of unfair to those not in the know. Maybe this belongs in the rant thread :-P

 

Great reports as always.

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The first time I did Vortex, I had no idea that drop existed. So when I crested that hill and gained a split second of airtime before plummeting down that drop...

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Though I'm not sure which is the bigger what in the holy sh!t just happened moment in the park is: That Vortex drop, or pretty much the entirety of Mine Blower.

 

This report also reminds me that I really need to get cracking on my Fun Spot trip report from last month.

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Great update! Love the cat ride op!

 

Thanks! Six Flags should look into hiring him. He may help with dispatch times.

 

^^ I don't agree with how Disney inflates their wait times near the end of the night. It helps them control the crowds and close down the rides earlier, but I hate that they mislead everyone in the process by posting inaccurate times. As someone who knows they are inflated, it's great since crowds are thinning out, but kind of unfair to those not in the know. Maybe this belongs in the rant thread :-P

 

Great reports as always.

 

Thanks! I do feel bad for those unaware that Disney lies at the end of the night, but I'm happy to exploit it as long as they continue doing it. Again I understand why they do it since the moment they post a 5 minute wait for Rock "n" Roller Coaster, that queue would be flooded.

 

The first time I did Vortex, I had no idea that drop existed. So when I crested that hill and gained a split second of airtime before plummeting down that drop...

 

Though I'm not sure which is the bigger what in the holy sh!t just happened moment in the park is: That Vortex drop, or pretty much the entirety of Mine Blower.

 

This report also reminds me that I really need to get cracking on my Fun Spot trip report from last month.

 

Mine Blower is fantastic all-around, but I was expecting that since the mini Gravity Group woodies in New England have some wonderful airtime. They aren't quite as intense as Mine Blower, but I knew what Gravity Group was capable of.

 

Meanwhile I had no clue those go karts would be as intense as they were.

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The go karts I did at both Fun Spots are best go karts I've ever done. On the downhill section of the Vortex track right before the curve I had to slow down everytime or I felt I would get out of control.

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This might be my favorite annual thread! Love reading each chapter as you paint a great picture in between the photos. Go karts are a very underrated attraction. It took a visit to Mt Olympus to open my eyes to what hilarity, scariness, and fun can be had on custom kart tracks.

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^ Thanks! Glad my experience on the school newspaper pays off for something.

 

Why do I have a feeling Mt. Olympus has go karts that are equally as fast but on more poorly maintained tracks? Based on the reviews I've heard from that place, I just picture multilevel tracks littered with potholes.

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Let's be honest here. That cat is better than 90% of ride ops out there!

 

Thanks! The cat even went ride to ride. How's that for productivity?

 

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Great report! The cat thing is hilarious.

 

Thanks! I remember seeing a cat strolling around Splashin' Safari last year but that cat lacked the work ethic of Fun Spot Cat.

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Fun Spot Orlando

 

While I prefer the Kissimmee location, I couldn't spend a week down in Florida without visiting Fun Spot Orlando at least once. Unlike my rushed November visits where I was in and out in less than an hour, I had 4-5 hours. That was plenty of time to rack up my White Lightning ride count, try all the crazy go kart tracks, and experience all the flat rides.

 

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I had fun. I was at Fun Spot. If you don't have fun, shove some Fun Dip in your face until you start having fun.

 

But my visit began with me committing one of the cardinal sins of amusement park visits (unless the park is named Knoebels)- arriving at the park on an empty stomach. I was expecting nothing more than a few food stands, but the park actually had an impressive food court located below the massive SkyCoaster nonetheless.

 

Because apparently the temperatures were considered frigid (60 degrees...Floridians ), the diner was pretty busy relative to the rest of the empty park. The burger I ordered was actually really good and the portion of fries was gigantic; it was actually a struggle to finish. I sat by the bar wearing my shorts and a t-shirt watching a meteorologist on tv freak out about the chilly conditions predicted for the rest of the week.

 

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I don't think I'll ever get a burger this good at Six Flags.

 

All loaded up on grease, I decided to start with the park's star attraction, White Lightning. For a coaster less than 70 feet tall, White Lightning absolutely hauls through the course. The Yankee Cannonball is comparable in terms of height and length, but the coaster crawls over the final bunny hills. Meanwhile White Lightning doesn't have a single slow spot.

 

For what is essentially an out-and-back coaster, White Lightning boasts an impressive amount of laterals. The twisting first drop will pin you to the side of your seat and every other hill seems to mix in laterals as well. And like all good out-and-back coasters, White Lightning also has several good pops of air.

 

I got just short of a dozen rides scattered across the train. I think I preferred the front, but it's a fantastic coaster in every seat. 8.5 out of 10

 

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How was this the only photo I took of White Lightning?

 

Complimenting White Lightning is the Freedom Flyer, which is currently Orlando's only VR coaster (and I hope SeaWorld keeps it this way). It's rare to find a VR coaster that is a total walk-on. Did I consider it? For a second, but why would I choose it over a front row view. The front is particularly awesome on Freedom Flyer. With the low-resting lap bar, you feel completely open.

 

While White Lightning is wild and speedy, Freedom Flyer is graceful. I absolutely love the ride's placement over walkways. For the most part, the ride isn't very wild, but the last helix at ground level pulls some pretty impressive Gs. 6 out of 10

 

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How do you theme a ride with freedom in the name? Stick a flag on it.

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Not quite Goliath's helix of death, but this is pretty forceful for a family coaster.

 

As I learned from my Kissimmee visits, the go karts at Fun Spot are a must. Orlando offers 4 tracks. All have insanely fast carts and there's enough variety between the tracks to justify experiencing them all.

 

Conquest was my personal favorite. If you read my Kissimmee review, you know that I loved the Vortex for the massive drop of death. Conquest may have a taller drop. It isn't quite as steep, but it's still dang steep for a go kart track. It also adds to the experience that the park has a sign encouraging you to "just go for it" atop the hill, so naturally I floored it and got more terrifying go kart airtime. 9 out of 10.

 

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If they built this in California, it would be among the best rides in the state for airtime.

 

Commander is probably the favorite among park-goers judging by the queue. And I can see why. It's the longest and most involved track. The layout is impossible to memorize, but it includes a nice mix of twists and turns. It also has an impressive drop by most go kart standards, but just ok by Fun Spot standards. 9 out of 10

 

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Fun Spot has ruined go karts at every other FEC out there.

 

I also rode the two other tracks- Quad Helix and Thrasher. Quad Helix was fittingly named and was mostly made up of a massive helix (7 out of 10). But Thrasher was another winner. This one was an entirely flat track, but I have never seen so many wipeouts before on a track. The turns are impossibly tight, so when you mix in Fun Spot's ridiculously fast go karts, you create the perfect recipe for uncontrolled skidding. 9 out of 10

 

Throughout my visit, I also mixed in several flat rides. Space Invader is the park's screamin' swing. Usually these are one of the best flats out there, but I have to be honest, I think this one is the weakest I've come across. While all of the others I've been on reach a max swing beyond 90 degrees, I think this one stopped at 90 degrees. It still provided some air, but not as much as the one down the road in Kissimmee. 6 out of 10

 

But the park redeemed itself (at the time at least) for being home to the world's best paratrooper. Enthusiasts in Atlanta should be celebrating the arrival of this attraction since it's a seriously awesome ride. I can't think of a faster paratrooper and I certainly can't name one that travels in reverse. It's quite the experience speeding backwards only to have the gondola abruptly swing outwards. 9 out of 10

 

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You will be missed Paratrooper.

 

The park is also home to a rare Enterprise. While this one ran a very short cycle, it more than made up for it with the cushioned seats. I recall Lake Compounce's having unpadded seats (unless I, as Roger Clemens would say it, misremeber). The combination of forces and lack of restraints, truly makes enterprises one of the most intense flats out there. 8 out of 10

 

I also snagged a ride on the park's Tilt-a-Whirl. It didn't run any better or worse than your average paratrooper, but it did have those modern G2 cars without the seatbacks. I don't have a preference if they're there or not, but I do prefer my tilt-a-whirls to be themed to turtles (a la Story Land) or turkeys (a la Holiday World). 5 out of 10

 

Along with Head Rush 360, which is slated for the Paratrooper's old spot, the park is also in the midst of erecting one of those Moser drop towers. While the height may not seem impressive, the Moser towers actually have a solid kick to them. Heck I just rode a 20 foot one at a local carnival last week and it had more forces than some S&S towers. If there are no kids around, I don't feel all that guilty riding these things.

 

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Drop towers look weird without the topper. My poor peeps in Roller Coaster Tycoon should have caught on before they were launched off the top of the tower.

 

Last but not least, I also rode the park's Revolver. No I didn't straddle a gun. But the park is one of the rare ones out there that doesn't have wheel in the name of their Ferris wheel. It was well-worth a ride to get some aerial shots of the park's go kart tracks. The mess of track in all directions reminds me very much of those congested, stacked highways you see around major cities. 6 out of 10

 

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The Ferris Wheel that's not called the Ferris Wheel.

 

I also considered riding the Bumper Boats. I really did. Usually I could care less, but I almost felt it was my civic duty to show Floridians 60 degrees isn't that cold. But in order to do that, I would have been the only person on the ride which just looks sad.

 

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I thought 60 degrees is acceptable weather to ride a water ride.

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I considered riding the Bumper Boats. I really did. But riding bumper boats alone just looks sad. I mean look at this single rider on Grona Lund's bumper cars.

 

If I only have time to visit one Fun Spot park in a trip to Florida, I'm going to pick the Kissimmee location. Mine Blower is the primary reason, but I really think that park's collection of rides, while smaller, is superior to the Orlando location. Still White Lightning and the go kart tracks make this more than worth a stop in a trip to Orlando.

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