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

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found some (dark) footage online of Scarecrow running.

 

looks like it doesn't do complete 360s (or maybe just those riding didn't want to go upside-down?). . but it does look like it gets a complete 90 swing out while the ride operates:

 

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here's better footage from Voice of Dubai channel at the park's grand opening, and yeah, it does show it acting like Air Race, with some cars rotating :

 

 

I finally found out what Scarecrow is. It's a Moser Daredevil.

 

https://moserrides.com/daredevil/

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Legoland Dubai

 

1.5 years ago, I was a Legoland virgin. I guess you could now call me a Legoland veteran, as the Dubai location was my fourth different one.

 

Legoland Dubai is part of the Dubai Parks complex that also includes Motiongate, Bollywood Parks, and Riverland (their take on CityWalk). Legoland is the lone park that opens in the morning, so it was a no-brainer to squeeze it in before hopping over to Motiongate.

 

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Riverland, aka the Dubai Citywalk.

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Note the crowds.

 

When the park opened officially at 10 am, I was one of only four guests in the park. The crowds did pick up (I mean they couldn’t have gotten worse really), but they didn’t improve by much. By comparison, Motiongate had a healthy crowd for a weekday just a few hours later.

 

One of the biggest differences with Legoland compared to Dubai’s other parks is that it’s entirely outdoors. The park does have shade tests on most midways, but I see this place being a nightmare in the summer.

 

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The shaded "Main Street" reminded me of a Japanese park.

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You don't have to be a genius like Einstein to know shade is needed in the hot Dubai summer.

 

The lone exception is Miniland. At the other parks, Miniland usually feels like an oven with its lack of shade, so being able to appreciate the Lego architecture in a climate-controlled environment was quite the treat. The buildings were also incredible as always.

 

None was more impressive than the Burj Khalifa. Just like it was with the real thing, it was challenging trying to fit the entire tower in one shot. I’m trying to picture the builders constructing the Lego Burj from a cherry picker.

 

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As impressive as the real Dubai is, it may be even more impressive in Lego form.

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I'm impressed I fit this in a single shot. It's massive.

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The Dubai Eye looks so cute.

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Miniland even had an animated Ski Dubai.

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You can either go to India or see this at Legoland Dubai.

 

If you’ve been to any other Legoland, the ride collection won’t surprise you in the least bit. Per usual, the star coaster was the Dragon. I was glad to see Dubai’s version had the larger model like the Japanese location. While the US ones are unquestionably junior coasters, this one has a bit of whip to it.

 

That being said, the highlight was the pre-lift. The pre-lift bit has enough detail to exist as a standalone dark ride. In fact, isn’t that the case at the Legoland Discovery Centers? I can’t go due to the pedo rule (no adults over 18 enter without a kid), but I vaguely remember seeing a dark ride advertised there.

 

One subtle change I liked was the inclusion of a tiny dip after the dark ride section. It wasn’t the drop itself I liked. Rather it was the removal of the hallway of nothingness. On the US versions, there’s a long, slow hallway between the pre-lift and outdoor bit. Here, you breezed right through it. 6 out of 10

 

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More flags, more fun.

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I didn't feel the least bit embarrassed on this coaster.

 

While the Dragon is actually respectable for adults, there’s no denying I was a total credit whore riding Dragon’s Apprentice. On the bright side, the coaster was smooth, had a cute tower in the center, and I brought much amusement (and confusion) to the ride op. 2 out of 10

 

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I felt plenty embarrassed on this one though.

 

One benefit of the park being so empty was the fact I could try the Boating School ride. In most children’s parks, kids flock to the attraction that lets them drive. Since there were barely any kids in the entire park, the boat ride was a rare walk-on.

 

Last year, I thought I was a worse driver than SpongeBob after repeatedly crashing into the wall on the Motor Boats at Knoebels. Turns out, that ride is just impossible. Boating School was so easy a kid could do it. It’s almost as if that was by design. 6 out of 10

 

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I didn't hit a single wall!

 

I was hoping the Technic Twister tea cups would be equally as easy to control, but I don’t even think the world’s strongest man (or woman) could get this dang thing to spin. I tried my hardest, but I couldn’t get a single rotation. At least it looked nice. 2 out of 10

 

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Calling this a spinning ride is an insult to others out there.

 

Wave Racers is one of those weird water whip rides. I think Legoland is the single reason Zierer hasn’t obsoleted this attraction. I’m honestly surprised more parks don’t have them because they’re a ton of fun.

 

While the water features were disabled, the lats on the outward swings were up there with a Himalaya. And considering you’re standing in a restraint free cage, it makes for a semi-wild experience. 8 out of 10

 

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Needless to say, only one side was in use today.

 

I think all Legolands have the Lost Kingdom Adventure shooter. This one was very short (I think it was just a 1.5 minute oval), but the ride was dense on targets. They all reacted in some manner to being hit and the laser sights gave me the accuracy of Hawkeye. 7 out of 10

 

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I'm guessing I got the high score of the day. Just a hunch.

 

One of the newer rides at Legoland parks is Submarine Adventure. I’m still shocked at the sheer number of real living and breathing fish inside this attraction. This one was considerably shorter than the others, but it did offer an aquarium at the exit that I don’t remember on the others. 7 out of 10

 

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I'm glad these rides are popping up at more and more Legolands.

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I still can't believe this ride has as many fish as it does.

 

Last but not least, I apprehensively decided to try the apple fries. If you’ve read my reports, you know I hate sweets. I ordered them plain (no cinnamon, no frosting), but they were still way too sweet for me. It’s a unique concept though!

 

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Even without frosting and cinnamon, these were too much for me. Cool idea though!

 

For kids, Legoland could absolutely be an all-day park. But as a grown adult, I saw everything I needed to in an hour. Being in the same complex with Motiongate is a true blessing since it allows you to add Legoland for just $25-30. That sure beats forking over $100 to the US locations!

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Judging by the rumors that IMG is for sale and the reports that the Dubai parks aren't hitting their original attendance goals, I'd definitely think there's some concern. Several projects have either been delayed or cancelled and the crowds probably play a role.

 

From what I saw, the Abu Dhabi parks seem to be doing a bit better. While they weren't packed to the gills, skip the line passes were actually helpful there. They made no difference at the Dubai parks.

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I feel like this is the year for anyone who wants to travel to this area and hasn't. The Dubai parks all have no guests, it doesn't make sense to me that they could each survive like this long-term.

 

As always, phenomenal report! I wish this locale wasn't 30 hours of round-trip travel to visit. Warner Brothers and Ferrari World make it awfully tempting...

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I feel like this is the year for anyone who wants to travel to this area and hasn't. The Dubai parks all have no guests, it doesn't make sense to me that they could each survive like this long-term.

 

The UAE has more money than you can imagine. All enterprises are tightly linked to the government. The entrepreneurs and government will not pull the plug that quickly on these new investments. If we are still having this discussion in 5-10 years from now then I would worry about the life of the parks. The UAE prides itself in their low unemployment figures, also. They close these places and they just need to create more businesses.

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If anything, I feel like they'll slow down on building new parks (ex. Six Flags Dubai) and try to promote what they have.

 

I feel like this is the year for anyone who wants to travel to this area and hasn't. The Dubai parks all have no guests, it doesn't make sense to me that they could each survive like this long-term.

 

As always, phenomenal report! I wish this locale wasn't 30 hours of round-trip travel to visit. Warner Brothers and Ferrari World make it awfully tempting...

 

Thanks! Warner Bros and Ferrari World were indeed great and I wish they were closer.

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Motiongate

 

Motiongate sounds like some type of Patriots scandal. Until that inevitably happens at the rate they bend the rules, Motiongate will be synonymous for me with a great, Universal-esque park in Dubai. The parallels to Universal are astounding. And for the most part, that's a good thing. The most obvious is that you have a movie themed park that even shares some of the same IPs.

 

The one drawback is the major coasters share a similarly strict loose articles policy. While there are no metal detectors, your precious iPhone must be placed in a free locker before entering the queue. It was a bummer since these coasters had some impressive looking queues.

 

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Now that's a nice entrance.

 

As a big fan of the Hunger Games novels and films, there was little doubt where I'd go first. I was intrigued how they'd approach the area considering the subject matter. Something about a grim dystopian society glorifying child murder doesn't quite seem to align with the message of most theme parks.

 

They made a wise decision to focus on the luxurious Capitol and have subtle tones to the resistance. It's impossible to miss the Peacekeepers as you enter the land. They stand guard in front of a memorial to the districts and if you try to take a selfie with them, they will commandeer your phone and put you in a neck hold.

 

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No really, they do grab you! This isn't sue-happy America we're talking about.

 

The area's anchor is Capitol Bullet Train, the Mack launcher. It's truly a shame I couldn't bring my phone with me because the queue and station were filled with decorations. The soundtrack borrowed the booming instrumentals from the film and was another strength. The launch was not.

 

Dramatic music comes to a crescendo and you hear, “Preparing for high speed transit in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.”

 

Capitol Bullet Train has one of those forwards-backwards-forwards launches that are all the rage. In this situation the first launch isn’t supposed to melt you face, but I at least expect it to resemble a launch. Calling this a launch is an embarrassment to other launch coasters out there. You roll forwards at no more than 15-20 mph. It’s all the more comical since this is when they take your photo.

 

I wish I could say the second or third launches were better. While they do get the coaster up to a respectable speed, they were forceless. The lone redeeming quality of the launch was that reverse spike. If you’re sitting towards the back, you get some awesome weightlessness.

 

The rest of the coaster is a winner. It’s short, but it offers a little bit of everything. The vertical loop is loaded with Full Throttle-esque hangtime. That’s followed by some snappy turns, a powerful ejector hill, a floaty zero-G roll, and a pop of floater entering the brake run. If this thing had a real launch, it would be perfect. 8 out of 10

 

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The area was small, but it honored the source material well.

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I wish my local trains had a loop de loop.

 

Up next was Panem Aerial Tour. Based on the name, I was expecting a flying theater in the ilk of Soarin’. Instead I was greeted by a motion simulator surrounded by an omni-screen. The concept can be effective (see The Simpsons Ride), but here the execution was flawed.

 

The biggest drawback is the vehicle. For some reason, it has a roof. If you aren’t in the front, the poles supporting the roof and the roof itself will obstruct your view. As a Red Sox fan, I’m used to that when I go to Fenway Park. But Fenway is a century old historic landmark. This ride isn’t even 2 years old.

 

The film did have some impressive landscapes and the visuals were great, but the action was tricky to follow I couldn’t see everything. With a different vehicle, this could be one of the better simulators out there. 4 out of 10

 

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The Capitol was symbolically built on the backs of its people...and then threw them in an arena for sport.

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Hunger Games fans will undoubtedly love the queue.

 

The indoor Dreamworks section is the park’s crowning achievement. For one the area is huge. Technically it’s one single area, but it feels like its own separate park. The area is broken into sub-areas themed to Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, and Shrek, each with its own distinct appearance.

 

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I'd be hard pressed to name a more beautiful fountain.

 

My first stop was Madagascar. Themed to a circus, the area is a complete sensory overload consisting of multicolored lights, reflective mirrors, and loud music. And the focal point of the area is the Gerstlauer infinity coaster, Madagascar Mad Pursuit.

 

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Clearly they were not skimping on the lights.

 

While Capitol Bullet Train’s launch was pitiful, the one on Madagascar was surprisingly excellent. Madagascar looked all cute and cuddly, but the inadvertently demonic eyes of the characters during the pre-launch sequence told me otherwise. The acceleration was abrupt and very powerful.

 

This was followed by two aggressive turns in complete darkness. It felt like the coaster was trying to flip me over like Skyrush’s wing seats. Thank god this coaster had lap bars, but these turns were accompanied by a violent shuffle. The rest of the ride is smoother, but it still does have a persistent shuffle.

 

The rest of the first half is great. There’s a funky top hat with a delicious amount of sustained air and another camelback with good floater. But the second half was a letdown. The MCBR sapped a good chunk of the ride’s speed so there was no thrill. There were just some cutouts a la Rock n’ Roller Coaster.

 

Madagascar’s tracking wasn’t an issue for individual rides, but consecutive rerides gave me a headache. It’s an unfortunate Achilles heel because the coaster’s first half is fantastic. 7 out of 10

 

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That brief flyby is the only "outdoor" part of the coaster. The rest is in the dark.

 

How to Train Your Dragon was a considerably darker area, but the focal point was Dragon Gliders. The colossal entry gate is quite imposing and it was exciting seeing trains passing overhead every few minutes. The throughput should have been higher, but loading and unloading was a cluster.

 

The ride has a conveyor belt system like Rockit or Arthur. However, you load and unload on the same side. The result is an absolute mosh pit. People ignore their seat assignments and no one knows where they should sit. Inevitably this causes the conveyor belt to stop so they can sort out the chaos.

 

The ride was reminiscent of Arthur. The first half felt like a dark ride with the screens and animatronics. The second half felt more like a coaster. It wasn’t overly fast, but the visuals and unexpected twirling provided some thrills. This is the type of ride system I see Disney using someday. 7 out of 10

 

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I'm getting a Jurassic Park vibe here.

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The level of detail in the Dreamworks area is incredible.

 

The Shrek area has a similarly dark tone. I mean it’s a swamp, so what would you expect? The area’s main ride is Shrek’s Merry Fairy Tale Journey, a dark ride that makes one of the most interesting stylistic decisions I’ve seen.

 

The plot is simple; Shrek tells his kids how he met his wife. The unique part is that Shrek tells it via puppet show. As a result, all the animatronics are designed as puppets. One on hand, it’s a neat twist. On the other hand, it does look sort of cheap. 7 out of 10

 

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Shrek is love. Shrek is life.

 

The final Dreamworks area is Kung Fu Panda, which is set during a gorgeous sunset. The most noteworthy ride in the area is Kung Fu Panda Unstoppable Awesomeness, a decent motion simulator that doubles as a water ride*.

 

The animation was gorgeous and the ride captured the tone of the films well (both comedy and action). The motion was also well-synched to the film. Some of the movements were pretty jerky though, which was problematic due to the hard seatbacks. 7 out of 10

 

* If you want to stay dry, avoid the end seats. Myself and others on the end seat came off quite wet. Those on the inside were perfectly dry.

 

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Calling a ride Unstoppable Awesomeness is like calling your own shot in baseball.

 

I also couldn’t leave the Kung Fu Panda area without trying Mr. Ping’s noodles. If you’ve seen the film, you know how prevalent these noodles are. I thought the noodles were good, but the star of the shop was the shrimp dumplings. They were so good I returned later in the day for a second order.

 

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You can either ride Mr. Ping's noodles.

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Or eat Mr. Ping's noodles. (or you can just eat those dumplings, do that instead)

 

The park’s largest outdoor area is the section themed to Columbia Pictures. And it’s lone coaster was Green Hornet: High Speed Chase. I think the most memorable thing about the coaster was the queue. On the bright side, they have a replica of the famous car. On the downside, they play clips from the abomination of a Seth Rogan movie on repeat.

 

The coaster itself was ok. The layout is reminiscent of the other two Gerstlauer bobsleds I’ve ridden, but it was missing the excitement. There was no airtime on the bunny hills or Gs on the helices. It was glass smooth and I would still take it over your average wild mouse. 5 out of 10

 

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Few wild mice have banked drops like this.

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The airtime hill failed to deliver. Much like the Seth Rogan movie.

 

One of my most anticipated rides in the entire park was Ghostbusters. The original film is one of my favorite all-time movies and the IP lends itself perfectly to a shooter. I was even more excited to see the same ride vehicles as Ani-Mayhem. It would take a herculean effort to screw this up.

 

But try they did. All of my shots strayed wide right. At first I thought the guns weren’t calibrated correctly, but midway through the ride I made a shocking discovery. The lasers were deliberately on the right edge of the gun instead of being centered. I have no clue why you’d do that.

 

There were no physical targets, but the screen targets utilized the source material well. The first half throws hundreds of smaller ghosts at you. The second half borrows the main villains from the films. It was distinctly satisfying lighting up Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. 8 out of 10

 

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Only references the original film. I like it.

 

If you told me my favorite dark ride at Motiongate would be Hotel Transylvania, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have bet the house on the Hunger Games or Ghostbusters dark rides. I am completely indifferent towards the Hotel Transylvania IP, but the ride uses a trackless ride system to perfection.

 

The initial scene of a mummy wiping his butt with rags didn’t inspire confidence. But the main showroom was a exceptional. Picture a long hallway with 8 or so open rooms. Each room has a unique show scene. While you don’t quite get to see everything on Pooh’s Hunny Hunt or Scooby Doo, you do get to visit each room on Hotel Transylvania.

 

The finale reverts back to your typical dark ride, but that isn’t an issue at all. The bulk of the ride is carried by the aforementioned sequence and the set design was strong throughout. It made me almost want to see all the films. Almost. 9 out of 10

 

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Would you believe this castle was taller than Disneyland's?

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The UAE has an unhealthy fetish with trackless dark rides, but this one used the tech well.

 

Usually I prefer about any other drop tower to an S&S, but it would have been wildly inaccurate to go with anything else for a Zombieland themed drop tower. While the film uses the double shot at Wild Adventures, this is a full-fledged, almost 200 foot combo tower.

 

It’s also one of the stronger S&S towers. The launch offered decent airtime, but the drop surprised me. New England has two of the stronger S&S towers in Dragon’s Descent and Down Time, but this drop was more powerful than either. I’ll still take an Intamin or a Larson tower, but this was as good as an S&S tower can be (unless you put it on a mountain with a view of Niagara Falls). 8 out of 10

 

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This is a *bit* taller than the Double Shot at Wild Adventures.

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And it even had a creepy pre-show too.

 

Underworld 4D was a gory zombie film. I have no clue what the plot was due to constant jump cuts and incomprehensible audio, but it did have one of the most irking special effects I’ve ever seen. Every time a character loses blood, you’re squirted with water. And there’s a lot of blood! 3 out of 10

 

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This 4D film is not Dan-friendly.

 

The final themed area was Smurf Village. It’s a cute area that was clearly designed with families in mind. Not surprisingly, it’s home to the park’s family coaster, Smurf Village Express.

 

The coaster is a step-up from your average roller skater. The first drop actually had some balls. We’re not talking grown man balls; we’re talking start of puberty balls. It had some whip to it. The rest of the ride is considerably tamer, but it does pass by all sorts of Smurf houses. 5 out of 10

 

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I'm blue da ba dee da ba daa

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It's a roller skater on Smurf steroids.

 

The better ride (unless you’re a true credit whore) is the Smurfs Studio Tour. It’s yet another trackless dark ride. While this is one of the ones that didn’t need to be trackless, it was still an enjoyable ride. The plot is basic (the Smurfs want to make a movie), but sets were incredibly detailed. 8 out of 10

 

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I'm going to accuse the Smurfs of bluewashing their films.

 

I finished the night with a marathon of Capitol Bullet Train. Mack launchers are one of the most reridable coaster types out there. Yes the coaster did make a loud rattle, but riders can barely feel the rattle if that makes sense.

 

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I think I finished the night with almost a dozen rides in the span of an hour.

 

Motiongate was probably my favorite park in Dubai. I’ll still take the two major parks in Abu Dhabi over it, but I really liked what Motiongate offered. It had some quality theming combined with a few good coasters and a strong collection of dark rides.

 

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Roll credits.

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Excellent report!

 

I completely agree on your assessment of Motiongate. Given the number of negative comments on many Motiongate related Youtube videos, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much fun the place was, especially the Dreamworks sections. I'm glad you included some night pictures since the park and Riverland are really gorgeous after sunset (same with Global Village).

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Adventureland

 

Back in 2002, Dubai was probably an afterthought to coaster enthusiasts. You had no Ferrari Land, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Motiongate, etc. The Burj Khalifa wasn’t even a thing yet. But you did have Adventureland.

 

Located in one of the UAE’s many gigantic malls, Adventureland is located adjacent to the Sahara Centre’s food court. The mall is actually located on the border of Dubai and Sharjah. For those using taxis and staying in Dubai, make sure you board a Dubai taxi unless you like paying twice as much for things.

 

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Hello Adventureland.

 

Adventureland is small, but it’s lively. Whereas many indoor parks have that one coaster that gives an aerial tour (Nickelodeon Streak, Autosled, etc), all of Adventureland’s coasters wind throughout the park. It’s quite the sight looking up and seeing red, yellow, and green coaster track in every direction.

 

My first stop was Rocket Cycles, the Zamperla motorbike coaster. The park was decently busy, but the station was dead. It was an ominous sight. I expected to be turned away, but it was actually open. I took two rides on the coaster and I think that’s the only time it ran in the 1.5 hours I spent at Adventureland. It was very odd considering it’s the park’s star attraction.

 

The coaster shimmies quite a bit and outside of the first drop, which has some funky laterals considering you’re on a motorbike coaster, it’s not overly thrilling. But it’s the visuals that make this ride. I got a pseudo-Tron vibe since you fly over a bright and colorful arcade. Plus you get two laps. 6 out of 10

 

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I'm not kidding. No one else rode Rocket Cycles.

 

The park’s two original coasters (both powered) actually share the same station. Kukulcan is what the park deems as the “fast train”. I’d hardly call it fast. In fact it was pretty tame until the second to last helix. Because of how ridiculously compact it is, you get some surprisingly strong laterals.

 

But like Rocket Cycles, it’s all about the visuals. Not only do you pass over the entirety of the park, but you also pass some random theming. How random? The two characters I recall are a giant monkey and a dude parachuting. You also get two laps. That was a theme on all the park’s coasters. 6 out of 10

 

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At one point this was called Quantum Leap.

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You wind all throughout Adventureland.

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Kukulcan had a really nice helix towards the end.

 

Right below Kukulcan was Forest Train, aka the “slow train”. Now this one lived up to its name. For 90% of the ride, the top speed couldn’t have been more than 10-15 mph. However, there is a long, gradual s-curve at the end where the coaster builds up speed and supplies modest laterals.

 

One distinguishing feature about Forest Train is that it temporarily leaves the park’s borders. While all the other coasters are contained inside Adventureland, Forest Train has a fly by the food court. 5 out of 10

 

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At one point this was called Adventure Train.

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Forest Train travels throughout Adventureland.

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And a bit into the mall as well.

 

Going into Adventureland, I thought they only had three coasters. I also heard they had an awesome go-kart track. And if you looked at their park map, there should have been a go-kart track smack dab in the middle of the park. But it was nowhere to be found.

 

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The map was a bit outdated.

 

Instead there was a ropes course complete with a zipline coaster much like Warner Bros. World. Falcon Flight was considerably shorter than the one at Warner Bros and stayed elevated for the duration of the course, but it had one major advantage. I was allowed to get a running start.

 

At Warner Bros. World, the operators gently push you out of the station. On this one, they said I could run and jump “if I was brave enough.” Challenge accepted. I was a 7 letter varsity athlete* in high school so I did a 5 meter dash and a long jump. The result was wild.

 

I got some Eagles Fortress level swinging on the first turn. I swung well beyond 90 degrees, which was very unnerving in a zipline. Eventually my harness started spinning around like a tea cup. The ride couldn’t have been more than 15-20 seconds in length, but it was the highlight of the park. 7 out of 10

 

* Chess and math were counted as varsity sports at my high school.

 

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That is one happy monkey.

 

For such a small park, it was impressive that Adventureland included up to 4 coasters (or 1 if you don’t count powered or zipline coasters). I also really liked the atmosphere in the park. The park has a light jungle theme to it from the figures and trees scattered throughout the park.

 

It's also interesting how the entire park was rethemed at some point. If you look at the old photos in the park index, the entire park looked radically different.

 

Unfortunately they do not offer an unlimited wristband, but most enthusiasts probably only need an hour here. Outside of the coasters, the park just has a few flats, the aforementioned ropes course, and several modern arcade games.

 

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I think the park got a pretty good deal from Zamperla.

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That's an odd name for a carousel.

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Race Arena

 

I didn’t spend too much time in the Sahara Centre, but they did have one noteworthy store. As a foreigner, you think I’d be more interested in something more unique and local. But my inner child was ecstatic to see a Toys R Us! It wasn’t a particularly big location, but I’m glad to see Geoffrey still alive somewhere.

 

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Well it was open until the mall closed for the night.

 

Adventureland wasn’t my only attempted credit stop of the night. But it was my only successful one. Scattered throughout Dubai are several small, indoor FEC’s called Sparky’s. It goes without saying these weren’t my primary goal in Dubai. But the location in northern Dubai had an intriguing spinning coaster.

 

Located at the Al Ghurair Centre, it was a pain to find Sparky’s. There was barely any signage for it. That should have been a sign, no pun intended. Eventually I found Sparky’s. The door was wide open, but something was wrong. The facility was in total darkness.

 

Further there was a little 8 X 11 sign saying “Closed” taped to the ride closest to the main entrance. I have no clue if this particular Sparky’s is permanently closed, temporarily closed, or just closed early. But the whole situation seemed odd.

 

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I feel like there'd be a gate if I was in America.

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Aquaventure (Atlantis)

 

One of the most famous water slides in the world is the Leap of Faith slide at the Atlantis Resort. Chances are you’ve seen this slide on some YouTube video, Travel Channel show, or the Amazing Race. This slide has been on my bucket list for quite some time. And I was able to tick that item off in Dubai.

 

I believe the Bahamas location is the more famous of the two considering it’s the original. While I haven’t been to that location, I was blown away by Dubai’s Aquaventure. After a decade plus reign, Blizzard Beach has finally been dethroned. This is the best water park I have ever visited.

 

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Fortunately you did not have to be a hotel guest to visit the water park.

 

For one, the park is gorgeous. I think the only water park that can compete is actually right down the road in Wild Wadi. If you aren’t looking at the iconic Tower of Neptune, chances are you are looking at flowers or palm trees. Everything about this park is picturesque.

 

Without hesitation, my first stop was Leap of Faith. There are definitely taller and steeper body slides out there, but very few have the presentation of Leap of Faith. The pyramid looks amazing and you drop into a shark tank. You travel a bit too fast to actually notice the sharks on-ride, but it still sounds cool.

 

The slide itself was quite the thrill. The initial descent had that terrifying moment when you feel yourself life off the slide. That’s the sensation I crave on speed slides. The slide was perfectly smooth, but I was surprised to be dumped into a pool. Usually these speed slides have a runoff trough. 9 out of 10

 

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Few water slides are as picturesque as Leap of Faith.

 

I was able to appreciate the sharks on Shark Attack though. This tube slide begins as your everyday tube slide. This one is in total darkness and has two solid drops, so it’s good on its own. But it’s the finale that deserves the most attention.

 

Water slides that pass through aquariums are quite the visual off-ride, but it often doesn’t translate to the on-ride experience. See Leap of Faith or Aquatica’s Dolphin Plunge. But it worked on Shark Attack. Why? They slow you down. The splashdown occurs just before you enter the shark tank, so it feels more like a lazy river at this point. It was much appreciated because the visuals were stunning. 8 out of 10

 

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I'm glad you don't travel very fast through the aquarium since the visuals were incredible.

 

The rest of the Tower of Neptune is filled with water coasters. But these are no ordinary master blasters. No, these ones allow single tubes. I underestimated just how awesome that would be. Without fail, my tube would start spinning when blasted by the water jets.

 

The three water coasters on the Tower of Neptune were Stinger, Falls, and Plunge. The three slides were comparable. All three started with very steep plunges and were really short. While they’re among the weaker water coasters I’ve ridden, they still beat 90% of water slides out there. 7 out of 10

 

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I think the park had four different master blaster slides.

 

The water coaster that did not disappoint was Storm. However, I almost missed it due to its location. While all the other water coasters load on the Tower of Neptune, you board Storm at ground level. This in itself isn’t an issue. However, the queue is just asinine.

 

Even though the slide takes place on and around the Tower of Neptune, the queue starts on the complete opposite end of the park. You then need to walk back towards the tower through shin-deep water. I wasn’t expecting to get such a leg workout, but it was worth it for Storm.

 

I was ever so grateful for the conveyor belt lift since it let my feet rest. But once I crested the lift, the slide went berserk. Most water coasters are formulaic- drop, uphill, turn, drop, uphill, turn, etc. Storm has four straight drops immediately followed by uphill segments. It was a chaotic sequence where I was getting quick pops of air, spinning uncontrollably, and being blasted by torrents of water.

 

The ride seemingly ended on the Tower of Neptune in a lazy river. That seemed odd. But Storm is a two part slide! After a quick intermission, you float into the second slide. The second half is your average tube slide, but this was just gravy after that epic first half. 9 out of 10

 

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Getting airtime on a water slide is freaky enough. Getting that airtime while spinning like a top is extra freaky. Storm did exactly that.

 

All of the master blasters dump you off in lazy rivers. That in itself is neat. But Aquaventure has multiple different lazy rivers. You have your garden variety one or you can choose the two wilder ones in the River Rapids or Torrent.

 

If you could ride a single tube through a river rapids ride at a theme park, that’s exactly what you get with River Rapids. Torrent was a bit more interesting. Every 10-15 seconds, a massive wave would roll down the river and give you a turbo boost. It was like catching a wave while boogie boarding.

 

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I'd ride lazy rivers more often if they were all like this.

 

Across the park was the Tower of Poseidon. The best of the bunch was Poseidon’s Revenge. Having one awesome speed slide wasn’t enough, so Aquaventure built an AquaLoop.

 

This one wasn’t as tall as the one at the West Edmonton Mall, but the drop was just as thrilling. As with Leap of Faith, I felt myself come off the slide momentarily. That was followed by a speedy inclined loop. If only the one at Six Flags New England was like this and not that Splashtacular garbage. 9 out of 10

 

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I believe Tower of Poseidon houses the newer slides.

 

The other body slide was considerably less thrilling. Slitherine was odd. Most water slides are either fast or slow throughout. Sliterhine would go decently fast, but then I got stuck at 2-3 different points on the slide. For those who are claustrophobic, this would have probably been your nightmare. 4 out of 10

 

The tower also included two tube slides. The better of the two was Zoomerango. It was a jumbo halfpipe slide. As with most slides of this type, the big drop offered some nice airtime and the halfpipe gave a momentary feeling of weightlessness. 8 out of 10

 

Aquaconda was the more unique of the two. It wasn’t thrilling, but it was a visual spectacle. The slide dumps you off in this giant U-shaped bowl. Picture one of those bowls at a skate park. We didn’t slide too far up the wall, but I felt like Wayne Szalinski’s kids in there. 6 out of 10

 

Aquaventure excels in every area- slides, atmosphere, landscaping, customer service. The only thing that could be improved is Storm’s queue set-up. Aquaventure has raised the bar for water parks. If you’re a water park fan, Aquaventure needs to be a top priority on a visit to Dubai.

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Wild Wadi

 

Most people consider a sunny 90 degree day to be perfect water park weather. Just look at the crowds. For me, my ideal water park weather is windy, cool, and rainy. There may be some teeth-chattering, but I much prefer that over a sizable queue.

 

Since it was Dubai, there was no rain. But it was in the upper 60s and very windy. And since that’s especially cold for Dubai, I basically had water park ERT at Wild Wadi. It was the smallest of the UAE water parks that I visited, but it was absolutely gorgeous.

 

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The Dubai parks really know how to make an impressive entrance.

 

Jumeirah Sceirah is probably the park’s most famous water slide. I believe it was on the Amazing Race at one point and it’s the tallest water slide in the Eastern Hemisphere. It’s over 100 feet tall! And on such a windy day, it was extra terrifying feeling the entire structure swaying.

 

Jumeirah Sceirah was fast, but it didn’t use its height to its fullest potential. The initial drop pod descent was a rush as always, but the subsequent course was mostly flat with only 1-2 other gradual drops. It reminded me of Pirate's Plunge back at Cape Cod's Water Wizz, just with more hype. 7 out of 10

 

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The straight sections would make Ride of Steel jealous.

 

But the stars of Wild Wadi are the master blaster slides, White Water Wadi and Flood River Flyer. I mentioned this in my Aquaventure TR, but riding a master blaster slide in a single rider tube is chaotic. The uphill segments often have your tube spinning like a tea cup.

 

One of the biggest gripes with water slides is length. Most are well under 30 seconds. This is not an issue with Wild Wadi’s master blasters. The entire experience is almost 10 minutes in length! I didn’t count, but I’d estimate that each slide has 6-8 segments. Between each segment, you land in a splash pool. From there, you can either continue down the main path or break off into a tube slide back to ground level.

 

These master blasters don’t focus on airtime like their US counterparts, but they’re still quite thrilling. It’s chaotic with all the spinning and rapid transitions. You truly feel like you’ve gone on a wild, white water rafting adventure. Of the two, I found White Water Wadi to be a bit more intense, but they are pretty comparable. 9 out of 10

 

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I felt like I went on a cross-country journey with how long these master blasters were.

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Traffic jam.

 

One downside to visiting on a quiet day is that it’s a royal pain to find enough riders to do slides using cloverleaf tubes. Wild Wadi had two such slides, Burj Surj and Tantrum Alley. After a bit of waiting, I found some groups with whom I could tag along.

 

I’ve ridden some of the single tube slides with the mini funnels, but Tantrum Alley was my first time experiencing one in such a huge raft. The compact funnels were quite disorienting and the first even had a strong moment of air like its larger brethren. 8 out of 10

 

Burj Surj was a bowl slide that fails at being a bowl slide. With such a heavy tube, the bowl was the worst part. It felt like we hit the brakes immediately after entering the bowl. On the bright side, the rest of the slide had some great swinging up the trough. 6 out of 10

 

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You know you're a coaster enthusiast when that hotel makes you think of Gold Striker's first drop.

 

Water parks in the UAE are an embarrassment of riches. Wild Wadi was the worst of the three water parks that I visited in the UAE, but still a top five water park in the world. The amazing landscaping and unique mix of attractions make it stand out.

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Most people consider a sunny 90 degree day to be perfect water park weather. Just look at the crowds. For me, my ideal water park weather is windy, cool, and rainy. There may be some teeth-chattering, but I much prefer that over a sizable queue.

We have a word for those kind of people down in Florida. Masochist.

 

Nice report as per usual! That Master Blaster looks stupid good.

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^ I love Floridians. There's nothing quite like walking onto Journey to Atlantis or Splash Mountain on a warm 65 degree day.

 

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, Six Flags New England will probably have Blizzard River ready to go on opening day even though it'll be in the 40s in the morning.

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Lots of great stuff in these last couple reports! Love to see new parks and it is awesome how frequently you get around to see them. I would love to visit some more water parks. Honestly, I have been to Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Waldameer's, Delgrosso's, SFA, and a couple indoor ones.

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Lots of great stuff in these last couple reports! Love to see new parks and it is awesome how frequently you get around to see them. I would love to visit some more water parks. Honestly, I have been to Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Waldameer's, Delgrosso's, SFA, and a couple indoor ones.

 

Thanks! Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are the closest US water parks to the theming and atmosphere of the ones in Dubai. Visiting at least one should be a priority for anyone going to Dubai.

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Burj Khalifa + Ski Dubai

 

I didn’t only visit the parks while I was in Dubai. Doing so would have been a great disservice to myself. I also made time to visit two of the country’s most unique attractions, the Burj Khalifa and Ski Dubai. My culture day had some hiccups, but in the end everything worked out.

 

Even non-coaster enthusiasts know of the Burj Khalifa. It’s the world’s tallest building after all! It’s over a half mile tall at 2717 ft. Or in coaster talk, it’s 6 Kingda Kas tall, 9 Millennium Forces tall, or 63 Oscar’s Wacky Taxis tall. Seeing this thing in photos doesn’t do justice, it’s colossal.

 

Although it sounds like Dubai is trying to erect something even taller because Dubai.

 

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Those buildings around the Burj Khalifa are pretty tall, but they look like dwarfs next to this monster.

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And there's also this random dragon downtown.

 

I booked the Sunrise package for a few reasons. One, I thought it would be gorgeous to see the sun rise from a skyscraper. Two, I’ve heard the Burj Khalifa can attract a line longer than Flight of Passage and the Sunrise package gave you a reserved time. Three, breakfast is always nice (unless it’s from Denny’s).

 

Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it atop the tower for sunrise. The agent at the counter had a difficult time redeeming my ticket. I’m not quite sure what the issue was since I purchased my ticket from the official site, but it took almost 45 minutes to sort out. Eventually I got the manager’s blessing to proceed.

 

Even without the sunrise, the views were still breathtaking. It’s quite the juxtaposition to see such an impressive city skyline in the foreground and a vast desert in the background. For coaster nerds, I was unsuccessful in finding any coaster skylines but I could see Wild Wadi off in the distance.

 

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That view!

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Desert on one side. Water on the other.

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I'm high (in the air).

 

When I purchased my ticket, I envisioned breakfast being at a restaurant atop the tower. Instead, we were given food vouchers to redeem at a little coffee stand back at the bottom. Considering I viewed the Sunrise package as a skip-the-line pass, getting a croissant and drink was a nice bonus.

 

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Breakfast of champions.

 

Later that day, I decided to visit Ski Dubai. As a New Englander, I have dozens of mountains within a day’s drive of me. However, there’s just something undeniably cool about skiing in a desert. Plus Ski Dubai had the winter park with some interesting attractions.

 

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Is it sad my second time skiing is in a desert?

 

Like the Burj Khalifa, redeeming my ticket was a mess. I purchased a snowboarding lesson from the official site, but it took an hour to fully check-in.

 

Originally I went to the online redemption center as instructed by the ticket. After 10 minutes of no one coming by, I queued up in the equipment line. There I was told to go to the ski school line. After checking in, I was then told to return to the equipment line to get my gear. All I needed was a locker, which necessitated me to wait in the school line again. Thankfully I wasn’t against the gun for my lesson.

 

One of the most embarrassing things about traveling abroad is how painfully easy it is to identify Americans. At Oktoberfest, they were the ones who couldn’t hold their beer and got in fistfights on the midway. In Dubai, they’re the ones wearing shorts. Or at Ski Dubai, there were two girls who kept cutting the ski school line and screaming at the employees they were about to miss their lesson.

 

I’ve only gone skiing once. Because of my past ankle injuries, I thought I should try snowboarding. I thought the instructor did well considering how large the class was and by the end of the lesson, I was able to successfully ride down the bunny slope. Stopping is an entirely differnet story though.

 

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I felt at home in the chilly weather.

 

After my lesson, I tried a few of the attractions in the winter park. My favorite was the Mountain Thriller. If was basically an alpine slide crossed with a water slide. The trough has that slick, dry sledding material so you fly down the course. It’s a bit bumpy, but it’s certainly fast and wild.

 

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The Mountain Thriller was the lazy man's way down the mountain.

 

I also tried the Bobsleds. Considering it was real ice, I wasn’t surprised it was a bit bumpy. While the top speed isn’t as impressive as the Mountain Thriller, you swing pretty wildly up the side of the trough on the turns.

 

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Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it's bobsled time!

 

Ultimately I think I would have enjoyed Ski Dubai more had I been a more experienced snowboarder or skier going into my visit. That being said, it was still a very unique experience and I’m glad I visited. I just wish the entire check-in process went a little more smoothly.

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Carowinds

 

Trying to ride a shiny new coaster on opening weekend is a risky endeavor. For one, technical issues are to expected with a new attraction. Two, you will often come face to face with heavy crowds. Three, you could end up in a coaster YouTuber’s vlog.

 

For that reason, I decided to visit Carowinds on its second weekend. I figured a Mack launcher was a relatively proven concept. If you’ve followed along on the park discussion, you know Copperhead Strike has had some early hiccups.

 

It was apparent from the start that Carowinds would be packed. I suspected it might on a Saturday with perfect weather, but it was confirmed when I saw the line to enter the parking lot. We arrived a half hour prior to opening and were stuck in a line of cars backed up to the highway.

 

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I'd move faster in NYC traffic than this.

 

This line was not moving. People were abandoning cars. Those poor suckers at Wendy’s couldn’t re-enter the roadway. Was there an accident? Nope. It just appeared that Carowinds didn’t open the parking lot until 9:50. It also wasn’t until this time that they started morning tests. Carowinds was trying to give us a Six Flags day.

 

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Eventually we made it.

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Fury was the only coaster that got the memo to test prior to opening.

 

Since we purchased tickets on Presidents Day, we had Fast Lane Plus included. This was a major help. Carowinds was packed. The major coasters had hour plus waits. Even coasters like Vortex and Carolina Goldrusher had lengthy queues. Heck the flyers had a wait over an hour at one point.

 

I think only Fury 325 was ready at opening. It was ever so tempting to head there first, but we figured it would be prudent to hit Copperhead Strike first. This proved to be a very wise decision considering what happened later in the day.

 

Ultimately we waited 45 minutes for our first ride. This included general morning testing as well as breakdowns. It seemed like every third or fourth ride would stop at the second launch. I never saw a train rollback. The trains simply came to a halt. After a brief delay, the coaster would rock back and forth before completing the course.

 

The presentation of Copperhead Strike is top-notch. The plaza around the attraction looks fantastic, highlighted by the snake logo complete with glowing red eyes. It may even top Fury’s plaza if you ask me. While I did bypass the main queue (Fast Lane problems ), what I did see was very well themed. I’d be hard pressed to name a better themed ride at a Cedar Fair park.

 

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Sexy logo. Even sexier Stengel dive.

 

Mack mega coaster trains are right up there with B&M hyper coaster trains as the most comfortable if you ask me. Having such an open train design is an absolute delight on a coaster with this much hangtime. And the hangtime starts right away with that jojo roll out of the station. I completely forgot it existed!

 

So what’s in the barn? On the left side, you have a screen. The audio is garbled, but it’s clear that granny is shocked someone entered her barn. All the other nooks and crannies of the barn are filled with farm paraphernalia (chickens, hoes, etc). I didn’t see any snakes though. I’m still trying to figure out how those come into play.

 

As with most Macks, the launch itself isn’t very good. Slinky Dog Dash has a comparable acceleration. I thought we were going to rollback on the first vertical loop. We crawled through it and the hangtime was Full Throttle-esque. This was immediately followed by a powerful airtime hill, a snappy corkscrew, a quick turn, and an ejector airtime drop into launch 2. Then we hit the brakes.

 

Yup, the ride stopped. After a 2-3 minute delay, we crawled forwards, crawled backwards, and then shot forwards. While this stoppage did kill the ride’s pacing, it did have the auxiliary benefit of giving the launch a kick that all Macks minus Blue Fire are missing. It felt like a genuine launch rather than a gentle push.

 

And the airtime hill in the middle of that second launch is unique. I wasn’t quite sure what it would feel like, but it gave some decent floater air. As did the hill leading into the cutback/inverted top hat. People may disagree on what to call it, but there’s no arguing about the hangtime. It is plentiful.

 

This is followed by the ride’s most intense sequence. You have a rapid, low-to-the-ground turn and another hangtime filled vertical loop before encountering two Intamin-like maneuvers. The first is an intense Stengel dive that threads the first loop. This was my favorite part of the ride. The apex was ridiculously tight, which yielded some crazy ejector air and this is all while you’re perpendicular to the ground. That’s then followed by an I305-esque twisty combining laterals and airtime.

 

Instead of going full Maverick, Copperhead takes its foot off the gas. The next segment is undoubtedly the ride’s weakest; it’s a series of slow twists. Copperhead does redeem itself at the very end. There’s one final transition that mixes some laterals and a pop of air and that’s followed by a tiny but powerful ejector hill. And there’s another quick pop into the brake run.

 

Copperhead Strike throws a little of everything at riders. And that’s what I love most about Macks. It’s the perfect mix of airtime and hangtime with a pinch of intensity thrown in. Those calling this coaster a family ride are wildly exaggerating. It’s an excellent coaster. 9 out of 10

 

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I know Knott's got the coaster named HangTime, but this coaster is more deserving of that name.

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The aerial shot puts into perspective just how compact Copperhead Strike is.

 

We decided to forgo a reride in favor of a lap around the park; it was my girlfriend’s first time at Carowinds. I wanted to head straight for Fury, but she wanted to work her way up towards the giga. Fortunately Carowinds has the perfect training coaster in Intimidator.

 

I remembered Int®imidator being the worst of the B&M hypers. Its nickname was ever so fitting during my visit in 2016. But on this visit, the trims were off. I repeat, the trims were off! This actually meant the coaster had some airtime after the turnaround. Every single drop provided solid floater air.

 

Intimidator is extremely similar to Diamondback for me. Both coasters have a great outward leg, but the return leg is contingent upon the trim brakes not biting too hard. 8 out of 10

 

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Ever since Fury came to town, Intimidator feels like it belongs in Camp Snoopy.

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Check out this theming next to Intimidator. There has to be at least several hundred cars there.

 

Now my girlfriend was ready for Fury. She was a bit apprehensive, so it was a good thing Fast Lane allowed us to walk right onto the back row. She knew she’d probably love it, but she was just freaked out by the height. I assured her B&Ms are super reliable, but she was not a fan how Fury slowed down right before cresting the drop. Her nightmare is being evacuated on a lift hill.

 

But she loved it! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Fury. That first drop is incredible. It’s up there with Expedition GeForce, Iron Rattler, El Toro, and Skyrush for the best drop in the world. Fury lacks the intensity of those four coasters. Instead it offers length. Those drops are over in a flash while Fury’s drop gives 5-6 seconds of uninterrupted airtime.

 

The most common gripe with B&M hypers is that the formulaic layout of tall camelbacks saps the ride of its speed. This is not an issue on Fury’s outward leg. You especially feel the speed on those two low-to-the-ground maneuvers that mix vicious laterals with abrupt pops of air.

 

Turnarounds are usually throwaway elements on B&M hypers, but they’re standouts on Fury. The first one offers an abrupt pop of air and laterals. Then the treble clef is uncharacteristically B&M. The sustained sideways airtime feels straight out of a RMC.

 

The finale feels noticeably slower, but it offers the ride’s strongest airtime moments. You have three bunny hills that each provide incredible airtime. I don’t quite think it’s ejector, but it’s not floater. Whatever it is, it’s strong and sustained. The helix and its terrifying headchopper is just gravy.

 

When I rode Fury 325 back in 2016, it was unquestionably my new number one coaster. Since then, I have ridden over 500 other coasters. I was fearful Fury would be worse than I remembered, but it was quite the contrary. It was better than I remembered. 10 out of 10

 

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Fury 325 is B&M's masterpiece.

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I thought only RMC could do sideways airtime.

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Treble clef / hive dive / whatever you call this is Fury's signature moment.

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Fury doesn't have your cute little B&M floater. It has some serious airtime.

 

I was a bit nervous to ride Nighthawk. While I remembered 80% of the ride being enjoyable, I remembered that corkscrew finale trying to kill me. We waited a bit extra for the front row and hoped our ride would be closer to Firehawk (RIP) than Batwing.

 

Thankfully Nighthawk was smooth, even during those corkscrews! The fly to lie maneuvers are extremely disorienting. But the highlight is the vertical loop. The base pulls Gs akin to a pretzel loop and the top has some terrifying hangtime. It’s fun, but I’ll still take my B&M flyers any day of the week. 7 out of 10

 

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I prefer flying to lying, but the constant switching was disorienting.

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My life rested in the hands of those Vekoma vests.

 

We went back to reride Copperhead Strike, but it was down. Worse, the line had been cleared out and it was transferring two of its three trains off the track; the third train was loaded with water dummies. This is why you always ride your highest priority first just in case something like this happens.

 

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Seeing water dummies and trains being removed was not a positive development.

 

Instead we rode the Mountain Gliders. My girlfriend wanted no part of snapping, so she watched in horror as my tub violently bounced about. I love how the ops at Carowinds don’t care one bit if you snap. The cycle is on the shorter side, but they’re about as good as you’ll find outside of Knoebels or Lagoon. 8 out of 10

 

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Refurbished and rethemed, but still very snappable.

 

With the South Gate closed, Afterburn was in a quiet corner of the park. Well it wasn’t quiet exactly. You had the B&M roar overhead and the intermittent roar of Dinosaurs Alive. While I see this B&M lasting for quite some time, I have a feeling those dinos will be going extinct in the near future. Just a hunch.

 

Afterburn is definitely one of B&M’s stronger inverts. Ultimately I’d consider it to be Montu-lite. If you take away Montu’s the second vertical loop, you basically have Afterburn. The forces on this one are strong. They don’t quite match Montu, but they aren’t too far behind.

 

And I want to know why more B&M inverts don’t have batwings. They are awesome. Having the snap of an old-school B&M corkscrew followed by the high-G dive into a trench is incredible. This is probably my favorite US invert after Montu. 9 out of 10

 

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I feel the need...the need for speed.

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Let's turn and burn.

 

I would like to apologize to Carowinds and Vortex. When I submitted my ballot for the TPR Coaster Poll, I listed Vortex among the worst of the worst SLCs. My rides in 2016 tried to give me a concussion and prevent me from one day having children. Since then I have learned how to ride B&M stand-ups.

 

Using the magic position, I got an enjoyable ride on Vortex! It may not be the biggest or baddest stand-up, but the ride pulls some serious Gs on the vertical loop and helices. And I didn’t bang my head or crotch once. The only real fault with the ride is its length. 6 out of 10

 

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I'm sorry for previously ranking you among garbage like Mind Eraser and Kong.

 

One coaster that did suck as much as I remembered was Carolina Goldrusher. It’s baffling how a coaster that slow can be so uncomfortable. I’m no stranger to Arrow’s coat-hanger transitions, but these ones were really bad. At least there was a tunnel. 2 out of 10

 

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Arrow struck gold with several of there coasters. This wasn't one of them.

 

Riding Carolina Cyclone afterwards seemed foolish, but it was somewhat enjoyable. The first drop had some abrupt air and the first two loops were quite intense. However, the second half wasn’t as good. There was no headbanging, but it was uncomfortably bumpy like an old wooden coaster. 5 out of 10

 

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I prefer Tennessee Tornadoes to Carolina Cyclones.

 

Carowinds also has not one, but two dark rides. Both have their warts though. On Boo Blasters, my gun didn’t work. On Plants vs. Zombies, I had no idea what I was shooting at. Disliking the latter was particularly disappointing since I usually like these Triotech dark rides. But with a full theater and 30+ guns per screen, you’d have better luck seeing a 16 seed win the NCAA tournament.

 

Drop Tower had been closed for most of the day, but it finally opened in the late afternoon. As far as Intamin 2nd generation towers go, Drop Tower is on the shorter side. But it still packs a mighty punch. This is probably my favorite thing at Carowinds outside the big four coasters. 8 out of 10

 

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I figured I'd drop in for a ride.

 

As the sun was setting, I had come to grips with the fact that I wasn’t getting a reride on Copperhead Strike. It seemed unlikely the coaster would reopen after being closed for 5-6 hours. But then the coaster gods delivered a gift. Copperhead Strike reopened around 6-7 pm!

 

There was a catch. The ride was running with just two trains and the FastLane queue was mobbed. I think we ended up waiting almost 45 minutes. But it sure beat whatever that standby queue was. We were seated towards the middle for the first ride, but the attendant granted our request for the back on ride 2.

 

Our second ride was even better. Most notably, there was no intermission before the second launch. We plowed right on through. The launch wasn’t as forceful this way, but it kept the ride’s pacing intact. Also, the airtime was considerably stronger towards the back of the train.

 

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The queue gives some amazing views of Copperhead.

 

I really wanted to ride Copperhead again, but the Fast Lane queue was even longer. We discovered a lot of people had complimentary Fast Lane passes, presumably when the coaster broke down earlier in the day and cleared the queue. So instead we ended the night with a marathon on Fury.

 

There’s just something magical about riding Fury at night. Most of the layout is shrouded in darkness, but you get the occasional flicker of light from the entry plaza and the hive dive. Fury 325 is one of the most reridable coasters in the world, which is a testament to B&M since this is one fast and furious coaster.

 

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There is no other way to end a night at Carowinds.

 

Carowinds is without a doubt one of the chain’s best parks. With the addition of Copperhead Strike, I think it’s my favorite after Cedar Point. With Cedar Fair, you know the park will be well-run. So when you have a top 4 like Carowinds, you have all you need for a top notch park.

 

Also if you're a fan of chicken and waffles, do not miss the Metro Diner. It's about a 15 minute drive from the park and it was incredible. I ordered chicken and waffles and just look at this portion size. I'd estimate it was at least 3000 calories. But I ate every single one of them.

 

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Now I know why I saw so many walks of shame down south.

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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Awesome report! Great photos, great commentary (per usual)!

 

I have to say, I'm a little jelly of KD, Carowinds, and basically any park that has already opened for the season. JUST 15 MORE DAYS UNTIL KI OPENS

 

 

Over 500 other coasters since 2016! DAMN

 

And its great to hear that Fury still holds up after all that other experience!

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Oh gosh I didn't realize Metro Diner had made their way all the way up into the Carolinas. The original is here in Jacksonville and their first "franchise" opened about 5 miles from my house and I've only been maybe twice because there's always a line out the door. Great spot though, and yeah I've had those chicken and waffles before, they don't suck.

 

Carowinds is HIGH on my list of parks I'm anticipating getting back to, probably won't make it this year but I think my oldest will be tall enough for most everything next season so it's gonna happen soon. Copperhead looks amazing, and Fury I'm fully expecting to to jump into my top 10 if not 5.

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