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This is where the Journey Begins. The first step Into the Unknown. You stand at the edge, unsure of what to do next? So now you have a choice:

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You take the Blue Pill, the journey ends here. You continue browsing the forums. You take the Red Pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

 

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Journey 1: Fun Spot AKA a Lazy Week in Orlando.

 

It has come time for spring break of my last year in college. My father needed to take some vacation time. Going to college in Tampa, our timeshare had some rather tantalizing options on International Drive in Orlando. Including one resort next door to Fun Spot Orlando.

 

So dad flies in to TPA on Friday night, he spends the night in my dorm, and the next morning, we begin the harrowing drive on I4 between Tampa and Orlando.

 

Much to our surprise, we arrive safely at our resort at the north end of I-Drive. We check in and head up to our room with a view.20180303_150316.thumb.jpg.97e40df926e5a7748386492f3b2d13e2.jpg

And what a view it is.

 

So now it's time to head into the park to process our season passes. With our passes processed and wristbands on, there was only one acceptable course of action:

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White Lightning!

After a couple laps there, we wandered over to Gator Spot. Always an interesting walkthrough. So glad it's included with the wristband.1626344579_DSCN0373(2).thumb.JPG.143bb1556c55a8a61f899e98b99a45b6.JPG

Gator.

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Gator Pile!

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Crikey, mate!

But the star of Gator Spot is easily the albino gator Bouyah. I texted this picture of Bouyah to mother saying, "Look what we found outside our room!"

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Bouyah!

After saying later to the gators, we wandered around the park for some more rides on White Lightning and Freedom Flyer before walking back to our room so we could pick up some food for the week.

 

After a couple days of riding White Lightning non-stop, we had an itch that needed to be scratched. So we headed south along I-Drive so we could have our mines blown.

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Our chariot awaits!

Last year, we'd seen it under construction. But now it was finally time to ride. We sat down in the back row of that ever-so-comfortable Timberliner and waited almost impatiently for the train to crest the lift.

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Yeet!

Ho. Lee. Sh!t.

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It was worth the wait.

I thought I loved White Lightning, but wowzers is Mine Blower awesome! Relentless pacing with so much airtime.

So we had to run back around for the front to confirm it was just as bad-A$$. Spoiler: it was. After another ride in the back, dad had to take a breather while I ran around for another couple laps before I too had to catch my breath.

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And what better way to calm down from Mine Blower than a lap on the best Spinning Mouse in Florida and a cycle on the inverting frisbee?

 

Okay, we've calmed down enough. Let's get our Mines Blown some more!

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A couple laps later, Dad needed to relax a bit so we walked around the park and Old Town a bit, taking a spin on the Ferris Wheel as well.

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Hello, Kitty

But how could I resist the urge to take pictures of Mine Blower from across the pond? I couldn't.

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Loop-Dee-Loop!

Since we were over there, I mentioned to dad that our passes got us discounts on the Skycoaster and I wanted to do it with him since I flew alone last year. But nope, he wasn't interested.

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It wasn't meant to be this year.

We got another lap on the "spinning" mouse. "Spinning" was in quotes there because we got the rare ride where our car was not unlocked for spinning. Realizing it was a fluke, we had to get another lap and boy, did we spin so much that it made up for the dud.

 

A couple more laps on Mine Blower and Dad needed to go back to the room.

 

He took a nap, while I went back out to White Lightning and the Paratrooper since I knew the latter was leaving soon for Atlanta and needed some rides on it before it closed. After the cycle, my cart stopped at the top for a while because they were having some troubles with the lap bar. I wouldn't have minded this so much if there wasn't a chilling wind that night.

After being liberated, the park was just about to close for the night so it was time to go to bed.

 

Waking up the next afternoon, it was time to take some pictures while dad just stayed in the room to relax.

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I could get used to this view

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Ferris Wheel!

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IoA in the distance

You can get some neat shots of White Lightning from the sidewalk outside the park.

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Going down the drop!

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Coming back in.

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Fun to ride and great to photograph!

 

We took a break from Fun Spot for some time at Disney!

 

...Springs.

 

Growing up in Minneapolis, I went to the Mall of America a lot. Even now, I could spend several days just walking around without getting a Nickelodeon Universe wristband. But with Disney Springs, the couple hours I spent there were more than enough. Even with nearly an hour sitting at the top of the Coke store with a cup of Beverly. Though I was glad to have tried Pizza Ponte. Thanks for the recommendation, Robb!

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You say Living Statue, I say Weeping Angel. Don't Blink.

 

Well, our trip was now coming to an end. Dad had to fly back to Minneapolis and I had to go back to school. But not without some last rides on White Lightning, Freedom Flyer, and Mine Blower.

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Under the lift.

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Fountain

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Underbelly of the Paratrooper

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Glad I got my last rides in. Have fun in Atlanta!

 

And of course, I had to get a hat.

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Nice report of both the Florida Fun Spots! I also liked seeing the Gator Spot since I've never made my way there.

 

Those spinning mice are so awkward without the spinning. Hirakata Park always runs their mouse that way and those hairpin turns are not meant to be experienced without spinning alleviating those lats.

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Nice report of both the Florida Fun Spots! I also liked seeing the Gator Spot since I've never made my way there.

 

Those spinning mice are so awkward without the spinning. Hirakata Park always runs their mouse that way and those hairpin turns are not meant to be experienced without spinning alleviating those lats.

 

Thank you!. Love Gator Spot and it's easily the hidden gem of the Orlando Fun Spot. The non-spinning cycle on the Fun Spot mouse was tolerable. But spinning couldn't save Primeval Whirl. But that's a rant for the next update.

 

Sounds like you had a good time. How smooth was Mine Blower?

 

It's not the smoothest coaster in the world, but not the worst. I'd say it had more shuffling than roughness. But it's also the kind of ride that will beat itself to sh!t if not properly maintained.

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  • 6 months later...

Journey 2: Animal Kingdom AKA Pandora, Dinos, and Yetis

 

It's about time I update this thread again. Albeit, almost a year after taking the trip. And some of you thought that coasterbill was a procrastinator when it came to writing up trip reports.

 

It was my last semester of college before graduation. The school was sponsoring a trip to Animal Kingdom. So I knew I had to go before leaving Tampa for the utter cold that is Minnesota.

 

The first thing I had to do after getting my ticket was download the My Disney Experience App on my phone to hopefully get fastpasses for River Journey. But since my phone at the time was a piece of crap, the app was incompatible with my device. Whatever, since I wouldn't be able to sync my ticket with the app until I was at the park gates anyway. In the days leading up to the trip, I was keeping an eye on the weather: 80% chance of thunderstorms. And the trip would be during the Star Wars Marathon weekend. The initial plan was to leave early enough to rope-drop the park, though it was pushed back an hour.

 

Day of the trip comes, knowing how much I hate walking around in wet shoes, I make the decision to wear my new sandals and leave my point and shoot camera behind in favor of my POS phone camera.

 

We make good time from Tampa, arriving about an hour after the park opens.

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I'm about to graduate college but what am I going to do first?

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I'm going to Disney World!

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When we get off the busses, we're given bottles of water, single meal passes at one of several quick-service establishments, and fanny packs, because who doesn't love fanny packs?

 

My first stop is the fast pass kiosk to see what I can get. *Steve Harvey Voice* Survey says...

Nothing really at this point.

Knowing the forecast, and seeing some dark-ish clouds overhead, my first stop needs to be Everest in case it closes down for weather.

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On the way, I said Wingapo to Pocahontas.

 

Then I made a mistake.

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I hadn't ridden these spinning mice yet. And being a credit whore with an eye on the weather, I hopped in a way longer line than a mouse deserves. Especially one this crap. How is the Kissimmee spinning mouse so much better?

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Now in pain, there was no longer denying destiny.

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I jumped in a 40 minute single-rider line.

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Oh great, is that snow up there? I came here to get away from the snow. At least it should cool me off as we climb the mountain.

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As someone who spent the last couple years ride operating, I was thoroughly impressed at how quickly they could get trains out. It helped that the ride had no seatbelts--which I spent way too much time looking for. And then we were off on an expedition up the mountain.

 

I'd ridden the ride back in 2010, but I forgot how intense it was. But more importantly, it was fun. Totally getting in on the story and just having fun with the story and experience.

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Whee!

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Practicing my Prozach point. Please don't arrest me for stealing it.

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Then I headed back into Dinosaur land to get a ride on the Dinosaur ride.

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First I had to stand in the extended queue which gave me time to get some themeing shots.

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Rawr!

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I wonder if this Dinosaur used its teeth to get a head in the food chain?

 

I'll show myself out now.

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Well it's not King Kong, but it is big. And probably hungry.

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And then we came to the ride. So, we're going back in time on a sight-seeing tour/rescue mission just before the extinction? God help us, we're in the hands of engineers.

 

It was less intense than I remembered. But still fun, even if the story is a little hokey and the animatronics are no longer state of the art. But it was exactly what it wanted to be: a fun romp through dinosaur times while sitting in a vehicle that occasionally felt like it was being driven by Mad Max. Oh what a day! What a lovely day!

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After we brought a Dinosaur back to the future (Great Scott, that's a bad idea), I was beginning to feel like a bit of a carnivore myself. So I sought out a tasteless bacon cheeseburger and decent fries at Restaurantosaurus using my meal ticket.

 

By this time, the clouds were starting to clear up. WTF. Forecasted 80% rain all day. And now the clouds are gone. And me walking around with new sandals in the Orlando heat. Can we get Toto to come bless the rains down here in Animal Kingdom's Africa section please?

 

While eating lunch, I checked the times that Festival of the Lion KIng was playing. Finishing lunch, I made my way over to the theatre, but I had to make a very important stop first.

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Of course I had to go see Mickey and Minnie.

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And of course the rest of my family was jealous.

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I was born in 1994, a couple months before Lion King hit theaters. So my parents took little baby infant me with them when they saw it. Apparently I slept through it all. But I could not sleep through this show. The energy and choreography were so much fun. And of course I had to sing along with the cast.

 

Though I didn't get any pictures due to A: my phone's camera sucks as previously stated, and B: my 6 foot self was seated in front of little kids so I worsened the Primeval Whirl pain by hunching over throughout the whole show.

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When the Festival was over, I had delayed the inevitable long enough. It was time to go to Pandora.

 

Wowsers, is this place impressive! I wish I had a decent camera to better document how bat-sh!t awesome the themeing here.

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Why am I doing this? It's an alien planet! Is there air? You don't know?

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Holy alien skull, Batman!

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He's blue, da ba dee, da ba da, da ba dee, da ba da!

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Holy Hannah Montana, Flight of Passage is awesome! The posted wait was 150 minutes, but I was in the gift shop in just under 2 hours.

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While I still think that the movie's story sucks, Disney did the right thing here by doubling down on everything that made Avatar the highest grossing movie of all time (unadjusted for inflation; but frankly my dear, they don't give a damn): the visuals. The movie was gorgeous thanks to its ground-annihilating visual effects work. And that's what Pandora is: a feast for the gods' eyes.

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I walked by the entrance to River Journey to see an 80 minute wait. By this point in the day, my sandals had really started chafing my feet and toes. Not wanting to worsen the pain by standing in that line, I regretfully skipped River Journey on this visit in favor of seeking out First Aid for my foot that was in massive pain.

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Gorignak! Gorignak!

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Leaving first aid, I sought out the fast pass kiosk to see if I could get anything. There was a Dinosaur fast pass available so I grabbed it.

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On the way, I picked up another ride on Everest using the single-rider line.

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Dino on the hunt.

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It's behind me isn't it?

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Oh noes! A meteor is headed right for me!

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Ultimately, the fast pass ended up costing me time if I had just done standby instead. Oh well.

 

Oh yeah, and the Dinosaur ride also took inspiration from the visuals of its IP instead of story to the ride's benefit. What other mediocre movies with great visuals can be made into rides at Animal Kingdom?

 

Letting out of the Dinosaur ride, I saw a 10-minute wait for Primeval Whirl. Again, being a credit whore, I was hoping I could get on the other side to see if it was better/get the credit. Spoiler alert: it wasn't.

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I have been chosen!

 

I thought about catching the Rivers of Light nighttime show, but I realized there unfortunately there wouldn't be enoough time after the show for me to get back on the bus back to school.

 

Knowing there wasn't enough time for another ride on Everest, I began my way out, passing through as many gift shops as I could to kill time until I saw that an attraction I enjoyed nearly 2 decades ago was open, I had to see how well my nostalgia of the It's Tough to be a Bug attraction fared. Never meet your idols, kids.

 

The queue, if you can call it that was unfortunately beautiful (Curse my camera) as it wound endlessly around the Tree of Life's roots.

 

The show itself pandered to the lowest common denominator and had the misfortune of being tied to Kevin Spacey (although the Hopper animatronic was neat). But it feels like it was built to torture the poor parents of children that demanded to experience the attraction. Dear Disney, please find a replacement for this abomination.

 

So now it was finally time to leave the kingdom for animals. And if you're wondering if I did any of the animal trails or Kilimanjaro Safari, the answer is unfortunately no because of the camera on my phone. These animals deserve better pictures than my phone can provide, and I love animal photography, so I chose to prioritize other attractions over bad animal photos.

 

So I left the park, took the bus back to campus, got some food from the late night place on campus and went to go nurse my chafed and blistering foot because it was a beautiful day in the kingdom.

 

And of course, the hats I purchased:

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while some of your phone pics aren't the best I've ever seen, on several of the "Tree of Life" pics, the camera is doing some wonderful effects with the sunlight - creating some really nice colors.

 

it's almost like you are using a filter.

 

so it worked in your favor.

 

thanks for updating the trip report - tho i admit, I do wonder how you dind't have time for solo rider line on Everest, but had time to shop and do "It's Tough to be a Bug" on the way out?

(I woulda totally skipped both side of Primeval Whirl and done Everest a few times)

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while some of your phone pics aren't the best I've ever seen, on several of the "Tree of Life" pics, the camera is doing some wonderful effects with the sunlight - creating some really nice colors.

 

it's almost like you are using a filter.

 

so it worked in your favor.

 

I did some moderate to extensive editing on all pictures in this report. These are the ones that looked passable enough to post.

 

thanks for updating the trip report - tho i admit, I do wonder how you dind't have time for solo rider line on Everest, but had time to shop and do "It's Tough to be a Bug" on the way out?

(I woulda totally skipped both side of Primeval Whirl and done Everest a few times)

 

I agree that Everest would have been a better idea than It's tough to be a bug, but I did write this at 2 am 50 weeks after I took trip on memory alone, so forgive me if I forget the entire play by play or don't remember all my motivations that day.

 

Nice report! I agree Flight of Passage's visuals are astounding. I was surprised the first time how there the film's main characters weren't mentioned by name.

 

Thanks! But be honest: would you have remembered any of the characters' names if they were name-dropped?

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Nice report.

 

And I like the grey Flight Cap (on the left).

 

Thank you! And yes, it is an awesome design.

 

Great report!

 

Holy $h!t, the gold standard for trip report writing likes mine!

 

Animal Kingdom is a beautiful park, which makes Primeval Whirl stick out all the more.

 

Agreed, but is there a good way to incorporate Dinos into the park without it feeling like Jurassic Park? But at the same time, did they really have to go all the way into Saturday Morning Cartoon zone?

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  • 1 month later...

Journies 3, 4, and 5: Off the Beaten Path AKA What is This Trip Report Anymore?

 

I wanted to post these reports, but since I'm lazy (and I only have a couple pics from two of the places), I've decided to combine them into one report.

 

So sue me.

 

Journey 3: The Super Journey Home

 

I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Tampa ( ), but since I live in Minnesota, I had to lug all my sh!t back north over a 2-day road trip.

 

I happened to notice that Holiday World was approximately halfway between the two.

But we'd be traveling through when the park was closed.

 

So the consolation prize was a night in Metropolis, Illinois: the official home of Superman.

 

We pulled in for the night, got as much sleep as we could, and in the morning, on our way out of town, we had to find town square.

 

And what's in town square?

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A Giant Superman stature, of course!

 

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Strike a pose!

 

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And of course, we had to find Lois Lane as well. I enjoy a good pun street.

 

But we didn't have time to go through the Superman museum. Though I did get a Superman hat from the gift shop and considered purchasing a piece of "Kryptonite."

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Journey 4: Just how far down the rabbit hole have we gone here, anyways?

 

I was debating even posting these, but they're so weird and wtf-ish that they have to be shared.

 

They're just mannequins at a Dollar Store. The employees I talked to had no idea why they exist either. But whatever, they're weird and I like 'em!

 

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What

 

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The

 

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Donkey?

 

Journey 5: Holy Willy Wonka, Batman!

 

Of all the tourist traps I've visited over the course of my life, I never thought I'd make a trip report about a candy store. Neither did I think I'd make one about a dollar store either, but you know what they say about life and lemons...

 

The candy store in question is Minnesota's Largest Candy Store. That's literally its name. It would be awkward if there was one larger.

 

Anyways, I knew about this place from various news outlets and was following them on Facebook but had never visited before. While living in work housing near Valleyfair last year, it was a perfect opportunity to waste an hour at the place on my day off since it's a couple miles past the park on 169.

 

I drove in with the plan to look around, buy a giant-ass peanut butter cup and walk out. But as any John Steinbeck or Robert Burns fan will tell you, it was a poor plan from the start.

 

It started out innocently enough: walking past a window with a cheap-looking statue of Iron Man against the inside of the window. I shrugged it off and walked in to see enough candy to make Gene Wilder blush.

 

And a Dragon head

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...as an appetizer.

 

For what was that I saw in the distance?

 

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99% of their social media postings are puns on their sign outside.

 

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So why is the Silver Surfer hanging from the ceiling?

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm over the moon about this; I'm just pissed that they never showed this stuff off before. I'd have gone more often, dammit!

 

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Cause who doesn't want a life-size Hulkbuster in their living room?

 

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Dibs.

 

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Apparently Thor and Spider-Man have joined the Justice League. Who knew?

 

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Not Captain America. And no, unfortunately I did not get a shot of America's A$$

 

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Any kisses lately, spidey?

 

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And what's a life-size Hulkbuster without a Hulk to fight it?

 

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Monsters Inc. too? Sign me up!

 

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Have I mentioned how much I hated my old phone's camera is this report yet? Or should I say "I am Groot?" At least I think that's Groot and Star-Lord. Can't tell with how crappy that picture turned out.

 

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Resistance is futile.

 

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TIE fighters, coming in.

 

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To attack the Black Pearl. Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me.

 

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The Millennium Falcon will come to the rescue!

 

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If the Enterprise doesn't get there first!

 

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Or the Doctor!

 

And in case you thought I forgot which site this was and since I know how amusement park-hungry you are,

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Here's a popcorn Ferris Wheel for ya to end this weird detour

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^^ That was great! Fun tours, all of them! And that last one (candy!) was totally IP blitzed everywhere!

I also think I have that recent Aquaman statue, with "He Who Has A Divided Eyebrow."

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Thanks everyone for enjoying this weirdness. I wasn't sure how this would go over, but I'm glad you all enjoyed it!

 

Fun weirdness! Will have to visit that candy store next time we're in MN.

 

Keep in mind that it's cash only. Yes, they have ATMs on site.

 

^^ That was great! Fun tours, all of them! And that last one (candy!) was totally IP blitzed everywhere!

I also think I have that recent Aquaman statue, with "He Who Has A Divided Eyebrow."

 

Jealous.

 

I had no clue there was a Metropolis, Illinois. Thanks for sharing!

 

Yeah, it's on the Ohio river where Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee meet.

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  • 2 months later...

Journey 6: Carowinds AKA The Fury-ous Storm

 

2018 was my fourth year working as a Valleyfair ride operator. Part of the reason for wanting that job was the opportunity to visit other Cedar Fair parks for free. Heading into the year, I'd visited 0 other parks in the chain. I wanted that to change. Since you've read the title of this report, you know it's Carowinds. Or, if you're one of the people that skipped over it, now you know it's Carowinds.

 

I tried to get my father to come with me on the trip to split hotel costs, but he declined on the basis that he couldn't take the time off work. This became sadly ironic as he was forced into retirement due to health concerns.

 

A week out, I kept my eye on the weather. Lots of rain and thunder during the trip. Joyous. My flight from MSP was delayed 2 hours. I thought it was due to weather, but another flight to Charlotte on another airline was on time. Scuttlebutt I heard said there was unexpected maintenance with the plane. Go figure.

 

Anyways, I land in Charlotte at the tail end of a storm. Checked the park's socials, seemed to be open yet. I got a ride to my hotel (the Comfort Inn across from the park), all the while watching for the slightest glimpse of the park. Of course, the first thing I saw was Fury. This was happening.

 

I quickly checked in, dropped off my bags, and headed out, hoping to still get a couple rides in that night.

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The view from my room.

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Still going!

Looks like the park's still operating!

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Sweet Baby Jesus, Hallelujah!

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I want it all.

The parking lot is mostly empty. Rain drove everyone away.

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Wreck me.

At approximately 7:30pm, the park was scheduled to be open until 10. Hopefully it will stay open until then.

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Finally here. Camera's going away.

As soon as I flashed my Cedar Fair employee ID at the gates, I stopped taking pictures. Large wall of text incoming, but I don't care. It was time to get serious.

 

After debating whether to take everyone's advice and riding Intimidator before Fury, and doing the obvious thing, I made my way through the nonexistent crowds to the back row of Intimidator. I was fully prepared to be bored to death as everyone said I would be, but something weird happened. The ride was a lot of fun! A lot of good floater airtime and I didn't feel any trims. Has the internet lied to me? What else isn't real? I stayed on to get a reride to make sure I hadn't just imagined it. Nope, this ride is good.

 

With that out of the way, it was time for the main event. The reason I wanted to come down here in the first place. I was greeted with a walk-on in the back row. Soon after I sat down, we were on our way. Ascent. Peak. Descent. Oblivion. Bliss. By the time I was aware of the awesomeness that had just happened, I was halfway up the lift again. After the second ride, as much as I wanted an immediate 3rd lap, I couldn't take the risk that the park would close due to weather.

 

The first post-Fury stop was the Drop Tower. I don't remember too much of it as I was still riding my Fury high. But I rode it. Moving on, I hit up Carolina Cyclone. It was neither good nor bad. It was just another coaster in the park. Not much else to say about it. I then got a zen ride on Vortex. I cancelled out the "zen" as can a ride on a stand-up be considered zen? Maybe I'd like it better if it was floorless? Who knows.

 

The longest wait I had of the night was on another walk-on. Although it had nothing to do with how the crew was as the crew was very excellent on Carolina Goldrusher. Those poor ride operators having to deal with those manually locking/unlocking Arrow trains. And then the ride was riddled with your classic coathangers. The crew was hustling, but they could only do so much with those trains.

 

The Flying Cobras crew didn't even want to acknowledge me when I entered the station. As for the ride, it was a boomerang. We all know how those are. Though this was my first time riding one with the new style of trains. Still sucks. After a quick ghost hunt on Boo Blasters, I got a double back row ride on Afterburn. Switching sides of the train in between cycles. Throughout the trip, the ride only ran one train, which slowed down dispatches. But the wait was worth it. A very intense coaster from an era where parks let B&M let loose with the intensity. Twas a glorious day, indeed.

 

Passing a closed (shocker) Windseeker, I walked through an empty queue into the empty station of Nighthawk, onto the front row of the next train. Hoo boy. I was expecting this to have a long-A$$ wait no matter when I tried to ride it. Good thing, as I wouldn't wait long for pain. At least, I thought there would be pain. It was fun. I really enjoyed it. It was great to fly. And y'all are wussies.

 

Since it was on the way to Fury and I still had some time left before park closing, I had to see if my earlier Intimidator rides were a fluke and everyone was right all along. A ride in the front row confirmed my findings. This ride is fun and y'all are snobs. Hypothesis confirmed, I spent the rest of the night getting 3 consecutive rides in the front 2 rows of Fury, including the last dispatch of the night.

 

It was a great first day at Carowinds, even if it only lasted 2 and a half hours. But it was time to go to bed and rest up for what I hoped for was a full day of Fury.

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Good morning, Intimidator.

Around noon, I began my way into the park through the waterpark entrance. It was a good way to get another view of the park.

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Like this shot of Intimidator.

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Afterburn is such a pretty coaster to photograph.

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You can get some great shots over here.

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Beautiful.

The first thing I wanted to do was the Top Scan as it was one of the things I missed the night before. I was loaded into an arm and the ride was about to start when it went down for maintenance. . On a side note, do all Top Scan arms need to be manually, individually locked? That sucks if it's so.

 

Since I couldn't get Top Scanned, I love me a good Troika.

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At least you can get some good shots of the Boomerang in line.

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Boomerangs are always prettier to photograph than to ride.

After the troika, I had to head back to Fury.

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Getting this shot of Cyclone on the way.

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I'm back, baby.

After another mini-marathon on Fury, I had to leave to ride what I had yet to ride in the park. Beginning with Hurler. Another ride I was expecting to hate based on the fact that Twisted Timbers exists, and my fears were nearly confirmed on that turn out of the station. How is that turn so rough but the rest of the ride is decent enough? The ride wasn't painful by any means (outside that first turn), but I definitely think it could be retracked, but it doesn't have to be RMC'd.

 

Feeling hungry by this point, I made my way to the employee cafeteria. Cedar Fair employee perks, yo! It's the same stuff that you find in the park for actually reasonable prices. I also got talking with some native ride ops, swapping stories and talking about general ride op things.

 

My first stop after lunch was the Mack mouse. Get the park a mouse trap. The ride was so heavily trimmed and I got gut-punched by the lap bar a few times. Also, was the ride's exit designed by the same -hole that designed SFGAm's American Eagle's entrance? Cause that thing sucked. I got another quick ride on Fury and Intimidator on the way into Planet Snoopy for the kiddy credits.

 

The Kiddy woody was a fun little coaster. Good for budding enthusiasts. I was dared to ride the kiddy steel behind the woody by one of the ops I met at lunch to mess with the op. I shouldn't have taken the dare. A cramped coaster for an adult male, but could be fun for smaller people. I then stopped at an interesting looking flat that Worlds of Fun and Canada's Wonderland recently added, Peanuts Pirates. Another cramped ride that threw me into the side of the ride at every chance it could get. And it was a long cycle, so there was no reprieve.

 

So after that suckage, I moved onto a different piece of suckage.

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This would be so much better with the lap bar trains. Why did Vekoma think those OTSRs would be good for kids? Also of note, the ride's auto spiel still proclaimed the ride as a previous name, which me and an op got a good chuckle out of.

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Oh hai, Intimidator.

By this time, the clouds were starting to look ominous. It was also almost time for a show I wanted to see. Since it was near Boo Blasters, I figured why not ride it again.

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I'm here to kick A$$ and chew bubblegum. And I'm all out of bubblegum.

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I should probably find some more bubblegum.

That's why not.

 

After the show, the rain had started, but not everything had closed yet. But I still wanted to head into Harmony Hall for another show.

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Getting a picture of Nighthawk's loop on the way.

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And a still-cycling Vortex.

I ducked into Harmony Hall to catch the show just as the rain really started. I saw the show, and when it was done, the rain had paused, but there was still lightning in the area. Taking advantage of no rain, I decided to go out and photograph the park.

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This is almost the same picture as one in my hotel room.

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Is this Charlotte or St. Louis?

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Lego Snoopy.

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Is that blue sky I see?

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But what's that to the left of Intimidator?

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Obligatory North/South sign photo.

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Loop-de-loop!

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Great shot, but no train.

It's shots like these that make me wish the park was cycling. I got so many shots that I wish I had a train in.

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Since I visited the park before Copperhead Strike was even announced, I decided to sneak a peek through the construction fences to see what I could see.

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Anyone for grilled Copperhead?

And now begins the part of the report where I just dump Afterburn pictures.

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Through the trees.

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I love how close the ride comes to the paths without a net or locker in sight.

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Take notes, Universal.

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I thought the lightning was supposed to ground planes, so why is this one in flight?

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I feel the need...

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The need for speed!

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But since the ride is down,

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My desire can't be fulfilled.

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I've been ice'd man.

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At least I can still get some good photography.

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I love how this inversion frames the drop.

After my Afterburn photo shoot, I meandered back to a couple shops at the front of the park to pick up my hats for the park and a Fury Nanocoaster (still in the box ) when I heard a familiar sound: a B&M lift hill. Spirits lifting, I hoped that the park would be reopening. But, it was announced that the park would be closing in 10 minutes. They were just cycling the train off the track.

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At least I could get some shots on the way out of the park.

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I knew you were treble when I walked in.

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Meghan Trainor doesn't approve.

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Parting is such sweet sorrow.

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That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

After I got this picture, I locked my camera back in a ziploc bag. It's a good thing I did as not 5 minutes later, the skies completely opened up. It wasn't raining just cats and dogs; it was raining the whole damn zoo.

 

After a soggy walk back to the hotel, I really wanted a hot bath. That turned out to not be the best idea as I realized I had neglected to purchase sunscreen. Not 24 hours in the south and I'd already become a redneck.

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Day 3 began with me deciding to leave my still-soggy shoes in the hotel in favor of my sandals which I'd broken in since my Animal Kingdom visit. Which would especially help if it stormed like it did the previous night.

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Wanted some daytime shots of these angles.

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So I went in the main entrance today.

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Why do people hate Intimidator so much?

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Is this why?

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If so, that's lame.

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Come and get your love!

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Don't get me wrong, I love Fury. But those first rides I had on Intimidator were better than any ride I got on Fury. Though Fury was more consistently awesome.

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Their hands up like stars streaking over the sky.

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Feel the sting.

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I got all my rides on the skytower this day. I love a good observation tower. You can get some good pics from up here.

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Note to self:Take panorama next time.

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Take me back to when we first fell in love.

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I hate how blurry this picture is, but it's the only one I have of Hurler and the mouse.

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Hello, future site of Copperhead Strike.

I finally got on the Top Scan today on the outside of an arm. This was the first time I've ridden one and I immediately fell in love. While I initially held my hands rigid in the air, I decided to let myself go limp. There's just something fun about being tossed around like a Raggedy Ann doll.

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Resistance is Futile.

I also got my only ride on Windseeker this day. For whatever reason, this thing scared me. Maybe it's the problems these things have had and how much I'd rather not be stuck on the ride during a storm and get Kentucky Fried on this 300' lightning rod. Maybe it's because I never felt secure in the seat. And this is coming from a Funtime Starflyer operator. But on the initial ascent, I found it amusing that the ride's soundtrack included a Star Trek theme.

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I don't think I ever saw Nighthawk run outside my ride.

With clouds beginning to roll in, I realized that I had to get my last rides in on Intimidator and Fury. One of my last rides on Fury, it had started to rain as we were dispatched. Rain at 93 mph is painful. Ouchie.

 

One of the things I still wanted to do but had yet to do because of scheduling, was the Cirque show. So after the rain ride on Fury, I caught a show. Though afterwards, I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of the show.

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At least I got pictures with the cast. And I intended to catch another show for the purpose of photography.

 

After the show I got my last ride on Fury. And then the park went down for lightning. Disappointed, I made my way back to Harmony Hall to wait out the storm. Though I was shocked to see the Enterprise still cycling. The pouring rain convinced me to stay at Harmony Hall and miss the Cirque show repeat. If it was allowed to perform at all as soon after, the park again announced they were closing early. Damn it.

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Artsy-ish shot of rain in a puddle.

Sadly, I left the park for the last time since I didn't have enough time before my flight/there were more storms forecasted in the morning.

 

As I was driven away, I kept the park in my sights as long as I could. Because like Spider-Man and the Doctor, I didn't want to go. But go I had to.

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The haul. Not pictured: Fury Nanocoaster still in box.

I also considered a NIghthawk hat because I liked the design. Sue me.

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  • 1 month later...

Journey 7: Storybook Land & The Land of Oz AKA Locked in a Theme Park.

 

You read that right. It's not clickbait. I literally got locked inside a theme park. But more on that later.

 

My cousin was getting married in the middle of nowhere, aka Aberdeen, South Dakota. Just out of curiosity, I scrolled through Google Earth just to see what exactly was in this particular part of flyover country. I come across Storybook Land and the Land of Oz. Curiosity piqued, I looked into the park and lo and behold, it did have a kiddy coaster. Knowing this, I began my plotting to get to the park. I realized it would be easy since my sister was currently in rehearsals for a community theatre production of Wizard of Oz as Glinda/Auntie Em. So I could rope her in to my scheme.

 

For whatever reason, I always get sick around the time I go to a wedding. So, I'm just sitting in the backseat of the car with a swollen head and a death wish. When we got into town, the family was having a picnic party in a park. At that point, I just wanted to stay in the hotel and sleep.

 

I was dragged out to the park for some family time. I grabbed a plate and sank down into a chair, just waiting until I could go back to the hotel. Some food in my belly, I regained enough consciousness to realize that Storybook Land was across the street from where the picnic was.

 

I excused myself from the picnic and made my way over, immediate family saying they'd follow shortly.

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At the gates of the free-to-enter park.

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And of course, you gotta follow the yellow brick road.

So I made my way to the ticket booth to be informed that the rides were about to close in the next couple minutes, so that if I had purchased my credit-whoring tickets, I would not be likely to get to use it before the ride closed. But that the park does remain open 24 hours. (Spoiler alert, it wasn't)

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Coaster sign.

I at least got a picture of the coaster's sign, but not the ride itself. Why? There were still little kids riding the coaster with parents nearby. And I realized it wouldn't be in my best interest as a sickly looking, childless, adult male to be taking pictures of not my children.

 

Since sister wanted a picture with a Glinda statue, I had to find it before they got over to the park, so I headed over to the Land of Oz section of the park. And it started with a mini-walkthrough of the Gale house as it was being swept up by the tornado. And the damn thing had an honest to God jumpscare that got me.

 

But on the other side of it, I did find the statues I was looking for.

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The whole gang

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Just Dorothy

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And Glinda, herself

Family got over, we got our pictures, and then decided to follow the yellow brick road through the woods. Since I wanted to go through the Tornado house again and show the family, I lead us back to the entrance of it. It was now locked. This should have been a clue that something was amiss. But since we had yet to realize we were in a 1980s slasher movie, we started walking along the yellow brick road. We passed little vignettes re-enacting scenes from the story.

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Like finding the Tin Man.

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I don't remember him having a house, though.

Since it was dark and late, we made plans to come back out to the park to get a good look around in the daytime. My coaster-starved self was happy about that. (spoiler alert, that didn't happen)

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Some spooky old trees

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They're not too happy about their apples being plucked.

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The Cowardly Lion had a fun little cave.

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The Witch's Castle.

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Oh noes! Dorothy's been captured by flying monkeys!

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Spooky ghost. (I was working with a new camera, so I was still toying around with the flash)

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I wish I'd taken this sign's advice.

 

We finish the trail through Oz and there was no Emerald City. Bummer. Since it was dark, late, and mosquito season, we realized it was high time to head out and back to the hotel, talking about coming back later. So we get to the entrance to the park and find that the gate has been closed and locked.

 

What? Let's backtrack a minute here: I was told the park would remain open 24 hours. So why is the gate closed with a chain bolting it shut? We were locked in. The ticket booth/gift shop/restaurant was closed with the lights off. Did that really just happen?

 

On the park map, there looked like another entrance on the other side of the park. So we started heading back that way before realizing that there was no other exit. So we headed back to the main entrance hoping to spot someone that could let us out before we resorted to camping in the Lion's cave overnight or attempting to pole vault over the fence.

 

Luckily, we did find a member of park security on a golf cart who was able to let us out. Well, four out of five of us anyway. Somehow, dad got separated from us and security had to find him and usher him out.

 

After escaping Alcatraz Storybook Land we all decided that we would not return to the park on our way out of town.

 

P.S. Larry, if you're reading this, take what you want (if anything as this is a small park and I got no actual ride images) for the index.

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This makes me a whole lot better about posting a "normal" report of a single, childless adult at Dutch Wonderland.

 

I had no clue this park even existed so this was a nice report. Being locked in a park with all those figures is definitely an experience you won't soon forget.

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Haha, trapped in a kiddie park! Was it dead enough the whole time that something didn't feel 'off'?

 

It was 5 minutes from closing at a kiddie park in the middle of nowheresville, South Dakota. The park doesn't exactly know what a crowd is.

 

 

This makes me a whole lot better about posting a "normal" report of a single, childless adult at Dutch Wonderland.

 

I had no clue this park even existed so this was a nice report. Being locked in a park with all those figures is definitely an experience you won't soon forget.

 

It was 5 grown-a$$ adults, so I don't know if that makes it better or worse. And there's a whole lot of the park I didn't get pictures of, including a castle surrounded by storybook and assorted fairytale creatures.

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