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Favorite non-rides

the other stuff in the parks

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So obviously most of us here visit theme parks primarily for the rides... coasters, flat rides, dark rides, etc.  But theme parks also have some hidden gems with non-ride attractions / experiences.   As much as I love coasters, I'm a huge proponent of parks having a wide variety of experiences to create a well rounded visit and capitalize on the unique environment of a theme park.

I'm a pretty big fan of shows, particular special effects kind of shows.  Mystery Lodge at Knott's Berry Farm, Poseidon's Fury at Universal IOA, and WaterWorld at USH immediately come to mind.  Noah's Ark at Kennywood is also iconic and unique, and I was totally blown away by Houdini's Great Escape at SFGAdv (kind of a ride, but kind of not).

What are some of your faves?

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Houdini and Peoplemover are clearly rides. lol

The only time I ever bought a ticket to go to a park specifically for something that wasn't a ride was in September to go and see Happily Ever After. I actually did this twice. Now that it's no longer a thing, I guess some of my favorite theme park shows off the top of my head are Illuminations at Disneyland Paris, The Bourne Stuntacular, Harmonious and basically any animal show. I haven't seen Enchantment yet and won't comment on it.

Aside from that and seasonal things like haunt mazes or Christmas lights (like Great Adventure's tree, the BGT Light Tunnel, etc), animal exhibits come to mind. The Hippo at BGT, the trails at DAK, Pacific Point at SWO, the Wolves at BGW... those are all highlights for me.

I guess restaurants and bars should also be included here but I'm not going to do that or this will go on forever.

 

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4 hours ago, coasterbill said:

Houdini and Peoplemover are clearly rides. lol

Is it though? More like a tour of Tomorrowland. I wouldnt call Carousel of Progress a ride but it moves too. 

Good call on Harmonious. KI's Haunt was a fantastic atmosphere. MNSSHP parade was great too, especially theGrave Diggers and the band.

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I enjoy when parks do little things that enhance the experience -- things they could certainly get away without, but sort of show that they're willing to put in the effort. Example: the little synchronized light show they do in Cars Land after sunset. They could just flip all the lights on, but instead they cue up the music and make kind of a show of it. I don't think that's something you'll find on the DCA calendar, but if you're in the right spot at the right time as dusk falls...

At Efteling in 2019, at night, I stumbled into a big dance party / conga line thing when I went to get a stroopwafel in the plaza near Bob -- led energetically by a singing guy in lederhosen. Completely unexpected. Quite entertaining.

Toverland is practically built for this thread, too. Our group might have had more fun not dying / breaking a leg / falling in the water than we did riding the coasters.

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Do parking lot trams count? The ones at BGW with the retro logos on them absolutely made my day!

Otherwise...all the random stuff at Knoebels is great fun.

My homepark also has a few "quiet gardens" in a couple spots that I think are cool. Some of them are a little on the small side, or in a bad spot IMO, but I'd agree that it's little things like that that really round out a great park.

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Silver Dollar City: Marvel Cave tour; the Saloon Show; interacting with Terry Wayne Sanders as any of his myriad characters; the Christmas lights, including the tree (I am SO happy they finally upgraded it; I haven't gotten to see the "new" one in person [in quotes because it's new to me], but a storm chaser I follow on Twitch livestreamed from the park a week or two ago and I am very impressed with the current tree)

Dollywood: the eagle sanctuary - I could legit spend an entire day just sitting there watching and listening to the eagles

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1 minute ago, boldikus said:

Do the bacon-wrapped pork kabobs at GAdvs HITP count? They're certainly an experience.

I hope this is a confirmation that they have them this year.

I dont see them on the GADV site but was hoping it's just an incomplete list of HITP food offering. Knowing I might be about ~28 hours from eating one makes me very hungry.

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43 minutes ago, Zand said:

I hope this is a confirmation that they have them this year.

I dont see them on the GADV site but was hoping it's just an incomplete list of HITP food offering. Knowing I might be about ~28 hours from eating one makes me very hungry.

I haven't actually had them this year but we noticed them on the menu while grabbing some beers at the spot next to Nitro's exit/across from JDC two weeks ago.

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20 minutes ago, boldikus said:

I haven't actually had them this year but we noticed them on the menu while grabbing some beers at the spot next to Nitro's exit/across from JDC two weeks ago.

Looks like it might a permanent part of the menu at that BBQ joint and no longer just a Christmas item.

I might be too fat for El Toro by the end of next summer if that's the case.

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2 hours ago, tndank said:

Bad Bob Show at SFoG. Never miss it at the park.  

is that this one?

 

if yes, my friends and I always catch it.. tho didn't see it on Labor Day this year (think they hadn't brought back the live entertainment yet)

 

IMG_4479.JPG

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Arcades, especially the ones at Hersheypark. Up until the end of 2019, they had the ticket payouts a lot higher than other arcades and it was possible to win tickets for prizes for less than their retail cost. I also liked that they had prizes that were once sold as souvenirs in their shops like glasses with the Hersheypark logo on them as well as MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL themed items. Their video arcade game selection was also great with a lot of older games you don't see to much anymore.

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I find most theme park shows kind of tacky and cheap, but I remember really liking Celtic Fyre at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the Mystery Lodge at Knotts Berry Farm (I hope it isn't gone permanently - I think it's been out for a while).

Besides that, I really like Club Cool at Epcot, but I am a bit of a soda addict.

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