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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:28 pm
by anonymouscactus
Great report! Seeing all these Disney reports as of late after ignoring them for quite some time makes me miss living in Florida just a little bit.

But in a stroke of luck, two FastPasses appeared for Soarin. We gobbled those up faster than enthusiasts wolf down Dollywood’s cinnamon bread.

Is that even possible? ;)

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:47 pm
by Canobie Coaster
^ Yes because (I think) enthusiasts want to at least cherish at least a few bites. There was no second thoughts from me ditching a Journey Into Your Imagination FastPass.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:23 pm
by ThemeParkJunkie51290
Nice report! I really do miss Epcot! =) Especially World Showcase!

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:05 am
by PKI Jizzman
Great report! I've really enjoyed reading since my DL visit and plan on getting to Orlando this year or next so, I'm definitely taking notes on strategy.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:07 am
by Canobie Coaster
ThemeParkJunkie51290 wrote:Nice report! I really do miss Epcot! =) Especially World Showcase!

Thanks! Epcot really is the perfect combination of rides, culture, and food.

PKI Jizzman wrote:Great report! I've really enjoyed reading since my DL visit and plan on getting to Orlando this year or next so, I'm definitely taking notes on strategy.

Thanks! It's definitely interesting to compare Disneyland and Walt Disney World. For a weekend, I think Disneyland is the superior option since you can easily squeeze most rides in with limited time. Disney World needs more than that to fully appreciate everything, but if you plan a greatest hits tour (like your Disneyland trip), it can be done.

A major tip if you travel in a group is to book FastPass one person at a time. For the Soarin' Fastpasses we were able to grab, we couldn't see them if we booked them together. But if we looked individually they were available. I think the times were different by 5 minutes, which wasn't an issue with an hour long window.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:03 am
by Canobie Coaster
Fun Spot Kissimmee

After getting off Flight of Passage, it was about 10:30. If I were on my own, I probably would have gone back to Magic Kingdom, but my friend was ready to call it a night. I still had the urge to ride some coasters though. If only there was a park that was open until midnight 365 days a year. Actually there are two- Fun Spot Orlando and Fun Spot Kissimmee.

Back in November, I was told a same day, multi-park pass was no longer available for the Fun Spot parks. I was a little frustrated, but ultimately it all worked out. The alternative was to get a season pass. It seemed insane to get a season pass for a park over 1,000 miles away, but it proved prudent. Otherwise I would have skipped Fun Spot on this visit.

Open 10 am - 12 am 365 days a year. I think that's the most impressive schedule of any park.

I had enough time to fit one location in. Both have great wooden coasters, but I prefer the Kissimmee location primarily because of Mine Blower. It was also more convenient for my buddy who lived across the street too.

Mine Blower is a crazy coaster. I’m still in awe just how much airtime Gravity Group is able to cram into these compact woodies. That’s partially why the far larger Chu Chulainn is so high on my bucket list. It’s not what I’d call a smooth coaster, but it’s not rough either. It just consists of some shuffling as the coaster traverses the impossibly tight twists.

The start of the ride reminds me very much of Wildfire-lite. Both have extremely steep, ejector airtime filled first drops and are followed by a hang-time filled inversion. The rest of the ride probably has 6-7 more spots of airtime and each moment seems to get more and more abrupt. There really isn’t a spot of dead track anywhere on the coaster and it feels a whole lot faster than 48 MPH. 9 out of 10

Mine Blower.jpg
It's only 80 feet tall, but it's an absolute airtime buffet.

Mine Blower Inversion.jpg
Signature shot.

Going in, I wasn’t sure if I’d ride the SkyCoaster. Was I scared? Yes, but not because of the height. I wasn’t sure if it would be too stressful on my ankle. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if they’d let me ride with a massive brace on my ankle. The latter wasn’t an issue at all. It was almost as if they were excited to take my money. :lmao:

I really need to remember to bring my glasses strap next time I’m down in Orlando so I can truly appreciate this ride’s insane height. The way I felt the height with my Mr. Magoo-esque vision was from the rapid drop in temperatures and the length of the drop. And that drop is about as exhilarating as a moment you’ll find at any park in the world.

It was extra freaky this time since I spun around at the bottom of the first drop and was flung backwards at such a quick pace. Every other time I’ve done my best impersonation of Superman while soaring towards the sky, but this time I was clutching the vest pretty tightly. The only uncomfortable bit for my ankle was the final transition from flying to standing, but thankfully the brace protected my ankle well.

Few rides are as terrifying as the world's largest sky coaster.

I also made sure to grab another ride on the Rockstar Coaster. While I scoff at Primeval Whirl’s place in a Disney park, I’m perfectly content seeing this spinner at a park such as Fun Spot. And this is the best of the Reverchon/Zamperla versions I’ve come across. Since Fun Spot’s crowds keep lines to a minimum, I’m always able to ride alone. This results in the most consistently crazy spinning on these versions. 6 out of 10

A rare shot taken from the creepily dark Old Town.

Last time I skipped out on Head Rush 360 in the interest of time. Since I’ve loved the Technical Park versions, I was expecting to love this equally as much. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

There’s only one type of attraction that can make me queasy- swinging ships. That’s right. All those insane spinning, bouncing, flipping contraptions are a piece of cake for me, but your garden variety Sea Dragon turns me green. And the weirdest part is that I’m usually fine on frisbees (only the smaller Huss ones bother me).

So back to Head Rush 360. This one swings and inverts very slowly. Needless to say, it led to me feeling a bit queasy. Thankfully I rode it at the very end of the night so I didn’t miss out on any other rides.

Head Rush 360.jpg
I really wanted to like this ride. I really did. But unfortunately it turned me greener than the Hulk.

I had 10 minutes left. While I really wanted to ride Mine Blower again, I figured something tamer would be the best bet. So I decided to give a whirl on the awkwardly placed Ferris Wheel. It’s located outside of the main park and you have to walk through a creepily dark section of Old Town to reach it. But at the end is this elaborately well lit wheel.

The side panels do a pretty good job obscuring any photos, but I was able to get one or two shots before sitting back and taking in the lights of International Drive and Fun Spot. It was a perfect way to end a night in the Orlando area.

Ferris Wheel.jpg
The wheel had different lighting packages that switched every few seconds.

Fun Spot in all its glory.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:57 am
by cfc
I was pleasantly surprised by Mine Blower last fall--a fun ride, with only one or two bad "bumps."

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:18 am
by Dombot
A few things:

-Great report as usual!

-Mine Blower is the goat and it always will be in my eyes, such an underrated coaster. Probably the most intense wooden I've been on to date, but with only six wood credits, I guess that's not saying much. :lol:

-Sucks that you didn't like Head Rush, that thing is so much fun from start to finish. I get it, and I used to have the same thing when it came to pirate ships, but I love the thing, and I can't wait to see it built at the Orlando location.

-Props to you for getting on the Skycoaster, you have more balls than I do.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:35 pm
by Canobie Coaster
cfc wrote:I was pleasantly surprised by Mine Blower last fall--a fun ride, with only one or two bad "bumps."

The awesomeness certainly outweighs the bumps for me as well.

Dombot wrote:A few things:

-Great report as usual!

-Mine Blower is the goat and it always will be in my eyes, such an underrated coaster. Probably the most intense wooden I've been on to date, but with only six wood credits, I guess that's not saying much. :lol:

-Sucks that you didn't like Head Rush, that thing is so much fun from start to finish. I get it, and I used to have the same thing when it came to pirate ships, but I love the thing, and I can't wait to see it built at the Orlando location.

-Props to you for getting on the Skycoaster, you have more balls than I do.

Thanks! I find it funny little pendulum rides terrify me more than SkyCoasters but that's the case for me.

I'd be hard pressed to name a wooden coaster of Mine Blower's height with the same intensity. The other Gravity Group junior woodies have a ton of airtime in their own right, but they lack the ferocity of Mine Blower.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's 2018 US Adventures

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:16 pm
by Canobie Coaster
Busch Gardens Tampa

Like last year's visit to Orlando, this visit was centered around a work trip. This time, it was a massive conference. The conference went well, but I know that's not why you're here.

I knew I'd have time to visit the Orlando parks in the evening once the conference concluded, but there was another park I loved just an hour's drive away in Tampa. After experiencing the awesomeness of Busch Gardens Tampa firsthand back in November, I just couldn't visit Florida and skip this park, especially since I had a season pass. Therefore, I added an extra day onto the trip.

My company wasn't covering a rental car for the trip since my hotel was across the street from the convention center. I considered a one day rental car, but ultimately decided to use the Mears Shuttle boldikus used last year. Yes I didn't get to the park until an hour after it opened, but it was free and extremely convenient since the pick-up location was just a 20 minute walk away at SeaWorld. Instead of staring at the vast flatness of Florida's roadways (seriously, you can see for miles on any tall attraction), I could instead watch Journey 2 on the way down, the epitome of an average family movie.

Since I was visiting on a Thursday just before Spring Break, I figured the park would be relatively empty. And I was right. Because of this, I was optimistic I could hit Cheetah Hunt without much of a wait. And I was wrong. While there were certainly less people in line for Cheetah Hunt than my November visit, the park was only running the front half of the station. As a result, the line moved like a resting cheetah. Fast forward 45 minutes and I was seated in row 1 and traveling at cheetah speeds.

The coaster really is a jack-of-all-trades. And I think that's the ride's strength. It has two solid launches, a fantastic inversion, and some good airtime all while traveling on one heck of a long journey through the park. You pass over-and-under pathways, speed through the savanna, and weave through rock work. Honestly if this coaster had a bit more intensity, I'm pretty sure it would be as revered as Taron is among European coaster enthusiasts.

But I don't think Busch Gardens cares. While us enthusiasts gravitate towards Montu and Kumba, it's clear that Cheetah Hunt is the park's most popular attraction. If you expect a balls-to-the-wall ride like Maverick, you're going to be disappointed. If you expect a coaster that's incredibly fun and reliable, you'll be impressed by Cheetah Hunt. Honestly I'd take it over Kumba myself (I know some are cringing at that statement). 9 out of 10

Cheetah Hunt Tower (2018).jpg
A top hat is too mainstream for Cheetah Hunt. Instead it has the visually stunning and confusing Windcatcher Tower.

Cheetah Hunt Trench Drop (2018).jpg
I'm pretty sure I had this exact shot except without riders last time. I like it better this time.

Cheetah Hunt Heartline Roll Entry.jpg
The coaster's lone inversion sure is photogenic. Actually the whole coaster is photogenic.

Cheetah Hunt Drop (2018, Front).jpg
Can you say airtime?

Cheetah Hunt Turn.jpg
Cheetah Hunt sure is a crowd pleaser.

I was excited to see a 10 minute wait posted at Cobra's Curse, but it probably took 2-3 times that. On the bright side, the queue is very well themed. When the snake begins explaining the backstory in the last room, everyone's head immediately gravitates towards the elaborate projection. On the downside, I had to suffer through the Florida heat. But didn't you visit on a 60 degree day in March? Yes I did. And for that reason I'm pretty sure they were heating the queue. :lmao:

Cobra's Curse is a very weird spinning coaster. It's really only a spinning coaster for the last third of the ride. The first bit travels entirely forwards. It's pretty forgettable outside of the elevator lift and the 60 foot cobra that would make Indiana Jones quake. The second bit is a slow helix taken in reverse. The last bit is easily the ride's highlight as the spinning is activated.

I find that Cobra's Curse doesn't spin quite as well as the other spinning coasters I've been on, but it probably has a superior layout as it dives over and under pathways. If Cobra's Curse spun for the entirety of the ride, this has the potential to be the best spinning coaster out there except for maybe Time Traveler. But as is, it's a very weird and funky coaster. 7 out of 10

Cobra's Curse Snake (Close).jpg
Feel the wrath of the Snake King.

Cobra's Curse Horseshoe Turn (2018).jpg
And you certainly do in the last bit of the ride.

Cobra's Curse Turn.jpg
I see you Montu.

I had gone long enough without riding Montu. Fortunately I didn't have to wait long, as the coaster never seems to be more than just a 1-2 train wait. Montu is an exceptional coaster. Usually I prefer airtime based coasters, but I can appreciate a forceful looper as long as it's smooth. And the 20 year old coaster is still as smooth as a baby's bottom.

Outside of the Immelmann, which is just ok, the rest of the elements are incredibly forceful. The two standouts are the zero-G roll and batwing. This zero-G roll is better than 99% of the ones out there. It just so happens the 1% it isn't better than exists on the other side of the park. But it's ok because while Kumba has a very good cobra roll, Montu shows off with its absurd batwing that combines the whip of an old-school B&M corkscrew with the positive Gs of a pretzel loop.

After my last visit, Montu barely passed Nemesis for my favorite inverted coaster. If you asked me again after this visit, maybe I'd give it to Nemesis. It's really splitting hairs between those two. Nemesis may be slightly more intense and have better theming, but Montu is longer with elements maybe just a hair less intense. Number 1 or number 2 invert, it's still the king of the park and an easy 10 out of 10.

Montu Overview.jpg
The Snake King may have some cool effects, but I prefer to worship the Egyptian god of war, Montu.

Montu Immelmann (2018).jpg
Go figure, the least impressive of the inversions is the most photogenic on Montu.

I was sort of letdown by Ikaros and Falcon's Fury when I rode them last year. They were very good rides, but not as good as I anticipated. After being wowed by Acrophobia a few years ago, gritting my teeth on every drop, I was excited to try a taller version with even more tilting. But there was one variable missing on Falcon's Fury and Ikaros. My glasses. Six Flags allowed glasses on Acrophobia, but neither Grona Lund nor Busch Gardens would allow me on their towers without a strap which I had foolishly forgotten.

But not in 2018. Bill Belichick may have forgotten who his starting cornerback was in the Super Bowl, but I definitely remembered my glasses strap this visit. I can say without a doubt that the tilting effect and subsequent drop are significantly more impressive on 1080p (with glasses) versus a grainy video from the 1960's (without glasses). Yes the drop itself still doesn't feel quite as intense as a Gen 2 or 3 Intamin tower, but the psychological factor of plunging towards pavement more than compensates.

So the moral of the story (for the visually impaired) is to bring a glasses strap. Or get Lasik eye surgery. 10 out of 10

Falcon's Fury Ascending.jpg
335 feet is a whole lot more terrifying when you can see.

Falcon's Fury Top 1.jpg
I'm glad the queue is covered with a roof. I'm not worried about falling objects. I'm more concerned about a sudden shower.

I couldn't come to Pantopia without getting a pretzel. More specifically, I needed a bacon pretzel fury. Everyone else can wait for their Cinnamon Bread and Cesari's Pizza, but you'll find me at Twisted Tails Pretzels. This is seriously my favorite food item at any amusement park. Every bite was warm, doughy goodness mixed with the greasy comfort of bacon. There were also kettle chips. They were probably solid overall, but they're completely forgettable when placed next to this scrumptious food item. Just look at it.

Bacon Pretzel Fury (2018).jpg
Who needs Cinnamon Bread when you have the bacon pretzel fury.

After shaving a few days off my life with that pretzel, I walked a whopping 200 feet into the queue line of Scorpion. The queue took about 20 minutes due to the one train ops, but it afforded some excellent views of Scorpion navigating its course.

Once you reach the bottom of that drop, you whip through the rest of the course. The strong point is without a doubt the trademark Schwarzkopf loop. It's about as forceful an element that you'll find on a coaster with just a 42" height requirement. The subsequent helices aren't lacking on the G forces either. Really the only knock against the coaster is its length. Compared to the park's B&M trilogy and Cheetah Hunt, Scorpion is easy to forget. But it's overall a very solid steel coaster. 7 out of 10

Scorpion Vertical Loop (2018).jpg
The queue may move slowly, but it affords some great shots like this.

Scorpion Threading.jpg
Threading the needle.

Scorpion Helix (2018).jpg
A train full of happy riders.

Scorpion may have a forceful loop, but I heard a faint rumble in the background. As I moved towards the back of the park, the sound increased in intensity to a deafening roar and I was staring at none other than Kumba.

It's not uncommon for a B&M coaster to feature a loop, Immelmann/dive loop, zero-G roll, cobra roll, and corkscrews in that order. But what makes Kumba rare is just how forceful all of these elements are. While Montu is close to Kumba's intensity, it does have a pedestrian Immelmann. Kumba has no throwaway elements.

I started seeing grey on the vertical loop. The dive loop ramps up the positive Gs even further. Then there's the world's best zero-G roll. Usually I'm indifferent to cobra rolls. On Kumba, it's extremely intense. Then there are the last two corkscrews. There's a noticeable difference between a newer B&M and an "old-school" B&M. I think Kumba goes a step beyond just an "old-school" B&M with the snappiness of those final corkscrews. And last but not least is a very intense upward helix leading into the brake run that I always seem to forget.

Every single element brings on the positive Gs and makes you regret ever calling B&Ms boring or forceless. Now I can't quite give it a 10 since Kumba is difficult to reride. It's not rough, but it's intensity makes it difficult (for me at least) to reride consecutively. And that's coming from someone who can ride Montu or Nemesis repeatedly. If you love intense rides, Kumba is for you. 9 out of 10

Kumba Vertical Loop (2018).jpg
If you follow the sound of the roar, you encounter this beast.

Kumba Zero-G Roll.jpg
Say hello to the world's most intense zero-G roll.

Kumba Corkscrew (Side).jpg
Kumba's sequence of inversions isn't unique. But the intensity of each one sure is.

Kumba Cobra Roll (Side).jpg
Even the cobra roll is great. Usually this is a throwaway element for me.

60 degree weather is perfectly comfortable weather for me to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt. That's also perfect weather to ride a log flume. Unfortunately that would not happen. Stanley Falls was down for maintenance. But it wasn't lying dormant like the adjacent Tidal Wave. No it was testing non-stop all day. What a tease, but it was expected since it was listed as down for annual maintenance. But there was one water ride open. The Congo River Rapids.

Stanley Falls Testing.jpg
What a tease. Testing all day but not accepting riders.

Sky Ride Closed.jpg
Sorry coasterbill. I can see why you weren't at the park this day.

Riding a rapids ride in these weather conditions was a risk for sure. I had never ridden this one, so I had no clue if there was an unavoidable waterfall of doom waiting for me. Still I ignored my better judgment and rode. I mean how often would this ride be a walk-on?

In typical Busch Gardens fashion, the ride was very well landscaped. The attraction really felt as if it was located deep in the jungle. One of the women in my raft shared that an employee (probably the Dippin' Dots guy) told her the waterfall was off. There was still a massive waterfall in the cave finale, but it didn't extend far enough out to soak anyone to the bone. I don't know if that's the norm or not.

The rapids were capable of soaking you though. And I actually won the game of Russian Roulette as I came off with no more than a few splashes. Meanwhile the rest of the boat was hammered by 2-3 soaking rapids. In fact, I almost escaped 100% dry if it wasn't for the water jet that pushes you towards the lift. That doesn't sound like something that would get you wet, but when your raft presses directly against the jet, the water will find a way to cascade over the seat back. As far as rapids rides go, I thought this one was pretty average. 6 out of 10

Congo River Rapids.jpg
Well that definitely looks like it has the potential to melt the Wicked Witch of the West.

The last major coaster I needed to hit was another favorite among the GP, SheiKra. Like the other two B&Ms, this one was yet another 1-2 train wait, even with just one half of the station open. If you've ridden one dive machine, you probably know what to expect with the first drop (except maybe Valravn). While the latter has vest restraints that can sap some of the airtime, SheiKra is pure floaty bliss for the duration of the drop much like Griffon or Oblivion.

The Immelmann is graceful and not particularly forceful, but SheiKra has one last trick up its sleeve, the second drop. Also 90 degrees, this drop provides even more floater air and passes through what looks like ancient ruins. While the drops may not be as terrifying as Falcon's Fury, SheiKra is probably the best dive machine out there not named Griffon. I prefer the latter because of the few spots of airtime while heading towards the brakes. 8.5 out of 10

SheiKra First Drop (Close).jpg
SheiKra is so close in proximity to Pantopia, but it's quite a bit of a walk.

I had about an hour and a half left, so I decided to backtrack and grab extra rides on my favorites- Kumba, Falcon's Fury, Cheetah Hunt, and Montu. As I said earlier in the report, I couldn't pass through Pantopia and not get a pretzel. I considered going with a basic pretzel, but the heart wants what the heart wants. And it wanted bacon. So I had my second bacon pretzel fury of the day.

Bacon Pretzel Fury 2.jpg
Round 2.

I made sure to finish with 4 consecutive rides on Montu, with all but one of them coming in the back. I also checked out some of the animals on the pathway between Egypt and Pantopia along the way.

Hyena Staring.jpg
Hi hyena.

Giraffes Eating.jpg
I know they're herbivores, but they really don't know what they're missing with the bacon pretzel fury.

Giraffe Squatting.jpg
I thought corgis sat awkwardly. And then I saw this giraffe.

Alas it was time for my day at Busch Gardens to come to a close. I can't believe it took me until last year to make it to this park. I absolutely love the Williamsburg one and the Tampa one is just as amazing. Now I don't think I'll be making an extended visit to the Orlando area without stopping into Busch Gardens Tampa.

Back to the shuttle, my lone gripe with it was the departure time. Anyone who goes on a TPR trip knows the importance of being punctual. A 5:45 departure means a 5:45 departure. If you show up at 5:46, you may see the bus riding off into the sunset. If you arrive at 5:47, maybe you'll still be able to see the fresh tire tracks. We were told to be on the bus by 5:45, but that the bus driver "would wait for everyone." I didn't want to be "that guy" so I arrived on time.

However, the bus didn't leave until 6:15 because everyone else didn't mind being "that guy". People took their sweet time returning to the bus. Instead of getting one last ride on Montu, I was treated to the beginning of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. It was an annoyance, but the bus was free so I can't complain too much. It just gives me a greater appreciation how Robb and Elissa aren't afraid to leave someone in the dust if they can't respect the time of others on a trip.