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Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:53 pm

God, I love Animal Kingdom. It's like the DisneySea of the West. Awesome report as always!

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:55 pm

Thanks! I do like Animal Kingdom, but I wouldn't go that far. Nothing against Animal Kingdom, but DisneySea is just that good.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:54 pm

Magic Kingdom- September

My buddy and I had plans to watch the Patriots-Jaguars game, so we had an abbreviated visit to the Magic Kingdom. While the Patriots game was a disaster (Blake Bortles should never shred a defense), our visit to the Magic Kingdom was a success. You could say we were mountain men, as we prioritized the three main mountains and anything else was gravy. And we got some nice gravy, not that sludge served in high school cafeterias.

Most people want the Partners Statue-Castle photo. I just want my Chip n Dale-Castle photo.

Castle Show.jpg
Olaf is enjoying summer. I'm not sure about the person underneath though.

Halloween decorations were out in full force.

Magic Kingdom is the best park for last minute FastPasses. Because of the sheer number of attractions, it’s never an issue getting a few E-tickets. This visit was no different as we secured Splash and Space Mountain FastPasses. We also snatched up a surprise Peter Pan FastPass.

Our first stop was the single greatest attraction ever created by Disney, Splash Mountain. Well maybe the second best since I have a slight preference for how the story progresses on Tokyo’s version. FastPass made our journey through the queue brief, but it was plenty of time to notice the new safety videos in the queue line.

Splash Mountain is like Game 3 of the World Series. It just keeps going on and on. If I ever find a flume superior to Splash Mountain, I’ll be stunned. Ripsaw Falls and Chiapas tried, but they came up short like the Dodgers. Even without the drops, the quantity and quality of the animatronics would make Splash Mountain an excellent dark ride. Adding in those outstanding drops, particularly the indoor one and final plunge, is just cheating. 10 out of 10

Splash Mountain Overview.jpg
My favorite mountain.

Splash Mountain Queue.jpg
When were these added?

Big Thunder barely had a queue, so it would have been disrespectful not to ride arguably the best mine train coaster out there. We requested the back and the park happily obliged our request. As long as you’re willing to wait an extra cycle or two, Disney is always willing to give you your seat of choice.

On some coasters, there’s a minor difference between the front on back. On Big Thunder, it makes a world of a difference. In the back, you get a few pops of air and some wicked laterals after the second and third lifts. Combine that with the picturesque mountain and you have a real winner. 7 out of 10

Big Thunder Mountain.jpg
If you ride in the back, you will understand why it's called the "wildest ride in the wilderness"

We stopped for a quick lunch at Pecos Bills and for the most part was satisfied. The tacos were fantastic, but the guacamole was pre-packaged garbage. This and the Columbia Harbor House give the Magic Kingdom a strong one-two punch for quick service restaurants.

Pecos Bills.jpg
Check out this spread. Just shield your eyes from that guac.

We were still 20 minutes early for our Space Mountain FastPass, so we had our eyes set on the Peoplemover. I know it’s called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, but let’s be honest, it’s the Peoplemover. We actually encountered a 15 minute queue snaking it’s way on the midway. I was stunned the Peoplemover had any sort of line on a lighter day, but it was apparent why. They were only loading half the cars. The ride itself was it’s usual relaxing journey through the sky. 8 out of 10

Disneyland homers, are you jealous?

Buzz Lightyear had a posted 15 minute wait and we ended up waiting only a third of that. What sort of parallel universe were we in where Buzz Lightyear and Big Thunder had shorter waits than the Peoplemover? :lol: My buddy taught me all the tricks so I can now max out my score, but it still requires a bit of hard work due to those mounted guns.

Also what are you supposed to shoot at in the tunnel? I randomly get a few points here and there, but still don’t know what I did. 8 out of 10

Buzz Lightyear.jpg

As much as I love Slinky Dog (and believe me I love that ride and the character), Space Mountain is still the king of coasters at Walt Disney World. Not only is it nostalgic, but it has some seriously good airtime. There was a point where I preferred Disneyland’s version. And I think that’s primarily for Giacchino’s brilliant soundtrack. But having ridden an identical layout at Tokyo Disneyland, there’s no contest. Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain is superior.

Then there’s also the added thrill of seeing supports narrowly avoid my 6’3” friend’s head. There are only a few coasters where I am genuinely terrified to raise my hands. SkyRush is one. Space Mountain is another. That says it all considering the latter only has half the speed of SkyRush. 9 out of 10

I was also surprised to exit on the backside of the building. I’m guessing the ramps are undergoing maintenance since the view was uncharacteristically barren for a Disney park. On the bright side, it was possible to catch a glimpse of Tron’s land clearing.

Space Mountain Front.jpg
This is a familiar sight.

Space Mountain Back.jpg
This temporary exit was not.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a fine attraction if you get a FastPass. That’s easier said than done unless you’re a resort guest. I had no intentions of riding it yet again, but noticed an odd sight. The queue wasn’t in the outdoor section. The wait was posted at 60 minutes, but we were optimistic it would be less. Maybe all those closet Jaguars fans went home early to watch the game?

Our wait began by the spinning jewels game. We came close to revealing Snow White (I now realize how wrong that sounds but it’s TPR so it stays :lol: ), but there was one motionless barrel. I figured it’d be an adult too cool to participate, but nope, a parent had plopped their child on the barrel.

In not even 20 minutes, the station was in sight. With only two switchbacks to go, my buddy scarfed down his cinnamon roll. His effort was in vain, as those two switchbacks took as long as the final two minutes in a NBA game. The stream of FastPass holders was never ending. Eventually there was a reprieve and we were seated towards the back.

Seven Dwarfs will never be mistaken for a thrill ride, but there was a bit of whip on the drops (no air though). But the highlight is without a doubt that dark ride segment in the middle of the ride. I know some people aren’t the biggest fan of Disney’s projection mapping face technology, but I actually appreciate it. 7 out of 10

Seven Dwarfs.jpg
I'll definitely take this over the old Snow White ride any day of the week.

Last but not least, we used our Peter Pan FastPass. I was underwhelmed by Tokyo’s version. I always remembered the American versions being superior. Turns out my memories were incorrect. I’m guessing younger me was in love with the suspended ride system because the ride was as short and dark as Tokyo’s version. It’s still a classic and I encourage you to ride it, but the line has to be less than 20 minutes which is very unlikely with that ride’s lackluster throughput. 7 out of 10

Peter Pan's Flight.jpg
They look ready for their journey to Neverland.

Of the three “kingdom” parks I’ve visited, Magic Kingdom is probably my least favorite of the three. It’s larger and grander than the others, but it doesn’t quite have the intimate feel of Tokyo Disneyland or the original Disneyland. That being said, it’s still one of the best parks in the world and the highlight of the resort if you ask me.
Last edited by Canobie Coaster on Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:45 pm.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:25 pm

Great report as always!

I think Tron is exactly what the Magic Kingdom needs. I feel like it's been the same park for the past 20 years I've been going. I find that most of my visits in recent history have been like the one you just mentioned, maybe plus a firework show if I'm there at night. I haven't been on 7DMT yet, because it's tough to prioritize a fastpass on it when there's the other mountains, and as you mentioned the standby is usually insane. For my money EPCOT and Animal Kingdom have overtaken Magic Kingdom because of the great places eat, drink, relax, and mix in some world class attractions.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:22 pm

Thanks! New Fantasyland did bring some fresh additions to the park, but Tron should be one of the park's top three rides based on the reviews of Shanghai's.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:19 am

I had a question, do you know if the Buses were running from the TTC to the park and back during your visit? I'm wondering if they do them daily now, as the monorail has become unreliable.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:47 am

I didn't use the buses during my visit; my friend drove us between parks. The monorail was running fine for me from the Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom stop. I always used buses on past trips when I stayed on site though.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:05 am

Canobie Coaster wrote:Magic Kingdom- September

My buddy and I had plans to watch the Patriots-Jaguars game, so we had an abbreviated visit to the Magic Kingdom. While the Patriots game was a disaster (Blake Bortles should never shred a defense), our visit to the Magic Kingdom was a success.

Sorry about that game, probably be the one and only highlight of this season for the Jags, it was a fun game in person for sure but a day in the Magic Kingdom is justas good.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:58 am

The Patriots always seem to lay some stinkers early in the year before they rip off their annual 8-10 game win streak.

Re: Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:25 am

SeaWorld Orlando- Fall

The first time I visited SeaWorld Orlando, I made a big mistake. I only gave myself a half day. That was plenty of time to ride all the coasters multiple times; however, I had to sacrifice all of the animal exhibits. I’ve done many credit whorish things (I mean look at some of the parks I’ve visited), but I think that’s my greatest sin. I’ve been repenting ever since by allocating full days at SeaWorld Orlando.

SeaWorld Orlando is an extremely relaxing park. Lines are non-existent. Food options are delicious. And there’s plenty of high-quality shows to get you out of the hot, Florida sun. The only difficult thing about visiting SeaWorld is their limited hours of operation. They closed at 6 on the day I visited, which made it tricky to fit in shows, animal exhibits, and dining experiences. It took a little planning, but it was worth it.

After rope drop, I made a beeline for Kraken. I didn’t realize VR had been removed, so heading there first was completely unnecessary and I got a solo ride on Kraken. Usually solo rides are a cool perk, but it may have been a negative from Kraken. I remembered Kraken being a really enjoyable and smooth looper. However, it had a pretty noticeable rattle.

Robb recently posted in the park discussion thread that Kraken tends to be a bit shakier without a full train. I wish I had known that because I would have returned later in the day. Instead, Kraken was a one and done for me. I still really enjoyed the inversions, particularly the final two in the trenches, but I prioritized re-rides on the other three main coasters. 8 out of 10

Kraken First Drop 2.jpg
I've said it before, but I love straight drops on B&M loopers.

Kraken Loop 1.jpg
Sea Lion Stadium offers some fantastic views of Kraken and Mako.

Kraken Zero-G Roll (Side).jpg
I wasn't lucky enough to get a two train shot though.

Kraken Cobra Roll (Far).jpg
Kraken was rattling a fair bit in the valleys, but at least the inversions were smooth.

My next stop was Journey to Atlantis. On such a hot and humid day, the front row actually sounded kind of nice. I was *this* close to sentencing myself to a cruel and watery death, but thought better of it since I had a reservation for the penguin tour afterwards. It was a very wise choice.

The first half of Atlantis is top notch. The story is so bad that even Twilight’s may top this attraction, but the scenes look fantastic. In many ways, it reminds me of a fireless Escape from Pompeii. Then there’s that first drop. I think that’s one of the more underrated drops out there. It feels much larger than it really is because it’s on a flume and even has some air. However, the second half has less theming than a carnival dark ride.

Still Journey to Atlantis is one of the best flume rides out there. Yet it’s only the fourth best water ride in Orlando. That’s not a mark against Atlantis, but rather a statement to just how insanely good Orlando’s water ride collection is. With the original effects and theming (which is clearly still there and deactivated), I may even take this over Ripsaw Falls. 9 out of 10

I also never realized until this visit that there was an aquarium in the gift shop next to Atlantis.

Journey to Atlantis Splash (Far).jpg
Orlando's Atlantis puts the other two to shame.

I found Dory and I didn't even need a movie to do so.

Demon Eye Fish.jpg
Those eyes look terrifying.

Jellyfish are beautiful unless you see them at the beach.

I still had some time before my penguin tour, so I gave myself a mini preview and rode the Antarctica ride. Antarctica has so much potential. It’s the ride equivalent of a toolsy pro athlete who can never put it all together. Take Reggie Bush for example. He had elite speed and open-field moves. He had all the talent in the world to succeed. Every once and a while you’d see flashes of greatness, but for the most part you saw a league average running back.

That’s how I feel about Antarctica. That ride system alone should place it ahead of 95% of dark rides out there. But outside of the penguin reveal at the end, the ride simply doesn’t do much. It just spins and rocks around in big, wide open rooms. It’s not awful by any means, but it should have been so much better. 6 out of 10

The real star of Antarctica is the penguin exhibit. For this reason, I treated myself to the Penguin Encounter Tour. It was pricey, but well worth it. The experience lasted about 45 minutes and was broken into two segments. The first segment was an info session and Q&A with a trainer. She did an excellent job overviewing all the species of penguins in the exhibit.

The most fascinating thing for me was the breeding. SeaWorld keeps a record of which of their penguins are good parents. If they’re worried a penguin may not successfully hatch one of their eggs, they perform a Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque bait and switch. They take the egg from the suspect parent and give them a blank, identical in size and weight. Then they give the real egg to one of the other penguins. Now I truly know where the term “bird brain” comes from :lol:

The second half was a 20 minute encounter with a penguin. The experience was very intimate, as our group only had 6 people. The penguin was very personable and seemed to love all the attention. He enjoyed getting his belly rubbed just like a dog and always seemed to know how to pose for the camera. If penguins are one of your favorite animals, I cannot recommend this tour enough.

Penguin Close-Up.jpg
You can really get up close with the penguins.

Mike and Penguin.jpg
Like really close.

Penguin Cawing.jpg
It felt so good being out of the heat.

But the highlight of the visit was reriding Mako. Outside of Fury 325 and Shambhala, this is the best B&M out there. The first half follows a similar layout to their other mega coasters, but the airtime feels so much stronger. It’s not quite ejector, but it’s easily some of the strongest and most sustained floater air out there.

The second half starts with the ride’s final airtime hill and then that’s followed by a funky series turns. Mako isn’t traveling overly fast at this point and you gracefully get thrown to the side on these banks. It’s a really cool feeling, especially since these turns travel over the midway and park’s main lagoon.

Mako started with one train operations. When the line reached an unacceptably long length of 10 minutes, the park added the second train. Once the station was emptied, they bumped Mako back down to one train. I appreciated the move since it cleared out the front row queue. This may be the only B&M hyper where I prefer the front row. Shamu may be the star for most, but for me it’s Mako. 9.5 out of 10

Mako First Drop 1.jpg
I really think the best shots of Mako could be taken from outside the park.

Mako Return Run 4.jpg
Cue the theme music.

Mako Double Spine.jpg
Here's an artsy shot of Mako and Kraken trying their best YOLOcoaster double spin impersonation.

I was optimistic I’d be able to ride Infinity Falls during my September visit considering the ride had a “Summer 2018” advertised opening. Technically I think the ride may have soft opened on the last day of summer, but I was a week too early. While the walls around the attraction were still up, the gift shop was open and ready for business. Along with having another solid ride in the park’s lineup, I’m excited the walk between Shamu’s Happy Harbor (or Sesame Street Land or whatever it is next year) and Mako will no longer be a series of hideous construction walls.

Infinity Falls Elevator.jpg
I didn't see any rafts testing, but I suspect I may have if I stuck around long enough.

Shamu's Happy Harbor Closed.jpg
I felt bad for any parents with kids. That knocked out the entire kid's area.

I skipped One Ocean earlier this year since I admittedly was not a fan of the show in San Diego and saw the whales as part of Dine with Shamu. This time, I decided to give One Ocean another chance. But not before getting concessions. I made a quick pit stop at Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen. While they didn’t have my beloved bacon pretzel, they did have a pretzel wrapped turkey leg which sounded too unhealthy and American not to get. And as a bonus, season pass holders got a complimentary beer!

Free Beer Sign.jpg
I'm usually not a big beer drinker, but it'd be wasteful not to use my free perk.

Pretzel Turkey Leg (Bitten).jpg
I can't say I ever thought I'd be eating a turkey pretzel leg.

I thoroughly enjoyed my pretzel turkey leg while watching One Ocean. I made darn sure to sit way up in the bleachers because I know just how big of a splash the Shamu family can make. The show I saw here was way different than San Diego’s back in 2014. The audience spent more time watching screens than the whales at San Diego’s show. At Orlando’s One Ocean, they spent the entirety of the time showcasing the whales as they should. Needless to say, I enjoyed it this time around.

Shamu Stadium.jpg
I had a whale of a time.

After one more ride on Mako and a quick tour of Pacific Point Reserve, I watched my favorite aquatic show at the park, Sea Lion High. Without a doubt, this is the park’s funniest show and there’s just something mesmerizing about seeing the sea lions glide across the stage. This time, the show went off without a hitch. Back in March, there were some hiccups during the science scene that are totally understandable from a live show with animals.

Sea Lion Close-Up.jpg
Hello my friend.

Seal Perch.jpg
Bark bark bark.

Sea Lion High Intro.jpg
Sea Lion High is easily the park's funniest show.

Sea Lion High Explosion.jpg
Perfect form.

But my favorite show at SeaWorld is Pets Ahoy. *Places umbrella in front of face to shield myself from tomatoes* It seems wrong to have this as my favorite show at a marine park, but this is the show I enjoy the most. The wide variety of animals are adorable and follow instructions far better than my beagle or corgi ever have.

Release the Weenies 2.jpg
Release the weenies!

Manta was the last major attraction I rode during my visit. This was a deliberate move since the ride’s proximity to the entrance leads to a lengthy 15-30 minute wait (by SeaWorld standards, that’s colossal) early in the day. By mid-afternoon, Manta was a complete walk-on and they were allowing rerides. This led to four consecutive rides in the very back. As much as I love the visuals up front, it was hard to say no to the whip on the first drop and funky airtime off the MCBR.

While I enjoyed Manta’s clone in Japan (Acrobat), it felt so nice to ride the original. Whereas Acrobat is placed in a wide open field devoid of theming outside of an imitation splash effect, Manta is beautiful. The layout itself is probably the best of any flyer outside of Flying Dinosaur and all the interactions with the pathways, rockwork, and waterfalls makes Manta really stand out. 9.5 out of 10

Manta Water Turn (Front).jpg
This is the one theming element Acrobat copied.

Manta Inline Twist 1.jpg
I think Flying Dinosaur may be the only flyer with a better layout than Manta.

Manta Pretzel Loop Entry.jpg
It's tough to decide whether I prefer this pretzel or the ones from Mama's Pretzel Kitchen.

Dine with Shamu is an amazing value in my opinion. It combines an all you can eat and drink (yes that includes beer) buffet with a mini Shamu show. However, it is impossible not to leave stuffed and waddling like a penguin. I had heard positive things about Shark’s Underwater Grill, so I made the difficult decision to skip Dine with Shamu this visit. And as awesome as Dine with Shamu was, I think I preferred Shark’s more.

Shark’s Underwater Grill is an upscale theme park dining experience, but it’s very much worth it. The atmosphere alone is worth it. It’s impossible not to be in awe at all the sharks swimming in the tank adjacent to the dining room. And those sharks are probably pretty pissed at us humans since most of us are eating fish. I did feel a little shrivel of guilt eating fish next to them, but it was quickly forgotten with how good my salmon tasted.

Seating Area.jpg
What a view.

My mouth waters just looking at this again.

After a delicious meal and a few more rerides on Manta, I did the park’s Dolphin Encounter. This is another animal experience, but a far briefer and cheaper one than the penguin tour. SeaWorld does not allow any photography during the experience for the safety of the dolphins. But rest assured, the park has a professional photographer to safely capture the moment for you for $30. However, the photos looked like garbage and I don’t think anyone purchased them. They were timed well, but they were all taken directly into the sun.

As long as you aren’t going in with the intention to get a new profile picture, the experience is very cool. It’s probably about 15 minutes in length, but that’s plenty of time to pet and feed the dolphins. Someday I plan to visit Discovery Cove, but until then, this was a nice opportunity to meet one of my favorite animals.

You can take pictures of dolphins by the nursery at least.

With an hour before closing, I finished with a mini marathon on Mako. The only bummer is that the park didn’t allow rerides on Mako, so I probably made it onto every second or third train with most of my rides coming in the very front. This is one of the most reridable coasters out there. It’s glass smooth and has some fantastic airtime that keeps you coming back for more.

Mako Brake Run Drop (2018).jpg
Without a doubt, this is my favorite coaster in Orlando.

SeaWorld may be my favorite park in Orlando after the Magic Kingdom. Unless you’re a member of PETA, you’d be hard pressed to have a bad day at SeaWorld. The park has some fantastic coasters plus awesome food, landscaping, service, and animal shows.
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