Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Episode 5: Coasting for Kids at Legoland Florida!
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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby djcoastermark » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:05 pm

Nice shout out to Jungala. I love that whole structure mess to climb on/in around. It's the best place to get up very close to the Vampire Bats. :) . I don't care if I'm an old geezer ( to the kids anyway) Climbing around Jungala is just a lot of fun, and a workout too. It is so big that it's never really crowded up in there.

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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby A.J. » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:56 am

coasterBro wrote:I normally wouldn't wait more than 20 mins for a ride like that, but I'll happily wait an hour in that AC on a hot day.

I hear you, but the feeling of nice air conditioning is negated when you're stuffed in a pre-show room like sardines with exactly 300 of your closest friends.

Canobie Coaster wrote:I believe Montu and Kumba have signs at the start of the pathways leading to the attractions (Kumba at the bridge, Montu at the archway).

Yeah, I didn't notice them. Perhaps they moved or were under some refurbishment.

djcoastermark wrote:I don't care if I'm an old geezer ( to the kids anyway) Climbing around Jungala is just a lot of fun, and a workout too. It is so big that it's never really crowded up in there.

Yeah, playgrounds in theme parks have always been huge for me. Perhaps they open Jungala up seasonally or based on predicted crowds. Children and tweens were certainly all over the place (some in places they shouldn't have been, mind you), so it's not like it's unpopular.
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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby A.J. » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:37 am

Episode 4: "I Hashtag Took On Tigris" or "This Was a Bad Idea, But I'm An Annual Passholder, So Who Cares?"

Yesterday, with my Walt Disney World annual pass on its last block-out weekend until the late-season, I got in my car and drove down to Busch Gardens Tampa again, my third time so far. The new hotness, Tigris, had grand opened the day before. Tigris would be my first brand-new coaster since I went to Hersheypark over Memorial Day weekend to ride the original incarnation of Skyrush!

Obviously, being Easter weekend, the park was absolutely packed. When I left at 5 PM, the main parking lot had been closed and people were being routed to the Adventure Island lot which also looked nearly full. Had I not been visiting on my annual pass I would have definitely invested in Quick Queue. Also, yesterday was very windy - the Skyride did not open at all, and Falcon's Fury did not open until the middle of the afternoon.

I was at the ticketing areas at around forty minutes before opening, and by the time they opened the security checkpoint, the lines were already way far behind. I joined the gaggle in CASUALLY WALKING to Tigris (I was pleasantly surprised that the vast majority of people did not run).

IMG_3770.JPG
Tigris! It's a brand-new coaster!

Tigris is pretty good! It rides decently well, the hangtime is really fun, and the colors look great. But everyone's probably asking, what about the comfort collars?

Disclaimer, I'm a very small guy. While I could see them in my field of vision, I did not feel them on my body at all. They're basically two floppy rubber straps joined together that hook with a carabiner-like connection on the lap restraint itself. They kind of are just... there.

However, the real problem with them and the trains themselves is that you basically have to be a contortionist to get in and out. Ingress and egress are ridiculously tight - the slightly heavier-set woman that rode next to me had some problems. The lap restraints are very large and their "open" position is not far forward at all, plus you have to lift up the comfort collar as you are about to seat yourself. Once you get seated it's a comfortable enough experience but getting there is a challenge. There's a post on the roller coasters subreddit showing that one of the headrests is now bent already because someone held onto it for leverage as they boarded, I rode too far back from the front row to notice.

Anyway, here are photos from the rest of the day!

IMG_3761.JPG
I waited 25 minutes or so, but by the time I got off the wait had swelled to two hours. Later in the day it was fluctuating between 45 and 60 minutes.


IMG_3762.JPG
Tigris, THROUGH THE TREES! Except this time it's actually built all the way!


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Kumba (Happy 26th birthday!) recently received a fresh coat of paint and it looks absolutely gorgeous. My first ride in the mid-morning was almost a walk-on, but when I rode later in the afternoon I probably waited over a half hour! I've never seen it with that kind of queue!


IMG_3767.JPG
Kumba is still absolutely insane and it still remains my favorite coaster in the park. I'm gradually making my way to the back row, Bill, I got to row 5 yesterday! That roll is unreal in any seat.


IMG_3768.JPG
Montu is still excellent but, yet again, the harness wouldn't go down enough on my shrimpy body. Falling into the harness is not fun.


IMG_3773.JPG
I visited two or three months ago on a whim and SheiKra had been down for scheduled maintenance. I waited the longest for it today and it didn't disappoint. Don't look down!

Another thing with SheiKra is that whomever designed it didn't seem to take into consideration that, in the mid-afternoon, when you go up the lift hill, you're basically staring directly into the sun! I had to hold my hand in front of my face!

IMG_3769.JPG
Over to Cheetah Hunt now, which I didn't get to ride because the wait was bonkers for the entire day. Does anyone know about this? It's a support that goes nowhere!


IMG_3777.JPG
Nowhere near as immersive as Kilimanjaro Safaris, but hey, I'll take it!


IMG_3783.JPG
One more good one of Cheetah Hunt to round it out.
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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:05 am

Great report! Is the extra Cheetah Hunt support in an animal enclosure? I've seen Great Adventure use extra supports (albeit for an old ride) in their monkey exhibit.

I agree getting in and out of Sky Rocket II cars is a bit tricky due to the minimal pitch.
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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby Dombot » Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:15 am

Nice report! Funny thing about Busch being pack, I was at SeaWorld on the same Saturday and longest I waited was around 45 minutes for Mako's front seat. I love that park, no matter when you go crowds are always less than what you expected. :lol:

On a separate note, I'm with you on the comfort collars. They don't take away from the ride experience in any way, they just kinda hang there... but good God, the loading/unloading process. Yikes.
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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby The Great Zo » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:17 am

Kumba and Tigris look great against the crisp blue sky. Glad Kumba and Montu are delivering, they are among my favorite B&Ms.

And I have never noticed that "support to nowhere" -- good catch!
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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby A.J. » Sun May 05, 2019 5:01 pm

Episode 4: Coasting for Kids at Legoland Florida or "Would you insects please stop trying to mate on the hood of my car?"

I decided late in the game to fundraise for Coasting for Kids this year, and, thanks to some generous donations from Dustin here on the forums, my office's principal landscape architect (thanks Greg!) and some family members, I was able to raise my $100 in two weeks. So guess who decided to take a trip to Legoland?

This trip was also my first time trying out some new camera equipment, so you'll see a mix of phone and camera photos.

DSC_0005_C.jpg

It's a clear, sunny day... for now!

I arrived and was greeted by Give Kids The World's Steve Amos, a manager and [apparent] friend of Theme Park Review. I got my T-shirt, and mingled with the other participants until it was time to go in...

IMG_3815.JPG

Giving us the low-down before the day begins.

IMG_3817.JPG

Express park entry, stage left!

Unlike the other events where exclusive ride time (ERT) is involved, this year's Legoland event just let all the participants loose in the park! Some participated in the scavenger hunt, but I decided to poke around at my own pace.

The park's newest addition is The Lego Movie World! This land was originally themed to one of Lego's fantasy properties, Legends of Chima. However, it's now turned into a colorful explosion with meet and greets, a play structure, a family drop tower ride, and what is now the park's most popular attraction, Masters of Flight.

DSC_0251_C.jpg

Masters of Flight is a flying theater, similar to Soarin'. You sit in hang glider-like vehicles (in this case themed to a triple-decker couch) and watch a ride film as the vehicles move and bank around. It's pretty fun, but it's very aggressive for the kind of ride it is. It's also a trick ride system where you actually walk up to the upper floors of the building to board, much like Avatar Flight of Passage, and then the entire section of seats turns 180 degrees to begin the ride itself. It's pretty neat!

However, the ride story moves very fast and if you're unfamiliar with the lore of the Lego movies (I've only seen the first one myself), it can be hard to follow.

Elsewhere in the Lego Movie World you have a meet and greet with the characters, some themed dining (Taco Tuesday every day!), the Battle of Bricksburg splash battle (left over from the Legends of Chima world), and Unikitty's Disco Drop, my favorite attraction in the park in terms of looks and presentation.

DSC_0235_C.jpg

Let's take a loop around the park!

Close by The Lego Movie World is the Dragon. Legoland Florida was originally Cypress Gardens, an amusement park and botanical garden that changed ownership frequently in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. The park's owner before Legoland invested heavily in rides and coasters in 2004 and 2005, and one of them was a Vekoma junior coaster called Okeechobee Rampage. While the other Legoland parks have custom-built Zierer family coasters, Florida's Dragon is that same Vekoma junior coaster, but extended with a dark ride section.

DSC_0222_C.jpg

The Lego Movie World's "personal space bubble" proximity to the Dragon makes taking a good photo of the layout somewhat challenging.

Moving into the Land of Adventure, we find Coastersaurus, my favorite coaster in the park. It's a "junior" wooden coaster similar to the Ghoster Coasters and the Waldameer Comet. When it was built it was basically in a wide open field, but 15 years later, it's bathed in a gorgeous canopy of trees. It's relatively smooth, and while there isn't a whole lot of airtime, it's certainly not boring!

DSC_0027_C.jpg

It's also the only coaster so far with Great Coasters' Mini-lennium Flyer trains, which are designed with children in mind. You just can't hate the cushy seats of a Great Coasters train!

A quick skip away from Coastersaurus is Project X Test Track, now known as The Great Lego Race. But wait, this coaster wasn't at Cypress Gardens! You're correct, but it wasn't a brand-new installation - it used to be Legoland Windsor's Jungle Racer, with an odd vehicle design where the riders were completely enclosed inside!

DSC_0065_C.jpg

Thankfully, it's just a regular wild mouse now. The ride was re-themed to The Great Lego Race during the great virtual reality race of 2017 and 2018, in conjunction with the addition of VR goggles. Today, the VR goggles seem to be nowhere to be found. It's really just a slightly tamer wild mouse, but the large first drop makes it a bit more exciting.

DSC_0083_C.jpg

Quick overview of the rest of the Technic land.

Finally, all the way in the back of the park, near to the entrance to the water park, lies Flying School. This is firmly "old Vekoma". The layout is great but the ride is awful. I feel spoiled that the only suspended looping coaster I'm familiar with is the one good one, Great Nor'Easter.

DSC_0104_C.jpg

Seriously? How do you get head-banging at 15 miles per hour? How is that even possible? Have I made a grave mistake by committing to subject myself to Walibi Holland's Condor?

So there we have the coasters! Enjoy some other photos from my day at the park...

DSC_0143_C.jpg

The beautiful Cypress Gardens. I could spend days there.

DSC_0114_C.jpg

Future Florida drivers. Have mercy on their souls.

DSC_0275_C.jpg

Mia's Riding Adventure, a Disk'O ride themed to horse-riding. Appropriate.

DSC_0257_C.jpg

And finally, the park's great-looking double-decker carousel. Not as good as the triple-decker couch, unfortunately.

IMG_3823.JPG

Thanks for reading! Thanks also to Give Kids the World for putting the event on - those kids deserve every sent that the organization raises.
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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby Canobie Coaster » Mon May 06, 2019 6:04 am

Great report! I ran out of time to make it back to Flying School during my one visit and that's a decision I don't regret based on your review. Those junior SLCs are awful!

The new flying theater sounds interesting and the vehicles are too perfect (as a fan of the movie).
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Re: Ongoing Photo TR: A.J. Explores More Florida

Postby stevenamos » Mon May 13, 2019 6:23 pm

A.J. wrote:Episode 4: Coasting for Kids at Legoland Florida or "Would you insects please stop trying to mate on the hood of my car?"

I decided late in the game to fundraise for Coasting for Kids this year, and, thanks to some generous donations from Dustin here on the forums, my office's principal landscape architect (thanks Greg!) and some family members, I was able to raise my $100 in two weeks. So guess who decided to take a trip to Legoland?

This trip was also my first time trying out some new camera equipment, so you'll see a mix of phone and camera photos.

DSC_0005_C.jpg

It's a clear, sunny day... for now!

I arrived and was greeted by Give Kids The World's Steve Amos, a manager and [apparent] friend of Theme Park Review. I got my T-shirt, and mingled with the other participants until it was time to go in...

IMG_3815.JPG

Giving us the low-down before the day begins.

IMG_3817.JPG

Express park entry, stage left!

Unlike the other events where exclusive ride time (ERT) is involved, this year's Legoland event just let all the participants loose in the park! Some participated in the scavenger hunt, but I decided to poke around at my own pace.

The park's newest addition is The Lego Movie World! This land was originally themed to one of Lego's fantasy properties, Legends of Chima. However, it's now turned into a colorful explosion with meet and greets, a play structure, a family drop tower ride, and what is now the park's most popular attraction, Masters of Flight.

DSC_0251_C.jpg

Masters of Flight is a flying theater, similar to Soarin'. You sit in hang glider-like vehicles (in this case themed to a triple-decker couch) and watch a ride film as the vehicles move and bank around. It's pretty fun, but it's very aggressive for the kind of ride it is. It's also a trick ride system where you actually walk up to the upper floors of the building to board, much like Avatar Flight of Passage, and then the entire section of seats turns 180 degrees to begin the ride itself. It's pretty neat!

However, the ride story moves very fast and if you're unfamiliar with the lore of the Lego movies (I've only seen the first one myself), it can be hard to follow.

Elsewhere in the Lego Movie World you have a meet and greet with the characters, some themed dining (Taco Tuesday every day!), the Battle of Bricksburg splash battle (left over from the Legends of Chima world), and Unikitty's Disco Drop, my favorite attraction in the park in terms of looks and presentation.

DSC_0235_C.jpg

Let's take a loop around the park!

Close by The Lego Movie World is the Dragon. Legoland Florida was originally Cypress Gardens, an amusement park and botanical garden that changed ownership frequently in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. The park's owner before Legoland invested heavily in rides and coasters in 2004 and 2005, and one of them was a Vekoma junior coaster called Okeechobee Rampage. While the other Legoland parks have custom-built Zierer family coasters, Florida's Dragon is that same Vekoma junior coaster, but extended with a dark ride section.

DSC_0222_C.jpg

The Lego Movie World's "personal space bubble" proximity to the Dragon makes taking a good photo of the layout somewhat challenging.

Moving into the Land of Adventure, we find Coastersaurus, my favorite coaster in the park. It's a "junior" wooden coaster similar to the Ghoster Coasters and the Waldameer Comet. When it was built it was basically in a wide open field, but 15 years later, it's bathed in a gorgeous canopy of trees. It's relatively smooth, and while there isn't a whole lot of airtime, it's certainly not boring!

DSC_0027_C.jpg

It's also the only coaster so far with Great Coasters' Mini-lennium Flyer trains, which are designed with children in mind. You just can't hate the cushy seats of a Great Coasters train!

A quick skip away from Coastersaurus is Project X Test Track, now known as The Great Lego Race. But wait, this coaster wasn't at Cypress Gardens! You're correct, but it wasn't a brand-new installation - it used to be Legoland Windsor's Jungle Racer, with an odd vehicle design where the riders were completely enclosed inside!

DSC_0065_C.jpg

Thankfully, it's just a regular wild mouse now. The ride was re-themed to The Great Lego Race during the great virtual reality race of 2017 and 2018, in conjunction with the addition of VR goggles. Today, the VR goggles seem to be nowhere to be found. It's really just a slightly tamer wild mouse, but the large first drop makes it a bit more exciting.

DSC_0083_C.jpg

Quick overview of the rest of the Technic land.

Finally, all the way in the back of the park, near to the entrance to the water park, lies Flying School. This is firmly "old Vekoma". The layout is great but the ride is awful. I feel spoiled that the only suspended looping coaster I'm familiar with is the one good one, Great Nor'Easter.

DSC_0104_C.jpg

Seriously? How do you get head-banging at 15 miles per hour? How is that even possible? Have I made a grave mistake by committing to subject myself to Walibi Holland's Condor?

So there we have the coasters! Enjoy some other photos from my day at the park...

DSC_0143_C.jpg

The beautiful Cypress Gardens. I could spend days there.

DSC_0114_C.jpg

Future Florida drivers. Have mercy on their souls.

DSC_0275_C.jpg

Mia's Riding Adventure, a Disk'O ride themed to horse-riding. Appropriate.

DSC_0257_C.jpg

And finally, the park's great-looking double-decker carousel. Not as good as the triple-decker couch, unfortunately.

IMG_3823.JPG

Thanks for reading! Thanks also to Give Kids the World for putting the event on - those kids deserve every sent that the organization raises.

Thank you again for coming out last week - appreciate the support to Give Kids The World!

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