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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011

Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011

alpengeistno3

Posted:
12/3/11 at
2:34:37 AM

Day 1 Universal Studios
Well, here is my TR from my Thanksgiving Orlando trip. I arrived in Orlando on Tuesday from DC. My friend took care of the hotel registration (it was her family going on the trip, so I was just tagging along. Too bad they planned to spend 2 days at Disney and decided at the last minute to go to Universal on the day I planned to go to Busch Tampa, so I only got to hang out with them on Black Friday at Universal.) She said the hotel provided shuttle to “all the parks” so I only rented a car for the trip to Tampa on Thanksgiving Day.

Well, when I arrived at the Hilton Doubletree at Sea World around 11:00 from the airport, I checked in and asked about the shuttle to Universal. I was told “yes, it left at 10:10.” I was like, “well, that’s nice. When is the next one?” The desk then said, “That was the only shuttle for the day.” WTH?!?! Not only does the only shuttle leave an hour after park opening, but it comes back for pick up at 5:30. When the park closes at 9:00!!! Oh no, that won’t work for a 1st time visiting coaster enthusiast like me. So I ask about how I can get to Universal without the shuttle. They give me a trolley route map. Only $1.25 each way. Okay, now we have something, but the trolley does not actually drop off at the City Walk or the parking decks for Universal. Closest trolley stops are outside the Hilton Doubletree at Universal (which required waiting for a transfer to the green line), or outside Wet and Wild. Either stop required a foot blistering 20-30 minute walk just to get to the City Walk entrance (I’m guessing it was ¾ of a mile but it could very well have been over a mile before I got to the gate for Studios or IOA). Today wasn’t a problem other than I hadn’t had anything to eat since the night before and it was about 2:00 before I finally caught the trolley and made the 85 degree walk from the Universal Doubletree to the park.

I decided that IOA was probably too big ride-wise to knock out with so little time, so I opted to do Studios. I went to see Shrek 4D since it was the 1st thing I saw upon entering. Not a fan, but I liked the fact that Universal went the extra mile to make the seats bounce along with the other usual 4D stunts.
Next up was Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. I took the single rider line since the regular queue was going around 45 mins. BIG MISTAKE! With the short trains, the ride is not single rider friendly and I think there were a lot of “broken” seats as the ops were regularly not filling all of them. I found that I could easily beat the wait in the regular queue. The ride; I can’t remember all the songs I selected, but I picked the Evanescence song from the Matrix (horrible arrangement that didn’t seem to fit the ride). I picked other songs each of the 4 times I eventually rode the ride, but my favorite was Can’t Touch This, by MC Hammer. It just worked for me (and surprisingly was categorized as “pop” instead of “rap/hip-hop”). The ride was pretty choppy, borderline rough (something that doesn’t usually bother me about a ride, but I did not enjoy Rockit because of it.) The restraints were weird and had me stapled in pretty good (had to get an extra shove from the ride ops before the ride would clear me. The new elements like the non-inverting vertical loop and the “treble clef” look really cool on paper and from the ground, but didn’t really do anything interesting on the ride that a regular loop or helix could not have done better. The final inclined helix at the end of the ride was the most interesting element as it got tighter as you exited it into the final block brake. I give the ride a C+ (so many better rides in the area).

Next, I went to see Twister. I really expected to see something cool, but it was a total joke, from the 1st preshow, to the 2nd preshow, to the actual show. Glad it was a walk-on, even if it did waste 20-30 mins of my precious time.

Now was the Mummy. I knew most of the tricks that the ride pulled; the scarabs, the fake out exit, etc, but it was a lot better when witnessed in person. Best ride in Studios, hands down!! I abused the single rider line, which offered little to no wait compared to the 30 min regular queue; however, by 6:00 the whole ride was a walk-on. Now here is my major rant against all the Orlando parks. How about a reride policy (or even a short cut for rerides) rather than sending people all the way through the gift shop, through the ½ mile maze of non adjusting queue railings. Studios was far from the worst, but those of you who have visited on a slow day before know what ride I am getting to,* cough* Dueling Dragons. With that said, I rode Mummy 4 times for the day (and had only covered half the park with 2 hrs before the 7:00 PM closing). Grade of A for Mummy.

Next, I went to check out the line for the former Earthquake attraction, but figured it was too long at 30 mins for what it was with my limited time. I continued on the Jaws, which in light of its eventual demise, I’m glad I waited the 15 mins for it. I was beyond “cheesy” with our “driver” overacting everything. She was cool at the end with her banter with the workers on the dock while we waited to get off. Maybe I would have ridden it again to get a different actress if I had known this was it for the ride, but I was less than impressed.

I decided to suck up the 30 minute wait for Simpsons as both MIB and ET were slightly longer. (and, yes, I called my mom the whole time I was in line, so deal with it, lol.) I used to tolerate the Simpsons when it first come on in the 90’s, but have not watched a complete episode in too many years to count. I was more impressed with the ride vehicles rising up into the screening room for the movie. Very nice way to increase capacity. They must have a lot of ops to load all those individual cars in what seemed like a pretty timely manner (KD could only dream of getting their Action Theater loaded and ready to go as quickly). I would have preferred to see Back to the Future, though.

By now it was after 6:00, so I went for some more Mummy rides and one more on Rockit to solidify my initial judgment of the ride. I thought about hopping over to IOA, which closed at 9:00, but decided to have dinner at the “New” Brazilian Steakhouse in the Latin Quarter. All you can eat meat brought out on rotisserie spits. DELICIOUS!!!! And gave me plenty of energy for the mile long walk back to the trolley stop to return to the hotel.

Thanks for reading and up next, IOA.
Paul

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/3/11 6:46:13 AM

>but my favorite was Can’t Touch
> This, by MC Hammer. It just worked for me (and surprisingly
> was categorized as “pop” instead of “rap/hip-hop

Well, "pop" is short for "popular," and regardless of my personal feelings for the song, it certainly was that.

> I used to tolerate the Simpsons when it first come on in
> the 90’s,

'89, actually, after starting on Tracy Ullman's show in '87. I hope Simpsons is still there if and when I ever get back to Florida. I can't wait to ride Mummy, too. But after all I've read about Triple R, I'm not prioritizing that..I've always read more bad than good.

Thanks for sharing, Paul. Looking forward to the next chapter!

Mike

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by alpengeistno3 at 12/3/11 12:31:47 PM

> >but my favorite was Can’t Touch
> This, by MC Hammer. It just worked for me (and surprisingly
> was categorized as “pop” instead of “rap/hip-hop

> Well, "pop" is short for "popular," and
> regardless of my personal feelings for the song, it
> certainly was that.

So other rap/hip hop is NOT popular? Try telling that to my students who only want to do their bow "calisthenics" to the hip hop CD I got from WalMart.

> I used to tolerate the Simpsons when it first come on in
> the 90’s,

> '89, actually, after starting on Tracy Ullman's show in
> '87. I hope Simpson's is still there if and when I ever get
> back to Florida. I can't wait to ride Mummy, too. But after
> all I've read about Triple R, I'm not prioritizing
> that..I've always read more bad than good.

I don't think I saw the 1st official season of the Simpsons until 1990. It wasn't on my priority list just going into high school. (I actually stayed loyal to the Cosby show when Fox decided to put it on opposite them on Thursday nights.)

At least I had seen enough to know all the characters. Someone who didn't know about the back story of Sideshow Bob would have missed a lot of the nuances of the ride trying to recreate that arc.

As for RR, it's a unique ride, so for that it was worth a look. It's just not a very good one, unfortunately, so your time is better spent elsewhere once you get your ride. Maybe the line won't be so "long" when you get there (30 mins for a subpar ride at the end of the night is too long for me and I would never do it again.) Especially if they build something worthwhile where Jaws is located.

> Thanks for sharing, Paul. Looking forward to the next
> chapter!

I'm working on them, Mike. Busy weekend with a party tonight and a football game against the Jets tomorrow, but I hope to get it up before Monday (when all hell breaks loose at school trying to get the little urchins ready for their Christmas concert.)

Take care,
Paul

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by RobLec RobLec Profile at 12/3/11 5:09:50 PM

Thanks for the TR! It's interesting the difference a week makes, as we were last there on the 17th and I know Orlando is a LOT busier during the week of Thanksgiving. About Twister... I happen to like the attraction because I am a big fan of the movie... even though we've been thru it so many times that nothing is a surprise anymore. But I can see why thrill seekers would be unimpressed.

Double plus on RRR... my first ride a couple years ago was a major disappointment... this year we only approached the ride because our sons had never been on it and we rode only after finding it a walk-on. Mummy is great, and I agree about the need for a short cut for when the queue is empty. BTW we also discovered that the shortcut that used to be in DD's queue is now missing from Dragon Challenge. OTOH the queue for HP is probably the best part of that attraction. And we (my family) were fans of the Simpsons maybe ten years ago. It has lost a lot since then, but we enjoyed the short scenes they play on the video screens in the queue.

Looking forward to the rest of your report!

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/3/11 7:05:45 PM

I hope to get it up before Monday

Family forum, Paul. Be careful. :)

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/3/11 7:07:44 PM

I agree with everything you've said, except I can't comment on RRR - wasn't built yet the last time I was there. I know Rob likes it but I think Twister is such a waste of time too. I am a sucker for ET though and I'd be very sad if that one was pulled. It's just such a serene, relaxing ride and the long queue in the air conditioning is worth it alone.

And how stupid for those shuttle times! Horrible! When I was last there at the Marriott the shuttles left every hour and the last one returned after the parks closed. After being on your feet all day that walk must have been horrible.

Can't wait for IOA!

Jen

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/3/11 7:08:19 PM

> I hope to get it up before Monday

> Family forum, Paul. Be careful. :)
>

LMAO!

Jen

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/3/11 7:17:16 PM

> Can't wait for IOA!

> Jen

You going sometime soon? Or is that just general anticipation?

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/3/11 7:18:53 PM

> Can't wait for IOA!

> Jen

> You going sometime soon? Or is that just general
> anticipation?

LOL! I was talking about his TR!

You're killing me.....

Jen

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by RobLec RobLec Profile at 12/3/11 9:38:30 PM

> I hope to get it up before Monday

Not sure if this is what got Jen laughing, but being married thirty years brings an entirely different meaning to that phrase.

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by alpengeistno3 at 12/4/11 1:59:04 AM

> Thanks for the TR! It's interesting the difference a week
> makes, as we were last there on the 17th and I know Orlando
> is a LOT busier during the week of Thanksgiving.

I was pleasantly surprised, Rob. I was bracing for the worst and it turned out to be a coaster enthusiast's nirvana (they even run full capacity with no one in line, as I will point out in my upcoming BGT report :).

About
> Twister... I happen to like the attraction because I am a
> big fan of the movie... even though we've been thru it so
> many times that nothing is a surprise anymore. But I can
> see why thrill seekers would be unimpressed.

Well, normally, I get a lot of enjoyment from picking special effects rides apart for how they work, but the effects on Twister were just too easy. The part that annoyed me the most was how Helen Hunt and what's his face talked up what an amazing attraction it was and how it would "recreate the terror of a real storm". Sure it was just over-the-top marketing, but I annoyed me to no end when I saw the end result. Still, I wouldn't wish it ripped out. It was a good diversion.

> Double plus on RRR... my first ride a couple years ago was
> a major disappointment... this year we only approached the
> ride because our sons had never been on it and we rode only
> after finding it a walk-on.

That will be next time I go back. It's unfortunate that was probably the longest coaster line I encountered on my trip.

Mummy is great, and I agree
> about the need for a short cut for when the queue is empty.

The single rider line was the best shortcut, even it wasn't that much shorter than the queue line. I have to admit to going through and bouncing over to the empty regular queue when the lines passed each other at the stairs. I'm sure that was a Universal no-no as they got real huffy with people ducking under queue rails and chains in other ride lines, but there was no line whatsoever right up to the boarding station and it is ridiculous that you had to walk the entire maze for a reride.

> BTW we also discovered that the shortcut that used
> to be in DD's queue is now missing from Dragon Challenge.

The only shortcut now is a stairway straight up to the mouth of the castle. Better than exiting the queue completely by the lockers, but the walk through the castle is just too much. I talk more about that when I do my IOA report.

> OTOH the queue for HP is probably the best part of that
> attraction.

They let me walk the queue to the single rider line when I rode HP at the end of the night and it was only a 5 min wait. Having never seen the movies or read the books, I had no clue what I was looking at, plus there was no line at all so I didn't stick around to observe what was going on. Just based on that, I will agree it was very well done, but I want see more of the ride action (ie, the robocoasters). A behind the scenes tour or a shutdown in the ride area would be my "wet dream", lol.

And we (my family) were fans of the Simpsons
> maybe ten years ago. It has lost a lot since then, but we
> enjoyed the short scenes they play on the video screens in
> the queue.

The only thing that impressed me was how they seemed to have all the screens interacting with each other (Abu would look at Marge's sisters while they are talking on the other screen, for example.) A very nice touch rather than just running the same Spongebob scenes ad nauseum like KD does for the Spongebob theater.

> Looking forward to the rest of your report!

Thanks for reading, it's late tonight, but hopefully I can work on IOA after (or perhaps even during) the game tomorrow. It is supposed to be somewhat warm so my fingers won't freeze up sitting in our spot on top of the "Snyder-tron"

Paul

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by alpengeistno3 at 12/4/11 2:00:03 AM

> I hope to get it up before Monday

> Family forum, Paul. Be careful. :)
>

Not touching that, Mike.

Paul

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by alpengeistno3 at 12/4/11 2:18:37 AM

> I agree with everything you've said, except I can't comment
> on RRR - wasn't built yet the last time I was there. I know
> Rob likes it but I think Twister is such a waste of time
> too. I am a sucker for ET though and I'd be very sad if
> that one was pulled. It's just such a serene, relaxing ride
> and the long queue in the air conditioning is worth it
> alone.

I'll save ET for my 3rd day at Universal (black Friday). Let's just say for now, it was way different (and better) than I thought.

> And how stupid for those shuttle times! Horrible! When I
> was last there at the Marriott the shuttles left every hour
> and the last one returned after the parks closed. After
> being on your feet all day that walk must have been
> horrible.

I know. And what was more baffling was there were plenty of shuttle times to all the Disney Parks and Sea World (from opening to after closing). WTH!!! I guess someone at Universal must have pissed the Sea World Doubletree off, because out of the major parks, they clearly got the shaft.

> Can't wait for IOA!

A little longer. I'm going to bed now. Thanks for reading, though.

Paul

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by Tomes at 12/4/11 4:42:48 PM

Is the general consensus of RRR that it's disappointing?

I thought it was awesome. I thought the seats were comfortable, I like the restraints because they left your entire upper body exposed, the non-inverting loop was awesome in my opinion because the crest of it is like an upside-down 0-g roll (You keep rolling while cresting the top of the loop; it's a cool "whoaa" feeling for me) and the rest of the ride kept a decent pace in my opinion. I heard it's even better in the front, but unfortunately we only rode it once. The song we picked btw was "don't funk with my heart" by the Black-eyed peas which the girl I was with wanted us both to have the same song on. But to me that makes zero difference in the ride experience. (Hence why I'm not in the fuss about secret tracks etc.)

Re: Orlando Parks TR: Thanksgiving week 2011 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 12/9/11 9:34:37 PM

If compared to the likes of Nitro or such, then it is a disappointment. But overall, I'd say it was ok. The fact there were so many blocks breaks along the ride made it 'uneven'. Just too many slowdowns and the music selection thing screams 'gimick'. Perhaps if it was one long train and just one MCB, the ride might've been better.

Also I do hope they expand on the music choice over the next few years. First few rides it was fun, but when you have to pick the 'same' song again, then it just doesn't do it for me.