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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5

Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5

alpengeistno3

Posted:
12/11/11 at
7:36:51 PM

Sea World
Alright, this is the final day of my Orlando vacation. It is Saturday. I have a late flight at 8:00 PM, but the shuttle wants to pick me up at 4:00. Hmmm, we may have to see about that later. One of the perks for staying in the “Official Hotel of Sea World” was free Quick Queue for all guests. However, when I went down to the counter at 8:00 AM, they said they were “sold out”. Ummm…

I got on the 8:30 shuttle (of course they had shuttles every hour going to Sea World, as they are the “official hotel”) and went to the turnstiles with my pre-purchased ticket. I was 1st in line. After the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, we were allowed to enter. The rope drop was right around the corner from Manta, so unlike my 1st visit to Busch Tampa, there was no problem figuring out where to go. Once the rope dropped, I walked briskly to Manta and was on the 1st train out in the front row.

Manta was in a word, AWESOME. I’ve ridden the other East Coast flyers, both Supermen and all 3 Vekomas. Manta is in another class. I don’t know what is. It really is the same tricks as the Supermen, just mixed up. But everything Manta did was better. The Pretzel loop, more powerful. The twists, more surprising and snappier. The turns, more scenic. And an open block brake that just barely kissed the train to top it off. I rode Manta a total of 5 times with no wait at all (so I guess I didn’t need that Quick Queue after all).

Interesting tidbits about Manta. They had a grouper at the bottom of the stairs to send people to one side of the dual loading station or the other, but there was only 1 at the top of the right side station to assign rows. So the left side was a free for all for seats, but the grouper was pretty anal on the right side until he realized that I was coming back and wanted the back row no matter what. They were operating 2 trains, but I swore one time I saw a train enter the station and go to the left side station after the one dispatched from there, leaving the right side to wait until the other returned. I thought they had switched to 3 train operation when I saw that, but discovered I was mistaken. The animal exhibits were very nice. I don’t usually do aquariums, but for a queue line for a roller coaster, Manta has to have one of the best.

I went to do Journey to Atlantis which was still a walk-on, even after my 5 Manta rides. I knew about the roller coaster part and knew little about the indoor portions of the ride. Both surprised me. The ride portion was very well done, kind of a water-borne version of Darkastle with screens showing different scenes as the boat floated along. There were some moving props as well, something Darkastle missed. The roller coaster portion was equally as disappointing; one drop and a curving turn before flopping into the splash pool. I heard the San Diego ride did a more impressive job with that, so I give Orlando a B for their effort, D in execution.

On to Kraken, this was not only a walk-on, but nearly an empty station. I rode 6 times before any semblance of crowd arrived. The ride, despite having a straight drop (unusual for any looping B &M coaster) and 7 inversions, Kraken was a very soft ride. I’ve heard from people, who thought more highly of it, but the camelback into the cobra roll was the only moment of force on the ride and that was all negative g’s. I did like the buried vertical loop after the block brake (which despite being almost off, did nothing to produce any significant pop of air once the back cleared it). I can understand why Chris, aka “Overbanked” is such a champion of tunnels. 5 of the 8 Beemers in the Florida area all have tunnels that are very well done. If only Virginia didn’t half@$$ it on their Beemers. Kraken was not the worst floorless I have ridden (that honor goes to Hydra), but it sure did nothing to push itself away from the bottom.

So, it was 12:00 and I had ridden all the major rides in Sea World multiple times. I figured I would get lunch and catch the Shamu show before leaving. I had lunch in the Sea World version of the Smokehouse (same menu as the other Busch parks. If you’ve got something good, why not duplicate it?) Major difference is that they had a sauce bar with 4 different sauces to try (I stuck with original, the special Sea World Blend was too spicy for me and I wasn’t going to touch the Honey Mustard or Buffalo hot they had.) Sea World’s Smokehouse also offered indoor seating, which was a welcome change as it was rather breezy.

After lunch, I ventured to the Sky Tower, which was closed for high winds, before heading across the bridge to the Shamu stadium. I turned out the next show was not until 2:30, but I had to catch the shuttle back to the hotel by 2:40 to get back in time for my 4:00 shuttle to the airport. What to do? Well, I had asked the concierge about other options for getting to the airport since I had used my return ticket to get the rental car Thursday. I decided to cancel my pickup so I could take a taxi back to the airport at 5:00 PM and still get there in plenty of time for my 8:00 flight.

It was a good move as it gave me another 2 hrs to explore Sea World. I happened upon a marching band on stilts (they were not in step, but that is the least they had to worry about.) I saw a line for The Polar Express that seemed to be some kind of simulator, so despite the 30 minute wait, I figured why not (I had 45 mins until the Shamu show.)

There were 2 lines, one for walking and one for riding. I assume the walking tour consisted of standing in front of a screen and watching the movie. If the line was not 20 mins for that, I would have investigated. I took the riding tour. I was curious what kind system it would utilize. Turned out it was the same as used by Europe in the Air at BGE. The ride used clips from the movie (which meant it was very disjointed as one minute you would be on the train, the next outside overlooking the lost ticket, next on a birds back as he snatches the ticket, etc) The ride was somewhat aggressive at times, but not overly so. After the ride, we arrived at the “North Pole”, which was an animal exhibit with polar bears, manatees, and penguins. Oh yeah, Santa was there to for those who wanted to take pictures.
While the wait was right around 30 mins, it took me around 55 to get through the preshow, ride, and animal exhibit. Needless to say, I was late for the Shamu show. I caught the last 15 minutes of the show, which was fine. It didn’t really consist of anything but the whales flopping around in the water and splashing everyone in the lower bowl of the stadium. I got some great panoramic shots of Manta and Kraken from the top of the stadium, which were very hard to shoot from the ground within the park.

I now had around 1 hr and some change left before catching the shuttle back to the hotel. I took some more pictures and went back for another ride on Manta to even it up with Kraken at 6 total. The line was posted as 30 mins, but it took around 45 to get off the ride. I did get a chance to check out the sea creatures up close this time and took some pictures that didn’t turn out too bad. I only had 20 mins left now and went to try to get a final ride on Kraken, but its wait was posted as 30 mins and my track record with Sea World wait times has not been very promising thus far, so I decided to call it a day early and catch the shuttle (got there just in time after taking more pictures of Kraken).

If not for the deal I got on Busch Gardens/Sea World combo tickets, I would have completely overlooked Sea World. 2 coasters do not make a full park experience for me. Looking back now, I am glad I did go. Manta and Kraken were good rides (Manta being VERY good) and the park was a nice experience overall, despite not being my normal cup of tea. I would recommend giving Sea World a try if you are in the area and you don’t even need a full day to do it if you get there early.

Thank you to all of you who commented on my other TR’s. I don’t usually write them as I only do one new park a year. This year was a lean year due to saving up money for a new roof, but since the opportunity came up to go to the other Florida parks, I really couldn’t turn it down.

Hope you enjoyed reading and until next season (for those of you who have to wait until March or May for you coaster fix like me.)

Paul

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by frontrow frontrow Profile at 12/11/11 9:36:08 PM

Another great TR Paul. I haven't been to Sea World since Manta has been built. I really like Sea World. It's a beautiful park. As far as marine life parks go, it's in a class of it's own. I'm not a show type person, but their shows are the most entertaining. I have ridden 6 B&M floorless coasters and Kraken is my favorite, although Bizzaro and Superman Krypton Coaster are very close to it. I was really impressed with Journey To Atlantis. I felt it was done really well. Sea World is a park in Florida that is a must visit. It's a different type of park, but the overall experience is awesome. I'm glad you had fun and that you got to visit some new parks and ride some new coasters. It's been very enjoyable reading your TRs this past week. All 5 were so well done that I felt like I was there with you. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/11/11 9:39:25 PM

>> Manta was in a word, AWESOME. I’ve ridden the other East
> Coast flyers, both Supermen and all 3 Vekomas.

Paul, I guess you're referring to Supermen at GAdv and SFOG, plus Batwing. Which other 2 East Coast Vekoma flyers am I drawing a blank on?

They had a grouper at the
> bottom of the stairs to send people to one side of the dual
> loading station or the other,

I think it's wonderful that the park not only provides a habitat for sea creatures, but provides jobs for fish.

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/11/11 10:04:45 PM

> > Manta was in a word, AWESOME. I’ve ridden the other
> East
> Coast flyers, both Supermen and all 3 Vekomas.

> Paul, I guess you're referring to Supermen at GAdv and
> SFOG, plus Batwing. Which other 2 East Coast Vekoma flyers
> am I drawing a blank on?

X-Flight- formerly at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, formerly Geagua Lake (now Firehawk at KI, but I haven't rode it there, yet)

Borg Assimilator - formerly Stealth at PGA (now Nighthawk at Carowinds)

> They had a grouper at the
> bottom of the stairs to send people to one side of the dual
> loading station or the other,

> I think it's wonderful that the park not only provides a
> habitat for sea creatures, but provides jobs for fish.

Silly Mike, I assume you know that the person who assigns the seats is called the grouper and are just being funny. Or maybe you didn't know and are still just being funny.

Paul

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/11/11 10:13:07 PM

> Another great TR Paul. I haven't been to Sea World since
> Manta has been built. I really like Sea World. It's a
> beautiful park. As far as marine life parks go, it's in a
> class of it's own. I'm not a show type person, but their
> shows are the most entertaining. I have ridden 6 B&M
> floorless coasters and Kraken is my favorite, although
> Bizzaro and Superman Krypton Coaster are very close to it.
> I was really impressed with Journey To Atlantis. I felt it
> was done really well. Sea World is a park in Florida that
> is a must visit. It's a different type of park, but the
> overall experience is awesome. I'm glad you had fun and
> that you got to visit some new parks and ride some new
> coasters. It's been very enjoyable reading your TRs this
> past week. All 5 were so well done that I felt like I was
> there with you. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for reading! I was shocked Kraken was as weak as it was for me since it has received so many glowing reviews just like yours. Maybe it was early and the ride had not warmed up yet. Maybe it was because the trains were near empty the entire time I rode. Maybe because I had come of a Hulk and Manta marathon over the last 2 days and Kraken just can't compare to either of those in terms of forces. Either way, I got nothing from it, so I have to go with that until I get a chance to make it down to Orlando again.

By the way, Bizarro is my favorite floorless as well, so we are on the same page there.

Paul

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/12/11 5:40:05 AM

X-Flight- formerly at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure,
> formerly Geagua Lake (now Firehawk at KI, but I haven't
> rode it there, yet)

> Borg Assimilator - formerly Stealth at PGA (now Nighthawk
> at Carowinds)

I forgot about Borg/NightHawk. Haven't rode it. And when you said "East Coast" I simply didn't think X-Flight/Firehawk, although I rode it in both locations. X-Flight, as I've stated before, messed with my head and physiology more than any other coaster I've been on.

> They had a grouper at the
> bottom of the stairs to send people to one side of the dual
> loading station or the other,

> I think it's wonderful that the park not only provides a
> habitat for sea creatures, but provides jobs for fish.

> Silly Mike, I assume you know that the person who assigns
> the seats is called the grouper and are just being funny.
> Or maybe you didn't know and are still just being funny.

Hmmmm. Some will say I wasn't funny at all. But it was the former. Nothing fishy about this post, though.

Mike

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Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by RobLec RobLec Profile at 12/12/11 9:39:51 AM

> I forgot about Borg/NightHawk. Haven't rode it. And when
> you said "East Coast" I simply didn't think
> X-Flight/Firehawk, although I rode it in both locations.
> X-Flight, as I've stared before, messed with my head and
> physiology more than any other coaster I've been on.

Personally I don't care for either. I find it to be an unpleasant experience and even physically painful.

> They had a grouper at the bottom of the stairs ...
> I think it's wonderful that the park not only provides a
> habitat for sea creatures, but provides jobs for fish.

> Hmmmm. Some will say I wasn't funny at all. But it was the
> former. Nothing fishy about this post, though.

I'd say your attempt at humor was destined to flounder.

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/12/11 3:54:27 PM

> I'd say your attempt at humor was destined to flounder.

>
Okay, I deserved that one...

Bad Mike! Bad Mike!

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 12/13/11 8:21:38 PM

Another great TR!

Kraken, much as I love 'smooth' rides, I have to agree. While stats wise it is great, but overall, it lacked a real punch despite all the inversions. I would still say as far as the floorless ones goes: Dominator is #1, and then Bizarro/Medusa, Kraken.

Manta is fantastic concidering it is just my 2nd flyer after S:UF at SFGAdv. Everything about the ride was just right - good combo of forces and 'smoothness'. I was fortunate to get a front row seat for one of my rides when the crew assigned the seats. A different day there wasn't as many people and I picked a ride from the 1st, last and middle rows. I don't remember much difference amongst the rows, but it was really cool seeing the ride from the front rather than the bottom of the person's feet/shoes in front of me as for the back rows.
The aquarium for the waiting line was very well done. I liked how some tanks were exclusive for just those waiting for Manta. The normal attraction had a bunch of neat creatures as well.

Agreed about Atlantis, it is pretty well done theming wise, but they could've done more with the coaster segment.

Ah cool to know they did the Polar express theme around then. A nice change from the old wild arctic vid-ride. But reading that it is just movie clips, then that is a disappointment, oh well.
Minor nitpick, but I think you mean walrus, polar bears, beluga whales for the artic section, unless they changed things since the summer?

I also agree that I would not go to Sea World by itself unless it was part of a packaged deal with another park like BGT or Universal Orlando. But those coasters were a nice bonus to ride and I loved the animal exhibits there as well as the shows like Shamu and others. If they added one more mega coaster [probably a hyper or the winged coaster], then it would be worth going to Seaworld by itself, imo.

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/13/11 10:20:51 PM

> Another great TR!

> Kraken, much as I love 'smooth' rides, I have to agree.
> While stats wise it is great, but overall, it lacked a real
> punch despite all the inversions. I would still say as far
> as the floorless ones goes: Dominator is #1, and then
> Bizarro/Medusa, Kraken.

I agree with you, except flip Medusa and Dominator (it's near Kraken for me, but Dominator is only there for not having a camelback. Everything else about the ride is fine.

> Manta is fantastic concidering it is just my 2nd flyer
> after S:UF at SFGAdv. Everything about the ride was just
> right - good combo of forces and 'smoothness'. I was
> fortunate to get a front row seat for one of my rides when
> the crew assigned the seats. A different day there wasn't
> as many people and I picked a ride from the 1st, last and
> middle rows. I don't remember much difference amongst the
> rows, but it was really cool seeing the ride from the front
> rather than the bottom of the person's feet/shoes in front
> of me as for the back rows.
> The aquarium for the waiting line was very well done. I
> liked how some tanks were exclusive for just those waiting
> for Manta. The normal attraction had a bunch of neat
> creatures as well.

I never took the time to walk through the non-queue view. Which tanks were "excusive" to Manta riders?

> Ah cool to know they did the Polar express theme around
> then. A nice change from the old wild arctic vid-ride. But
> reading that it is just movie clips, then that is a
> disappointment, oh well.

I really did get the impression that this was a seasonal transformation, so I was curious what movie was in there during the rest of the season. The disjointed nature of movie took away from the immersive experience, but it was not the worst simulator, (*cough* King Arthur's Challenge *cough*) that I have been on.

> Minor nitpick, but I think you mean walrus, polar bears,
> beluga whales for the artic section, unless they changed
> things since the summer?

I was rushing to get out of there to get to my 15 minute late Shamu show, I didn't pay attention to what was in there. It was something from the walrus family, but not a walrus.

> I also agree that I would not go to Sea World by itself
> unless it was part of a packaged deal with another park
> like BGT or Universal Orlando. But those coasters were a
> nice bonus to ride and I loved the animal exhibits there as
> well as the shows like Shamu and others. If they added one
> more mega coaster [probably a hyper or the winged coaster],
> then it would be worth going to Seaworld by itself, imo.

Now, despite all the really great Beemers down in Florida, it is amazing that not a single one of these "gold mine" parks has a hyper. Busch Tampa could have had it with Cheetah Hunt, but decided to go the "family" route instead. If one of the big 3 (Disney, Universal, or Busch) decided to put a true hyper down there, the Orlando area would easily be the best coaster destination on the planet (if you count Tampa). They have the loopers and I can forgive the lack of wood, but a true hyper would seal the deal for me.

Paul

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 12/13/11 10:47:34 PM

Hem true, I only rode Bizarro/medusa once, so I don't 'know' the ride as much as I do Kraken and Bizarro [both have had many many rides]. I do suppose if I had rode Bizarro more often, I could give a fairer grade/opinion of it.

I don't have the names off hand, but something called a nataulus [creature that lives in a spiral shell, some colorful stingrays. I took a bunch of pics. Hopefully I can get those pics uploaded before the end of the month when I have my break.

Oic, didn't realise you were in that much of a hurry. Just stating those were the main 3 types for the arctic section. Any changes there would've been a big surprise.

I totally agree. I was disappointed they didn't build a hyper at BGT. That would've been the perfect fit and fit the layout. THat plus BGT and BGW would've then have 3 similar beemers in their parks.

I can only hope that Verbolten at BGW doesn't use up all the space, so that perhaps they could add another coaster in that area. I just hope Leviatan does well, I'd love to see how well a beemer giga does. I know orlando has some 200' limit, but does Tampa have a limit?

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Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/14/11 9:27:07 PM

So I guess Manta is all it's cracked up to be? I wonder if I'd actually like it or if I'd just find it tolerable. I've never ridden a flyer that I would want to ride again. I will have to check that one out though. Last time I was at a Sea World was in San Diego around 1992. I may have to put a Florida trip together....

Jen

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/14/11 11:18:38 PM

> So I guess Manta is all it's cracked up to be? I wonder if
> I'd actually like it or if I'd just find it tolerable. I've
> never ridden a flyer that I would want to ride again. I
> will have to check that one out though. Last time I was at
> a Sea World was in San Diego around 1992. I may have to put
> a Florida trip together....

> Jen

Manta, in the end is still a flyer. Everything you hate about SUF is still there. The only difference is Manta uses those tricks FAR more effectively. It is not the best ride, but it is hands down the best flyer on this Coast.

Paul

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/14/11 11:31:02 PM

> Hem true, I only rode Bizarro/medusa once, so I don't
> 'know' the ride as much as I do Kraken and Bizarro [both
> have had many many rides]. I do suppose if I had rode
> Bizarro more often, I could give a fairer grade/opinion of
> it.

You meant Kraken and Dominator, right?

> I don't have the names off hand, but something called a
> nataulus [creature that lives in a spiral shell, some
> colorful stingrays. I took a bunch of pics. Hopefully I can
> get those pics uploaded before the end of the month when I
> have my break.

Ahh, the 2 tanks on the right wall. They had some black rays with white spots that seemed to be giving the people attitude rather than just swimming around happily like the other rays.

> I can only hope that Verbolten at BGW doesn't use up all
> the space, so that perhaps they could add another coaster
> in that area. I just hope Leviatan does well, I'd love to
> see how well a beemer giga does. I know orlando has some
> 200' limit, but does Tampa have a limit?

Unfortunately, Verbolten will probably use all the space that Busch is willing to give it. There used to be a golf course just on the other side of perimeter fence that used to be behind Drachen Fire's cutback. There were rumors of complaints of noise from King's Mill's residents of the noise from that ride that led Busch to design Alpengeist so the apex of the drop faced away from that area.

I haven't seen the full layout for Verbolten, but it seems that the "event building" is going to be placed in the area closest to the said perimeter fence, most likely to act as a buffer from any other sounds that may come from the ride. I doubt any thing else will be built any closer once Verbolten is completed.

Paul

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 12/14/11 11:59:15 PM

Right, I meant Kraken and Dominator that i rode both often.

Yup, those creatures sure didn't look too happy. Lol, they must be jealous their bigger cousins have the big tank.

That's a shame, for such a short ride it's going to take up valuable space that could've left just enough room for at least another station so that they could avoid the DF issue of having people go thru the woods to get to the entrance.
My idea would been to relocate the bumper cars to another area of the park and use that space for a new coaster station. Sure it would mean the next coaster would've had to be built around the current coaster, but at least the rest of the track would've been in the woods.
Of course all this is moot if part of the ride is in a building and taking up 'prime real estate'.

Totally agreed on Manta, it's not the greatest ride, but for a flyer it is very fun and enjoyable -[something I'd never thought I'd associate with a flyer coaster] .

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Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by gad198 gad198 Profile at 12/16/11 3:52:32 PM

Just wanted to comment on the outstanding rounds of trip reports!

I went to the same parks last week so you also saved me the trouble of writing ones of my own, so thank you for that, hehe. The first week of December is amazing for crowds, as our longest wait was 20 minutes for Cheetah Hunt and The Simpsons. The wait for Forbidden Journey never got over 10 minutes the day we were there. If you don't mind, I'll concentrate comments on each park you visited in this thread so I don't clutter things.

Universal Studios:

I loved the Studios. Mummy and The Simpsons ride were both excellent IMO. I actually thought HRRR was a fun little ride. It's better the further towards the front you go as you get some wicked airtime up in the first two rows. Some of the trains are much rougher than others, so the experience varies quite a bit from ride to ride. Shrek was cute, and I thought the many scenes, particularly the spider scene, were really done thoughtfully. Jaws was definitely pretty cheesy but I'm glad that we did it if only to satisfy curiosity. Men in Black was a cute shooter but I still prefer the Scobby shooter much more at Six Flags St. Louis.

Islands of Adventure:

This park completely immerses you in another world and surprises you at every turn with amazingly stunning visuals. Every land offers something unique, and after you've been here you never look at your local Cedar Fair or Six Flags park the same. The visuals in the Seuss land are worth the admission price alone. My only knock against this park is that it's not really a full day park, particularly if crowds are light. We spent a lot more time over at the Studios than we did here.

Forbidden Journey is nothing short of amazing. As I mentioned the longest the wait ever got was 10 minutes, so we took several spins around. They really left nothing out as far as the details/theming and there's something new to see each time through the line. It is, by far, the best non-coaster ride around. It completely blew past all my (already very high) expectations.

Spiderman is still holding up well. I'll be curious to see what plans they have for it now that HP is in town. It's amamzing...if Spiderman were at any other park it would be the toast of the town, but at IOA it's almost an afterthought now.

Hulk has gotten a little rougher but it's still very intense. Fire Dragon was down when we were there (Fire is apparently closed on Tuesdays in the off-season, Ice is closed Wednesdays) so we only got to ride Ice. I rode Fire ten years ago, but Ice is definitely still better. If Fire had a zero-g roll then we could debate, but it's similar to the Dominator debate. Dominator would be the best floorless if it had one, but it doesn't, so it is what it is.

Busch Gardens Tampa:

Just an outstanding park. I've been on all the custom B&M inverts in the US except Flight Deck at California's Great America and Montu is definitely in a class all its own. Kumba is probably the country's best sit-down looper and SheiKra is a lot of fun. I would agree that Griffon is slightly better, but only marginally.

I'm definitely with you on Cheetah Hunt, as it feels like there was a lot of potential they didn't extract from the ride. In fairness, all of the big B&Ms are 54" so they wanted something that more families can ride, and at 48" they got it. We got in seven rides over our visit so we tried it everywhere, and it's one of the few Intamins that feels the same no matter where you sit. The ride is almost too leisurely except for the second launch, and is essentially an oversized Backlot Stunt Coaster with an inversion. It's fun but I'd much rather spend re-ride time on the B&Ms there.

Gwazi Tiger was also down for our visit. The Millennium Flyers made Gwazi more rideable but also took away some of the intensity.

Interestingly enough we also caught a whiff of Zambia's Smokehouse from SheiKra and decided to eat there. The brisket there is really good, and the french fries you alluded to were also very tasty. The ribs were good too but I can make better ones myself. I still have yet to have a bad meal at a Busch park.

Sea World:

This park is really all about Kraken and Manta for me. Kraken is still my favorite floorless. Manta, though, is a real star. I like Manta's layout even more than Tatsu, but Tatsu wins because of its location and scenery. Either way, they're both miles better than every other flyer. There were walk-on conditions all the way here so that helped even more!

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Tomes at 12/19/11 6:54:10 AM

I highly disagree with u guys about the floorless coasters.. I think Kraken is superior to Medusa/Bizzaro and Scream, and also Dominator. Never been on Hydra or Medusa in SF in northern California, which both look fun, but between Kraken and Manta I'd choose Kraken. Even though I really enjoy both, I do think manta is currently the best flying roller coaster in existance, with a possible exception of that Sky Scraper ride (formerly Starry Night) in Joyland in China

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 12/19/11 7:10:24 PM

Well, that's your opinion :)

I still stand by what I said, Paul put it perfectly: you don't feel much force on Kraken. And I'm a guy that loves things as smooth as possible. I love Kraken for all the inversions it has and it is a fun ride. Some parts of it feels like riding an 'inverted' Montu. However, I feel Dominator has a nice mix of force and 'smoothness'.

I would love to reride Medusa/Bizzaro again. I only got to ride that once because it was a crowded day and I had to get some rides on the other coasters.

Manta is a very fun flyer, but I'm hoping to make a trip to the west coast and ride Tatsu. I want to try out the biggest B&M flyer in the major categories: speed, height, length. I still feel that SeaWorld could've tried to top SFMM, but I guess space was an issue.

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/19/11 8:24:16 PM

> Manta is a very fun flyer, but I'm hoping to make a trip to
> the west coast and ride Tatsu. I want to try out the
> biggest B&M flyer in the major categories: speed, height,
> length. I still feel that SeaWorld could've tried to top
> SFMM, but I guess space was an issue.

More like SFMM used a huge mountain as an advantage :)

Tomes,
I stated earlier that I may have caught Kraken at a bad time in less than ideal conditions (early morning, empty trains). But I don't think the weight of the trains could hide the fact that the 1st drop was very rampy for straight drop. I got more air from LNM's 1st drop at only 2/3 the size. That was the most disappointing aspect of Kraken as I was excited to finally see a B&M looper with an Arrow style flat turn into the 1st drop and got absolutely nothing from it all 5 of the 6 times I rode in the back row.

Paul

* This Post Has Been Modified *

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/19/11 9:14:09 PM

> Just wanted to comment on the outstanding rounds of trip
> reports!

Thanks for your quick summary. Everyone seems to say how busy it is down in Florida between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Glad to hear you had an even better time crowdwise than I did.

> I went to the same parks last week so you also saved me the
> trouble of writing ones of my own, so thank you for that,
> hehe. The first week of December is amazing for crowds, as
> our longest wait was 20 minutes for Cheetah Hunt and The
> Simpsons. The wait for Forbidden Journey never got over 10
> minutes the day we were there. If you don't mind, I'll
> concentrate comments on each park you visited in this
> thread so I don't clutter things.

> Universal Studios:

> I loved the Studios. Mummy and The Simpsons ride were both
> excellent IMO. I actually thought HRRR was a fun little
> ride. It's better the further towards the front you go as
> you get some wicked airtime up in the first two rows. Some
> of the trains are much rougher than others, so the
> experience varies quite a bit from ride to ride. Shrek was
> cute, and I thought the many scenes, particularly the
> spider scene, were really done thoughtfully.

I didn't comment much on Shrek as I had a lot I wanted to focus on with the coasters, but I thought it was the most effective 4D theatre I have experienced (I've done all of Busch's incarnations dating back to Pirates and Muppets at MGM). The gags were well timed and didn't just feel like they were forced in just to use the technology. This was the only theatre that used moving seats (without seatbelts, too) which put it over the edge for me.

> Islands of Adventure:

My only knock against this
> park is that it's not really a full day park, particularly
> if crowds are light. We spent a lot more time over at the
> Studios than we did here.

I agree. I got there 2 hrs late and still almost finished the park with 30 min lines for most of the day. If it was as empty as you say, I could see that being an issue later in the day (especially since they don't allow rerides- yes, I am ranting on that again :)

> Spiderman is still holding up well. I'll be curious to see
> what plans they have for it now that HP is in town. It's
> amamzing...if Spiderman were at any other park it would be
> the toast of the town, but at IOA it's almost an
> afterthought now.

I don't think Spidey is quite as far down as you think it is. When I was there, it consistently had 30 -45 minute posted waits. While this is a far cry from the 1 1/2 that used to be reported before Potter came in, I don't think Universal feels like they need to do something to it to bring the crowds in. The exiting guests speak for themselves.

> Hulk has gotten a little rougher but it's still very
> intense.

I didn't notice any roughness, but my having grown up riding Drachen Fire and Anaconda has probably desensitized me to any minute roughness.

Fire Dragon was down when we were there (Fire is
> apparently closed on Tuesdays in the off-season, Ice is
> closed Wednesdays) so we only got to ride Ice. I rode Fire
> ten years ago, but Ice is definitely still better. If Fire
> had a zero-g roll then we could debate, but it's similar to
> the Dominator debate. Dominator would be the best floorless
> if it had one, but it doesn't, so it is what it is.

Now that would have infuriated me, far more than the whole Gwazi thing. Not only has Universal decided not to duel the coasters, not run them at full capacity, but now not ever run one or the other on certain days?!?! Was this how things used to be before in December? How far DD has fallen since becoming "Dragon Challenge". Guess the "Challenge" is figuring out the operating schedule so you can ride both, lol!

> Busch Gardens Tampa:

> Just an outstanding park. I've been on all the custom B&M
> inverts in the US except Flight Deck at California's Great
> America and Montu is definitely in a class all its own.
> Kumba is probably the country's best sit-down looper and
> SheiKra is a lot of fun. I would agree that Griffon is
> slightly better, but only marginally.

I really thing the trains are the only distinction between Griffon and Sheikra now. If Tampa had designed the ride for the 10 across trains in forsight, then I would have to say Sheikra's layout is more impressive visually. Ridewise, they would then be equal.

> I'm definitely with you on Cheetah Hunt, as it feels like
> there was a lot of potential they didn't extract from the
> ride. In fairness, all of the big B&Ms are 54" so they
> wanted something that more families can ride, and at
> 48" they got it. We got in seven rides over our visit
> so we tried it everywhere, and it's one of the few Intamins
> that feels the same no matter where you sit. The ride is
> almost too leisurely except for the second launch, and is
> essentially an oversized Backlot Stunt Coaster with an
> inversion. It's fun but I'd much rather spend re-ride time
> on the B&Ms there.

I just hope that Verbolten will somehow deliver more, depite the same "family" specs.

> Interestingly enough we also caught a whiff of Zambia's
> Smokehouse from SheiKra and decided to eat there. The
> brisket there is really good, and the french fries you
> alluded to were also very tasty. The ribs were good too but
> I can make better ones myself. I still have yet to have a
> bad meal at a Busch park.

Good stuff. Did you get the same at Sea World?

Paul

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 12/20/11 12:20:12 AM

I wanted to chime in here on how [well last year for me] that the Hulk didn't seem 'that rough'. So I guess there's something wrong with me, lol.

Spiderman last year [because I did 2-3 rides in a row for single rider] there was at least a few times the end scene where Doc Oc hits you with the levitation ray, the screens just blacks out and you only feel the ride and disjointed audio as the vehicle moves around the track and they get the screen ready at the finale where the villains were tied up. I am a bit worried that Spidey isn't holding up too well. Again it only happened a few times out of the maybe 15~ rides I had over the week I was there.

I totally agree, that would be very terrible to hear that they only send out one dragon per day. Bad enough the dueling aspect is now over 'forever', but one side only a day? That's crazy.

They need to 'un-curse' the dragons asap :) Remove the HP themes :D

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Tomes at 12/20/11 3:06:56 PM

Yep they're just opinions.. We each have our own :-)

Anyway, it's BS about the dragons! I think that's one thing most people will agree about. Individually they're not exceptional rides by any means, just together they're really cool.

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 12/20/11 3:52:33 PM

> Yep they're just opinions.. We each have our own :-)
And nothing wrong with that at all :)

> Anyway, it's BS about the dragons! I think that's one thing
> most people will agree about. Individually they're not
> exceptional rides by any means, just together they're
> really cool.
Yup, My favorite attraction there besides the Hulk and it just becomes worse and worse :( I'm just glad I was there the year before they eliminated the dueling aspect. That ride will never be the same again.

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/20/11 6:51:36 PM

> They need to 'un-curse' the dragons asap :) Remove the HP
> themes :D

Phil, are you going to lead the charge? Occupy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! :)

Paul

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 12/20/11 9:38:38 PM

lol! If only I was there, maybe :evil grin: I'd grab a HP shirt and burn it in protest >:D

Re: Orlando Trip Report Thanksgiving 2011: Day 5 by alpengeistno3 at 12/21/11 5:45:19 PM

> lol! If only I was there, maybe :evil grin: I'd grab a HP
> shirt and burn it in protest >:D

Could you imagine the shudders from all the little children? They would kick you in the kneecaps and cause a riot :)

Paul