This was my first real trip to Orlando since I was a kid. Sure I went to Universal studios 2 years ago during spring break at Daytona but that was just drunk nonsense. My brother and I were there for 7 days and purchased the Orlando 5-park pass for $200 that includes USF, IOA, BGT, SWO and Wet n' Wild.
Sunday, Sept. 22 - Sea World
A beautiful park. Well maintained and tremendous landscaping, which would be the theme for all the parks during the week. Besides the coasters, the amount of animals and the interaction possible with them was great. Feeding the dolphins was a highlight as was the shark experience. Don't miss the Bush hospitality building as free beer is rather hard to come by.
Kraken - Wow I loved this coaster. Tremendous elements that flow together perfectly. Good pace through out. Smooth but still forceful. Floorless just adds to the enjoyment. I love those 2nd and 3rd inversions. It was operating with one train in the morning and 2 the rest of the day. 2-3 train at most all day and great ride op efficiency.
Atlantis - That annoying mime on the TV in the cue done not lie. I got soaked. We sat in the first row and thought we had gotten pretty wet after the big drop. Not even close. It was another little drop that caused the tidal wave over the bow onto us. Fun ride that is well themed and has a great ending. 5 minute wait.
Monday, Sept. 23 - IOA and USF
IOA was first and we were planning on spending the whole day there. A complete absence of lines allowed us to hit both parks. IOA is a great park. Themeing is incredible and the photo opportunity spots, especially in the comic book area are a blast. They have without a doubt the best collection of wet rides I've ever been on. Ripsaw falls was amazing and Popeye's rafts were incredible. Long and with unique elements you don't see in other raft rides. Jurassic park was a good story if a little less unique. Spiderman broke down in the morning so we didn't get to ride it.
Dueling Dragons - I was amazed but the length and detail that went into the cue. It was a pleasure to walk through, if quite a bit long. We rode Ice once and Fire 3 times. There was a 2-3 train wait each time, but it took about 25 minutes due to one train operation and horrible ride op efficiency. The rides had a nice first drop and first elements and the close calls were fun, but the ride lacked length and forces. I was disappointed but still enjoyed the dragons. Themeing along makes them a great ride.
Hulk - Now this is a world class coaster. It took me a while to appreciate it but that was made simple by walk-ons all day and great 2-3 train operation. The launch into the roll makes the whole park worth it. Perfect setting over the water and a surprisingly extensive second half of the ride make it one of the best coasters I've been on.
We moved on to USO and walked on to all the rides. Fun but not thrilling would be the best way to describe it, especially having been there before. The only ride new to me was MIB and it was a disappointment. I was expecting a lot more after all the awards it had won. It just seemed short and the shooting was just annoying as it really seemed like the accuracy was poor at best. Still well done though and the best ride in the park.
Tuesday, Sept. 24 - MGM
When Disney does something they always do it right. MGM is another perfect example. From the moment you walk in you can feel the difference. Every little detail is taken care of. Highlights included Who Wants to be a Millionaire where I was this close to getting in the hot seat (6th actually), the back lot tour where we took part in the pre-show, and Muppets 3D which was the best 3D show I've seen. Tower of Terror was a world class ride. Well done from the moment you walk in the front door. It actually felt like a real hotel. The ride ops just added to the atmosphere. It was a walk on all day.
R&R coaster - Fun ride. Every coaster should have a sound track that is so perfectly timed to the ride. We rode the front seat and the back, with the back getting the nod. Makes a great on ride photo op but there is no way I'm paying $16 for a photograph.
Thursday, Sept. 26 - Wet n' Wild, IOA & USF
After a day off of ocean fun at Daytona and casino fun on the Sterling cruise ship at night it was back to the parks.
Knee boarding at W&W is amazing. Sure it takes some getting used to but once you've got it straight it's a lot of fun. And with the rest of their collection of slides, this is the best water park I've been to. The bomb drop slide is just plain scary and is such a good way.
At about 3:30 we headed to USF to hit T2 which was closed last time we were there. I had seen it before and enjoyed it. No different this time. A great show and the smoke at the end is worth the price of admission. We headed over to IOA to end the day. 2 more laps on the dragons which seemed better to me that earlier in the week, but they still seemed to be missing something. A couple more rides on Hulk as well. We ate in the Jurassic park discovery center. Best place in the park I think. The view is worth going in even if you're not eating. Makes for a great picture.
Spiderman, our reason for going back was a walk on and by far the best flat ride I've ever been on. The first half is decent and I was going to give Indiana Jones at Disneyland the nod, but once that anti gravity ray hits us I couldn't believe my eyes. It was just stunning.
Flying Unicorn - Yes I rode it. There was no line and it provided some good g's in the helix. Hop on for quick fun ride if there's no line.
Friday, Sept. 27 - Bush Gardens and Hal-o-Scream
BGT is a big park with some amazing thrills and some great animals. We saw gaiters, zebra, lions, tigers, monkeys, etc. The train was a great ride thought the savanna and the rino rally was good if short. The water portion was closed and that left a short jeep ride with a rino spotting.
Kumba - This ride is amazing. It reminds me a lot of Kraken even though it was built 6 or 7 years earlier. It was way ahead of it's time. We hit it early in the morning and stayed on for 6 straight laps, all over the train. For a couple of those laps we were the only ones on the train. Hit this one early in my opinion.
Gwazi - We rode Tiger in the morning and Lion in the afternoon. An amazing ride if it wasn't for the pathetic one side, one train operation, with obscenely long restraint checking and an insistence on a tight seatbelt and stapling. A 2-3 train wait was turned into a 20 minute wait.
Python - Smooth for a corkscrew. It must have something to do with the weather down there. A short, fun ride with a 1 train wait. Nothing worth re-riding.
Scorpion - The surprise of the trip. The seemingly flimsy lap bars that they had no interest in pushing down to your lap made the loop downright scary. Smooth, good g's and a walk on status made this coaster a winner.
Montu - The best inverted coaster I've been on. It was amazing. The combination of inversions and g's with a great pace and great themeing/ground effects won me over. It would be the best coaster I've ever been on if it weren't for the slow pace and lack of g's after the mid-course breaks. They ruin the second half of this coaster. Still the best inverted I've ever been on, but Karken gets the nod for this coaster trip.
Hal-o-scream - This was my first scream event ever so I was not sure what to expect. After dinner at Taco Bell we headed back to the park and I must say I was impressed. We hit all 6 haunted areas and decided The Mortuary was best, followed by Insanity and Torture. Rippers Row showed a lot of promise but it was short. Great theme though. The lines were long. 20-40 minutes for the better haunted houses. Kumba was 20 minutes. Scorpion was 1 train wait. Montu was 45 minutes easy. 2 train operation with stacking due to all the exit passes and VIPs, which I must confess I was one of. I had received an exit pass when Tidalwave broke down in the morning. That was my week.
Saturday was spent relaxing at Coco Beach, a great way to spend a day away form the parks and it's only 50 minutes away.
*** This post was edited by Mtl_Shag on 9/30/2002. ***
Sounds like a carbon copy of my experience at those parks, sans W&W and MGM, one week earlier. The only difference was that the ride ops were stacking trains on Kraken with a 2 train op. Awesome coaster, though.
Gwazi procedures are ridiculous and DD at IOA was very slow also. BGT was the highlight of my trip. It is a great time of year to go to Orlando.
Good thing you didn't miss Spiderman. Sounds like you had a great time. Good TR.
I really did prefer Montu to DD. It may have been the slow loading etc. that effected my attitude as I rode but Montu was long, had some unique elemets that really worked and seemed to me to have stronger g's.
Now is definitly the time to visit Orlando. The only people there now are the British and they will all be gone by the end of the week at which point absolutly everythign is a walk on, according to the cab driver I had at one point.
Actually, there is a single rider line for Hulk, Spidey, JP River Adventure, and Dr. Doom. I used them 2 weeks ago. I did not see one for DD.
Also, there is one for MIB at Universal Studios.
If they had a single rider line at DD it would make almost every major ride a short wait at any time of the year(if used).
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