There was considerable confusion about when to arrive. I asked three different people and got three different answers. BGT needs to work out their communication plan a little more clearly. We arrived (as told) at 5:30, only to be told to come back at 7:30. Now two hours in no big deal, but we made a day of it, took in a movie (John Waters' latest - A Dirty Shame) and intentionally did not eat. After all Dinner at 5:30 is a bit early for us.
Once we got in, the confusion dissipated, and the fun began. Our tour guide was Jasmine. Our group was small, only 11. We headed straight for Gwazi.
Only the yellow side was running (Tiger I think) but dispatch times were decent, especially for BGT. We were quickly seated and off to the lift hill. This is the first time I have ridden Gwazi in the dark. I can say it is much better at night. I am not sure if it is the cooling down of the track, or if it is all perception, but this was the best Gwazi ride, I had experienced to date. Even my wife, who rides wooden coasters for me, enjoyed the ride.
Next up, the Mortuary. This haunted house has been around for years, but each year they change it some. This year was it is best yet. It is longer than most and has the great details that you would expect.
Now its dinnertime. A quick jaunt across the park to the Desert Grill (formerly the FestHaus) through the Agony Express and Sliders scare zones. The scare zones are usually not much to be scared of, and this year was no exception. The Agony Express area is good, the rest are mediocre at best.
Dinner was fine, and the show DepRAVEd Reality was not too bad. If you like hot Goth girls, and who doesn't, the Solid Ghoul Dancers were worth the time all by themselves. The show was clever, your standard theme park fare.
After dinner, we hit Until Death Do Us Part, a new house. It was not too bad, nothing extraordinary. Again, the details were good. This one centered on a jilted lover.
Kumba was next. Honestly, this ride has gone down hill. No pun intended. Maybe I am just bored with it. It was relatively smooth, but just does not do it for me any more.
While all of this is happening, Hurricane Jeanne is approaching Tampa. It is odd to look up at the moon and see the clouds pass by at such a fast speed. It almost looked like a movie scene.
Next, we did the Fear Fair (same as last year, clowns with chain saws - yawn) and a new one, Corporate Nightmare. The Corporate Nightmare was very good. It was a "walk in". As the staff gets more practice, it will become excellent. Nice theme of faceless corporate monsters, killer meetings, and a slaughter in a call center. With some time, it will be a hit.
Escape from Insanity: Lockdown, is the featured house at the park. Basically, it is your asylum overtaken by the inmates. This one, like the Mortuary, is a repeat with some changes. Details are wonderful here and overall this is my favorite of all the houses, even those at Halloween Horror Nights up the street.
The storm was getting closer and our tour was being cut short. BGT told the guides that they were closing at 11:30. Our "Fiends" show as cancelled and we still had one house and Montu to visit.
Chaos was the house. It is 3D with haunted techno music. Not bad, just the same as last year with new music. Interesting effect if you have not visited a 3D haunted house, but over all, a one trick pony.
Montu was excellent. The MCB was greatly reduced and the speed was phenomenal. My legs still feel the power. Because of missing our show and the early close, we got two rerides on Montu and two more on Gwazi. When we got to Gwazi, both sides were open, and they were actually dueling. Unreal.
Overall, it was a great visit. I am sorry we missed the Fiends shows - it is my favorite. Nevertheless, power riding Montu and Gwazi helped ease the pain. I am not sure if we will do Universal this year, only time and Mother Nature will know at this point.
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