After work today for the first time ever I headed to Fun Spot America. Before my review, first a brief history...
Fun Spot America is one of two Fun Spots in the Orlando area; Fun Spot America is located within minutes of Universal Orlando (essentially across the street - with that street being I4). The other (Fun Spot USA) is located close to Walt Disney World and the Old Town area in Kissimmee. Until recently Fun Spot USA was easily the more popular and noteworthy of the Fun Spots as it has the largest skycoaster in the world at 300' in height and a pretty impressive collection of rides including a couple coasters. I had visited Fun Spot USA once to experience the 300' skycoaster (easily the most terrifying ride type experience I've done). Now, with a massive $25 million investment this year, Fun Spot America on the other side of town seems to be the place to be. The investment included adding new flat rides (including the classic enterprise Wheelie from SFOG), a huge skycoaster, and most importantly two new roller coasters. These new roller coasters include a Vekoma family suspended coaster and a smallish in stature GCI wooden coaster. To say there is a lot of exciting new things happening in Orlando right now is an understatement. With Transformers at Universal, Antarctica at Sea World, New Fantasyland at Disney; its really cool to see an underdog like Fun Spot keeping pace with such a massive addition.
When I arrived just after 3PM there were maybe a dozen or so cars in the parking lot. The free parking in a tourist district that seems to nickel dime you at every turn is a nice change. The park prides itself for not only free parking but also free admission and wi-fi. The park was sparsely crowded with no lines to be found and no more than a few people on any given attraction at a time. I couldn't help but breath a sigh of relief. No 1-2 hour lines or Fast Passes, Quick Ques, Express Passes, and such? I cant help but feel like I'm not in Orlando at all any more. Maybe back up north at a traditional amusement park. Seeing as I have always been a bigger fan of small amusement parks rather than massive theme parks its a nice feeling.
I head to a ticket booth and opt for a "Sampler" wristband. The Sampler gives you four rides of your choice for $29.95 plus tax. You can also get a ride all day wristband for $39.95. If you want to simply buy one ride on one of the coasters it will set you back $9. Ouch. The pricing seems a bit steep there and makes a wristband seem like a logical choice.
I immediately notice White Lightning's station is buzzing with various employees hard at work and a sign apologetically stating the ride is temporarily not operational. Not surprising there are still some bugs to work out considering the grand opening is not for another week. No matter, on to the other new coaster - Freedom Flyer. Freedom Flyer is an impressive looking suspended coaster that soars over the park's midways. I jumped on to the back row having heard that the first drop has some surprising airtime back there. The rumors were true, the first drop did have a surprising pop of airtime. From there the ride maintains a decent speed and goes through a fun layout packed with twists and turns. During the helix finale there are some good foot choppers. Freedom Flyer is a fun, family friendly ride. It was frankly a bit more exciting than I expected. I really enjoy the lap bar only restraints, as well, they made for a very smooth ride and seemed to allow great sight lines. Even though I was siting in the back I felt like I had a good view.
After Freedom Flyer I walked around a bit and snapped some photos while waiting/hoping for White Lightning to open. After taking photos I found a nice quite area to sit in the shade for about 10-15 minutes while test runs were done. The park looked pretty well landscaped and I was relieved to find areas with shade trees. Then, the sign apologizing for the closure was removed and the ride was ready. I went for a ride in the back row first. The first drop is great - fast, smooth, and very steep. From there the ride has the most twisted layout a out-and-back woodie can seem to have. Highlights for me included the double up-double down, the nearly 90* turnaround, and in general the plethora of airtime hills. After a ride in the back I went around two more times for rides in the front and once more in the back. White Lightning packs a fantastic punch in a relatively small size; packed with airtime and a relentless layout. I have to say its my new favorite coaster in Orlando and falls somewhere into my top 10 wood coaster list. Fun Spot definitely put itself on the map as a destination for people to visit while in Orlando. I only hope they can keep the ride well maintained and running smoothLast edited by Capitalize, Thursday, June 6, 2013 1:57 PM
Going to try to hit this place up next time we're in Orlando. Sounds like a good day off from the big parks would be to go here and maybe hit up some mini golf.
White Lightining does look like it has an amazingly quality filled layout. I want to ride it so so bad. :-(
I was considering dropping by when I am at Universal for HHN23 but $9 a ride? Phew! It all depends on how easy it is for me to walk there I and how good I am feeling.
The single ride rate is over the top, no doubt. I was hoping it would only be a few dollars so I could occasionally stop by just for a ride or two. But with that pricing it looks like I'll only be heading over for rare, extended visits that call for an unlimited rides wristband.
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