MK/AK/MGM/Epcot/IOA/USO (8/19-8/26)

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, August 26, 2003 2:12 PM
In case y’all weren’t aware, I went to IOA. I went other places, too. In fact, mostly other places. I’m going to make this as short and sweet as possible and keep it germane to Coasterbuzz, so, of course, that means I’ll talk about everything but the coasters ;).

Magic Kingdom – I just wanted to point out the positive experience we had with Guest Relations here. Friday, the day of E-Ride Night, it began pouring rain in the late afternoon, about two hours before the event was supposed to begin. We’d been waiting until E-Ride Night to ride Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and, of course, neither run in inclement weather. We were also afraid that the rain coupled with the inoperability of those two rides would make lines at the other open rides, namely Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, excessively long.

We went to City Hall to ask about the weather and then try for a refund on our E-Ride Night tickets. Jane, the CM there, asked us which attractions we were hoping to ride, and then she gave us four priority access passes for our party of four. She also said we could stick around until a bit after E-Ride Night had started and then decide to stay or get a refund. We ended up staying and had a great time, despite the rain.

-Big Thunder Mountain Railroad- We rode once in the rain during the E-Ride Night, then once more the next day using our one of our priority passes. This is how all mine train coasters should be, really. You know it’s nothing too extreme or intense, but it’s still *fun*. If you can manage a ride in the last seat, there’s even a bit of airtime.

-Space Mountain- I am proud. I think I am one of the lucky few who’ve seen Space Mountain with the work lights on. What, that’s not too special? Well, of course it’s not. But, I was on it while the lights were on. It’s really amazing to see how much track is in that building, but even moreso, it’s amazing to see how much other stuff there is, too. I had no idea there was an elevator there. After our lights-on ride, the CMs took us aside and asked us to wait, then they let us ride again immediately as soon the work lights were off. Despite the novelty, this ride is far more exciting in the dark. You really lose all sensation of speed while riding in the light. We rode this countless times – so much that I was able to memorize the track layout. We stopped riding after that.

Disney Studios
-Twilight Zone Tower of Terror- The new randomized drop sequences are incredible. Sometimes, they seem a little weak on the upshot and don’t provide the same sort of air you’d get from a Space Shot, but the psychological factor of having no real idea of what’s coming next makes up for it. Some of the sequences also have enormous periods of floater air. Perfect. I’m sure if we rode it more than three times, I’d have memorized the drop sequences.

-Rockin’ Roller Coaster- This ride is breaking in poorly, I’d say. I rode it in previews in 1999 and wouldn’t have believed it was a Vekoma ride even if I saw a bunch of wooden-shoe wearing engineers riding it with my own two eyes. These days, though, it’s easy to see their, ahem, influence on the ride. Still great today, but I worry for its future.

Animal Kingdom
-Primeval Whirl- Spinning Mice suck. The End.
-Expedition Everest- This ride is going to be a lot closer to the midway then I thought, I think. Otherwise, all I saw was prep work for the world’s tallest sidewalk.

Epcot
-Test Track- It’s the same old, same old. A fun ride, but not worthy of the lengthy wait times it sees.
-Mission: SPACE- And now, what you’ve all been waiting for. . .
Okay, so where do I turn in my thrill-seeker wings? This thing absolutely destroyed me! I was so surprised. Okay, it’s not as if I introduced my riding partners to my last meal or anything, nor was I really close to doing that. In fact, I didn’t feel nauseous at all. What got me was my head. Midway through the ride, I found it really difficult to keep the screen in focus and to pay attention to the instructions Gary Sinise was giving. I left feeling a bit disassociated and with a small, perpetuating headache. I rode twice in one day, but didn’t want to risk the discomfort again and skipped my final opportunity to ride.

Now, as a simulation, it’s absolutely the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. It really is top notch. I anticipated being able to discern what the centrifuge was doing to make me feel however I was feeling, but you really can’t tell what’s going. It doesn’t feel like it’s spinning, it’s just really, really powerful. The onset of the intense g-forces is almost instantaneous, with no ramping up like you’d expect of a centrifuge. The zero-g is weakest part of the experience, by far, but it only lasts a few brief moments.

For me, though, the entire experience just doesn’t work. Disney’s other thrill rides have balance – Tower of Terror goes up before it comes down, it tells a story, and it gives you some time to collect yourself and prepare for what’s coming and time to recover from what happened. Test Track has the same buildup. Splash Mountain, too. Mission: SPACE does not. From the moment the ride starts, it’s really intense and stays intense until the very last moment. There’s no downtime, no build up, and no time for recovery. If one isn’t aware of the amazing technology used in the attraction, I think it offers very little in terms of reridability because there’re so few details to pay attention to. The only people reriding this are people who like feeling hung over, I think, because that’s a lot like what it felt like (not that cute, innocent, little old me would know *anything* about being hung over.)

Islands of Adventure- We visited for a half a day without Front-of-the-Line (FOTL) access and about one half a day with FOTL access. We accomplished about the same amount of things during each day. But, then, long, heavy rains during the afternoon impeded our progress a lot.

-Dueling Dragons- Fire Dragon is far, far superior to Ice Dragon in practically every way. Fire offers intense positive g’s, great floater air on that camelback, more convincing close encounters, and better pacing. Ice has the cobra roll going in its favor, but the first drop and turnaround are a bore. If these rides are down for weather, as they were sometimes during our visit, Universal would do well to post someone at the Express entrance explaining that. It sucked to walk all the way up the exit to get turned away.

-The Incredible Hulk- More forceful than I remember it being back in 1999. The launch can’t compete with some of the newer rides – or even Batman and Robin: The Chiller, for that matter. The turnaround near the lift is pointless and the second half just kinda meanders around, Great Bear-style, but without any of the charm.

-The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man- This attraction really impressed me. I don’t remember it being near as seamless and cohesive as it was this time around. As promised, all of the effects were working on my rides taken Thursday and Sunday. On Monday, however, the dump truck was broken. Still, this climbed way up on my list of things to tell other people about and really saved the day for Islands of Adventure.

-Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls- Whoa, airtime. You get unnaturally wet on this log flume, but that’s really all it has going for it. It can’t hold a candle to Splash Mountain in terms of charm, reridability, visual appeal, or attention to detail.

Universal Studios-
-Men In Black: Alien Attack- I genuinely think that I this ride is only on par with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. It’s good, but it offers something completely different than Buzz. It has its own unique challenges because of its car design, but it seems like there are many fewer targets to occupy your attention. This could’ve loaded faster, too, I think. We rode twice and would’ve ridden many more times if the Express lines were taking as long as 25 minutes to load. Now, I know 25 minutes isn’t really bad, but when the regular queue is 60 minutes, something about the system isn’t working right.

-T2:3D Battle Across Time- This was my first time seeing this. I can understand why it was amazing when it opened and I did really enjoy this attraction. By the time I saw it, though, I was a little tired of watching movies.

-Twister- I’m not a big fan of special effects extravaganzas, but this was actually pretty cool and convincing. Ironically, I think the things really holds this back is Universal’s effort at creating a tornado in the building. A sensory experience would work *so* much better.

-Shrek 4D- Probably the best 3D theater experience anywhere. The preshow was a little excessive in length, but I really enjoyed this attraction a whole bunch and wish I’d gotten a chance to see it more than once.

-Revenge of the Mummy- The sign out front reads, “A Psychological Thrill Ride.” I’d never seen that marketing phrase describing this ride before.

-Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast- I don’t wanna be a duck, I don’t wanna be a duck. . .

Comments, suggestions, tips, donations and care packages are always accepted. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your stay here at Jeff’s CoasterBuzz.


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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.
*** This post was edited by Chernabog 8/26/2003 6:23:01 PM ***

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 3:03 PM
I think i know what you're saying about not being able to focus right on the screen in Mission: SPACE. I found the screens to be odd, like they would warp when you movie your head up and down. When it made me a little dizzy, I just focused on the control panel. Is that what you meant? The screens looked like they were way out in front of you and were sorta like those weird 3D starfield things in the queue for Space Mountain.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 4:01 PM
Yes! It was something quite like that. Another parallel I just thought of was something I've experienced at Disneyquest before -- if their virtual reality headsets are right in front of my eyes, the entire picture is out of focus. It was exactly that sort of thing, but I guess, coupled with the ride, it had a huge impact on me.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 5:52 PM
That's the upteenth time I've heard that Mission:Space is not a rerideable attraction and causes dizziness. Maybe they need to tweak the ride a little and change whatever it is that is making people so disoriented while riding it.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 6:19 PM
If you stayed on site for FOTL what hotel did you stay at and howq did you like it???
For me i found MIB to be much more enjoyable than Buzz as the ride is much more interactive and its fun to repeatedly ride it too try and top your score. We stayed at Portifino in Dec. and with fotl just kept getting off and re-riding it for awile so it was alot of fun.
Nice report!!!
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Wednesday, August 27, 2003 6:24 AM
We stayed for one night at the Royal Pacific Resort solely for the FOTL access. It was cheaper and more versatile for us to book a room than it was to buy the Universal Express Plus passes.

I found the hotel to be very nice. Our room was ready when we checked in at about 10 AM, it was clean, and it was reasonably big. I don't think we stayed long enough to really explore what the resort had to offer, but given our experience, I think I would've been unhappy to have paid rack rate for that room. But, for $110/night and for the benefit of the FOTL access it was a nice place.

Of the hotels there, I think that I'd be most likely to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel during my next trip. Particularly, I was unhappy with Universal's transportation to and from their hotels and would like that the Hard Rock Hotel is in walking distance.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2003 9:51 AM
Are the rooms at the Royal Pacific big enough to sleep 5 people???? We are planning on going in Dec of 2004 and havent decided where on site we want to stay. We really liked Portifino and thought it was great but would stay elsewhere to save money as long as it is onsite. At the Portifino we rarely waited more than 10 minutes for a water taxi, so how was your park transportation??? What type and what kind of waits??
PS, thanks in adavnce for your help!!!
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Thursday, August 28, 2003 6:08 AM
The rooms there could sleep 5, I think if one slept on the floor and the rest shared the beds. It'd be a little cramped, but not terrible. Keep in mind that the hotel needs to have the names of everyone staying in the room for everyone to get a keycard good for FOTL access and that they charge an additional $25/night per adult when more than two are in the same room. So, even though 5 may fit, they may not allow it or it may be cheaper to stay at another hotel that sleeps 5 regularly.

I only took the Water Taxi once and waited no more than 10 minutes for it. But, we didn't find it convenient, really. Getting to the boat dock was a bit like winding my way through a maze, and since the boats don't run in thunderstorms, they weren't really beneficial to us. The walkway was long -- and when the boats aren't running in a thunderstorm, wet. Still, we ended up walking most of the time because it was as fast as the boats and more reliable.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Thursday, August 28, 2003 6:32 AM

Chernabog said:
Keep in mind that the hotel needs to have the names of everyone staying in the room for everyone to get a keycard good for FOTL

Tell that to gator! I believe Bill and Jill posed as little kiddies at IoA. ;)

About the water taxis - We stayed at the RP (I thought it was very nice) in August, and I had mixed feelings about the taxis and their proximity to the park entrances. If you are coming out of IoA, it isn't really *that much* of an extra walk to just head to the hotel on foot than it is to walk all the way over to the dock. I did, however, enjoy taking the boats, as I found them to be pretty relaxing.

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Thursday, August 28, 2003 6:37 AM
I think I really resent being deposited in Citywalk rather than at my destination -- either by foot or by boat. It seems pandering and crassly commercial to me. It's bad enough having to walk through a gift shop after every ride, but to have to walk through one before I even get to the park is pretty bad.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Thursday, August 28, 2003 6:57 AM
Particularly when you have to walk through a mob of drunk 18 year-olds drenched in CKOne with horrid music blasting out of Jimmy Buffet's Margariteville (or whatever it's called).
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Thursday, August 28, 2003 7:17 AM

chris said:


Tell that to gator! I believe Bill and Jill posed as little kiddies at IoA. ;)

POSED? I'll have you know I've been called immature by a 13-year-old....I don't have to pose, I *am* a little kid....just in an older person's body...;)

The boats *could* drop you at Discovery Center in the JP area, but I think dropping you at CityWalk means you have to go through the turnstiles, so they can check to make sure you've paid park admission...

bill, thinks the single-rider lines are the greatest thing since sliced bread....
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"The robot mafia is running numbers?"
"Well, nothing fancy, mostly just ones and zeroes"...;)


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Thursday, August 28, 2003 7:54 AM

POSED? I'll have you know I've been called immature by a 13-year-old....I don't have to pose, I *am* a little kid....just in an older person's body...

Yeah but, you have to have the people listed. Bill & Jill got keys because we swiped them from my nephews. And yes, the keys did say "CHILD" on them quite prominently, and while Bill was "William" Jill had to be "Ethan."

I have heard that the Hard Rock's pool is nicer than RP, and of course Portofino Bay is the nicest of the bunch in my opinion. If you stay at any of the three you can visit and use the pools at the other two.

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Thursday, August 28, 2003 10:15 AM
When we will visit we will have 2 adults and 3 kids, even though the kids are ol enough where they pay adult prices but are under 18 yrs old.
If it is cramped it wont be that bad as we dont spend much time in the room as im a park commando!!!!
We really enjoyed Portifino when we stayed there last time but are looking to save a little money but will stay on site for FOTL!!!
The bathrooms at Potifino are huge, enough for a roll away to be put in their and sleep.
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Thursday, August 28, 2003 10:25 AM
...my brother is 15 and was treated as a child by the hotel, but paid for adult admission to the parks. I think Loews hotels consider anyone under 18 as a child.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Thursday, August 28, 2003 9:30 PM
So you would say that Shrek 4-D beats out Muppets 4-D? I would think that the lack of Muppets would be a detriment.

I went to MK/AK/MGM/IOA/BGT (+ Old Town!) for the first time in late Jan./Early Feb. It was a great time to go. We got a room at the Best Western near Universal for $29 a night! Best of all, they had free shuttle service to all Disney parks, Universal, and even Sea World. That saved me a bunch a day in parking.

I loved Tower of Terror. I could've ridden it all day. The randomness was great. I was quite unimpressed with R'NRC, though. Why would a company with as many bucks to throw around go to freakin' Vekoma? It's not just an "enthusiast" thing. I'm in the industry, and everyone knows that they're unreliable and unrerideable. The only reason to go to them is that they're cheap.

Anywho, you can't beat that half price beer & wine thing in that big tree, either. Just another thing that adds to the greatitude of IOA.

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Rejection is one thing, but rejection from a fool is cruel!
-Morrissey

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Friday, August 29, 2003 6:02 AM
While lacking in the Muppet department, Shrek is the best of the '4-D' attractions I've seen. It's very, very good.
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Friday, August 29, 2003 7:42 AM
Keep in mind that Muppet Vision 3D is at least 10 years old, and still holds up next to Shrek, in my opinion.

That said, Shrek was awfully good!

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Sunday, August 31, 2003 12:18 AM
Mission Space sounds not too great of a thing to ride first thing in the morning. When I go later this year I should prop wait it out till later in the day then? If there is one thing I hate it is the feeling of a hangover, and to have that in the happiest place on earth sounds like a paranoia attack waiting to happen.
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Sunday, August 31, 2003 6:04 AM
I would say Hard Rock has the best pool. How can you not like a pool that has music playing underwater? Also with zero entry and the sand it makes you feel as if you were at the beach. And your only a short little walk away from Universal Studios.

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B Rad

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