I arrived in sunny Florida on Wed. at 11 am, picked up my rental car and headed straight to Sea World. This was my first use of my 2 yr Platinum pass, and the free preferred parking is great! ( Too bad IOA/US and Busch are the only passes that automatically include parking.) The park was moderately busy, and I started the day with a ride on Atlantis. The wait was only about 10 minutes since the Floridians think that 70 degrees is blue jean weather. I got soaked and decided that I did not want to use my ride again privileges. (Platinum is ride again on Atlantis, Kraken, Artic, Kumba, Montu, and Gwazi.) Kraken was almost a walk on. The ride is ultra smooth and is now one of my favorite steel coasters. I got in 4 rides in about 30 minutes. I had just enough time to ride Artic before the Shamu show. I vaguely remember Shamu from y only other visit to Sea World when I was like 10, and I enjoyed watching the trainers interact with the whales. I did feel sorry though for the two gentlemen who got tricked into getting soaked, they didn't see it coming at all!
Later Wed. afternoon I headed over to IOA and took full advantage of the single rider lines. Hulk, Dr.Doom, and Spiderman were walkons and I got in 3-4 rides on each before headin over to Universal for a quick ride on Woody's coaster and then 2 rides on MIB before closing. MIB is by far my favorite noncoaster ride in Orlando.
Thanksgiving day I got up, sat through an extremely boring timeshare presentation, and then went over again to the Island. The crowds had increased greatly since the day before and I took the time to ride almost every ride in the park, except for the P. Flyers which were closed. Single rider lines only had a 5 min (Hulk) - 20 min (Spiderman). I skipped the Dragons that day because fast pass was out and the line was like 30 min each side. Ripsaw falls is nicely themed and an all around fun water ride. Next I visited Universal and took in a few shows since the lines were really long and fast pass was gone for most rides. I ended the evening with an hour of back to back rides on MIB. They were having problems with the final screen on one side not working for part of that time which really detracted from the experience. My highest score ended up being 374,950 (I saw a guy get 408k). How has everyone else done on that ride?
Arabian Nights was my free dinner show that evening. The waiting area was cramped and they only had two bartenders in that area to serve the entire crowd! Once we got into the arena thougjh it was nice. The food was good - mixed veggies, potatoes, and prime rib and all the free beer, wine or soda you wanted.
Friday was cold by Florida standards (around 62) and the natives were wearing sweatshirts, jeans and jackets. I even had to resort to wearing a tshirt and pants (instead of shorts) for most of the day. The park was dead until after noon; I guess everyone was out shopping for Black Friday. Gwazi never had more than a ten minute wait all day and both side were running well. I did 4 rides each side and headed for the back of the park. Python opened late so I hopped on Kumba instead. The line was so short that the ride ops were letting people stay on if there were empty seats. 11 cosecutive rides later I finally was not able to find an empty seat. I boarded the skyride to refresh my memory about the park layout and then got back in line to complete the round trip. Python had finally opened and I forced myself to ride it once. It was as rough and short as I had remembered and I'm not sure that it was worth the headache it gave me. Timbuktu is next and I got in a ride on Scorpion and I rode all of the spin and puke rides. Rhino Rally had signs up for a singles line but they were not using it so I had to wait 40 minutes. Cute ride and I liked the river raft section. I stopped riding rides for awhile and attended, had a free beer, and then attended beer school. I was chosen to answer the question for the class at the end and received a can holder. I grabbed one more beer and headed over to see the ice show. This was my favorite show of the week and I was really surprised that they had changed sections of it since I had last been there in May. I love ice skating almost as much as coasters (ok, not quite) and I do ice dancing in my spare time. Montu only had a 20 min wait so I did 2 rides + the 2 rerides and I managed to get 2 front seat rides in when there were groups of 3 in the front row.
I had to leave the park before closing to drive back to Orlando for the Pirates dinner show. The waiting area was much better than Arabian, and they did a preshow and had finger food while you waited. The meal was ok, but the show was fun to watch and it really got the crowd involved. My section cheered for the green pirate who unfortunately kept disappearing below deck with the wench. He didn't take part in a lot of the fight scenes because he was involved in the trapeze scenes with the wench.
Saturday was my last day and the weather was sunny and warm. I started at the back of IOA and got in 6 rides each on Fire and Ice. I still can't decide which side I like better. They started the more with 2 trains and after I had been there for about 6 rides they added the third train. I love the theming in the line and I took the time twice to walk thru it. Hulk was still a walkon for singles (60 min regular) and so I got in several rides on it and Dr Doom. Spiderman was sold out of express passes by noon and they cut off the singles line since it was a 20 min wait. Then Spideran broke down, again, and I gave up and went to Universal. MIB line was 75 min regular, 35 min express, and under 5 min singles so you can guess what line I chose.
Around 3 pm I left the parks to have lunch and drive down to Old Town. They no longer sell individual tickets for the rides and the minimum you can buy is $10. I rode Windstorm once and Dragon Wagon once, found $2 in tickets, and then sold my remaining $5 back to someone in line. At the front of Old Town is a giant slingshot the shoots you 346 ft into the air. I walked up, paid my $25 and soon found myself sitting in a seat very similiar to a coaster seat. The ride op asked if I was ready and next thing I knew I was laughing as I flew through the air first facing the sky and then soaring back towards the earth while staring at the ground. It was awesome! I loved every second of it. I watched my video but decided not to buy it, pick up my free tshirt, and head over to Sea World.
The park was wall to wall people, and I had just enough time for four rides on Kraken, a couple free beers (to relax before the flight) and another round of beer school. i grabbed a bite of Chinese food and rushed to the airport. I arrived at my gate at 7:30 pm for an 8:07 pm flight, checked in and then immediately boarded the plane.
2002--14 states+Mexico, 57 parks, and 228 coasters!
*** This post was edited by mitch48 on 12/2/2002. ***
Is Old Town open year round? Are the coasters any good or just worth it if you happen to be passing by anyhow? Also, how close was it to Orlando or Tampa?
If you could just see the beauty... these things I could never describe. Pleasures and wayward distraction; is this my wonderful prize? --Joy Division
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