I got to the park about 10:15 or so... I was up at 5:30, but I had a lot to do, and couldnt find one of the extra batteries for the digital camera. so I got a late start. I usually park in the life side, as it is usually less crowded. As I drove by the ride side, it was probably 15-20 rows deep. Drove to the life side, and wasnt much better. It was pretty evenly balanced. This was a surprise, as the life side is usually a LOT less crowded. parked in about the 3rd or 4th row, as for some reason, there is always spots open. Went to the main gate, and the season pass cameras were down. I asked the woman at guest relations if I could by a parking pass (under my breath I mumble before they change the policy back to them @#$% tickets again), as I didnt want to have to pay to park next time I came, because the parking lot guy took my free parking ticket attached to my season pass voucher. 30 seconds and $40 later, I had my parking sticker, after three years, I have to say THANK YOU to SF WoA for FINALLY getting it right. Went in, and snapped about 80 or so pictuires on the digital camera throughout the day. Here is what I noticed changed:
The Stingray Cove or whatever it was called has dolphins in it once again. It is now called Dolphin Harbor. There are metal bleachers set up, and a guard rail about 3 feet from the tank all the way around, so you can no longer go up to the tank. There are four dolphins, and they did some pretty nice tricks. Of note: The bleachers are exposed to the elements, so on hot days, you burn, on rainy days you get wet.
Shouka looked really good this year, and has an all new show. Herone male trainer appears to be in his 40s, and you can tell... he REALLY loves what he does. When he was bonding with her, that was from the heart, not theatricks.
Skip and Dudley has the same show with some minor changes. I wont spoil it, but see the show, it is worth it. There was actually 2 bloopers today. When the girl had a hold of the hose to the vacume cleaner, and was swinging it wildly, acting like it was to powerful to hold, she put it up to her face, and was pretending like it was sucking her face off. This is scripted, as it goes back to the Sea World days. The funny part was that the hose was unattached from the vacume cleaner, and she had no way of knowing. The sidekick started laughing, but had no way to tell the other one. After she pulled it off her face, and saw, the sidekick made the L with her hand, and called the other a looser. The second one was the same vacume cleaner. When the sucked the roden down the drain pipe, it happened again, and both girls broke out in laughter, and embarrasement. The adults got a kick out of, and laughed and clapped for them, but most of the kids were to young to know what happened. Very enjoyable.
The tigers gained 100-200 depending on their sex over the off season, and are looking a lot bigger. They still have a little way to go yet, but they are getting big. The one male was pretty fasinated with the audience, being the first show of the year, and did not feel like performing. Also the other did not want to give the plastic toy ack or get out of the pool. Pretty funny as well.
There are a couple of new rides on the life side. One is the Bee's. Family ride located by the aquarium. The other is called the Starfish. It resembles Shwabenshen from Cedar Point, but without the buxom beauty, and every other car is facing bacwards. Laid out similar to FaceOff whereas it allows you to be facing another pair of riders while you are riding. After a few cycles in one direction, it spins the other way, giving all riders a forward and backward sensation.
The Octopuss and the Yoyo have been put over by the Pirate ship, scrambler and swinging pirate ships. I am not sure how many of these were done last season, as I did not go to WoA much last year because of the parking ticket situation.
According to the map, there will be a lumberjack show where the bird show was last year.
Deer Park Plunge is now called Ice Mountain Splash
KFC is out - Alfonso's Tuscan Grill is in.
I did notice a new arcade close to the boat doc on the life side. The attendant chucked when I asked him where the Pac-Man and Donkey Kong machines were, as they were all newer games.
There are two new "Were rollin' pretzel company" stands. One on each side of the park.
Gone are the hot dog looking carts, replaced with a square white one.
Bellaire Expreess (monorail) and Skyscrpaer were cloed because of the waterpark construction.
Texas Twister was also closed.
Now for the bad news...
I used the bathrooms on the Life side next to the Sealion exhibit. They were terrable. 1/2 the lights were out, the toilets didnt flush, and very low water pressure in the sinks. There should have been an out of order sign on the door. I couldnt speak for the rest of them, as this is the only one I used today.
Overall, it was a great day. Lets just hope they have a better year this year than in years past.
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