The Ups and Downs of May 2005 (Part 4) (Cedar Point, Busch Gardens Tampa, Cypress Gardens, and Universal Florida

Associated parks:

“Oh oh! There is something going on”

-May 20th-

The day started out typical. Both Jeff Johnson and I got ready and left Columbus early to be at Cedar Point at opening. The plan was pretty simple. We didn’t have to ride everything. We just wanted to take our time and kind of relax at the park as we both have ridden everything there.

---Cedar Point---

This was my first visit to the park this year in which the park was open. I was looking forward to riding Top Thrill Dragster again as well as many other rides. We arrived at around 9:00AM and parked behind Gemini. Jeff had to check in with guest relations to get a free ticket thanks to his Knott’s Berry Farm pass. I told Jeff I would be waiting back behind the gate as I knew he didn’t have the Joe Cool option on his Knott’s pass so that meant we wouldn’t be getting into the park for another half hour. To my amazement, they told Jeff he could go on inside. I soon met him inside and we were off to TTD.

We were very pleased to find no line for the ride when we arrived.We met up with friend Marc Spauding for a few before we started walking in line. We waited for the front seat for our first ride. I love that front row. The wind in your face is incredible as is the amazing view from the top. I still think the launch feels stronger from the back of the train, but the front has a feeling all its own. We ended up riding this couple of times before moving on.

It looked like that the park wasn’t going to be crowded this day. The exact order of what we rode is something I don’t remember, but we ended up riding a lot. A few hours later we noticed the park getting crowded. We decided to take a ride on MaXair but the line was over 40 minutes long. We decided to wait it out. It was worth it as we had a great ride. By this time we were getting hungry so we decided to grab a bite to eat at the Friday’s in Breakers. Once we were done eating we went down towards Wicked Twister and noticed the park had gotten really crowded. The lines were insane. So much for our less crowded day.

The temperature was also cooler than we had expected so we both went back out to my car and put on our jackets. Like the complete coaster tools that we are, we brought the same Silver Star jacket by chance. We also decided to try and track Jack Falfas down as Jeff would have loved to chat with him for a few considering he used to always talk when Jack was at Knott’s. After being directed to 4 different places, we finally were told that Jack wasn’t in the park, but was at Knott’s out of all places. Sorry Jeff.

We ended up walking down Frontier Trail and passing up the 2-hour plus wait for Millennium Force and riding Cedar Creek Mine Ride. Jeff had the idea of giving Mean Streak a ride. I usually take one ride on Mean Streak a year just to see how its doing. I am not a fan of the ride and if I remember correctly, the last ride I had on it was horrible.

We decided to wait for a front seat ride as there was hardly anyone in the station. As we were getting ready to get on the ride, I noticed C’Buzzer Tyler (Neuski) on the Mean Streak crew. Before we rode, we briefly talked with him about the trip that Jeff and I were going to take the next morning.

I have to admit. Our ride on Mean Streak was actually alright. I haven’t had a ride like that in a long time. It wasn’t offensive in the least. When Tyler asked us how our ride was, we told him it was good. I am not sure if he believed us or not but it really was surprising. Who would have guessed?

Jeff and I continued walking around the park riding various things including Gemini before we ended up deciding to wait an hour and a half to ride MF. There is no doubt that the wait was extended due to the strange seatbelt rule. We could tell that people were getting turned away in the station left and right. We ended up riding in the back row and having a nice ride.

Around this time we realized we only had to ride 4 more coasters if we wanted to ride all 16 in one day. We hurried to Wicked Twister and rode it. Mantis had a really, really long line so we decided to try that later. We went to Woodstock Express and grabbed a quick ride. We then approached the hardest credit to get. Jr. Gemini. I had a pass that allowed me to ride without a kid. Jeff didn’t have one. Luckily for him a woman was riding with her two kids and offered to let Jeff ride with one of her kids.

With only one more coaster to ride and less than an hour to do it, we walked over to Mantis and found the line to be fairly short. Just past the bottom of the steps leading into the station to be exact. Just as Jeff and I stopped at the end of the line, someone from down below was asking for two riders. No one budged so Jeff and I got the attention of the ride operator and pointed out we were two riders. We ended up getting to pass up the rest of the line and walking onto the back row. We were not only thrilled that we had somehow managed to ride all 16 coasters in one day (something we couldn’t do at any other park) but we ended up getting a ultra-intense ride on Mantis that reminded me of the first couple of weeks it ran in 1996. There was no first drop trim and the mid-course block trims were barely on. I couldn’t believe it. My legs were tingling by the end of the ride. I was reminded that the first drop trim is not bad. =:^)

We still had a half hour or so to ride something so Jeff suggested we hit TTD once more. The line was pretty short so we decided to wait for a front seat again. We were in line for the front when the main line was closed due to the park closing. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to get a front seat ride as if there are empty seats on the last couple of trains they fill those up with people waiting in the front line. As luck would have it we were the second to last front seat riders of the day. It was a great ending to a great day. What made it even better was the bonus of being able to get another ride as riders were needed to fill up all available seats. Now THAT was a great ending to a great day.

We headed back home to Columbus soon after. We weren’t far away from Sandusky when we were stopped in a traffic jam on Route 4. I know the road to and from Cedar Point like the back of my hand so I knew there wasn’t any train tracks for quite a while. We were completely stopped for over a half hour before we noticed many people in front of us turning around. This let us get closer to see what was going on. As it turned out, there was a police chase that ended with the aid of road spikes. We saw a state trooper removing the road spikes from the road. About 15 minutes later we were able to continue onto our journey. We passed the vehicle that ran over the spikes but didn’t see anyone around it.

I got a call from Beth and Taryn who work in guest relations at PKI. They had planned to meet us at Cedar Point during some point but got into some nasty traffic in Columbus. They had just arrived in Sandusky when they called me. It’s too bad we didn’t get to meet up. Sorry guys.

Once back in Columbus, I finished packing and soon hit the sack. We had a pretty big day in store for us the next morning and had to be at the airport pretty early.

-May 21st-

Jeff and I made it to the airport around 7:30AM. We dropped off my car in the $5 dollar a day (with coupon) blue lot and took a shuttle to the terminal. When we were planning our trip we originally were going to do the entire trip flying with Delta but Southwest announced some great deals so we decided to save some cash and fly down to Florida via Southwest, then back home via Delta. We couldn’t do the entire trip on Southwest because they had flights that left too early on the day we needed to come back. There weren’t any late flights.

Our flight to Tampa gave us the chance to get a couple more hours of sleep which we took full advantage of. Our plan once we arrived was to wait for the flight of fellow enthusiast and friend Barry Short. Barry’s flight was to land a half hour or so after ours. Once we landed and walked off the plane, we found out that Barry would be arriving at the gate right next to ours. We looked over and noticed his flight had gotten in early and in a matter of seconds we saw him. How’s that for timing?

We needed to pick up our rental car so we took a shuttle bus to National and picked up a gold Grand Am. Without any hesitation we hopped onto the highway and made our way to our next park.

----Busch Gardens Tampa----

Before we even got to the park we could see the new ride come into view. It looked impressive from the road and I couldn’t wait to get on the damn thing. In a matter of minutes we were pulling up to the parking lot. Barry had purchased a Sesame Place season pass and had the benefit of getting free parking at all Busch parks. When we showed the parking attendant his pass, we were declined. Barry thought this would happen so he printed out the free parking policy before he left. We handed it to the attendant. She had to get her boss to verify. Sure enough, we got free parking.

We could tell the park was packed this day by the amount of cars in the lot. We parked pretty far away and hopped onto a tram. The new tram tunnel is nice and makes the journey to the front gate much easier than it used to be. Jeff and I purchased our discounted tickets (thanks again to Barry for getting the coupons) and we were soon walking inside the park.

We had one goal for today. While we would have loved to ride the other rides in the park, our goal was to ride the new coaster, then make our rounds to get on the other rides. All of us have ridden the other rides quite a lot so if we were to miss a few rides, we wouldn’t be disappointed. We really didn’t know which way to walk. We just started heading to the incredible massive structure of the new B&M dive machine. We arrived at some temporary queue near a bird exhibit. Supposedly from this point the wait was 4 hours. We were so excited to ride this baby that we were willing to wait it out. All of us had waited longer for other rides so we knew this was doable.

The first thing we noticed about this line was how fast it was moving. We didn’t really stop. We just kept on moving. The closer and closer we got to the ride, the more incredible it looked. I couldn’t believe how large it was in person. Much, MUCH larger than I thought it would be. As the line continued to move at a brisk pace, we were able to take some pictures. The view of the first drop from down below is amazing. The splashdown area was soaking us at one point but it felt so good considering it was so hot. It was so hot that the park was passing out free bottled water to everyone in line. You could take as many as you wanted. This was a nice touch. I don’t expect the park to do that every day but they knew it was going to be crowded and hot. It was opening day after all and they had a brand new gift for everyone to ride.

We couldn’t believe how fast the line continued to move. We kept on snapping more and more pictures of the ride in action. This was the prefect place and time to try out my new camera and I was taking all kinds of pictures. As I was putting my camera away in one of the pockets of my cargo shorts, an employee told me I needed to keep my camera in the pocket when riding. I had no problem with that and showed him I was putting the camera away. He said thank you and moved on.

We had only been standing in line for maybe a half hour by the time we reached the official sign for the ride. We also saw a sign stating the wait was about an hour and a half from that point. Unless there were a lot of hidden queues, we didn’t see how this line was going to be over an hour. I pulled out my camera and took a quick shot of the sign. After I put my camera back into my pocket, a park employee who was standing at the sign entrance told me I was not allowed to ride with my camera. When I asked him why not, he claimed that my cargo shorts don’t have zippers and my camera would fly out. I showed him how tight my double button pockets were but that wasn’t enough to convince him. I asked him why one employee saw me put my camera away and didn’t say anything about my pockets, and why there are no signs describing this zipper policy. He didn’t have an answer but wasn’t going to let me ride. He said the only way to get past him would be to purchase a locker, then show him the key and we would be let back in line. Jeff, Barry, and I got out of line, purchased a locker, and then showed the attendant the key. He let us back in.

We continued our quick walk through some more queue. Looking up we saw a series of small wooden bridges that led to the loading station. Each bridge led to a particular row on the train. It was very neat looking from below. After we walked up a very wide walkway where potential line jumping could occur (What is it with wide queues and B&M dive machines anyway?), we finally were at the area where we were about to walk into the station. The park was assigning rows so we weren’t able to take a front row for our first ride. We asked but were declined. We instead were sent to the back row.

We were the very next group of people to be let onto the ride when it e-stopped. One train was stuck on the lift. One train was stuck on the mid-course drop (and had to be evacuated), and the others were in the final brake run area. Very rarely does a B&M go DDM for long periods of time so we decided to wait it out. We were standing in the sun which kind of sucked but the park offered us more water, then eventually made everyone step back so those of us that were in the sun could get some shade. We watched as park employees and a B&M employee worked on one of the drive wheels in the station. It ended up being a prox switch problem and was fixed. The downtime was an hour which was longer than we expected but we were soon allowed to ride.


This is what I have been waiting for. I really loved the rides I got on Alton Tower’s Oblivion even though that ride is really short. B&M are calling SheiKra the next generation of the dive machine. There are a couple of improvements over the prototype. With three rows of stadium seating, we had to climb up a step before sitting down in the ultra-comfortable seats. Rows 2 and 3 have the benefit of having a floorless coaster sensation as your feet won’t touch the floor.

We left the station and dipped down a pretty wide right hand curve before starting our steep 45-degree climb of the lift. Our anticipation raised more and more as we lifted into the sky. Once we crested we were treated to a view of downtown Tampa and parts of the park. At this point I was pretty damn nervous. Not a bad nervous but one of those rare times that I crave, proving that I still have good ole’ fear in me. I began giggling like a little kid as we coasted around the u-turn at the top. Oblivion uses a complex chain drive system to get the trains around the curve before the drop. On SheiKra, I believe it’s mostly done by gravity with only the aid of drive wheels to slow the train down to get it into place before the drop.

As the train slooooowly started to peak over the drop from hell, we were once again treated to an amazing view of the rest of the layout of the ride including an Immelman that appeared to be very far down below. It was also this time when I could tell that sitting in the back had a nice benefit. The two rows in front of us were perched at an angle looking down. We were not. We were sitting almost upright and we couldn’t see what was down. This brought another level of fear and I actually began saying some choice words. These are the moments that I love about riding.

Without warning we were let go and the angelic sensation of floating took over. The 89-degree drop was amazing. I couldn’t believe how long I was lifted out of my seat. It was pure bliss. We bottomed out and made our way up into the only inversion on the ride. This Immelman is so huge that it almost doesn’t feel like an inversion. The train gracefully moves through it like an inverted ballet or sorts. We experienced some great float time once more before we rocketed down and around a left hand curve, giving us some nice positive gs.

We hopped into the mid-course drop area and were slowed by some magnetic trims. We came to a crawl but didn’t stop as our ride continued. We flung over and down another drop, (81 degrees) and into a wide tunnel that obviously wasn’t done with the theming process. This didn’t make the ride any less thrilling for me. The second drop offers the same float felt on the first one so we were all yelling out loud at this point.

We made a ride right hand turn before diving down to the splash area. We were only misted as the huge waves behind us drenched anyone standing nearby. We slowed a bit before heading up and making a tight right hand turn and into some super smooth magnetic brakes.


That was one incredible ride. It was worth the price of admission and the cost of our flights. I am SO glad we have one of these rides in the US now. I think it’s a ride the entire family can ride, yet be thrilling enough for enthusiasts. I know there are a few people out there that think the ride is a bore, but I certainly am not one of them.

Once we hopped off our train and made our way down the spiral staircase, we were back by the entrance of the ride. We saw an argument with a security guard and a customer. We didn’t catch what they were arguing about but the guard did threaten to take him out of the park at one point. We left the area and headed towards the back of the park. We were all hungry at this point and wanted to grab some food. We stopped at the feasthaus-like place and had an alright meal before moving on.

We really wanted to ride Cheetah Chase and Kumba but were welcomed by hour-plus waits. We decided to pass and walked around a bit more. We took some more pictures of SheiKra. We noticed that the splashes on the splash section were slightly different from each other. Upon closer examination we noticed that some of the splash cones on the train have small walls inside making the splash spread out more. Some of the trains didn’t have these in the cones.

We only wanted to spend another hour in the park as we had another park to go to. We figured Montu would have a long line, and we didn’t even want to try riding Gwazi because of the ultra-slow loading times, so we decided to take another ride on SheiKra.

Our wait was only about 20 minutes this time. We asked for a front row and were decline once again but we ended up riding in the back once more. We were sitting on the far right of the train so this provided a different experience. As we were sitting on the top of the drop waiting to be let go, Barry pointed out the view down below. We could see a train pulling into the brake run far below us. As we were checking this out, we dropped. This totally caught us by surprise and we were laughing the entire rest of the ride. The float through the inversion is sick! Our second ride was even better than the first. This is one incredible machine BGT has.

We decided to leave the park at this time. We hopped onto a tram but thought there was a stop near our car. There wasn’t so we ended up riding to the lot in a galaxy far, far, away before turning around. This time we knew what stop to step off at but the tram didn’t stop. We ended up going back to the front gate and riding back to the correct stop. The whole thing took under a half hour but it was a half hour that we really needed if we wanted to spend any more time at our next park. I called Joe Campenella to see if he wanted to meet up with us in an hour or so.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you hoq we got to our next park. I just followed the directions that Barry was telling me. We arrived at the park with two hours left to ride. There was a country music concert getting ready to happen so we hoped everyone would be watching the show and not riding anything.

===Cypress Gardens===

This was a new park to me and I really didn’t know what to expect. We met up with Joe Campenella, Keith McVeen, and Dave Johnson at the front gate. They gave us coupons to get inside cheaper so we used them. Keith and Joe hadn’t been to the park, and they live in Orlando. Everyone was new to this so we knew it was going to be a great time. We walked into the park and headed past the amphitheater towards the rides. The park looked fairly empty so we figured we would have no problem getting in some rides. We could tell this park has quite a charm to it. I thought it would feel very similar to Wild Adventures in Georgia as Cypress Gardens is owned by the same folks. I think it felt more like a cross between Visionland and Lakemont, if you could imagine that.

----Okeechobee Rampage----(#607)

This is an enlarged Vekoma Roller Skater with the same layout as Cedar Point’s Woodstock Express. The trains offered more room than the other versions like this. Joe cracked everyone up by doing his “girly scream” while riding. One thing that surprised me about this ride is it used magnetic brakes to slow the train. I haven’t seen a junior Vekoma use mag-brakes before.

----Triple Hurricane----(#608)

This Martin & Vleminckx wooden coaster is the first for the firm. There aren’t many junior out-n-back coasters like this. For its size it was pretty peppy. There wasn’t a lot of airtime but there were some nice laterals. This seemed to be the most popular coaster in the park.

----Fiesta Express----(#609)

This was obviously a brand new coaster as it wasn’t even painted just yet. The lone ride operator was glad to see 4 adults riding. This mini-mouse-like coaster is pretty strange. The cars make the hairpin turns with little effort and you can almost reach out and touch the rider’s hand of a car in front of you as you are turning. Joe made everyone laugh again with his scream. What is that about?

I was pleasantly surprised to see a set of Flying Scooters (or Skooters depending on your view) nearby. I told everyone I didn’t care if we split up or what, but I needed to take these for a ride. These didn’t look like any set of flyers I have seen before. I later found out they were designed by M&V. They sit riders side by side like a Chance Aviator. We were allowed to sit by ourselves. Sad to say that I don’t think any snapping can happen with this version. It’s too awkward. I was able to turn my tub in different directions, but they just aren’t what I thought they would be. Not a bad ride but if you are into snapping, you will probably be disappointed. I have heard of a couple of people saying they got major snapping, but I honestly don’t see how,

We continued our journey through the park and walked up a hill to find our last coaster of the day.

----Swamp Thang----(#610)

This Vekoma junior suspended coaster has the same layout as PKI’s Reptar. The layout of Reptar is basically an inverted version of Cedar Point’s Woodstock Express, which is the same layout of Okeechobee Rampage mentioned above. Confused? Basically the two junior Vekoma coasters at Cypress Gardens have the same layout, just in different styles. This version was pretty darned brutal. There was a lot of jarring going on. We were surprised at how violent it was. Once again, this coaster used mag-brakes. I wonder if this is something the park requested of if Vekoma is doing this to all the new junior coasters.

After our ride, Joe and I took a ride on the nearby Power Surge. I hadn’t been on one in a few years so it was good to ride a slightly-crazy flat ride again. We continued our walk around the park. We still had an hour to ride stuff so we decided to ride a Disk-O. These rides are a lot of fun and this one was no exception. The ride operator turned out the lights during the ride. That was kind of cool and caught us off guard.

There was a 120-foot drop tower next to the Disk-O that looked like a lot of fun. Jeff decided to skip it as he thought it was the same model as the shot tower found at Martin’s Fantasy Island. Neither of us cared for that version but when I pointed out the version at Cypress was a drop tower, he still passed saying he wanted to go get some ice cream.

Dave, Barry, and I rode on the same side. This thing has got to be one of the most terrifying drop towers I have ever ridden. The seats climb up to the top very, very slow. There are “view shields” above the heads of the riders so they can’t see how much further they have to go. This is a brilliant idea and really works well as it builds up the anticipation. With this ride there is no stopping at the top. Once you hit the top, you drop. We were very quiet going up, trying to pick up on some sort of triggering sound that would give us a bit of warning as to when we were to drop. There wasn’t really anything. All I heard was Dave saying something like, “Oh oh. There is something going on” and we dropped. The drop itself was great fun. The magnetic brakes (yes, another mag-brake reference) were located very far down the tower so the stop was short and sudden. What a nice ride!!

Our plan was to leave the park before the concert was to end. I wasn’t familiar with the person giving the concert (John Michael Montgomery) but I was guessing he had a lot of fans since the park was pretty empty. We took one more ride on the Triple Hurricane before deciding to leave. Just as we were walking out the exit for the coaster we heard, “Ladies and Gentlemen! One more time. John….Michael….Montgomery!!!!” We decided to walk faster to try and beat the crowds as it sounded like the concert was ending.

Too late.

We saw loads of people exiting out the concert area. Instead of running to the front of the car, we decide to take a ride on the Flying Island observation platform to see what the lot looked like. I haven’t seen one of these in the US. The only other one I have ridden was at Efteling Park in Europe. The ride is very smooth, yet awkward. Once we reached the highest point, we were allowed to stand up and take in the view. The concert crowd was letting out and there was a lot of traffic. No need in worrying about it. We didn’t have to be anywhere else tonight so we took it easy. As our ride was coming to an end, we could hear a strange sound coming from all over the place. This sound was coming from frogs. I have heard frogs before but never in this volume. It was pretty eerie. Once we were done listening to the frogs, we made our way back to the lot. For whatever reason I decided to give out a rebel yell to see if anyone else in the lot would do the same thing. It worked. =:^)

Joe, Keith, and Dave decided to follow us to our hotel to hang out. It took about an hour to find but we soon were at the hotel relaxing. We wanted to get a bite to eat at a nearby Wendy’s that Joe assured us would be open, but it wasn’t. We ended up picking up some snacks at a gas station. We said our goodbyes to Dave, Joe, and Keith. I had a great time hanging out with them, as usual. Keith would be joining us for our parks tomorrow so we had to say goodbye to Joe and Dave. It’s too bad we didn’t get to hang out with them for more than a couple of hours.

-May 22nd-

Barry, Jeff, and I woke up and quickly got ready. We were only about 5 minutes away from the park so this afforded us some extra sleep. Much needed sleep to be exact. It was great getting more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep. It didn’t take long before we were at the parking gates of Universal Florida. We opted to park in the preferred lot as it was the closest place to park. We were to leave the park and head straight to the airport so we couldn’t afford any extra time parking in a far away location. Normally we wouldn’t pay the extra fee as all three of us aren’t fans of the extra-fee parking but today it was useful.

--Islands of Adventure—

Since we decided to go to both parks in the area, Jeff and I purchased a one day, two parks, flex ticket. Jeff was pretty amazed by the auto ticket machines that gave us our tickets quickly. The park had opened early so we headed straight for Hulk. What a way to start the day. This remains one of my favorite coasters. It was running great this day and with a minimal wait. The launch, while not nearly as fast as some other coasters, still gets me every time.

We continued our walk into Superhero Island but passed on riding Spiderman. We ended up in Jurassic Park to see about getting Barry, his Pteranodon Flyers credit. Usually the park will allow adults to ride during the first hour or so. This wasn’t the case today as the ride wasn’t up and running just yet. Barry would have to wait another time to get this credit.

We walked back to Spiderman and were happy to see there wasn’t a line. In a matter of about 2 minutes we were sitting in our vehicles and starting the journey of the most mind-blowing ride I have ridden. Every ride I have taken on it has left me speechless. During our ride we couldn’t help but noticed the amazing clarity of the projected 3-D images on the screen. Never has the action looked so clear. We were guessing that the ride has gone to crisp digital projection but we couldn’t confirm it. I was trying to look for scratches on the film or anything that would resemble a film being played but couldn’t see a thing until one of the final scenes which clearly was playing from film. We were so impressed with our ride that we took another (and got the bonus of seeing the Spidey signal this time). I just couldn’t believe how clear the images looked. Either they had a brand new print, or the ride is currently going digital.

We knew no one would be back in the area of Dueling Dragons so we headed there next. The park was only running one train on each side, with dueling only happening some of the time, but since there really weren’t a whole lot of people riding, there really wasn’t a need for a second train. We waited about 4 trains to take a front seat ride on Ice. We ended up getting a great dueling ride. Our second ride was in the back row of Fire. We thought for sure we weren’t going to duel as Ice left the station a good 15 seconds before we did. Thanks to the cool timing feature, we were still able to meet up with Ice on the lift and got another dueling ride.

We continued our journey walking around the park. A showing of Poseidon’s Fury was getting ready to start so we made our way inside the dark corridors and into the pre-show room. I still haven’t heard a reason on why they changed the show from the opening year but I really do think the original show was much more effective as far as surprises go. The new story might be easier to follow but the surprises aren’t as surprising IMO.

Our visit to Islands of Adventure ended with this attraction so we continued to our next park. We met up with Keith at the front gate area and he walked over to Universal with us. Just as we were about to enter the park, Keith realized he left his pass back in his car. He didn’t feel like walking all the way back so he went to guest relations to try and explain his situation in hoping they would let him in. He told us to go into the park and we would meet back up at Mummy.

--Universal Studios—

A few years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to spend a lot of time in this park but that has all changed. With the addition of Men In Black and Revenge of the Mummy, I spend a lot more time here. I made a call to friend Cory Patrick and his girlfriend Lauren to see if they wanted to meet up. Barry, Jeff, and I then headed straight for Mummy so Jeff could get his credit.

We decided to use the very cool single rider’s line and were on in just a couple of minutes. The normal line wasn’t all that long but if you want to really get in a lot of rides on this coaster, the single rider’s line seems to work best. As with my rides I took on it last October, I was very impressed with the ride. The coaster portion is really fun and provides some great airtime. Up until this point, Jeff had only ridden the California version. When he walked off the Florida version he could only say one thing. That being, “This version craps ALL OVER the California version. “ I think he was impressed. On our second ride we stopped in the “fake ending” scene for a couple of minutes and was able to see the scene reset. It was kind of humorous but it was damn hot.

We took a couple of more rides before I decided to sit out and wait for Cory and Lauren. Keith called me and told me that he had to process his new season pass before entering. His old one ended up being expired so he couldn’t enter with that. He ended up getting an incredible deal with his new pass and soon met up with me at Mummy. Once Cory and Lauren met up with us, we took in a few more rides on Mummy. It was great seeing the two of them again. As with Joe and Keith, Cory and Lauren have moved down to Florida and seem to really like it.

Cory tried to describe to me while riding where the Kong statue stands. I couldn’t see it. I must have been looking in the wrong area because everyone else saw it but me. After a couple more rides Jeff suggested we go to Men In Black. I was having so much fun on Mummy that I passed on going with the rest of the group. Keith joined me in getting even more rides on Mummy. I ended up riding it 10 times or so before stopping. With each ride, Keith tried to point out the Kong statue and it wasn’t until my last ride that I finally saw it. I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. Duh.

Once we met back with the rest of the group we decided to walk around and try and find a place to eat. We ended up eating at a place near Back to the Future if I am not mistaken. Once we were done eating we stopped so I could take a group shot of all of us standing by the lake in the center of the park. We continued our walk towards the front of the park. I don’t remember who pointed it out but we found a photo spot where one could put their camera and take a picture with a façade in front of the camera, resulting in a convincing illusion. This before shot shows what the area looks like normally. The forced perspective shot shows this view. We wanted to see if there were any more of these photo spots so we walked around and found one more. Once again, it was cool to see how the picture turned out as the shuttle is standing about 3 feet in front of the camera. We are standing much further away.

Jeff, Barry and I decided this would be a good time to leave. We needed to get to the airport at a decent time so we parted ways with Keith, Cory, and Lauren. I had an awesome time hanging out with the three of them again. Once we said goodbye, we headed back to the monster garage and found our car with no problem. It was now off to a gas station to fill up and then back to the airport.

Jeff and I were on the same Delta flight to Atlanta where we had to switch planes to go back to our home states. We said goodbye to Barry at the airport before we headed to Atlanta. Once in Atlanta, we just kind of hung around before getting on our flights. As with the flight down to Tampa, I tried to sleep most of the way home. As I was waking up, I could tell we were flying into Columbus. We did a large u-turn in the sky and I looked down and noticed something familiar looking. The carnival that we had spent some time at a few days earlier was right below me. I could clearly see the Ring of Fire and Ferris wheel as well as the Hurricane ride that Robert and I rode. I thought that was a cool way to end the trip.

Once I landed, I took a shuttle to the blue lot and picked up my car. The drives home from the airport always give me a few moments to reflect on trips and this was no different. I took a slightly different way home than normal as the construction going on in my neck of the woods isn’t fun to drive through during this time, even at night. I ended up passing the carnival that I had just seen from a couple thousand feet up and noticed the rides were coming down. The Hurricane was already folded onto a trailer but still had its lights going. I had never seen something like that before.

Once home I had no problem going right to sleep. I had to work the next day but I knew it would be a short week. I had Friday off to begin yet another trip. This one would require spending a lot of time on the road as did the Canadian trip I did the week before. Little did I know what was in store.

Next up….

A really bad start to an uncertain trip.

Thanks for reading,


coasterqueenTRN's avatar
I am just speechless.

You guys are just nuts, Sean. I love it!


<----who hopes to get to those same Florida parks in the fall. :-)

*** Edited 6/29/2005 11:49:30 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***


I think you will love SheiKra. While it's not the most powerful coaster on the planet, I thought it was a great ride and can't wait to get some rides in sometime in the future (probably next year)


rollergator's avatar
Sean, nice usual...;)

I really found Hurricane to be surprisingly forceful for a junior, the laterals at the end were nice...:) But I can't bring myself to refer to the ride by THAT name.

Fiesta Express *still* unpainted? ROFL!

That *is* the same drop ride as LibertyLand I believe...

Any sighting of the new mouse going in at Cypress? Or location-spotting for Starliner?

SheiKra is definitely Tina's kind of ride, LOL. She'll hate Gwazi....and not just the incessant waiting part...;)

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)


I don't think the drop ride at Cypress is the same one as Libertyland. The one at Libertyland used two chains to pull the seats to the top, and it had seating arranged in a semi-circle. The drop tower at Cypress had seats arranged in a square like an S&S. I am not sure of the lift mechanism but I believe it used cables. They were both fun though.

While I like Gwazi, I really dislike the load times. The last time I had ridden the ride they were dispatching every 8 minutes. No kidding.


I can die a happy man now. I have made a Sean Flaharty Epic TR!

I couldn't tell if you guys were just being nice or really enjoyed the ride. Nevertheless, it was nice seeing both of you.


We actually enjoyed the ride. I might even have to break my rule of "one ride a year" and give it a ride this Sunday if I make it up there. Seriously, it wasn't a bad ride.

It was cool running into you up there as well.

An Epic TR huh? Just you wait until later in the year. =:^)

-Sean (who still has two more parts of this particular series to post then a mini-series after that)

Okay Sean, you can stop teasing me and everybody else that you're going to Japan before I do! Really! You can stop now!;)

Are you going with the ACE/ECC trip, or doing it on your own? I wouldn't have wanted to do that trip myself because GASP! They're doing way too many parks/coasters and not enough time spent taking in Japan.;P

Bad enthusiast. I know.


I think you need to make a book out of all your stories and sell it.

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!

oh oh oh oh....Sean, can I answer Tekno's question? I know the answer! wink wink

About the mini series.....I think that its going to be a two part full season series, what kind of mini series crap do you think the CBers are going to settle for? They are going to want a full novel from you, and I will expect nothing less! After all that is the job you signed on to do! lol.


rollergator's avatar
Sean, I shouldn't have said "the same" in regards to those towers. I was thinking more along the lines of same manufacturer...not SURE by any means, and the half-moon seating on Rebellion was certainly UNIQUE....but the "decorative balls" on top of the tower at CG reminded me more than a little of LibertyLand...


Cypress' tower:

The differing lift mechanism does make me question my theory, but those "globes" look like what COULD be...*identifying features*. ;)

bill, LOVING those trains on SheiKra....they speed up dispatch times CONSIDERABLY... :)

Just curious, what hotel did you stay at in Orlando?

My girlfriend and I have reservations at the Howard Johnson Plaza Universal, which is apparently five minutes outside the park. Just wondering if, by awesome coincidence, this is where you were at.

And jeez dude, you must be freakin' loaded to be able to get to all these parks. I am a deep shade of green with envy.

Great TRs so far, too.


I am doing the trip with three others. I am sure Mr. Baclueless would love to share some details with you as he is the one that is doing most of the planning. To be honest, I am not even sure what is in store since it seems to change on a daily basis. =:^)


LOL. I know people who printed out my ECO trip reports a few years ago. They said it almost took an entire ream of paper when it was finished printing. Wooops. I guess that was a bit excessive.


No problem. They do have similar tops. I forgot to mention that when we were sitting in the seats on the Cypress version we asked the ride operator if he had any idea who manufactured the ride. He said he had no idea. As we finished our ride he was looking in a ride manual. He said it wasn't sure but I think the manual said ARM on it. Something like that. Does that ring a bell?

gring your soul,


I believe the hotel we stayed at was a Comfort Suites that Barry found for a super cheap price. I get the "you must be loaded" comment quite a bit. I am far from being loaded but I play things smart. I usually travel with a group to cut down cost and look for the cheapest airfare. This particular trip was more expensive than I wanted to spend, but it was worth it.


What do you think you normally spend for a trip like this? I know you said you have lots of season passes but just curious as to what it would cost and how long in advance do you plan these crazy things?

<----thinks 4 parks in 4 days is crazy enough but would do many more

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!


I honestly couldn't give you a accurate answer to how much I would spend. I believe this particular trip was under $500.

This trip was planned rather quickly. Less than a month before. Anytime I start planning trips with Jeff Johnson you can bet on two things happening. The first being you know the original plan for the trip will be totally smeared before the trip starts. I mean, who else would have the idea of doing some parks in California then taking a small "side trip" to Idaho to visit Silverwood, then head back to California to visit more parks?

The other thing that usually happens is me shaking my head back and forth trying to see if we can somehow pull off one of Jeff's ideas in a cheap manner. We have damn lucky in getting great deals on trips.

Just be glad you don't hang out with Jeff or you could be doing 8 parks in one day or something like that. I remember riding 2 coasters, four countries apart in less than 24 hours. Jeff said he could have done something even more insane but since we were a part of a tour package we had to pass on any insane ideas. Darn the luck.


Wowsers, that is nice, I think I spent about 1000 on our trip to Philly back in May, that was for airfare, car rental, parks, hotels and food.

2 coasters in 4 countries, ok that is insane but sounds like so much fun.

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!

Its wierd right now as to whats going on with the parks....As of right now we are doing 46 parks and over 150 coasters, but with some closings and temporary closings that number could go down. Maybe thats a good thing to our sorry Sean..if you wanted more parks. Well if another one of our travlers has his way, we will be traveling to another country first to hit more parks, but we will see.

As for giving up more sorry....our trip is still under tight security. Two of the four travelers have no idea what is being planned (Sean being one of them) is one bit of info.....we are going ZORBING at one of the parks on Kyushu. Zorbing is where you climb into a big inflatable ball and go rolling down a huge hill! Ummmm....nauseating fun!

Thats all for now, but maybe I will give out more clues as time goes on....



Repeat after me....

"We won't be adding another country. We won't be adding any more insanity as we have reached the brim of the Cup 'O Mad and another drop would push us over the edge."

Ahhh. Feels better doesn't it?

I am going to hold you personally responsible if I don't reach #800 while on that trip. You got that?

-Sean (you know I am joking. Right Matt?)

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2024, POP World Media, LLC