When life takes control of leisure, things like TRs don't happen as
regularly. Luckily, my visit to the theme parks of Universal Orlando
Resort is fresh enough on my mind, and I have just enough time that
this thang all came together.
With tear down of the Zamperla booth having gone much faster (and
smoother) than in previous years, I was left with an empty day to
visit a theme park. What to do? A multi day trip to the Walt Disney
World Resort is in the cards for Mid December, with park hoppers in
the mail. I had just endured Sea World during IAAPA's Thursday Night
Social, and while it certainly was warm enough to justify the liquid
stuff, I wasn't quite in water park mode.
So, I opted for Universal. But then, the question arose- what to do?
A full day at Islands of Adventure, or a full day at Universal Studios
Florida? While I love IOA, in recent years I have found myself tiring
of the park- losting interest in it after doing one lap through the
Islands. USF has never held much for me, as Studio Parks have always
seemed to have a limited number of things that caught my attention,
with a bulk of the attractions being shows. Still, there was this new
"E" (or is it a "U" here) ticket attraction that I had yet to
experience that had been given mixed reviews from day one.
My choice was made easy, when I found out the resort offers a
convenient (but quite pricey) one day two park ticket (which comes to
$78 and change with tax).
With ticket in hand, I entered the gates of USF and made a beeline
towards the old Kongfrontation Building. Then, Shrek sidetracked me.
Being the only major attraction in USF *without* Universal Express, I
knew that if I wanted to do it that it was now or never. Shrek 4D is
a pretty amazing production that has no shortage of knocks taken at
Disney. The entertaining preshow and overall quality of the main
production all combine to make for what is probably the most popular
overall attraction in the park, as all ages seem to really go for it.
I'd give Shrek a very small nod over Mickey's Philharmagic.
Over to Revenge of the Mummy to find out what all the hype (or lack of
hype) has been all about. My overall opinion of the attraction was a
rather high one, as Universal really succeeded in designing a
thrilling attraction that anyone can ride and enjoy. Because I never
saw either of the Mummy movies, the storyline meant little to me. The
attraction was a bit rough around the edges, but in the end combined
to make up a nice entertainment package. I'll try to break it down:
Queue: One or two steps below masterful. Wonderfully themed- not
overdone, but fine.
Loading: A bit slow, as with only one side of the station being used,
every other train went to Universal Express guests with the other one
for Stand By/Single Rider.
a)Great opening dark ride sequences with a Wedway Peoplemover-esque
LIM system propelling the massive four row four across cars along the
b)The coaster sequence was great. While it probably isn't much more
than 1500 ft of overall coaster, what it does it does well. Two
notable pops of air no matter where you sit, and a decent finale drop
following the fake ending. Downfalls: the backwards portion (all two
seconds of it) was pointless, and the somewhat *** jolt the cars
encounter upon cresting the hill after the forwards launch.
c)Rider reaction was amazingly positive.
Overall, the ride is a winner, and certainly a motivational factor for
me to visit USF when in Orlando.
Also did Jaws, MIB, and ET while at USF.
Over at IOA, I did two laps around the pond taking in attractions as I
came to them. After missing Dudley last year, I was eager to
experience it again. That drop is just plain wrong (in a good way, of
course). If only the ride's theme/storyline were a bit more cohesive.
The drop makes the ride, but for overall package, any Splash Mt blows
it out of the water.
Noted that while Fire Dragon was its usual magnificent self that Ice
Dragon was riding particularly crappy today (not that it's usually
worth more than one ride in the first place). Two trains ran on both
tracks, but dispatches came at horribly slow intervals- what's the
deal? The Hulk crew was making interval virtually every cycle with
two trains on a ride with a shorter cycle time (not to mention no
separate load/unload stations too).
Perhaps a question that has already been answered, but
whatever....what is the deal with the elevated monorail/car ride over
in Seuss Landing? WHY has it never run with guests? Looks like a
great concept if they could get it open for guests.
Not a hell of a lot else to report that any of you probably don't know
already. I thought I'd throw my two cents in that while pricey, the
one day two park ticket is a decent deal, in that you can easily get
your fill of both parks in one day (even with hours of 9-6 or 9-7).
Of course, this probably isn't true during holiday weeks or peak
summer season, but during periods when crowds are light to moderate
(I'd say USF had 15,000 today and IOA 10-12,000) that getting multiple
rides is easy:
Revenge of the Mummy: 5
E.T. Adventure: 1
Dr Doom's Fear Fall: 2
Amazing Adventures of Spider Man: 1
Dudley Doo Right's Ripsaw Falls: 2
Popeye Barges: 1
River Adventure: 2
Flying Unicorn: 1
Fire Dragon: 3
Ice Dragon: 2
1 on each of the Seuss Landing "rides".
Using single rider lines (which the two parks have many of) can really
be a time saver, too.
Anyway, tis about it. Thanks to all who popped by the booth last
week, it was a great show for Zamperla this year!