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Yoshi

Orlando and Kings Dominion June 2019

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Last week I went to Orlando mostly for Disney and also went to Fun Spot Kissimmee as well as Kings Dominion.

 

Day 1, 6/4. We left PA around 9:45 a.m. and got to Savannah, GA. There were a lot less South of the Border ads compared to past trips. Even if the wild mouse coaster was still there, I don't think I would have stopped to get the credit because the whole place looks really run down.

 

Day 2, 6/5. We got to Orlando around 3:30 p.m. and went right to Fun Spot. There were signs stating that parking was $20 but free today. I didn't think they ever charged for parking and just added those signs to make it look like you were getting extra value. Prices went up since my visit to the Orlando location 4 years ago. The coasters and major rides are $10 each, the smaller rides are $5 each.

 

Mine Blower would be my first Gravity Group coaster. The station was empty except 2 people waiting for the front. The trains were comfortable with just lap bars. For a smaller coaster, it was more aggressive than I was expecting and a little rough for a newer coaster but not too bad. It was interesting to ride a wooden coaster with an inversion and the overbanked turn was great.

 

Kiddie Coaster was just ridden for the credit. It was 5 or 6 laps. This was my 150th coaster which follows the pattern of my 50th coaster also being bad (Rollie's Coaster at Morey's Piers) and my 100th coaster was great (Banshee at Kings Island). Hopefully that means #200 will also be a good coaster.

 

Rockstar Coaster was basically the same as Primeval Whirl except it was made by Zamperla instead of Reverchon. This coaster had a lot of spinning compared to any other spinning coaster I have tried.

 

The rest of the park looked good with a Screamin' Swing, Flying Scooters, go karts and other flat rides. I didn't ride anything other than the coasters since we had plans to go to Disney Springs and it was very hot and humid. I didn't feel like getting dizzy or not feeling great right at the start of the trip. I was glad to get to a new park for the first time since Knott's Berry Farm 3 years ago. I would return but I prefer the Orlando location because I prefer White Lightning to Mine Blower and Freedom Flyer to Rockstar Coaster.

 

Disney Springs was a bit of a disappointment. World of Disney went from having multiple rooms all with different theming to one large room with a more generic look and a lot less merchandise. It was the same at Once Upon A Toy which is now just one room. I always get a baseball for my collection and was told they weren't selling them anymore. Once Upon A Toy had 2 different designs left and not many of each. It seemed like throughout the trip, the merchandise was really lacking and most stores all over WDW had the same items.

 

The WDW part of the trip will be posted next.

 

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When I volunteered at Give kids the World back in March, we did Karaoke night at Old Town and it was a tad bit annoying seeing Rockstar Coaster and Mind Blower right there, but it was also maybe just as fun operating rides as it is to ride them.

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I hope if you are back in the Orlando area, you have a chance to get there to ride the coasters.

 

Day 3, 6/6

We checked into Pop Century and went to Animal Kingdom. Last time I was here, it was the opening weekend of Pandora and as expected, it was really crowded. This time we had Fastpass+ for Flight of Passage. The pre-show setup was different with 2 different rooms. The seating was also different than any other motion simulator I had tried. It was technologically impressive and was fun but not something I would ever wait in standby for.

 

We also went to Kilimanjaro Safari, Dinosaur twice, It's Tough To Be A Bug, Festival of the Lion King, Navi River Journey (that took a lot of refreshing on the app to get a FP+ for). We were going to ride Kali River Rapids but it rained in the afternoon and got cooler afterwards. I was hoping to maybe ride the left track of Primeval Whirl but only 1 side was operating. The second time we rode Dinosaur there was no one in standby which was a surprise. The first ride was more crowded. I really would like to see Disney copy what Great Adventure does with The Dark Knight's pre-show and have a queue set up in the room so everyone is rushing to exit at the same time.

 

Rivers of Light was also new this trip (last time we had to leave the park by the afternoon to get to Miami). There were floats on the water and some projections. It was worth seeing but not as good as Fantasmic or World of Color.

 

Leaving the park wasn't so good. I had heard the bus system was horrible and I don't expect to have no wait for a bus after watching a show at park closing. I think a 90 minute wait for a bus is unreasonable on a day the park wasn't that crowded. The entire queue was filled with the line overflowing. We decided to take a Minnie Van back to the resort rather than wait in the line and decided the rest of the trip we would drive to the parks. If someone doesn't have a car with them and are dependent on the buses, it seems like you have to plan for some major waits to get back to the hotel.

 

Day 4, 6/7

This was the first of 2 Magic Kingdom days and ended up being the least crowded of the 2 days.

 

I liked how there were Ziploc bags handed out at Splash Mountain with the ride logo on them to keep your phone dry.

 

Tron construction is progressing and it looks like it is going to be a great coaster looking at the track and watching a POV of the Shanghai version.

 

Space Mountain was closed while we were in Tomorrowland which meant riding the PeopleMover and seeing the lights on. The PeopleMover seems more popular than ever with waits up to 15 minutes. It's good to see the ride operating compared to Disneyland where you see all that empty track and no ride vehicles.

 

The Tomorrowland Speedway has reopened and the track is a little shorter than the original version.

 

With crowds not too bad, it was somewhat easy to get extra FP+ for many rides up until the early evening except for the headliners.

 

It was great being able to walk up to a rope set up for the parade route in Liberty Square 10 minutes before the start time and get a spot compared to other trips where you need to get there much earlier.

 

We ended the day seeing the Happily Ever After fireworks.

 

Rides for the day: Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan's Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, It's A Small World, Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, Little Mermaid, Tomorrowland Speedway, Buzz Lightyear's Spaceranger Spin, People Mover

 

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Day 5, 6/8

I was looking forward to Hollywood Studios to visit Toy Story Land. Tower of Terror is running at half capacity which caused the standby line to build fast. There was an overflow queue set up as well. Thankfully with both Tower of Terror and Rock N Rollercoaster Tier 2 rides, we were able to get FP+ for both. I like the theming of Tower of Terror and the 5th Dimension part of the ride is really cool but for the drop itself, I prefer Zumanjaro. It's going to be frustrating to anyone going to this park in 2 months when all the rides except Star Tours are Tier 1 FP+ selections.

 

Toy Story Land was good but I felt some things could have been done to make it better. There is almost no shade in the land, there is no store and the eating area for Woody's Lunch Box is outside and with only 2 registers, it looks to be very crowded.  Slinky Dog Dash is a really fun coaster with 2 launches and a fun layout. It's not intense as expected but for a family coaster is is great. There were 4 or 5 trains running which was nice to see but it wouldn't be fun to wait over an hour in standby with some of the queue not covered and I was glad we had a FP+ for it. Alien Swirling Saucer wasn't too difficult to get as a 4th FP+ selection. The ride cycle is short and reminds me a little of a whip ride. It was fun but not worth the 40 minute posted standby wait or 60 minute wait after 1 side of the ride temporarily closed.

 

We also rode Toy Story Mania, tried to see the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular but we only got to see half the show because of lightning in the area and went to Muppet Vision 3D. We decided to go to the Captain Cooks at the Polynesian for dinner and take a loop on the resort monorail before going back to see Fantasmic. The bus service was bad here as well, some people said they had been waiting 45 minutes for a bus to arrive. We did get back to the park at around 8:15 to see the show.

 

Day 6, 6/9

Epcot was the last of the 4 parks to visit. With FP+, rides that used to be walk ons or close to it could be 20 - 30 minute waits or longer like Spaceship Earth or Journey Into Imagination with Figment. Our tier 1 selection was Test Track. Even though it's faster than Radiator Springs Racers, I prefer the ride in California because of the dark ride section and the racing at the end of the ride. Spaceship Earth and Nemo were our other FP+ but Figment and Living With The Land were available for 4th and 5th selections with times less than 30 minutes away from when they were booked.

 

The Disney Visa Meet and Greet at the Imagination building is always good to visit since there is usually not much of a line, you get more time with the characters than a standard meet and greet and you get free PhotoPass pictures without watermarks that you can download.

 

There were some broken effects that looked like they were like that for a while. At the finale of Figment, a temporary screen was set up at the 4th section because the main screen wasn't working and the door to show all the Figment figures remained open. At Gran Fiesta Tour, one of screens with Donald was not working.

 

Frozen's popularity seems to have decreased since a few years ago.  The standby wait was only 20 minutes in the late afternoon, a big difference from 2 years ago when it was over 2 hours. We spent more time in World Showcase seeing the film in China and seeing the Shanghai Disneyland exhibit and walking through every country.

 

Dinner was at La Hacienda de San Angel. We planned to see Illuminations from inside the restaurant. There was lightning and a downpour and the show started almost an hour late (I thought it was going to be cancelled). There were a lot of people waiting in the thunderstorm outside for the show and I was surprised they didn't try to go inside a store or somewhere under cover until the rain let up and the lightning stopped.

 

Day 7, 6/10

This day at the Magic Kingdom was much more crowded than Friday. We rode Space Mountain with FP+ but it was having operating issues again later in the day. Buzz Lightyear's Spaceranger Spin's FP+ return line was almost to the entrance of Tomorrowland. Even with FP+ the line was close to 20 minutes.

 

In the early afternoon there was a thunderstorm that shut down the outdoor rides. This caused FP+ lines to be crowded once the rides re-opened. It was also more difficult to get 4th and 5th FP+. We did some re-rides from Friday and also saw some other attractions such as Carousel of Progress.

 

At around 5:00 we decided to leave and start the drive home. We stopped at one of the Disney outlets. Merchandise doesn't last long and changes frequently but prices are great with shirts priced mostly at $8 - $13. The best bargain was a pennant, bumper sticker and button set that was originally $19.99 marked down to $0.99.

 

We drove to Savannah, GA and stopped at the same hotel we stopped at on the drive down.

 

The final part of the trip report, Kings Dominion will be posted next.

 

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A closer picture of Tron from the PeopleMover.

 

 

 

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Never realized how complex the Tron coaster track was. That looks like it'll be awesome.

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Seeing it, it really is a new version of Matterhorn/Space Mountain, with short stretch of track, block brake, short stretch of track, block brake, short stretch of track, block brake... 

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I found Slinky Dog Dash to be a lot of fun and surprisingly more forceful than I was expecting but still very mild compared to most coasters.  I liked it much more than the Seven Dwarfs Mine coaster.

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I really enjoyed Mine Blower, and for a smaller park like Fun Spot Kissimmee, it is a perfect fit.

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On 7/1/2019 at 10:27 AM, joeyc98 said:

Never realized how complex the Tron coaster track was. That looks like it'll be awesome.

I thought the layout was a lot more simple and not so many turns. I agree it looks like it will be great.

On 7/1/2019 at 6:01 PM, GAcoaster said:

Seeing it, it really is a new version of Matterhorn/Space Mountain, with short stretch of track, block brake, short stretch of track, block brake, short stretch of track, block brake... 

I didn't realize there would be so many block sections. Hopefully that means a lot of trains will be running.

On 7/2/2019 at 11:15 PM, 29yrswithaGApass said:

I found Slinky Dog Dash to be a lot of fun and surprisingly more forceful than I was expecting but still very mild compared to most coasters.  I liked it much more than the Seven Dwarfs Mine coaster.

I agree with everything. The park really needed a tamer coaster.

On 7/2/2019 at 11:48 PM, Mr.Six said:

I really enjoyed Mine Blower, and for a smaller park like Fun Spot Kissimmee, it is a perfect fit.

Yes, it is a great fit for the park. I like the whole Fun Spot concept and wouldn't mind seeing more of them all over.

 

Day 8, 6/11

We drove from Savannah, GA to Doswell, VA and stayed at a La Quinta Inn right across the street from the park.

 

Day 9, 6/12

I was finally going to get a chance to give the park another try. I had been there 4 times before, never as an enthusiast and my last 2 visits in 1997 and 2003 were horrible. Now with Cedar Fair owning the park and almost all the coasters new to me except Ghoster Coaster/Woodstock Express  and the left side of Racer 75. Tickets were online for $39.99 with an all day drink wristband and $20 for preferred parking (only $3 more than regular). Unlike Great Adventure to get into the preferred parking lot, you scan your receipt to have a barrier raise.

 

I liked how a few rides in front of the park open early including Dominator. At the stairs before the station there was a front row line which was full and a line for the other rows. I went for the last row and found out most people in the front row line didn't realize there were 2 lines as most of them went for other rows besides the front when they got to the station. Dominator is my 4th Floorless coaster and was really good. I liked how the vertical loop was so tall and there some banked turns instead of extra inversions although it was different to not have a zero g roll. This ended up being my 2nd favorite Floorless coaster after Bizarro.

 

It was just after 10:30, and rather than go to Twisted Timbers along with probably almost everyone else there at opening, I thought it would be better to get some other coasters ridden first. On the way to other coasters we stopped at Boo Blasters. I liked how many of the targets caused some of the props to move. It was very simple and not high tech and maybe not impressive after riding so many dark rides at Disney over the past few days but was still worth riding. For a regional park, I prefer Justice League Battle for Metropolis and Reese's CupFusion.

 

I remember seeing Avalanche during my first trip to the park when I was 6 years old when riding the monorail that went into the safari and was amazed how the coaster wasn't attached to the trough. Now all these years later and after riding Flying Turns I was curious how the 2 rides would differ. I liked how Avalanche had more track and much better capacity with 7 car trains and 2 trains running but I prefer Flying Turns because it is so much smoother. Avalanche feels like you are riding a roller slide at a playground. It was also one of the few Cedar Fair coasters I can think of that doesn't have any seatbelt. I was glad to finally try the coaster and would ride the coaster once every few trips to the park if this was my home park but 1 ride was enough.

 

Seeing Volcano's spot without a coaster was disappointing because I had heard such great things about it but I understand why they removed it. Hopefully the park adds another coaster to replace it.

 

Flight of Fear had only a few people in the station and I walked right onto the last row. Like Kings Islands' version, I felt like this is the closest I am ever going to get to riding Batman & Robin The Chiller with the launch into the cobra roll. I'm a fan of almost any coaster with lap bars and inversions and this is another fun coaster. Kings Islands' coaster stops on the MCBR, this version slows down but does not completely stop.

 

Backlot Stunt Coaster was a surprise hit for me at Kings Island. The helix after the launch was more intense than I was expecting and the layout was fun. Kings Dominion's version unfortunately did not have the fire effects working and the helicopter did not move. The coaster was still fun but it was a shame to see the effects broken.

 

Anaconda was next. I was expecting the worse considering this is an older Arrow looping coaster but it was unexpectedly really smooth. The twisted section after the MCBR wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting either. This coaster made me miss Great American Scream Machine.

 

I rode the right (red) side of Racer 75. Both sides were open with 1 train running on each side. I never rode the right side on past trips because it used to run backwards. This was another coaster that was smoother than I was expecting and a lot smoother than Racer at Kings Island.

 

Now for the coaster I was looking most forward to riding, Twisted Timbers. This would be my first RMC coaster I was going to see why everyone likes their coasters so much. The greeter at the entrance said the line was 10 minutes and the line was not out of the station. The metal detector system they have in place was confusing. It originally looked like after walking through the metal detector in the station you get a green card if you had nothing that set off the metal detector and a red card if you had something like a phone or keys and they had to go into a pouch on the train. Then they stopped handing them out and I didn't get any card (I didn't have my phone or keys with me). It was only a 5 train wait but took over 20 minutes because of the dispatches.

 

There is a countdown of 75 seconds in the station after the train gets back and after that counts down to 0, it starts to count back up. It was taking the 75 seconds plus an extra 180 more seconds which meant dispatches of over 4 minutes. No one can pull their lap bar down and the ride operators walk to check and make sure everyone's seatbelt is buckled and then lower the lap bars for you. Even with all the warnings not to lower the lap bar yourself, people were still lowering their lap bars which caused delays.

 

The barrel roll first drop was different and cool compared to a traditional first drop. After that there is an overbanked turn, many hills with extreme air time, a cutback and zero g roll. This coaster was excellent and easily my favorite coaster at the park. I'd probably put it at #4 on my steel coaster list. The queue had filled up a lot more and based on the dispatch times, was probably around a 45 minute wait so I only rode the coaster once.

 

Like Coast Rider at Knott's Berry Farm, I prefer Apple Zapple's layout compared to the standard wild mouse layout with larger first drop.

 

Grizzly was next. I was in the station for this coaster in 2003 but gave up when I saw 1 train was running with slow dispatches and a very crowded station with it being at least a 5 or 6 train wait. There was still 1 train running on this trip but it was only a 1 train wait. The layout of the coaster was ok but it was rough. It wasn't as bad as Hercules, Gwazi or Wildcat (Lake Compounce) but still is close to the bottom of my wooden coaster list.

 

With Le Mans Raceway removed from Busch Gardens Williamburg, Blue Ridge Tollway is probably my favorite non Disney slow moving car ride. The ride time is better than similar rides at Hershey or Dorney and there was some scenery along the track.

 

Shenandoah Lumber Company was ok for a log flume. The smaller drop had more of a splash than the final drop.

 

There was only 1 coaster left, Intimidator 305. I knew this coaster had a reputation for being very forceful and causing blackouts which led the park to add some trim brakes and later modify the turn after the first drop. Even with those changes, the forcefulness of that turn really got to me and I didn't feel great the entire ride and gave me a headache. I can't handle intense rides like I used to. Years ago, I could ride Batman The Ride 5 times in a row no problem, now it's a once per trip ride for me. I know enthusiasts really like this coaster and many like how intense and forceful it is but it was too much for me. I'll take the tamer Millennium Force any day over this coaster.

 

After lunch, on the way out of the park I was going to get some re-rides on a few of the coasters in but I still had a headache that didn't go away until about an hour after riding i305 and we were back in the car on the way to PA and knowing it was over a 5 hour drive, I didn't want to take a chance on feeling worse. We also wanted to leave before rush hour to try to avoid being stuck in DC traffic as much as possible. I was still glad that I had ridden every coaster in the park except those in the kids area and ridden a few non coaster rides as well.

 

This was a much better trip to Kings Dominion than those past visits and I hope I won't go 16 years in between visits this time.

 

Overall the trip was a lot of fun and I was glad to add 14 credits to my coaster count between all the parks.

 

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Many coasters had signs in the queue with ride stats

 

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Singing Mushrooms

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Sounds like KD has changed quite a bit since I was last there in 2004. Volcano was a good coaster, but it had a awful queue inside a tight chainlink cage and was always filled with trash since the line lacked trash cans. 

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On 7/8/2019 at 1:12 AM, Yoshi said:

I can't handle intense rides like I used to. Years ago, I could ride Batman The Ride 5 times in a row no problem, now it's a once per trip ride for me.

 

I feel you. Still love coasters, but been able to tolerate less and less with each passing year. Rerides used to be the holy grail and now they're a big no-go.

 

Great report! Too bad about the effects on BSC. Surprised to see 1 train on so many rides at a larger CF park.

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