Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports Land

Four parks in one day! (And our first ride on Mine Blower!)
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby RCjunkie » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:16 am

You had me at FREE BEER...but thanks for the lunch with Shamu tip. At $29 or less it seems like a total value for the experience that I did not know even existed. Thanks for keeping this enjoyable saga going and add more to this TR when you can.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby 805Andrew » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:27 pm

It's always fun (and informative) to read your TRs. Your recent Universal Orlando one has got me excited for my trip at the end of the month. I always hear mixed reviews about UO, but since I enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood (and had an annual pass from April 2016-April 2017) I should enjoy the Orlando resort which has way more than Hollywood. As you probably may know, the announcement of the closure of Dragon Challenge and me never being on it (or to Orlando before) was the reason for planning my trip so soon along with a $99 red eye flight from LAX to MCO on JetBlue and a $115 evening return flight to LAX on Virgin America a few days later.

I'm a casual Harry Potter fan - I've seen all the movies once (a couple of them twice) and read the first book - but I'm not as big a fan as many others or even the rest of my family whose read all the books. I really like what USH did with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, from the Forbidden Journey (which never seems to have a line longer than 15 min when I ride it at USH), to all the detailed theming (that's on par with Tokyo Disney theming), to the dining at Three Broomsticks (with special Harry Potter beers on tap). I also really like Frozen Butterbeer on a hot day. I know that the Islands of Adventure Wizarding World will be very similar to the USH one based off of it (with the exception of the soon to close Dragon Challenge), so I am looking forward to seeing Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida the most (along with finally riding Dragon Challenge). I'm sad to see Dragon Challenge go and wish they would have relocated it or built around it, but at least I'll be able to try it out before it goes away. If the future Harry Potter attraction is on a similar level to Forbidden Journey or Gringotts as opposed to Flight of the Hippograff then I know it will be great.

I'm doing a 3-day 3-park to park ticket which I got for $303 on Undercover Tourist, so I'll be doing Universal Aug 27-29 (and hopfully avoiding the Labor Day crowds). I'll be trying out Volcano Bay on Mon Aug 28, so wish me luck - I'm both excited and nervous about trying out this park which looks awesome but has had horrific wait times with its virtual queue so far. I'll be trying out both Fun Spots on Aug 30 before my 7PM flight home, with that tip you gave me on the Universal Orlando forum. Any other tourist trap attractions along I-Drive you recommend trying that's open past 9PM or that I could squeeze into my final day? I'm looking at trying out the better tourist trap attractions, not the horribly run down ones unless its awesomely bad. I wouldn't mind trying out the best mini golf course in Orlando if its open past 10PM. I'll be staying on north I-Drive next to Fun Spot Orlando and near the Universal Orlando resort. I plan to take a Lyft, Uber, or shuttle/bus everywhere that is not walking distance from where I'm staying since I won't be having a rental car.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:17 pm

The mini golf course in Universal CityWalk was really fun when I played it a few years back. Plus that'd be convenient for you being at the parks anyway.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby coasterbill » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:05 am

Thanks for all the comments guys!!!

805Andrew wrote:It's always fun (and informative) to read your TRs. Your recent Universal Orlando one has got me excited for my trip at the end of the month. I always hear mixed reviews about UO, but since I enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood (and had an annual pass from April 2016-April 2017) I should enjoy the Orlando resort which has way more than Hollywood. As you probably may know, the announcement of the closure of Dragon Challenge and me never being on it (or to Orlando before) was the reason for planning my trip so soon along with a $99 red eye flight from LAX to MCO on JetBlue and a $115 evening return flight to LAX on Virgin America a few days later.

You'll have a great time. Universal Orlando is awesome. Ignore the haters. They're just jealous Disney fans that don't want to admit that Universal is kicking their a** in terms of quality ;)

805Andrew wrote:I'll be trying out both Fun Spots on Aug 30 before my 7PM flight home, with that tip you gave me on the Universal Orlando forum. Any other tourist trap attractions along I-Drive you recommend trying that's open past 9PM or that I could squeeze into my final day? I'm looking at trying out the better tourist trap attractions, not the horribly run down ones unless its awesomely bad. I wouldn't mind trying out the best mini golf course in Orlando if its open past 10PM. I'll be staying on north I-Drive next to Fun Spot Orlando and near the Universal Orlando resort. I plan to take a Lyft, Uber, or shuttle/bus everywhere that is not walking distance from where I'm staying since I won't be having a rental car.

Rental cars are really cheap in Florida so I'd look into it, but either way aside from Fun Spot there's nothing that really jumps out at us. The Orlando Eye and that whole complex seems really cool but I'm also tempted to just tell you to go to CityWalk because CityWalk is awesome. Aside from CityWalk, considering that you won't have a car the best mini golf course within reasonable distance is probably Congo River. Congo River courses are always really solid. Gator Golf is down there too but it's an abortion.

If you were with a group I might suggest this place but since you're not it may not be worth the trip. It's really cool, but only with a group.

anonymouscactus wrote:Curious if you guys have ever considered doing Discovery Cove? I've been there 4 times, bringing different people each time, and everyone has always loved it and found it well worth the money. It's awesome even if you don't want to fork over the money for the Dolphin Swim (i know you're not waterpark people, but seriously swimming with the giant ray's alone is worth it and completely AWESOME... plus unlimited food and alcoholic drinks! It's a resort, not a waterpark, and there is a ton to see; more than just the dolphins).

It's definitely on our radar. Honestly there's just never enough time for us to do everything we want to do in Orlando. Usually we're there for 2-3 days and we end up cutting out a bunch of things (case in point, we'll be there at the end of September and we'll only be going to Sea World and Busch Gardens since we'll only be there for 2 days... Howl O Scream is definitely the reason for the trip, finally getting on Mine Blower is a nice bonus too but I wish we had time to throw in Disney, HHN or Discovery Cove). If we ever have the time I'm all for it, maybe on one of these trips we won't be so rushed.

Afterburner wrote:Nostalgia Critic review of Jurassic Park.

Yes!!!!!! That's it! :lol:

Canobie Coaster wrote:The Mouse always seems to hold me hostage when I'm down in Orlando.

F*ck the mouse. ;)

Jameslofton wrote:The TR's in this thread are verging on a work of art.

Jameslofton wrote:Bill quickly became my favorite TPR member

Thanks! The check's in the mail.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby coasterbill » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:52 pm

Alright guys, I'm about to do the unthinkable.

Tonight we're headed to Great Adventure and then to Wildwood for the weekend but I realized that if I finished my Florida report now I could say for a few short hours that I was actually caught up on trip reports for the first time in the history of ever. It's a bit of a technicality, but f*ck it... let's do it. This is a major moment in history, maybe it'll be a Jeopardy question one day... who the f*ck knows. Let's hurry up and get caught up because I have to leave soon and f*ck everything up.

Anyway, we woke up in Orlando on Monday morning with the unfortunate realization that our Florida vacation was almost over. Our flight was scheduled (lol) for a 4:30 departure from Tampa / St. Pete so we planned to get up, drive to Tampa, get to Busch Gardens at park open and leave around 2:00 so we could make the 30 minute drive to the airport, drop off the car and get to the airport.

Since we only had about 4 hours, we came up with a plan of attack and decided that anything beyond that was a bonus.

Cobras Curse was new for us, so the plan was pretty simple. We'd head there first, then knock out Montu, then take the Sky Ride to Kumba and then anything we got to ride after that was gravy (is yelling "gravy" on a coaster enthusiast forum like screaming "fire" in a crowded theater? God I hope not). We sort of figured we'd hit Cheetah Hunt before Sky Ride if it the posted wait time was reasonable and in the back of my head I knew there was also a certain flume in Stanleyville that was calling my name but we did our best to stick to the plan.

PS: Sheikra was closed for refurb which is why I didn't include that in the plan. Sheikra always seems to be closed when we go to this park and it's been years since I've actually managed to ride it. Last year we got there the day after it made national news for a lift stop and this year it's refurb ran long... what gives? Why've you gotta be a dick Sheikra? :lol: .

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... look at that f*cking buzzkill

Our first stop was Cobra's Curse where we were greeted with a 10 minute wait, as it turned out this was actually the perfect amount of time as we got to check out the cool projection show in the queue before boarding the coaster. The queue for this ride is absolutely awesome. The projection show is great, but the snake exhibit and even the excavation site areas are also super cool. I was REALLY impressed with the great job they did there.

As for the ride itself, it's a ton of fun. There's nothing about it that's particularly noteworthy but it's a great ride. I feel like it belongs in the same category as rides like Backlot Stunt Coaster and Firechaser Express right near the top tier of family coasters, just a step below the Disney mine trains.

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This snake thing is completely bad a**...

After Cobra's Curse we headed over to Montu and walked right on to the back row. As always, this ride was unbelievable. It's glass smooth, but amazingly intense. That batwing element is taken at such ludicrous speeds that I really feel like it defies the laws of physics by not killing everyone on the train. How B&M managed to design something that amazingly intense with a whipping action that fast while managing to make it perfectly comfortable and free of headbanging I'll never understand. Montu is brilliant. It's so brilliant that I was clearly pretty hyped up when I got off it and totally forgot to take a picture of it... oops. I need to work on that. :lol:

For those of you who were taking notes, you'll know that our next stop was supposed to be the Sky Ride BUT by that point we had managed to stick to the plan for a good 30 minutes so we felt like it would be the perfect time to screw everything up and shoot it completely to hell. For those unfamiliar, Sky Ride and Cheetah Hunt share a station so you have to walk right by the Cheetah Hunt queue (and it's posted 20 minute wait time) on the way to Sky Ride. With a wait time that reasonable we completely and totally couldn't help ourselves and hopped in line.

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Wheeeeee!!!!!!

Cheetah Hunt was awesome as always. It's a lot tamer than it looks but it's still a super fun coaster with some impressive airtime and a great low to the ground section over the river. While I left it out of the original plan since we were so short on time and since the B&M's are really the stars of the park it's a great coaster and I was really glad we managed to ride it.

After browsing around in the gift shop for a bit we exited the station and immediately headed back into the station to hop a ride on the Sky Ride. As usual, this ride had a decent wait built up but this type of brilliance is worth waiting for so that really wasn't a deterrent for us.

As we stood in line we couldn't help but notice that the Florida heat and humidity were already approaching ridiculous levels and I couldn't help but feel a little sympathy for the poor bastards that had to operate a Von Roll Sky Ride at high capacity in those conditions. My sympathy levels shot through the roof when I noticed a guy who appeared to be from upper management sitting in a glass air conditioned booth watching them work and coming out every few minutes to tell them how to do their job or complain when they let the cabins bump. They only had one guy at the catch position (well, they had two but only one guy was actually working :lol: ) and one guy at the trip and load position... if you have a problem with them bumping, why not get up and work? Crazy idea I know.

Anyway, when we got in our cabin he had retired to his air conditioned room again so I asked the guy working the ride if he seriously had to put up with that all day, to which he replied that "yeah homie needs to get f*cked" which had us cracking up for the duration of the ride. I don't want to blow up anyone's spot, I invited him to unload on the guy by bringing it up the way I did, it's not like he normally goes around talking to guests this way but in this case I ABSOLUTELY don't blame him, would have done the same thing and that probably explains why I don't work at a theme park. Then again... the fact that I never filled out an application may be part of it too. ;)

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Sky Ride provides awesome views of the animals.

The ride itself was great, the breeze was GREATLY appreciated and this Sky Ride really offers some great views of the park as well. I also think the turnaround station is super cool. Every Sky Ride is great, but this is definitely one of my favorites.

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Stanleyville here we come!!! ... I wonder if homie got f*cked yet?

While we had a pretty clear plan, I couldn't help but screw it up again when we descended into Stanleyville and saw Stanley Falls beckoning. Normally it takes some convincing to get Brit on flumes, but with the temperature being this oppressive she was all in and I really wanted to get on the ride before the queue started building since this ride's queue building is hot, cramped and generally miserable.

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SKLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.... okay fine, I won't do it

Luckily the line wasn't too bad, it was back to the entrance but without any switchbacks open so we were on in about 20 minutes. Stanley Falls is a nice little flume, probably my favorite in Florida simply because it's an actual, honest to god single file flume that provides a reasonable amount of wetness and doesn't try to drown you like Ripsaw Falls. As always we had a nice ride on it (though Brit managed to get a lot wetter than I did for some reason) and (feeling refreshed) we figured we could no longer avoid the roar (see what I did there?) of the best coaster in Florida.

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I see you... no need to be such an attention whore with that crazy a** big red sign.

I rode Kumba for the first time a few years ago and remember being really skeptical when walking up to it. While it was the trendsetter, on the surface there's nothing that really sets this ride apart from the other large scale B&M loopers. It follows the all-to-familiar pattern of twisting drop, loop, dive loop (or whatever that thing is called), barrel roll, cobra roll, midcourse and corkscrews and doesn't LOOK all that special. What could possibly be so amazing about another big B&M looper. They're all fun, but they never do anything that warrants the kind of praise that Kumba gets.

Our first ride was in the back seat and I just happened to end up on the far side (little did I know, lol). As we ascended the lift I was still skeptical, but as soon as we started down the drop I knew the hype was real. While it does follow an all-too-familiar pattern, every single element is ridiculously snappy, fast paced and forceful. It feels like the train has rockets strapped to the back of it and it takes everything (especially that barrel roll) at a completely insane speed.

As soon as I got off that ride for the first time I was completely on board the hype train. Since then I've never got off and every single time I ride this thing it delivers an absolutely insane ride. We managed two rides on it this trip, both times in the magic seat (Brit was nice enough to let me have it twice... she rules) and I'm happy to report that it's just as kick-a** as ever. Holy crap Kumba, we're not worthy.

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Absolutely the best coaster in Florida...

Unfortunately after our Kumba ride we were running short on time and figured it was time to head up to the front. I was tempted to ride the Sky Ride, but Brit wanted to see the animals and I sort of wanted to hit Falcon's Fury so we decided to walk instead.

As we approached Falcon's Fury, I remember thinking that given Allegiant's horrendous record of being on time it would actually be awesome if our flight was delayed. A few days earlier I discovered Flight Aware which tracks incoming flights and obviously that gives you a pretty good idea of whether or not you'll be delayed. I hadn't heard anything from the airline, but from what I saw the other day they pretty much refuse to admit that a flight is delayed even when it's sitting on the tarmac hundreds of miles away and obvious to absolutely everyone that there's no way it'll ever actually be on time. I thought of pulling that up and hoping against hope for a delay, but that would have to wait as we had a Furious Falcon to ride...

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Is this a photo I took at Busch Gardens or an exclusive photo of the Allegiant Airlines employee in charge of updating flight status? The world may never know...

Falcon's Fury is seriously one of the most batsh*t insane rides on the planet. Intamin drop rides on their own are some of the best in the world, but that tilt at the top where you face the ground is absolutely unreal. We missed this on our last trip because it was down for maintenance, so we were thrilled to get a ride in. Holy sh*t what an insane ride. It's really one of the only rides on earth that legitimately scares me every time I ride it.

While the ride itself was awesome, the most awesome thing about it was when I went to grab my phone from the loose article bin. When I picked it up I couldn't help but notice that I had a new text message. That didn't seem like a big deal, until I saw that it was from our trusty, horrendous airline telling me that our flight was delayed 2 hours! Normally this would be awful news, but I felt like a kid on Christmas morning...

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Oh sh*t, our flight is delayed 2 hours?!?!?!?!?! What ever shall we do???

While in line for Falcon's Fury I had toyed with the idea of riding Scorpion but kind of knew that there was no way to actually make it happen. Thanks to it's one train operation and crowd-pleasing Schwarzkopf goodness it had a 30 minute wait which really made it hard to justify. Brit's really not as big a fan of it as I am either so I reasoned that if we ended up with enough time to ride another ride it should really be Montu on the way out.

Lucky for us, that text message changed everything so we happily waited the 30 or so minutes to pay our respects to the late, great Anton Schwarzkopf. Praise be to Anton, praise him. The ride was as awesome as always. I know it's since been overshadowed by the massive B&M's but this really is a great little coaster.

All of these great coasters had us working up quite an appetite so after getting off of Scorpion I finally stopped fighting it and made a b-line for that awesome pretzel place. Brit was more than happy to follow along, I absolutely love these Busch / Sea World pretzels and I always end up eating at least one of them whenever we visit a park that has them.

I ended up with a pretzel dog, while Brit went for one of those awesome bacon pretzels. Honestly I could never pick a favorite, they're both awesome but it felt like a pretzel dog kind of day.

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Cheers to Allegiant Airlines! Thanks for being so terrible and making these pretzels possible.

After I finished gorging myself on my pretzel and half of Brit's since she couldn't finish it we figured it was probably time to start making our way towards the front of the park. Along the way we stopped to check out some of the animals and take a walk through Jambo Junction so Brit could get her fix. While this park has an amazing collection of rides, their animal selection is equally impressive and I love how they mix them into the park itself to give you a nice variety of things to do and see as you walk around.

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Oh don't look so pissed off just because I get to eat bacon pretzels and you have to eat a stupid leaf.

After killing some time looking at the animals we realized we should really head out but we decided to end our trip on a high note with one last ride on Montu. As always, the ride was complete perfection and the perfect way to end a perfect (so far) day.

When we left the park I popped up Flight Aware real quick to see that our loser a** plane was still on the ground in Austin for some reason (because that's a good place for it). It's funny how I went from hoping for a delay to wanting it to hurry the f*ck up almost at the flip of a switch but I'm selfish so it is what it is. As it turned out when we arrived at the airport the plane was STILL in Austin and didn't end up landing until about 3 hours after it was supposed to.

Luckily they got everyone off the plane and loaded us pretty quickly. We taxied out to the runway (obviously we were the only plane there because it's PIE airport), sat there for 20 minutes and the pilot then explained that because of some weather in the area we would need to taxi to the other end of the runway and take off from there.

It was a beautiful sunny day when we boarded the plane, but after taxiing around for so long I was starting to think we might as well just slap an EZ Pass in the cockpit, hop on I-95 and start driving the f*cking thing back to Trenton we now found ourselves in the middle of quite the sh*t storm so we ended up waiting it out for a good hour or so on the tarmac.

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Define... "departed". This was taken at about 8PM. lol

By the time we landed it was about 10PM and I was flooded with a bunch of concerned messages from people who wanted to know if we survived but I'm happy to say that we successfully survived TWO Allegiant flights and I'd be happy to fly with them again... not because they're good, but because they're cheap.

Plus, I even got a FREE PREMIUM beer because of their massive delay... Mich Ultra, klassy!

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby mschisano » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:04 pm

Excellent report as ever Bill!

Reading these last few entries reminds me even more so how I need to get myself to the East Coast to hit up some parks!

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby 805Andrew » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:09 pm

Nice Busch Gardens photos. That Sky Ride looks awesome! I'll have to save Busch Gardens for a future FL trip, but it's near the top of my bucket list. Thanks for the tips btw - I ended up booking a rental car for Orlando since it was $70 o.t.d. for four days and my hotel has free parking and a free shuttle to Universal, and an Uber/Lyft to and from the airport would have been about $25 each way, so this made more sense. I saw your Gator Golf TR and that gets a hard pass from me, but I might be willing to try the other one. This will be a Universal/Fun Spot/North I-drive focused trip for me, but I'll be back for WDW and Busch Gardens/SeaWorld on future FL trips.

On Allegiant Airlines, I'd be willing to try them for short flights since they fly to Vegas from an airport 45 minutes away from me, but definitely not them (or Spirit) for a 5 hour flight. I was so happy when JetBlue and Virgin America were the cheapest options for me flying to MCO and back (and nonstop) even though I have to drive 3-4 hours to LAX to board a plane. I'm looking forward to my visit to Orlando at the end of the month.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:55 pm

Allegiant is so bad it's awesome. Glad it sort of worked out for you. Sitting in a plane that's not moving for hours cannot be fun.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby viking86 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:21 pm

coasterbill wrote:After Cobra's Curse we headed over to Montu and walked right on to the back row. As always, this ride was unbelievable. It's glass smooth, but amazingly intense. That batwing element is taken at such ludicrous speeds that I really feel like it defies the laws of physics by not killing everyone on the train. How B&M managed to design something that amazingly intense with a whipping action that fast while managing to make it perfectly comfortable and free of headbanging I'll never understand. Montu is brilliant. It's so brilliant that I was clearly pretty hyped up when I got off it and totally forgot to take a picture of it... oops. I need to work on that. :lol:


I swear that batwing was trying to rip my feet off! Definitely one of the craziest inversions I've ever experienced on a rollercoaster! I would say that everything up to the MCBR on Montu is close to perfection. After the MCBR it meanders around a bit, but the final corkscrew finale is great!

coasterbill wrote:Cheetah Hunt was awesome as always. It's a lot tamer than it looks but it's still a super fun coaster with some impressive airtime and a great low to the ground section over the river. While I left it out of the original plan since we were so short on time and since the B&M's are really the stars of the park it's a great coaster and I was really glad we managed to ride it.


I loved Cheetah hunt! As you say it's not intense at all, but it's super fun and it's one of those rides which I could just ride over and over without needing a break, and every ride would be just as fun! I'm still a bit confused about the heartline roll though, and I would easily have traded it for having lapbars only.

coasterbill wrote:Our first ride was in the back seat and I just happened to end up on the far side (little did I know, lol). As we ascended the lift I was still skeptical, but as soon as we started down the drop I knew the hype was real. While it does follow an all-too-familiar pattern, every single element is ridiculously snappy, fast paced and forceful. It feels like the train has rockets strapped to the back of it and it takes everything (especially that barrel roll) at a completely insane speed.

As soon as I got off that ride for the first time I was completely on board the hype train. Since then I've never got off and every single time I ride this thing it delivers an absolutely insane ride. We managed two rides on it this trip, both times in the magic seat (Brit was nice enough to let me have it twice... she rules) and I'm happy to report that it's just as kick-a** as ever. Holy crap Kumba, we're not worthy.


Probably my favorite coaster at BGT! Just walking up to the ride you get the sensation that you're about to ride a legend, and boy does it deliver! Such an amazing ride! I can't believe this thing was built all the way back in 1993...

Thanks for sharing this great trip report! :)

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby ThemeParkJunkie51290 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:13 pm

Nice! =) =) =) I'm glad you both had a great time!
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