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Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:48 am
by biosciking
Following my visits to two major parks (Epcot and SeaWorld) and two smaller attractions (Winter Summerland and Silver Springs), I still had three small parks left on the itinerary for this August 2013 Central Florida trip. First on the agenda was Fun Spot America in Orlando. Known as Fun Spot Action Park up until earlier that summer, the park received a new name in 2013 to celebrate the very significant expansion it underwent during this record year. The expansion saw the park triple in size and add approximately a dozen new rides, including two awesome roller coasters and the world's second tallest skycoaster. In addition, the multi-level go-kart tracks for which the park was already well known remained, giving Fun Spot America quite the variety of worthwhile attractions. As I'd never been to Fun Spot previously, this seemed like a perfect time to do so.

I know the park has continued to grow since this 2013 visit, adding a screamin' swing and a mini-Gatorland exhibit. (I also know there was an air race flat ride that unfortunately only lasted for all of about a day.) Then there's recently been the announcement that the park will expand further still in the upcoming years, potentially adding another new coaster, water attractions, and distinct themed areas. If all of this pans out, Fun Spot America's status as a small park may very well change to that of a full-fledged theme park experience. As it currently stands, Fun Spot is a formidable up-and-coming alternative to the major Orlando parks, and I spent the entire day there enjoying everything it has to offer.

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 2:54 pm
by biosciking
Central Florida's other Fun Spot park is Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee (I know the park has recently changed its name to Fun Spot America to match the Orlando park, but I'll go ahead and still call it Fun Spot USA, since that was its name when I visited in 2013). This Fun Spot doesn't seem to be quite the company's pride and joy the way the Orlando Fun Spot does. Perhaps that's because this is a smaller park without the same room for potential growth. Perhaps it's because Old Town is immediately next door and some of Old Town's ghetto-ness rubs off on Fun Spot (though that's a discussion for another day). At any rate, this park's "star" coaster, a spinning mouse, is definitely no White Lightning. I guess the flat rides and go-karts are mostly comparable between the two Fun Spot parks, but Fun Spot USA's real claim to fame is its skycoaster -- the world's tallest, at 300 feet.

Though I said there isn't much room to grow and expand here, after looking up a bit of the park's history, it appears as though several of the flat rides I rode during this visit (as well as the coaster) are relatively new. Unfortunately, it also looks like a few notable rides were removed prior to this 2013 visit. Fun Spot USA was apparently once home to a dragster-style launched go-kart ride and a pedal-powered looping bike ride (both of which I've ridden other versions of elsewhere), as well as a double-decker ferris wheel (a type of ride I've never experienced). It's too bad these unique attractions couldn't have remained -- Fun Spot USA would certainly benefit from a few additional one-of-a-kind rides. As it currently stands, Fun Spot in Kissimmee isn't exactly on par with Fun Spot in Orlando, though the skycoaster alone makes Fun Spot USA worth a visit.

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:10 pm
by biosciking
After visiting Fun Spot in Orlando and Kissimmee, the final stop of my August 2013 trip was Old Town in Kissimmee, right next door to Fun Spot. Old Town is a very, um, *interesting* park. First of all, the set-up is quite unusual. The front of the park is the location of the slingshot and skyscraper attractions. Operated by a different vendor are some go-karts, bumper cars, and laser tag. Operated by a third vendor, still in the front part of the park, are the ferris wheel, the drop tower, and the relatively new rock wall, ropes course, and zipline attractions. That same vendor operates the roller coaster and kiddie rides at the back of the park. Between the two sections are several blocks of shops, eateries, and (operated by yet another vendor still) the Legends: Haunting at Old Town maze. Unfortunately, August 2013 was after the former Grimm's Haunted House had closed but before Legends had opened, so there was no haunted walk-through during this visit.

The rides were scheduled to be open from 2 pm to 11 pm the day I was there. I arrived around 3 pm and felt the park should more appropriately be called Ghost Town rather than Old Town -- it was literally empty. I hardly even saw an employee. Feeling too awkward to stay, I decided to go play miniature golf for a while at the neighboring Pirate's Cove (Old Town is on one side of Fun Spot and Pirate's Cove is on the other) and then return later. A thunderstorm delayed my return until about 8 pm. I had no interest in the go-karts, bumper cars, or laser tag, so I rode the slingshot and skyscraper first, then went to purchase my tickets for the other rides. It was about 9 pm and the rides closed at 11, so when I asked for an all-day ride wristband the employee looked at me like I was crazy. He said he couldn't sell me a wristband with the park closing in just two hours. I said I'd like to ride the coaster, drop tower, and ferris wheel, plus try the rock wall, ropes course, and zipline, all of which I could do in two hours. If I purchased those tickets separately it would cost more than the wristband. He said he'd have to call his manager! Let me emphasize that this employee was by no means rude; he just seemed so bewildered. The manager said I could purchase the wristband as long as I understood that I only had two hours left to get my money's worth out of it. Yep, I understood! I'll have more *interesting* stories to share with the pictures that follow.

All of this was back in 2013, and I guess the only things that currently remain at Old Town are the slingshot and skyscraper rides, plus the go-karts, bumper cars, and laser tag. No more coaster, other rides, or ropes course (even the Legends: Haunting maze has already closed up shop). It would sound like there's therefore little reason to return to Old Town, with the exception of the recent announcement that Fun Spot has come to an agreement to operate some rides on Old Town property. In my Fun Spot report above, I noted that that park doesn't have much room to expand, so this seems like a great idea -- buy out and take over Old Town, allowing Fun Spot to grow and making Old Town, well, better!

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:20 pm
by coasterbill
Image

:lol: :lol: :lol: That's not normal. I love that insane, high speed Paratrooper of death.

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:48 pm
by SFOG1991
Great TR. I'm enjoying a new Old Town TR considering it is much different there now. I went to Old Town around 7 years ago now, and it was just as ghetto then. A weird and oddly entertaining experience.

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:12 pm
by djcoastermark
^^ yeah, that paratrooper has to be the most insane out of control, my god is it supposed to run that fast, scary ride forwards and backwards. I ride it every time I go.

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:32 am
by biosciking
coasterbill wrote: :lol: :lol: :lol: That's not normal. I love that insane, high speed Paratrooper of death.


djcoastermark wrote:yeah, that paratrooper has to be the most insane out of control, my god is it supposed to run that fast, scary ride forwards and backwards. I ride it every time I go.


Huh, I did ride it, but don't remember it leaving an impression on me one way or another. I wish I'd known it had a reputation beforehand, as I would have paid more attention!


Anyway, I'm now finally getting to my August 2014 vacation (a trip report two-and-a-half years after the trip itself isn't too unreasonable, right?!). Like August 2012 and August 2013, theme parks and roller coasters were the main emphasis here, though I did include a few related but non-coaster attractions as well. Also like 2012 and 2013, the trip was divided into two parts, though this year the two parts were pretty continuous with each other.

The first park of part 1 of my August 2014 trip was Lake Winnepesaukah in Rossville, Georgia (though it's advertised as being in Chattanooga, Tennessee). This was my first visit to Lake Winnie, and I was very much looking forward to several of its older, more classic attractions -- the Cannon Ball roller coaster, the Boat Chute flume ride, the Fly-O-Plane flat ride, and the Wacky Factory dark ride. There are of course newer, more modern rides as well, but this park definitely has a "slower paced, simpler days" type of charm to it. The large lake the park surrounds, which can be viewed by the peaceful and scenic train, skyway, and paddle boat rides, definitely contributes to that more relaxed, old-time feel.

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:16 am
by biosciking
Following Lake Winnie it was on to Six Flags Over Georgia. One of the original Six Flags parks, the various areas themed to Georgia's history still give the park an early Six Flags feel, despite the many modernizations that have of course occurred over the years. I had first visited SFOG in 2010, and the main changes between that visit and this 2014 visit were the additions of Dare Devil Dive and Sky Screamer, plus the new Hurricane Harbor. In my opinion, though, Goliath remained the top attraction at the park (with Acrophobia a close #2).

One of the key things that caught my attention at Six Flags Over Georgia was the noticeable lack of flat rides. There was a decent selection of kiddie rides in Bugs Bunny World and a fine selection of family rides throughout the park (Monster Mansion, carousel, antique cars, railroad, sky buckets), but as far as actual adult flat rides go there was Sky Screamer, a wave swinger, bumper cars, and that's about it. The park must have noticed this too, as that's where they seem to have focused their attention the last few years since this 2014 visit. A Larson loop, a tilt-a-whirl, flyers, a tsunami soaker-style ride, a medium-sized drop tower, and I guess a few others just for the kiddies have all been added. Sounds like a fun lineup, and I'm sure those additions make the park feel much more well rounded.

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:54 am
by biosciking
I consider the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Georgia Aquarium to be the "big three" aquariums in the United States. While I've been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium several times, I'd never before visited either of the other two. Being in Atlanta, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to give Georgia Aquarium a try. The newest of the three (opened in 2005), it's currently the largest aquarium in the country (it was the largest in the world for a while), and features a couple inhabitants you can't find elsewhere in the U.S. -- whale sharks and manta rays. The whale sharks in particular seem to be the aquarium's headliners.

I very much liked the layout of the place -- the main entrance leads to a central courtyard that houses the food court and gift shop, and all of the major exhibit galleries branch off of that courtyard, forming more or less a circle around it. It's a very logical organization that ensures you know exactly what the aquarium exhibits are, which you've already seen, and which you still need to see. During my visit in 2014, there was also a temporary exhibit set up -- Sea Monsters Revealed, which was basically an aquatic version of the Human Bodies exhibit you may be familiar with. That Sea Monsters attraction alone made this entire Georgia Aquarium trip well worth it.

Re: biosciking's Non-So Cal Thread

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:23 pm
by TBpony414
Huge aquarium fan here and the Georgia Aquarium looks fantastic! I've added that to my list of things to check out. Many years ago there was a Body Wars exhibit or something similar that came to DC and I loved it so much I went twice. It was fascinating and the Sea Monsters Revealed exhibit looks outstanding! WOW! I've always talked about how someone ought to have an animal dissection exhibit and to hear it exists is awesome. Now I absolutely need to find out if it's a traveling thing or a permanent installation of sorts.

What kind of camera were you using at the aquarium? Some of your pics turned out great, animals in tanks are often hard to capture.