love the report, and glad y'all had such a good day!
(we never got to ride Atlantis, because thunderstorms took it down before we had a chance to on our 1 day there ).
isn't that Carousel fantastic??
we still don't know what the hell this is that Nick rode (he rode the one next to me on the Angler fish), but we did a couple of rounds on it, as I am a huge carousel fan, and the SWO one really is pretty stunning.
Awesome. Between the no beer before 11:30 and the baby...thing... Very entertaining. Every time I see this park, it just cements the idea that I am going to have to go to SeaWorld. Was just looking at some San Antonio hotels this morning.... Maybe can swing it next year. Crossing fingers.
After a quick bite to eat back at the hotel we freshened up and headed back out around 8pm to the lobby/pickup spot to call another Uber, which were plentiful all weekend. Thanks to our central location right off Sand Lake/iDrive, we never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a pickup. We had a brief ride over to the much-recommended Fun Spot America, the Uber only costing us $9 w/ tip.
Freedom Flyer & White Lightning
Going in we knew this was going to be a completely different experience than what we got at SeaWorld today. I'd heard lots of things about Fun Spot, from here and elsewhere on the web, from friends, from random enthusiasts. I'd heard things like "run down", "quirky", "a quick stop", "no frills fun", and more than once I was told they had "one of the best wooden coasters anywhere". That was mostly why we came. Also, it was cheap, and very close to our hotel. We managed to buy tickets earlier in the week on Cyber Monday and only spent $25 per ticket, which would give us each a wristband good on pretty much everything but the parks ridiculously massive Sky Coaster. All good, I had no intentions of going near that mammoth contraption anyway.
Did I mention we had a full moon?
After a short 5 minute ride over we pulled down a nondescript Orlando street and spotted the gargantuan green Sky Coaster tower in the distance. As we got closer we could see the rainbow tracer lights on the much raved about White Lightning. When the driver pulled into the lot the front entrance gave me flashbacks of being 15 with Dad dropping us off at the movie theater.
We walked up to the deserted entrance and stopped at the handful of random security dudes. Dawn had bought one of these waistbands she wore all weekend to keep her phone, etc secure and managed to ride everything (well, except Mako) at SeaWorld without issue earlier in the day. The security dude at FunSpot asked her to take it off and hold it over her head then aggressively, with a completely serious face, asked her if she had a shotgun in there, before the three of them burst into laughter. Oh ok, so its that kinda party. We nervously laughed back at them before they told us to have a great night. We wandered inside, spotting the ticket booths to our right. The park looked completely deserted, a surprise to us on beautiful Friday night just before 9pm, though the ticket line was a short wait.
Upon receiving our wristbands we turned and spotted the parks two coasters. We noticed a mostly empty train going up Freedom Flyers lift and we hurried into an empty line and queued up for the front row, again passing on the VR the park is currently offering on the ride. We're just not really interested, plus we wanted to see what this ride was like before we considered doing it with a germy phone strapped to our faces.
Neither of us had ever ridden one of the junior Vekoma inverts and agreed it looked pretty mild. The lapbar restraints are much more minimal than either of us expected. It was here we first experienced the Bizarroworld Fun Spot ride ops, aka replicants imported from a remote off-world colony (lol any Bladerunner fans here?). The two guys running this thing were devoid of any personality whatsoever, absolutely bored out of their skulls, didn't seem to want to interact with us or each other, a total 180 from the nauseatingly overly-friendly personalities we encountered at SeaWorld. With the train to ourselves, up the quick tire-driven lift we ascended, and down the first tiny drop and... whoa thing little thing is kinda crazy!
I kid, people. It was definitely a little more forceful than we expected, especially that final helix with its crazy footchoppers just before the station, but overall we thought it was a fun little ride. As we pulled into the station we couldn't help notice the robo-ops were halfheartedly applauding at the two of us, furthering the Bizarroworld vibes.
Now it was time for the main course and we walked over to White Lighting, the parks modest GCI woodie and arguably their star attraction. Just like with Freedom Flyer the station was empty and we lined up for row 1. The robo-ops were a smidge more talkative here, but still seemed to be programmed subservients. I don't have a particularly high woodie count and the majority I have ridden I don't rank highly save for a handful (El Toro, Lightning Racer etc). I enjoy wooden coasters but I'm definitely more a fan of steel.
As we crested the lift, Dawn - not knowing it had a curved drop - excitedly screamed "where's the track!?" and we plummeted into what is one of the finest roller coasters - wood or steel - that I've had the pleasure of riding. Neither of us had our hands up down the drop, instead clinging onto the lapbar with hesitation of what lie ahead, but as soon as we hit the first airtime hill, her arms flew up quickly followed by mine. I can't tell you if riding in the dark contributed to our experience, but what followed was a perfectly smooth but completely twisted airtime machine, tossing us out of our seats relentlessly through the course, never losing an ounce of speed. Breathless when we hit the brakes, we gave each other the familiar "whoa that was amazing, babe" look of satisfaction.
Holy crap this ride is exceptional.
Too busy riding White Lightning to take photos of it, but Dawn snagged this when we were leaving.
Turning back into the station we were again greeted by more unenthusiastic applause from the robo-ops. Amazingly a few folks were queued up for our row, but we wanted to ride again so we made a quick dash down and back up into the station, waiting again for row 1. Another incredible ride, more uncomfortable applause.
We could have happily stayed here all night, but we had a little more park to explore, and as a huge fan of screaming swings I spotted Space Invader nearby. Funnily enough, years ago Moreys was the first screaming swing either of us had ever ridden, and while I kinda hated it at first, she loved the thing. Over the years she's grown a fear of them while they've become on of my favorite flats at whichever park I'm at that has one. I had full intentions of riding this one, as its included in the wristband unlike many screaming swings which tend to be upcharges due to their extremely low capacity. With no line to speak of, I hopped right on while Dawn watched. Apparently I'm a trendsetter as a fairly healthy line formed as soon as the robo-op sent me into the sky.
While the massive Skyhawk @ Cedar Point is without a doubt my favorite of these rides, Moreys Screaming Swing holds a place in my heart simply because while its a smaller version, they not only elevated the ride itself a good 15-20 feet off the actual boardwalk, if you sit on the side facing the pier you are swung out over the beach, giving you an additional 15 feet of height on the swings.
White Lightning photobombing my SS pic
Fun Spots is installed right on the ground, making it feel a good bit smaller. The cycle was also very brief, only giving me two full swings, but I still had a blast. She didn't staple me so I got some great airtime and a nice view from up there. The cherry on top was of course more emotionless applause from the robo-op, with the kids in line joining in with their own golf claps. This place is so weird!
Wandering around we noticed Gatorville, laughed at the signs outside, and kept walking.
Haha I'll pass
We wandered toward the back of the park stopping in the cafeteria style eatery/bar for more Bizarroworld vibes. The few people that littered the joint definitely had an air of backwoods Florida to them, mullets and all. At SeaWorld the majority of people we encountered were obvious tourists, many with thick European/spanish accents, but the people at Fun Spot were definitely Florida locals. We saddled up to the bar where we were waited on by Miss Kim, who couldn't have been a day over 15. But no matter, she was mixing up the cocktails like nobodies business so we ordered a few of our own.
The draft beer souvenir cup was tempting but I had to try the Fun Punch at Fun Spot.
We were delighted when Miss Kim informed us we were allowed to take our drinks out into the park and walk around with them, as opposed to hanging around the bar with the trailer trash that by now we figured had come out to Fun Spot on this fine Friday night in an effort to get sh*tfaced before tearing up the go-kart tracks, since once we wandered back there, we actually encountered some lines.
The tracks here are kinda crazy. As some of you know I am not a licensed driver (though I can drive if necessary) so go-karts are my chance get behind the wheel like a big boy without much risk. They have four tracks: blue, yellow, green and red, that are all more or less built on top of and intertwined with each other. Its actually quite a sight when you approach. They have actual names like "Commander" and sh*t like that, but I can't be bothered so I will refer to them by their colors. The red track seemed small and without elevation changes so we said screw that and went for the blue track next door which goes like 40 feet up and looked to have an airtime hill all the way up there.
Oh yeah, Its Christmas time!
At first Dawn was worried about driving as she hadn't brought her glasses with her, so I told her to ride a double with me and let me drive to which she balked at with copious amounts of laughter. I wore her down and she got in line with me agreeing to let me drive. As we watched the lap before ours, she had decided to drive herself. Of course she was also warning me not to intentionally bump her. The kids driving as we waited were going nuts, and the queue had filled up behind us, so I knew we were in for a treat.
We hopped in, and after an inaudible and unenthusiastic schpeil from the robo-op (seriously though, the kids working the go-karts were awesome and much more into their jobs than any of the other ride-ops in the park) off we went, me obviously in the slow car with Dawn tearing past me and everyone else.
I could hear shrieks from elsewhere on the course, and later learned it was her, every single time she went over that airtime hill. Speaking of which, it does actually send your cart airborne and makes you feel like you are going to crash and die. The "Go For It!" sign and fire extinguisher beside this hill only helped to increase the ridiculousness. We loved it so much, if the wait wasn't long here we probably would have ridden again.
We noticed the yellow track was fairly extensive and had only a few kids waiting so we jumped in there to wait a cycle. I enjoyed the blue track much more but the yellow was really long and the steep downwards helix in the middle was great. Again, Dawn whooped my A$$ and was at one point battling with another speed demon for first place. While White Lightning was absolutely incredible, I think that the moment when we both fell in love with Fun Spot was while drunkenly riding go-karts with Floridian trailer trash. I know I am making fun of it a lot but we really did have a great time.
Sorry if the photos seem to get blurrier as the night goes on. No, that's not a coincidence.
Wanting to get a view of the park, and since we hadn't decided if we were going to check out the Orlando Eye at all this weekend, we decided we should have a mild ride on the parks Ferris Wheel nearby. The wheel looked to be the shadiest ride yet, but throwing caution to the wind, we boarded anyway.
The only ones on board, another robo-op sent us on our way, up into the Orlando sky providing a great view of the park and area around us. The wheel rotation was fast but we had a great time taking some photos and we even caught some fireworks way off in the distance (Disney?).
Touching back down we decided to pop in and visit Miss Kim again for some fun cocktails. Now about 10:30, we were both losing a bit of steam. I definitely wanted to get a few more rides on White Lightning and hadn't yet made the decision to ride the parks famed batsh*t crazy Paratrooper. As much as we'd been drinking all day we still weren't drunk and as midnight crept closer I made it a mission and ordered some crazy tropical version of a Long Island with a million different kinds of booze.
I tried to get a corn dog for a snack but the outdoor food stands were already closing up, so I gave up on that idea. Fun Spot definitely felt like a park to get a corn dog at. We sat outside by the water for a few minutes with our drinks before heading back up front to hit White Lightning a few more times, riding it in the front two times in a row before Dawn took a break and I continued riding, getting a lap in the back row as well. The back was great for the drop but otherwise its very much a front seat ride - smoother, better airtime. Out of the 7 coasters I'd ridden today, White Lightning was up there with Mako as one of my favorites. Both airtime focused but completely different experiences. White Lightning is phenomenal and definitely in my top 3 woodies, and top 20 overall.
On our way out we decided to hit Freedom Flyer one last time since it was cycling an empty train with not a single guest anywhere near it. We had another fun little ride on it, nothing to write home about but we both liked it much more than we expected. We did not end up trying to VR at all. Yeah I know we're lame.
As I said we really loved Fun Spot. It perfectly straddles the line between shady and awesome. Totally strange to find a cool little park like this to be completely empty on a beautiful Friday night but it worked out nicely giving us the run of the place. It has the vibe of a permanent carnival, and when first entering we had a feeling of confusion and hesitation but we left completely in love with the place. CoasterBill often mentions he's jealous of locals who have a Fun Spot close by, I now totally understand. I know it would probably get old eventually but I would kill to have a little hole in the wall like this near me. I am excited to see how they expand, and will absolutely make it a stop anytime I am in Orlando. I am already referring it to all my Disney/Orlando visiting friends.
It was a fantastic day for riding, here is a little tally: Mako: 4xs Manta: 3xs Kraken 1x Journey To Atlantis 1x Shamu Express 1x White Lightning 5xs Freedom Flyer 2xs Space Invader 1x Go Karts 2x Ferris Wheel 1x (Sorry I didn't ride the Paratrooper or Sky Coaster, it wasn't in the cards. )
(A short epilogue): Just before midnight we headed out into the parking lot to hail another Uber, only waiting just a few minutes when our next driver Ramy showed up in a super cozy Cadillac XTS Sedan. I'm not even a car person but we were both like "whoa" when he pulled up. Super nice. And the driver had a personality to match. This guy was like Rico Suave. We told him about our night and mentioned we were hungry to which he began to slowly rattle off a list of his favorite swanky eateries near our hotel. Once we got to the hotel we entertained the idea of heading back out for food and more drinks near the Eye or on IDrive, but a quick google told us most places within walking distance closed at 12 or 1. We joked about Wawa and nixed that immediately.
We did however have North Americas' largest McDonalds a 5 minute walk to the corner of IDrive and Sand Lake, which was open 24 hours. I know what you're thinking and we were too - McDonalds is gross. We rarely eat it. But being exhausted and short on time (we had to be OUT of our hotel by 8:30 tomorrow morning to catch our shuttle to BGT) we knew it would be easy and hassle free. Not to mention it apparently it has the worlds largest play area (lol) and a really expanded menu beyond burgers and fries, and even has table service. The self ordering kiosks were a nice touch, helping to ensure the least amount of human to human contact as possible at this time of night.
We walked over, down a really shady and longer-than-we-thought-it-would-be stretch of Sand Lake and had to cross over the insane intersection @ IDrive, but we managed. This part of the night is admittedly extremely blurry to me, but I do recall that upon entering we quickly noticed this looked nothing like any McDonalds we had ever been in - this location had giant fishtanks and multiple levels and people running food, and a whole area where workers were preparing food OTHER than burgers and fries. The self ordering kiosks were easy to figure out, and even with all the other choices, we just got what we normally get at McDonalds - burgers and fries.
We found a table and had our food out in what felt like seconds, filling up our cups at the plethora of Coke freestyle machines, before we stuffed our drunk faces full of non-food. I'll admit it was delicious and totally hit the spot. After this is totally blank, but apparently we made it back to the room and remembered to set our alarms since before I knew it, we were getting up to check out my biggest bucketlist park - Busch Gardens Tampa!!
Last edited by boldikus on Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:22 pm.
Great update! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Fun Spot as much as I assumed you would. I f*cking love Fun Spot.
We've totally been to that McDonalds but I think (correct me if I'm wrong, locals) they totally renovated the entire thing in the last year or so. I vaguely remember some drunken mini bowling in there.
It's a shame you didn't get on that paratrooper. That's a story I'd have loved to hear. Also, if I remember correctly about the go-kart tracks, that one with zero elevation changes is one of the best as you have to drift around the turns else you'll crash into the wall or another driver. But Fun Spot Replicant ride ops have to begin and end with the dude that left me locked in the Enterprise on the back side of the ride.
Sweet Screams are Made of This. Who Am I To Disagree?
Parks: 22 Credits: 117 (23 wood/94 steel) Top Wood: Outlaw Run Top Steel: Millennium Force
coasterbill wrote:We've totally been to that McDonalds but I think (correct me if I'm wrong, locals) they totally renovated the entire thing in the last year or so. I vaguely remember some drunken mini bowling in there.
I read about it before we went, just trying to figure out what was nearby, and saw how it was recently renovated, etc. The entire experience is completely foggy but was incredibly necessary.
prospekt88 wrote:Not at all, McDonalds is great.
I mean it tastes good at times but knowing (or not knowing) what I'm eating freaks me out. I was inebriated enough not to care in this instance.
ytterbiumanalyst wrote: I'm also super jealous you got to meet my hero.
LMAO! Pretty sure that guy was on the blue track with us.
SharkTums wrote:Hey now, be nice to McDonalds! Plus like you said, they're investing in those ordering screens around the world which means you now get your food correct and without talking to a human! Yay!
Those screens were so clutch at that moment. While my recollection is that they were simple and easy to use I'm sure we looked like drunken buffoons attempting to operate them.
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