Into the Unknown

Coasters and Miscellaneous Adventures--Animal Kingdom
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Into the Unknown

Postby CaptainUnknown » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:43 pm

This is where the Journey Begins. The first step Into the Unknown. You stand at the edge, unsure of what to do next? So now you have a choice:
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You take the Blue Pill, the journey ends here. You continue browsing the forums. You take the Red Pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

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Journey 1: Fun Spot AKA a Lazy Week in Orlando.

It has come time for spring break of my last year in college. My father needed to take some vacation time. Going to college in Tampa, our timeshare had some rather tantalizing options on International Drive in Orlando. Including one resort next door to Fun Spot Orlando.

So dad flies in to TPA on Friday night, he spends the night in my dorm, and the next morning, we begin the harrowing drive on I4 between Tampa and Orlando.

Much to our surprise, we arrive safely at our resort at the north end of I-Drive. We check in and head up to our room with a view.
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Bouyah!


So now it's time to head into the park to process our season passes. With our passes processed and wristbands on, there was only one acceptable course of action:
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White Lightning!

After a couple laps there, we wandered over to Gator Spot. Always an interesting walkthrough. So glad it's included with the wristband.
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Gator.

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Gator Pile!

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Crikey, mate!

But the star of Gator Spot is easily the albino gator Bouyah. I texted this picture of Bouyah to mother saying, "Look what we found outside our room!"
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And what a view it is.

After saying later to the gators, we wandered around the park for some more rides on White Lightning and Freedom Flyer before walking back to our room so we could pick up some food for the week.

After a couple days of riding White Lightning non-stop, we had an itch that needed to be scratched. So we headed south along I-Drive so we could have our mines blown.
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Our chariot awaits!

Last year, we'd seen it under construction. But now it was finally time to ride. We sat down in the back row of that ever-so-comfortable Timberliner and waited almost impatiently for the train to crest the lift.
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Yeet!

Ho. Lee. Sh!t.
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It was worth the wait.
I thought I loved White Lightning, but wowzers is Mine Blower awesome! Relentless pacing with so much airtime.
So we had to run back around for the front to confirm it was just as bad-A$$. Spoiler: it was. After another ride in the back, dad had to take a breather while I ran around for another couple laps before I too had to catch my breath.
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And what better way to calm down from Mine Blower than a lap on the best Spinning Mouse in Florida and a cycle on the inverting frisbee?

Okay, we've calmed down enough. Let's get our Mines Blown some more!
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A couple laps later, Dad needed to relax a bit so we walked around the park and Old Town a bit, taking a spin on the Ferris Wheel as well.
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Hello, Kitty

But how could I resist the urge to take pictures of Mine Blower from across the pond? I couldn't.
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Loop-Dee-Loop!

Since we were over there, I mentioned to dad that our passes got us discounts on the Skycoaster and I wanted to do it with him since I flew alone last year. But nope, he wasn't interested.
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It wasn't meant to be this year.

We got another lap on the "spinning" mouse. "Spinning" was in quotes there because we got the rare ride where our car was not unlocked for spinning. Realizing it was a fluke, we had to get another lap and boy, did we spin so much that it made up for the dud.

A couple more laps on Mine Blower and Dad needed to go back to the room.

He took a nap, while I went back out to White Lightning and the Paratrooper since I knew the latter was leaving soon for Atlanta and needed some rides on it before it closed. After the cycle, my cart stopped at the top for a while because they were having some troubles with the lap bar. I wouldn't have minded this so much if there wasn't a chilling wind that night.
After being liberated, the park was just about to close for the night so it was time to go to bed.

Waking up the next afternoon, it was time to take some pictures while dad just stayed in the room to relax.
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I could get used to this view

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Ferris Wheel!

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IoA in the distance

You can get some neat shots of White Lightning from the sidewalk outside the park.
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Going down the drop!

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Coming back in.

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Fun to ride and great to photograph!

We took a break from Fun Spot for some time at Disney!

...Springs.

Growing up in Minneapolis, I went to the Mall of America a lot. Even now, I could spend several days just walking around without getting a Nickelodeon Universe wristband. But with Disney Springs, the couple hours I spent there were more than enough. Even with nearly an hour sitting at the top of the Coke store with a cup of Beverly. Though I was glad to have tried Pizza Ponte. Thanks for the recommendation, Robb!
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You say Living Statue, I say Weeping Angel. Don't Blink.


Well, our trip was now coming to an end. Dad had to fly back to Minneapolis and I had to go back to school. But not without some last rides on White Lightning, Freedom Flyer, and Mine Blower.
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Under the lift.

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Fountain

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Underbelly of the Paratrooper

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Glad I got my last rides in. Have fun in Atlanta!


And of course, I had to get a hat.
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Last edited by CaptainUnknown on Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:03 am.
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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby prozach626 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:51 am

Sounds like you had a good time. How smooth was Mine Blower?

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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby Canobie Coaster » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:56 am

Nice report of both the Florida Fun Spots! I also liked seeing the Gator Spot since I've never made my way there.

Those spinning mice are so awkward without the spinning. Hirakata Park always runs their mouse that way and those hairpin turns are not meant to be experienced without spinning alleviating those lats.
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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby Khat26 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:21 pm

Nice report. Mine Blower was the surprise coaster of our Florida trip this year. I thought it blew Mako out of the water.

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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby CaptainUnknown » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:14 pm

Canobie Coaster wrote:Nice report of both the Florida Fun Spots! I also liked seeing the Gator Spot since I've never made my way there.

Those spinning mice are so awkward without the spinning. Hirakata Park always runs their mouse that way and those hairpin turns are not meant to be experienced without spinning alleviating those lats.


Thank you!. Love Gator Spot and it's easily the hidden gem of the Orlando Fun Spot. The non-spinning cycle on the Fun Spot mouse was tolerable. But spinning couldn't save Primeval Whirl. But that's a rant for the next update. ;)

prozach626 wrote:Sounds like you had a good time. How smooth was Mine Blower?


It's not the smoothest coaster in the world, but not the worst. I'd say it had more shuffling than roughness. But it's also the kind of ride that will beat itself to sh!t if not properly maintained.
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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby CaptainUnknown » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:00 am

Journey 2: Animal Kingdom AKA Pandora, Dinos, and Yetis

It's about time I update this thread again. Albeit, almost a year after taking the trip. And some of you thought that coasterbill was a procrastinator when it came to writing up trip reports. :p

It was my last semester of college before graduation. The school was sponsoring a trip to Animal Kingdom. So I knew I had to go before leaving Tampa for the utter cold that is Minnesota.

The first thing I had to do after getting my ticket was download the My Disney Experience App on my phone to hopefully get fastpasses for River Journey. But since my phone at the time was a piece of crap, the app was incompatible with my device. :butt: Whatever, since I wouldn't be able to sync my ticket with the app until I was at the park gates anyway. In the days leading up to the trip, I was keeping an eye on the weather: 80% chance of thunderstorms. And the trip would be during the Star Wars Marathon weekend. The initial plan was to leave early enough to rope-drop the park, though it was pushed back an hour.

Day of the trip comes, knowing how much I hate walking around in wet shoes, I make the decision to wear my new sandals and leave my point and shoot camera behind in favor of my POS phone camera.

We make good time from Tampa, arriving about an hour after the park opens.
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I'm about to graduate college but what am I going to do first?
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I'm going to Disney World!
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When we get off the busses, we're given bottles of water, single meal passes at one of several quick-service establishments, and fanny packs, because who doesn't love fanny packs?

My first stop is the fast pass kiosk to see what I can get. *Steve Harvey Voice* Survey says...
Nothing really at this point.
Knowing the forecast, and seeing some dark-ish clouds overhead, my first stop needs to be Everest in case it closes down for weather.
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On the way, I said Wingapo to Pocahontas.

Then I made a mistake.
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I hadn't ridden these spinning mice yet. And being a credit whore with an eye on the weather, I hopped in a way longer line than a mouse deserves. Especially one this crap. How is the Kissimmee spinning mouse so much better?
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Now in pain, there was no longer denying destiny.
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I jumped in a 40 minute single-rider line.
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Oh great, is that snow up there? I came here to get away from the snow. At least it should cool me off as we climb the mountain.
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As someone who spent the last couple years ride operating, I was thoroughly impressed at how quickly they could get trains out. It helped that the ride had no seatbelts--which I spent way too much time looking for. And then we were off on an expedition up the mountain.

I'd ridden the ride back in 2010, but I forgot how intense it was. But more importantly, it was fun. Totally getting in on the story and just having fun with the story and experience.
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Whee!
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Practicing my Prozach point. Please don't arrest me for stealing it.
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Then I headed back into Dinosaur land to get a ride on the Dinosaur ride.
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First I had to stand in the extended queue which gave me time to get some themeing shots.
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Rawr!
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I wonder if this Dinosaur used its teeth to get a head in the food chain?

I'll show myself out now.
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Well it's not King Kong, but it is big. And probably hungry.
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And then we came to the ride. So, we're going back in time on a sight-seeing tour/rescue mission just before the extinction? God help us, we're in the hands of engineers.

It was less intense than I remembered. But still fun, even if the story is a little hokey and the animatronics are no longer state of the art. But it was exactly what it wanted to be: a fun romp through dinosaur times while sitting in a vehicle that occasionally felt like it was being driven by Mad Max. Oh what a day! What a lovely day!
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After we brought a Dinosaur back to the future (Great Scott, that's a bad idea), I was beginning to feel like a bit of a carnivore myself. So I sought out a tasteless bacon cheeseburger and decent fries at Restaurantosaurus using my meal ticket.

By this time, the clouds were starting to clear up. WTF. Forecasted 80% rain all day. And now the clouds are gone. And me walking around with new sandals in the Orlando heat. Can we get Toto to come bless the rains down here in Animal Kingdom's Africa section please?

While eating lunch, I checked the times that Festival of the Lion KIng was playing. Finishing lunch, I made my way over to the theatre, but I had to make a very important stop first.
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Of course I had to go see Mickey and Minnie.
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And of course the rest of my family was jealous.
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I was born in 1994, a couple months before Lion King hit theaters. So my parents took little baby infant me with them when they saw it. Apparently I slept through it all. But I could not sleep through this show. The energy and choreography were so much fun. And of course I had to sing along with the cast.

Though I didn't get any pictures due to A: my phone's camera sucks as previously stated, and B: my 6 foot self was seated in front of little kids so I worsened the Primeval Whirl pain by hunching over throughout the whole show.
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When the Festival was over, I had delayed the inevitable long enough. It was time to go to Pandora.

Wowsers, is this place impressive! I wish I had a decent camera to better document how bat-sh!t awesome the themeing here.
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Why am I doing this? It's an alien planet! Is there air? You don't know?
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Holy alien skull, Batman!
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He's blue, da ba dee, da ba da, da ba dee, da ba da!
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Holy Hannah Montana, Flight of Passage is awesome! The posted wait was 150 minutes, but I was in the gift shop in just under 2 hours. :lover: :lover:
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While I still think that the movie's story sucks, Disney did the right thing here by doubling down on everything that made Avatar the highest grossing movie of all time (unadjusted for inflation; but frankly my dear, they don't give a damn): the visuals. The movie was gorgeous thanks to its ground-annihilating visual effects work. And that's what Pandora is: a feast for the gods' eyes. :b
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I walked by the entrance to River Journey to see an 80 minute wait. By this point in the day, my sandals had really started chafing my feet and toes. Not wanting to worsen the pain by standing in that line, I regretfully skipped River Journey on this visit in favor of seeking out First Aid for my foot that was in massive pain.
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Gorignak! Gorignak!
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Leaving first aid, I sought out the fast pass kiosk to see if I could get anything. There was a Dinosaur fast pass available so I grabbed it.
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On the way, I picked up another ride on Everest using the single-rider line.
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Dino on the hunt.
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It's behind me isn't it? :|
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Oh noes! A meteor is headed right for me!
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Ultimately, the fast pass ended up costing me time if I had just done standby instead. Oh well.

Oh yeah, and the Dinosaur ride also took inspiration from the visuals of its IP instead of story to the ride's benefit. What other mediocre movies with great visuals can be made into rides at Animal Kingdom? :Pr

Letting out of the Dinosaur ride, I saw a 10-minute wait for Primeval Whirl. Again, being a credit whore, I was hoping I could get on the other side to see if it was better/get the credit. Spoiler alert: it wasn't.
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I have been chosen!

I thought about catching the Rivers of Light nighttime show, but I realized there unfortunately there wouldn't be enoough time after the show for me to get back on the bus back to school.

Knowing there wasn't enough time for another ride on Everest, I began my way out, passing through as many gift shops as I could to kill time until I saw that an attraction I enjoyed nearly 2 decades ago was open, I had to see how well my nostalgia of the It's Tough to be a Bug attraction fared. Never meet your idols, kids.

The queue, if you can call it that was unfortunately beautiful (Curse my camera) as it wound endlessly around the Tree of Life's roots.

The show itself pandered to the lowest common denominator and had the misfortune of being tied to Kevin Spacey (although the Hopper animatronic was neat). But it feels like it was built to torture the poor parents of children that demanded to experience the attraction. Dear Disney, please find a replacement for this abomination.

So now it was finally time to leave the kingdom for animals. And if you're wondering if I did any of the animal trails or Kilimanjaro Safari, the answer is unfortunately no because of the camera on my phone. These animals deserve better pictures than my phone can provide, and I love animal photography, so I chose to prioritize other attractions over bad animal photos. :cry:

So I left the park, took the bus back to campus, got some food from the late night place on campus and went to go nurse my chafed and blistering foot because it was a beautiful day in the kingdom.

And of course, the hats I purchased:
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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby bert425 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:51 am

while some of your phone pics aren't the best I've ever seen, on several of the "Tree of Life" pics, the camera is doing some wonderful effects with the sunlight - creating some really nice colors.

it's almost like you are using a filter.

so it worked in your favor.

thanks for updating the trip report - tho i admit, I do wonder how you dind't have time for solo rider line on Everest, but had time to shop and do "It's Tough to be a Bug" on the way out? :P
(I woulda totally skipped both side of Primeval Whirl and done Everest a few times)
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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby Canobie Coaster » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:42 am

Nice report! I agree Flight of Passage's visuals are astounding. I was surprised the first time how there the film's main characters weren't mentioned by name.
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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby CaptainUnknown » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:11 am

bert425 wrote:while some of your phone pics aren't the best I've ever seen, on several of the "Tree of Life" pics, the camera is doing some wonderful effects with the sunlight - creating some really nice colors.

it's almost like you are using a filter.

so it worked in your favor.


I did some moderate to extensive editing on all pictures in this report. These are the ones that looked passable enough to post.

bert425 wrote:thanks for updating the trip report - tho i admit, I do wonder how you dind't have time for solo rider line on Everest, but had time to shop and do "It's Tough to be a Bug" on the way out? :P
(I woulda totally skipped both side of Primeval Whirl and done Everest a few times)


I agree that Everest would have been a better idea than It's tough to be a bug, but I did write this at 2 am 50 weeks after I took trip on memory alone, so forgive me if I forget the entire play by play or don't remember all my motivations that day. :p

Canobie Coaster wrote:Nice report! I agree Flight of Passage's visuals are astounding. I was surprised the first time how there the film's main characters weren't mentioned by name.


Thanks! But be honest: would you have remembered any of the characters' names if they were name-dropped?
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Re: Into the Unknown

Postby Nrthwnd » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:28 pm

Nice report.

And I like the grey Flight Cap (on the left). :mickey:
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