Florida 03/22 – Sea World + Fun Spot Kissimmee

Free parking – now there’s a novelty. And with it we finally had the flexibility to be fluid with the itinerary for the day. Which worked a treat on this particular occasion.

Day 7 – Sea World

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Looks like someone else is in the lighthouse game.

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Geographically #1 Manta was the first thing we stumbled across. I really liked the queue for this one, the fact that no one was in it being an obvious bonus. It set a nice precedent to have those rock tunnels and aquarium exhibits in what would otherwise be a stewing waiting area. It’s a shame no other attraction in the park came close to this level of effort on queueline presentation.

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As for the coaster I was, of course, completely unphased. Any air of excitement or intrigue had long ago been quashed, and all at the hands of Nagashima Spa Land. I like the layout, I love the pretzel, +1. One more plus point for this version is that the leg rest things were the older, less-sharp version, very much a mercy when it’s shorts weather.

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The lack of penguin dark ride on the website suggested that luck wasn’t on our side, but the ambiguous nature of the remaining signage for this attraction gave the impression that there might still be hope.

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Alas, though the queue and preshow remain, they do indeed just lead to viewing penguins by leg. The ride system is, for now, eerily dusty and abandoned.

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Here’s half a dark ride though, and one that had only just reopened in time. I had already been spited by one #2 Journey to Atlantis and would have been rather disappointed to see it happen a second time.

The presentation and two-half nature of the layout is quite clever, with the way it tries to hide what’s really going on and the first indoor bit is decent. Other than that, standard water coaster business.

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With how unenamoured I had become with all these recent B&M sit-downs, #3 Kraken was somewhat of a pleasant surprise. Yes it’s 90% the same layout idea and yes 90% of it looks real ugly amongst such barren surroundings, but there must at least be some magic in the trains which elevated it to ‘good little ride, that’ status by the brake run. High praise for standard floorless coaster business.

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Standard sealion business.

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Standard B&M hyper business?
I’ve seen a lot of good things said about #4 Mako over the years and I was rooting for it to be a mould breaker, not being the biggest fan of this style of ride generally.
Initial impressions were that it doesn’t change the formula in the slightest, it wasn’t some glorious B&M breakthrough, the likes of which we’ve never seen and so such notions were quickly tempered.

However, with much persistence, I did grow to love this ride for what it is and there’s no denying that it does do what it does very well indeed. It’s ridiculously well crafted, with each hill giving you that soft, suggestive lift out of the seat and holding you there for stupid amounts of time, yet all in different ways. I also found that it’s much better towards the front of the train.

The weird straight section in the pull out of the first drop gives it a bit of quirky character as it doesn’t feel quite right. That first big hill just keeps on coming and when it’s finally over you land back in your seat with a little welcoming thump, which I couldn’t help but adore. Other highlights include the trim hill, which gives a really odd sensation of both slowing and throwing. It’s not a buzz kill moment and I can’t fault it, unlike with certain brethren. Also the speed hill is rather sweet, and it doesn’t completely nope out of being a ride after the block brakes, unlike certain brethren.

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Had a bit of PTSD while boarding what would hopefully be the last rapids of the trip. Infinity Falls was pretty wet, yet totally justified in fun factor. It does things, silly things that these probably shouldn’t do. There’s hills, in water, I don’t really understand how but they’re there. The first one comes as a surprise as you lurch under a bridge and then get lost in a wave. Later on it just goes full blown bunny hop.
The one major downside I found is that the ‘biggest drop ever’ felt rather tame in comparison to certain Hafema legends.

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#5 Super Grover’s Box Car Derby, eh? Thought we were done with him.

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#6 Ice Breaker really didn’t want me to like it. I can’t emphasise enough how stupid those restraints are and with the hassle they appear to be causing, I hope that becomes evident and Premier can just get back to being sensible again. It’s such an undignified, unceremonious entrance to a coaster train that just doesn’t correlate with fun.

But then it got worse. I’d been having such a care free time with glasses for the whole trip that I’d almost forgotten how stupidly inconsistent and downright asinine policies can be. Here I am on the stepping stone coaster of the park, the warm up, the ice breaker and I’m being told it’s too dangerous to wear them on my face. 99.834% of the time I’m totally cool with this (an accurate figure, I only remember one other major coaster on which this particular instruction happened). Stuff happens, things get lost, guests make a scene, ride systems are delicate, you name it, rules are rules. Even on Kleine bloody Zar.

There’s no offer of being able to put them anywhere however, instead the only apparent course of action is to insist that I hold them in my hand for the duration of the ride. Clearly much more secure.

They’ve ridden Manta today, they did Falcon’s Fury before that. Have you heard of a little ride called X2? I often daydream of whipping out a book to showcase the things they’ve survived over the years, though of course it’s not fair to expect anyone to assess my experience with rides and glasses on the spot.
But by the same measure there’s no way they can assess my inexperience with rides and glasses on the spot and there’s now a whole host of extra potential scenarios in which I could simply drop them into the launch fins or on someone’s head. I’m dying to one day learn the logic behind it.

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Honestly it took me several goes to even look past all that and actually focus on enjoying the ride itself, aside from bracing against the greasy collars with minimal points of contact and having to worry about a loose and rather essential item in my sweaty palm.

It’s fine. The silly double ups and downs off of the triple launch give some clunky, lurchy forces and then that top hat is actualy quite intense once you make it over. There’s another decent airtime moment shortly after that before it’s just a few twists and turns into the brake run. It really feels over in a flash once the faff of the launch is out the way and the trains do detract from the experience somewhat. So whilst it’s actually quite good for what it is, it also feels like Premier have gone backwards in 10 years and I can’t say I’m too fond of it.

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More fond of that thing.

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After bemoaning the location of Disney Springs, again, we took the opportunity to go and enjoy an amazing sandwich 2 mins away in order to clear that mess from the head. It also came with the bonus of back stage views of Mako. We did originally intend to do a cheeky jaywalk over the road for a closer look but no sooner had we stepped out onto the path, two gardeners appeared in the central reservation like sentry guards and then as if by magic the whole area turned into a sprinkler show. Scuppered.


Fun Spot Kissimmee

Today seemed like the best day to polish off at least one of the Fun Spots and with plenty of time to spare we opted for the better one, the one worth wristbanding.

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Not for #7 Galaxy Spin, although the host did say we were blessed after finding a couple of pennies on the seat.

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Not for #8 Kiddie Coaster, although I do love that train.

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For #9 Mine Blower (#1200) of course. This was all perfectly planned so that I could finally catch a milestone on a Gravity. My fave.

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This ride kicks so much ass, it’s incredible. I’m regularly astounded by the amount of fun and energy they manage to get out of 40ft lift hills. Mine Blower is only a teenager at 80ft, but the ferocity and intensity is up there with the best of them. I can see why people say it’s ‘rough’, except I think that’s a real shame because for me that level of shakiness is right on the edge of wooden coaster perfection. It’s noticeably worse in the front, so I’d recommend avoiding that, regardless of the fact that the back is the place to be for all the best bits anyway.

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The first drop is of course a killer in the back and that inversion is actually good, it has both force and whip and far surpasses the corkscrews on some layouts which are just ‘there’.
The overbanks are wild, but most importantly it has one of those sections which are just Gravity at their absolute finest. Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, out of control twisty goodness that keeps on hitting.
It blows through more of the layout with a surprising amount of steam, managing to gain another powerful drop out of almost nothing before turning back round once more into the only real weak spot of the ride. One hill saps an excessive amount of momentum from the train, though it’s likely an entirely essential crossing point due to the compact nature of what’s being squeezed in here. A brief pause for reflection comes crashing down into yet more violence right up until the brakes. Love it.

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We took an interlude from our many laps to dust off the final cred of the park, #10 Hurricane. Never done a big boy E.F.Miler before and it’s surprisingly quirky. That large drop doesn’t know what to do with itself and it’s banking and then the shaping of the weird little wild mouse 180s with a flat spot in between is just bizarre and comical. It’ll try to hurt you, but it’ll reward you with a good time If you manage to tame it.

Rather than bore the staff with our faces too much, we tore ourselves away from Mine Blower and headed back for a bit of an evening Mako marathon.


Sea World

Highlights of which were seeing Sea World double down on their questionable policies by forcibly ejecting a man from the station for attempting to put a small rucksack in the loose article containers on the exit platform gates.
The reason? Money. Power.
They have paid lockers somewhere outside the ride and even though they were sending out mostly empty trains, no one was in the station, they had absolutely tons of allocated space to store other items and were happy to do so for many guests throughout the night with anything from hats and shoes (so no sensible evac policy) to carrier bags containing merchandise and even a giant plush Pikachu.
I don’t know why, they just started a random vendetta on this one guy and simply wouldn’t play ball with his bag. He stood up for himself and they subsequently ruined his day. For $2.

Ok actual highlights were the front row dusk rides on the masterful machine that is Mako.
Alright, I’m sold, it could well be the best B&M hyper yet.


Fun Spot

Who wants dusk rides when you can have night rides though. Couldn’t resist putting those wristbands to good use and heading back one more time for extra laps on the masterful menace that is Mine Blower.
I didn’t need to be sold on these, I’m selling.
Although I’m not sure I can sell it as well as the guy who stole the back row from us on our final lap of the day. His complete silence throughout the entire ride was brutally broken as we tore into the brake run with “JESUS CHRIST ON A CRACKER.”

Day 8

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