Florida 03/22 – SeaWorld Orlando + Fun Spot Kissimmee
Today it was time to visit the least exciting of the major Orlando attractions, SeaWorld. That’s not to say I wasn’t excited to visit though, the park is home to several attractions I wanted to experience.
Manta wasn’t one of them though, but only because I’ve ridden its clone, Acrobat, in Japan, and didn’t want Manta to unintentionally damage the reputation of a coaster I really enjoyed. Spoiler alert, it did, but we will get to that.
First off I need to mention the queue for Manta, which was amazing for both the theming and the sealife, as well as the air con because the heat today was intense.
As for the coaster, I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as I did Acrobat but I’ll hold my hands up right now and say that I think half of that opinion is me becoming jaded with B&M Flyers. The other half though, it just wasn’t as intense as I was expecting.
I know it’s illegal to moan about large scale coasters being cloned, and I know Manta came first, so I’ll say something positive and move on. The pretzel loop on Manta is one of the most intense experiences out there, I’m still not sure my lungs have fully recovered from it. Also, the freshly repainted track looks amazing.
Next we managed to get lost on route to literally any other coaster, leading us to stumble upon a large building signed Empire of the Penguin. “Wait, isn’t that a dark ride?” “It used to be I think.” This needed investigation.
The results of our investigation revealed that it in fact used to be dark ride but it is certainly one no more, and these days is only home to a smelly penguin walkthrough. Though we did get to see dust covered control panels from the attraction’s ‘better days’.
Journey to Atlantis
Much like Poseidon’s Fury 2 days ago it really felt like Journey to Atlantis opened just for us. The coaster/dark ride hybrid had been down for a couple of months for extensive retracking and all rumours led to us missing the attraction on our visit. That was until a week or so before we arrived when the park announced that it was finally back in operation.
I’m really on the fence on an opinion of this ride and it annoys me. On 1 hand what I experienced was fine, the dark ride parts were decent enough and the coaster parts were your typical Mack water coaster. On the other though, knowing what this attraction used to be, and knowing I experienced it as a shell of its former self upsets me slightly.
With that being said, what I experienced was alright, thank you SeaWorld for opening it in time for our visit.
Freshly repainted Kraken was next, and it was good fun.
Nearer the top end of the B&M Floorless models I’ve ridden, but not up there with the best, certainly leagues better than Kumba and Hulk though. It had a little more character than just going upside down many times and wasn’t anywhere near as headache inducing.
While Kraken isn’t even in debate for being the best B&M Floorless, Mako might just be the best B&M Hyper ever created.
Coming from a man who normally has to be dragged back on B&M Hypers for rerides because they normally offer almost nothing interesting to me, Mako is special and I fell hard for this wonderful shark themed coaster.
Let’s be clear, Mako isn’t going to blow anyone’s minds or offer anything super intense or different, it’s just great fun and delivers the perfect combination of the ‘sensation of speed’ and possibly the best floater airtime in the industry.
By the end of the day Mako had become my most ridden B&M Hyper, an accomplishment in itself, but more than that, I wasn’t getting bored, if anything I was enjoying it more every time.
Mako is the best coaster at SeaWorld and I’d feel bad for it if it wasn’t at least mentioned in a list of the “best coasters in Florida”.
Infinity Falls was next, and while I enjoyed my ride, it wasn’t anywhere near as memorable as the carnage of Bilge Rat Barges.
Also, the drop on Infinity Falls really wasn’t anything all that special. It might be the same height as the drop on Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure (Singapore) and 4 foot taller than River Quest’s largest drop but it doesn’t even compare to the sheer terror those 2 drops offer.
Super Grover’s Box Car Derby
Better than the World’s only Zierer Force Three for certain though.
I feel like Ice Breaker, the park’s newest coaster, from Premier Rides, is getting unfair hate, and unjust praise, so I’m here to lay another opinion on the table, it’s a great coaster, that’s massively flawed in several ways.
The good first. The coaster layout itself is very good fun, with a punchy triple launch and several super intense moments of ejector air.
Now the bad. Comfort collars, while they don’t completely kill the awesome ejector, you can’t experience it to its fullest. The awful train design, meaning no one can get in or out properly, slowing operations to a crawl, in a park home to 3 B&Ms all capable of doing silly numbers every hour. Stupid glasses rules, they made Heartline take his glasses off his face, where they are more than safe, to hold them in his hand on a coaster with an intense triple launch, strong laterals and intense ejector airtime, you know, the situations where you might need to brace with that hand.
In short, I really like the coaster, why did they sign off on those trains though man…
With the park now complete, we decided to pop out for a bit before returning later in the evening for rerides.
Our first stop was Firehouse Subs, just over the road from SeaWorld. Firehouse have stepped up to be probably my favourite sandwich franchise, and possibly my favourite thing to eat in the US, they are amazing and it hurts me that they aren’t in the UK. I guess it’s for the best, we’d probably ruin it anyway…
Fun Spot Kissimmee
Our second stop was Fun Spot Kissimmee, a location we’d become quite accustomed with by the end of the trip…
FSK was quite a bit less of a park than I was expecting, and more a collection of rides at the side of the road. While we never experienced anything ourselves, and we were there far longer than anyone could have predicted, the park does give off a bit of a vibe for somewhere trouble might happen. Then again, they have Mine Blower, so it’s worth the risk.
We arrived, parked in the free car park, almost connected to the $12 dollar car park, powered in, collected our wristbands, and launched straight to…
Galaxy Spin! But only because Heartline was delaying his fray with Mine Blower for milestone reasons.
It was fine, nothing too memorable as these spinning coasters go, but we did find money in the ride car, the park’s paying itself off already!
Next up was Kiddie Coaster, a tiny E&F Miler coaster, and one of the first times I’ve questioned if we’d be turned away for being too big in the US. We weren’t, and better yet we were able to obtain the location of the parks last coaster, Hurricane, which we still hadn’t spotted.
That can wait though, it’s main event time.
Mine Blower, the parks infamous Gravity woodie is absolutely outstanding and far exceeded my expectations to comfortably sit 9th out of 106 in my Wood rankings.
Heartline for years had been banging on about how great Gravity are, but I only had 2 previous experiences with the mid to large size extreme ones, and they weren’t anything like he was selling to me. Cú Chulainn was good fun but nothing special and Xiamen’s Jungle Trailblazer was incredibly disappointing.
I feel this only helped to make Mine Blower even more shocking and memorable.
This coaster is easily one of the most intense wooden coasters ever created and is relentless from start to finish, brutal doesn’t do it justice. An insane first drop, a vicious inversion and then almost non stop ejector airtime, all while it feels like you’re doing a million miles an hour and rattling around (like wood should) creating an almost unrivaled out of control experience.
Our rides on Mine Blower convinced us we’d need to return again, after our return to SeaWorld, in order to test the beast out at night.
So for now let’s take a break from Mine Blower and check out the parks final coaster Hurricane.
Hurricane is a large E&F Miler, standing at 52 feet, and it was so much fun that I really want to go ride the largest they ever built, an 88 foot one that is soon going to reopen in Texas after a relocation.
Hurricane rode way too fast and intense for the track and train design, it felt truly frightening in the best ways. I’d love have to given it another go, but for some reason when we returned later there was no staff at the coaster.
Back to SeaWorld we went, where we rerode everything that had earnt it, while taking it easy and breathing the park in a little bit more.
This return helped to convince me that the park, at least when we went, was a nice place to exist in, much more relaxing than the crowded paths of Disney and Universal.
It also helped to elevate Mako to possibly the best B&M Hyper position, and regardless of that, proved that it was a wonderful coaster and a true asset to Orlando.
Fun Spot Kissimmee
Then after a bite to eat at the hotel, we launched back to Fun Spot, God I love how close everything is in Florida (except you Busch Gardens…), in order to get our mines totally wrecked by the wooden weapon that is Mine Blower.
Yeah… This thing got even more intense at night. We were tired, the coaster was fully warmed up, we were getting full trains every time, you couldn’t see the layout as well, it was ridiculous.
I hope at least some of you understand what I’m talking about when I say that during these many rides on this amazing coaster, with lots of weird and wonderful people, the experience transcended from just I’m riding a very good roller coaster to this is truly special and a memory I’ll never forget.
That doesn’t happen often for me but when it does, God Damn, what a coaster.
Thank you for reading, click here for day 9 of my trip report, where we revisit Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure.