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2006.10.21-28 - Orlando, Ho!

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Tomorrow morning bright and early I head south on a ~4500 km journey down and back to Florida!

I'm picking up my snowboarding buddy Dave, and we're staying on-site at Walt Disney World (Disney's All-Stars, the Mighty Ducks hotel, woooo!!). We're doing Haloween Horror Nights at Islands of Adventure, the Haloween events at Disney and Busch Gardens (SHEIKRA!!!), 3 days at Disney (OMG Monorail, Test Track, Soarin', Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest.... ahhhhh!!), as well as probably some of the stuff at Old Town and misc. insanity...

So, if you see a little green smart along I-75 or around Orlando this upcoming week, you'll know who it is :D

-Iain

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Iain, I'm off Sunday and Monday, and I don't work till 3pm every other day :)I hope to see ya man

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Ok ok ok yes yes yes I'm back! Tired, exhausted, burned out... 4750 km later now I'm over 71k... woooo! Stuff later...

-Iain

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Iain... I actually saw a Fortwo with Ontario plates parked in WDW... I took a celly pic, any chance it's Nosedive?

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Post the pic :) Was it a green/black pulse? We mostly took transit but a couple of times we drove (like for the Haloween Party at Magic Kingdom).

Until I figure out how to use this damn computer (stupid Mac), no pics just yet :( Off to bed... (ya I'm a wuss)

-Iain

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Haha, yep!!! You should have left me a note or something! Was that at our hotel though (Mighty Ducks)? I recognize those annoying little triangular divets....

-Iain

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I honestly don't remember... I hit up all of the Disney resorts, parks, shops, etc on a WDW Pin Quest last week (had to pick up 40 or so pins for a friend in California), so it may have been. I guess I got a photo of Nosedive sunbathing?With the Florida automotive scene, I was half expecting it to be between two Hummer H2's... or next to a Scion xB.

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Haha - most of the week at Mighty Ducks I WAS parked next to an xB!! I even took a photo.-Iain

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I know the most "conventional" route for Southwesternontarioer's down to Florida is to pretty much take I-75 straight South from Detroit. I've done that before, and I like exploring new routes, so I plotted a route down mostly along I-77 South to Columbia, South Carolina, jumping across I-26 to I-95, to I-4. I-75 would have taken me through Atlanta, which I really, really wanted to do... but I think the route I planned was the better choice. I am consistently in awe every time I drive through the mountains of West Virginia, excited by the traffic around the major city centres, and delighed by the numerous toll roads in which one can enjoy the experience of chucking quarters into a toilet-shaped bin every 500 m on certain roads. :)

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Headin' on down to Florida.

The mountains through West Virginia are my favourite part of the drive. Starting just North of Morgantown (!), the terrain changes wildly and the roads thrust up and down against the mountain faces. Often times oposing traffic dissapears completly as their lanes are somewhere else down the side of the mountain face, out of view. This is where the first (and only, so far) fault of the cruise control becomes obvious - it has some kind of delay in it that causes the car to lunge wildly over the top of hills gaining an additional 10-15 km/h in bursts! Very not cool!

Being so high up in the mountains and looking over makes you feel like you're flying. The weather simply could not have been more perfect. Clear blue skies, perfect, warm weather... the windows went down around Pittsburgh and stayed down for pretty much the entire trip. :)

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I stopped for the evening after just over 1600 km... which I didn't think was too bad for the first day. I wanted to get into Orlando in good time Sunday afternoon, to make sure I picked up my snowboarding buddy Dave on time to get ready for our first event... Halloween Horror Nights 16 at Universal Studios Orlando!

The hotel of choice was a Super8. mhawel, his brother, our co-worker Monika and I had a great stay at the one in Cincinnati a few weeks ago where we scored a free room for both nights! I chanced it again and tried... not so much luck this time. $55 for a room with a view.... of a wall! I kid you not, my window of my room looked onto the door of their service room. Meh, whatever. I was tired and a bed was a bed!

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Nosedive gets juiced!

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Travel companion.

After heading out fairly early, I stopped for some breakfast at a Burger King just North of Savannah. Before I could even shut off my engine, two cops came flying over a berm and approached me about the smart. I talked to them for over half an hour! The one officer was so impressed, he kept adding up in his head how much it would cost him to make one into a cruiser. I told him with just 40 hp he might need to be looking at a Brabus. :biglaugh: The usual routine though ensued the entire trip; each time I stopped, several groups of people would aproach, comment, smile, and talk. The most uncomfortable situation happened at the Florida Welcome Centre, when a fairly raggidy kinda guy came up....

"What is it?"

"I... what? I don't.... um..."

"Like what is it?"

"Well... it's... it's a car..."

"..."

"....................."

Once we got past that though, it was all good. :) I still just don't know how to handle some of the questions, at all.

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I got extremly bored in the 2 hours leading up to the edge of Orlando, so out came the helmet.

Let me just say this - Jacksonville is beautiful! My next trip to Florida, I'm allocating a day to just explore and go around and hang out there. I had no idea it was so awesome! There's a small Bombardier UM III monorail system there (it replaced a French-built (and far superior, IMHO) MATRA VAL 256 that was built in the late 80's. Those trains were shipped to O'Hare and the whole system was gutted by Bombardier). I actually started adding up all the really neat transit systems I'd be bypassing this entire trip and got sad. The Duke University OTIS Hovair LIM shuttle, Morgantown PRT, Jacksonville UM III, and then just south of Orlando, Miami's Adtranz/Westinghouse CX100 Metromover. I'm as much a transit enthusiast as a theme park enthusiast (if not more) so it pained me to think about that.

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I thought these only appeared on planes!!

Right on time, I screamed and cranked the music - I was here, exit 65 off I-4, Walt Disney World!! The highway system within the Walt Disney World property is insane, to say the least. I've no idea how much land they own there, but it easily takes half an hour to drive between some of the parks, they've got their own interchanges, flyovers, everything... it's like an entire city. Monorail guideways flying all over, Disney Transport busses (including Canadian-built Novas!) zipping everywhere... it's completly overwhelming.

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Welcome to Walt Disney World!

I had arranged to pick up Dave at Blizzard Beach. Dave works in the waterpark industry, and was in town for a convention the week before. I found him there and we headed off to check in to our hotel. Where else would we be staying on-site?? Disney's All Stars Movies: Mighty Ducks, of course!!

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Disney's All Stars Movies: Mighty Ducks hotel!

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Dave and I met up with his coworker Steen and his partner John, and then headed off to Universal Studios in their rental car (ew). Halloween Horror Nights is an event that runs each year at Universal (either Studios or Islands of Adventure, sometimes both) and can only be described as the most insane, massive, adult party on the planet. 50 000 people pack into the park to experience a crazy night of getting hammered, crazy, elaborate haunted houses, shows, themed environments and haunt zones. It's just completly overwhelming in every regard.

Before heading in, we had a deliscious dinner at one of the restaurants on Citywalk - a nightlife-oriented outdoor mall-esque section of the parks that links IOA with Studios. An introductory conversation between Steen and I about the wonders of gender abnormality lead to the rather humourous displacement of our tablemates! The cheese pizza was deliscious.

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An Introduction to Halloween Horror Nights.

We headed in and did a couple of houses before the crowds really kicked in. But that's where the Express passes kick in - for an extra fee you get a card that entitles you to jump to the front of the line to the houses and some of the attractions. People Under the Stairs was by far the best house, and definately the most innovative I've seen yet! Every tenth person entering gets a miner's/construction helmet with a light on it. The light has an infrared sensor on the top - and at various points throughout the house, it goes on/off/strobes/other effects! The theme of that house was... just that, a house, under construction, like in any urban housing development springing up in various subrubs everywhere. Dave and I thought it totally was the scariest too, because it was sort of one of those situations you could almost see yourself in!

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a Haunt Zone.

Revenge of the Mummy is a Premier-rides built launched dark ride slash roller coaster that goes forward, backward, has launches, a false ending, just overall a really awesome, fun experience! It wasn't too busy and we got several rides on it. That's really the only notable thrill ride in Studios (most of the really exciting coasters are over at Islands of Adventure, like Fire and Ice dragon and the Hulk).

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I didn't get too drunk, even though I really really really wanted to get going on the double-shot Jello Shooter syrenges. :) Knowing we'd be spending the whole next day at EPCOT, I didn't really want to get into a hangover situation.

Robosaurus was there too and was crunching cars. A roving "Kill Squad" was walking calmly around the park as a pack and would suddnly chant "3! 2! 1! KILL!" and disperse, attacking everyone in sight with chainsaws. The haunt zones were frigin' INSANE. This event is completly nuts, and just has to be experienced, I can't stress that enough...!!!

As the night wore on we eventually all headed back to Mighty Ducks to retire for the evening.

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Ahhhh, EPCOT. Every Person Comes Out Tired!

I'm not sure, but I think EPCOT is the largest of the Disney parks. It sure feels that way! EPCOT started out from what I remember as a kid as two halves - a "technology" half ("Future World") and a "culture" half ("World Showcase"). World Showcase I don't think has changed much, but as the future has a bad habit of becoming the present, Future World has changed a LOT since I was there as a kid. A lot of things I really miss - the unified fonts/logos for each themed pavilion, Body Wars/MET, and now even the Living Seas! But a lot of new stuff has come in, which I'm in love with; most notably, Test Track, Mission: Space and Soarin'!

I don't know how it happened, but we somehow bypassed Ellen's Energy Adventure. This is a 45 minute ride in the world's only "traveling theatre" staring Ellen Degeners and Bill Nye the Science Guy as they explore the history of... energy! Also unbeknownst to me my phone was neither receiving or actually sending out the SMS' I'd been trying to get through to Rob so we never actually crossed paths. :( We were suposed to meet up for HHN the night before and at EPCOT on the Monday.

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We nabbed some Fastpasses' before heading over to Soarin'.

I couldn't wait any longer. My hardcore roller-coaster enthusiast buddy Sean (he's riden more than 800 coasters!) told me that when he road Soarin' at Disneyland in California he was pretty much in tears. I know Sean really well and knew this ride must be something really, really special. So when I found out they were building one in Florida, I purposely ignored all the construction pictures, didn't read any of the hype, basically shut the entire ride out of my mind... even when we loaded into it I stared at the floor so I couldn't see anything. I had no idea what it was or what it was going to do.

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Dave enjoys a deliscious park map while waiting for our flight departing form Concourse B at Soarin'.

I practically started bawling the instant it started going! I have never, ever had such an incredible experience on a ride or attraction before. It's total sensory takeover. It is MASSIVE. It is EPIC. It is MOVING. And anyone, any age, any size, can (and must!) go on it. I'm not all for the over-the-top Disney stuff (serious!), I just like hardcore technology. And this brings it. It brings it HARD.

Test Track is, to me, the most visually interesting ride I think I've ever seen. To watch it operate is fascinating; but to really think about how it's working is awe inspiring. Up to 80 vehicles on a track, running 10 second headways on the main circuit... what's not to like?! The ride system was custom designed and built by Vekoma, a successful Dutch ride manufacturer. On Test Track, you load up into 6-passenger cars and shoot off on a series of tests designed to test the limits of vehicles. The climax is an exciting trip around the high speed loop at over 65 mi/h!

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65 mi/h high speed loop on the world's only slot car you can ride!

Test Track holds a special place in my heart. It is the closest thing on Earth to my "dream" coaster, and is also probably the closest thing to Aramis that I've stumbled across. Aramis was a French-built transit system developed between 1970 and 1987. It stemmed from the concept of PRT - Personal Rapid Transit but took it further to the point of "virtual trains" that would do away with conventional blocking techniques and utilise CMD - a form of intelligent moving block. The vehicles project in front of them their safe stoping distance based on track markers. Test Track vehicles do the same thing, and the motions in the station where 4 sequential loading platforms are used make this point obvious. Test Track rarely gets the recognition it deserves and is an outstanding example of the kind of hardcore technology Disney does a pretty good job at consistently bringing. No other park could pull this ride off or would dare to undertake it!

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We used our FastPass and rode Soarin' again, and then went over to the former Living Seas pavilion - now named somethingorother with Nemo (from Finding Nemo). Out front are now anamatronic versions of the seagulls from the movie - every few minutes they erupt into the now-famous "Mine! Mine! Mine!" act. :) It's hilarious!

The main attraction here now is "Turtle Talk with Crush" which is pretty cool. A live CGI of Crush appears on a giant screen in a small theatre for about 50 people. Kids and adults can talk directly to Crush and he answers questions about the ocean, and then asks the audience questions about life on the dry side. It's hilarious because kids say the darndest things!

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Interior of the former Living Seas pavailion.

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It was about time for lunch so we headed back into World Showcase for part of the afternoon. During our visit it was the International Food and Wine Festival, which meant every 20 or 30 m little booths were set up where you could try different foods from all around the world!

Lunch at the Mitsukoshi in Japan is always great; the view out the large windows over the lagoon is great and $1 for unlimited rice means it's probably the cheapest place to eat in all of the WDW resort! I went for some chicken tempura as well though this time. :) Dave later collapsed down the stairs and broke both his legs, much to the horror of those looking on.

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Japan, at EPCOT.

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Our journey continued around World Showcase before bringing us back to Future World for some more rides on Soarin' and Test Track, as well as Mission: Space. Mission: Space is an attraction which simulates a journey to mars on board a new prototype launch vehicle. Again, the ride mechanics here are nothing short of amazing, with a world's first kind of simulator. 4 units hold 40 people each and consist of 10 individual pods seating 4 passengers each. The pods are arranged circumferally around a central axis on a giant claw-like carousel; the cabins are suspended on a two-axis gimbal at the end. By spining up the central carousel and pitching/yawing the individual cabins, a whole slew of different forces can be inflicted on the riders in all sorts of different vectors. It's the only ride of it's kind in the world! And it makes you very, very sick! :puke:

The Canada pavilion at World Showcase features a Circlevision360 film (another Canadian invention!). Circlevision360 films consist of an odd number of screens arranged in a cylinder. Guests stand in the giant cylinder, where they are surrounded. Projectors located between each screen show a complete wrap-around image. The result is a movie which makes the viewer feel like they are completly part of the landscape.

The slightly dated film makes me so proud. I still get teared up watching it. The music, the narration... "Ahhhh.... Toronto, with the CN Tower - the tallest in the world!" The song at the end is totally uniquely Canadian and of course I initiated a thunderous applause at the end. :) I felt like going up and shaking everyone in the theatre saying "I'M CANADIAN! I'M CANADIAN! ME! ME!" :)

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Oh, Canada

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Later in the evening, we watched the fireworks show which takes place in the entire World Showcase. John and Steen still hadn't riden the Monorail yet, so we spent an hour and did the EPCOT line, transfered at the TTC to the resort monorail, and toured that line which passes through several hotels as well as the Magic Kingdom.

Bombardier's MK VI monorails which operate at the Walt Disney World resort have been in service since about 1990. They replaced aging MK IV monorails and introduced a lot of new features while retaining the classic look of the original trains. The trains themselves were built to "urban transit" standards; they're functionally very similar to the trains which now operate in revenue service in Las Vegas. Each train has a capacity of 315 people and has a top speed of about 70 km/h. 12 trains are used at the resort, and each bears a unique coloured stripe. The flash pattern of the rear nose beacon also helps pilots identify other trains.

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Canadian-built Bombardier MK VI Monorail. EPCOT line.

Next up, MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom!

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ahh!!! and I still have your front of the line passes for Everest

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My wife, her sister and I were at WDW from 10/20 to 10/24 as well. Flew down, so we did not have the smart, but I would have gone nuts if we had seen you! :oh:

I agree, Soarin' is a great ride! We loved it. We were at the Haloween party at the Magic Kingdom on Monday evening.

Test Track is a cool ride, we rode it the first year it was open and several times since then (we get to WDW at least once a year, usually twice) They had a lot of trouble coordinating the computers when it first opened. Each car has a free standing system and if one of them goes out of sync they all shut down! Guess they finally worked all of the bugs out of it, but kudos to them for doing it that way instead of just making it a standard roller coaster type ride.

Have not read your whole trip report yet, but did you get to ride the Mt Everest coaster in Animal Kingdom? It is new this year and a cool ride. My sister-in-law was nervous about riding it, so she asked an attendant how severe it was. She took us into the control room where we could watch the TV monitors of all parts of the ride! Really cool! Then she took us out and put us in car, bypassing the line! That was even cooler! Part of it is backwards in the dark!

Dennis

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That's cool you guys were there, too. Everest we did several times - I just haven't yet got around to posting the photos from the rest of my trip!

-Iain

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fyi, I'm hungover... so I'm not replying in any particular order :)

Also unbeknownst to me my phone was neither receiving or actually sending out the SMS' I'd been trying to get through to Rob so we never actually crossed paths. :( We were suposed to meet up for HHN the night before and at EPCOT on the Monday.

Which network were you roaming onto? I'm assuming either T-Mobile, Cingular, or Verizon... Sprint is unlikely. Either way, whoop some @$$ with your provider.

when he road Soarin' at Disneyland in California he was pretty much in tears. I know Sean really well and knew this ride must be something really, really special. So when I found out they were building one in Florida, I purposely ignored all the construction pictures, didn't read any of the hype, basically shut the entire ride out of my mind... even when we loaded into it I stared at the floor so I couldn't see anything. I had no idea what it was or what it was going to do.

I practically started bawling the instant it started going! I have never, ever had such an incredible experience on a ride or attraction before. It's total sensory takeover. It is MASSIVE. It is EPIC. It is MOVING. And anyone, any age, any size, can (and must!) go on it. I'm not all for the over-the-top Disney stuff (serious!), I just like hardcore technology. And this brings it. It brings it HARD.

Trivia Time!... I can see my old apartment in San Francisco during Soarin'. Also, the golfer that hits the ball at you, is former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. FYI, I'll be at Disneyland 12-17 Dec. if you can sneak down. You'll probably have to fly this one... unless you're up for driving a week for a 5 day trip :P

I'm not sure, but I think EPCOT is the largest of the Disney parks.

Animal Kingdom took the honors now, but bear in mind, that the Safari counts for a HUGE chunk of land. Remove the Safari, and Epcot will easily take the honors again. eg, you could fit the entire Magic Kingdom within the confines of the safari.

We used our FastPass and rode Soarin' again, and then went over to the former Living Seas pavilion - now named somethingorother with Nemo (from Finding Nemo). Out front are now anamatronic versions of the seagulls from the movie - every few minutes they erupt into the now-famous "Mine! Mine! Mine!" act. :) It's hilarious!

It's now called The Seas with Nemo and Friends (that's a long one)... as for the seagulls, I have 19 minutes worth of video footage of them. Yes, I'm a dork. I wanted to record long enough to detect a pattern.

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Let me just say this - Jacksonville is beautiful! My next trip to Florida, I'm allocating a day to just explore and go around and hang out there. I had no idea it was so awesome! There's a small Bombardier UM III monorail system there (it replaced a French-built (and far superior, IMHO) MATRA VAL 256 that was built in the late 80's. Those trains were shipped to O'Hare and the whole system was gutted by Bombardier). I actually started adding up all the really neat transit systems I'd be bypassing this entire trip and got sad. The Duke University OTIS Hovair LIM shuttle, Morgantown PRT, Jacksonville UM III, and then just south of Orlando, Miami's Adtranz/Westinghouse CX100 Metromover. I'm as much a transit enthusiast as a theme park enthusiast (if not more) so it pained me to think about that.

Yes it is. I love the Jacksonville/St Augustine area. I'm up that way quite a bit since A- the beaches have decent surfing, B- the beaches are also pet friendly, and C-my girlfriend is from Ponte Vedra Beach (suburb of Jax) originally.

Right on time, I screamed and cranked the music - I was here, exit 65 off I-4, Walt Disney World!! The highway system within the Walt Disney World property is insane, to say the least. I've no idea how much land they own there, but it easily takes half an hour to drive between some of the parks, they've got their own interchanges, flyovers, everything... it's like an entire city. Monorail guideways flying all over, Disney Transport busses (including Canadian-built Novas!) zipping everywhere... it's completly overwhelming.

47 sq/mi/121.73 sq.km. Twice the size of Manhattan island, or roughly the size of San Francisco. It also has one of the largest public transportation systems in the world and the largest private navy in the world.

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Which network were you roaming onto? I'm assuming either T-Mobile, Cingular, or Verizon... Sprint is unlikely. Either way, whoop some @$$ with your provider.

To be honest I have no idea, my phone doesn't tell me that - it just says "Roaming". I wish wish wish I could buy a device the size of an iPod that was just... SMS and email. No phone. So it would be cheap. In theory??

Trivia Time!... I can see my old apartment in San Francisco during Soarin'. Also, the golfer that hits the ball at you, is former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. FYI, I'll be at Disneyland 12-17 Dec. if you can sneak down. You'll probably have to fly this one... unless you're up for driving a week for a 5 day trip :P

Yes I'll just up and go to California because I am made of money. :P The reason I did the week in Florida is I had to use up my vacation time by a certain date and I still had a week! Besides if I went to California I'd want to plan it all out to hit all the big parks, I wanna ride X something feirce and I think it's been down since like August because SFMM is ass.

-Iain

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Tuesday was a busy day. In the morning, we'd planned on visiting MGM Studios, then moving to Animal Kingdom, having some dinner, then preparing for Mickey's Not So Scary Haloween Party at the Magic Kingdom until midnight. After a full day of EPCOT, too, my feet were really getting tired!

MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom are both about equally my least-favourite Disney parks. I just find them boring. I apprecieate the tremendous effort that goes into these things but there just isn't enough at either park to keep me interested for more than about 20 minutes. The big ticket items at MGM Studios are Tower of Terror and Star Tours. Rockin' Roller Coaster is there, too, but as it features a soundtrack on the ride that you can't shut off (and it's Aerosmith or something rock-and-roll) it instantly demotes that ride to garbage to me! Let me pick my own soundtrack and theme and I'll make into something actually awesome... :)

First up: Tower of Terror!

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The Hollywood Tower Hotel.

Tower of Terror is something really special. It's a completly custom designed (in-house) vertical tower ride. But it's so much more. Where most drop rides are over in a few seconds, Tower of Terror is a full-length ride, incorporating elements of a dark ride, tower/freefall ride, and themed experience all into one. Many vehicles are operating at the same time on parallel shafts. The story goes that you're checking into your hotel room - but the main elevator is damaged, so you've got to use the service elevator. 20 people or so get in, and off you go...

What's really neat is that they now run 4 separate programmed drop sequences in the main shaft. Once the car dives into it (in total darkness), you never know if you're going to start by launching up to the top of the shaft, or dropping straight down to the bottom! The minute-long completly unpredictable sequence of drops, bounces, balistic freefall paths, leave you wanting more every time. Absolutely without question my favourite freefall ride.

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Fastpasses for Tower of Terror. Can you tell we REALLY like this ride?!

There was hardly a lineup or a reason to use Fastpass but we did anyway. We rode Rockin Roller Coaster once or twice (ow, my ears - from the music, not the ride, which is surprisingly smooth for a Vekoma)... then moved on to my second favourite ride at MGM Studios: Star Tours! I love anything airplane-themed, really... Dave pointed out that our flight attendant looked like Condoleza Rice and it was OVER!

For Lunch we ate at the most unique restaurant I have ever experienced. The theme here is it's the 50's and your mother is serving you dinner. The hosts are all actresses and are VERY good - keep your elbows off the table, eat your peas, etc...! I DIED when one climbed through a window screaming! There was a small food fight (which I started)!!

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Then we were done with MGM Studios because there is absolutely nothing else to do there.

I wasn't terribly excited about visiting Animal Kingdom again either, but I really like Dinosaur (hosted by Mrs. Huxtable!). The big new ride there now is Expedition Everest (or ExpEv, as we affectionatley began calling it). We headed over to the Asia side of the park to hit that up. ExpEv is a giant Vekoma custom mine train inside a huge mountain. The attention to detail is pretty amazing. The mountain railway trains have a pusher engine at the back. The trains themselves are a modified version of Vekoma's Booster Bike trains which I thought was pretty interesting.

The ride itself is typical of the "new" Vekoma - really smooth, lots of banking, lots of curves. When the train comes into the station, steam starts pouring everywhere from a floor vent that lines up with the engine at the back - cool! The long lift ride up takes you across a huge bridge and through a Tibetan temple... before you realise it, after a small drop, the track has been ripped up! The train rushes backward down a separate track, through the heart of the mountain. After watching a silohette of a giant Yeti rip apart the track, you rush back forward out and down a huge drop outside, diving in and out of the mountain again with lots of curves before finally coming to a safe stop back in the village.

Really good ride.

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Expedition Everest, Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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Not too far away is Dinosaur (formerly Countdown to Extintion). This is a really neat ride, that was developed for Disneyland in California (Indiana Jones) and when Animal Kingdom was built, they copied the ride and changed the theme. You board giant 12 passenger "time rovers", which are really large-tired motion simulator bases on a track! You pass through various scenery on a journey to find a dinosaur and bring him back to our time. The technology again is second to none. This is a really violent, scary ride though!

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Dinosaur, Disney's Animal Kingdom

After heading back to our hotel to get changed into our costumes, we decided to drive over to the Magic Kingdom in the interest of time. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Haloween Party is one of the only theme-park events I can think of where you are permited to wear a costume! Most other parks don't let you, so the kids don't get confused between who's an employee and who isn't. I went in all my motorcycle gear (I think peopel thought I was a robot? dumb) and Dave took a bathrobe and towel and pretended he just got out of the shower. :)

Since you can't drive directly to the MK we parked at the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Centre) and took the MK monorail over to the park. No reluctance from me there!!

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Aww, monorail-smart, love!

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There is so much monorail activity around the TTC. All 3 lines converge there and often as your train is gliding in, you can look over on another beam, and see another train filling up with people, and another one gliding out of the station... I just love it!

When we got to the Magic Kingdom I was releived to see that we definately wern't the only people in costume. In fact, I'd say 1/3 of the visitors to the park were in costume! That's great! I was actually worried we'd be like the only peopel there wearing anything different. We got our trick-or-treat bags and headed on in... straight to SPACE MOUNTAIN!

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Dave went as someone who just got out of the shower...

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I went in my motorcycle gear.

Space Mountain is seriously like... definately in my top 10 of coasters. It's just way too insane! There is SO much going on inside that ride, I can't even begin. I've only seen it once in there with the lights on, and it's just a huge mess of steel. Everywhere. A big dog's breakfast of supports and track every which way. They let us ride with whatever costumes (it was hilarious to see people getting on in giant hats, everything - wondering if they'd get chopped off by the low supports!).

Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain were both walk-ons, no wait at all. This was such, such a fun event. I can't stress that enough. It was the exact oposite of Haloween Horror Nights as far as crowds go - where at HHN the age is like, 20-30 for everyone there, here it's kids in strollers all the way up to the elderly with almost no one in our age bracket! I did feel like a minority but so many kids kept coming up to me and saying "Cool costume!!". I felt so lame because I put no effort into it at all. :) Lots of ladies were laughing at Dave, thinking he didn't have anything on underneath his robe!

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Space Mountain!!

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We closed out the park, headed back to our hotel, and got ready for our last day of Disney... for this trip, anyway! But there was still so much more to do...

Thanks for readin' so far,

-Iain

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