Matt N's Florida Adventure 9th-19th April 2019

Discussion in 'Your Trip Reports and Plans' started by Matt N, 9th Apr 2019.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    9th April 2019 (Travel)
    Hi guys. Welcome to the first in a series of trip reports that I've been waiting to write for some time; yes, it's finally time for Florida 2019! Now, today is not going to be a park trip report, but more of a travel trip report, as I've noticed quite a few members tend to do those on big foreign trips.

    Anyway, before I ramble on for too long, we started our day extremely early by leaving our hotel and making our short journey to Manchester Airport. It was at this point that I started to regret wearing sandals, as it was freezing waiting for our shuttle bus to take us to the terminal! After we got there and got through customs, we ate some breakfast before making our way towards our plane. It was when I was greeted with this sight that the excitement really started to build:
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    I won't lie, it really was quite exciting seeing that plane after waiting for so long to go on this holiday!

    After that, we got on the plane and set off on our 8.5 hour flight. That might sound like a long time, but it actually didn't feel too long compared to past Florida flights, which was good! As for the flight itself, it was perfectly nice; I spent my time reminding myself what a fantastic comedy film Johnny English Strikes Again is and reading a brilliant book about WDW! On a side note, I highly recommend Secret Stories of Walt Disney World by Jim Korkis; it's a fantastically informative book, and it taught me loads I didn't know! The best part of the whole flight, however, was when everyone cheered when we landed in Orlando; we even got some slight airtime during the landing!

    Anyway, after we got off the plane and got through customs, I was able to spend some time reacquainting myself with the Florida heat. Even though it is currently cooler out here than it is during our normal August Florida holidays, it is still 28 degrees and it still feels quite hot and humid! Hotter temperatures are apparently to come later in the trip, so I've got those to look forward to!

    Anyway, before I ramble on about temperature, we got into our car and drove towards our rental house for the next 10 days. After a reasonably long drive down the I-4, we reached our rental house, which is very nice, I must say:
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    Have a picture of our rental car while I'm at it:
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    So, I think that just about wraps up today's trip report! I know it's not the longest or most interesting trip report, but I wanted to do it to start the trip off so to speak. In terms of parks we're visiting on this trip, we have the 6 WDW parks booked and I'm super excited about those, but there may potentially be some other surprises along the way! I hope you guys enjoy reading my trip reports over the next 10 days, because I know I'll certainly enjoy writing them! Join me tomorrow for my first ever visit to the Magic Kingdom!
     
    b2311e, speedy, skyscraper and 7 others like this.
    Posted 9th Apr 2019
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  2. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Matt, a very polite suggestion..
    Make sure you spend as much time as you possibly can enjoying your trip with your family, and enjoying every last bit of the trip.
    You probably won't have that many more holidays as a family group.
    Save essay writing and photo compilation for when you have the time to do so.
    Don't let recording what you have done in the day get in the way of what you should actually be doing in the evening.
    We can all wait a few days to hear what you have been up to.
     
    Posted 10th Apr 2019
    #2
  3. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Don't worry, I'll have plenty of time to do both!
     
    rob666 likes this.
    Posted 10th Apr 2019
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  4. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    10th April 2019 (Magic Kingdom)
    Right, time for the first theme park of the trip, and arguably the main event of Walt Disney World; Magic Kingdom! Magic Kingdom really is the park that started it all here in Florida, and to tell you the truth, it felt a bit strange being a theme park enthusiast who had never visited Magic Kingdom despite having visited Florida 3 times previously in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

    But that all changed today! We left our house in high spirits, and we arrived at the Magic Kingdom after around a 30 minute drive. We then got out of our car and took the tram to the ticket centre before collecting our 14-day tickets. After that, we took the riverboat across the Seven Seas Lagoon before the fun really began. Then, we came to the entrance:
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    As we went through the entrance to Magic Kingdom, we were greeted with arguably one of the most iconic theme park views in the world:
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    When we entered the Magic Kingdom, we initially spent quite a bit of time wandering around some of the different areas. Magic Kingdom really is a very pretty park to look at, and I also noticed that it has quite a relaxed vibe about it, which was nice! After our walk around the park taking in the surroundings, we went to our first ride...
    Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
    As we walked through Fantasyland, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was nearby, so we decided to join the queue. It was advertised as 80 minutes, but only took just over an hour, so that was a pleasant surprise! The queue also moved at a reasonable pace and had some lovely theming, which certainly got us onto the ride in good spirits:
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    So, how was the ride? Well, it was surprisingly good! For starters, the ride packs a surprising punch given its size and rather unassuming nature from off-ride; it kept its pacing quite well, in my opinion! The coaster was also smoother than I was expecting and had some detailed and absolutely adorable theming, which gave the ride an overriding happy tone! Overall, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was an immensely fun family coaster, and was certainly a good start to our day at Magic Kingdom:
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    After exiting Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, our first Fastpass of the day was beckoning, so we headed over to...
    Splash Mountain
    Splash Mountain had a 70 minute queue when we approached it, so I was certainly glad we had Fastpasses! As we walked through the Fastpass queue, I looked at the theming around; there were certainly many little details, and it was a very nice queue! So, how was the ride itself? Well, it was a very enjoyable flume ride! It certainly had a lot to look at during the ride, with many detailed scenes! The ride was also very long, and the drops were thrilling, although we didn't actually get monstrously wet on the ride! Overall, Splash Mountain was a very nice log flume, and it was certainly an effective way to cool off in the Florida heat! The theming was fantastic, and as with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before, the ride really put me in a happy mood with its upbeat soundtrack and cute theming, combined with its enjoyable level of wetness on the side:
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    After Splash Mountain, we got a bite to eat. I had a Mickey pretzel, and it was lovely! I do love the doughy American pretzels, and this one was no exception! After the loveliness of the Mickey pretzel, our next Fastpass was beckoning, so we made the short journey over to...
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Now, we got very lucky when we approached Big Thunder Mountain, as the ride had just reopened following a breakdown. As with all the other Disney rides, the theming in the queue and around the ride was on point, with very nice rockwork and many little details within the queue itself. So, how was the ride? Well, it was very good fun! The ride was well paced and pretty long, with some surprise moments of airtime thrown in there too! I also liked the indoor scenes on the ride, although I did think that the coaster was a little bit on the rattly side. I suppose that's to be expected given the ride's age and nature, however. On the whole, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was a really fun mine train with some exciting moments and a long ride duration! After Big Thunder Mountain, we took a walk into Adventureland, where we rode...
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    As we walked by, Pirates of the Caribbean was on a 25 minute queue, so we decided to go and ride it. This ride is a Disney staple, so we thought it might be worth checking out. The queue moved quickly and had some very nice theming within, which got the experience off to a good start. So, how was the ride? Well, it was a really good dark ride with some very nice theming and sets to look at! The animatronics were really good, and I actually never knew there was a drop within the ride, so that was a surprise! The drop and water effect that followed actually got me somewhat wet! On the whole, Pirates of the Caribbean was a very nice dark water ride with some really good theming and many surprises, and it is certainly worth checking out if you visit Magic Kingdom! After exiting Pirates of the Caribbean, we took a leisurely walk over to Fantasyland, and while we were over there, we thought we might as well ride...
    Barnstormer
    Barnstormer was on a 25 minute queue when we got over to Fantasyland, so we joined it. The queue had some nice circus theming within it, and it also gave me a fantastic view of the Tron construction site, which looked to be coming along nicely:
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    So, how was the ride? Well, it was perfectly fine as far as kiddie coasters go, although it didn't feel as fast as Hippogriff at IOA and was a tad on the rattly side. Overall, though, Barnstormer was a perfectly fun kiddie coaster, and it had some nice theming:
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    After exiting Barnstormer, me and my sister got ourselves some Mickey cookies. They were really nice, and absolutely huge; I had to leave a small bit of mine for later! After we ate our lovely Mickey cookies, we took a further wander through Fantasyland, which led us to...
    It's A Small World
    It's A Small World was on a 30 minute queue as we were passing by, so we joined it. As soon as we entered the queue, one thing that struck me was that the ride had a very cute vibe about it, and that catchy soundtrack was getting stuck in our heads already! The queue had put us in good stead, but how was the ride itself? Well, a word I would use to describe it is "pleasant". It was an incredibly upbeat and pleasant attraction, with detailed theming in every scene! The continents were all lovely, and all in all, the ride just had a lovely vibe about it, and I really liked it! So on the whole, while It's A Small World may not have been the most extreme attraction we rode today, I found it to be an incredibly pleasant way to spend a couple of minutes, and it was one of those attractions that made me feel really warm and fuzzy on the inside in a cute sort of way:
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    After It's A Small World, our final Fastpass was beckoning, so we headed over to ride...
    Space Mountain (Alpha)
    Space Mountain had been an attraction I was rather intrigued by prior to visiting Magic Kingdom today, so I was quite excited to ride! The queue had some lovely space theming and really built up the anticipation as we walked along through it! We were assigned to the Alpha side of the coaster, which is the longer of the two coasters. So, how was the ride? Well, it was very good! While the other coasters at Magic Kingdom were firmly in the family ride category as far as I'm concerned, Space Mountain definitely teetered more into thrill ride territory! The coaster had very good pacing considering it only hits 28mph, and it really felt very fast at points! The darkness really made the coaster feel quite quick, and as with Big Thunder Mountain, there were some surprising moments of airtime considering the coaster's small size! However, the coaster was a little on the violent side, and the seating position made the ride slightly uncomfortable. Overall, though, Space Mountain Alpha was a very good coaster; definitely my favourite ride in the park! I'd also say that while it isn't a top 10 ride, the coaster does slide in towards the bottom of my top 20, which is very respectable given its size:
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    So, that bought our day at Magic Kingdom to an end. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to the park; while I may be slightly above the target market and I think I still prefer the Universal parks, the theming was top notch, the rides were fun for what they were and the park generally was just a lovely place to be, so for that reason, the park just about slides its way into my top 5 theme parks. I had a very enjoyable day, and I certainly look forward to returning later in the trip! To close off, have a couple more theming photos; it's such a picturesque park:
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    Hope you enjoyed today's report! Join me tomorrow as I revisit Animal Kingdom for the first time in 5 years and finally get to experience the highly acclaimed Flight of Passage!
     
    Last edited: 11th Apr 2019
    b2311e, Robert Jones, rob666 and 4 others like this.
    Posted 11th Apr 2019
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  5. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Sounds like you enjoyed the park.

    Is that your only trip to MK for this holiday or are you going back? Seems a shame you missed so much of the non-ride side of the park, no shows, parade or Happily Ever After?
     
    Matt N and D4n like this.
    Posted 11th Apr 2019
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  6. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    We're going back later in the trip in the evening with the intention of watching Happily Ever After, and we may well squeeze in some of the other stuff we didn't do yesterday!
     
    AT86 likes this.
    Posted 11th Apr 2019
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  7. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Enjoy :) Haunted Mansion is one not to miss!
     
    Matt N likes this.
    Posted 11th Apr 2019
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  8. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I look forward to it! I'd quite like to do Haunted Mansion, so I certainly hope we can!
     
    AT86 likes this.
    Posted 11th Apr 2019
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  9. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    11th April 2019 (Animal Kingdom)
    Right, it's time for day 2; Animal Kingdom! I was very much looking forward to today for multiple reasons, and it did not disappoint! It might be worth me noting that I have been to Animal Kingdom before in August 2014, so it's not a new park in the same way that Magic Kingdom was yesterday. However, there had been quite a major new addition since my last visit in the form of Pandora; I'll get on to that in a bit. We left a little earlier today due to wanting to get a head start in Pandora; after nearly an hour's drive due to congestion on the I-4, we reached Animal Kingdom. After we parked up and got on the tram, we reached the park entrance:
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    After we were through the entrance gate, we were immediately greeted by the park's main centrepiece; the Tree of Life:
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    I also got to reacquaint myself with what a picturesque theme park Animal Kingdom really is; it is such a stunningly landscaped park from the second you walk in! I'd also say it feels very authentic compared to other parks I've been to, if you get what I mean. Anyway, me and my family made a swift beeline for the park's newest area; Pandora: The World of Avatar. And my oh my is this area breathtaking! Animal Kingdom had a certain level of grandiose about it to begin with, but Pandora just takes that to the next level! I mean, just take a look at some of these shots of the area's theming and rockwork:
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    It honestly is a stunning area, and my photos don't do it justice at all! Anyway, upon arrival in the area, we made a beeline for...
    Flight of Passage
    Now, Flight of Passage is an attraction that I had been anticipating hugely; it was probably one of my most anticipated rides of the trip alongside Tower of Terror! The hype surrounding it has literally been enormous, so I was pumped! We went for it early in the hope that the queue might not be too long. However, this backfired on us, as the queue had already hit a staggering 165 minutes! We joined the back of the line quite some way away from the attraction's actual entrance (it took around 40 minutes to get to the entrance). The wait didn't matter too much, however, as there was lots to look at and the queue moved at a reasonable pace. The indoor queue line was particularly nice; it had air conditioning, which is always wonderful in Florida, as well as some really nice theming; have some photos:
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    So, how was the ride itself, as expectations were so high? Well, if you want a non-spoiler review, then I will say that I really liked it and it is certainly a very impressive ride; quite different to anything else I've ever ridden and different to what I was expecting in quite a few ways! However, I do think it is a tad overrated by some people; while it is a fantastic attraction, I definitely wouldn't say that it is "the best thing in the world" like some say it is, and I would say that there are a couple of dark rides I prefer. It is still an absolutely fantastic dark ride, however; definitely worth the wait! If you want a spoiler-filled review, I'll happily give you one in spoiler tags or over PM. Anyway, after we came off Flight of Passage, our first Fastpass of the day was beckoning...
    Expedition Everest
    Now, I was interested to re-ride Expedition Everest today, as I seem to remember being slightly underwhelmed by it in 2014. While it was an extremely fun family coaster, I had hyped the ride up in my head to be something it clearly wasn't, so I hoped that slightly different expectations of the ride might make me enjoy it slightly more. The lovely queue theming put me in good spirits boarding the train, which is always good! So, how was the ride? Well, it was similar to how it was in 2014, but I do think I may have enjoyed it slightly more. In my opinion, Everest is a very solid family coaster with some nice tricks and exciting moments, although I would still say that I don't rate it quite as highly as some. The drop out of the mountain is a particularly good moment, in my opinion:
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    After our fun ride on Everest, we got some more of the lovely Mickey pretzels we had in Magic Kingdom yesterday before heading on to our next Fastpass, looking through some of the very nice animal exhibits on the way...
    Kali River Rapids
    Our Fastpass for Kali River Rapids was ready, so we headed over. I remembered really liking it back in 2014, so I was very much looking forward to reriding the attraction. As with most Disney attractions, the queue theming is very nice, with a fantastic explanation of the story to set the scene! However, as we approached the station, the ride's turntable suddenly stopped, and the cast members all looked quite taken aback. After a couple of minutes, we were evacuated from the queue line and reimbursed with the Fastpasses we were unable to use. After leaving the queue line, we used our reimbursed Fastpasses to ride...
    Primeval Whirl
    After the slight setback in the Kali River Rapids queue line, we strolled over to Dinoland USA and got into the Fastpass queue for Primeval Whirl, the park's duo of Reverchon spinning coasters. Luckily for me, we were put onto the side that I didn't ride in 2014, so I got a bonus credit; always great when that happens! So, how was the ride? Well, it was pretty similar to the other side in 2014, although I oddly thought it felt slightly rougher. I've never been a huge fan of wild mouse coasters, so I wasn't really a huge fan of Primeval Whirl, unfortunately. It was OK for what it was, but not one I would rush back to any time soon:
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    After our ride on Primeval Whirl, my family and I headed to another attraction that was just a short distance away...
    Dinosaur
    Dinosaur was on a 35 minute queue as we passed by, so we thought we may as well join it. The queue had some nice dinosaur theming and an explanation about different types of dinosaur by Bill Nye, which gave me flashbacks to some of my school science lessons! So, how was the ride? Well, it was a perfectly good simulator, although I found some of its movements to be somewhat violent. There was some good theming in places, although I think it was more designed to make use of the thrill of darkness than to wow you with its theming. It was a very enjoyable ride, though; I'm glad we rode it:
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    After Dinosaur, we sauntered over to Africa for our final Fastpass of the day, looking in the very nice Gorilla Falls exhibit on our way...
    Kilimanjaro Safaris
    Just as we got over to Africa, our Fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safaris were ready. The Africa area of Animal Kingdom is themed around the fictional nature reserve of Harambe, and it is very nice indeed:
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    So, how was the ride? Well, I found it to be absolutely stunning! The animal exhibits were all huge and elaborately themed, and the ride was also extremely long compared to the likes of Zufari at Chessington! I also particularly liked the use of a fictional storyline utilising the Harambe reserve in amongst the animals; a nice touch!

    After Kilimanjaro Safaris, we made our way towards the park exit and went home. In conclusion, today was an absolutely fantastic day! I loved Animal Kingdom in 2014, and I still love it now; if anything, the addition of Pandora made me love it slightly more! It still sits firmly as my 2nd favourite Florida theme park behind Islands of Adventure and my 3rd favourite theme park overall, and it definitely provided a very enjoyable day today! Even though I may have found it ever so slightly overrated, Flight of Passage was a fantastic attraction that was well worth the wait, and it was nice getting back on some of the other attractions!

    I hope you guys enjoyed today's report! Join me tomorrow for my first ever visit to Hollywood Studios!
     
    b2311e, Robert.W, Alastair and 2 others like this.
    Posted 12th Apr 2019
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  10. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    12th April 2019 (Hollywood Studios)
    OK then; Hollywood Studios time today! We had a slightly later start today, getting to the park at around 12pm. I was excited for today due to both the park being new to me and due to it being home to two of my most anticipated rides of the trip; Tower of Terror and Rock'n'Rollercoaster! We firstly took our tram to the park before reaching the entrance and being greeted by these lovely centrepieces:
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    We took a quick walk around the park before heading into Toy Story Land to ride our first ride of the day...
    Slinky Dog Dash
    Now, I was slightly worried about the length of the queue for Slinky Dog Dash considering that it reportedly got 7 hour lines when it first opened, but we thankfully only had to wait around 60 minutes for it. The wait was also made better by the fact that the queue is nicely themed with lots to look at; might I also add that the theming for this ride is absolutely adorable! From the train to the animatronic penguin at the end, I personally thought that the whole ride and area were so cute to look at! But how was the ride itself? Well, it was actually quite a bit better than I was expecting! I thought that it was an immensely fun family coaster; very smooth, just fast enough for its audience for the most part and it even had some very gentle pops of airtime! If I was to be picky, I'd say that there are a couple of elements where it could be a little bit faster; mainly the very high elements following the two launches. I'd also say that I would personally have preferred the second launch to be a rolling launch and I thought that it was slightly more rattly than Icon at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (the other Mack launch I've ridden), but these really are just minor nitpicks on my part; Slinky Dog Dash honestly surprised me so much! The ride was an immensely enjoyable, well themed and smooth family coaster, if you ask me:
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    After Slinky Dog Dash, I took some photos of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction site, which looks to be coming along very well:
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    Then, we headed to our next ride, and one that I was hotly anticipating...
    Tower of Terror
    Now, I was extremely excited to ride Tower of Terror for multiple reasons. Firstly, I love drop towers, so what's not to like about Tower of Terror? Secondly, the ride is a Disney staple, and is a classic in the eyes of many, so I was excited to ride it for myself. Thirdly, the Florida version was always referred to as the best one, so I was further excited by this critical acclaim! The ride had a 35 minute queue as we approached it, which I was pleasantly surprised by considering Tower of Terror is such a popular attraction! The queue line is also extremely well themed, which made the wait more bearable. So, how was the ride? Well, I had extremely high expectations and it certainly didn't disappoint! Firstly, the ride and queue line combine to make one of the most ambient experiences I've ever seen in a theme park; the whole attraction has such an eerie undertone about it, which I love! The pre-show and theming also make the attraction incredibly immersive, and the ride has many impressive physical set pieces and technical tricks up its sleeves! The drop tower ride itself was also fantastic; the minimal restraint meant that there was quite a bit of airtime to be felt, and the drops were decently forceful considering their size! All in all, me and my mum (who rode with me) absolutely loved Tower of Terror, and I'm going to make a bold statement; I'd say it is my personal favourite WDW ride out of the ones we've ridden so far:
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    After our fantastic ride on Tower of Terror, we ate some lovely ice cream before our only Fastpass of the day was beckoning, so we headed over to...
    Rock'n'Rollercoaster
    Now, Rock'n'Rollercoaster was another attraction I was really looking forward to, as my family who had ridden the Paris version were hyping it up to me, saying it was fantastic. I was extremely glad we had Fastpasses, as the standby queue was 95 minutes! The preshow that we firstly encountered was good and introduced us to Aerosmith, as well as setting us up for the ride. After that, we went into the station, which gave us a nice look at the launch. So, how was the ride? Well, it was very, very good as my family told me it would be! Firstly, the launch was fantastic and felt equally as forceful as the Intamin hydraulic launches; easily one of the best launches I've ever experienced! I also thought that the ride went through its inversions with reasonable intensity, and even though some of the elements had a bit of a rattle through them, the ride was generally quite smooth considering its age! I also liked the black lighted theming! Overall, Rock'n'Rollercoaster was a brilliant ride, in my opinion; definitely my favourite coaster in WDW, and it actually slid in to my top 10 at the #10 spot! Yes, it may be a stock Vekoma layout, but that launch was such a rush, and the rest of the ride was reasonably intense too:
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    After that, our time at Hollywood Studios came to an end...

    In conclusion, I had an enjoyable day at Hollywood Studios! I rode two fantastically thrilling attractions in Tower of Terror and Rock'n'Rollercoaster, and Slinky Dog Dash was an extremely pleasant surprise! The park was a nice park for what it was, although I wouldn't have said it was quite as photogenic as Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Despite enjoying my time there, I'd say that Hollywood Studios was my personal least favourite of the WDW parks that we've visited so far because I wouldn't have said the overall theming was quite as nice as the other two and I also didn't think there was really enough there to spend a full day; we spent around 4 hours there. It is worth noting that the park is going through somewhat of a transitional phase, however, and I'm sure it will be better when Galaxy's Edge opens. Besides, I still really enjoyed my day!

    Hope you enjoyed today's report! Join me tomorrow for my first ever visit to Blizzard Beach and a spot of crazy golf!
     
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  11. venny

    venny TowersStreet Member

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    Couple of tips Matt:

    The Peoplemover in Tomorrowland is a great ride, often with little queue. If you’re planning to return to MK, it’s worth ten minutes of your time.

    When you visit Epcot, slow down and enjoy the ambience once you’re in World Showcase. It’s a park that rewards exploration and a relaxed attitude, like few other places. On our first visit, it was our least favourite of the Disney parks, because we fell into the trap of rushing around World Showcase and focusing on the Future World rides. The more we visited, the more we relaxed and explored. It’s now our favourite Disney park because it’s such a unique experience to stroll around, have a beer, listen to some music, grab a snack, visit an exhibit etc.
     
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  12. TPC

    TPC TowersStreet Member

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    Are you planning to stay at the parks at night for the firework shows?
     
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  13. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    Enjoying the trip reports Matt but I must admit I feel like you're only skimming the surface of all of these parks by seemingly only doing the major rides at each. That isn't what Disney is all about!

    Certainly 4 hours at a busy Hollywood Studios isn't close to enough, there's more than four hours of shows worth seeing alone!
     
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  14. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Matt I am starting to think you guys aren’t show people?

    Lion King at AK is amazing (if you ask me ;)), lots of shows at HS too. Maybe you have other days/evenings planned at the parks?
     
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  15. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Favourite Ride:
    Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
    Just to clarify, we aren't normally show people when we visit theme parks but we are planning on watching Rivers of Light and Happily Ever After later in our trip, as we have evenings booked at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.

    Also, we don't tend to rush from ride to ride as it may look like we do in these reports. On our first day at Magic Kingdom, for example, we spent about an hour just taking a stroll around the park before riding anything! We also looked through some of the animal trails in Animal Kingdom which I neglected to mention in detail.

    Also, thanks for the tips about things to do, guys!
     
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  16. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
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    Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
    13th April 2019 (Blizzard Beach & Winter Summerland Mini Golf)
    Sorry for the accidental double post, but here's today's trip report! Anyway, we visited our first waterpark of the trip today; Blizzard Beach! This waterpark was new to me, so I was very excited to check it out and see what it had to offer! We had an early start today, getting to the park just after opening time at 10am! Entry was quick, and then we were in! When we initially entered, we got changed, but didn't rush straight to a ride.

    Instead, we spent some time in the park's Meltaway Bay wave pool! Even though it might not have been quite as impressive as Typhoon Lagoon's wave pool, wave pools are always fun and this one was no exception! This one was also quite deep compared to others I've done; I struggled to stand up in places, which hasn't happened in a swimming pool in some time! But overall, Meltaway Bay was very fun! After our time in there, we took the chairlift (which is an interesting mode of transport, to say the least!) up to the Green Slope for our first slide of the day...
    Teamboat Springs
    Now, I was excited to ride Teamboat Springs, as I have a soft spot for a good family raft slide and this one is apparently the longest in the world! The queue was also nice and short, which would for the most part be a trend repeated across the waterpark. Might I also mention that the theming for the park and the slides is lovely, as well as a tad unusual considering the Florida climate! So, how was the ride? Well, it was great fun as these types of attractions often are! For starters, the ride really lives up to its length record; it felt like it was never going to end! The elements just kept coming and it was great! There were also many fun turns and drops! So all in all, Teamboat Springs was an immensely fun family raft slide! After Teamboat Springs, we headed to the Purple Slope for our next waterslide...
    Toboggan Racers
    Our next ride was Toboggan Racers, the park's mat racer slides. These are always relatively fun, although I must admit I find the position a tad difficult to manoeuvre in! Again, the queue was short, so we were on the slide in no time at all! So, how was it? Well, it was quite fun! As I said above, I found the position slightly hard to manoeuvre in, but the drops were good! I did not even reach the finish line, however; somewhat embarrassing when your family look back at you and see where you are! Anyway, after our fun ride on Toboggan Racers, my family and I headed over to find some sun loungers before me and my dad headed back up to the Green Slope to ride...
    Slush Gusher
    Me and my dad headed to ride Slush Gusher, one of the park's speed slides. Now, this is the smaller of the two at 90ft, and it basically comprises of a giant triple down where each drop gradually gets larger! I won't lie, it was pretty high up there considering it was the smaller of the two speed slides! So, how was the slide? Well, it was fantastic! The drops each felt very fast, and the final drop even gave some airtime, as scary as it sounds! So overall, Slush Gusher was brilliant!

    After Slush Gusher, we headed back to our sun loungers and got some lunch before we went in the park's very nice Cross Country Creek lazy river! It had some nice theming and water effects and was a lovely, relaxing attraction to spend time in! We then went back into the wave pool before me and my dad headed back up the Green Slope again to brave...
    Summit Plummet
    Now, you may remember earlier that we rode Slush Gusher, the smaller of the park's two speed slides. Well, Summit Plummet is the larger of the two, and boy is it tall; 120ft, to be exact! It was once the tallest water slide in North America, and it's still one of the tallest in the world now! When we were queueing for Summit Plummet, that queue line felt high; you could even see other Florida attractions like the Orlando Eye from up there! I won't lie, I was somewhat nervous; very few pieces of ride hardware make me nervous nowadays, but huge death slides in waterparks make me a little apprehensive every time, I must admit. But I still went on it! So, how was the ride? Well, I was not prepared for quite how insane it was going to be! I had ridden Humunga Kowabunga, the speed slide in Typhoon Lagoon, previously, so I thought this would be somewhat similar. How wrong was I! The sheer speed you hit is insane, and as with Slush Gusher earlier, the steepness of the drop meant that I even got airtime going over! It just felt so amazingly insane, and the speed wasn't a lie; I hit 40mph and my dad hit 58mph according to the speedometer at the bottom! Me and my dad looked at each other with equally exhilarated looks on our faces when we got off, and we both absolutely loved it! You may say that height does not necessarily make a good ride, but I'd say that Summit Plummet is probably my favourite water slide I've ever done!

    After Summit Plummet, our time at Blizzard Beach came to an end. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there; the attractions were great and the park had some lovely, unique theming! There were some things we didn't do, but some of the slides had long waits; Downhill Double Dipper was on 90 minutes at one point! But I thoroughly enjoyed Blizzard Beach; a fantastic way to cool off in the Florida heat, and if you like waterparks, I'd recommend it!

    But we weren't done there. After that, we went to play a round of Winter Summerland Mini Golf! We chose to play the Winter course, and it was very good fun! The holes were well themed, and some even had special effects, including one where a snowman squirted water at you and one where a video played when you got the ball in! Overall, Winter Summerland Mini Golf was a very fun way to spend an hour or two, and I'd recommend it if you're visiting WDW and like crazy golf!

    Hope you enjoyed today's report! We're planning on visiting Disney Springs tomorrow, so you probably won't hear from me until my visit to Epcot on Monday, if that's OK!
     
  17. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
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    Favourite Ride:
    Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
    15th April 2019 (Epcot)
    OK then; after yesterday's Disney Springs break, we were straight back at it today with Epcot! Today represented my first visit to Epcot since I became an enthusiast (my last visit was in 2012 and my memories of it are quite limited), so I technically count it as a new park. It is worth noting that the Flower & Garden Festival is currently on at Epcot, which meant that the park was looking beautiful! We left early and got to the park at around 10am, just before our first Fastpass took us onto...
    Spaceship Earth
    Ah, yes; Spaceship Earth. You can't really go to Epcot without going into "the giant golf ball", can you? It's arguably one of WDW's most iconic and well-known attractions, so me and my family wanted to do it. So, how was the ride? Well, it was a very pleasant experience! The theming was quite nice, especially in the history section, and the "future" portion, while a somewhat retro view of the future, was quite fun! On a random note, does every rider get Judi Dench talking to them, or is that only because we selected Britain as where we lived? But overall, Spaceship Earth was a perfectly pleasant dark ride! After our ride on this iconic attraction, we took a little look at the aquarium in the Seas pavilion and around some of the flowers in Future World before booking a last minute Fastpass for...
    Journey into Imagination with Figment
    Journey into Imagination was nearby, so we decided to get a last minute Fastpass for it. I had heard that Journey into Imagination was another iconic Disney classic, so I thought it might be worth doing. The queue had some fun and zany items to set the tone of the ride, and it introduced us to the simply adorable Figment! I was very much getting a fun vibe from the queue, although my family and I got the impression that we were slightly above the target audience of the ride. So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was a fun little ride for what it was; the vibe from the queue very much continued into the attraction, and Figment popped up multiple times during the attraction! As with many Disney attractions, the ride was also adorable and somewhat heart-warming, in my opinion! After our fun ride on Journey into Imagination, my family and I strolled into World Showcase. The first (and only) ride we rode in World Showcase was...
    Frozen Ever After
    Now, I'll admit I was slightly nervous about the queue times for Frozen Ever After, as my mum had been unable to reserve Fastpasses for it a month in advance and Frozen has a natural popularity, so I was expecting a long queue. However, it was only 45 minutes long, which I'd say we got quite lucky with! The queue was also nicely themed, and I didn't even think it felt like 45 minutes! Now let me confess before I get onto my review of the ride; I'm not a huge fan of Frozen. However, I thought that the ride was extremely well done! The animatronics were fantastic, and there was lots of scenery to look at during the attraction, as well as those instantly recognisable Frozen songs! So overall, I thought that Frozen Ever After was a very nicely done dark ride; definitely worth doing if you're visiting Epcot, even if you're not a fan of Frozen! The animatronics alone are worth seeing! After Frozen Ever After, my family and I spent a good 2 or 3 hours just wandering around World Showcase.

    World Showcase is honestly such a lovely area to wander around! There's so much to see, and it has such a relaxing vibe about it! I wish I could have taken pictures, as I'd personally argue that World Showcase is one of the most picturesque areas of Walt Disney World! The theming is fantastic, and when combined with the Flower & Garden Festival, it really was quite something! I also liked the variety of regional food on offer and I also thought that the staff mostly being from the region portrayed was a nice touch! Overall, I absolutely loved spending time in World Showcase; it was definitely my favourite of the two "areas" of Epcot, so to speak! After our World Showcase adventure, we spent a little more time looking around Future World before our final Fastpass was beckoning, so we headed to...
    Test Track
    Now Test Track was an attraction I was really looking forward to! It is by far the most extreme attraction in Epcot, reaching speeds of 65mph! We started our time on the attraction by taking in the pre show and designing our car. The interactive element was fun, and I also liked the attraction's modern vibe in comparison to the rest of Future World! But how was the ride itself? Well, it was fantastic! The outdoor portion of the attraction felt very fast as expected, but the dark ride portion of the attraction contained many more fast moments than I was anticipating! I'd almost say that the ride felt like a roller coaster in portions, even though it isn't one! Overall, my family and I thoroughly enjoyed Test Track; it's definitely my personal favourite attraction in Epcot and one of my favourites of the trip overall! After our fantastic ride on Test Track, we took a quick look in the Land pavilion as we were thinking of riding Soarin', but the queue was too long. After that, our day at Epcot came to an end...

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Epcot; much more than I expected to, actually! World Showcase is beautiful and is generally just a lovely, relaxing area to spend time in, and while I wasn't quite as enamoured with Future World, it is still a nice (albeit somewhat dated in places) area with some great attractions! One of the things I loved about Epcot was its really lovely atmosphere; it's such a relaxing place to be! Overall, I'd actually say it's my 2nd favourite park in WDW and that it just about slides into my top 5 parks! I had a lovely day there, and it's definitely worth visiting if you're in Orlando for World Showcase alone!

    Hope you enjoyed today's report! Join me tomorrow for an evening at Animal Kingdom, including Rivers of Light! And who knows, there may well be another surprise in store tomorrow!
    P.S. Sorry for lack of pictures; my phone was at home charging!
     
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  18. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Anyone that selects English gets Dame Judi on Spaceship Earth doesn’t matter where you say you live. :)
     
    Last edited: 16th Apr 2019 at 11:20 AM
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  19. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
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    Favourite Ride:
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    Ah right. Thanks for the clarification @AT86!
     
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  20. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    16th April 2019 (Fun Spot Kissimmee & Disney's Animal Kingdom)
    All right, then! Today was a bit of a different day; two attractions in one! You may remember that I alluded to a surprise in my last report, and that surprise was a trip to Fun Spot Kissimmee to ride Mine Blower, a highly anticipated Gravity Group wooden roller coaster! We left for the park after lunch, and we got to Fun Spot Kissimmee at about 2pm. After a short queue to get tickets, we were ready to ride...
    Mine Blower
    Now, the main reason I wanted to come and check out Mine Blower was because I had heard many say that it was one of the best coasters in Florida, with some even saying that it was the best in Florida, so I was naturally excited to ride it for myself! I must say that the coaster's elements looked tighter in person than they did in pictures; just a random thing that I noticed in my excitement! After we wandered in and bought 4 tickets to ride Mine Blower, we walked towards the ride. Thankfully, the ride was walk on; there was an empty train waiting for us when we arrived at the station! As I had been recommended to by another forum member, I sat on the very front row. So, how was the ride? Well, it was very good! Firstly, the ride felt longer than its length, and it kept its pace incredibly well; it's definitely the best paced wooden roller coaster I've ridden! There were also some fun pops of abrupt airtime, including one in the inversion; I'd probably say it's the strongest airtime I've felt on a wooden roller coaster, although I oddly thought that Mako at SeaWorld's airtime still felt stronger and more sustained overall; I don't think airtime is really the ride's overall focus, however. In terms of the inversion, I thought it was brilliant; I loved how it kicked you out of your seat with airtime, and I also loved how it almost felt like you went through it in slow motion, if you get what I mean. It was a very stark contrast to the relentless nature of the rest of the ride! Now, a feature of the ride that many seem to comment on when riding is its roughness, but I didn't think that the coaster was unbearably rough. There were moments of roughness here and there, and I wouldn't have said it was the smoothest of wooden coasters, but it certainly wasn't rough enough to hugely detract from the experience for me. Overall, I thought that Mine Blower was a fantastic little wooden coaster that was definitely worth our time; I'd personally say it's my favourite wooden coaster I've done and my 4th favourite coaster in Florida behind Mako, Montu and SheiKra. I thoroughly enjoyed the coaster, and I even bought the t-shirt, which is definitely a good sign! Have a few photos of Mine Blower and the park (well, mainly Mine Blower):
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    After our ride on Mine Blower, we headed to our next destination; Animal Kingdom:
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    We firstly wandered down to the Tree of Life and the very nice Discovery Island before heading to Asia. On our way there, Kevin from Up came out to say hello:
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    After our brief encounter with Kevin, we wandered up into Asia and joined the 40 minute queue for...
    Expedition Everest
    We joined the queue for Expedition Everest as it was nearby, so we thought we may as well take a ride. I'd never actually waited in the standby queue for Everest before (having ridden the ride with Fastpasses on both my previous visits), and I must say it was very nice; lots there to look at! I liked the whole museum-type vibe that the queue had, and this level of detail continues onto the ride! The ride itself was very much the same as it was last week; good, solid fun as far as family coasters go, with some clever tricks up its sleeves! After we got off Everest, we somehow managed to grab a last-minute Fastpass for...
    Flight of Passage
    Now, many of you may remember that I queued for 2.5 hours to ride Flight of Passage last Thursday, so I fully expected not to be able to ride it again this trip. However, the stars aligned and we were able to grab some last minute Fastpasses for the attraction today! I was very glad we were using Fastpasses, as the standby queue was 130 minutes! The Fastpass queue still gave us a snapshot of the stunning standby queue, and we were on to the ride within about 20 minutes overall. The ride itself was very much as I remembered it being last Thursday; a very good ride with some impressive technology, but not quite as good as many say it is. However, I did notice some new smells and effects that I didn't notice last time, and I was able to get a better feel for the tech behind the ride. Overall, I enjoyed the attraction just as much as I did last week:
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    After Flight of Passage, we took a wander around by Asia before going to our Fastpasses on...
    Kali River Rapids
    Our Fastpasses for Kali River Rapids were beckoning, so we went and redeemed them. I was very glad we were using Fastpasses, as the standby queue was 110 minutes! However, we still waited around 30 minutes to get onto the attraction; not that that was necessarily a bad thing, as like Expedition Everest, the ride has a very detailed queue with lots to look at! So, how was the ride? Well, it was better than I'd remembered! There were quite a few effects I don't remember from my last ride on it 5 years ago, and we actually got quite wet! My family and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and while it wasn't quite the constant onslaught of water that Bilge-Rats at IOA is, Kali was a very fun rapids ride with a decent level of wetness! Overall, a very fun ride! After Kali River Rapids, we grabbed some ice creams and had a wander down to Pandora to see what the queue for Na'vi River Journey was like. It was on 90 minutes, which my family thought was too long, but we still had a good look around this stunning area:
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    After our look around Pandora, we decided to head home. We were originally planning on seeing Rivers of Light, but we didn't in the end due to a member of our family not feeling too well, and it would still have been a decent hour or two at the park had we seen it.

    Overall, I had a lovely day today! I'm very glad we were able to ride Mine Blower; a very good wooden coaster that me and my family alike thoroughly enjoyed! I also enjoyed our time at Animal Kingdom; while we weren't able to see Rivers of Light as planned, it's still a stunning park to spend time in with some fantastic attractions!

    Hope you enjoyed today's report! Join me tomorrow for my first visit to Typhoon Lagoon in 5 years!
     
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