Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thursday Orlando PTR

Last week I was in lovely Orlando Florida for four days. And I am gonna start posting PTRs from this exciting trip.

The day started out early by getting to the Universal Orlando Resort for The Simpsons Ride Media Day. Before I get into the media day festivities, let me give my thoughts on the ride. I really enjoyed it. I think the two preshows were excellent and very very funny. The queue line features some of the simpsons 'greatest hits' all from their adventures in theme parks like Itchy & Scratchy Land and Duff Gardens. They also splice in new stuff made especailly for the ride, very well done and makes the line go very quickly. The ride itself really is just Back To The Future with a new film, so nothing to groundbreaking there but it is very well done and entertaining. The ride pokes fun at the theme park world and is done so with that true simpsons wit. Overall I think the ride is the winner and probably my second favorite ride in the park. I feel this is saying quite a bit, because I absolutely LOVED the Back To The Future ride and wasn't to happy when they closed it down, but in retrospect I am happy they did.

The Media/Opening Day festivities started off with the grand opening ceremony. The ceremony consisted of a lot of people in blue marge wigs all waiting anxiously for their turn to ride and a bizarre Krusty impersonator leading an orchestra. I wish I had a better picture of this guy, cause the makeup was kind of creepy looking. The opening ceremony also had some 'F-List' celebrities such as Joey Fatone from N-Sync and The Jackonsville Jaguars First Round Draft Pick.

The next part of media day was an interview with Mike West Executive Producer for Universal Creative Studios. He was a lot of fun and seemed really into his job. The full opening ceremony and Mike West interview can be found at this link here.

I think some of the fun about going to these media days is hanging with people that run other websites. Here is a list of website I talked to:
Jim Hill Media
The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World
Universal Ignited
IOA Central
Inside The Magic
Orlando Attractions Magazine

Thats really the best part of media days. I am normally not too big on them, because whenever I go I feel obliged to 'whore out' for the park. But this review is indeed genuine, if I thought it would have sucked I'd say so even if it risks not getting invited back.

The rest of the post-media day was spent enjoying the Universal Orlando Resort. I enjoyed the awesome Revenge of the Mummy the ride, the decent Twister and the much better then I remembered Jimmy Neutron Nicktoon Blast. One thing thats obvious from walking around USF is that next year when Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit opens up the left side of the park will have a very different 'feel'. A 170 foot coaster will tend to do that.

Then it was time to head across the way to Islands of Adventure. I really feel that IOA, doesn't get enough love from the online community as the park is really incredible. The level of theming throughout is just amazing, check out these pictures from the Lost Continent if you don't believe me:

SEE!! But this park is a blast, I got on a lot of rides for only being there a limited amount of time (Spidey twice, Dr.Doom, Hulk, Dragons, Dudley Do Right, Cat in the Hat, Poseidons Fury). And here are some observations I had:

- Clint & Will from In The Loop have been claiming that, Hard Rock Parks Knights In White Satin The Trip is a better ride then Spiderman. I find this VERY hard to believe after 2 more trips on spidey, the ride is sooooooo awesome.
- I had a really hard time fitting into the Log Flume boats on dudley do rights. It has to be because of the individual seating and stupid lap bars. And I am not even that big of a guy, I am guessing a lot of fatties are doing the 'walk of shame' on this one.
- One train operation on dueling dragons is not cool!!
- Poseidons Fury has some really cool effects, that still have me scratching my head.
- Cat in the Hat & Dudley aren't aging well and could both use a refurb.

The most important thing I noticed during my visit to IOA was that the building under construction for Harry Potter Land is REALLY HUGE. I mean this thing must be 80 feet tall and about the size of a football field. After seeing this, I am now officially ultra pumped for when the wizard opens in 2009/2010 as I really think this thing is going to be amazing. Check out the pictures for yourself:

Very Big. This things is going to make waves in the central florida theme park market when it opens, I am guessing IOA will see its attendence climb a million or two guests.

That was about it from a very enjoyable day at Universal Orlando. But as you guys know, I am a Disney fanboy at heart and that leg of my journey was about to begin, because after a quick shower and wardrobe change it was off to Pleasure Island. I really like PI, I caught a show at the Comedy Warehouse and spent much of the night at the Adventurers Clubs. Adventurers Club is such a fun and unique place, that I don't think I will come back to Orlando without stopping in for the night, a real must do in my book. I don't remember much after midnight, but I did make it back to my hotel room. And I wasn't alone as at some point in my drunken stupor I picked up.................. a dominos pizza. But it was time for only a few hours of sleep before it was off to the disney parks.

OH YEA, this poor old drunk guy:

Straight up passed out at the adventurers club and had all the actors making fun of him, good stuff!!

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