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Florida 2023 - A snapshot


Mark9

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Quick run down of my trip to Florida last time. My last trip in February 2022 saw me lose a lot of trust in the Disney company, their parks were an absolute hassle.

 

Magic Kingdom - Much better this time around. Even without Splash Mountain, the queues were just a lot shorter. Genie+ is relatively strong here and with a lot more rides, the spread across the rides is good. I really like Tron Lightcycle Run. I acknowledge that it is way too short but the strong launch and the excellent soundtrack make this an enjoyable ride. The outside area gives the ride a great visual and the lighting package is beautiful. 

 

Animal Kingdom - Now 6 years since investment, this has become the quietest park and as a consequence, remains the most enjoyable and relaxed of the four parks. It also for me has the most consistent rides with the only weak link being Kali River Rapids. Everything else is Disney's best. The park has the best food across the parks and remains strong to its central theme of conservation.

 

Epcot - Meh. Just a one and done park for me. Each ride is fine but not worth going on more then once. Didn't even get on Testrack due to reliability issues. Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind is fine but it's a lot of faff to get on and I just find the eight minutes of pre-show beyond tedious and completely self indulgent. The ride is really fun with good air time. But we are essentially have a vekoma family spinning rollercoaster with hours of queuing that goes with it. The two songs we got were good but they completely drown out the commentary from the Guardians as you're riding. 

 

Hollywood Studios - This day was tough. Started out with no Rise of the Resistance, Rock 'N' Rollercoaster and Slinky Dog and that caused massive backlogs everywhere. The only ride that worked all day was Runaway Railroad and Star Tours, everything else was an hour wait or more with multiple bouts of downtime. This was the toughest day at Disney, Hollywood Studios just needs more filler rides. Everything is top tier but nothing is there to soak up the people. Genie+ is strongest here but if you're in stand by, it is a miserable day out. 

 

Seaworld - This park opens at 10 but the only ride open by 11 was Kraken. Dismal start to the day and it was unbearably hot waiting outside Pipeline with no cover. Pipeline is the worst B&M I have been on, a rare misfire for me. For some reason the vest restraints dug into my shoulders the entire time. Yuck. The ride itself, the seats clunk up and down and for a ride that is relatively full of air time, the seats thud up and down over the hills. I found the whole thing just really uncomfortable  but I do realise this could just be me. Manta, Kraken and Mako were excellent as per usual. Ice Breaker was weird with awful restraints. The ride starts off fairly good but the restraint does keep getting tighter and tighter as it goes on.

 

Busch Gardens - Williamsburg is far better. The ride line up is just a tad stronger. Iron Grawzi is well hyped and it is good. but best rollercoaster in the world I'm not so sure. For one the operations absolutely suck. 5 minute dispatches every single time. The ride is also.. for me.. too short. You race into the break run at full speed so it feels like it has a lot more to give. There are some great elements though such as the first drop which made me grey out each time. Some of the air time is pretty good, others is excellent. It has some of the odd transitions that Twisted Timbers and Wildcats Revenge has which are actually more painful than enjoyable. So yeah, I'm undecided on where I sit with it. Montu was fine, Sheikra didn't seem as impressive after Griffon, I liked Cheetah Hunt this time around. Tigris has vile restraints and Scorpion is excellent. 

 

Galatic Starcruiser - The soon to be closed hotel experience was by far one of the finest things I've ever completed in my life. It was so engaging, full of great plot twists and excitement and there's a part of me that thinks if it had been just a little bit cheaper, it could have succeeded. 

 

Thanks for reading. 😃

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Interesting thoughts. 
 

Definitely understand the whole Busch situation. The rides were good but the operations were amongst the worst I’ve seen, especially on Iron Gwazi which was averaging at 4.5 minutes when we went. There was a concerning lack of atmosphere too I found. 

Sea world was an interesting one and in some ways prefer it to Busch, but that might be down to the good B&Ms they have (yet to ride the new one). 
 

My Disney experience was varied. I personally liked Epcot, but May because of the variety in world showcase. Hollywood Studios has the best overall rides IMO, but definitely lacks filler. I personally prefer Paris main park to Magic Kingdom. 

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Interesting thoughts; I’m glad you seemingly had a nice trip, and it is interesting to read a review of the Galactic Starcruiser! I went to Florida myself in June, visiting Universal, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
 

I have to say that even though I was pretty hyped for Pipeline, I was sorely disappointed by it and had very similar feelings towards it to yourself. It’s an interesting idea, it has a good layout, and it admittedly has quite a bit of fairly strong airtime, but it’s ruined by the fact that it fundamentally is not comfortable, in my view. I didn’t like the vests, the standing position was definitely a bit uncomfortable for me in various places, and it hurt me a bit when the seats slammed back down after each airtime moment. It feels like everyone else is raving about it, so I was quite disillusioned getting off and really gutted to not overly like it. It is nice to hear that I’m not insane and someone else agrees with me! Unlike you, however, I loved Ice Breaker and thought it was fantastic; while the trains are hard to get into and out of, the restraints didn’t overly bother me when I was sat down in them unlike, say, Colossus.

 

I haven’t actually been to Disney since April 2019, so it’s interesting to hear a more recent review of the parks. It’s interesting to hear you’re not overly plussed by Epcot; for me, that one was vying with Animal Kingdom for the title of my favourite park in WDW, although I admit that that was mostly because of World Showcase rather than Future World. I’d love to go back to Hollywood Studios; it was my least favourite of the parks at the time, but when I went, half of it was a building site. I can imagine it’s a lot better now that Star Wars and Runaway Railway are open.

 

I do personally err toward Universal over Disney overall, though; both IOA and USF rank some way above any Disney park for me.

 

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