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  1. I didn't really know where to put this tbh, but seeing I couldn't find an existing/ appropriate topic, I thought I would create one. Sad news has been announced at Universal Singapore today it's been confirmed their roller coaster Battlestar Galactica will be closed for good. The ride, the tallest duelling coaster in the world, has been plagued with operational and technical problems since day one when it opened in 2010 and will be replaced with a new ride at the end of the year. Full details about the article can be found here https://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/what-is-buzzing/troubled-universal-studios-singapore-ride-battlestar-galactica-closes-084334087.html
  2. 13th June 2023 (Universal Studios Florida) Today, we did the other park at Universal Orlando that we didn’t do yesterday; Universal Studios Florida! My grandparents didn’t join us today, but those of us who did go were excited to get back into the park and ride a combination of previous classics like Revenge of the Mummy and new attractions like Fast & Furious: Supercharged! As with yesterday, we left our villa at just gone 8am and arrived at Universal Orlando at around 9:15am: After walking through CityWalk and entering Universal Studios Florida, we got into the park itself at around 9:30am: After entering the park, we noticed that a certain major coaster was on only a 10 minute queue, so my sister and I headed over to ride… Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit was on only a 10 minute advertised queue time, which seemed almost unheard of based on our previous experiences at Universal, so my sister and I decided to give it a go. As promised, the queue was very short indeed, and we were on the ride within 10-15 minutes or so. I was interested to get back on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, as I’d always remembered enjoying it to varying degrees on previous visits. It provided the first time I ever remember experiencing airtime on a coaster when I first rode it back in 2014, so the novelty of the airtime, height and lap bars made me think it was the best thing since sliced bread. I liked it a bit less in 2016, but it was still a ride I thoroughly enjoyed and was pretty fond of compared to most. But how have 7 years of additional coaster experiences treated it? Well, I’m afraid to say that riding more coasters has massively lowered it in my estimations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got a relatively decent layout, with 1 or 2 nice bits of airtime, but there was less airtime than I’d remembered, and it was a lot rougher and more uncomfortable than I’d remembered. The ride jolted and bashed us about considerably throughout, and I almost felt like I was getting punched in the stomach entering and exiting the various brake runs. Overall, I’m sorry to say that Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit was a bit of a disappointment for me; it’s got a fair layout, but it was a bit too rough and uncomfortable for me (and my sister seemed to agree), and even as someone who’s done under 100 coasters, it just feels somewhat outclassed in the height/airtime/lap bars genre by numerous other rides I’ve done including Mako, Silver Star, and VelociCoaster. I know that sounds a bit petty and negative, so I apologise for that, but that’s how I felt: After Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, we met back up with my parents and noticed that a new ride we hadn’t done was on a short queue, so we headed towards… Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Race through New York had only a 5 minute advertised queue, so we decided to have a go on it. The queue ultimately ended up taking a lot longer than advertised, with us instead waiting around 30 minutes. Most of that was in the living room-type bit after the actual queue, though, so I guess it might not technically count as part of the wait. We were intrigued to ride Race through New York, as it was a new ride that we’d never done before. But how was it? Well, I’d heard starkly negative reviews for this attraction before coming, and I must say that I don’t think it quite deserves the level of vitriol often directed towards it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the greatest ride ever built, and it’s pretty far down the list of draws within Universal Orlando for me, but I thought it was a perfectly fine simulator in isolation. Admittedly, there could have been a bit more going on in terms of smellpods, effects and such, but for what it was, I thought it was all right. It was nothing particularly groundbreaking, but it was perfectly fine for what it was, in my view: After Race through New York, we headed just down the street to what is a slightly more noteworthy draw of the park (in my view)… Revenge of the Mummy Revenge of the Mummy was on a 25 minute advertised queue, so we decided to take a ride. We were initially concerned about the queue taking far longer than 25 minutes, as it nearly filled the queue line and looked far longer than we’d ever queued for Revenge of the Mummy before, but it in fact took only 15 minutes; as with many rides at Universal, the queue was constantly moving at a rate of knots, and the operations were absolutely top-notch! Based on yesterday and today, I honestly reckon Universal Orlando is right up there with Europa Park for operational efficiency and queue moving speed, of the parks I’ve done! But how was Revenge of the Mummy? Well, I’d remembered it being a decent ride 7 years ago, but if anything, it was even better than I’d remembered; this thing is absolutely awesome! There are 2 really decent pops of airtime, the ride carries great speed throughout, it has some really fun twists and turns, and overall, the coaster itself was great fun! Not to mention that the dark ride experience with the theming and special effects was absolutely top-notch; it’s a wonderful overall experience, and the fire in particular is absolutely immense, with Revenge of the Mummy’s use of fire easily being my favourite of any attraction I’ve ever seen use fire! Overall, I thought Revenge of the Mummy was a fantastic ride; it’s not quite as good as the new IOA duo from the previous day, but it’s definitely solidly entered the 9/10 tier for me: After Revenge of the Mummy, we initially headed towards Diagon Alley to ride Gringotts. However, the ride was showing as “Delayed”, as was Fast & Furious: Supercharged, so we instead headed to ride… Transformers: The Ride Transformers was showing as having a 25 minute queue, so we decided to have a go on it. The queue ended up taking closer to 45-50 minutes, so it was somewhat understated. But how was the ride? Well, I have to say that I thought it was absolutely awesome! The ride was fast-paced, dynamic and full of action, with excellent 3D and loads of brilliant effects, and there was some nice physical scenery too! These Oceaneering 4D dark rides are almost invariably top-notch, from my experience, and I’m looking forward to getting back on Spider-Man later in our trip to compare it to Transformers. Overall, I thought Transformers was an absolutely fantastic dark ride, personally: After Transformers, we sat down briefly for a snack and some respite from the sun. I initially considered riding The Simpsons Ride alone, but I discovered that there was no Single Rider Queue and the standby line was 60 minutes, so I decided against it for the time being. However, we noticed that a ride we’d been pursuing earlier was back open on a relatively short queue time… Fast & Furious: Supercharged Fast & Furious was on an advertised 15 minute queue, so me and my dad made a beeline over there. By the time we got there, it was already up to 50 minutes, but as we’d gone all the way over there, we decided to go for it anyway. We ultimately ended up waiting about 45 minutes, so the posted wait time was pretty accurate. But how was the ride? Well, I was interested to see how it compared to Kong, a similar ride system which had massively exceeded expectations and been a firm favourite for all of us yesterday, and I have to say that it was notably inferior to Kong, in my view. I thought that the ride being in 2D took something away from it compared to Kong, and it just didn’t feel quite as substantial and impressive for me. I did feel that while the movement alongside the big screen itself was clever and surprisingly convincing, and the physical theming was decent in the places where it was present, the fact that the ride only really had the one big screen meant that it wasn’t quite as impressive for me, and I must admit that I felt a bit overwhelmed by the barrage of noisy air cannons at times. With that being said, I had similar thoughts on F&F to my thoughts on Fallon in that while it’s far from the greatest ride ever built, I thought Fast & Furious was all right in isolation, and not quite deserving of the sheer degree of vitriol it often receives. Overall, then, Fast & Furious was OK, albeit not anything spectacular; on a side note, I should also add that I honestly got wetter on F&F than I have on some water rides, with a surprising amount of unexpected water sprays being present: After Fast & Furious, we met back up with my mum and sister and decided to go for a walk around Diagon Alley. Gringotts was still closed, but we just decided to walk around the area and take in the sights for a bit. After that, we decided to go for something a little less simulator-based… Men in Black: Alien Attack Men in Black was on only a 20 minute advertised queue time, so we decided to give it a try. As promised, the queue was not overly long, and we quite quickly reached the pre-show. One interesting thing to note is that unlike other dark rides at Universal, loose articles were not allowed on this one, which I was a bit confused by before getting on. But how was the ride? Well, I was interested to ride it, as I didn’t really remember an awful lot about it from previous trips, and I have to say that I thought it was brilliant! There was great physical scenery, with loads of awesome little details present, the interactivity worked really well, and the spinning added a fun (albeit slightly nauseating) touch! Overall, Men in Black was a great ride; I’d say that it’s easily my favourite interactive dark ride I’ve done: After Men in Black, I headed alone to ride a previous guilty pleasure of mine… The Simpsons Ride The Simpsons Ride was on an advertised 25 minute queue time, so I decided to take a ride. I went alone onto this one, as none of the rest of my family liked the ride previously, and the queue was slightly overstated, taking 15-20 minutes in reality. But how was the ride? Well, I am a Simpsons fan, and the gags and script delivered as they always did, but I must admit that the ride system itself was less fun than I’d remembered, with some very disorientating motions and some pretty jerky moments; it was probably the most intense simulator of the day in terms of the nausea of the ride motions, and I did come off it feeling a tad worse for wear. Overall, then, while the ride film and gags in the queue were as fun as ever, the inherent intensity of the ride system did make The Simpsons Ride somewhat less enjoyable than it used to be for me: After The Simpsons Ride, it was 3:15pm and my family were feeling pretty tired, so we decided to head home for the day: So, that wraps up our day at Universal Studios Florida! It was a great day; I really enjoyed getting back on some old favourites as well as some new attractions, and it was overall really nice to get back to a really great park! I’ve heard quite a bit of negativity surrounding Universal Studios Florida as of late, but I have to say that I absolutely loved the park and still thought that it was brilliant! I have to say that the theming of the park was far better than I’d remembered, with loads of little details and things to look at, and it’s a very nice park to just exist in, in my view, with a nice, relaxed atmosphere. My family agreed, and had possibly more favourable views on it than I did; they seemed to prefer it to Islands of Adventure as an overall park. Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed today’s report! Tomorrow, we’re headed for our first ever visit to Universal’s Volcano Bay!
  3. Right, so quite a few years ago I made posts for a trip that seemed in the clouds. However hopefully now, I am more in a position of a trip finally happening.I'm planning an Orlando trip for 2018. Would September be a good time to visit? Hoping for a 15 day trip out there, and knocking the first and last day for packing, travel and jet lag I'm hoping for the following:2 days at Magic Kingdom 1 day at each other park (total 3)3 days at Universal 2 days Busch Gardens1 day Sea World2 relax days, one for Volcsno Bay and something else and another for Disney Springs and one of the water parks.What's anyone's thoughts on this and is there anything else I should do/plan amongst this?Wondering where the best place to stay is?Disney Onsite, I-Drive, Villa or Kissimmee? The latter sounds interesting.Is a package holiday best for first timers In Orlando? I've booked and organised trips in Europe, but not America.
  4. So we get of the Hogwarts express and arrive at Kings cross. It's crazy, literally just like a London station. The posters on the walls, to the bins, the constant train announcements, and they even had buskers!? It's just themeing to a whole new level. We then walked out of Kings Cross to enter Diagon Alley. You turn a corner around a brick wall and then boom. There it is, Diagon alley. Literally one place everyone has there phones out taking constant pictures. So real, just like the movies. Every little detail thought about. And same with the Wizarding world, such an amazing atmosphere, the music is perfect and has live performances. This area seems a lot more immersive with it being smaller, and the fire effect going off ever so often as well is cool. Escape from Gringotts Yes the whole experience starts from the queue with a lot of rides at Universal, but this whole queue is seriously amazing. Whole queue is well themed and has lots of entertainment, including 2 pre-shows! The single rider queue skips all of this out, so make you sure you go through the main queue once to see it all! Onto the actual ride, again, its amazing! Beaten by the original FJ and Spiderman in my opinion, but the quality of the 3D on the ride is amazing. It does have quite a few rollercoaster elements in there as well which is cool. It was my brothers favourite ride ever. Revenge of the mummy Had no idea what to expect for this one. Walking through a very dark and atmospheric queue line. It ended up being one of the rides I rode the most at universal, most re-rideable, so so fun. More of a rollercoaster than a dark ride, it starts as a slow dark ride but soon turns into more of a rollercoaster. Really good theming, and the fire effects are amazing. Loved it <3 No 3D involved. Twister Very very dated, but it still had some pretty cool effects and is pretty interesting. The main part of the ride was over very quick though, did expect it to go on for longer. Good decision for it to go if I'm honest, it is very dated compared to the rest of the park and I'm sure Jimmy Fallon will be a lot lot better. Hollywood rip ride rocket Was really good, such a fun and unique coaster. Did find it slightly rough in some places, but it was nice having just a lapbar because of the freedom and found the seats pretty comfortable. Music made it really unique and it had quite a few near misses. Men in black: Alien attack So men in black was a shooter, competing with only dual and tomb blaster this is my favourite shooter. Again this was all proper theming, no screens involved. The ride system was pretty cool, lots of spinning round which actually had a bit of force to it Just a fun ride, I liked it. Simpsons ride Next up was the Simpsons ride, and yeah, It was alright. It was one of worst rides I did at Universal but that doesn't mean it was bad, it's just it was competing with some amazing rides. It basically lifts you up into like a curved Imax screen and you go on a rollercoaster journey, with 2 pre shows before the ride as well. I would of loved to of ridden it when it was back to the future. The Simpsons building and whole area is amazing, the Simpsons theme gives it such a good atmosphere. It also has buildings you can go in like the Kick-E-Mart or Moe's as well as Simpson meets and greets. E.T Adventure Next up was ET which was an old dark ride with all proper theming, no use of screens. You sit on a bike which is pretty cool which is suspended from the roof (a similar ride system to Peter pan at Disney from what I remember) At the end of the ride is says goodbye to each individual rider, as you give your name before you get on the ride. Whilst it is a good ride, it is dated and is a ride I could be seen used for development (similar to Twister and Disaster.) In between ET and the Simpsons there is a childrens area home to Woody the Woodpecker coaster, a barney show, a curious george play area and another play area. Maybe it's just because it was quiet while we were there but this area was always completely dead, and didn't really have a lot there apart from the coaster. It would be nice to see this area updated similar to Seuss Landing in IOA, or even a major ride put in there. Transformers 3D The moment you walk in the queue for this you know it's a new ride, and know its going to be a good one. Using the same or very similar ride system to Spiderman at IOA, it didn't disappoint. Not a lot to say about it really except it was very good, and that it used a good mix or real theming and screens similar to spiderman. Do prefer the previous 3 dark rides I've mentioned but this was really good. Shrek 4D Pretty good bog standard 4d cinema, very similar to Angry birds. Not a lot to say about it really, but it was good, and pretty funny Terminator 2: 3D Really didn't expect a lot from this, just a 3D cinema but was actually pleasantly surprised, it was very good. After a pretty long pre show (with live actors) we then got rushed in to a massive 3D cinema/ theater which was a mix of live action and 3D and loads of effects. Very impressive Thats pretty much it for Universal, unfortunately we didn't get on Despicable me Minion Mayhem the whole time we were there as it always had a high queue time, wether that was because it has a low throughput or the fact its right next to the entrance I don't know? I really liked Studios, and same with IOA, I loved the whole layout around the lake. I do however prefer IOA with it having my 2 favourite dark rides, better coasters and fun water rides. City walk is such a nice area, and has some nice restaurants as well, although they are pretty pricey It's such a nice way to link the 2 parks as well, it takes less than 5 minutes if you are at one of the entrances. Single rider queues are so so good, normally at least half the wait of the normal line, if not you get on pretty much instantly. A lot of times we got with people in our group as if they can't find a party of 2 quick enough they'll just shove 2 single riders on. Operations on all the rides are seriously faultless. Thought it was worth mentioning that the drink capsules are really worth while here as well. You pay a higher price the first day for the cup but once you have a cup it's only $6 for unlimited refills all day. There are coke freestyle machines literally all round the parks which scan your cups automatically to see if they're active. I've done a review of Busch Gardens Howl O scream if you haven't seen it already, and they will be a Universal Halloween Horror Nights one soon to compare
  5. So it was the first day of our holiday, and waking up stupidly early due to jet lag we arrived at Universal after eating an IHOP. Yum. We got our tickets, and we waited for IOA to open (even though studios opened at 8) not having a clue how busy it was going to be. It opened a bit before 9, and after scanning our fingers we were in. We went straight to the back of the park for the Wizarding World. Seeing the whole area, and Hogwarts for the first time is amazing. Photos, like of most places won't do it justice. So much bigger than I thought it was going to be, looks so much better in person. Not really knowing what to expect for my first proper dark ride (previous favourite being Dual) I was very exited to say the least. Forbidden Journey Was seriously amazing, and in my opinion better than Gringotts. Gringotts may be more thrilling, but as an overall experience Forbidden Journey was my favourite dark. Perfect combination of screens and proper theming, and the ride system is soo cool! Amazed as I came off, I went straight round the single rider queue for another go. Whole area has lots of shops to go in and experiences like live performances. Even if you're not a fan of Harry potter the area is amazing, yes I've seen the movies but I'm really not a fan of harry potter myself, and Forbidden Journey is still my favourite dark ride. The area also has a small Vekoma coaster called Flight of the Hippogriff with insane operations, and then obviously dragon challenge. Dragon Challenge This ride literally never had a queue, the only queue was annoyingly for the metal detectors. If you didn't know, you have to go through metal detectors for both Dragon Challenge and Hollywood rip ride rocket, and I'm assuming Hulk as well which wasn't open at the time. This is so that no personal belongings such as phones can be taken in the queue line. After a really long indoor queue, you then get to the point where you choose Chinese Fireball or Hungarian Horntail (easier to just say Fire and ice still ) They are both really good coasters actually, a lot better than I thought they were going to be! I do wish I rode them when they dueled. The entrance looked amazing back when it was dueling dragon! I personally preferred the Fireball however they were very similar! Re-ride queue takes you straight to the front of the building again, so you don't have to queue to get through the metal detectors again. Great idea. Jurassic park So Jurassic park was next, a really really good experience, especially the inside section and drop. So well themed, and the animatronics are amazing. It was however a really short experience and only had the 1 drop, a lot shorter than I was expecting it to be, especially the inside section. It was more outside than inside. Ripsaw falls Getting all the water rides done at once, ripsaw falls was next, the best looking log flume I've ever seen by far It didn't disappoint. Theming was great, and had quite a few good drops. Lap bars did make it uncomfortable, and I believe it didn't have them when it first opened? Guess they're there for a reason. Theming in this whole toon area is really nice, and the music is cool. Popeye By far the best rapids I've ever done. The theming is amazing, has a themed troff the whole way round. All the water effects make it so so good because of the randomness, lots high speed points and some good drops. I've heard so many times its the worlds wettest rapids, and after 4 re-rides, enough was enough. Still took a few hours to dry off in the heat. Spiderman That facade Spiderman is an awesome ride, mainly screens but lots of scenery which adds to it. Lots of effects including fire, the music is perfect, one of my favourites. The ride system is really cool as well, and theres one point where it spins round loads which is fun. Defiantly my 2nd favourite dark ride I've ever done. Say this about every area but he whole area is really nice, but it was such a shame hulk was closed and the ride was boarded off. Most of hulk was still there when I was there, but as I was there it was getting taken down. Dr doom fearfall 2 S&S towers next to each other. Was really looking forward to this as I love drop towers and had never done a launching one before. I really enjoyed it, and the airtime once you get to the top is amazing. Single rider worked really well on this with it being up the exit, so no one really knows about it Seaus Landing A really really nice kids area, defiantly the the nicest I've ever seen. Did a few of the rides including the cat in the hat dark ride which was nice. It then of course had the Hogwarts express which takes you to Studios, such a fantastic idea and is really handy. Not once did we spend the whole day in one of the parks, so this is great to take you from each one, when it doesn't have a queue. Overall I loved IOA, its seriously such a beautiful park with such a good atmosphere. The whole park is superbly themed and has some great soundtracks just walking around the park. It's home to my 2 favourite dark rides, 3 great water rides and good coasters. The only downside in my opinion was the lack of rides, it really doesn't take long to get it all done especially during quiet days like when we visited. Was such a shame to see Hulk closed but I'm looking forward to visiting again to ride that and Kong The journey continues at Studios... http://forum.maniahub.com/blog/76/entry-750-universal-studios-orlando-october-2015/
  6. I couldn't find a topic anywhere for this surprisingly, so I decided to make one. The Simpsons is a long established cartoon television show that's been around now for over 25 years and in its time has been very popular. However today, one of the show's long running voice actors Harry Shearer has apparently decided to quit the show, following some disputes including wanting to do other work. Some of you may not know who he is, but has voiced a big chunk of some of the show's primary & secondary characters including Mr a Burns, Smithers, Principle Skinner, Kent Brockman, Ned Flanders & Reverend love joy. Source-BBC news If he's gone for good that's potentially a big chunk of characters that will disappear from the show and would need a big chunk of new faces to fill in that giant gap. Could this be the beginning of the end for the Simpsons?
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