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Flea last won the day on April 4 2018

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About Flea

  • Birthday 24/04/1990

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    Sydney, Australia

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  1. I don’t know… overall ride experience is better, I guess, but TTD’s launch was incredibly special. You’d have to think hydraulic launch coasters’ days are numbered as lsm tech improves and more parks look to convert them but I agree with Gaz in that swing launches are better suited midcourse or with some elements between. Hard to beat that initial punch… Anyway it’s fascinating to see Zamperla take on this project. Beast of a task without much behind them? Thunderbolt at NY’s Coney Island was the most painful coaster I’ve ridden and that rattle in TT2’s POV is bringing back some memories 😬
  2. Someone on Reddit (think it may have been r/rollercoasters) mentioned they had 2 trains running a few days ago.
  3. Yeah the one I can remember was load instructions ie two per row and put loose items in the storage boxes. They weren’t on the PA though
  4. First time visiting SW yesterday in many years to check out Levi and the Atlantis precinct. Overall a good day marred by some pretty frustrating operations. I remember reading somewhere that new policies/procedures have had an impact but whatever the cause, it made for incredibly long dispatch times and excruciatingly slow moving queues. Levi is pretty relentless from start to finish. Seems like the main hill is the only semi reprieve. Fantastic layout with tonnes of fun pops of air right through to the end. The view at the top is phenomenal. Takes your breath away and you forget for a moment what’s ahead. I love the horn as the train dispatches that can be heard throughout the park along with the heartbeat sound. Great touch. The spiral queue audio could have a little more depth and variety considering the length of time you spend in the area. Only one train running as has been reported elsewhere - not sure if this is an operational choice or maintenance but I caught a glimpse of some workers looking at the 2nd train in the shed. The station is gorgeous. It could have been made more immersive with doors at the station exit/entry (a la Superman back in the day) as a lot of light bleeds in. I love how much the smoke adds to the atmosphere shortly after a train dispatched but it’s very short lived. Station audio was too quiet in the morning but it was turned up in the afternoon. I also wish that there were some more pre recorded load/unload announcements as staff yelling out over the show scenes ruins the immersion, but little things I suppose! I really dislike that the show scene is prioritised over efficient dispatches. Especially on a busy day like yesterday. The scene immediately before dispatch is cool but not sure if it’s entirely worth it at the expense of extending the queue? It could be viewed as part of the ride, but with others in the station talking etc it kind of gets lost. The ride is perfectly capable of running two trains without stacking for too long if this was removed. Perhaps peak/offpeak settings would help here? Backwards was intense. Glad I did it but definitely a one and done for me - came off feeing a bit sore! A plus was that I could properly hear the lift audio as the chain drowns it out towards the front of the train. Much prefer forward however backward seems to be making them a mint. A lot of trains had the row filled although no doubt most were using it to bypass the 2 hr queue it sat at for most of the day. Onto elsewhere in the park - JR was also running 1 train. I’m sure there’s a reason for this that I’ve missed in another thread but this meant that the ride was at 60-80 min for the majority of the day with the queue extending to the onride photo kiosk. On more than a few occasions the train would sit in load for 1-2 minutes before gates would open. Group sorting was also a little slow... Again not sure if there are new procedures affecting this but there didn’t seem to be much urgency. Virtual Queue was near impossible to grab a slot. When I did for Levi (at 3hrs and 30 mins away) the app bugged out and my slot dropped off. It also didn’t hold on to my day ticket and I had to re enter it a couple of times. Generally speaking the day was fine and Atlantis is a good addition that rounds out the park to a full day offer (again).
  5. Thanks for the videos. 2nd launch on Big Dipper looks like it has some real kick. I find the tire brake run super interesting particularly as it sounds noisy vs magnetic - wonder if this is a result of limitations of the train design?
  6. Great pics! I hadn’t realised just how much space there is between the spinning seats and the car in front. Going to be an awesome experience.
  7. So a couple of things. LPS doesn’t really have any direct competition in a city of 5 million. They’ll do fine. In addition businesses were given high confidence that life would resume once targets were met, so many projects pushed through. Very different circumstances on the GC for tourism operators as the government is not providing any degree of certainty. This leaves the limited local market to support multiple major openings. Dreamworld is comfortable with this (perhaps out of necessity), VRTP is not. You’re not being treated like an idiot. Supply delays or whatever is an easier sell than we’ll make more money by delaying. I don’t understand how this is anything other than good business. You can’t really take a punt with this level of capital.
  8. Borders reopening in time for the Summer holidays is a big if. If you were top dog would you take a punt on that if? I’d say with DW essentially committing to a 2021 opening, they’ve weighed up the risks v benefits of going head to head and decided the local market won’t really sustain two major attraction openings. Don’t really buy the part shipping delays they mentioned earlier in the year. This is tactical
  9. Can you blame them though? They'll be wanting to get as much return on their investment as possible - not sure they'd love sending out half empty cycles a week after opening a la Vortex. March/April is a solid bet that domestic tourism will be back in full swing. I'm genuinely surprised DW are pushing ahead with ST's opening this year.
  10. Ha! Thank you sir. Rest assured I have read every post and jump on here multiple times a day... maybe I'll stay out of retirement for longer this time around 😜
  11. Wow. Takes a good layout to an excellent one. There isn't a dull moment from start to finish and it doesn't appear to be overwhelmingly nauseating like I expected it to be. Good play by DW.
  12. Highly recommend getting a car. I made the mistake of not researching a great deal about Sandusky... The biggest issue is transportation. There aren’t any Ubers/Lyfts around so getting to the park is a pain - I ended up finding a transfers service but it was $20 + tip each way (for a 10 min drive) and was bound to their pickup times, not ideal if you want to maximise your time in the park. The other issue is the town itself is spread out, so unless your hotel has a restaurant or a Maccas across the road you’ll be walking a long way for food. This was 3 years ago and I visited during the quietest week of the park’s season, so the Uber/Lyft situation might be different during peak. For the park itself - TTD is still as unreliable as ever and fickle to weather conditions so I agree with above, as soon as you see it running get in queue. Something you won’t ever forget. Maverick has relatively low cap, hit up as early as you can. Raptor and Rougarou churns through people so even a long looking line moves quick.
  13. I don't think the attractions I tried were using StarVR - had very limited time so I couldn't try everything. PVRK This indoor theme park replaced Sega Republic in Dubai Mall (which I didn't know much of - I knew there was some kind of park but didn't have much desire to visit). From the few pictures I've seen of its former self since, they look to have kept a couple of rides but totally revamped everything else... and what a brilliant job they've done. We sort of stumbled upon PVRK after walking past KidZania. The entry is incredibly impressive - it's a giant floor to ceiling curved LED wall with a top-down animation of Dubai. Physical 3D models of the buildings pop out of the screen which make for a really effective, almost imposing upside down view of the city. Quick video of it below, along with a few others in the post - forgive me for the vertical format and shoddy recording, didn't really have a trip report in mind at the time haha The park itself is split over two levels and is big - you could easily spend a half day here. Unfortunately we only had an hour spare before dinner so we decided to scope the park out and choose 2 attractions (approx $15 each). For a "VR park" I wasn't expecting much in the way of theming, but each attraction has it's own stunning themed area. I can't explain how much this adds to the overall experience of VR. The only thing that's stopping it from being super immersive is the staff - would be great if they were in costume (and even acted the part a little), but instead they're surprisingly disinterested for a park that's only been open for a few weeks. Right in the middle of the park is a huge upside-down model of Burj Khalifa. The majority of the ceiling inside also has the top-down view of Dubai, but this looks to be projected so isn't as impressive as the entry. First up was Dubai Drone, the Gerstlauer spinner they kept for the revamp. The majority of the coaster is hidden inside. There was around 20 people in queue but, as with any coaster with VR, it crawled. 3 cars were running but ops were stacking for lengthy periods. The coaster itself is fun - surprisingly punchy layout and not as disorientating as I thought. The VR is ok but it was stuttering a lot. I'm not totally convinced on the effectiveness of fast motion paired with VR... Arkham still remains the best iteration of it though. Here's a lights on POV of the coaster when it was known as Sonic Spingear Payday: The VR Heist was up next. Up until this experience I was really sceptical about VR and the hype surrounding it... everything I tried lacked immersion and focus seemed to be a big unavoidable issue (for me at least). The attraction is set in a bank and is actually very well done - attendants greet you behind teller counters and then lead you to one of 9 vaults. Everyone gets their own vault. I think the headset was a HTC Vive - there were a number of sensors and the room was fairly big, allowing for a decent amount of space to move around and not feel too restricted. Once the headset is on you're placed into a very intuitive tutorial while waiting for other players to join. The game itself was very, very fun. Essentially you break into a bank, shoot cops and load bags of cash into a van. The sensors allow you to move a few steps but any further and you need to press a button with the controller in the direction you want to "teleport" to. Regardless this strangely felt like a natural way to move around in the space of the game and quickly became insanely immersive. The whole experience lasts around 15 minutes. PVRK is a seriously solid attraction in Dubai and is a must visit - even if you only have an hour spare. Ferrari World up next.
  14. Just arrived back from a trip to the UAE so I thought I’d share my thoughts on a couple of parks, plus a brand new and what looks to be mostly unreported on park that pleasantly surprised. I've embedded a couple of POVs from YouTube (not mine) for context. Choosing a park to visit in Dubai was difficult - Ferrari World was locked and loaded for Abu Dhabi but, after sightseeing, we only had time for one in Dubai. I did a lot of research on IMG Worlds of Adventure vs Motiongate - both had a pretty equal list of pros and cons. IMG had a good collection of rides (the standout being Velociraptor, a Blue Fire clone) BUT I’d heard that the enclosed environment created a lot of noise and reminded more of a beautified carnival than a theme park. Motiongate on the other hand had a very unique collection in a setting similar to Universal - a powered suspended Mack coaster, Gerstlauer Infinity and a Mack launch similar to Star Trek amongst a number of flats and trackless dark rides. So, Motiongate it was... Motiongate Dubai The park was almost 50km out from the center of Dubai and is only really accessible by car. Taxis are cheap but you’ll still need to factor in ~$30 each way when visiting. The entryway is big and impressive. Desert turns to roads lined with lush greenery with palm trees leading up to the entry. The dropoff point is at the front of an area called Riverland - essentially their version of Universal’s City Walk that connects the four parks in the complex Motiongate is part of. There’s a pretty lengthy walk through Riverland to get to Motiongate (later discovered there’s a tram you can take) but it is beautiful. The area is very well done but is let down by a lack of general atmosphere. It was a quiet day so I’m not entirely sure if it’s the norm, but there was no music or street entertainment. Such a brilliantly themed area would benefit hugely by some complimenting music and a few roving entertainers. The shops/restaurants were sort of just “there”. After around 15 minutes we reached the entry plaza for Motiongate - it’s impressive. The park begins with a relatively small and short Main Street area with the standard gift shops. This then leads to a fountain which branches off to four lands - Lionsgate, Dreamworks, Columbia Pictures and Smurf’s Village. We started off with Lionsgate, so far only home to one of their IP’s being The Hunger Games. There are two rides, Panem Aerial Tour (simulator) and Capitol Bullet Train (Mack launch). The sim was first up... 10 mins was posted for the queue but it ended up being around 25. Inside the queue looked short but it was painfully slow - little did we know that this would set the tone for the day. The ride itself was average. The sim movements are very smooth but I feel this is detrimental to the ride’s story. The flight turns violent and fast paced so the vision doesn’t match the system’s movement. It doesn’t really go anywhere and has a pretty anticlimactic ending. If you were to visit on a busy day this would definitely be one to skip. Capitol Bullet Train was next which thankfully was a walk on, although I wouldn’t have minded a wait because the queue is amazing. The weird thing is the theming stops completely once you’re out on the track. It begins with a slow roll onto the transfer which then slides you over to the launch track. A countdown plays which would have been good if it wasn’t for the lacklustre launch. You sort of just roll forward for a few seconds until the LSM’s engage, even after which they don’t offer much of a kick, only sending the train a quarter way up the loop. You then pass through the launch track again (this time the LSMs properly kick in) and send you up the spike, then through the loop and the rest of the course. It’s a decent layout with a good pop of air on one of the hills but nothing stellar. Following this we headed over to Dreamworks, a massive enclosed building that is split into four mini-lands - Shrek, Kungfu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon and Madagascar, branching out from a breathtaking Dreamworks themed fountain that stopped us in our tracks whenever we walked past. Shrek was up first and we were blown away. Obviously being enclosed it’s constantly “night” - it’s beautifully lit and really immersive. We headed over to Shrek’s Merry Fairy Tale Journey, one of a few trackless dark rides in the park and the longest at around 8 minutes. It basically tells the full story of Shrek in “puppet style”. All the animatronics have visible strings and are basic however there are some great transitions between scenes and is a very good ride overall. What I really liked is that the ride ended with a scene where you’re transported back from the tale with a few “proper” animatronics - sort of felt like a statement from the park to remind that they’re more than capable of creating real animatronics. I don’t think the trackless system was necessary however as there are only really 2 alternate paths the cars take. At this point I had a great feeling about the park, the good was outweighing the bad. There was some areas that reminded me of Universal and some even matching Disney quality... Shrek lead into Madagascar so that was next. Again, another well done area. This was home to Mad Pursuit, a Gerstlauer Infinity with a 35 min wait posted. Seemed excessive for a very quiet day but we decided to wait anyway. Unfortunately this was the start of the park showing it’s uglier side. The queue was a decent length but still only looked 1/4 full with all switchbacks empty. The queue was crawling. I initially put it down to potentially a single car running but was confused when the station came into view (50 minutes later), along with the revelation that 3 cars were running. In addition to insanely inefficient SLOW operations (cars stacking for up to 2 minutes?), priority was always given to anyone in the Q Fast queue. If there was enough to fill a car from Q Fast, no one would be taken from the regular queue. We saw multiple people reriding without any issue while the normal queue stopped moving, sometimes for up to 15 minutes. A mind boggling way to manage a priority queuing system and a great way to annoy regular guests. 70 minutes later we were on. Really punchy launch with a wicked turn immediately following. The rest of the layout was good but the theming was lacking, you fly through a few static cut outs in near darkness. Missed opportunity here I feel. I’d heard great things about Dragon Gliders but refrained from watching any POVs or reviews in detail, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The ride system I wasn’t familiar with either. This had a 60 min wait time but thankfully only ended up being around 30 - the train never stops in the station, similar to HP Forbidden Journey, so it definitely keeps ops on their toes and loading trains quick. There’s an illuminated line that, if the train passes without all restraints locked, will stop the train in the station. This happened a couple of times but was resolved within 20 seconds. The queue again is stunning, perfectly lit with some cool effects. The ride is by far and away the best in the park. There are multiple scenes with impressive animatronics that the cars stop in front of, each car rotating to view the scene. Eventually you come out of the show building and coast (at decent speed) above the How to Train Your Dragon area. It ends with a fantastic spiral back into the station as you circle around the final animatronic scene. There are a few rides that have left me seriously impressed (namely Gringotts and Forbidden Journey), this is one of them. It’s the one ride they’ve nailed from start to finish and is 100% world class. Motiongate is worth the visit for this alone. The main attraction in Kungfu Panda is Unstoppable Awesomeness which we skipped - again another line that didn’t move so we ran out of patience. By the time we came out of Dreamworks the sun was setting, so it was through Smurf’s Village - a very well themed kids area with a roller skater - and onto Columbia Pictures. A big castle with cool forced perspective dominates the area which houses Hotel Transylvania, another trackless dark ride. Very poor ride that meanders in and out of a bunch of rooms that do a bunch of nothing. It could be greatly improved if the rooms were hidden with doors, but instead you just crawl around and end up hearing the audio from each room repeating over and over. Ghostbusters next and - you guessed it - is trackless, albeit a shooter. Without question the park’s poorest attraction, the guns are flimsy, effects and interactivity bad, sound and animation average. Waste of space and time. By this point The Green Hornet (Gerstlauer Bobsled) had a queue of 40 minutes and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (river rapids) 75 minutes, which was absurd as the park was extremely quiet. We decided to try our luck with Zombieland Blast Off - a S&S double shot - but that too, somehow, had a 40 minute wait. Overall the park is good, it is so close to being great but is really let down by some of the worst ops I’ve seen in any park, along with some average rides (outside of Dreamworks) that look to be the victim of cost cutting. Visiting off-peak seems to have more cons than pros, there is virtually no street entertainment, rides are cut to using minimal cars, staff inefficient (and clearly bored) and shops/restaurants close. Clearly they want to compete on an international level and be at the Universal/Disney standard, but silly things like the above mean they won’t get there. On the other hand you have the stellar Dreamworks area that is so good it could be its own separate gate, but it’s frustrating going from a world class attraction like How to Train Your Dragon to garbage like Ghostbusters. PVRK, a new VR theme park in Dubai is up next...
  15. Thanks for the report! I’m heading over in early April and will be checking it out - have been in two minds about the place in terms of what to expect though. Videos and photos make it look largely unappealing, so it’s encouraging to hear that the theming and park overall is good. Is there any word on an opening date for Mission Ferrari?
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