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Richard

Rich's USA Trip

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You'll see I've added a new link (replacing the somewhat useless Park Guides link) in the top menu. Well, I thought it'd be nice to get word out there about my coming trip well in advance - it's still just under four months away. This is essentially my first trip overseas in a long time. Last one I remember was in 1993-94 when I took a family cruise out into the Pacific, and doing the whole tropical thing for a while. It's looking to be a great itinerary. It's amazing what there actually is to do in America park-wise, without most of the parks open. Feel free to add any comments you have regarding this trip.

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Suitcase? :) I really wish it were that sort of trip! Unfortunately, it's backpacks and Greyhound coaches all the way. There's going to be a lot of walking, fast-food and hostels. There will surely be something for Total Thrills during and after the trip. I've mentioned the site that I'm (hoping) to get up for it, which will include photos and trip reports, but I'll be here as well to talk about it. If I take anything less than 1,500 pictures on this trip, then I'll be disappointed - and you'll all get to see them. At least I'm not the one carrying the video camera.

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I thought I'd add an update now that I'm over in San Francisco. We got here on Sunday (Sunday here) and got ourselves down to the Downtown LA Greyhound terminal. This is a very shady area of town. There were lots of pretty suspect people everywhere... thankfully we were only there for six hours. Did I mention it wasn't heated, and it was absolutely freezing? We caught a 9:30pm bus to San Francisco - on which we got our first sleep in about 48 hours - and arrived at around 5:00am. It was well and truly pitch black (and was until after 7:00am), so we decided to wait in the terminal until it got a bit lighter before heading off into town. Half an hour of that and we were hungry (hadn't eaten since about 6:00pm the night before) and freezing, so we figured it couldn't be too unsafe at 5:30 in the morning to be out on the streets. A McDonalds saved us, and we got a nice, edible breakfast. We then walked through the streets in search of our hotel. Walking down some very interesting shops - passing certain landmarks and whatnot everyone knows - we got to our hotel and got showered and did our teeth and whatnot (again, first time since we left). We stayed where we did (Holiday Inn, Fisherman's Wharf) because our cousins and their family and some friends of theirs happened to be holidaying over here (also from Brisbane), just finishing their two week trip of LA and San Fran. It wasn't as cheap as we'd have liked, but a nice place to kick off the trip, and becuase we've spent the time doing touristy things with our cousins, at least we haven't had to pay for as much of our own things. :) Yesterday we took a roadtrip down to Monterey Bay, on the way stopping in at the closed Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. We got plenty of photos, which can be seen in the San Francisco section of the CoasterTrips.com gallery. We're out of here for another night on the Greyhound - amazingly the same route we came up here on straight back down (this time stopping at Hollywood for that part of our trip, not the interesting Downtown LA). Tomorrow we get off the bus, get into our hotel and head off for a day at Universal Studios. I'll be back in a few days to add what else has happened. :)

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Agree, all looks pretty good. Although, I went on one of those Pinfari rides in England, and as you've probably guessed as much: they arn't that good. Keep us all updated mate, and keep going for those 1000's of photos :D One question though; at what point are you going to get the pre-departure photos? ;) :shock:

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The park closes for the first three weeks of December, so it was expected, and pretty well unavoidable. Given that the pre-departure photos never really happened, I wouldn't keep my fingers crossed. :) We went to Universal Studios today, came out with annual passes and spent the evening in the studio audience of a sitcom (Good Morning, Miami), featuring Tiffany Thiessan (Saved by the Bell, 90210 etc.). Tomorrow we do the same, only we're looking at seeing King of Queens (something I've actually heard of!). I'll hopefully get the pictures of this part of the trip up tomorrow night or early the next day, as well as a more comprehensive trip report for CoasterTrips.com.

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Tiffany Thiessan is a good sort from memory anyway Rich. I'm sure you wouldn't have been bored ;) Damn, you're going to have to fly back just to use the pass now... bugger... What a shame! 8)

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hi rich hope you vaction is going well I went to the Friends TV taping in 1998 with some mates was alright but felt 6 hours of taping for a 23 min show was to long.

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Rabid, Would have been awesome to see though yeah? They really are perfectionists aren't they? Fair enough too, with the money they're paying they'd want it to be as perfect as it could be :P Is it true when they say if they don't get a reaction out of an audience they'll go off and re-write the scene? Or is this just in the pre-production?

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me and my mates being kiwis found them rude to be honest we all went though metal detectors ect then sat in a audience of 50 people for 6 hours during that time they had lots of breaks and not once came and said hello which I thought was rude "you really appericate how funny the writers are and not the actors" thats the good thing with kiwi and aussie actors there down to earth guys. the only good thing was courtney and rachel had short skrits on which was a highlight. anyway if any one wants to know it was series 5 episode "the one with the Yetti" you can actually here my mates loud laugh in one of the scences

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They had a guy (standup comic by trade) who was sort of hosting the audience. He walks everyone through the whole process, answers questions about the production process for everyone and keeps everyone interested, and hands out prizes and incentives for being an enthusiastic audience. This show was relatively quick - it started at about 6:30 and we were out by 9:30, which is fairly rare, but still very teadious. They've generally worked out a whole heap of different lines for different scenes. If what they do doesn't work as well as they thought it would, they'll try a different line. This show might be different from Friends in that it's only in second season, not fifth like you said. I'd imagine there'd be a lot less pressure in "Good Morning, Miami" for this reason. The stars (or anyone) didn't come up at any time during the show. Given that they're "in character" and all that fluffy stuff, I don't think coming up into the audience to say hi would be too practical. But before the show they would wave back to people yelling out and whatnot, and afterwoods they were more than happy to autograph. I found the process particularly amazing. It takes a single week to film a show. They do one a week and it's usually airing just two or three weeks later after post-production is finished. They did no more than two or three takes for any scenes. We didn't see King of Queens, because we slept in and didn't get to the park until about midday, and I guess they had run out of tickets. If we were staying in Hollywood until after Tuesday (we're leaving tomorrow), we'd probably see Will and Grace (which is the sister show of "Good Morning, Miami", and was created by the same two guys) on Monday night or Becker on Tuesday, but otherwise it's a choice of sitcoms that I've never heard of and will never see. I did it once, and if I were doing it again, it'd certainly only be a show I know if.

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Disneyland Resort (Disneyland and DCA) Quick report from day one of three at DLR. We covered both parks with ease today - including the notorious big-queue rides, Soarin' and Indiana Jones thanks to Fastpass, which is a great system. The best indicator of the quality of the coasters and rides in general is the amount we laughed in enjoyment during the ride. To give you an idea, at Dreamworld I don't think any rides have ever made me laugh. Not Cyclone, not TOT, not Giant Drop. Scooby-Doo got us going a bit when we first went on it. Mattorhorn had us wowing and giggling from start to finish. Same for Splash Mountain (a great ride which you can't judge at all until you're walking down the exit path) - the final drop is crazily steep. Same with California Screamin', which was the first true airtime I've ever experienced sadly. We're not talking about rides with the most ejector air or the tightest curves, but rides that are next to flawless in terms of enjoyment. Now, onto the bad stuff. Their food is nothing short of terrible, and also a ripoff. At least Dreamworld's food is relatively cheap for the crap you get. US$10 for a burger, chips and drink. The burger is tiny (even by Australian standards!) and made for looks, not taste. The chips were nothing special and you got barely any. For $2.50+tax, a cup of ice with a dash of Coke is a complete ripoff. Take this advice - head out the front gate when you're hungry and shoot straight down to McDonalds off the resort (onto the midway that divides the two parks, head away from Downtown Disney). Half the price, food you know you can at least pretend to like, bigger servings (food is huge here... don't go near large, let alone super/king sized) and free refills. We've got the next five meals booked with them. :)

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I'll second the food thing Richard. I ate in Fantisy Land and tried two seperate meals (at the same time) and was still quite hungry. I kinda put it out of my mind because I didn't want to waste my only day in the park eating. Sounds like you had a good day though, keep us posted on how your holidays going.

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I'd presume that if it was there when you were last here, it's still there now. The name sounds familiar, and as far as markets go, the Disneyland area would be pretty stable. Today we made use of our video camera; we filled nearly two 60 minute tapes. I'll add something to the on-ride video debate shortly. :) Great day, though packed, considering it's not a holiday and Tuesday is supposed to be their weakest. Contrary to my last post, we decided it wasn't worth the hike to off-property food, and we ate in DCA this time. The nachos were a decent size so we went with them. Not too bad - at least filling, but I'm not a fan of refried beans, which make up a lot of the gunk they stick on the chips. Day three tomorrow. We've done everything we needed to, wanted to and most of the "what the hell why not"'s, so it'll be a fairly quiet and slow day, probably mostly spent in DCA. Disneyland's great and all, but considering two of the four mountains are MIA, and it is targeted at the families more than "our kind". At least there you've got less crowds, smaller queues and more thrilling rides.

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After forever, we've finally updated CoasterTrips.com with the Disneyland Resort report and galleries. See: http://www.coastertrips.com/gallery.php?dp...er=/california/ Check out the Disneyland and California Adventure galleries. They have to be some of my favourite photos. There's something like 150 of them there, so it'll keep you occupied for a while. :) We're in Vegas now, about to head out for lunch and do some of the rides (admittedly the only ones that really take my fancy are those up on the Stratosphere, but we might head down the strip to Circus Circus or NYNY after). There's still a Knott's Berry Farm update to come, and probably something from San Diego (SeaWorld and the zoo) and then Vegas. Then it's down to Texas for SFOT and over to Florida via Georgia.

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Hey Richard Glad to hear the trip is going well. Strat should be good, don't know if you want to waste your time with that coaster, however I did just for the credit :-) Don't forget to catch Speed while your there, thats one pretty full on little coaster. 12 times made me sick! As for the rest of the place, the Arrow in CC isn't too bad but nothing special, the rest of the place is pretty yuck. However make sure you grab a ride on the coaster at NYNY it is actualy pretty good. If you can grab a ride at night its great. Where abouts are you staying?

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Pretty miserable day in Vegas. It was actually snowing at the top of Stratosphere (obviously melting before it hit the ground below), so not only were all the rides up the tower closed, but so was Speed, Manhatten Madness and we didn't bother heading way out to Bufullo Bill's to find out Desperado was closed too. So we only did Adventuredome at Circus Circus. Canyon Blaster was good, but not great. Certainly nothing like what it's been made out to be. It was no smoother than our Corkscrew or Viper at SFMM. The whole park was pretty bad. The roof leaked, and most of the ground was painted smooth concrete - quite a lot of fun to slide down to wheelchair ramps on the slippery floor, but a lawsuit waiting to happen. We're going to the Grand Canyon tomorrow (there's more to the world than coasters :)), and flying down to Texas, so we unfortunately won't have a chance to get good weather for the rest of the rides. We're staying at Days Inn Downtown - it's two blocks from the Fremont Experience - the biggest and most confusing waste of $70 million dollars ever - and this is Vegas. It's a pretty dodgy area (we're surrounded by hotels that you can pay for at hourly rates :shock:), but only $40/night and not the worst we've stayed in.

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Sorry to hear the place being pretty much closed. Yeah CB isn't a bad arrow, but nothing more than that. The whole rest of the place I found pretty dodgy like you said and the casino itself just has an off smell about it :-) Hope the Grand Canyon is good, we didn't get teh chance to make it out there but wanted to. Being that way inclined myself I was pretty impressed with Fremont St, but I can see your point. If so do happen to get the chance, which doesnt look likely you should really try to get down and see the Belagio fountains at night. That was the most impresive thing I saw all trip!

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