A theme park gift under $10? Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Islands was a great park with amazing themed areas(Port of Entry and Lost Continent), great rides(Jurassic Park, Spiderman, and Hulk), and good food. The Port of Entry was amazing, a beautiful land that began before you got into the park. Sues-landing had a great theme, but lacked in the ride department. The Lost Continent had an amazing theme, decent food(Mythos), and an amazing attraction, Poseidon's Fury. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter had a neat theme(nothing revolutionary though) but lacked in the ride department. The Forbidden Journey had a great line with a decent, non-thrilling ride. Jurassic Park was neat with a great headliner attraction. Toon Lagoon had lacked in the theme department but was still enjoyable. Marvel Super Hero Island was poorly themed(massive cardboard-like cutouts?) but held some of the best rides. Overall, a neat park where nearly every one of my expectations were flipped. They need to fix the obnoxious music though.
Universal Studios seemed about on par with Disney's Hollywood Studios, but I realized how the theme is kind of mash up in most areas. Favorites included the Mummy, Men in Black, Disaster, and Rip Ride Rockit. The night time show was good, but not great. I enjoyed the New York section the most. The entrance, while nice, was about as well themed as my Six Flag Over Georgia's entrance. Overall it's a nice park, but it needs more.
Disney's Hollywood Studios was my highlight with great rides(like usual) and great theme throughout. One main thing I noticed was how the park was relaxing(especially compared to Universal).
More commentary coming soon...
Back to Islands. Port of Entry was one of my favorite lands, about on par with AK's Oasis, and even better than Main Street. I just loved the eye candy everywhere. I enjoyed the theme in Suess Landing very much. I loved all there was to see and explore, but the music was too loud, loud enough to be distracting. The Cat in the Hat was a decent dark ride on par with Snow White or Peter Pan, but it could have been so much more. The fish ride was neat, as was the Caro-suess-el. My sister and brother-in-law enjoyed the Trolly Ride but The line was too long for the rest of the group. Overall, Suess-Landing was a great land!
The Lost Continent was a whole new animal. The level of theme was amazing(apart from Poseidon's rear end). I loved exploring here more than anywhere else. My family also was able to enjoy Mythos. Is it the best theme park restaurant? no, but it's still good. For appetizers, we got the mushroom flat bread and the sushi, smiles all around. The Pad Thai was very good, but the bbq chicken wrap could have been much better. One of the salads(I forget which one) was ok, and the chicken sandwich was nothing to write home about. The desert was alright and i enjoyed the sampling. The signature alcoholic drink who's name escapes my minds(something potion I think?) was good as well. Poseidon's Fury was one of our favorite attractions. Amazing exterior, great acting, slightly cheesy, and amazing effects. We did not get to see Sindbad.
More to come...
The last time I was at DHS was a Saturday... the week before Christmas....so, yeah, that was probably a factor in my experience :-)
Now for the Forbidden Journey. The exterior was great, I wish the forced perspective was better, but I loved the detail. The Line is one of the best lines I have ever been in. I'll go so far as to say that it moved too quickly so I couldn't enjoy all of the things to look at. The ride itself was alright. The thrill was minimal. The part with the screens was great, it felt almost as fun as Soarin'. The rest was fun, but not scary or thrilling. I wish some of the AAs actually jumped out at you instead of just sitting there. I also wished they hid the base of other vehicles better. On the ride I could see the next vehicle's base and arm. Overall, I don't get the hype of the ride. The praise for the exterior and queue is understandable, but not for the ride. Here's some questions: Is the dragon head supposed to do anything other than just sit there? Do most people find the ride scary or thrilling? Were my expectations too high?
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Regarding the dragon -- usually, the head spouts a a mouthful of "flame" as you go past; the person in the third seat tends to be the victim of lots of wet, warm mist. Was it not working during your ride? I know that some parts of the ride don't always work (i.e. - I think they've given up on the riders' faces being reflected in the dementor's mist....), but the dragon is usually dependable.
Toon Lagoon. Overall, my least favorite land, but that's not to say it wasn't fun. The theme could have been much better throughout, but at least it was consistent everywhere. Popeye was a great ride, but the river feels(maybe it is or isn't) so small. I guess it's just a personal preference, but I like it so much more when the river is at least decent in size. Regardless, it's the best rapids ride I've ridden, and you will get soaked(except for 2 or so people). Dudley Do Right was a little bit of a let down, but still a great ride. The ride's drops were great, but that doesn't make up for mediocre show scenes that are easily missed.
Sadly, we didn't have too much time in Jurassic Park and Toon Lagoon so I may have appreciated them more if I had had the time.
More to come...
Universal Studios did not have a good a theme as Islands, but the San Francisco, New York, and Hollywood lands were well done. Shrek was a surprisingly funny and enjoyable show. Rip Ride Rockit was a blast, but the first hill was way too rough. Once you got inside, the Mummy was great, but isn't too thrilling of a coaster. I still enjoyed dark ride scenes, launches, and thrills put together. Twister was alright. However, the main show needs to either be updated or scrapped. ET was fun, but it also needs to be updated or scrapped in the next 5 years. The Simpson's Ride was a big letdown. I was hoping for a thrilling motion simulator. Instead I got a rather lame one with a few good laughs. Men in Black was a blast. A good mix of a shooter and mild thrills. Disaster was really fun. The main actor (guide?) was good and it was a fun experience.
Overall, Universal is a great resort, but it doesn't come close to Disney. I will be back though!
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort