The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad wooden roller coaster closed down for a bit when we got there but then opened back up. It's not as good as the mine train ride in Disneyworld, but it does go on for a long time. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters was kind of fun too - not only do you shoot your little laser at easy and hard targets as you ride through the arena, but you have a joystick that lets you rotate your cart around to get the best shot. And of course, the 3-D theatre experience, "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" was to the usual high Disney standard.
The good stuff is in Disney's California Adventure Park, which is next to Disneyworld. You can take your ticket to Disneyworld and upgrade to the 1-day park hopper that gives you access to the California Park for $20 extra.
The big one in California Adventure is the California Screamin'. It's a good 2-minute long steel coaster with a LIM launch and 2 additional lift hills. There is an upside-down loop, and closer to the end of the day the lines dwindled down to almost nothing so that one could ride as a single-rider at 5-minute intervals. Nothing too exciting though, so even after a few rides we got sick of it and quit riding it.
Of course, there's also the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which I remembered enjoying a lot in Disneyworld. It's the exact same ride in Disneyland, very well themed and it was good enough that my brother wanted a third go-around. The novelty and surprise does wear off around the third time I think, but the theming makes this simple ride a blast.
Soarin' Over California - here's a unique Disney trick. They show this nice big video of moving flying scenes over California, but to make it really cool they decided to put you on a seat where your legs dangle, and lift you up 50 feet into the air and shove you right against the huge screen, so your completely surrounded by the images, your feet are dangling, and the air vents are blowing at you giving you the sensation of flying. Now that you're strapped to a machine, they also pitch your seat up and down to give you the sensation of lift and falling. Pretty cool trick! This unique attraction is worth a look.
A general cool thing about the Disney parks now is the FastPass system. Instead of waiting in line, you get a pass that gives you a time later to come back and get priority seating with only a few minutes of waiting. Disney figured out that instead of making people wait in line 1-2 hours for a ride, it was better to kind of "hold" a spot for them in the system, and let them wander around and buy things in the gift shop for 2 hours. When using it, though, chose the one you FastPass wisely - the system only lets you Fastpass one ride at a time. Once you're on the "line" for one ride's Fastpass, you cannot get in the Fastpass line for another ride. You can, however, get in the "Standby" non-Fastpass line, but you have to wait longer usually.
Also, if you're choosing between going to Disneyworld and Disneyland, Disneyworld in Florida is the amazing experience. Disneyland provides some unique theming that you don't find at Six Flags, but it's not big enough to spend more than the day that we did there. It's just so tiny compared to Disneyworld. Even the castle in Disneyland was comical to me.
Disneyland does accomplish Walt Disney's goal though, which is to make all those characters that kids love so much on a screen come alive somehow in real life. I am not that big a regular Disney fan, but then those Pixar characters stepped out - (Woody, Jessie, Sully) and I just stood there in awe. I have grown to love the Pixar characters like the kids obsess over all the characters, and it does provide that sort of unique, thrilling experience.
Friday, 27th of May, 2005
Rental car of the weekend is a new Mazda 6 5-door. It fooled me to thinking it was a real sedan, but open the trunk and the whole window and everything comes flying up. It swallowed all 4 of us and luggage very nicely, and the rear seats had gobs of room - more than I've ever seen in, say, a Subaru, hehe. A folding center armrest for the rear (which is where I spent most of my time) topped of a nice, fuel-efficient way for 4 people to get around.
Oh yeah, my brother reminded me of this interesting sighting today - saw the best-trained dog in the world near the beach. This guy was riding on a skateboard being towed by his dog at a pretty brisk rate. Now that's an awesome trainer. Not only was this trainer able to accomplish this feat, but he's also confident enough to send the dog out into the streets like this, through intersections and all.
Friday, 20th of May, 2005
Joe and I went to the drag racing at Gateway International Raceway tonight. The good photos that Joe took (which are most of them):
Picture - The line on the left for racing, the line on the right for tech.
Picture - Hey look, it's a Silverado in World Rally Blue! Those are definitely not rally tires.
Picture - Dual carbs
Picture - Another fast classic I know nothing about.
Picture - MoDOT even showed up with their pavement roller. No wait, those are tires.
Picture - The line of cars wearing slicks.
Picture - Now that's a pretty intake.
Picture - The bigger the engine you put in, the less area on the hood you have to worry about painting.
Wednesday, 18th of May, 2005
Tonight's stroll was a part of the Ladue's final Jr. High and High School Orchestra concert. I think the lack of an intermission allowed it to be one of the shortest final orchestra concerts ever. The strollers did such an awesome job - the show was flawless. I knew they could put together a stage show just fine.
Saturday, 14th of May, 2005
Friday, 13th of May, 2005
Saturday, 7th of May, 2005
Not to be boring I rode the Timber Wolf too, a wooden roller coaster built in 1989 by Philadelphia Toboggan Co., the same company the did the Screaming Eagle in St. Louis. I'm surprised people still paid for such things in '89, cause St. Louis got it way back in 1976. It was an ok ride, but nobody is getting excited about these relatively small wooden roller coasters anymore, and I don't think anyone was excited when it got installed in 1989 either. Furthermore, they were only running 1 train today, making the wait way too long - almost an hour.
I wouldn't have gotten on the Boomerag since it borders on the line between puke-ride and roller coaster, but it was shut down for some reason and then reopened, and the line was literally only 5 minutes long so I hopped on. The sensation of being dragged up this lift hill backwards, then released to go back down forwards again is actually pretty cool - it happens so slowly and if you sit in the back, it does give you a little bit of thrill. Worlds of Fun is definitely not the place to go if you're into inversions, cause this is the only inverted ride there, and it made me sick after 2 go-arounds. Being blasted through the loading area at 48 mph is pretty cool though - speed always feels nice through enclosed spaces.
As far as the park goes, I think the company that owns this also owns the famous Cedar Point out in Ohio. So the park pretty much works the same way - zero theming. Cedar Point's lack of theming is understandable - they dumped all the money into the rides. Within the Cedar Parks corporation, I wonder if Worlds of Fun is constantly getting the short end of the stick with a $40 admission fee to get into a park with so few real rides, and not really that much else to do and see.
Tuesday, 3rd of May, 2005