27
Apr

guest-post-busch-gardens-williamsburg-tempesto-coaster-review
 Guest Post: Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Tempesto coaster review

Wow! Awesome! Holy cow, that was fun!

These are just a few of the comments from riders coming off of Tempesto, the newest roller coaster opening at Busch Gardens Williamsburg on April 25th.

Just a little background information on the ride. While Busch Gardens Williamsburg is known to theme it’s coasters after mythological creatures (Loch Ness Monster, Griffon, Apollo, Alpengeist), they have ventured off that path in recent years with Verbolten in 2012 and now with Tempesto in 2015. The ride is themed in the tradition of the classic Italian daredevils and the ‘loop the loop’ bicycle stunt. No single man wowed the crowds like Tempesto! And wow the ride does!

Entrance

Coaster

Situated in the middle of Festa Italia, the ‘classic Italian daredevil’ theme looks more like a classic carnival theme instead with the strands of lights draped across the queue lines and around the ride. I have yet to actually see this lit up at nighttime but have heard it fits the theme well. As with most of the coasters in the park, you can easily see this one from afar, however, when you enter the Festa Italia section of the park where it’s located, you almost have to search the area for it.

Unlike Apollo’s Chariot, which sits adjacent to it, Tempesto has a small footprint. A very small footprint. It’s actually tucked in between the back of the Roman Frieze ice cream shop and the arcade. Yes, it’s that small of a ride. But don’t let its size fool you. Tempesto may be small but it packs a punch.

Lights

Drop

Tempesto is unique in several ways. For starters, it’s the only coaster at the park with a single train. Yes, that’s it, a single train. While many guests and fans of the park have stated concern that the wait for the ride would be excessive with only one train, I believe that if done right, the turnaround won’t be too much of an issue.

As with any coaster on a busy day, the worse part will be the wait in line. Second, the ride is fast. As in 63mph and 55 seconds fast. For most guests, they don’t think about the number, but rather they only see the ride going and think that it’s short. I have overheard many people comment that it looks too short for their liking. Heads up folks, it has the same ride length as Griffon.

Another unique aspect of the ride is its launch and inversions. You are launched forward, part way up the hill, into a small twist, then careen backwards, through the station, up into another twist, before launching through the station again, this time completing the circuit by sending you into the first of three inversions.

Yes, there’s only three inversions, but it’s that barrel roll at the top that will get you the most. It’s probably my favorite part of the ride after the launch through the station. Why? Because it’s a slow roll. What do I mean and how do I describe it? Imagine flying through the station at 63mph, only to pause at the top of the twist just before you get into the barrel roll itself. This is where you feel like you’re going to fall out of your shoulder harness at 154 ft in the air. Yes, there’s a bit of airtime in this roll.

Unlike most coasters with barrel rolls or any other type of inversion, you’re not whipped around so fast that you’re jolted back and forth or side to side. It’s hard to explain it, but this has to be my favorite inversion out of any inverted coaster I’ve ever ridden, for the simple reason that it’s comfortable. If you get dizzy easily on inverted coasters, I think you would be fine on this one. It’s that smooth.

Barrel-Roll

Track

I mentioned the shoulder harness. The safety harness of the ride consists of a lap bar AND an over the shoulder restraint. But, unlike the majority of coasters with over the shoulders, these restraints aren’t snug on your body. They’re not really meant to be the main restraint. That’s what the lapbar is for. The shoulder harness is secondary and only meant to make the rider feel ‘more secure’ during the inversions and to assist with the feeling of airtime. Since there are no hills to give you the airtime that coaster enthusiasts enjoy so much, the only way to feel that is through the slow inversions.

Also new to the area is the Tempesto Gift Shop, formerly known as Apollo Gifts. Like the majority of the gift shops throughout the park they have the typical assorted stuffed animal gifts, t-shirts, toys, and what-not. I do like the Tempesto t-shirt, coffee mugs, and shot glasses, but was surprised to find (or not find) the goggles that Tempesto wore during his stunts. Several people I spoke to all agreed that would’ve been a fun souvenir to pick up (*hint* *hint* Busch Gardens) or to even wear on the ride itself.

Glasses

Speaking of wearing goggles on the ride, unlike the other coasters in the park, you cannot wear glasses unless they also have a safety strap attached. And like all other rides, no loose articles are permitted.

The one thing I like about this new but not new policy is that the park hands out nifty orange fanny packs at the queue entrance for you to stash your loose articles. On a slow day, such as a soft opening or media day event, when ridership is low, this is pretty easy to keep tabs on the fanny packs, however, my concern is how this will be handled on the busiest of days. How many fanny packs will walk off when guests forget to were given one, or think they were given one and allowed to keep it? Or how many will not care and will just walk off with them?

On the plus side, there’s no special labeling for the packs. On the downside, there’s no special labeling for the packs. They’re orange. If you don’t want to use a fanny pack or you don’t have a non-rider in your group to watch your belongings, you can also rent one of their new lockers located just to the left of the queue entrance. Unlike the older lockers throughout the park, the new ones can be rented via a kiosk using either cash or a credit card. You simply create your own person pin number, pay for the locker, and the computer automatically assigns you a locker. You put your belongings in them, type in your code, press enter, and you’ve got two hours for $1. You can open and close the lockers as many times as you want during the two hours and you can easily renew your rental time as well. These lockers are great and I’m hoping the park will replace the older lockers with this new system eventually.

Lockers

With all this said, I highly recommend riding Tempesto. Are you daredevil enough?


This post is a guest post by Donika Haddock.



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27
Apr

orlando-florida-immersive-theater-the-republic-tickets-now-on-sale
 Orlando, Florida Immersive Theater: The Republic Tickets Now On Sale

Hmmm cool! A new immersive theater experience opens soon in Orlando!

“Tickets are now on sale for The Republic, an immersive theater experience that brings the world of video gaming to life through an interactive, innovative performance. Set to run 11 weeks in Orlando, Florida, The Republic will allow players (guests) to take on an important role in a conflicted society with their actions determining how the rich story ends.

Just 30 players will experience The Republic at a time, interacting with 12 performers across more than 25 individually designed spaces, created inside an 18,000 square-foot warehouse near downtown Orlando.

Tickets are now available for all 11 weeks of performances on The Republic’s newly redesigned web site at TheRepublicGame.com. The new web site also offers a closer look at some of The Republic’s characters as well as a full list of performers.

The full performance run of The Republic begins May 30, with experiences taking place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings throughout June and July.

The Republic experience dates:
May 30; June 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27; July 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, and 25.

Thursday evenings will have one performance at 8pm and Friday and Saturday evenings will have two performances at 7:30pm and 10pm. The experience lasts roughly 90 minutes. Tickets for these 9 weeks of performances start at $35.

Players wanting to be among the first to step into The Republic can take part in the “beta test” during the Orlando Fringe Festival on May 14, 15, 21, 22, and 23, helping the design team to perfect the experience before its official grand opening at the end of May.

In addition, The Republic has partnered with Halloween Extreme to offer a separately-ticketed behind-the-scenes opportunity on May 16 as part of the convention’s Central Florida Bus Tour. More information and tickets for that special experience can be found at HalloweenExtreme.com.

Fans are encouraged to continue to follow along on The Republic Production Blog at http://blog.TheRepublicGame.com.

For more information, visit www.TheRepublicGame.com. Like The Republic on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheRepublicGame, and follow us on Twitter @TheRepublicORL. Join our society on social media using #TheRepublic.”



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23
Apr

the-2014-onihaunts-haunted-attraction-awards-see-the-best-haunted-houses-and-halloween-events-d
 The 2014 OniHaunts Haunted Attraction Awards: See the best Haunted Houses and Halloween events! :D

So yeah. I do this thing where I review hundreds of haunted houses and a lot of people like to read about it.

I know it’s 2015. This is for last season. I do these before the following season because of 3 reasons:

1. It’s my blog and I can do whatever I want.

2. The best haunts are really the ones that last the test of time.

3. I’m generally way too tired to do them in November after many consecutive weekends of doing +-10 haunts per weekend.

I don’t do the same awards every year necessarily. There are different types of haunts and it’s unfair to directly compare them to each other because often they are trying to accomplish different things with their haunted attractions. I look at all of the haunts that stood out and create an award that tells you WHY. This isn’t to say that other haunts that I did aren’t good enough to rank an award. If they got an award last year and only did iterative changes for this year they didn’t get one this year again.

You’ll want to read through that and my review page because there’s a lot more great haunts than are listed here on this page.

That said, here’s who stood out this past season:

New Jersey: Lake Hopatcong 26th Annual Halloween Haunted House – Halloween Spirit Award

halloween-spirit

Lake Hopatcong 26th Annual Halloween Haunted House is a small, local haunted house staffed by volunteers from the local school blew us away. It was fun and exceeded our expectations immensely. Read my review here.

Pennsylvania: House in the Hollow – Best Standalone Haunted House

best-haunted-house


House in the Hollow
is one of the best haunted houses in the world. It ranks up there with Disney’s Haunted Mansion and the great Knoebel’s Haunted House. Read my review here.

New Jersey: Haunted Scarehouse – The Innovation Award

innovation-award

Haunted Scarehouse is doing things no one else is doing with technology. You can buy photos and videos of you in the attraction at a very reasonable price via an app that they made themselves. Read my review here.

Pennsylvania: The Freak and Funhouse – The Holy Fucking Shit Award

holy-shit-award

Normally I don’t put profanity on things like this so that they can be shared to a wider audience. In this case it doesn’t matter because is the title of this award offends you, you aren’t the customer for this masterpiece. If you’ve ever been here you’ll know that this award is exactly true. What I love about these guys is that they are politically incorrect and proud of it. Their work has a classic feel to it that surprised and amused Harknell and I the entire time. Read my review here.

Pennsylvania: Dorney Park – Best Theme Park Halloween Experience

best-theme-park-haunt

The Mansion Meal at Dorney Park Haunt by Chef Jan Giejda is the crowning glory in what proved to be the best theme park Halloween event we’ve been to this year. Read my review here. Read part 2 here.

Pennsylvania: Halls of Horror – The Brutality Award

brutality-2014

The Brutality Award is reserved only for the most brutal. To get it you have to totally brutalize both Harknell and myself – which is incredibly difficult to do since we know all the tricks.

Congratulations to Halls of Horror, you sick bastards! I’ll be doing Blood Experience next year. Read my review here.



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17
Apr

trying-ombre-hair
 Trying ombre hair

Yeah so I got my hair colored today. I’m still adjusting to it even though it’s not a very extreme change. It’s ombre and will lighten over time.

ombre-1

ombre-2

My chic as hell Tower of Terror T Shirt. IDGAF I’m off to metal guitar practice soon.



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17
Apr

pennsylvania-haunted-attractions-dorney-park-to-buld-a-permanent-haunted-house
 Pennsylvania Haunted Attractions: Dorney Park to buld a permanent haunted house

YEAhhhh! Haunted houses, guys. Summer is almost here!

dorney-park-clown-sign--jpg-20150416

“Dorney representatives told South Whitehall Township planners Thursday about the proposed haunted house, which will be constructed near the Steel Force roller coaster.

The plans call for a one-story, 3,200-square-foot building with a sidewalk, queue lines and a service drive. It would cover 0.3 acres of the 187-acre property.

The park hopes to start construction on the building this summer and have it completed in time for the fall Halloween Haunt weekends, according to Adam Smith, civil engineer for the project with Barry Isett & Associates.”


Click here
to read more.

Between this and what I am hearing about the new Smokehouse BBQ, this should be a great year for this park!

Thanks to George LaCross for sending this in!



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