Saturday, 5 November 2016

Letter From America: Top 30 Orlando Parks Attractions Numbers 30 to 16*

On the 13th of June I turned 30, I’m not dealing with this so instead I decided to both ignore and celebrate me lasting so long by writing a whole bunch of top 30 countdown lists. I returned to Orlando, Florida and its theme parks and attractions after 20 years for a holiday. Going to Florida on holiday is a big thing for Britons and requires much saving and lots of effort (and lots of sitting watching whatever Virgin Atlantic put on their little screens). Letter From America is the blog-based fallout from this, we left the day before Hurricane Matthew hit and these posts are not meant in any way as a middle finger to those were killed, injured or even inconvenienced by the hurricane, we at AFB send our deepest sympathies to you all.

Welcome to AFB’s countdown of the top 30 attractions you can visit at the Orlando Parks in Florida, America – for reference that’s Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, SeaWorld, SeaWorld Aquatica, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Island of Adventure and technically Universal City Walk as well. Busch Gardens isn’t being included because it’s an hour away in Tampa but I pretty much recommend all of their roller coasters cos they have good ‘coasters, Wet ‘n Wild is also being excluded because it’s closing this year (not over this) and including anything from it wouldn’t really be very helpful to anyone who was reading this before they went (like that’d happen but it’s best to err on the side of caution) but rides like The Black Hole, Disco H2O and Bomb Bay will forever be in my heart.
This being written after a holiday in Orlando so you can read this knowing that I’ve actually tested out nearly all of these rides and thus this list is based mostly on first-hand experience, we’re also adding ‘Worth the Queue’ to this which basically means is the ride experience equal to the average queue time. So no more dicking about, are you sitting comfortably? Then welcome, foolish mortals.

30. Mickey’s PhilharMagic
Magic Kingdom
Why? Bear with me here, years ago Marc Davies proposed a short ice themed dark ride for the Magic Kingdom just to give visitors a nice place to get out of the Florida heat, with Donald Duck’s PhilharMagic I feel that Disney had given us just that. It may seem almost blasphemy to compare the less than loved DONALD DUCK’S PhilharMagic to anything designed by the man who brought us Pirates of the Caribbean and the elephant’s bathing pool but the attraction’s on this list because it’s a nice place to sit in the cool with something entertaining to look at and to just take a break from Disney World. This is why attractions like the Tiki Room and Country Bears and DONALD DUCK’S!! PhilharMagic need to stay because you really need this, especially if you’re an antisocial prick like me. DONALD FUCKING DUCK’S!! PhilharMagic is the best of the bunch of these ‘nice place to sit’ attractions, it’s just Disney’s half-arsed version of Muppet*Vision sure but it’s lines are always short, it’s cool, it’s comfy, it’s not that intrusive or intense and gives you a fun little short to look at with Donald Duck invading famous Disney songs, proving that there is nothing that cannot be improved by adding Donald Duck. After watching DONALD FUCKING SERIOUSLY MICKEY’S IN LIKE 2 SECONDS OF THIS THING DUCK’S!! PhilharMagic (more than once) I’m booking Donald Duck to appear at my funeral
Worth the Queue? What queue? Even at the height of summer, when places like PhilharMagic are most needed, there’s never any bastard waiting in line for this thing. Plus once you’re waiting for a show you can sit down on nice carpet in an air conditioned room.

29. Crush ‘N Gusher
Typhoon Lagoon
Why? Because it’s something that I always wanted to exist but never thought would, a flume that’s laid out like a roller coaster, hell just a flume that pushes you up is something I’ve always wanted to experience, and this thing can do that and do it well, it pushed me and my mate – two large blokes if ever there were large blokes – up with ease. It’s also really nicely designed, fitting Typhoon Lagoon’s ‘built by shipwrecked people’ theme neatly with nets and a sort of ‘grew out of a swamp’ feel while the splash pool combines with a shallow desert oasis like kids pool that’s lovely to just lay in for half an hour, and with it being out of the way and off from the main wave pool and main cluster of flumes and rides it can be quite quiet there.
Worth the Queue? We didn’t really queue for this one but queuing is something that knocks down all flumes, they are rarely long enough to justify standing and either sweating or freezing your bollocks off for half an hour for. Crush ‘N Gusher is long by flume standards and a great and fairly unique experience so it fares better than most of its kind in this category but meh, maybe.

28. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Universal Studios Florida
Why? When judging attractions based on films or film franchises I have set critera that if ticked off makes it ‘good’ – Minion Mayhem actually does meets most of these: the original voice actors are used, it tells a unique story that fits in with the films’ cannon neatly (this one is celebrating the anniversary of Gru adopting the gurls) but it feels kind of lightweight and it’s just a pretty standard simulator. In fact it’s a very high capacity simulator, the seating area is laid out more like a show-based attraction like Mr Lincoln or Laugh Floor or PhilarMagic or whatever and that kind of ruins the immersion a little bit for me, the show acknowledges that you’re in a large group but I dunno, it just doesn’t simulate me as much as smaller enclosed ride vehicles do and the Minion dance party at the end is a massive disappointment, there was one Minion there in a set up like a Meet ‘n Greet, queue and all, for shame Universal, for shame, false advertising. The queue area is great though, there’s a recreation of Gru’s house with loads of things from the films made real, including the rhino chair, freeze ray and wonderfully a whole Gru family tree, the gift shop’s really well stocked too actually.  
Worth the Queue? This is another thing that gets this voted so low, being based on a franchise that’s very popular at the moment already ensures that this is going to have queue times disproportionate to the ride’s length and level of enjoyment but Universal have decided to put it RIGHT BY THE ENTRANCE on the main thoroughfare into the park and that’s just terrible placing if you want to keep queues down. I think we queued for 30 minutes and that felt ok, especially as they have unique shorts playing – Minions in slapstick can always keep me occupied – but this was just as the park was closing and that’s the shortest queue time I saw the whole fortnight (we went to Universal a lot), as fun as it is it’s not worth queuing 50 minutes to an hour and half for.

27. Revenge of the Mummy
Univesal Studios Florida
Why? Universal really needs to sort out its main park, the loss of Kongfrontation, Jaws, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Back to the Future and Disaster and the relegation of the Universal Monsters to a café and (albeit very good) make-up show have really hurt the park and left it lacking for star signature attractions, an identity, and more so properties that you associate with Universal Studios, with only Harry Potter, the Simpsons and the still-remaining Terminator and E.T.1 feeling like they’ve earned their place in the park and earnt the right to stay around while all those other icons have been done away with and even then you don’t really associate Harry Potter or The Simpsons with Universal over, say, associating them with J.K. Rowling and Fox. In fact I figured out the main problem, with the exception of Escape from Gringotts, T-2 and maybe E.T. all the rides Universal currently have, and currently push as great must have experiences, all feel like the rides you go on between the big rides rather than the big rides themselves. I bring all this up because a) I wanted to get it out of my system and b) Revenge of the Mummy is the next closest to feeling like a ‘big’ ride after Gringotts and T-2 (and maybe E.T.). ‘Mummy is a good indoor ‘coaster, simple as that, and the first ride to make this list because it’s not only a roller coaster but an experience, it’s got a good story running through it (the haunted set of the Brendan Fraiser remake), it’s got the film’s mix of humour and comedy down perfectly and cast members returned with Frasier even agreeing to play himself but as a bratty spoilt actor for laughs and it’s got a great false finish buuuuuuut it’s starting to show it’s age and the cracks and seams are starting to become a bit more obvious. Its needs a tarting up in other words, especially with blending screens and physical surrounding (which can now be done almost perfectly) and maybe some improved animatronics, I do however think it’s worth keeping it and just giving it a spruce because it’s a great ride and it’s link to the Universal Monsters gives it that credibility that a lot of its fellow rides really lack.
Worth the Queue? The ride and the film franchise ain’t that popular anymore so it doesn’t have the huge queues it once commanded, I went on it at during a Horror Night because it’s based on a horror film so what better time to experience it and I actually felt we missed out by not queuing at all as you don’t get to take in the story of the ride, which is told mostly via television screens in the queuing the area. So yeah you need to at least queue a little while to get the full experience so the current queue lengths are acceptable.

26. Jurassic Park River Adventure
Universal’s Island of Adventure
Why? Another ride that really needs a tart up, those outdoor dinosaur animatronics desperately need some work done on them but the second half, pretty much everything after the Parasaurolophus, more than makes up for the first. The second the ‘raptors get loose the ride goes up a thousand notches and the Velociraptors and T-Rex attacks are fan-fucking-tastic. You JUST miss the T-Rex’s head on the big drop and it shit me up mate, even though I know it’s an animatronic (though I am very easily immersed) and I know you’re going to miss it, it is thrilling – as a dinosaur fan, as a theme park fan and as a Jurassic Park fan. As a log flume, which is what it is, you can call it ‘Adventure’ if you like Universal we know it’s a log flume, it’s not that bad – I’d like to point out that Alton Towers did the ‘log flume past dinosaurs’ decades before you Universal but it’s the best thing to ride a log flume past and yes I am saying that just because I’m dinosaur mad. They need to get those outside dinos moving and moving better but otherwise, it’s a good log flume, you don’t even get that wet.   
Worth the Queue? Hmm, this is another ride that’s been around for a while so I didn’t see any LONG queue times the whole fortnight, I think the longest was about half an hour. As a Jurassic Park fan I was happy to wait that long – I didn’t, because we went on a weekday and queued for about three minutes but I’d’ve been happy to – if you’re not then 30 minutes might seem a little long especially with how unimpressive the early part of the ride now is, it’s also not that long feeling (though it is quite a long ride thanks to the Jungle River Cruise style first half) and only has one drop – a very good drop but only one of it – so I duno if I can say unbiased that it’s worth it.

25. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Universal Island of Adventure
Why? Rounding off our trio of ‘great rides that really need a tart up’ is Spider-Man, the ride that started a really lazy trend at Universal parks which can be summed up as ‘make it half a simulator and have it interact with some screens, that’s cheaper than animatronics, requires less space and HOPEFULLY is much more fun’ which is pretty much all of their newer attractions. Spider-Man REALLY needs updating, and I hate saying that about any ride because usually I feel when you update something too much you take something away from it, not Spider-Man, it needs a complete overhaul, it needs new footage and story and its queue area needs completely redoing. Now the integration between cart movement and screen is fine, in fact it’s borderline perfect and the screens are actually better than The Mummy’s and possibly Forbidden Journey’s too but the whole thing has the aesthetic of Spider-Man: The Animated Series and the footage, story and choice of characters is very stuck in where the Spider-Man comics and franchise was in the mid-90s and as great as it is to see Hobgoblin, Scream and Hydro-Man in a theme park ride, especially Scream, decades of comics, multiple movies and new cartoons have completely changed the landscape and allowed for Spider-Man’s most iconic villains to either return or return to prominence, we need to get Venom and Green Goblin in here and the Daily Bugle queue area (which is awesome) needs to be made realistic and filled with as many cameos as they can, that map on one desk? That needs to be a map of the Savage Land, the computer screens? They need to be on Spider-Girl’s Twitter or the Daily from Ultimate Spider-Man’s recap pages, we need shadows of Robbie Robertson and Betty Brant behind those doors. So if all this is true, why is it higher than the Mummy or Jurassic Park? Because it’s Spider-Man and more people are going to be thrilled by interacting with Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus than either of those two franchises and while it’s out of date it’s done really well, there’s a part where Spider-Man webs your SCOOP vehicle and it feels exactly like how you’d imagine being webbed by Spider-Man would and is seamless, you believe you’ve been webbed.              
Worth the Queue? This one we did queue for and queued for pretty much the whole queue area (though all of the lanes weren’t in use) and I’m going with yes: again the queue area really needs doing up but it’s occupying to look at and there’s news reports to watch on the screens that help build up the Sinister Syndicate (because that’s somehow less dorky than Sinister Six how?) and in the end the ride is long and feels longer than it is thanks to having lots of scenes and lots of villains to work through, they all have to attack, then attack again and be defeated by Spider-Man after all. I don’t know if it IS in fact a long ride in terms of ride length but it feels like it so yeah, worth the queue.

24. Stitch’s Great Escape!
Magic Kingdom
Why? Because it’s ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter just re-themed with Stitch. If you didn’t like ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter and didn’t like Lilo & Stitch/don’t like Stitch himself then my argument is invalid and feel free to skip ahead grumbling about how Stitch has taken over the parks and shouldn’t be put with the big five and how awful he is. It’s not as good as Alien Encounter was because it’s not terrifying but I’d rather it be re-themed than cut completely and turning it into a Stitch ride is about as perfect a fit as we were ever going to get – because you can pretty much get the exact same attraction but with a recognisable (and popular) Disney character and it’s less scary to satisfy all those people how didn’t like it because it was too scary and slightly more interesting for people who thought it was boring. Everyone’s happy except us old fans of the original Encounter but we’d never be happy with any changes. I like Stitch by the way, I think he’s adorable and funny, sorry.
Worth the Queue? Well that depends on what your taste in attractions are, I generally find these ‘show’ type attractions are worth queuing for because you get a complete experience, a beginning, middle and end but some people are unhappy that they’ve queued all this time just to get a show.

23. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Universal’s Island of Adventure
Why? Ok firstly this is only a simulator technically speaking – this is a rougher, more thrilling ride than half the roller coasters I’ve been on and it nearly killed one of my party. For me that works in its favour because my god was it exciting and combined with the sheer amount of continuity porn they packed into the story (you’re on a tour of Hogwarts and there’s a Quiddich match on, Dementors and a dragon attack because the story of most Universal rides is ‘you’re doing something then SOMETHING GOES HORRIBLY WRONG’ and always has been) I was well happy. “So why’s it so low then, and in fact why – as you’ll find out – is it lower than a similar, less exciting, ride for a film franchise you don’t like dwitefry?” Mostly because the switch from 3D footage to physical environments and effects is shit, it’s really noticeable in places and some physical affects don’t remotely match up with the footage. The biggest offenders being the Dementors who are bollocks, they are so rubbish I initially thought they were just random skeletons in the cave you go in, but no they’re meant to be Dementors – they’re huge, they look nothing like Dementors and they’re crap. So why’s it above, say, Spider-Man who does this better? Because they did a lot of good things: they got all the original actors back (well except Dumbledore obviously but Michael Gambon’s awesome because he’s always awesome); everything around the ride is gorgeous, the queue area through Hogwarts is a Potter nerd’s dream come true, the replica of Hogwarts that hides the show building is beautiful, the dragon animatronic is marvellous and there are great bits in both in the footage and animatronics areas (Aragog is also the shit, just generally) it’s just you can really notice when you switch between them.
Worth the Queue? Oof, this is a tough one – the queues for it aren’t as long now ‘Gringotts and ‘Kong have both opened but they’re not going to get as short as things like Revenge of the Mummy have gotten any time soon, Universal are not going to stop pushing their two Harry Potter lands because they’re amazing and Universal needs you to leave Disney property and people are not going to stop going to them because it’s Harry Potter, because they’re amazing and because it’s obvious they’re amazing and everyone from the hardcorest of theme park fans to sunburnt idiots from Dagenham can see it and will tell you it. Yes I am stalling, the experience of the queue area is enough to get you through a fairly lengthy wait time, I think we queued for about 30 minutes again but that’s not the average queue length, the ride’s a good length but, I dunno, the Potter rides can rack up some long-ass queues during peak times and I can’t really say that any ride is worth some of those wait times.

22. Manta
Why? The problems with SeaWorld are all to do with how they treat their animals, which is not very good if you’re an animal park or say an aquarium and they’re both - so the complaints against the park are all valid but their rides are all really good (and obviously I think Manta’s the best of the bunch). I personally think the best thing SeaWorld can do is to drop all the live animals from their parks and just focus on having a really good ocean themed park and water park that continues to funnel money into conservation. They can produce killer whale, dolphin and other experiences as good if not better than their current Chimp’s Tea Parties with technologies that Universal and Disney have been over-using for decades and no live animals; imagine a Shamu experience using Universal’s screen and semi-simulator formula, how cool would that be? Not as cool as seeing a live orca maybe but not as cruel to them either. If you’ve been on their Turtle Trek attraction, (which is missing out on this list solely because of the horrendous Sunlife Insurance ending) you can easily see how capable they could be of doing something like this. Anyway Manta, which is pretty much just Air from Alton Towers but with a water theme, and that is exactly why it’s on this list because that makes it a fucking great ride.
Worth the Queue? I’m not really sure on this, we went to SeaWorld on a weekday in September and there was a massive thunderstorm that closed most of the park and drove two thirds of the visitors home and I don’t really have enough knowledge of what SeaWorld’s like at peak time to make this comment. I would be happy to have queued for about 20 minutes for it I think; it’s not that long and an experience you can get in the UK, but there are fish to look at the whole ‘way round the queue area and I am very easily fascinated by fish and I think most people are whether they care to admit it or not so, maybe?

21. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
Universal’s Island of Adventure
Why? Can you tell that I think Island of Adventure is the better of the two Universal parks yet? No, well I do, and it is. Anyway I’ve wanted to go on this ride since it was built and the adverts for Island of Adventure started appearing on the backs of the Marvel Comics that came to me on a month basis, so I had a lot of anticipation to ride this and I’d built up a lot of expectations for – it met them. Frankly that’s the only reason I think I need to give as to why this is in a top 30 list. It could still do with a few things – an actual appearance by an animatronic Hulk’d be nice for instance.
Note: I have only rode the new upgraded version that opened in 2016, I don’t really know what the changes were but given how new and swanky the Gamma Radiation centre was I’d guess that’s part of it, it’s not what I would have done2 but I want everything in it in my house so I liked it.
Worth the Queue? This is actually a major reason why this is here and higher than others, it’s a long roller coaster, in fact a lot of ‘coasters in Florida are much longer than in the UK, probably to help justify the wait times and if so it really works with the Hulk. We didn’t queue excessively long but we queued for a good while, over half an hour, and the length and ‘biggness’ for lack of better term of the ride really made it feel worth the wait, I was very impressed.

20. Transformers the Ride
Universal Studios Florida
Why? I hate Michael Bay’s Transformers films so much and I’m so ashamed of putting this here, especially as it’s above Harry Potter, Despicable Me and Jurassic Park themed rides but…*sigh… it’s a really fucking good ride. The synergy between footage and cart movements is perfect; the transitions between footage and physical environments is mostly unnoticeable (there was one switch that I found noticeable but only one and I was judging this sort of thing); they use an actual animatronic Megatron at one point; it’s filled with classic G1 ‘bots including Megatron, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ravager and Starscream and they’re all really well used *sigh*, it’s really good. The only problem with it as a ride are that it’s Bayformers, the story’s completely shallow and adds nothing to the film’s stories (ha! Like that’s a worry) and it’s just plonked in the park. Actually Transformers is a perfect example of Universal’s current ride problem, it’s good – it’s very good – but it doesn’t feel like a signature ride, it isn’t something you associate with Universal Studios (even though they made the films, Transformers is a Hasbro or Tomy property) and it’s clearly going for Disney guest stealing current popularity over credibility or the long term good of the park. If this had used Generation 1 design it would have been a bit better but it still wouldn’t feel like a Universal Studios ride, and it’s just plonked in the middle of a Hollywood studios themed land. Why not stick it with Men in Black, y’know the Sci-Fi feeling part of the park?
Worth the Queue? Yeah I’m going to say so, we went on it during a horror night so there was no queue at all (and it made a nice break from the horror) but it seems to average about 30 to 40 minutes or so and while that’s a long time it feels like a long ride for pretty much the same reasons Spider-Man does and with the films and property still being so popular there’s a big payoff at the end so yeah, yeah it probably is equal to the queue time, god I feel dirty.

19. Surf Pool
Typhoon Lagoon
Why? I can hear you already, well if you existed, but again hear me out. This is the best wave pool you can experience, this is Disney level quality and attention to detail focused on a wave pool, the waves are perfect, they’re the perfect high, they look perfect I don’t know how the Imagineers did it but they did it, and its size and setting is completely perfect. I agree that it seems silly to put something as mundane as a wave pool on a list like this, especially higher than fan favourite rides like Hulk, Forbidden Journey and the Mummy but this is the best of wave pools. The only thing it really needs is more shade some big arse plastic palm trees along the sides would do.
Worth the Queue? It has no queue; it’s a wave pool - so satisfaction is immediate, another reason to put something so mundane on this list.

18. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Magic Kingdom
Note: Ok this was closed for refurbishment while we were there but I’ve been on it before and I’ve been on the one in Paris recently so I’m cheating, sue me.
Why? I sometimes think that the roller coasters at the Magic Kingdom/Disneyland are sometimes held in higher regard because the parks are so starved of thrill rides than what they do have seem better and more thrilling than they are, then I ride them (or remember them in this case) and realise that, no, they’re just really good, even if they’re not the biggest, baddest ‘coasters in town. The way I think of Disneyland is that they take standard rides – the haunted house, the spinning rockets, the dark ride, the log flume, etc - and just made the best version they could, with that thinking Big Thunder is Disney Imagineers making the best runaway mine train they can and the best Disney can make is usually pretty fucking good. Also it makes the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train feel a bit redundant but then that’s more kid friendly, they have three flying elephant rides, and the queues were so long for Seven Dwarfs’ that it was never going to get onto this list if it gave me money, chocolate and use of its wife, which I guess is Snow White’s Scary Adventures and I guess they’re divorced now it’s closed? I’m overthinking this. I actually think that Euro Disney Disneyland Paris’ Big Thunder is my preferred one, though the layout and design of Thunder Mesa and putting it on an island helps and that’s actually mostly why this is lower than I think a lot of people would put it but the Florida Thunder is still excellent, it’s Big Thunder at its biggest and has more dinosaurs. Actually that’s another god reason as to why Big Thunder’s good – it’s already a sweet runaway mine train with great theming but then they added dinosaurs and ghosts to the mix! That’s not overegging the pudding, that’s putting chocolate sprinkles on a sundae. Also fun fact? Half the stuff from the flash flood town is taken from Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland from Disneyland, some of the Living Desert survived!
Worth the Queue? As one of the standard ‘Disney Longqueues’ as I shall now call them it doesn’t really matter I suppose because you’re gonna have to queue for a while whether you like it or not but honestly, not really no. while good it is just a sooped up runaway mine train and you can go on them anywhere, they might not be quite as good but a lot of people probably aren’t going to notice what makes it superior, or consciously notice that, anyway.   

17.  The Jungle Cruise
Magic Kingdom
Why? This is one of my favourite rides but I’m trying to be a little bit objective and objectively the Jungle Cruise is a ride past a bunch of animatronic animals while some bloke tells you bad puns, the one bit of excitement – the shooting of the hippo – has been removed for obvious reasons and the likewise slightly unnerving native attack has also been toned down for other obvious reasons, I mean Disney wouldn’t want to seem racist now would it while having whole attractions based on Songs of the South and Aladdin and hiring anyone roughly brown enough to play characters like Pocahontas and Jasmine and having It's A Small World. I love every minute of the Jungle River, the trapped expedition, the ransacking gorillas, the bathing elephants, Trader Sam, but I can see how it could be seen as a bit rickety these days. However go to Animal Kingdom and then you will learn to appreciate this ride; in fact Animal Kingdom is the exact reason why Jungle River Cruise uses animatronics. While their safari ride is actually pretty good and rewarding, allowing you to get close to animals you usually wouldn’t the rest of the park is beautifully themed enclosures – with no fucking animals in them, because animals do no obey park schedules and do not turn up when guests require them to. Jungle River’s animals can be relied on perform every trip and relied on to fulfil the fantasy of seeing these animals that’s being lost as we learn more about them and grow more used to seeing them.     
Worth the Queue?  As another Disney Longqueues the answer’s probably no, the ride and it’s animals are great and the ride overall is a good length (though feels far more rushed these days, probably for capacity reasons) but unless you’re a Disney park fan and appreciate the River it might seem a little unimpressive for how long you had to wait.

16. Muppet*Vision 3D
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Why? Firstly I am not going to refer to this park as anything but ‘MGM’ because ‘Hollywood Studios’ is a lot more bloody syllables and the point of shortening something is that it’s short. Secondly because it’s the fucking Muppets and the Muppets are brilliant. Ok I’m a big fan of the Muppets and just seeing a ‘live’ Statler and Wardorf is enough to get this on my list but even if you’re not a fan I’d like to think that the name ‘Muppets’ comes with at least a guarantee that whatever it is will be entertaining and chucklesome and an expectation that whatever it is will meet this guarantee. Muppet*Vision meets this guarantee, it’s filled with fun, the characters get their respective schticks in in a way that feels natural to the plot of the show (basically the Muppets are testing out Muppet*Vision 4D and it all goes to hell because the Muppets cannot pull anything off smoothly because they’re either incompetent or insane and that’s why we love them) and it plays off of the 4D and audience interaction gimmicks really well. Also there is an animatronic penguin orchestra, let me say that again, an animatronic penguin orchestra.
Worth the Queue? Not the owner of the longest queue in MGM but at peak times I’m sure the wait can get a little long for what is essentially five minutes of puppets doing slapstick and 3D jokes but like PhilharMagic its worth it just for the pleasant sit down and a pleasant sit down with good entertainment. The show also seats a lot of bodies so when the queue movies it feels like it’s moving a lot, we didn’t queue at all I don’t think for this, maybe we had to wait one show but then we weren’t at the park during a weekend in June.

Part 2 >

1 E.T The Ride isn’t on this list, it just didn’t make the final 30, but it’s great a little ride, Spielberg oversaw the whole thing and does the intro video and it’s well worth going on even if it is a bit rickety these days.

2 I would have made it all look like a desert facility with a window showing a desert testing area with a tiny Rick Jones playing harmonica in a tiny car but I guess once you went on the ride – which is an outdoor roller coaster largely over water - the desert theming would probably have been ruined instantly

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