Geeks in the (Theme) Park | November 22, 2006

Last week I had the pleasure of travelling out to Orlando to speak at the Refresh06 Conference. Despite being a classic British holiday destination, I never went as a child. My summer holidays mostly consisted of trips to Cornwall in my parents Caravan. Think rainy holidays sat inside a cramped space playing solitaire and wishing I was somewhere else. So to put right the injustices of my childhood, I decided to go out a day early and sample some of the theme parks that attract overweight British families like moths to a flame.

Accompanied by Paul Boag and Jeremy Keith, we headed over to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure first thing. We were so keen in fact, that the majority of the rides hadn’t even opened by the time we got there. Because we were visiting midweek and out of season, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. We walked right on the first couple of rides and we rarely had to wait more than five minutes for a seat.

I tried to convince Paul and Jeremy to try one of the bigger rides, but they were having none of it. Admittedly the idea of being blasted out of the Incredible Hulk Coaster at 60 miles an hour straight into a corkscrew terrified the hell out of me, but I could have been convinced if other people were up for it. What I really wanted was the opportunity to try out an intermediate coaster first. However it was all or nothing at Universal I’m afraid.

As it was we went on some cool rides including the Jurassic Park River Adventure and Spider Man 3D. We also went on a couple of water rides, and managed to get absolutely soaked. If you’re interested, here is a small flickr set of the day.

After lunch at the worlds largest Hard Rock Cafe (ironic w00t) we headed over to Universal Studios which was a much more sedate although somewhat dated affair. Still, the Terminator 2 show was interesting and the Back to the Future Ride helped put Spider Man 3D in perspective.

Running around the theme parks was a lot of fun, and defiantly an entertaining place for kids (and geeks).

Posted at November 22, 2006 3:37 PM


Robert said on November 22, 2006 4:48 PM

It’s interesting having listened to the BoagWorld Podcast where Paul discussed going to the Kennedy Space Center in contrast to your post which deals with theme parks. That probably sheds a little light on why Paul backed out on the Hulk.

Alas, Universal Studios parks and Disney parks, which are both in the same area of Florida, aren’t known for roller coasters.

There is a Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL that would have satiated your want of smaller coasters to get started on (and they serve beer in the park, since it is owned by the folks who bring us Budweiser). However, the name of the park doesn’t sound all that exciting and probably would be glanced over by anyone who didn’t know what it is.

The thing about modern roller coasters, even if they are big, is that the real thrill is anticipating the first hill. Once you’ve crossed the apex, the rest of the ride is a blur. You should have given it a shot despite the lack of company. There’s nothing like being flung about at high speeds in a controlled environment.

Lee said on November 22, 2006 6:54 PM

and the Back to the Future Ride helped put Spider Man 3D in perspective.

3D, in perspective, ha ha!

Jeremy Keith said on November 22, 2006 11:20 PM

Bollocks, you tried to convince us to go on the bigger rides. You were as chicken as the rest of us.

Ian Fieldhouse said on November 23, 2006 4:04 PM

You really all should have tried the Incredible Hulk ride Andy. Although it sounds horrific, it’s actually a surprisingly smooth ride due to all the sweeping turns. The Duelling Dragons is much more scary!