DragonCon 2016 Highlights, Tips and Video!

DragonCon 2016 Highlights, Tips and Video!

For DragonCon 2016, I was invited to participate in the Kaleidoscope track and participate in four different panels (History of Disney Theme Parks, Roller Coasters, Disney Cruising and Tips for Disney Parks). The panels were extremely well attended and the Theme Park History panel was standing-room-only with 116 people!

Ever wonder what the DragonCon convention is like? Check out my look at the science fiction and fantasy convention!

Continue reading DragonCon 2016 Highlights, Tips and Video!

Planet Snoopy at Carowinds in Charlotte, NC

Planet Snoopy at Carowinds

Planet Snoopy is the name for the kid’s area in each of the Cedar Fair Parks, except for Camp Snoopy at Knott’s Berry Farm and Cedar Point (Cedar Point has both a Planet Snoopy and a Camp Snoopy). So, what’s the Planet Snoopy kid’s area at Carowinds like? What are the rides like? Are they scary at all?

My son and I have put together a video that looks at all of the rides in the Planet Snoopy area of the Carowinds Theme Park (in Charlotte, NC). We’ve included lots of videos of all of the rides and some cool facts about them. This video will give you a great overview of the Planet Snoopy children’s area; especially if you have a child (or parent) that might be a little anxious about some of the rides.

Let’s Explore Planet Snoopy Video!

 

Planet Snoopy Rides and Attractions

There are thirteen rides and one show in the children’s area at Carowinds.

  1. Charlie Brown’s Wind-Up
  2. Flying Ace Balloon Chase
  3. Character Carousel
  4. Snoopy’s Junction
  5. Peanuts Pirates
  6. Peanuts Showplace
  7. Woodstock Whirlybirds
  8. Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbie (roller coaster)
  9. Snoopy’s Yacht Club
  10. Woodstock Express (roller coaster)
  11. Snoopy’s Space Race
  12. Woodstock Gliders
  13. Snoopy VS. Red Baron
  14. Flying Ace Aerial Chase (roller coaster)

Most of the kids rides in the area are geared towards the under 12 set, with a few that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Some have special height requirements and we’ve noted them in the video. The Planet Snoopy kid’s area at Carowinds takes up a large area and is split into two sections, divided by the Woodstock Express wooden roller coaster. The older area has a lot of the flat rides (think of the classic spinning rides like Dumbo) and a lot of trees and shade. The newer section was added in the late 1990s and sits behind the Woodstock Express. The newer section has Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbies and the Woodstock Whirlybirds; it can get extremely hot during the day in the newer section.

ImagiNERDing Advice on Planet Snoopy

Like most theme parks, you need to have a plan. If you can get to Carowinds and be at the front gate 10-15 minutes before opening, you’ll be able to do a lot of the attractions before 11:00, when most people arrive. I’ve been in the park many times at opening and every single ride is walk-on, especially in the kid’s area. Occasionally, the Woodstock Express takes a little longer to get running, but it is a fairly complicated wooden roller coaster. (And it’s one of my favorite roller coasters at Carowinds!)

Overall, the Planet Snoopy area at Carowinds is a great kid’s area. There are a diverse set of attractions for different ages as well as rides that kids can do solo or with other family members.

What’s your favorite ride at Planet Snoopy at Carowinds?

Montu POV at Busch Gardens Tampa

Montu POV at Busch Gardens Tampa

Check out my Montu POV (point-of-view) footage from the Busch Gardens TampaSeaWorld Coaster Crusade day. The parks celebrated National Roller Coaster Day with a tour to ride all of the coasters at both parks in Tampa and Orlando. It was an amazing event and I can’t wait to see if they do it again next year!

 

The Montu POV was shot on a GoPro Hero 4 in 1080 from the middle front seat of the Bolliger & Mabillard inverted roller coaster. Special thanks to MrCoaster1 (on YouTube) for letting me borrow his GoPro.

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Have you had a chance to ride Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa?

Carowinds Roller Coasters Video Review

Carowinds Roller Coasters Video Review

The Carowinds roller coasters may not be as well known as other amusement parks in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the 13 coasters of this Carolinas-based amusement park.

Not familiar with Carowinds? It’s a 398-acre amusement park that straddles the North and South Carolina border, near Charlotte, NC. Carowinds opened in 1973 and was acquired by Cedar Fair in 2006.

For this ImagiNERDing video, George takes a look at all 13 of the Carowinds roller coasters chronologically from opening day to now. He also offers a bit of history and his personal opinion on each of the roller coasters. There’s something at Carowinds for every level of coaster fan. With a variety of different coaster types from different manufacturers, you’ll find your favorite type of coaster here.

Don’t forget to watch till the end for a few bloopers!

Carowinds Roller Coasters

  1. Carolina Goldrusher – mine train from Arrow Dynamics
  2. Woodstock Express – wooden coaster from Philadelphia Toboggan Company
  3. Carolina Cyclone – steel coaster from Arrow Dynamics
  4. Vortex – steel standup coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard
  5. The Hurler – wooden coaster from Custom Coasters Int.
  6. Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbie – a steel junior coaster in Planet Snoopy
  7. Afterburn – steel inverted coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard
  8. Ricochet – steel mouse coaster by Mack
  9. Flying Ace Aerial Chase – suspended family steel coaster by Vekoma
  10. Nighthawk – Vekoma Flying Dutchman steel coaster
  11. Carolina Cobra – Vekoma shuttle coaster or boomerang
  12. Intimidator – steel hyper coaster by Bolliger & Mabillard
  13. Fury325 – steel giga coaster by Bolliger & Mabillard

What’s your favorite of the Carowinds roller coasters?

Tweetsie Railroad Video Tour

Tweetsie Railroad Video Tour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi2Z80EiRmw

George explores the Tweetsie Railroad theme park located between Blowing Rock and Boone, North Carolina in the latest ImagiNERDing video: George Explores Tweetsie Railroad.

In the Tweetsie Railroad video, we ride the historic trains of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroads (ET&WNC RR), complete with a gunfight and shootout at Fort Boone.

We take the chairlift to Miner’s Mountain to experience the kid’s rides, pan for gold and visit the Deer Park! Check out all of the animals you can feed at the Deer Park, including pygmy goats and pot-bellied pigs.

Then we visit the Country Fair to check out the carnival and flat rides.

Tweetsie Junction is where we end the visit with a look at the cloggers, the Tweetsie Palace and one final look at the Yukon Queen as it pulls out of the Tweetsie Depot.

Don’t forget to leave a comment on the video and subscribe to my Youtube channel.

Have you visited Tweetsie Railroad? What do you think about my Tweetsie Railroad video?

Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival

Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival

Carowinds Bands, Brews and BBQs festival is happening over the next few weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from 11am to 7pm until August 14, 2016. This is the second year for the food and beer festival and my first time attending. Carowinds has done an excellent job over the past few years with introducing special events, especially dealing with food.


Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival Video Review

Check out my video review of the festival, which includes live reviews of some of the samples!


Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival

You purchase all of the samples with tokens, just like the Taste of the Carolinas and Brewfest events. You purchase a group of tokens at a designated booth and use the tokens to pay for the sample or beer. It’s very convenient and makes it easier for the booths to handle the transaction.

It breaks down to about $1.33 per token and a food sample costs $3.99 while beer is $5.32.

Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival: The Food

The Beef Booth is the first one that you visit after purchasing your tokens.

  • Beef Brisket
  • Pulled Smoked Beef
  • Beef Ribs
  • Banana Pudding

I sampled the Pulled Smoked Beef, first, and it was incredible. I love pulled pork and I was eager to try the pulled versions at each of the three different booths. I savored the tender and moist pulled smoked beef;  it worked well with the sweet tea and manager’s sauce. The sweet tea set off against the smoked taste while the manager’s sauce, with the vinegar base, really amplified the taste.

The bread was a welcome addition to sop up the juices and act as a buffer for the tongue, if the sauce was too spicy. Toasted with a jalapeno-maple spread, the bread was delicious!

A serving of chow chow was included with each sample. Cho chow is a relish with chopped pickles and mustard. If you don’t find cole slaw at a BBQ restaurant, then you’ll find chow chow. It was a good side choice, since it went well with all of the selections.

The Pork Booth offered my pulled pork and some other choices.

  • Pulled Hog
  • Barbecue Ribs
  • Smoked Pork Belly
  • Banana Pudding

The Pulled Hog was delicious! It has a peppery taste and was very moist without being mushy. I chose the Moonshine Mustard sauce with had a fantastic sweetness that wasn’t expected. The portions were large and it was easy to get two to three sauces on each sample.

The Poultry Booth offered three different types of bird, and each one was prepared differently.

  • Smoked Duck
  • Pulled Chicken
  • Smoked turkey Wing
  • Banana Pudding

I ordered the Pulled Chicken and sampled the Smoked Duck. The pulled chicken had a barbecue flavor, so I opted to not choose a sauce. It surprised me with the sweetness mixed with the smoky flavor. It was moist and held together well. The pulled chicken surprised me the most, since I was expecting a straightforward barbecue chicken flavor.

I sampled the Smoked Duck and I was pleased with the warmth of the flavor. It was very supple and would have gone well with both a vinegar and sweet sauce.

I waited until the end to get the banana pudding. Overall, it was a good choice for a dessert. Honestly, there’s not much else, besides chocolate cake, that would work well with barbecue. I’ve had better banana pudding, but it wasn’t the worst, by far. I know, that’s not a great review. But compared to the other samples and the desserts from the Taste of the Carolinas Food Festival, the banana pudding just wasn’t spectacular.

Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival: The Sauces

There were so many great sauces, that it made it hard to choose which ones to sample. I tried to pair a sweet sauce with a spicy or vinegar based one. Mainly to see how the flavors changed the sample. If you needed help choosing a sauce, all you had to do was ask! The employees quickly offered suggestions and advice with the sauces and rubs.

The Sauces Booth was a the end, so to speak, and you did visit it for each sample. It was a nice touch to add some variety and offer some personalization. I even tried a sauce or two that I was unfamiliar with!

Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival: The Brews

Sadly, I didn’t get to sample the beers, but there were some great choices, all from Carolina breweries. I spoke to other people and they were very happy with the choices and how well the beers went with the samples.

Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival: Final Thoughts

The employees offered suggestions on the samples and they were very friendly. Undecided? Just ask for a small sample. Most of the ones I spoke to were culinary interns, meaning that they did have an interest in being there. Still, it was nice to see such friendly and smiling faces. I loved that the food festival was smaller than the Taste of the Carolinas, which could be a little overwhelming. The sample choices at each booth made sense and offered a lot of variety. And at $4.00 a sample, you still could feel like you weren’t getting gouged. The samples were larger than expected, so I felt like I was getting a good value for my tokens.

This is something that a couple or group of friends can enjoy without spending too much money. You could easily send $20.00 for the 15 tokens and get five samples. It’s a lot of food compared to a standard theme park meal.

Kudos to Executive Chef Kris Suita for orchestrating another fantastic menu. He’s managed to spice up the normal theme park food offerings, in general, and I can’t wait to see what Kris has up his sleeve (or under his toque) for future events.

Are you going to visit the Carowinds Bands, Brews & BBQs Festival?

What’s The One Book Every Walt Disney World Fan Should Own!

What’s the one book every Walt Disney World fan should own?

I get this question a lot.

I always have one Disney book that’s a given and a few other suggestions based on the person’s interests and Nerdiness Quotient (NQ). Check out my list of books about Walt Disney World to find a few more.

But the book I discuss in the ImagiNERDing video is the one unique title that fans of Walt Disney World Resort should have in their collection. This book, Since the World Began by Jeff Kurtti, really offers the only official history of the Vacation Kingdom of the World and goes into a lot of nerdy detail. Whether it’s your first visit or your 400th visit, you’re going to love this book.

Since The World Began by Jeff Kurtti video review

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What’s your favorite Walt Disney World book?


Top Ten Reasons to Visit Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Check out my top ten reasons that you need to visit Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. (Yes, Virginia, there really is a town called Santa Claus.)

Including two things that are absolutely free at the theme park (you might not believe it)!

Watch the video and tell me what you think!

https://youtu.be/BgWow5VMT-8

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave a comment on the video. Let me know what you thought about it! Is there a park you’d like me to cover?


Check out the Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Official Podcast! #HoWoPo

What is your favorite reason to visit Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari?

Guest Appearance on the Peas and Carrots VLOG at Carowinds

Watch me on the Adventures of Peas and Carrots VLOG!

When I visited Carowinds a few weeks ago to ride Thunder Road one last time, I was able to meet up with the Peas and Carrots Vlog. We hung out for a while and they asked about interviewing me. Anyone who knows me understands that I love being the center of attention!

We talked about Carowinds (and yes, I got way too nerdy with the history), the Taste of the Carolinas food festival and we rambled about our favorite coasters. Peas and Carrots were so much fun. We’ve got some other North Carolina meet-ups planned!

https://youtu.be/eVt7dJK2VyI

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