Friday, March 30, 2012

California Questions?

We've spent the past two shows talking about our visits to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Our show in a two weeks about our visit to set set of "How I Met Your Mother" to meet Neil Patrick Harris and be background extras on the show is coming up.

So, with all of this "California Content," we're pretty sure you guys have some questions.

I'm sure there are some things we forgot to talk about in our descriptions of the Disneyland Resort.

Perhaps you disagreed with some of our reviews or thoughts about some of the headliner attractions there.

Perhaps you want to know more about this picture of EB and Pluto.

Whatever your query might be, we're ready to give you some answers.  So ask away!!!

Send us your questions to us by Tuesday, April 3rd at 8:00pm EST by e-mailing us at  You can also write on our Facebook Page or use our Contact Page!

The best option though is to call our voicemail line at 206-339-3360. Be a part of the show!

Thursday, March 29, 2012 #625 - Our Visit to Disney California Adventure!

The Original Theme Park Podcast returns with Part II of our California Trilogy of shows!

This week, we talk about all of the stories and details from our trip to Disney California Adventure.

This park has been on people's minds a lot lately as Disney wraps up its major construction projects including Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.

But will EB and Mike enjoy the park after visiting Disneyland just a few days before?

What will they think of attractions like Tower of Terror, Soarin', California Screamin' and Toy Story Midway Mania?

Plus, for the first time ever, will present Binaural Audio from several points in the park... including audio from EB's first-ever ride on Tower of Terror.  You'll want to make sure that you have headphones handy so you can close your eyes and pretend you're there!

Next week, we want to hear from you with your questions about our California trip! Send them via e-mail, on Facebook and Twitter or by calling our Voicemail Line at 206-339-3360!


Direct Podcast Link
Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page. 

Talk about this episode by leaving a comment here on the blog.

Saturday, March 24, 2012 #624 - Live from Disneyland!

The picture says it all!

EB and Mike reunite to take on the park that essentially started the theme park industry.

This week, the guys are at Disneyland!

After spending 15 hours in the park, they experienced almost every ride and attraction on the Disneyland Map!

In a show that's partially on-location and partially in our studios, the guys review the park and all of the famous attractions for which Disneyland is known!

You might be surprised at which rides they really liked and which ones lead to "anticipointment."


Direct Podcast Link
Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page. 

Talk about this episode by leaving a comment here on the blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Results of the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest

After a month of competition and three weeks of judging on, we finally have a winner in the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest.

We had close to 100 entries and from that we narrowed it down to 10 Semi-Finalists. They were:

1 - Stark Expo: The Iron Man Experience - James King
2 - Tales from the Crypt Presents: Last Rite - Wally Phelps
3 - Night Fury - Ryan Farrugia
4 - Ghostbusters: The Ride - Carson from Dallas, TX
5 - Enchanted - Michael from Brazil
6 - The UP Adventure - Travis and Katie
7 - Starship Troopers: The Ride - Erich Flynn
8 - Tron: Legacy - Coaster Matt
9 - A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Ride - Brian Wactlar
10 - Aladdin's Adventure: Escape from the Cave of Wonders - Daniel Melvold

Our three Finalsts were:
1 - Stark Expo: The Iron Man Experience - James King

2 - Ghostbusters: The Ride - Carson from Dallas, TX
 3 - The UP Adventure - Travis and Katie

And the winner of the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest was
The UP Adventure - Travis and Katie

Travis and Katie will receive the first-ever "Reel Design"Award

Congratulations to the winners and EVERYONE who entered.

Thanks also to our all-star judging panel:

* Neil Patrick Harris
* Gary Goddard, Founder and CEO, The Goddard Group
* Dan Koch, President of Holiday World and Splashin' Safari
* Korey Kiepert, Engineer & Partner at The Gravity Group
* Dave Altman, President, American Coaster Enthusiasts
* Arthur Levine, Theme Park Guide,
* Lance Hart, Editor of
* Andre from Miami, FL - The 2006 "Reel" Design Contest Winner

Thursday, March 08, 2012 #623 - The Finals of the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest

This week, presents The Finals in the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest!

People from all over the world sent in ride designs based on their favorite Hollywood movies.

Mike and EB shared the Top 10 Semi-Finalists with you and then sent the following three finalists off to the esteemed panel of judges:

The Stark Expo: The Iron Man Experience - James King
The UP Adventure - Travis and Katie
Ghostbusters: The Ride - Carson from Dallas, TX

This week, we hear from this panel of industry experts and superfans to find out who will will be crowned 2012 "Reel" Design Champion!

* Neil Patrick Harris
* Gary Goddard, Founder and CEO, The Goddard Group
* Dan Koch, President of Holiday World and Splashin' Safari
* Korey Kiepert, Engineer & Partner at The Gravity Group
* Dave Altman, President, American Coaster Enthusiasts
* Arthur Levine, Theme Park Guide,
* Lance Hart, Editor of
* Andre from Miami, FL - The 2006 "Reel" Design Contest Winner

We can't reveal any outcomes... but we can say that there is a lot of drama!

Thanks to our judging panel for giving their time and expertise!  Thanks also to everyone who entered! You are all amazing and creative people!


Direct Podcast Link
Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page. 

Talk about this episode by leaving a comment here on the blog.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #10 - "Aladdin's Adventure: Escape from the Cave of Wonders"


Attraction Name: Aladdin's Adventure: Escape from the Cave of Wonders
Based upon: Walt Disney Picture's "Aladdin"
Contestant: Daniel Melvold

There is a celebration planned for Aladdin for saving Agrabah from Jafar.

Abu, the mischievous monkey, is distracted from getting to the celebration by his temptation, hunger and old "street rat" ways in while traveling through the Kasbah.  This almost makes him and Aladdin late.

Once at the celebration area (boarding area), an over excited Genie informs the Sultan that the city will never be fully safe until Jafar’s lamp is placed deep inside the Cave of Wonders; and thusly, locking Jafar away forever.  Until that time, anyone or anything could accidentally release the Jafar Genie from the lamp by simply rubbing on it.

Aladdin, with the help of Abu, volunteers to take the lamp to the Cave of Wonders.  Aladdin solicits the audience to join him on his journey and the Genie turns the carpets the audience is seated on into magic carpets and they are off.

Once in the cave, all hell lets loose when Abu accidentally releases Afar from the lamp while inside the Cave of Wonders ... it is up to Aladdin and you to save the day.

Our Magic Carpet:
This dark ride hybrid combines 3 current ride systems into one.
1) Powered Coaster - this will the necessary stop/start operation between scenes.

2) Disc-O, this is the “surprise/thrill element” of the ride, the coaster locks onto a Disc-O platform with a mounted, circular piece of powered coaster track.

3) And lastly, similar to how a 2nd set of rails on a 4th Dimension coaster rotates the riders’ seats on a horizontal axis, the third rail on this coaster will allow for control of the seat orientation around a vertical access - another surprise element.

The scenery, effects and characters are all a combination of film, audio-animatronics, the latest in 3D projections, fully realized sets and 3D sound.

Monday, March 05, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #9 - "A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Ride"


Attraction Name: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Ride
Based upon: New Line Cinema's "A Nightmare on Elm Street"
Contestant: Brian Wactlar

Summary: This is a heavily themed and completely enclosed Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter coaster based on the Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise.

Storyline: Guests are invited to tour the newly constructed Springwood Institute of Dream Studies in which they become all too real participants in an out of control nightmare brought to you courtesy of Freddy Krueger himself.

Walkthrough and Ride Description: Your adventure begins as you enter the Queue which is designed as the Springwood Institute of Dream studies. Through a series of monitors and artifacts, guests learn that the institute was built due to the town of Springwood’s population being plagued by nightmares and that it was also built on the former site of the Westin Hills Sanitarium.

As the Queue winds through the institute, you pass by several offices of doctors and scientists. There will be several movie “Easter eggs” and references to please the die-hard fans.

You are soon directed to a set of classroom style auditorium(the pre-show room) in which you invited to participate in a breakthrough phenomenon the institute’s leading researcher, Dr. Craven (wink wink) has developed.

You learn in the pre-show video that Dr. Craven has discovered through a specific type of hypnosis, he has found a way to communicate with people while they are dreaming using a high frequency signal that can be played during a sleepers REM cycle.

The film ends and through a glass window,(actually using the technology similar to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey), Dr, Craven says he will hypnotize the guests and contact them once in the dream state. He adds that once he shows you a few examples of how this can help in Nightmares, an Alarm Clock bell will go off and you will be returned safely to the awakened state and move on to the next part of your tour.

After that, the lights I the room dim and hypnotic images are shown on the screen along with Dr, Craven guiding you through the process. While this is happening, the pre-show room you are in begins to slowly descend (think Disney’s Haunted Mansion) so you can reach the lower level of the ride building. 

Suddenly, the Doctor is interrupted by the familiar voice of Freddy Krueger informing you that “he’ll take it from here”. Doctor Craven breaks through long enough to tell you he will try to help you through the nightmare and to be very careful as guests may be on their own for awhile.

The lights go completely out as the pre show room comes to stop at the lower level and the lights go on to a still dimmed state, you exit the room to find you no longer seem to be in the institute, but in the familiar boiler room Freddy likes to reside.

You quickly come to the ride vehicles which are made up from rusty metallic pieces seemed to be taken from the boiler room itself. Ride ops complete the theming by being costumed as former Westin Hills sanitarium members. Guest enter the vehicles and they move forward into the a dark doorway, Dr. Craven’s voice once again breaks through and instructs guests to hang on as he will attempt to activate the alarm bell early and wake everyone up to safety.

The cars then proceed forward as the familiar haunting tune of “1,2 Freddy’s coming for you”. When the “9, 10 never sleep again” portion is heard, the cars launch forward by linear motors as Freddy’s menacing laugh is heard as a projected image of his face appears before you.

The cars go racing through the projection, they whip around a banked turn into a corkscrew loop and then race up a 90 degree incline where a giant Freddy head it waiting at the top. Once reaching the top you head straight back down towards a screen which gives the effect that you are plummeting towards an endless pit of flames.

You roar through as you hear the menacing laugh once again and you head up into an incline corkscrew. Then you have a series of sharp up on your side banked turns through a maze of pipes and boilers narrowly missing steam spurts and flames. The cars quickly turn a corner and the giant “Freddy Snake” from Nightmare 3 is waiting for you.  Unfortunately, the cars cannot avoid it and they hurtle in to the mouth and then the belly of the snake which is a disguised “brake run”. As the cars come to a slower progression, the walls of the snakes “belly” come alive with the former victims appearing to reach towards the ride vehicles.

Then the tunnel dims and Freddy’s voice echo’s throughout saying “you are all his children” you then gradually begin to go climb upwards as you reach the top you see a Freddy projection holding your Dr. Craven’s alarm clock and he winding the clock hands backwards as the cars then plummet down the Gerstlauer Eurofighter’s signature beyond 90 degree drop in to a series of twists, banked turns and dive loop.

The cars then head straight for Freddy’s outstretched gloved hand who swipes at the cars. The cars drop straight down as Freddy swipes as simultaneously the alarm bell sounds and the cars screech to a halt in the exiting station.

The lights come on and through a “Glass” window (projection screen) is Dr. Craven who is profusely apologizing and expresses his happiness that the guests are all safe. Keen eyed guests may notice that Dr, Craven’s tie is the same pattern as Freddy’s sweater.

Also as you exit through the institutes rear hallways, if you look out one of the window, you can see little girls playing with a jump rope.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #8 - "Tron: Legacy"


Attraction Name: Tron: Legacy
Based upon: Walt Disney Pictures' "Tron: Legacy"
Contestant: Coaster Matt

I would place this in the Tomorrow Land section of the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World or in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and make this a roller coaster.

The queue would start out by entering Flynn’s arcade. As you go through the arcade guests will see all the classic 80’s arcade games and 80’s music would be blasting through the queue. The guests would then decend downstairs as Sam Flynn did in the first movie when he discovered a secret stairwell behind the Tron arcade game.

The first preshow will begin once guests enter the room where Sam was zapped into The Grid. Kevin and Sam Flynn will be visible on a T.V screen explaining that Clu is attempting to enter the real world. With the guests help, everyone can stop Clu.

After the screens go off, there is a large flash of light and a door will open where guests enter into the Grid.

After going through a few more queue sections, guests will see a roller coaster decked out like one of the Tron bikes. The coaster be made up of cars that will seat two people across and hold a capacity of about 16 people.

The coaster will have on-board audio where you will hear the voices of Kevin and Sam Flynn as well as Clu.

The coaster cars will have lines of the blue and white color schemes like there was in the movie. The ride operators will all be dressed in the Tron outfits with the similar color schemes.

The ride will start off with a launch out of the station. It will not have any inversions and would be a combination of Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando and Maverick at Cedar Point.

This coaster would have plenty of moments for air time, bank turns and a couple more moments throughout the ride where there will be a little more of a launch.

Guests will see large projections throughout the ride where it will appear that another bike (driven by Clu) will be coming towards them.  The other bikes will either turn at the last minute or elevate above or below the car similar to the scenes in the movie.

Ultimately, towards the end of the ride, another projection will make it seem like our train is approaching Clu at very high speeds... sort of like a game of “Chicken”.

At the last second, Clu will panic and make a sharp turn where you will eventually hear the car flip a couple a times and blow up.  Guests will hear Kevin and Sam Flynn at the end saying that Clu has been destroyed.

At the end of the ride, guests will exit the cars, they will climb back upstairs and enter into the Tron Gift Shop where they can see their on-ride photos and videos and have the opportunity to purchase some Tron merchandise.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #7 - "Starship Troopers: The Ride"


Attraction Name: Starship Troopers: The Ride
Based upon: Tristar Pictures'"Starship Troopers"
Contestant: Erich

Starship Troopers: The Ride would be a interactive shooting dark ride similar in style to the MIB:Alien Attack at Universal Studios Orlando.

You would enter the attraction waiting in a Que themed to a recruitment center for the mobile infantry. Here there would be screens showing the iconic propaganda and recruitment videos from the original film (especially the ones staring Neil Patrick Harris naturally).

Here the guest will use RFID technology to give the quest “Dog Tags” to wear. At touch screen stations, while waiting for the pre-show, riders will enter their name. Then a re-usable dog tag with a RFID chip in it will be dispensed.

You then enter a pre-show building that looks like a top secret war room. You are told by Carl Jenkins (NPH) that your platoon is on a mission to test out a “Bug Battle Rover”(BBR) that will save lives and save troops. From the rover you will be able to fight the bugs safer than you would on foot.

Your briefing then abruptly gets interrupted by Johnny Rico requesting support as his base is being over-run by bugs. Your platoon is to be sent out with the new rover to support Johnny and his troops. You then move out of the war room to the waiting rover.

Guest load into the Rover The Rovers would be very similar to the MIB cars except each player has a separate screen located next to a gun that guest use to shoot the aliens. The cars would also have speakers on the head-rest.

You then use new isolated worm-hole technology to get to Rico in time. This isolated worm hole would work look like a portal straight out of star-gate Atlantis. You are blinded then with a flash of light and you find yourself in a sea of bugs. The actual bugs would be projections like in spider-man. With a few animatronic ones throw in.  The bugs wouldn't have a pre-determined path to make it different every time.

You would fight the different types of bugs and move towards Rico's Base. Every time your car is hit by bugs the car would shake around. Also you would get messages from the screen in front of you from Rico and Carl as well as your “kill count”

The RFID technology would be used to send personalised messages to players who are doing well or bad. The messages would be something like, "Shape-up Soldier" and "You are fighting hard, keep it up!" Once you reach the base Rico's men join you to go after the alien from the end of the first movie.

Even more reinforcements join you, including Carl Jenkins at this point (Other animated rovers would be visable on screen). Once you capture the bug Carl  says the iconic line “It's Afraid!!!”.  At this point you can see your final score on your screen with a rank to go along with it.

You then would be brought back through a isolated worm-hole into a pardade celebrating your victory where you are “Granted citizenship” then let off the ride to enjoy the privliges of citizenship. Before going into a gift shop you give back the “dog tags”.

The gift shop is themed to the futuristic city from the beginning of the movie with large murals of meteors flying towards it. They would sell a customisable version of the dog tag where you can get your name engraved and it would have a RFID chip allowing you to keep track of all your scores (which could be viewed on a website) and also would store your name so it could be used in place of the re-usable RFID Dog-Tags.

You would also have t-shirts and the rest of what you would expect a gift shop to have. In addition a “Laser Tattoo Shop” would sell air-brush tattoos similar to the ones from the scene in the first film.

The Finalists Are In!

On this week's show, we announced the three finalists for the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest.  They are:

The Stark Expo: The Iron Man Experience - James King
The UP Adventure - Travis and Katie
Ghostbusters: The Ride - Carson from Dallas, TX

These three submissions will be sent off to our panel of industry experts, journalists and fans for the final say.  However, after all the voting is done, there is a chance we could have a tie!

If that's the case, we'll break the tie by going to an audience vote.  Let us know which of the entries was your favorite... and it could decide who wins this year's competition!

Be sure to listen to our next show to find out who wins!

Friday, March 02, 2012 #622 - "Reel" Design Contest Semi-Finals (Part 2)

Last week, we started the Semi-Final Round of the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest.

The first five Semi-Finalists were revealed, debated and disected.

Listeners of Coaster Radio took to our blog, Twitter Feed and Facebook Page to let their opinions be known.  It seemed as if every listener had a different entry that they liked best!

On this week's show, EB and Mike reveal the final five Semi-Finalists and discuss each entry in detail.

What parts of the attraction concept work?  What are some things that might need to change?  Could the design actually work in a real-life theme park?

Then, the guys take on the difficult task of eliminating seven contestants, so that only three finalists remain. Next week, those finalists will be judged by an esteemed panel of industry experts... including:

* Neil Patrick Harris
* Gary Goddard, Founder and CEO, The Goddard Group
* Dan Koch, President of Holiday World and Splashin' Safari
* Korey Kiepert, Engineer & Partner at The Gravity Group
* Dave Altman, President, American Coaster Enthusiasts
* Arthur Levine, Theme Park Guide,
* Lance Hart, Editor of
* Andre from Miami, FL - The 2006 "Reel" Design Contest Winner

Be sure to listen next week, when the judges' voices are heard!


Direct Podcast Link
Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page. 

Talk about this episode by leaving a comment here on the blog.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #6 - "The UP Adventure"


Attraction Name: The UP Adventure
Based upon: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar's "UP"
Contestant: Travis and Katie

The UP ADVENTURE is a highly themed and exciting journey as you follow the adventures of Carl, Russell, Dug, and Kevin on their expedition to Paradise Falls in their flying balloon house.

The ride harkens back to the glory days of Disney dark rides such as the Haunted Mansion and newer attractions such as The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Monsters Inc.: Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!

The adventure begins even before you step into the queue with an elaborate backdrop setting of the jungles of South America and the beautiful Paradise Falls off in the distance (even with the house near the top of the falls). This backdrop serves as a fa├žade to hide the show building behind it (such in the way that Cadillac Range at “Carsland” will hide the building of “Radiator Springs Racers.”

Artwork supplied by Travis and Katie
While waiting in the queue, you’ll explore the jungles and even search for clues and solve challenges, provided by Russell along the way. Other queue elements may include walking through the actual house itself. Once arrived at the station, guests will board their vehicle, sitting about 4 per car around a circle, modeled after Carl’s house with balloons sitting right above (cleverly disguising the suspended vehicle’s components.)

Then, in the style of Peter Pan’s Flight, the house lifts off into the sky and you are soaring over the city with the landscape below. Throughout the entire attraction, Michael Giacchino’s score will accompany the ride as you move from scene to scene. Guests will also ride by animatronic figures of Carl and Russell in their balloon house.

Once your vehicle flies out of the city and out into the country, guests encounter a fierce thunderstorm that will send the vehicles into a mild, but noticeable spin. Wet raindrops and lightning flashes will also occur. After the storm, the houses will ride through fog before being revealed to a large room of Paradise Falls and the jaw-dropping landscape around you. You will swoop down towards the Cliffside until being swept aside by a strong wind that drives you into the rock labyrinth where you encounter Dug (the golden retriever dog) tracking Kevin (the exotic bird).

Carl and Russell follow closely behind, eventually bringing them both along before an army of dogs stops them in their tracks and you encounter the “Spirit of Adventure” zeppelin and the film’s villain, Charles Muntz! Muntz and his dogs attempt to capture Kevin and also set Carl’s house on fire. Muntz rides away with Kevin in a cage, but the house is not completely damaged.

You join Carl and Russell as they attempt to rescue Kevin and you are soaring in and out of the sky, spinning all which ways throughout the sky, in constant battle with the Spirit of Adventure. After a few twists and turns to add to the climax of the story, Carl is seen with a rescued Kevin, Russell, Dug, while Muntz floats away on a few stray balloons (since no one dies in a ride).

Although the infamous house is seen floating away with the clouds (like in the movie), Carl and the gang fly back home in the Spirit of Adventure and you gently fall through the clouds and see Carl’s house resting next to Paradise Falls.

It would be amazing to see a great family adventure attraction based on this film (personally our favorite Pixar film that doesn’t receive enough attention). While everyone may be offering up high energy roller coasters and high tech thrill rides, we decided on a classic family attraction that can be enjoyed by everyone for many years.

All Original Content Copyright 2005-2016 - Lift Hill Media, LLC