Fun Spot Orlando & Fun Spot Kissimmee
So I’m no stranger to Orlando, particularly Universal. I’ve gone every year since since 2010 save for a year or two here or there. Every year since 2017 or so, I’ve meant to get out to both of the Fun Spot parks to ride both of their wooden coasters. Every year I have a morning or evening planned out for this but without a doubt, I end up sleeping in or spending the evening at CityWalk which distracts me from my Fun Spot plans. But not this time around. I met some friends from out of town at Universal for the long President’s Day weekend and whereas they were sensible adults and booked a flight that left in the morning on Monday to get back home at a reasonable time, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend another day at the parks and just leave in the evening. Well, that meant that Monday morning would be perfect for Fun Spot and this time I actually carried through with my plan. First up, I took a Lyft from Universal down to Kissimmee to check out the further away of the two Spots.
Fun Spot Kissimmee
So I used to live in Tampa, FL when I was much younger and my family would naturally take us to Orlando to go to the different parks in the region. Although I don’t remember very much from these trips, I do remember Old Town Kissimmee. I don’t remember any roller coasters (and RCDB seems to confirm this) but I do seem to remember some carnival rides and I especially remember taking a picture in front of the monster truck they have parked within Fun Spot. The one thing that I don’t remember is how tacky and touristy the place was but I guess that’s the be expected once you get outside of the high end parks. After picking up my wristband (in case anyone is curious - a wristband bought at either park will work at the other if and only if you “upgrade” it for $10) I took a quick lap around the front of the park to scope out the rides and headed for the coaster I was anticipating the most: Mine Blower.
Gravity Group is no stranger to my top 10 list and the last one I rode (Hades 360 @ Mt Olympus) completely blew me away so expectations were high going into Mine Blower. I tried - and mostly succeeded - in tempering my expectations after reading plenty of reports from other enthusiasts calling it overrated and rough - which funnily enough gets used to describe Hades 360 all the time as well. So there are two experiences that stand out to me as actually rough, where I legitimately thought I might get hurt on a wooden coaster: the second half of Zeus (also at Mt O) and the Rose Bowl on Son of Beast. I understand complaining about these but complaining about Mine Blower, really?? Was it as smooth as a steel coaster? No, it was not. Was it the smoothest wooden coaster I’ve ridden? Nope again. But did the roughness detract from the ride? Absolutely not.
I thought that the first drop gave some good airtime - actually it gave me flashes of being a mini-El Toro drop - the inversion was interesting and the rest of the course stayed fast and fun with some great airtime moments along the way. For this first ride I rode in the front seat and certainly enjoyed the view although I couldn’t wait to see what it could do in the back.
And the newest coaster at Fun Spot was the toughest to find. In my initial walk around the park I thought I was going crazy not seeing it at all. But after going up the lift hill for Mine Blower and seeing it in the distance, I realized that it doesn’t actualy exist in the park but instead sits behind Old Town itself along with a couple of other flats. Very strange but whatever. So I headed back to where it was passing the tackiness that is Old Town along the way. Once I got there I had to wait a few minutes for the one ride op that was rotating through the rides in the area to make his way to Hurricane. Once he got there I was on the coaster and off we went. To start with, this ride looks so sketchy, like it’s just about ready to fall apart. But it rides fairly well. It was mostly smooth and a fun ride even if it wasn’t quite as forceful as I would’ve liked. Every time I ride a ride like this I compare it to Wildcat that used to be at Cedar Point and I inevitably am left disappointed. But it’s an interesting addition to the park and I’m glad it got added!
It’s a kiddy coaster, you know how they go!
This coaster was the one I was afraid of the most. It’s nothing terribly scary being that it’s a simple Zamperla spinning mouse. But I remember listening to Coaster Radio in 2017 where Mike describes how he rode thid ride (then sponsored by Rock Star energy drink!!) and it spun so much that it made him so dizzy that it didn’t go away for a couple of days. I absolutely despise spinning and so I was extremely terrified that the same thing would happen to me. Luckily no one was in my car with me and I made sure to take a middle seat. Thankfully the spinning was not that bad. Other than that it was just your traditional wild mouse. Good laterals on the hairpin turns and some good airtime on the drops - although less than I was hoping for. I didn’t bother to ride it again.
At this point I was done with all of the coasters at the park! But I wasn’t quite done yet, I still wanted to ride Mine Blower in the back as well as get some pictures!
Mine Blower x2
And wow, this coaster in the back is incredible. The airtime over the first drop is even better than it already was but more importantly, the airtime along the course is amplified so much! These couple of rides in the back put Mine Blower solidly in my top 10 wood list at #7. I think I’ve started to realize that I tend to prefer the risk taking of Gravity Group over the safer designs of GCIs. And I haven’t even ridden the best of the GGs yet!
But after getting my couple of rides in and getting the pictures I wanted, it was time to head over to Fun Spot Orlando so I hopped in an Uber and headed that way!
Fun Spot Orlando
And this park was an even more egregious failure of mine to not get out to. It’s literally just across I4 from Universal, how did I not to get to the park you can see from Doom! But no matter I’m here now! Pulling into the parking lot, I was already impressed with the park. I make it no secret that I love the new school Vekoma suspended coasters and when you combo that with a GCI that looked super airtime packed, you’re speaking my language! So just like in Kissimmee, I took a look around really quick before I started riding. The park itself seemed a little bit more modern than Kissimmee and even though it only had 3 coasters vs Kissimmee’s 4, it looked like they were a little higher quality on average with Freedom Flyer being a better coaster than either Galaxy Spin or Hurricane.
Since Freedom Flyer was closed, there was only one real choice for me! I had fairly high expectations since I’ve really grown to love GCIs and this out and back model looked like a ton of fun. Plus enthusiasts tend to really like this one and prefer it to Mine Blower. Well, I can’t say I really get it at all. There wasn’t really a moment in the ride that had any exceptional airtime to speak of and since it didn’t have the traditional GCI twistiness, you were left with a whole lot of mediocrity. IT didn’t feel half as fast as Renegade or Gold Striker or any of the GCIs I’ve been on. Such a disappointment but that’s alright! I’ll get on Mystic Timbers soon and I have a feeling that’ll redeem GCI for me!
So as I was going up the lift hill of White Lightning, I noticed that they had started to let people into the station for Freedom Flyer even if it wasn’t open yet. I figured if that was the case it was almost time to get started running it so I headed straight into line and got a seat a couple of rows from the back. And I was totally right in that the ride started letting us on a couple of minutes after I got in line. And luckily I did since the line was spilling out of the queue as we left the station! The queue wasn’t that long so it wouldn’t have been that awful of a line but still, waiting in no line is better than waiting in any line. As for the ride itself, it was just as impressive as I remembered from Steel Lasso! Super smooth and family friendly while still giving a great view of the rest of the park. The final helix before entering the station actually pulled some decent positive Gs, more than a lot of coasters more than twice as tall. So overall, I think I liked this ride more than White Lightning!
Kiddy coaster, you already know!
After riding all of the coasters, I had a little bit of time for rerides but to be honest, there wasn’t anything I was dying to reride at the expense of my Universal time. So instead I took a lap of the park to get some pictures and hopped in an Uber back to Universal. I feel like this park needs one more major coaster. Once it gets a fun compact coaster (RMC Raptor?) I think it’ll be a top notch park!