World of Dreams?
Trip Start Jul 17, 2006
7Trip End Jul 22, 2006
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Friday began just like any other day of the trip; a nice start with some cereal and a Toblerone coffee/hot chocolate mix, followed by a transfer bus ride to the theme park of choice. Because Dreamworld is the furtherest park from Surfer's Paradise, our transfer bus made a stop at Wet 'n Wild and Movie World on its way north. It was with some saddness and regret that we remained seated as other passengers disembarked and headed towards the blue and red spires of our favourite coaster. We used the fact that we had pre-purchased our Dreamworld tickets and our observations of large crowds at the gate of Movie World to justify our actions of staying on the bus and spending the day somewhere else
After a few more minutes on the road, everyone in the bus (except the driver I hope) had their eyes fixed on the Tower of Terror as it ran test runs, ever looming over our destination: Dreamworld. Upon arrival we noted, to our dissapointment, that there seemed to be a larger crowd present here, as was also the case at Movie World. It seems as though the previous day's inclement weather and it being the last Friday of the WA school holidays had resulted in higher attendance across the board. At least Dreamworld is a bigger park, with more attractions and should thus handle the crowds better... or so we thought.
It was with regret, and some anger, that we noted the day's list of closed attractions at the park entry. The park's newest thrill ride, The Claw was closed for maintenance, cutting the "Big 5 Thrill Rides" down to just 4. From the entrance we turned right to see what was happening in the section of the park that I like to refer to as the "lame, unrelateable beach themeing around royal show rides" section, although Dreamworld likes to call it as "Ocean Parade"
We were venturing deeper into this section in order to get to the park's only regular (gravity) coaster, The Cyclone. Guess what we were to discover at the ride's entrance? It was still not ready for guests, despite the park having been open for a good 15 minutes already. To kill time we decided to ride Reef Diver, a ride with a name that suggests going underwater, perhaps seeing some sea life. Fitting in with my "lame" classification of this area, this ride has nothing to do with diving or reefs, it is simply a spinning ride that goes vertical to show the world how wonderful centrifugal force is. Spun like crazy, we were ready to hit The Cyclone, thinking that it should be open by this stage. Alas, the Dreamworld people still couldn't get their act together so it was time to head off to another part of the park.
We headed over to The Giant Drop via the DWR (Dreamworld Railway) Main Street station to check the timetable for the day, noting that the train came about every 30 minutes. Our destination ride seemed pretty non-descript from the outside yet we discovered the inner part of the queue was made out to be some sort of derelict oil pumping station or something. Past the confusing theming we continued, having to queue for a short time before boarding the drop tower car. The Giant Drop is supposedly the tallest drop tower in the world and this means that it is a very nerve-racking experience climbing to the top
Following a pause at the top we were released to the forces of gravity for a scary and fast but at the same time extremely releiving rush to the ground.
We decided to stay in the vicinity of our previous ride, opting to try our luck on the Thunder River Rapids Ride, nestled in the somewhat kitch gold rush area of the park. Altough the queue wasn't too long it seemed to take quite a while to cycle guests through what ought to be a rather high capacity attraction. This queue time was used to admire the rushing water passing beneath the wooden decking on which we were standing and also to view the forlorn chairlift. What kind of sick park management decides to close a chairlift?!? If a chairlift must be closed there should always be a good reason, such as something new and cool to replace it. Unfortunately for Dreamworld the chairlift just sits there closed and neglected, slowly falling apart. Very depressing indeed. The rapids themselves were fun enough although somewhat sparse when it came to things to see as our raft floated down the "river".
Despite the time spent in the queue, our timing was on the mark, allowing us to catch the next departure of the train. Where Sea World lost points for having a dodgy diesel "steam" engine that travelled excrutiatingly slowly around a poncy track, the DWR managed to negotiate a sizeable layout at a good speed, using a real steam engine. Not only was the engine real, it was also authentic, starting its life on one of Queensland's once numerous narrow gauge sugar cane networks. All these factors culminated to make the train one of the highlights of the park, especially the climb up the grade around the back of the Big Brother house and past the entrance to return to the Main Street Station.