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dienekes96 last won the day on April 10

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About dienekes96

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  1. Getting mighty close now. I didn't feel like playing The Old Hunters on a NG+ (though I do plan to play NG+), I've spent time with it this past week. Like the rest of the game, I've overleveled a bit, running most of the DLC between 105-120. As I stated earlier, I had major trouble with Ludwig. I was able to get by him with Valtr's help (after finally getting him to second phase on my own, my personal requirement to summon help) and slowly work through the rest of the DLC. This morning was my crowning achievement: after struggling with Laurence for a while ( I always got him to third phase no then he would wreck me), I finally beat him (with my last two throwing knives, of all things) after some help from (you guessed it) Valtr again. I figured I'd go down to the beach in the Hamlet and see the final DLC boss, spoken of in hushed tones. I'd get my feet wet, so to speak. After a legitimately exceptional cutscene, the Orphan and I threw down. And wouldn't you know, I beat him on my first try. Admittedly, I was level 124, but I still feel damn good about it. I wasn't spec'ed in the least (still had all three Moon Runes on, and the Charred Hunter Gear for Laurence), I used 19/20 vials, but I managed to outlast him. It was a great fight, and he is a great looking boss. It is always interesting how different people struggle or succeed on different bosses. A credit to the game designers for their variety in the boss mechanics. I am hoping to Platinum this game in the next few weeks, so I still need to finish the main quest (my last story boss was Micolash) and play through a large number of chalice dungeons. I may take a brief siesta after the main game for God of War. I also need to finish getting all of the weapons and tools. But this close to the end of NG, I can enthusiastically say that this is one of the very best video games I've ever played. A classic in every sense of the word, beautiful to see and hear, and gripping to play.
  2. My worry for Galaxy's Edge is a bit different. I think crowd sizes are going to overwhelm Hollywood Studios, and to a lesser extent the other parks. The Disney folks will all want to go see the major new stuff, and so will a bunch of people, who are normally not Disney folks, who will visit and are only interested in the Star Wars content. Star Wars is a bigger center of gravity than Frozen, or Pandora, or a single new ride at one of the Parks, and even Marvel stuff. I worry that GE will ALWAYS be busy, every day, all the time. As wonderful as Pandora is, the area was perpetually packed. My wife and I have watched the ride wait times (ghoulishly) for Pandora for the past week, and it is always busy. Even after Spring Break. Now it averages two hours, not three, but that is still quite busy. Star Wars will be significantly more popular than Pandora. The flip side is that Pandora bodes very well for the theming for GE. I am very excited to see what they cook up. Several years back, we did visit Epcot in the fall during their Food and Wine Festival. I thought it was a great time. They add a bunch of kiosks with intriguing food and alcohol from countries both included and not included in the Pavilions. Regarding Fastpass, I dig the system. You get three FP queues per day, which you can schedule 60 days out. They are tiered, so you won't get Space Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs ride on the same day, but you can at least get a break on waiting in a few lines. They all have to be at the same park, but if you are going to hit all parks more than once on more than one day, you should be able to schedule most of the biggies with some solid planning. You do miss the theming, but you can always use Fastpass to ride something a second time. That way you get the best of both worlds on rides you may want to experience more than once. if you are considering two weeks, I think you could probably hit three-four resorts for a few days each. An old favorite or two, plus one or two new ones. Like you, I have no problem traveling between resorts for meals. The resorts do have security posts now, so you can't just drive onto each, but a reservation at a restaurant is enough to get you parking so you can wander. They do badge their pools now though, so you can't use another resorts pool. But other than that, I do like checking out other resorts and their restaurants. We always wander around the property for a while as well. The Coronado Springs construction didn't bother us. To be fair, though, we were out of there by 8 AM every day and not back until 10 PM.
  3. We did stay at a Disney Resort. We've stayed at quite a few over the past 14 years (again, thanks to my parents), from the expensive deluxe options (Contemporary - walking distance from Magic Kingdom, Monorail through the lobby, OG design; and Wilderness Lodge, northwestern design, good restaurants, good pools) down to the moderates (Port Orleans, and Coronado Springs). This time was at Coronado (our second time). We like the cost and the location is as close to AK as you can get, unless you stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge (Which is awesome, but deluxe priced - we ate there, but stayed at Coronado). If you come for more than a week, Dan, I'd recommend staying at a few different resorts, to experience the pools and themes, if you choose to stay on property. As for early admission or staying late because you stayed at a resort...it is usually only a single Park each day that offers that benefit, so it rotates. It is also only an extra hour, and it doesn't always lend itself to smaller crowds. Sometimes the opposite, as many people choose that specific Park for that day. Regarding crowds, again, I "chose" to go during the peak time, spring break, and spring break in FL to boot. There are less busy times to go, which is when I'll go as soon as my son is no longer in school. January and first half of February. December, up until Christmas. September. Early November. As for Flight of Passage, i have also been fortunate enough to take a few Disney Cruises, so I'm happy to discuss that in the next day or so. The value of the DIsney Cruise Line really, really depends on your personal situation and expectations.
  4. I'll dig into the cruise (and my resort), plus some additional details soon. Thanks for the kind words. I know it is a huge wall of text, but I figured if I liked reading others insights, that mine might be useful.
  5. I apologize in advance for this relatively long post, which I’ve slowly written over the past week or so. I figured I'd share some recent Disney/Universal experiences in the appropriate thread, since I want to tell somebody about them and most of my in-person friends aren’t particularly interested. There will be some ride spoilers for the newest Universal and Animal Kingdom rides way down below, but I will spoiler tag the Kong and Pandora stuff, in case some folks want to go in more blind than not. I went in almost completely blind on both Kong and both Pandora rides, and I’m quite thankful that was the case. Quick background: my family and I are frequent Orlando visitors. We’ve probably been about 6 times in the past 12 years, usually with my extended family. In addition, my wife and son have gone at least two more times without me. We tend to strongly favor the Disney parks, so I hadn’t been to Universal in quite some time. We took a Disney Cruise (4 days) for my son's 8th grade spring break this past week. I’d be happy to discuss the DCL if anyone is interested, but this thread seems focused on the parks, so I’ll keep my comments to that. Since we were already going to be in FL for the cruise, we decided to spend two days after the cruise at a few parks, because my son and I were very interested in seeing Pandora (which none of us had seen) and my wife loves Harry Potter and Disney. The first day was used for Universal to show me Diagon Alley and the new rides (which my son and wife had already seen). We decided to splurge on the Universal day, buying three "unlimited" Express passes to make sure we could hit a lot of rides in both parks on the one day allotted for both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Our plan was to get off the cruise ship as soon as we were allowed, get to Universal ASAP and accomplish as much as possible by dinnertime, head to our hotel and get some rest after the cruise, and hit Animal Kingdom early on Friday to focus on Pandora and my son's other favorite rides. It worked, but it wasn't smooth. Firstly, this week is considered a Premier period (Dec 24-31, March 25 - April 7), which means that the parks are in their busiest aspect of the year. So both parks we attended were packed. Upon leaving the cruise ship and gassing up the rental in Port Canaveral, discovered the front left tire was flat. Local Enterprise was overbooked by twenty cars, so ended up spending the next hour in Port Canaveral at a Firestone getting the tire replaced. That put us arriving at Universal an hour AFTER opening. Parks were sufficiently busy that all the Express pass did was halve the wait time (useful, but not the time saver we'd hoped). We still averaged about 1 marquee ride every 50 minutes or so across 11 hours. So we ended up staying at Universal until closing time. So the following Friday was going to hurt (no Flight of Passage Fastpass, what my son and I were both most interested in). But I'm getting ahead of myself. UNIVERSAL: I had seen Hogsmeade and Hogwarts in Islands of Adventure, but Diagon Alley and King’s Cross were new to me. The overall theming for these new areas was spectacular, but the crowds kept them very busy all day (and going back and forth between the parks a few times using the Hogwarts Express meant I didn't get as much time as I had hoped to enjoy the place). We only rode Escape from Gringotts once…and once was enough. The ride itself felt like two acts of a three act beat, so while it was enjoyable, it ended rather abruptly and seemed a bit short for the wait time. Like The Forbidden Journey at Hogwarts, it leans VERY HEAVILY on established characters and HP actors to demonstrate some familiar situations and adventures. It is a solid ride, and I bet fans of the film series love it. It just isn't spectacular. The theming in both locations is seriously wonderful, though. I was hoping to eat in one of their restaurants, but it didn’t happen. I look forward to going back in a few years during a slower periods, and taking it all in at a more measured pace. One thing I noticed is that Universal seems to want both major HP rides (and future HP rides) to remain accessible to almost all ages. Lunch took over an hour. For a mediocre Krusty burger, though I did get to explain to my son how revolutionary and brilliant Simpsons was in the early to mid-90s while we waited and waited to order. I'll put this complaint here. Universal needs to work on their logistics. Some restaurants were closing by 2 PM (for the day). I waited in line to get a free refill using my $13 cup for 15 minutes, because the location had one of four windows open. Mind you, this is on one of the busiest days of the year (FL was on spring break). There were other workers in the work space, but they were busy checking silverware and stacking ice cream cones. Pretty frustrating in general. On to the good stuff! They still have very good rides, even some of the older ones. The Mummy coaster was quite fun (I'd never ridden it), and the venerable Hulk coaster and Spider-Man rides remain favorites of mine. I like their Marvel area quite a lot, because it is about the comic characters more than the MCU (which I also love), and they have some great character merch and fun 90s cartoon theming. Spider-Man remains a genuinely exceptional ride experience. And Hulk is just a great coaster experience, from the queue to the loading to the launch to the finish. The roar when you launch is such a wonderful sound effect. Except for Diagon and lunch, we didn't spend much time on the Studios side, which I regret. We also didn't ride any of the Jurassic Park stuff :(. We hope to go back in a few years during a quieter period. Onto the newest ride, Kong: Skull Island. This ride maintained a long wait time throughout the day. Often the HP rides would have fluctuating wait times, between 60-120 minutes, but Kong stayed rock solid around 110 minutes the entire day. I'm a fan of the old school Kongfrontation, and was keen to see the reimagining. Day two was our big park day (i.e. new stuff for everyone, with the most family interest), so we started early. I was hoping to be at Animal Kingdom before it opened. Sneaking a look at the wait times for Pandora in the previous week had been daunting. 180 minutes was common for Flight of Passage. And the early bird gets the worm, right? I was hoping to ride it twice on a very busy day, so I gambled on getting there early enough to have a largely reduced wait time for our first ride. I was a naive fool. We arrived a few minutes before 8, and made our way quickly to Pandora. Just as we got within the shadow of the floating mountains, a cast member was on the path holding a sign saying "this was the back of the line." And he was. The wait for Flight of Passage was already 150-180 minutes. So much for that plan. The line itself was a marvel, as it wound all the way down to the path from Pandora towards their Africa section, and then all the way back to the entrance queue (probably more than a quarter mile, all told - but it moved quick...we were probably only in that pre-line component for an hour or so). And that was just to get into the themed line, which started under the biggest of the floating mountains. Fortunately, it was early in the morning, the weather was cool and comfortable, and the outside theming of the ride and the area itself was pretty spectacular. Once we got into the line proper, it was a genuinely pleasant experience. My wife overheard from one of the cast members that Disney opened the park at 7:30, so people had been lining up for a half houror more in front of us. I do want to discuss the FoP line theming and the ride itself in some more detail, mostly concept and execution. I was fortunate enough to have very little idea what the ride was when I got into the line. If anyone is unfamiliar with the ride details, but expects to ride it at some point in the future, I’d recommend going in as blind as possible. I’ll just say that it was a great experience, even with such a long wait. On to any relevant details in some spoiler text. All in all, I really dug Pandora and believe it fits in quite nicely with the rest of Animal Kingdom. No doubt the eventual sequels (possibly to be owned by Disney) may yield another ride or two in the land at some point in the future. The FoP ride also got me excited for the MF ride at Galaxy’s Edge – the scope and technical acumen on display was incredible. To be honest, I’m not sure it could top FoP for me, because while Star Wars means a great deal to me, my son doesn’t care one way or the other about Star Wars. Avatar is something we share together. I hope to get back there at some point in the future and eat at the Pandora restaurant as well.
  6. Being pretty leveled, I decided to grind a bit of that Old Hunters DLC. Made it to Ludwig the Accursed. And he is straight up whooping my ass. Can't even get him to second phase...just pours on the damage. At Upper Cathedral Ward and Nightmare of Mensis in the main game. Don't really feel like trying Old Hunters on NG+ the first time. Ludwig is beating me like it is his JOB, though.
  7. Foogle, I'm in the same boat. I've taken a week off for Spring Break travel, but Rom is my next fight. This is basically where I left our hero three years ago, never advancing past this. Can't wait to get home and spend some more time. I've overleveled myself extensively, so I can explore with a bit more confidence. Bosses still whoop my ass, as do the rank and file whenever I get too overconfident. This is an amazing, brilliant gaming experience, though.
  8. Darkbeast Paarl is beating my ass. Like big time.
  9. Having set this down two years ago (and losing that save), I restarted this a few days ago. I'm semi-amazed by what I am recalling about the maps and enemies, and thoroughly enjoying the game. Happy about that $6 DLC, though. I won't lie. Guess I'll get to it when I get to it. Sticking with the Saw Blade and Pistol. Putting most of my Echoes into leveling and Molotovs. Got that blood-starved beast next. Fortunately got those shortcuts opened.
  10. I know this thread has mostly gone dormant, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that First Four Figures is about to release their long in production Alucard statue, which is quite a bit larger (and more game accurate) than the Mondo statue above (which was available a month or two ago, although I skipped it). I'm also effectively out of the expensive statues and figures collecting, but I made an exception for this one. Because Symphony. https://www.first4figures.com
  11. A thread about Lego

    Fortune smiled upon me today, and another fortune left me...75192 is in the house.
  12. Angry, is that a remaster of the Complete Recordings, or just a rerelease? Edit: NVM. Read the previous page. All caught up here.
  13. Your Top 10 movies of 2017

    I need to see more films, but... 1) Blade Runner 2049 2) Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri 3) Wind River 4) Dunkirk 5) Logan 6) Coco 7) The Shape Of Water 8) The Darkest Hour 9) Get Out 10) John Wick: Chapter 2
  14. That yeti hasn't worked in years. Apparently, the yeti is too heavy to work. I was lucky enough to ride Everest a few weeks before it opened (in a "preview"), and the yeti was quite cool.
  15. Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water

    Excellent film. Beautiful to look at, listen to, and experience. I didn't quite love it as much as Pan's, but it is definitely his most accomplished American film. Sally Hawkins is absolutely incredible in this.