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Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!

Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!
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Baby Formula Juan Racer
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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Six Flags Atlantis: Florida's Lost Water Kingdom

For many years, rumors have swirled about the possibility of a Six Flags park in Florida.  Years ago, it actually happened, in Hollywood, Florida.

The park started life as "Atlantis: The Water Kingdom" circa 1982.  Bally's, the owners of Six Flags parks, took the park under its wing in 1983.

Brochures for Six Flags Over Georgia in 1983 promoted Atlantis: The Water Kingdom as another Six Flags destination.  I was curious about the park as a kid, but back then, the Internet didn't exist, so it remained a mystery.

The King Neptune mascot suggests a magical fantasy world.  The reality looks like a typical water park.

Apparently, the association with Six Flags lasted until 1988.

The park regained its original name until it closed in 1992.  Not even Neptune could stop Hurricane Andrew, which damaged Atlantis enough to close it for good.

These days, many Six Flags properties have their own water parks (Six Flags Over Georgia has Hurricane Harbor inside its gates, plus White Water nearby).  But Six Flags Atlantis was a whole different kettle of fish.

Interestingly, there were a couple other short-lived "non-Six Flags" Six Flags parks around the same time as Atlantis, including Six Flags AutoWorld in Flint, Michigan (1984), and Six Flags Power Plant in Baltimore, Maryland (1985).

Monday, December 4, 2017

Pandora ACE Disney Racers: My World of Avatar Concept Cars

In the Summer of 2017, I visited Walt Disney World and experienced Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  The Windtraders shop at the exit of the star attraction, Flight of Passage, contains a wide variety of merchandise.  Curiously, an obvious item wasn't made: Disney Racers cars of a Banshee (the dragon-like star of Flight of Passage) and a Leonopteryx (the "villain").  I love Disney Racers, so I thought I'd make my own.

Make no mistake, the Banshees are the stars of Pandora.

My Banshee Disney Racer car is made out of thin foam sheets.  The wheels are cut out of plastic sheets.  And he's painted using Sharpie Paint Markers.

Maybe it is OK that there were no Pandora Disney Racers for me to buy.  These were fun to make!

The Banshees are brave, but they are no match for their orange nemesis.

This guy is called Toruk, the Last Shadow.  As in the last shadow you see.  Before you die.  Aaaa!

On a side note, Windtraders in Pandora sells a latex version of Toruk that reminds me of a rubber chicken.  It is hilarious.

If you go to Pandora at Walt Disney World, and you can't remember the names of the Banshees or Toruk, you can call them dragons.  Most everyone I heard does.

I came up with a second set of ACE Pandora Disney Racers, inspired by the Navi River Journey attraction.

With these Pandora Ace Disney Racers, I felt like I was channeling the carved wooden folk art you can find at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The Hexapede is a gazelle-like creature that appears in Flight of Passage and the Navi River Journey.

This creature displays moth-like appendages when threatened.

The Hexapede has been embraced by Disney for its cuteness.

The Hexapede has to be fast to outrun predators.

The panther-like Thanator is the apex land predator of Pandora.

Curiously, the Thanator does not have a role in Flight of Passage or the Navi River Journey.

I wanted the Thanator car to have a greaser/rockabilly flair.

In the Avatar movie, the Thanator put aside its predatory behavior to help the Navi.

The Navi Racer was the last one I designed, and the most fun.

The Navi Racer design was fun because it was really, really simple.

The animatronic Navi seen on the Navi River Journey attraction is eerily realistic.  As far as blue alien kitties go.

The Navi Racer was heavily inspired by the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster car at Busch Gardens Tampa.

Wave 3 of the ACE Disney Racers are some big Pandora creatures.

The Hammerhead Titanothere is a dangerous, rhino-like beast.  The Direhorse is a friend to the Navi.

The Direhorse reminds me of a cross between a Trojan Horse and a Zebra.

Pandora at Walt Disney World really needs a Direhorse Carousel.

In Pandora, the Direhorse is featured in both Flight of Passage and the Navi River Journey.

The Hammerhead was the last Racer I worked on.

In the movie, this creature acts like a bulldozer.

The Hammerhead Racer is kind of like a Punk Garbage Truck.

Making the Pandora ACE Disney Racers, I learned that working with Sharpie Paint Markers is fun, but messy.