Fugitoid's Shell Shock Review

Every Saint Patrick’s Day I try to get into the spirit by wearing green. In fact, I love doing it because green is my favourite colour. I even used to have yearly tradition for Saint Patty’s (until I moved) with a friend of going to our favourite bar, which happened to be an Irish bar, to have a few pints of Guinness and hang out. But Saint Patrick’s Day 2012 turned out to be a unique and special day, and I ended up wearing green provided by the good folks at Nickelodeon Universe.

To be honest, the day didn’t start out as well as I would have liked. I don’t know why but I didn’t get a good night’s rest, so I wasn’t anywhere near 100% that morning. It didn’t help that I’m not a morning person anyways and I was way off my normal morning routine. Despite this, I pushed through and drove myself, Tokka, Michele and her mom to the Mall of America. But not before a quick stop at Burger King to pick up some breakfast. Once we got to the mall and parked, I noticed something I hadn’t ever since I picked up the rental car. Even though I rented the car in Michigan, it had Florida plates, which is where I live. It just struck me as funny and serendipitous. Heh. Anyways, we entered the mall and headed towards Nickelodeon Universe. We had been in the mall the day before and already had the chance to experience the new Shell Shock ride during a soft opening, so finding the area for the grand opening event was no problem.

Getting to the area, there were already quite a few people in line. More people than I expected I guess, since at the time I was pretty surprised. But then again I really didn’t know what to expect to begin with. However, this was a definitely a good omen of things to come. I was still feeling “blah” that morning, so I decided to take some personal time and get in line separately from Tokka, Michele and her mom. At the time, I didn’t think much of it but now I hope they didn’t feel offended by my actions. However, it was just what I needed. I listened to some rockin’ wake up music and caught up on some comic book reading on my tablet. Sorry, no TMNT. The Walking Dead. By the time I finished up reading two issues, I was starting to get pretty jazzed up. I looked up and saw that quite a few more people had got in line behind me. And not just obvious TMNT fans, there were whole families getting in line! This immediately made my Cowabunga Corner crew hat go on and I started taking pictures of the line ahead and behind me. Got a picture of crew members TurtleNinja and Draco in line. And of course, took a picture of Michele, her mom and Tokka in line. Basically, I just started snapping away with reckless abandon. Gotta love digital cameras!

Eventually the line started moving. Got my wristband, t-shirt, mask (Donatello), coupons and six point pass enough for one go on the new Shell Shock ride. At this point, I lost track of Michele because I had to use the restroom. But Michele’s mom pointed towards where we parked the car and I knew Michele was getting into costume. I got to the car just as TurtleNinja was zipping up Michele’s sides. I helped with the final adjustments, put on my Cowabunga Corner shirt and we dashed back to the Shell Shock ride area. Now this is where the day started going into Ludicrous Speed.By the time we got back to the Shell Shock ride area, a long line had poured out of the entrance of the Shell Shock ride and extended down into the pathway that connects to the other areas of the park. So immediately we ran into people who wanted to talk and take pictures with Michele... err, Michaelangelo. I did my best to take pictures for Cowabunga Corner and other people, while at the same time try to make order of the chaos we managed to create. We even had a rep from Nickelodeon Universe approach us who knew of Michele and Cowabunger Corner, and wanted to have a picture with Michaelangelo. Naturally, I obliged and she now has a great picture on her iPhone to share. I just wish I could remember her name! LOL!It was quite amazing sight to see kids and adults alike light up when seeing Michaelangelo. I had never experienced anything like that before. I saw Michele in costume years ago but it was for a private party. Nothing like what happened that morning. I now understand why Michele loves getting in costume so much and why she did parties for years when she was younger. At this time, I had already switched to shooting video and followed Michaelangelo through the crowd as she continued to take photos with kids and adults. All I remember at this point was juggling between shooting video, taking pictures, handing out Cowabunga Corner business cards and making sure Michaelangelo didn’t collapse from heat exhaustion.It’s a blur when I try to remember things at this point. The one thing I do remember is thinking, “When are they gonna start the friggin’ countdown for the record?!” My arms were already getting tired from carrying my messenger bag, a backpack with the extra video cameras for backup and holding the active video camera upwards because they made event announcements from a balcony area 20 feet above my head! The next thing I know is the official mascots come out that made the crowd become even more excited. Trying to follow Michaelangelo as she headed towards the official mascots, I had to fight my way through a wall of people as they rushed towards the rope barrier separating the official mascots. But it was worth it because I got some great footage and pictures of Michaelangelo with the official mascots!

Finally, they started the 10 minute countdown required to break the Guinness World Records achievement for largest gathering of people dressed as Ninja Turtles. And after they sounded the horn signalling the end of the 10 minutes, it was announced that we had shattered the previous record of 786 with a head count of 836 causing a great cheer from the crowd that rocked the building! However, even though the Guinness World Records part was done, the Cowabunga Corner camera kept rolling as Michaelangelo continued interacting with more kids and adults. The high note of Michele in costume was definitely when she got together with the official mascots of Don and Mike! I know I got some great video and pics of that... if I say so myself. Heh.

Things didn’t die down for Michele in costume until she got to the rental car where she was able to get out of costume to rest and cool down. In fact, we were stopped for photos several times just trying to get to the car!

Once Michele got out of the Michaelangelo costume for the final time (sad to see its retirement), then it was time to have fun. The Cowabunga Corner crew and friends did some rides, hung out, did some exploring of the mall and kept going back to the Shell Shock ride area to “pester” the official mascots about a billion times! Good times!

If I make it sound like this event was “all work and no play” for me, it is exactly the opposite. Being behind the camera for this event was an amazing experience. I got to see and capture Turtle fans of all ages and backgrounds having a great time together sharing their love for the TMNT. I got to see and capture parents introducing the Turtles to the next generation. But most of all, I got to see and capture why it’s GREAT to be a TMNT fan!

I really enjoyed being the cameraman for this event and did my best to do a good job for Cowabunga Corner and its visitors. And I hope I did that.

Thanks for reading and remember to keep it green!


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