August 9-14, my sister and I headed out for what will be my last major coaster
trip of the summer. It was my goal to hit parks and rides that I had been dying
to ride for a very long time. Because of bad planning on my part, I was only
partially successful in this goal. The original itenerary for the trip included
Great Escape, Rye Playland, Astroland, Wildwood, AW, DP, and Knoebels. We had
to skip Playland and Coney Island because I stupidly forgot that they're both
closed on Monday (at least I think Astroland is closed on Monday...we never
actually found the turn-off and just drove on...). While missing those two
parks was disappointing, the rest of the trip was just GREAT! I'm sure this
report will get rather long, so feel free to skip liberally.
First, let me give you some definitions of how I use terms:
***: A coaster is *** if it has severe lateral forces, perhaps
combined with precarious airtime that forces you up, out, and to the side. This
is not to be confused with "roughness." ***, for me, is a good thing.
Rampage, GA Cyclone, Raven, and Wild One are some examples of *** coasters.
ROUGH: A coaster is rough if the train has noticeable "shuffling" or
"shimmying" from side to side, or has noticeable potholes at the bottom of
drops. Roughness is not a good thing. The best example I can think of for this
is Thunder Run at KK a few years ago (though this is no longer the case for
this ride). Others could include Mean Streak and Hercules.
HEADBANGER: A steel coaster is a headbanger if it produces consistent,
unavoidable bashing of the head from side to side. For me, most steel coasters
are not headbangers. Some seem more sensitive to this sensation than I am.
OL:FOF is about the only coaster I would classify as a "real headbanger."
Aug. 9: The Great Escape
We left my sister's house in western NY and began the 6 hour journey to GE.
This would be the longest and most boring drive of the trip. There is just
nothing to look at in the state of NY. We finally arrived at the park at around
It's always nice to arrive at a park and find that it has free parking! A park
already earns points in my book if this is the case. The first thing we noticed
when we arrived was that the Steamin' Demon was not functioning. I vaguely
remember hearing about that before I left, but I'm fuzzy on the details.
The word that keeps coming to mind when I think of this park is "quaint." When
you walk in the front gate, you're treated to a small mainstreet with small
attractive shops on either side. I believe this is probably leftover from the
days when it was Storytown (?). The only problem is that I'm not sure it's
still functional for the crowd size they get now. Some of the pathways are
rather narrow, and while it creates a charming effect, it could stand to be a
At first we wandered around a little, enjoying the storybook houses and
watching Cinderella's carriage circle a small castle. We ended up at the top of
the hill in Ghost Town and rode the Condor, hoping to get a larger view of the
park. Well, there are so many trees the view was obscured quite a bit! I love
it when parks have a lot of tree cover.
We decided to have some lunch at the Texas Barbecue restaurant. It was very
good, but perhaps a little overpriced. We each had a barbecue sandwich, cole
slaw, corn and a drink...about 16 dollars for the two of us.
After lunch, we rode the Tornado, a dark ride that I assume is supposed to make
you feel like you're experiencing one. It cracked us up! The chickens! Oh no!
Not evil chickens! It was a cute ride, but could use a little work on it's
Now it was time to hit the coasters. Our first stop was the new Boomerang,
Coast to Coaster. I have ridden many Vekoma Boomerangs, but this was by far the
smoothest, most comfortable boomerang of the bunch. The new trains are roomier
and more comfortable. They have provided a nice grab handle on the seat in
front of you that makes getting in and out a little easier. This is the
absolute smoothest coaster of this type I've ever ridden. Absolutely NO
headbanging. We both enjoyed it a lot. Only complaint: I wish they would put
some kind of covering over the waiting area. It was really hot, making the wait
a little unpleasant.
As we continued our journey through the park, we were facinated with the
50's-style turnpike cars and the Swan boats through the stream running through
the park. The front section of this park is really beautiful. As you work your
way back toward the waterpark, though, some of the beauty gets lost. There are
a lot fewer trees and it becomes a bit of a concrete jungle. We passed by the
Alpine Bobsleds, and my sister suggested we get in line, but I could wait no
more for the coaster I came here for: The Comet!
We had a little trouble finding our way back to the ride, but once we did, I
was enthralled. Watching it, I just couldn't believe the speed of the lifthill.
I couldn't believe the speed with which it negotiated the turns. I had always
imagined that the turns would slow this coaster down. Instead, it appears as if
it's gaining momentum!
We jumped into the line and waited for the back seat. The line was short. At
most, it was a fif*** minute wait. Our turn finally came and we started up the
lifthill. Again, the speed of the lifthill amazed me! I had just been to SFOG
the week before, where most of the lifthills slow to a near stop as you're
climbing, so imagine my surprise as Comet's lift actually SPED UP as you neared
the top! It was like the coaster was SHOVING you over the drop. I loved this
coaster. The first drop is great. The turns are very fast and ***, and
created precarious airtime when you drop off of them. It's a fast, furious,
airtime-laden, thrilling ride! At one point, my sister was so frightened by an
airtime moment, she grabbed the side of the car, thinking she was going to fly
out! I'm not sure how many times we rode it, but we both agreed that it was our
favorite coaster of the trip. We prefered the back seat to the front. It felt
more out of control, a sensation we both enjoy.
The Alpine Bobsleds, of course, had the longest line of all the rides at the
park. The wait was very unpleasant. It has a wide queue, which made line
jumping too easy for many rude people. I guess it's too much to ask in this day
and age for people to have a little courtesy and respect for others. This is
not a slam on the park, but instead on this "me" society we live in. I was
climbed-over, stepped on, told I was a *** because I was blocking the path of
a line jumper...etc., etc. This line was the only black mark on an otherwise
pleasant trip to this park. Perhaps the park should have someone stationed in
the line to prevent this type of thing.
The ride itself was a little more thrilling than I expected it to be. We rode
in the back, and some of the "fishtail" moments of the ride surprised me. It
hits the brakeruns a little roughly, but overall, it was a nice ride. Too bad
the line had soured me a little at that point.
I believe the only other ride we went on was the ferris wheel, to get some
photos of Comet, which we would ride several times before we left. My sister
also found a new love: Luigi's Italian Ice. I tried some of hers, and I must
admit, it was very tasty, though I don't usually like that type of thing.
We left before the park closed as we had a couple of hours to drive to our
hotel in West Point. With the exception of the Bobsled line, we had a great
day. I'm so happy I've finally had a chance to experience Comet! It's one of
the great ones!
August 10: Playland and Coney Island
When we got up the next morning, we e***dly headed toward Rye Playland. It
took us a couple of hours, but the park was easy to find. As we made the turn
to go in, a horrible thought occured to me: "Oh my God! It's Monday, isn't it?!
I think Playland is closed on Monday!" Of course, as everyone already knows, it
is closed on Monday. I thought my sister was going to kill me. There was no
need, as I was already kicking myself. I just didn't think about it when I was
planning the trip. I was just thinking of how we could cram so much in to so
few days. All I can say is, the park LOOKED like one we really would have
enjoyed. Sigh. We'll just have to find a way to go back some other time.
The day was not a complete loss. We really wanted to go to Manhattan for some
good deli. We did. My sister was very proud of herself for being able to find
her way around the city in a car. In fact, we were both proud of ourselves for
braving our way through NY city in the middle of afternoon rush hour.
While we were having lunch, it occured to me that Astroland may also be closed
on Monday, but I wasn't sure. The Cyclone has been my ultimate coaster goal for
a very long time. It was going to be a BIG disappointment if I missed it yet
again. We decided we would go by and see. Unfortunately, we missed the turnoff
and ended up going over the Verrazano Bridge. At this point, we didn't have the
energy to turn around and try again. I've missed the Cyclone once again. I'll
make it there one day!!! I HAVE to!
We drove on to our next hotel, which was in Atlantic City. We arrived earlier
than we expected, so we decided to have a nice dinner and do some ***. We
had a very good Italian dinner. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the
restaurant we ate in. We then headed for the ***s where, $8 later, my sister
won $250! I didn't have that kind of luck. I lost $40 in what felt like the
blink of an eye. The next morning, we had breakfast at a place called the
Phoenix Diner. It was excellent and reasonably priced. I highly recommend it.
August 11: Wildwood
My sister was never going to let me live down the fact that Playland was closed
the day before, so all the way to Wildwood I had to hear, "Are the piers going
to be closed?" Of course, they were not, though Great Nor'easter and Sea
Serpent were, as I knew before I planned the trip. ...
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