Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by ldnayma » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 00:18:47


A friend and I hit a bunch of parks this weekend past. Here's the
story:

Day one - drove from NYC through PA. Two of the parks we wanted to hit
- Kennywood and Altoona, were not open on Friday, so we headed to Lake
Conneut...err...Coconut...err...the place where Blue Streak is.

Got there about 4pm, which was opening time. This is one odd place. It
seems half abandoned with a real "ghost town" midway complete with
scary looking Lake Chippewa-style decay. Neato. The theme of this
place is "musty." The innards of many rides smell like the inside of
an old pinball machine stuffed with ancient National Geographics.
Kinda cool.

Rode the dark ride there (I think it's called Devil's Den.) Reminded
me of the one at Camden. Very musty, pretty quick and fun. The Blue
Streak was not operating at opening, because the guy who runs it was
helping to fix the Tumblebug. You'll certainly never say a sentence
like that at a Six Flags park.

The Tumblebug was up and running, so we took a spin. Neat little ride.
I'm not huge on flats but it's a classic and very rare, and the guy
operating it is very proud of it so it was fun to check out. They had
it running really fast. A shame more people won't get to ride one of
these.

Moved on to the Blue Streak. Again, the guy (one person!!) operating
and manning the Blue Streak is very proud of it, and he does a great
job running it. Also the same guy who maintains it. The coaster
certainly has some charm - nice long tunnel (although I could have
done without the drops of warm, standing and mosquito egg infested
water that I got twice on my head in the tunnel) but it's rough as
hell and the second half after the turnaround is pretty boring. Love
the Century Flyer trains too of course. Good air in the back on the
first hill but it's followed by a spine-crunching jolt. The guy
running it blamed this on the Amish, who apparently made the bottom of
the hill transition too abrupt when they built this thing in the 30s.
The third hill (last  before the turnaround) is all brand new and was
very smooth.

Cool old ride in the woods but it beat me up pretty good. The operator
was great and once even sent us through the ride TWICE without even
stopping it - now that's a first for me and it was really fun.

After this we drove about an hour up to Waldmeer to check out the
Ravine Flyer II. This is a pretty cool coaster, with the breathtaking
view of Lake Erie. It absolutely screams down that first hill, over
the highway and back, with a bunch of air throughout the first half
including all sorts of crazy shit in the tunnels. Unfortunately I
found this coaster a bit too rough for it to be among my favorites. I
also thought the second half (after the tunnel) was a little dull.

Their funhouse was great "Wacky Shack" - really loved the use of
blacklights and it's a nice long ride with some cool stuff. Their walk-
through funhouse, Pirates Cove, is also great. Neat little park. We
headed to Pittsburgh next and about 2 hours later were eating wings at
a bar (Red Beard's I think) right at the top of the hills to the south
of the city (right by where the incline goes).

I have to say, the first day of this trip was a bit much for me. After
all of this driving and having the ***beat out of me on the Blue
Streak and Flyer all day I was feeling pretty tired and beat up, and
wondering what i'd gotten myself into. This was gonna be a 2 night, 3
day trip and I was already sick of it. I love woodies, but after this
day I was actually dreading Kennywood and terrified of what those
coasters would do to me. I was, in the parlance of our times, getting
too old for this shit. Making things worse is the fact that apparently
there are no hotels anywhere near KW, which of course is a first for
me. After driving past a sobriety checkpoint and Kennywood, we finally
found a Holiday Inn about 5 miles and 20 minutes of mountain driving
away. The place was $130 and it was a disgusting smoking room. It was
2 am at this point and we were both miserable so we just sucked it up.

Emerged the next morning refreshed and we headed to KW. Got there
about 11. KW is pretty sweet, I have to admit, and it made the first
day worth it. Even crowded, I had a great time at this park. First up
was the Racer, about a 20 minute wait at this point. A fun, smooth
ride and the handslaps and "how the hell did we switch sides"
conundrum were a hoot. Was happy to be on a woodie that didn't assrape
me for a change it kinda got that whole fear out of my head.

After this we did the Thunderbolt. I really liked the ride - it was
wild, and had some air - but wasn't exactly blown away by what I had
heard was their signature coaster. Still a cool ride. About a 20
minute wait on this one until they finally put another train into
service - did a reride in about 10 minutes.

Labor Day weekend, noon and already huge crowds, I was pretty shocked
that they didn't already have 2 trains in service. But hey I'm used to
this shit at Compounce (owned by the KW people) so I wasn't surprised.
Probably my biggest pet peeve of the whole operation.

We did the Jackrabbit. This one instantly made my top 10, and top 5 by
the end of the visit. I just love this coaster. Smooth, the best
trains in woodie history (at least still working), and of course that
amazing double dip which is probably my favorite moment on any coaster
currently. I hadn't really heard anything about this ride so it was
all a huge surprise. Back seat is the best on this one.

Exterminator - another rough, stupid dark ride mouse which I will
never waste my time with again. Seems all these rides are good for are
people emerging from them saying "we waited 90 minutes for THAT?"

Also hit the Whip. Love whips, and this outdoor one was really cool.

By now our "VIP Coaster Tour" thingee finally kicked in, so we hit the
Skyrocket. Paid $18 for this which included all front seat rides.
Pretty cool, but I will say that in the end every single coaster at KW
is a "back seat" ride by a good margin so I next time I'll just save
the 3 bucks and get the regular one.

A word about their line jump system - basically, it's ridiculously
complicated and needs to be simplified. There seems to be at least a
half-dozen different options on this thing, along with single ride
passes, along with water park passes etc. It's way too much stuff, and
every single guest who comes to the booth spends 5 minutes asking
questions and trying to figure out what they want. And then, the
passes are printed to order slowly and inefficiently on a crappy old
486 computer and shitty printer. These passes are very hard so the
kids operating the rides had to wrestle with their hole punchers every
time we checked in to a ride - I never once saw this go smoothly. The
entire process is labor intensive, messy, and unnecessary, and leads
to long delays at the VIP booth. I HATE when a line jump system STARTS
with unnecessary delays, and this one is a textbook example.

We ended up buying the front seat tour, the night pass, and numerous
individual ride passes. In the end, we probably ended up spending
about 50 bucks, and walking around with about 5 of these hard
laminated passes at any given time. And, because ride times are
"assigned," you are constantly checking the clock and rifling through
your half dozen passes to make the whole thing work (though we did
find the ops were pretty loose on the timing stuff so that's good).

As for the system itself, I don't have any complaints. The front seat
thing worked out great, and you get pretty used to avoiding the
glaring from people you've just cut in front of. The other passes "any
seat but the front" also worked out great, as we always got back seat
rides and every ride in the park, that's the place to be. They were
fast and you basically just walked in the exit door and rode. Loved
it.

Still, whittle that shit down. It would just be easier to have a once
per ride option at $20, and an all you can ride at $50 or $60, like
say, Busch Gardens. I seriously can't believe how overbaked the
current system is. They have day passes, night passes, front seat
passes, flat ride passes (I think?) waterpark pass, individual ride
passes...I'm sure I'm leaving some shit out too. It looked like a
snack bar menu with so much ***on it. Absolute buffonery.

Ok, back to the rides: Phantom's Revenge - another instant favorite. I
can't believe how good this ride is. A ton of air, that great first
drop, and the best 2nd drop in history, that screamer through the
Tbolt. Followed up by a nice tight turn around the Tumblebug and a
great tribute to the Jack Rabbit, a little double dip followed by more
airtime hills. I love this coaster and can't get enough of it.

Sadly, I DID get enough of it at one ride because the rain started.
I'm pretty sure from about 5pm on, the Phantom was closed all day.
Rain was pretty disruptive, but we did get a few more rides in on the
Jackrabbit, and also the Sky Rocket. This coaster was a huge surprise.
Another fantastic ride filled with crazy airtime. I felt like was
going to be thrown out of it on the corkscrews. Amazing to have a ride
like this with such simple lap bar restraints. It's a real winner.

A word about the guest relations at this park - they were freakin'
awesome. Having driven all this way and getting rained out a bit, we
ended up with only one ride on the Phantom and a bunch of unused line
jumps. The park worked with us and we came up with a great solution
that got us back into the park the next morning with a fistful of line
jumps. The plan had been to leave Pitt that night, but we ended up
coming back at 11 am and staying till 2pm to make up for it.
Management really went above and beyond and I can't say enough good
things about them. We got in about a half-dozen rides on the Phantom
and a few more on everything ...

read more »

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by David Sandbor » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 01:34:37

A few quick comments:

In article

Quote:

> [Conneaut]
> Got there about 4pm, which was opening time. This is one odd place. It
> seems half abandoned with a real "ghost town" midway complete with
> scary looking Lake Chippewa-style decay. Neato. The theme of this
> place is "musty." The innards of many rides smell like the inside of
> an old pinball machine stuffed with ancient National Geographics.
> Kinda cool.

They've never really fully recovered from the ballroom fire, on top of
all the other travails of the past few decades.  Supposedly they're
doing better this year, but they have a long way to go to come back...

Quote:
> Rode the dark ride there (I think it's called Devil's Den.) Reminded
> me of the one at Camden.

Pretty much the same thing, yes.

Quote:
> [Blue Streak]
> Cool old ride in the woods but it beat me up pretty good.

Yes, it's very old school in this regard.  You wouldn't see a coaster
like this built in the modern era for any number of reasons.

Quote:
> The operator
> was great and once even sent us through the ride TWICE without even
> stopping it - now that's a first for me and it was really fun.

Yes, that always adds something to it.

Quote:
> After this we drove about an hour up to Waldmeer to check out the
> Ravine Flyer II. This is a pretty cool coaster, with the breathtaking
> view of Lake Erie. It absolutely screams down that first hill, over
> the highway and back, with a bunch of air throughout the first half
> including all sorts of crazy shit in the tunnels. Unfortunately I
> found this coaster a bit too rough for it to be among my favorites. I
> also thought the second half (after the tunnel) was a little dull.

We were there on Saturday.  I think Ravine Flyer II is better than ever.  
It is a bit rougher than it was opening year, perhaps, and less of a
"session coaster" for that reason, but it's also more aggressive
overall.  The beginning rivals Tremors in my book for all-time best
beginnings, and the post-tunnel part is better than it had been.

I'm a bit surprised you found it so rough.  Were you in the back seat of
any car?  We avoid those at all costs, not because of the wheels so much
as because the geometry of the lap bar is such that you get stapled
worse.  If you didn't stick to the front seats of any car, it may
account for your bad impression.

Quote:
> We
> headed to Pittsburgh next and about 2 hours later were eating wings at
> a bar (Red Beard's I think) right at the top of the hills to the south
> of the city (right by where the incline goes).

Redbeard's sounds right.

Quote:
> [Thunderbolt] I really liked the ride - it was
> wild, and had some air - but wasn't exactly blown away by what I had
> heard was their signature coaster. Still a cool ride. About a 20
> minute wait on this one until they finally put another train into
> service - did a reride in about 10 minutes.

Thunderbolt's kind of like Beast in my mind, going mainly on its past
reputation rather than current merits.  Not even close to my top 25, but
it's another of those rides they wouldn't build today so for that reason
I think it's worth treasuring.

Quote:
> Labor Day weekend, noon and already huge crowds, I was pretty shocked
> that they didn't already have 2 trains in service.

That's pretty much par for the course.  I'm not sure how they determine
when to put the second train on but I don't think they ever start it out
with both.  Phantom too, which is a shame.

Quote:
> We did the Jackrabbit. This one instantly made my top 10, and top 5 by
> the end of the visit.

Wow.  I like it a lot, but it's a bit of a one-trick pony for me, so I
can't quite go that far.

Quote:
> I just love this coaster. Smooth, the best
> trains in woodie history (at least still working)

You must get to Vancouver some time...

Quote:
> and of course that
> amazing double dip which is probably my favorite moment on any coaster
> currently.

This is, of course, it's one trick and I have to agree that in terms of
individual coaster moments, it ranks very highly.

Quote:
> I hadn't really heard anything about this ride so it was
> all a huge surprise. Back seat is the best on this one.

I'm surprised you hadn't heard more about it.  Younger enthusiasts just
must not talk about it that much.

Quote:
> Ok, back to the rides: Phantom's Revenge - another instant favorite. I
> can't believe how good this ride is. A ton of air, that great first
> drop, and the best 2nd drop in history, that screamer through the
> Tbolt. Followed up by a nice tight turn around the Tumblebug and a
> great tribute to the Jack Rabbit, a little double dip followed by more
> airtime hills. I love this coaster and can't get enough of it.

It is.  They really took the lemon that was Steel Phantom (not that I
didn't like it but it wasn't really what the park needed) and made some
pretty delicious lemonade.

Quote:
> [Sky Rocket] This coaster was a huge surprise.
> Another fantastic ride filled with crazy airtime. I felt like was
> going to be thrown out of it on the corkscrews. Amazing to have a ride
> like this with such simple lap bar restraints. It's a real winner.

I like Sky Rocket, but found the second half to be a bit mild.  I'm not
sure if they changed their restraints too, but I found the odd leg bars
to be a bit more restrictive than I remembered from my first rides its
opening year.

Quote:
> So we finally left KW though I probably could have spent the better
> part of the second day there. We had considered going to Idlewild but
> was pretty beat at this point and I vetoed the idea of spending an
> hour and 30 bucks just to ride another whip and a 900 foot, 25 foot
> tall coaster. Maybe we'll check it out if we go back to KW.

Idlewild is worth a visit sometime, but more as a park than for the
coasters--though Rollo Coaster is really nice for what it is.

Quote:
> Got to Altoona about 2 hours later to finally ride Leap the Dips. So
> cool riding the world's oldest coaster and it's no joke. Those dips
> are thrilling in their own way, and the cars tore around some of the
> turns especially after a light rain. It was a bit too rough for me in
> the back seat so I did the front for the 2nd and 3rd rides. And yes,
> bought the T-shirt.

Leap the Dips has been inconsistent, and depends a lot on conditions.  
I've ridden it where it barely makes it around the curves.  Then again,
it's been a few years so I don't know what they may have done with it
recently.

Quote:
> The Skyliner is a serviceable old woodie that probably has the only
> remaining PTC trains in existence with no divider and just a buzzbar
> so that was cool. Ride could use some love - the first drop had some
> decent air in the backseat but it's a pretty uneventful ride besides.
> And, despite the fact that it's in the outfield of a baseball stadium
> it's basically just plopped down in a huge gravel lot so the setting
> is a bit lacking. At least it isn't too rough. Not a terrible ride or
> anything but after the amazing woodies at KW seemed pretty meek.

Huh, this is quite a bit off from my experience.  I always though of the
back seat first drop air as pretty shocking.  The rest of the ride
doesn't live up to that, but is respectable, at least.  However I always
found it pretty rough.

Quote:
> [Knoebels]
> Rode the front seat of the Phoneix twice, which is the only seat I'll
> ever sit in on that coaster.

Not even seat 3?

Quote:
> They were doing the retarded "it isn't
> too busy so we'll run one train empty" thing which no matter how many
> times it's explained to me makes absolutely no sense, so the front
> seat line was pretty slow.

I've never seen them do that.  Very odd.  At least they have a pretty
efficient lap bar checking operation.

Quote:
> Fortunately the Twister was running two trains and had no line so we
> took in 4 or 5 front seat rides on it. Amazing coaster.

Never really got this one.  Best rides I had on it were probably a
couple of years into its lifetime, but I just have never cared for it
much since.

Did you do Black Diamond?

--
Dave Sandborg
Remove Spam-away to respond via e-mail.

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by ldnayma » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 02:43:20



Quote:
> A few quick comments:

> In article


> > [Conneaut]
> > Got there about 4pm, which was opening time. This is one odd place. It
> > seems half abandoned with a real "ghost town" midway complete with
> > scary looking Lake Chippewa-style decay. Neato. The theme of this
> > place is "musty." The innards of many rides smell like the inside of
> > an old pinball machine stuffed with ancient National Geographics.
> > Kinda cool.

> They've never really fully recovered from the ballroom fire, on top of
> all the other travails of the past few decades. ?Supposedly they're
> doing better this year, but they have a long way to go to come back...

> > Rode the dark ride there (I think it's called Devil's Den.) Reminded
> > me of the one at Camden.

> Pretty much the same thing, yes.

> > [Blue Streak]
> > Cool old ride in the woods but it beat me up pretty good.

> Yes, it's very old school in this regard. ?You wouldn't see a coaster
> like this built in the modern era for any number of reasons.

> > The operator
> > was great and once even sent us through the ride TWICE without even
> > stopping it - now that's a first for me and it was really fun.

> Yes, that always adds something to it.

> > After this we drove about an hour up to Waldmeer to check out the
> > Ravine Flyer II. This is a pretty cool coaster, with the breathtaking
> > view of Lake Erie. It absolutely screams down that first hill, over
> > the highway and back, with a bunch of air throughout the first half
> > including all sorts of crazy shit in the tunnels. Unfortunately I
> > found this coaster a bit too rough for it to be among my favorites. I
> > also thought the second half (after the tunnel) was a little dull.

> We were there on Saturday. ?I think Ravine Flyer II is better than ever.
> It is a bit rougher than it was opening year, perhaps, and less of a
> "session coaster" for that reason, but it's also more aggressive
> overall. ?The beginning rivals Tremors in my book for all-time best
> beginnings, and the post-tunnel part is better than it had been.

> I'm a bit surprised you found it so rough. ?Were you in the back seat of
> any car? ?We avoid those at all costs, not because of the wheels so much
> as because the geometry of the lap bar is such that you get stapled
> worse. ?If you didn't stick to the front seats of any car, it may
> account for your bad impression.

> > We
> > headed to Pittsburgh next and about 2 hours later were eating wings at
> > a bar (Red Beard's I think) right at the top of the hills to the south
> > of the city (right by where the incline goes).

> Redbeard's sounds right.

> > [Thunderbolt] I really liked the ride - it was
> > wild, and had some air - but wasn't exactly blown away by what I had
> > heard was their signature coaster. Still a cool ride. About a 20
> > minute wait on this one until they finally put another train into
> > service - did a reride in about 10 minutes.

> Thunderbolt's kind of like Beast in my mind, going mainly on its past
> reputation rather than current merits. ?Not even close to my top 25, but
> it's another of those rides they wouldn't build today so for that reason
> I think it's worth treasuring.

> > Labor Day weekend, noon and already huge crowds, I was pretty shocked
> > that they didn't already have 2 trains in service.

> That's pretty much par for the course. ?I'm not sure how they determine
> when to put the second train on but I don't think they ever start it out
> with both. ?Phantom too, which is a shame.

> > We did the Jackrabbit. This one instantly made my top 10, and top 5 by
> > the end of the visit.

> Wow. ?I like it a lot, but it's a bit of a one-trick pony for me, so I
> can't quite go that far.

> > I just love this coaster. Smooth, the best
> > trains in woodie history (at least still working)

> You must get to Vancouver some time...

> > and of course that
> > amazing double dip which is probably my favorite moment on any coaster
> > currently.

> This is, of course, it's one trick and I have to agree that in terms of
> individual coaster moments, it ranks very highly.

> > I hadn't really heard anything about this ride so it was
> > all a huge surprise. Back seat is the best on this one.

> I'm surprised you hadn't heard more about it. ?Younger enthusiasts just
> must not talk about it that much.

> > Ok, back to the rides: Phantom's Revenge - another instant favorite. I
> > can't believe how good this ride is. A ton of air, that great first
> > drop, and the best 2nd drop in history, that screamer through the
> > Tbolt. Followed up by a nice tight turn around the Tumblebug and a
> > great tribute to the Jack Rabbit, a little double dip followed by more
> > airtime hills. I love this coaster and can't get enough of it.

> It is. ?They really took the lemon that was Steel Phantom (not that I
> didn't like it but it wasn't really what the park needed) and made some
> pretty delicious lemonade.

> > [Sky Rocket] This coaster was a huge surprise.
> > Another fantastic ride filled with crazy airtime. I felt like was
> > going to be thrown out of it on the corkscrews. Amazing to have a ride
> > like this with such simple lap bar restraints. It's a real winner.

> I like Sky Rocket, but found the second half to be a bit mild. ?I'm not
> sure if they changed their restraints too, but I found the odd leg bars
> to be a bit more restrictive than I remembered from my first rides its
> opening year.

> > So we finally left KW though I probably could have spent the better
> > part of the second day there. We had considered going to Idlewild but
> > was pretty beat at this point and I vetoed the idea of spending an
> > hour and 30 bucks just to ride another whip and a 900 foot, 25 foot
> > tall coaster. Maybe we'll check it out if we go back to KW.

> Idlewild is worth a visit sometime, but more as a park than for the
> coasters--though Rollo Coaster is really nice for what it is.

> > Got to Altoona about 2 hours later to finally ride Leap the Dips. So
> > cool riding the world's oldest coaster and it's no joke. Those dips
> > are thrilling in their own way, and the cars tore around some of the
> > turns especially after a light rain. It was a bit too rough for me in
> > the back seat so I did the front for the 2nd and 3rd rides. And yes,
> > bought the T-shirt.

> Leap the Dips has been inconsistent, and depends a lot on conditions.
> I've ridden it where it barely makes it around the curves. ?Then again,
> it's been a few years so I don't know what they may have done with it
> recently.

> > The Skyliner is a serviceable old woodie that probably has the only
> > remaining PTC trains in existence with no divider and just a buzzbar
> > so that was cool. Ride could use some love - the first drop had some
> > decent air in the backseat but it's a pretty uneventful ride besides.
> > And, despite the fact that it's in the outfield of a baseball stadium
> > it's basically just plopped down in a huge gravel lot so the setting
> > is a bit lacking. At least it isn't too rough. Not a terrible ride or
> > anything but after the amazing woodies at KW seemed pretty meek.

> Huh, this is quite a bit off from my experience. ?I always though of the
> back seat first drop air as pretty shocking. ?The rest of the ride
> doesn't live up to that, but is respectable, at least. ?However I always
> found it pretty rough.

> > [Knoebels]
> > Rode the front seat of the Phoneix twice, which is the only seat I'll
> > ever sit in on that coaster.

> Not even seat 3?

> > They were doing the retarded "it isn't
> > too busy so we'll run one train empty" thing which no matter how many
> > times it's explained to me makes absolutely no sense, so the front
> > seat line was pretty slow.

> I've never seen them do that. ?Very odd. ?At least they have a pretty
> efficient lap bar checking operation.

> > Fortunately the Twister was running two trains and had no line so we
> > took in 4 or 5 front seat rides on it. Amazing coaster.

> Never really got this one. ?Best rides I had on it were probably a
> couple of years into its lifetime, but I just have never cared for it
> much since.

> Did you do Black Diamond?

> --
> Dave Sandborg
> Remove Spam-away to respond via e-mail.

Did Black Diamond a few weeks ago. It's fun but it's nothing I need to
reride. Stared longingly at the Flying Turns of course...man they have
to get that thing running.

Ravine Flyer - I didn't find it BRUTALLY rough, I just think after the
long day and being slapped around by the Blue Streak it was a bit much
for me. We probably rode it a half-dozen times. This was Saturday by
the way, between about 7pm-9:30, so we were probably there the same
time. Mostly it was just being thrown around laterally and generally
getting banged up a little bit, especially that big slam I think
coming out of the first turn past the bridge. It's not really rough-
rough but it's unpredicatable and wild and on this day it added up.

Skyliner - that first drop IS pretty good but like I said that was
about it, it was fairly slow and creaky for the rest of the ride with
lots of Grizzly-style squealing. Like I said, decent ride but compared
to the rest of the weekend didn't leave a lasting impression.

Twister - I had been fairly ambivalent about the Twister, having
ridden it a year ago the first time I went to the park. But this year
- I don't know if it's me or if it's the coaster - but something's
changed and it's just a ton of fun. It screams around turns, it's a
wild ride, and it's not ...

read more »

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by ldnayma » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 02:50:58

Oh, and the empty train thing on the Phoenix they were doing my last
visit a few weeks ago as well toward the end of the night.

Basically when it gets late and the crowds thin, they just start
running one train empty. I asked them why and they said "because we
don't need two one the crowds get light - not enough people."

I still can't fathom the logic for it. They aren't saving much wear
and tear on the trains by still running them, and the lines do slow
down especially when that ride always has a long line for the front.
And, since it's a pay per ride park, seems like they are losing
revenue they might get from more frequent re-rides.

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by Shawn Mamr » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 05:25:08

Quote:

>I have to say, the first day of this trip was a bit much for me. After
>all of this driving and having the ***beat out of me on the Blue
>Streak and Flyer all day I was feeling pretty tired and beat up, and
>wondering what i'd gotten myself into. This was gonna be a 2 night, 3
>day trip and I was already sick of it. I love woodies, but after this
>day I was actually dreading Kennywood and terrified of what those
>coasters would do to me. I was, in the parlance of our times, getting
>too old for this shit. Making things worse is the fact that apparently
>there are no hotels anywhere near KW, which of course is a first for
>me. After driving past a sobriety checkpoint and Kennywood, we finally
>found a Holiday Inn about 5 miles and 20 minutes of mountain driving
>away. The place was $130 and it was a disgusting smoking room. It was
>2 am at this point and we were both miserable so we just sucked it up.

Given that you were driving down from Erie towards Pittsburgh, my
advice hotels-wise would've been to find a place around the I-79/I-76
interchange in Cranberry Township.  There are a decent number of
hotels in that area.  Or, a little bit closer to Kennywood, you
could've gone east on I-376 to Monroeville (near the I-376/I-76
interchange), which also has a fair number of hotels.  In the area
immediately around Kw, there's little to nothing for hotels, as you
found out the hard way.  (The park may be well known among coaster/park
fans, but to the public at large outside of the Pittsburgh area, not
so much.)

-s

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by Jim Shaffe » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 06:58:32



Quote:
>And no, never rode in the seat 3 of the Phoenix. Is this is an open
>secret? What's the deal and what am I missing out on?

The conventional wisdom is that the third seat of a 3-seat-per-car PTC
train, especially on a Herbert Schmeck layout, has the best airtime.
On some of my rides I agree, others not so much.  Basically, it gives
you a taste of the back-seat forces without depriving you of most of
the front-seat forces.   But for some people, the back seat doesn't do
anything.  (Other people won't ride anywhere else!)  When you do get
air in the back seat (or the 3rd seat), you tend to land a lot harder,
which can be annoying on a train with seat dividers.  (The very minor
bump at the bottom of the Phoenix's first drop was removed last
winter, by the way.  I never even noticed it in the front seat, but in
the back I did.)

Twister did change dramatically last winter.  They removed the ***
lateral moment at the transition into the helix.  Some people lived
for that, and say the ride is ruined now.  I don't miss it all that
much, as I'm getting too old for some of that sort of thing too.  Some
people say that it did reduce the rattling in the helix though.  I
don't know if I agree, as I haven't rode Twister much this season.  It
still seemed to rattle, maybe just not as much as before.  

It's been a few years since I've rode Thunderbolt, but like you I was
underwhelmed.  People talk like it's the Holy Grail of classic woodies
(other than Phoenix of course), but I found it to be slow and almost
forceless on my first ride.  My second ride was quite a bit better
because it was in the rain, but unfortunately that was tempered by
having to wait in an uncovered queue in the rain.

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by David Sandbor » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 08:44:41

In article

Quote:

> Did Black Diamond a few weeks ago. It's fun but it's nothing I need to
> reride. Stared longingly at the Flying Turns of course...man they have
> to get that thing running.

Well, we'll see.  In the meantime, I love Black Diamond, not as a
coaster so much as a dark ride.  I don't know what waits are nowadays
but I'd ride at least once per trip even at the cost of a long wait, and
more if the waits were minimal.

Quote:
> Skyliner - that first drop IS pretty good but like I said that was
> about it, it was fairly slow and creaky for the rest of the ride with
> lots of Grizzly-style squealing. Like I said, decent ride but compared
> to the rest of the weekend didn't leave a lasting impression.

Shame about the squealing.  I agree that it would fade amidst all the
other wood coasters you rode on the trip, but that first drop was still
pretty memorable when last I rode it.

Quote:
> Twister - I had been fairly ambivalent about the Twister, having
> ridden it a year ago the first time I went to the park. But this year
> - I don't know if it's me or if it's the coaster - but something's
> changed and it's just a ton of fun. It screams around turns, it's a
> wild ride, and it's not rough.

Huh, I just have never found it to be a wild ride.  Perhaps part of the
problem is that it just seems to lose steam after the helix.  My
favorite rides have been ones where that section felt particularly fast.  
Other than that, I just don't get much out of the Twister, and such
rides have been rare.

Quote:
> And no, never rode in the seat 3 of the Phoenix. Is this is an open
> secret? What's the deal and what am I missing out on?

Not so secret.  The third seat is generally considered to get more
airtime than the front.  I'm not sure if anybody has ever quite
explained why this is so, but I have a vague theory.  In any case, third
seat is considered by many *the* place to ride on Phoenix.

--
Dave Sandborg
Remove Spam-away to respond via e-mail.

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by David Sandbor » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 08:50:22



Quote:


> >And no, never rode in the seat 3 of the Phoenix. Is this is an open
> >secret? What's the deal and what am I missing out on?

> The conventional wisdom is that the third seat of a 3-seat-per-car PTC
> train, especially on a Herbert Schmeck layout, has the best airtime.
> On some of my rides I agree, others not so much.  Basically, it gives
> you a taste of the back-seat forces without depriving you of most of
> the front-seat forces.  

This isn't really how I think it works.  I think it's that the third
seat actually has the forces of the front, but more exaggerated.  I
don't really get any back seat feel from the third seat.

Quote:
> Twister did change dramatically last winter.  They removed the ***
> lateral moment at the transition into the helix.

Ah yes, I noticed that myself, but this is the first I've heard it
confirmed.

Quote:
> Some people lived for that, and say the ride is ruined now.

I wouldn't say that, since I never really was big on Twister anyway, but
it was probably my favorite moment of the ride, so it makes it me even
less enthusiastic about riding.

Quote:
> It's been a few years since I've rode Thunderbolt, but like you I was
> underwhelmed.  People talk like it's the Holy Grail of classic woodies
> (other than Phoenix of course), but I found it to be slow and almost
> forceless on my first ride.

I don't know anybody in the past decade who's really considered it a
Holy Grail, more a respectable ride of a style that nobody builds any
more.  I'm a bit confused that you'd consider it forceless though.  Not
really a lot of airtime, but that helix sure has plenty of lateral
forces...

--
Dave Sandborg
Remove Spam-away to respond via e-mail.

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by ldnayma » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 11:42:28

Well, I have ridden the 2nd seat on the Phoenix and didn't think it was as good as the first - which, naturally killed my curiosity for moving further back. I'll def give this 3rd seat thing a shot, and why not, it'll be a short line.

Didn't check out Black Diamond this time but when there on a Saturday a few weeks ago we waited about 40 minutes to ride it. It was nice out and it's fun watching dogs roll around in the gravel at a theme park so it wasn't too bad.

I did like some of the gags in the ride - like the drill that reminded me of Total Recall and the train moving toward us with passengers. I like some of that stuff but for me it's all about the Phoenix and Twister so if I'm there for a short while I won't waste time on anything else.

Except maybe one of those prime rib sandwiches.

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by j.. » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 16:00:36

Quote:

> A friend and I hit a bunch of parks this weekend past. Here's the
> story:

No Auto Race ride at Kennywood? If not, make sure you don't miss it when you go back.
 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by ldnayma » Thu, 06 Sep 2012 22:47:54


Quote:

> > A friend and I hit a bunch of parks this weekend past. Here's the
> > story:

> No Auto Race ride at Kennywood? If not, make sure you don't miss it when you go back.

It's cute but looked like a kiddie ride...we had bigger fish to fry.
Did get on the whip and the tumble bug but lines were short.

Will check that one out next time.

 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by Gary » Fri, 07 Sep 2012 04:26:59

We  went to KW last month and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Greentree,
about 10 miles to the park.  The rooms are smallish, but the people
working there are very friendly and helpful.  They have free beer and
hot food in the evening and a free hot breakfast in the morning.  The
owner came around in the morning passing out Steelers silly bands to
the kids in the breakfast room.  The room was about $100/night
(non-smoking!)

     - Gary


Quote:

>>I have to say, the first day of this trip was a bit much for me. After
>>all of this driving and having the ***beat out of me on the Blue
>>Streak and Flyer all day I was feeling pretty tired and beat up, and
>>wondering what i'd gotten myself into. This was gonna be a 2 night, 3
>>day trip and I was already sick of it. I love woodies, but after this
>>day I was actually dreading Kennywood and terrified of what those
>>coasters would do to me. I was, in the parlance of our times, getting
>>too old for this shit. Making things worse is the fact that apparently
>>there are no hotels anywhere near KW, which of course is a first for
>>me. After driving past a sobriety checkpoint and Kennywood, we finally
>>found a Holiday Inn about 5 miles and 20 minutes of mountain driving
>>away. The place was $130 and it was a disgusting smoking room. It was
>>2 am at this point and we were both miserable so we just sucked it up.

>Given that you were driving down from Erie towards Pittsburgh, my
>advice hotels-wise would've been to find a place around the I-79/I-76
>interchange in Cranberry Township.  There are a decent number of
>hotels in that area.  Or, a little bit closer to Kennywood, you
>could've gone east on I-376 to Monroeville (near the I-376/I-76
>interchange), which also has a fair number of hotels.  In the area
>immediately around Kw, there's little to nothing for hotels, as you
>found out the hard way.  (The park may be well known among coaster/park
>fans, but to the public at large outside of the Pittsburgh area, not
>so much.)

>-s


 
 
 

Trip Review: PA Labor Day Weekend

Post by ldnayma » Fri, 07 Sep 2012 04:40:31


Quote:
> We ?went to KW last month and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Greentree,
> about 10 miles to the park. ?The rooms are smallish, but the people
> working there are very friendly and helpful. ?They have free beer and
> hot food in the evening and a free hot breakfast in the morning. ?The
> owner came around in the morning passing out Steelers silly bands to
> the kids in the breakfast room. ?The room was about $100/night
> (non-smoking!)

Thanks for the tip, will check this out next time.