3 Days, 8 Parks: Day #1 Morey's Piers, Playland's Castaway Cove, Gillian's Wonderland Pier, & Steel Pier 8/14

A little background before I begin the actual report. My work sent me to Virginia for the summer and my family came with me for the first couple of months. We were able to hit a bunch of parks on our drive out to Virginia and a few more while we have been here, but in the back of my mind I knew I would have a weekend all to myself since the kids had to get back to start school in August. So I started planning what I would do and how I could celebrate National Roller Coaster Day. Here is Day 1.

Friday morning started out at work and the timing of the first day was going to be greatly influenced by how long I was going to have to be there. The schedule was set up for an early release at 11 am, but as luck would have it I was on the road from Norfolk by 1030. First park destination would be Morey’s Piers and I debated on taking the ferry or driving up towards Philly and then back down to the park. I chose to skip the ferry and prayed I would beat the traffic coming out of Wilmington and Philly.

As I drove through Delaware I made sure to call ahead to Capriotti’s and order my favorite sandwich… “The Bobbie”. Made a quick gas station stop for fuel, picked up my thanksgiving dinner in a bun, and kept the pedal to the metal. I ran into some traffic going over the bridge to New Jersey but the rest was smooth sailing. I was parking just after 5pm. The original plan was to do the 10 to midnight pass because I thought I would be there a lot later but now I knew I would have plenty of time to ride, but I also had a few other parks I wanted to hit.

I started off on the middle “Mariner” pier. My first ride of the trip was Sea Serpent. It is a Boomerang. Another one for the track record. Thanks to earlier comments, I decided to check out the Ghost Ship. This is a pretty well done walk through haunt. I imagine going through this at night can get pretty intense. I went through when it was still very bright outside and this walk through changes multiple times from inside to outside. This however also made it extremely difficult to see where you were going when transitioning from outside back to the pitch black inside. That added to a little bit of fear as I was walking with outstretched hands and ran into a few walls. Great job to have this haunt available all the time. I would have done Rollies Coaster next but it was currently not operating.

Off to Surfside pier. On my stroll up the boardwalk I passed the Stewarts Root Beer stand/restaurant. Besides loving roller coasters, I also love root beer and have quite a collection of different root beer bottles that I have tried over the years. This was the first time I had seen a Stewart’s restaurant, but have enjoyed their bottled root beer for years. I would hit them up for a Root Beer Float on my way back down the pier. It was delicious, but pretty pricey.

Back to the coasters. I was told to ride the Flitzer first because the line can get long. At this time the wait was only 5 to 10 min. This would be my first ride on a Flitzer. It looked kind of like a miniature Jet Star II that I had grown up riding at Lagoon. I really enjoyed this little ride. I was surprised at how smooth it was and thought how this would fit perfectly in my backyard. Doo Wooper was next. It is a fun Wild Mouse ride. I got a ride on Zoom Flume next, also based on a recommendation not to miss it while I was there. Thanks for recommending this! This is a great flume ride. I love how this flume intertwines itself with the waterpark, coasters, and even the pier. I was shocked at how close the Nor’Easter gets to this ride. Just by looking at the coaster track you would swear that people would be smacking their feet on the flume. The best part of the flume is when you drop beneath the pier. So cool to get a little ride underneath the pier. The Great Nor’Easter would have been next but it wasn’t open. I debated sticking around to see if it would open or if I should head off back to the other piers. I decided I didn’t want to have to work my way all the way back to this pier if I didn’t have to, so I stuck around for a bit longer. I grabbed a ride on their dark ride. I remember it being fun but am racking my brain right now to remember anything that stood out during the ride and I am coming up blank. Next I grabbed a spin on Kong (Flyers). I was just getting my flyer really moving when I got called out over the loudspeaker by the ride-op to calm down. So no snapping. I do like how they have their flyers elevated on top of a restaurant. The extra height above the pier makes the ride seem more thrilling. As I got of King I noticed they were starting to test Nor’Easter. I went over to the entrance and started reading all the signs around this thing. Boy are they worried about someone dropping something while on this ride. I have never been wanded before getting on a coaster. I always were cargo shorts at amusement parks with Velcro or zippers for the pockets so I don’t lose anything. I have never had a problem on any ride. I decided not to test the system and got a locker for my keys and cell phone, but I kept my wallet. Sure enough the wand went off on my wallet! They must have that thing set on hyper-sensitive. The ride-op asked if I could secure it and I told him it would be safe in my Velcro pocket and he let me ride. It has been a while since I have ridden a hang n bang, so I decided to go for the front seat to hopefully mitigate the punishment. I saw the train had the softer OTS restraints and was grateful. Every time I see one of these rides, I am in awe of the layout and how it twists around itself. It looks so fun and then I ride it. Why, oh why does it have to ride like I am a paint can inside a shaker machine at Lowe’s? Thanks for the credit…I think.

Back to the middle pier to see if Rollies Coaster is now open. It was up and running and I took it for a spin. I had a good ride on this and then headed off for the grand finale. Great White is the signature backdrop to Adventure Pier. When I showed up they were running test trains through their paces on the coaster, so I go in line about half way up the stairs to the station. After about 15 minutes they started loading and I was soon on for my ride. This starts with a nice drop into a tunnel under the pier and then up the lift. You get a great view of the other 2 piers, the beach, the ocean and then you are diving down. Sweet first drop. The second turn back towards the ocean had some shaking and then the third big turn back towards the pier had some intense shaking. Heading back through the bunny hops to the pier had a few moments of air and I thought this was the best part of the coaster. This is still a solid wood coaster that gives a memorable ride.

Highlights of Morey’s Piers for me: This park and boardwalk were very clean! For a Friday evening I was expecting huge crowds and was pleasantly surprised that all my wait times were 10 min or less besides waiting for Great White to open, but once it did the wait was 5 min. Flitzer, Kong, Ghost Ship and Great White were my favorite rides. The setting on the three piers and the ocean is hard to beat! Lastly I wanted to thank George for his hospitality!

After a couple of rides on Great White I headed back to the car to hit a few more parks before the night was over. It was off to Playlands Castaway Cove. At 9pm I was parked and heading into Castaway Cove. The first thing I see is a line for the bathrooms at the back of the park and then I notice that this place is crowded. I walked around for a few minutes until I found a ticket booth and bought enough tickets for the 2 main coasters and Air Race. I went to Air Race first. As I have gotten older I am more careful about the spinning rides I get on but I have wanted to try an Air Race ever since I saw my old home park (Lagoon) put one of these in. For the second time in a day I got wanded before I got on this ride and once again my wallet set it off. What the heck is in my wallet? Maybe it is those new chips in the credit cards.? At any rate, this is an excellent ride. The motion is extremely smooth and still disorienting. The only thing I would change is a joystick so you could control the left and right swinging. That would make this ride perfect.

I got my first ride on a Flitzer a few hours before and now I was going to get my second ride on a Flitzer and it would be my 400. My final ride here was Python. This coaster will also be removed for GaleForce and the park made sure everyone knew about their new coaster coming and to get their last rides on these two coasters with the signs they had posted. GaleForce will be a huge improvement over Python, but I am sure the Flitzer coaster will be missed. Python is a Pinfari Zyklon and I just rode one at Jolly Roger two weeks before. The one at Castaway Cove was better than the one at Jolly Roger IMO. It wasn’t as rough but I don’t think many people will shed any tears over this ride leaving.

While I was on Python I could see the ferris wheel down at Gillian’s Wonderland and decided to walk down the boardwalk to the next park instead of trying to find and pay for more parking. Can I just say I really enjoyed my walks down the Jersey shore boardwalks at these parks. I was tainted by the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland a couple weeks before this and thought the Jersey shore would be more of the same. I thought how cool it would be to grow up near these boardwalks and have memories with your family walking down the boardwalk, getting a treat, riding some rides while having the smell of the sea salt in the air with a nice ocean breeze to cool you off. Priceless!

I went to Gillian’s to ride the Runaway Train. When I showed up the operator was having a difficult time getting some of the restraints to release, so I was wondering if I was going to get a ride on this. After about ten minutes he was able to get the last couple people off the train and let us on, but told everyone not to go in that specific car that was having problems. This is a fun, smooth coaster and is a great intermediate coaster for any little ones that are not ready for the “big ones”.

I had another nice walk back to Castaway Cove to grab the car and head to the 4 park of the night. I was off to Steel Pier in Atlantic City. It took a little bit to get to the park with all of the stop lights in Atlantic City and then my GPS took me right to the Taj Mahal Casino. I didn’t want to search around for parking so I forked over the 20 bones to park at the casino. The parking cost more than the coasters. Steel Pier has two coasters. A little double helix coaster and a spinning mouse. The double helix is barely a coaster but the kids on this seemed to love it and the ride op sent us around 5 times! I felt like I was in NASCAR except I was making constant right hand turns instead of going left. Crazy Mouse coasters are always a fun ride and when I was little I really thought the car was going to fly off the track on these things. I really love the spinning mouse coasters. This one did not disappoint. The spinning always makes each ride different and adds to the fun of these coasters.

Day #1 complete. I had about an hour drive to the hotel in Deptford to call it a night. 4 parks and 11 new coasters was not a bad start considering I didn’t get started until a little after 5pm. Needless to say I slept like a rock!

That's a hell of a road trip. Glad you enjoyed it.

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