4/17/04 - Lagoon a.k.a. Kennywood West

Associated parks:
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Tuesday, April 20, 2004 9:07 PM
4/17/04 – Lagoon, a.k.a. Kennywood West

Today was one weird day, between the weather, and the things that I did over the course of the day both park and non-park, and this trip report is as much for your enjoyment as my memory! So, that being said, here we go!

Today began at 7:45am mountain time as my Dad and I got up at his suites place in Salt Lake City to get some breakfast. He’s been out here on business for the past two months, so the point of this trip was to come out and see him, but I ended up doing a lot of other fun stuff too – and I’ve only been here less than 24 hours! Our breakfast was absolutely awesome. Hilton chain hotels (This one’s a Homewood Suites) do a great job providing a hearty, healthy and best of all big breakfast for their guests! We got our breakfast, and headed for the slopes.

My Dad and I are both avid skiers, and today’s plan was to do Alta for half a day and Lagoon for the other half of the day. The skiing at Alta was absolutely gorgeous, if any of you are skiers (not boarders, they don’t allow snowboards), you must get out to this place one in your life! After skiing for the better part of 5 hours, our lift tickets were expired and my legs were giving out on me. We’re headed back there tomorrow, and I’m really pumped to hit some of those double-black diamonds again.

After coming back through Little Cottonwood Canyon and stopping for some pictures, we changed at the hotel and headed out for Lagoon. I guess that the park isn’t very far from Arrow/S&S headquarters, but among all the industrial buildings, I never caught sight of anything that looked like an experimental TA2K or anything. But, that’s not really that important. We saw the tower of Lagoon from a distance on 15, but my Dad drove right past the exit, so we had to flip around and come back through some residential areas, but we eventually made our way there.

From the parking lot, Lagoon doesn’t appear to be anything special. Roller Coaster is chipped and looks decrepit and ready to fall down, Spider doesn’t look too impressive, and for someone whose home-away-from-home park is Cedar Point, the towers don’t look so hot either. But wow is it different on the inside.

Our first impression of the park was that this place has the same feel and look of Kennywood. It also hit me that the entire park looks like something directly out of Roller Coaster Tycoon. From the coaster types that are direct reflections of those in the games (aside from Spider) to the way theming doesn’t seem to extend more than 5 feet out from any ride, but within that 5 feet, the theming is pretty extensive, to the way that the park is laid out, and the flat ride content, this place looks almost exactly like something I’d create in RCT! Not a Lord Gonchar or Frightmare Falls park mind you, but more like your basic non-obcessed RCT player makes ;).

Our first stop was Roller Coaster. This one turned out to be a real treat! A great pop of air on the second hill, and just a fun mid-sized wooden ride. As my Dad said after we hit the breaks on our first of three rides, “well I know I’d ride this before a lot of wooden coasters in Ohio!”. 4/5.

Second stop was Spider (and the Fly!). This was definitely the hit of the day. This ride doesn’t look like much from the outside (like all Lagoon rides), but it has got to be one of the most fun rides I’ve ever done! My Dad, who doesn’t like spinning things (and I’m not so hot on them either) and I both absolutely loved this ride! We were laughing hysterically every single one of our five rides. Our third ride we even got to get stuck on the brake run which was kind of fun, and we were about to leave the park when we saw it running again, re-entered and rode two more times! Absolutely awesome ride, these Maurer-Sohne rides are a real treat and a hoot! 5/5.

Third we hit Colossus Happy Fun Fire Dragon Whoop De Doo Roller Coaster Extra Special Spectacular Ride. Ok, so its name isn’t that long, but I’ve never seen a coaster with at least three variations on its name depending on who you’re asking and what sign you’re reading; still, a double-looping Schwartzkopf with some great headchoppers and a great ground-helix at the end. 4/5.

As we were riding Multi-name coaster it started to rain pretty hard, so after our ride we took shelter for a bit. As the rain let up, we took a spin on the Wild Mouse. I still don’t like regular wild mice coasters. Give me a spinner, I’m lovin’ it, but I hate these overbraked, slam-you-into-the-restraints coasters. 2/5.

Next, we wandered over towards the opposite end of the park, as I was really pumped to ride my first Mondial Top Scan! Our walk just reinforced the fact that this really is Kennywood of the West. The park just seems to have the same setup, be confident in its small park status, and have that “charm” that makes Kennywood (I know, I know, I just went on a tirade before I left that I never saw the “charm” in a park – well now I do). Unfortunately, once we arrived at the other end of the park, Jet Star II was down and Samurai (the Top Scan) was in parts! Fortunately, Lagoon is a very nice and helpful park, and the sign out front clearly stated that parts did not come in on time, so look for the ride later in the year. Oh well, I obviously can’t do that, but I was content that I knew what was wrong with it. We took a surprising skyshot on the Rocket S&S towers that seemed to pack way more punch than Power Tower, furthering my hatred for that ride (PT, not Rocket). Then, I got to ride my first flyers – and I can see why you all like them! They’re really fun, especially when there’s a storm in the area and you get all sorts of wind gusts blowing you around!

The rest of the day involved a painful ride on Jet Star II which I hated (1/5) and multiple re-rids on Spider, Roller Coaster and Colossus. Some more general Lagoon observations leading to the end of this trip report; there seems to be a lack of regulation on amusement parks in Utah. The workers here looked extremely young, some I would even place under 12 years old, but they were always supervised by a college-age worker. They did a good job still, but it was weird to see how young they were. There was also a lack of the same over-reacted restraints as in PA and OH. The S&S towers didn’t have a seatbelt, the Spider didn’t have any kind of seat belt, Roller Coaster didn’t have a seat belt, and the flyers barely had any restraint at all! It was certainly adequate and I felt more than safe, but it was weird the lack of seeming regulation compared to PA and OH. The final event of our day and another major policy difference, when we went back to ride Spider the last two times, there was a huge storm rolling towards the park. Lightning was flashing before we even got on Spider the first time and NOTHING in the park shut down! At SFGAdv, they shut down the entire park before the storm even reached the park, Kennywood shuts down Phantom on first rumble of thunder, Cedar Point shuts down on first lightning sighting, etc. But Lagoon keeps it open until people stop riding apparently! I wasn’t complaining because, again, I didn’t feel unsafe, in fact it was all the more rush to have to outrun the storm back to our car before we got wet again. When the storm finally did hit, it was a big one; intense wind, huge hail, lots of thunder and lightning – all the time with gorgeous blue sky right over the mountains to our left! To say the least it was a weird weather day, but it was an amazing park day.

Lagoon is a great place. I don’t know if it’s someplace I would take a trip simply to visit, but wrap it in with Alta, or even some other parks in the general area, like as a precursor to Vegas or California? Definitely! Very much worth the price of admission, all the rides except Jet Star provide a surprisingly fun and wild ride, and I still haven’t ridden a Mondial Top Scan! Thanks for reading if you got this far, and I hope things brings some more attention to this wonderful little park!

Just as an end note to this TR, on my flight out of Salt Lake, out plane literally turned right over Lagoon so I got a great aerial view of it – in fact, Lagoon was the last thing in Utah I saw as my plane went into a cloudbank that lasted ‘til Chicago right after we passed the park.

Thanks for reading! *** Edited 4/21/2004 1:09:16 AM UTC by Impulse-ive***

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004 10:39 PM
Glad you liked the park, and I'm sorry Samurai was down it truly is fun. I know it was wet but did you go on Rattle Snake Rapids? This is one of the most fun rapid rides I've ever been on. Mind you it is nothing like the experience found on Kali in WDW or Pluto's at IOA, but it's still a great ride.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2004 12:04 PM
No, I don't "do" water rides as a general rule. I think the only time in the last 4 years I was on a water ride was Jurassic Park and Dudley at IoA this past January.
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Friday, April 23, 2004 10:13 AM
Great TR, Impulse-ive! I'm glad to see someone write about Lagoon because it seems to be one of those parks that no one pays attention to, hence the lack of decent TR's!

Kennywood West... I like that. Going by pictures, I never would havr thought that about the park, but after reading what you had to say, it makes sense.

Interesting that the Jet Star II was lousy... not like a Schwarzkopf at all! That would be one of the main reasons for me ever going to Lagoon, as I've been on Jet Stars, a Jumbo Jet and a City Jet but not the "II" model. Its odd because I remember hearing that ride received a MAJOR overhaul not too long ago.

It seems like the park has quite a decent collection of coasters aside from the lackluster Mouse and Jet Star II. A Schwarzkopf double looper, a great spinning coaster and a classic Miller... not bad at all. Not sure if I'll ever get out that way, but if I do, I'll be anticipating it a lot more now than I would have been before reading your TR.

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Friday, April 23, 2004 10:58 AM
Rob -

It's actually rare that I enjoy a Schwartzkopf. I like the loopers that look like RCT coasters, and I'd probably enjoy a launched-shuttle loop, but I just do not enjoy anything else by him. The cars of the Jet Star were horribly uncomfortable, I got massive bruises on my shins from slamming into what I believe are wheel boxes on every turn, and the thing was just very much a case of anticipointment for me. I may give it a 2/5 later on, but never more than that.

They really do have a suprisingly good collection of coasters and really good other rides, and they're slowly rebuilding Roller Coaster to get rid of some of that decript look!

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Friday, April 23, 2004 10:58 AM
Brett, Very nice report about a park I also need to get to myself. I've heard nice things about that place for years, and reading your report just cements it all together. (especially after the debate last week about the smaller traditional parks)

Like Moosh said last week in that discussion, I was also told by many, a few years ago, to make an effort to travel to the traditional parks as well as the big themers. I'll just say they opened my eyes to a whole new world. I believe that Lagoon just did the same for you. Now I need to get myself a plane ticket to Salt Lake City!!

The wood coaster there is a John Miller classic from 1921. So the park is indeed like Kennywood in that regards. I'm glad you and your dad enjoyed the ride. It's only 70 feet tall, with 2500 feet of track. BTW, did you also happen to notice the sheep that graze in the center of the coaster's layout?

Wood Coaster Fan Club - coming to a park near you

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Friday, April 23, 2004 11:10 AM
Well I don't know if its opened my eyes as far as traveling just to visit smaller parks, but if I happen to be in the area, I'll definitely check them out!

As far as the sheep? See them? No. Smell them? Yes. :) Actually, I don't think there are sheep in its infield anymore, most of the coaster's infield is filled with what looks to be their boneyard - or just the materials to continue rebuilding/refurbishing the coaster. But, something definitely smells like farm at Lagoon! (probably the farm next door)

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Monday, April 26, 2004 12:04 AM
Glad to see someone made it out my homepark. :)

Samurai is STILL in pieces? It closed in October last year, I thought they'd definitely have it back up by now. It's too bad you didn't get to ride it, when it gets going, it's the best ride in the park. I hope nothing is seriously wrong with it. Was Cliffhanger running at all? It was closed pretty much all last year.

I'm also pretty sure the sheep are gone, the last time I remember seeing them was 3 or 4 years ago. That smell was probably from the "Zoo" the train travels through.

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