6/18 KW-Monsoons in West Mifflin? The flatride every park must have. hint: it's not made by S&S

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Sunday, June 24, 2007 8:00 PM
The "cast" for this week-long trip will me byself, Matt the strong enthusiast, Bryan the excited one, but also trying to quit smoking at the same time on our trip semi-enthusiast, and Jon, who just knows if he likes a ride or not. After getting a late start on the road (ok, it was my fault), we arrived at KW at around 1 p.m. and the weather is beatutiful. But, in the back of my mind I had seen that there was a possibility of bad weather during the day according to my Weather Channel forecast on my cellphone. We're trying to stay optimistic.

I love the new entrance since I hadn't visited the park since 2003. KW is one of the parks that is in my top five. It might even be no. 1, so I'm way beyond excited to be back. After paying a measly $31.00 to get into the park, I see a sign that disappointed me. It said that Cosmic Chaos (Zamperla MegaDisko new for 07') was closed. I'm hoping it will open. We picked up the easiest to transport map ever as it's a folded pocket-size map in full-color. No more b&w photocopied maps. KW has arrived! Passing Cosmic Chaos with passengers onboard, the signs were clearly wrong. Yeah! (pet peeve: Why didn't someone take the closed signs down if it was open?).

First up, we rode Phantom's Revenge with two-train operation. So even though it was crowded we didn't have to wait long. This thing still kicks butt and Jon and Bryan really liked it. Moving on, I suggest Exterminator since the line isn't in the outside queue. We were really optimistic, but the inside queue was full. It still wasn't a bad wait.

Since I also bought a new digital-camera before the trip, I was taking pictures left and right. One of the pictures really cracks me up. There is a fake t.v. broadcast playing in the the queue warning residents about the rodents, and I look at my picture and the call letters of the t.v. station are WKIL.:) After riding multiple outdoor versions since Ext., it is quite amazing how Matt and I were still disoriented by parts of the layout. Good job KW.

It is now time for the group's first large-scale S&S Screamin' Swing called SwingShot. They're only running one side today, but the wait isn't too bad. Matt's a little bit worried since he just paid $5 for the small one at Dorney and felt ripped off due to the short cycle, but I pointed out that we'll be on pretty shortly. I've got to say that I really enjoyed the ride, and got plenty of airtime on several of the swings as well. The lapbars that I hated on ErUpTion at Great Adventure felt very different since they didn't use a hydraulic mechanism to lower them down as tightly as possible.

One thing I had forgotten about K.W. is just how beautiful the park is in terms of aesthetics and landscaping. I actually think it looks as good as BGE (okay the factories in the distance might not be your cup of tea, but I like the view). We then went and rode Thunderbolt. It's still pretty rickety for a woodie, but the ride still delivers one hell of a ride. After leaving there, we went to The Racer and things are starting to cloud up a little bit. Ok, they're starting to cloud up a lot. We're just hoping we can get on before things break out. This actually proves to be a blessing in disguise.

At approximately 3 p.m., the park goes into shutdown mode as there's heavy rain, and thunder and lightning. We get to the entrance of the loading platform and are stopped. Luckily, they let us stay in the station because things were about to get much, much worse. The heavy rain at one point turns into a full-blown monsoon, and is now blowing into the station and there's probably four-six rows of queue and it's reaching our backs! You could hear people yelling from the torrential rains as they were getting soaked behind us. Finally, things cleared up.

After a maintenance check of the brakes I'm guessing, we were finally allowed to get onboard about an hour later. I just don't find The Racer that exciting (maybe it was the new seatbelts?), but people were slapping hands if you're into that kind of that thing and our train won. Jack Rabbit opened before The Racer probably because it has magnetic brakes. Speaking of, we got into the queue for J.R. I could tell right away that the trains were painted bright new colors and what's this? A logo/graphic for Jack Rabbit? A crazed looking bunny rabbit with an airplane engine strapped to its belly is on the front of the trains and on signs in the station.

Another thing surprises me—the thin leather strap is gone, replaced by another Millennium Flyer-like seatbelt like on Racer. Part of me is thinking it's probably a good thing, and another part of me is really disappointed by the lack of monster airtime that the double-down used to supply. I'm guessing some people got hurt or something from the drop. Better safe than sorry I guess.

Next, we went to ride the converted Olde Mill called Garfield's Nightmare (in 3-D). But first the guys went into the Penny Arcade to play some old-school video games from the 80's like Dig-Dug. Matt is very much a nostalgia person and is worried that they've ruined the Olde Mill before we saw it in person. Matt and I were happy to see that they kept the Olde Mill boat system intact, but the inside of the ride was very different.

We're talking lots of fluorescent colors and objects to look at. If fact, there were too many objects to take in at the speed the boat was going. The 3-D effect mostly got lost or blurry, and we thought for the most part it looked better without the glasses on when we would compare. It was still a lot of fun though, and I could see it being easily a repeatable ride just to catch all the objects.

Right next door was the Turnpike (antique cars), and Matt and I have never ridden it. I seriously could not believe how long the course was. I thought it would never end. Stomachs were growling so the other guys had some stuff at The Potato Patch while I took some pics. We then had pizza slices at the food place next to Pittfall. It really wasn't very good. It was about on par with the Joe Corbi fundraiser kits if you're familiar with those.

The ride I've been dying to get on is our next target—Cosmic Chaos—after hearing so many good things about Disko's. It took several cycles to get on and the themeing is pretty cool, but the audio will drive you nuts:) For anyone who programs synthesizers or plays them, they have a soundtrack of sample & hold notes with a fast Low Frequency Oscillator modulating it for that "Alien" sound. There's also ride safety announcements using a lot of pitch-shifting, phasing and/or flanging, and sometimes it plays backwards as well.

Matt is skeptical about the ride after riding Avatar—the Zamperla Disko coaster at KI last year, as it's pretty mild and family oriented. So we sit down, and the back-support devices come out from underneath our seats and we're locked in, but not very tightly. The ride starts up and within two swings or so, Matt says "We need one of these at our park! (SFA)," and I second that motion. C.C. is intense, but very comfortable—all except for Bryan who complained of some tailbone soreness after the ride. I'm not sure how that happened.

No trip to KW is complete without OSHA's worst nightmare—Noah's Ark:) and we've got two newbies. This should be fun:) Walking through the actual ark structure I'm thinking that there has to be multiple injuries on this thing everyday from people slamming into the side of the walls, or maybe falling down the stairs. Well, if it doesn't happen on a daily basis, I predict that someone will have a major injury at some point on this and/or will die. But until then, this is the best funhouse in America and you don't need five tickets. Luckily, the grand finale was open as it wasn't open in 03'.

We then hit another darkride that had a long line earlier in the day—The Gold Rusher. It's still interesting and is somewhat similar to The Haunted House at Knoebels in its themeing and gimmicks (although it seats four instead of two), although T.H.H. is way more scary.

Heading across the way a little bit, we wanted to race—on the Auto Race that is. But first we had to wait until they cleared some people off of the track. I don't know what happened and we thought they were closing the ride down. A ride operator is actually carrying a young boy in her arms back from out on the course. We all thought that was a little strange in these litigious times, but I guess she wanted to keep the boy away from the rail that propels the cars around the course? But as soon as they cleared, the ride was reopened. Again, it amazed me that KW fit this much course into so little room as the ride is quite long.

Matt has heard an announcement that the park is closing at 10 p.m., which is kind of surprising considering the amount of people still left in the park. We walked over to get a nighttime ride on P.R. and hundreds of people are walking in the opposite direction and are telling us the ride is broken and there's a train on the lift not moving. Undeterred, Matt walks up to the station and there are still people waiting. P.R., as well as, Pittfall were having issues all day long. So they finally get things running, and P.R. is down to one-train operation, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the slow-moving Arrow-lift portion of the ride.

We all got back-seat rides and during Matt and my ride, I could clearly see someone videotaping all the way up in the front seat. This made me quite angry. Exiting the midway, I could see the grown adult showing the footage to his friend. I confronted him about it and told him how dangerous it is to videotape on a ride traveling 85 mph.

He tried to tell me that he had it securely wrapped around his hand and also tried to tell me that he built the ride. I told him I didn't care. I don't want to play park police, but damn it, that's extremely dangerous and it's everyone behind him who were on that train that could've potentially paid the price for him videotaping. Surprisingly, videotaping and photography on rides is not on the list of "For Your Safety and Enjoyment...." section of the map.

Bryan's been talking about riding the King Kahuna (standard TopSpin) all day long, and since there's no line we all get on except for Jon. It was really good. Bryan really misses the imposter Enterprise from SFA, and he and Jon get in line for Volcano. Matt and I though are thinking on a different wave-length though and want one last Thunderbolt ride. We get down to the entrance at 9:55 p.m. or so though and they had already closed it off. Boo. We get back to Volcano and Bryan looks mad. They didn't get on Volcano either.

So what happened to the KW that would stay open late with a large crowd? Well, according to the map, KW does now have a standard closing time of 10 p.m., but is subject to change according to crowd or weather conditions. By my estimation of how long it took us to get off the parking lot, it was really crowded. Friends, these are different times. It's o.k., we'll be back again another year as we had an awesome time. Bryan summed it up best when he told a manager at the entrance that he wants to return real soon.

NEXT UP: Geauga Lake *** Edited 6/25/2007 12:08:26 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***

Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:09 PM
yeah i was there a few weeks ago and it was open till 10:30, but I think gone are the days when Kennywood would be open to 11 or even midnight on an occasional basis.

I can't say I've noticed much difference on Racer with the new seatbelts, and on Jack Rabbit I just kind of miss the very non-restrictive belt that made you think "yeah this really isn't doing much"

Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:42 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar They were open until 11:15pm the Saturday of CoasterEXT. I found the :15 part kind of odd myself, but it meant one more Phantom ride than an 11:00pm closing so that's fine by me. :)

IMO, the seatbelt on Jack Rabbit really doesn't reduce the airtime, it just makes the ride less terrifying. I found the seatbelts a little annoying on Racer, but it's still a great ride. I wish there were more of them just like it.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:49 PM
Hmm... Maybe something to do with the weather. KW stayed open till 11 on my son's school picnic day this year (May 26th).

Even with the new seatbelt (it wasn't very tight) the Jack Rabbit still offers airtime out the wazoo!


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