We arrived in a very empty parking lot…rode the escalator down to the next level…and walked to the entrance; unlike any entrance we’d ever seen before; only 3 or 4 ticket booths; purchased our all day ride bands; and walked in. We were unfortunately greeted by several photo takers (Nazis). Fortunately, not one of them approached us. We wandered around the park for a little while awaiting the rides to open. We found ourselves standing in front of The Racer.
On a side note: all rides were: walk on - 10 minutes wait.
Racer – No seatbelts provided for a generally quick dispatch by the operators. We could feel some serious train shifting while exiting the station. Some drops provided some very nice air and the last drop leading to the brake run was very unexpected, very fast, and very fun. Loved the ride. Jumped on a few more times right away. For what it is, it’s a great coaster. My only complaint is that a few seats/rows provide some uncomfortable bottoming out on some of the drops. Other than that; 8/10
The line was filling up quickly, so we decided to move on to another ride. My expectations were that Racer was the “worst” of the 3 woodies, with Thunderbolt being the best. After getting off of The Racer, I told my brother, “That was the worst wooden coaster here,” to which he replied, “If that’s the worst, I can’t wait to see the others.” I wish we had knocked on wood after he had said that (pun intended).
We walked to the Jack Rabbit which had a 2 train op…which kept the line moving very nicely. We boarded the trains and were happy when we saw the restraints or extreme lack thereof. I couldn’t remember where the double dip was from reading descriptions, so I kept assuming the next drop was the drop. I eventually found out upon further inspection that it would happen after the lift hill.
Jack Rabbit – Drops were fun…double dip provided some GREAT ejector air, but it didn’t last long enough to make it too enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable. I suppose it just left me wanting more. Tunnel was very nice. The rise into the brake run provided some nice air. Jumped on one more time to experience the double dip again, but I still got off thinking…umm…ok…next ride. My brother agreed. 7/10
I had told my brother before boarding Jack Rabbit, that it would be better than Racer, but I had let him down, as well as myself. But I had no doubt…this time I could tell him truthfully…that the Thunderbolt would be the best wooden coaster there.
Thunderbolt – ouch! I happen to consider myself a huge fan of laterals, but these laterals left me landing on top of my brother, which ended up hurting him, and leaving me very uncomfortable. I also ended up with a headache after the ride. Paint job looks nice. I just wish it rode like it was new. Nice ejector air at the top of the hill/bottom of the lift hill. Nice setting, enjoyable drops. Take away the painful laterals and throw in some airtime hills and you’ve got a winner. However, it is what it is…6/10
So, my prior expectations that Racer was the “worst” of the 3 woodies, with Thunderbolt being the best, were completely the opposite. To each his own, I suppose. But I still can’t figure out how Thunderbolt reaches top 10 lists. Thunderbolt left me with a headache that forced me to sit down for awhile.
While I was sitting down, I found myself at the Potato Patch. Mmmmmmmm… these fries did not disappoint.
Somewhere along the way we rode King Kahuna. IIRC, most people had said that this program was excellent. The beginning started out great…most explosive beginning ever on a Top Spin. Then after a few flips it went back to its starting position and rocked back and forth for a little. I said to my brother, “well that was short”, and he suggested, “it’s letting us breath for a second while it warms up for the finale.” Unfortunately, he was wrong, it went back and forth a few more times and then parked. If something had gone wrong and it had stopped its cycle, the operators didn’t offer to let us stay on (there was no line). That was another disappointment for the day.
Pitt Fall – Doesn’t look anywhere near 251 feet high, but it sure felt like it on the way down. What a rush! Best drop tower I’ve been on, still waiting to ride a drop zone. 8/10 I’ve never been on a spinning mouse before, so I had no idea what to expect on Exterminator. I was expecting a 5/10 ride, and I got a 20/10 ride. The theming is excellent for what it set out to do. Kennywood did an excellent job on the entire ride. The ride seems as though it’ll never end. The sudden drops, turns, and dips, the aggressive laterals, and the spinning, oh how fun the spinning was! We got off laughing, not sure what we had just gone through, but we knew we wanted to do it again, immediately.
Finally, it was time for the moment I had been waiting for…
Phantom’s Revenge - could this lift hill be any slower? Just as the sign in the queue line suggests, the front provides the greatest feeling of speed/wind, the middle provides the most airtime, and the back provides the most speed. We tried out most of the seats, and there doesn’t seem to be a bad one in the house (train). The first and second drops are amazing; and I especially enjoy the flat section between the two. The interactions with Thunderbolt are great too. The turnaround is great too; even made me black out a little. The air on the bunny hills was great, but the restraints kinda hurt when getting thrown into them, and the double dip is just downright painful. When holding onto the restraint carefully, and bracing yourself for the airtime, it becomes enjoyable. My only complaint is the painful double dip and slightly painful ejector air. 9/10
I know it’s a sin, but we didn’t ride any of the classic rides. The only ride we embarked on was the bumper cars. They weren’t bad.
Overall – One thing we took note of was the operators always filling to capacity, which sometimes wasted a lot of time. On the other hand, we also noticed that they only take a few seconds to dispatch once you’re sitting and locked. (Ex: one second I’m strapping the Jack Rabbit restraint; the next second I’m rolling out of the station). This was noticeable on all rides, and it was much appreciated. On a side note, I loved the theming/bridge/surrounding area of the Pittsburgh Plunge. Phantom’s Revenge’s trains are hard as heck to get into.
We’d now been at the park for 4.5 hours and we’d decided that it was time to hit the road if we wanted to make it to Knoebel’s for some night rides, and because we had had enough of everything at Kennywood.
4 hours later…we arrive at Knoebel’s…after having unsuccessfully stopped at DelGrosso’s to ride the new Wild Mouse (still under construction).
We had about an hour until Knoebel’s closed (10pm), so we had to run around and hope for short lines. We jumped on Whirlwind so that my brother would have the credit, especially seeing as how it probably won’t be at the park next year.
Whirlwind – wasn’t bad, actually kind of fun, not your typical Vekoma…7/10
Twister – in three words: Absolutely Incredibly Amazing… in two words: Nonstop Action… in one word: Outstanding. This ride does not let up at all; the pops of air, the quick turns, the laterals, the helix, the tunnel, the first drop, the sheer speed… 10/10
It’s too hard to decide between the massive amounts of ejector/throw you out of your seat/make you stand up/think you’re going to fall out airtime of Phoenix and the overall wonderfulness of Twister; so I’m not going to.
Phoenix – best airtime anywhere last run before the brakes is amazing…10/10
Both crews (Twister and Phoenix) were amazing. I was clocking the average dispatch time on Phoenix was 25 seconds from the time the train stopped in the station to the time it started rolling again. I even recorded one at 15 seconds! Twister was blazingly fast too, though not as much as Phoenix, because of the extra lapbars.
Went back the next morning for an hour to ride Phoenix and Twister some more. We also got a ride on the Skooters, which had a very long cycle.
A little sad to admit, perhaps, but the 1 hour spent at Knoebel’s at night was more thrilling than the 4.5 hours at Kennywood. I liked Kennywood a lot, but I certainly won’t be going back (5 hour drive) until they add another noteworthy coaster. On the other hand, Knoebel’s (3 hour drive) will be an annual trip for us. *** Edited 7/3/2004 2:57:17 PM UTC by SFGAdv lover***
Typically on both rides (if they're running 2 trains) the bottleneck is not the operators, but the previous train. Even if the ops were faster, they wouldn't be able to dispatch the train until the previous train reaches a certain point.
I don't think there really is a bad seat on the Phoenix. On my last visit(Our wedding)the backseat was the best. We got 4 rides in a row. 1-2, 1-1, 4-2, 4-3 in that order.
*** Edited 7/5/2004 4:38:36 AM UTC by Coasterfantom2***
-Andy, who still hasn't been to Silverwood
*** Edited 7/5/2004 6:56:09 AM UTC by ApolloAndy***
Now, if I can just get Hershey to stay open one extra week. :(
You need to experience Phantom's Revenge at night, that second drop in the dark is tremendous. I also agree with your thoughts on Pitt Fall, you seem to drop forever. Too bad the side facing the river is closed cause you seem so much higher when on that side.
Also, I never consider Kennywood a thrilling park. I consider it a happy and fun place to go. If you are looking for thrills, you can have CP. If you want a good time, on some good rides, with super friendly people (employees and guests) and some classic wood, then Kennywood is for you. One visit there, and I was smitten.
Rob, you can console yourself by hitting Kennywood the night before PPP.
I have always wanted to go to Kennywood. It's been on my to-do list for years. I always seem to just miss it, though. Was in Pittsburg in January.... AUGH! Anyways, yeah, Greg.... I'll hit it with you. Andy, you in? Will Lori and Steve join in the fray? Tina? Last year it seems that half of you couldn't make it for whatever reason....
Looking forward to the Chaos. Maybe we can make up for not doing too much at SRM last year? Or me not staying on site at PPP as well? I don't think I can con Legendary into bringing me a sleeping bag this year, since I kind of dogged him out last year. Hmmmm... thinking.
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