Belmont Park 3/13 and Pacific Park 3/14

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Friday, March 21, 2003 8:34 AM
This TR is done in an interview format, since there were four of us present on our week long California trip: Rob (HeyIsntThatRob), Kristin (Kristin Marie), John (Michael Darling), and Chris (Moore On). Enjoy!

Belmont Park

1.) What was your first impression of the park as a whole?

Rob: Umm... where are the rides?

Kristin: Oooh..the ocean! It was my first time seeing the Pacific, and it was beautiful. Oh yeah, and there was a coaster next to the beach, double bonus! But I agree with Rob, where are the rides?

John: Ooh! The beach!

Chris: Beautiful setting, great old coaster, rich history, classy buildings. Now all they need is more than 4 rides!

2.) What was your favorite attraction and why?

Rob: The Burninator, a sand coaster constructed by MooreOn and I. Okay, really the Giant Dipper was my favorite attraction.

Kristin: Well, seeing as how I only rode one ride there, I'd have to say the Giant Dipper.

John: There was one... Giant Dipper

Chris: Giant Dipper. We debated whether driving an extra hour and a half to ride a 1925 wooden coaster would be worth it, and I’m very glad we did. Even though those nasty Morgan wood trains try their best to make this ride unenjoyable, this is still a fantastic coaster with a perfect wooden twister layout. I really wish more Prior and Church coasters would have survived. The first drop is so intense that it nearly knocks the wind out of you, the turns are lateral-filled, and there are even a few moments of ejector airtime. Not bad for a coaster designed with a slide rule at a time when G-forces really weren’t understood that well…thank God this jewel was saved!

3.) What was the biggest surprise at the park?

Rob: The old ladies in bikinis... yuck!!

Kristin: Giant Dipper was a lot more fun than I thought it would be, but mostly I was surprised how close it was to the beach. It was a lot of fun to be able to play in the ocean, go shopping, play DDR, and ride a coaster, all in one place.

John: The beach being so close!

Chris: The Giant Dipper Museum. Actually, it was more like a gift shop with some cool pics and a huge model of the Dipper in it. Still, they saved and restored one car from the ride’s original train, which is the only Prior and Church train I’ve seen. The sight of it makes me hate the Morgan trains the Dipper now runs that much more…

4.) What was the biggest disappointment at the park?

Rob: Let's just say that GCI's Millennium Fliers would track more better on Giant Dipper.

Kristin: Definitely the Morgan trains. I bet that coaster was amazing with the old trains. Also, the website made it seem like there were a lot more than 4 rides at the park. Unless you really love re-riding the Dipper, it's not worth the money for a wristband.

John: Morgan trains on a woodie? Ouch!

Chris: The lack of rides. A carousel, a tilt-a-whirl, and two kiddie rides are all this place has besides the Dipper.

5.) Would you go back to the park in the future?

Rob: No, I got my coaster credit and my fair share of weird people in the area

Kristin: Maybe, but if I did it would probably be just to go to the beach or shop. The coaster was fun, but definitely not worth $4 a ride or $14 for a wristband. Bring in some millennium flyer trains though and I'm SO there.

John: If Millennium Flyers show up on the Dipper

Chris: Yes, because I’d love to go back to San Diego in the future regardless of roller coasters. San Diego was my favorite city of the trip, and in fact, I would probably try to live there if I ever decided to move out to California. And, since I would be in town, why not grab some laps on the Dipper?

6.) What's your fondest memory (memories) from the park?

Rob: Building my two sandcoasters. Thanks to MooreOn and Michael Darling for the help.

Kristin: The time spent relaxing on the beach. I wish I could have spread out a blanket and just laid there all day.

John: The really really attractive girl behind the counter at Subway across the street!

Chris: Actually my fondest memories from this park didn’t occur in the park, but instead on the beach. Swimming in the Pacific Ocean for the first time was exhilarating (especially since the air was only about 75 degrees), and Rob, John, and I had a great time building our sand coasters (which both got washed up by the tide before we were done with them, by the way).

7.) List some superlatives for the park.

Rob: Least Dressed
Wierdest Bums

Kristin: Highest number of people picking through trash cans
Best shopping
Most scenic

John: Most beachy

Chris: Most Beautiful Setting, Largest Collection of Strange People

8.) Funniest thing(s) that happened.

Rob: Hearing the story from a bum at Subway on how he got robbed. I guess someone mistook his shopping bag as garbage and threw it out.

Kristin: The huge wave that came out of nowhere and wiped out the first sand well as getting my clothing completely drenched and scaring the crap out of me.

John: The sand coaster Rob built.

Chris: Almost running out of gas while we were trying to find a gas station on the drive home from Belmont.

Pacific Park

1.) What was your first impression of the park as a whole?

Rob: A park on a pier? Far out!!

Kristin: Wow...we're riding a coaster over the ocean!

John: Hmmm... not quite what I expected. I was a bit disappointed.

Chris: Atmosphere! I love boardwalks, especially the way the attractions are smashed on top of each other and the views of the ocean you get while on the rides. This place had a few more rides than Belmont (which isn’t saying much) but was even smaller. Also, Pacific has the CRAZIEST DDR scene I’ve ever seen!

2.) What was your favorite attraction and why?

Rob: West Coaster in the backseat. What happened to car 5?

Kristin: West Coaster had some a tiny bit of air in the front, but I liked their chaos a lot. It was a lot more inclined to flip than CP's.

John: Well, since the chaos ride sucked and so did the coaster, we'll compare which sucked less. West Coaster sucked less so I guess it was my favorite... Unless you include the AWESOME DDR freestylers doing hand stands!

Chris: How about the DDR, does that count? Watching people freestyle here was the most entertaining part of the night; I’m convinced I’ll never see DDR quite like that again. As for the rides, believe it or not, the Ferris Wheel was about my favorite ride there!

3.) What was the biggest surprise at the park?

Rob: The DDR Scene at the arcade. I must admit that I really really really really suck at DDR more, now that I saw these people play.

Kristin: The people doing handstands and other moves while playing DDR, also the park was really cool looking at night.

John: The DDR players

Chris: How cool this place looks. The Pacific Park sign is very cool, especially when it is all lit up at night. Surprisingly, this place is very well kept up.

4.) What was the biggest disappointment at the park?

Rob: The number of rides, or lack thereof. However, I can understand since they have a space problem.

Kristin: I thought West Coaster would be more better. Even if they'd made it a tiny out and back with one helix, it would be more better than what they have now. Bor-ing!

John: West Coaster. Blech.

Chris: The West Coaster. A Morgan waste of steel. To steal a phrase from Brad (ArrowGuy), it was “about as fun as a bag of rocks.”

5.) Would you go back to the park in the future?

Rob: Just to watch the DDR players, yes.

Kristin: Maybe to watch DDR, or go to that cool looking restaurant at the end of the pier, but there were some really shady looking people at the park that night, so I didn't feel very comfortable there.

John: If I were with my girlfriend, yes. It's kinda romantic in a weird way.

Chris: Probably, depending on if I’m ever in Santa Monica again.

6.) What's your fondest memory (memories) from the park?

Rob: The scenery, I have a feeling that Disney went to Pacific Pier for Paradise Pier ideas for DCA.

Kristin: The park was so beautiful at night. Lights everywhere, and the sound of the waves crashing against the pier was very soothing.

John: The DDR players.

Chris: Standing on the edge of the boardwalk, watching the ocean waves crashing in, seeing the soothing sight of water all around with the sounds of screams from the rides behind us. Did I mention that I love boardwalks?

7.) List some superlatives for the park.

Rob: Least intense Steel Coaster
Best DDR Setting

Kristin: Ride least deserving of an on-ride photo (West Coaster)
Shadiest looking park guests
Most annoying teenagers
Most apathetic ride ops
Most pointless coaster

John: Most DDRish
Park most likely to be on a boardwalk
Park most likely to harbor stupid people

Chris: Coaster Least Fit to Have an On-Ride Photo (West Coaster)

8.) Funniest thing(s) that happened.

Rob: See John's answer.

Kristin: The hilarious freestyling DDR guys, John holding up the ticket line for ten minutes while the employees tried to figure out how to accept his travelers check

John: The DDR guy who was twisting his friends nipples while playing

Chris: As Kristin and John were waiting for the front seat on West Coaster to get POV, they had their cameras pointed at Rob and me, who were riding. “Act like you’re on the Discovery Channel, guys,” Kristin said, and then one of the kids sitting in front of us screamed, “Durrrrrr…I’m on the Discovery Channel, guys!” A hilariously good video, I must say.

*** This post was edited by Kristin Marie 3/21/2003 1:40:14 PM ***

Friday, March 21, 2003 9:49 AM
Mamoosh's avatar Yeah, Belmont could certainly use a few more rides. When I first visited the park in 1972 [yeah, I'm old] it was a full-fledged seaside amusement park. My first ride on the Dipper, sitting next to my Dad, was in the last seat of the old P&C trains.

Last I heard Belmont was slated to go thru a major renovation with the possibility of a few more rides but I don't know if that's still going to happen or not, especially with the lack of parking and near-by neighbors.



Friday, March 21, 2003 3:24 PM
There still is a contingent in Mission Beach that would dearly love to bulldoze the park into the sand. They managed to get the city to stipulate that there had to be a certain percentage of shops and eateries vs. the rides. This is to prevent it from becoming a full blown amusement park again. I am aquainted with Tom Lochtefeld (his forte is water attractions) who is the new leaseholder for the park itself. The current assortment of rides are owned and operated by the San Diego Coaster Co. (Dana Morgan and Ed Hutton). They lease the space from Belmont Park. Belmont Park itself does not own or operate any rides at this time. Yes, I'd like to see a better selection of rides here, but I don't think the city would permit it. The council person is the same woman who would like to send SeaWorld packing. It would definitely be an up hill battle.
*** This post was edited by Dutchman 3/22/2003 4:11:18 AM ***
Friday, March 21, 2003 3:30 PM
Soggy's avatar Yeah, the old Belmont Giant Dipper. I love it despite the Morgan trains. Lets face facts, it could have EASILY been demolished at any point in history. I'd rather ride it with Morgan trains than only know it from photographs.

SCREAM with me... in 2003!

Friday, March 21, 2003 6:15 PM
Amen to that, Soggy. Although you have to admit that when comparing it to other coasters of the same historical status that still run their original trains, it is a little disappointing. I'm just a sucker for old coasters and their old trains. ;)

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