The Sunday prior to CAC, I picked up Bill and Jill from Gainesville, and we went on a day trip through the amusement parks in the Portland area. Our first stop was Enchanted Forest, located 7 miles south of Salem on I-5. While EF is a small park that caters to families, it is not without a few rides and attractions that appeal to adults, or at least to the kid in all adults.
I've read TRs elsewhere about how the park only has maybe an hour of stuff to do. Wrong!! Sure if you do the rollercoaster, log ride, and haunted house only, you could get in and get out quick, but why would you want to do that, when there is so much more to enjoy? From the fountains show to the Indian caves, from the summer comedy theatre to storybook land, EF has plenty to do to make for a good day's visit. When strolling through Tofteville (western themed section) peer in all the windows for some gallows humor, from clever to cheeky. Stop and fire a few rounds at their shooting gallery, then pilot a few boats into some well placed targets. You can even pan for gold at the park, though alas, we didn't have the time for that. And there's so much more. I highly suggest putting EF, and Oaks Park, as an add-on day next CAC in 07 or 08 or so. The parks Sally interactive dark ride, Challenge of Mondor, will be up and running by then, giving guests another reason to spend more time there. Of note, is how many have used the comparison that EF is like a poor man's Disneyland. I prefer to think of it as Disneyland is a rich man's Enchanted Forest!;)
Ice Mountain Bobsleds is a unique ride, very interesting. It started life, apparently, as 2 alpine slides, whose tracks were combined into one once the rollercoaster took over. Remnants pointing to this fact are still visible at certain points during the ride. At the station, you can see a second trough that is no longer in use. Anyways, the ride is actually a good terrain coaster, with 2 lifts to get you around the course.
Next up is the Big Timber Log Ride. Outside of water chutes, this predates modern water-coasters, with it's terrific roller-coaster drop just prior to the final drop into the lagoon. Surprisingly better themed than expected, be careful of the first, smaller drop on the ride. The day we were there, was the first time in all my many visits, that I wore the ponchos provided at the queue's front. This was a newer, better poncho than I had seen offered in prior years, and the ride ops (who are of a very good-natured type throughout the park) very highly stressed that I should wear one. I relented. The garb in no way diminishes the rides fun factor, and on that first, smaller drop, I got a huge wave into my lap!. The poncho, however, kept me bone dry. I love it!! Into the 25ft coaster drop, back up, and immediately into the final drop, with little if any breaking. I mention this because some visits they will actually stop the boat after the coaster drop, leading to a smaller splash down the final flume. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that NO ONE else was on when we entered the station, so no logs were in front of us, but the op at the top barely slowed our speed coming up the coaster drop, leading to a VERY splashy finale! :P Afterwards, we watched others, from their strategically placed viewing dock, get wet.:)
Onto the haunted house. This walk-through attraction has actually won best walk-through dark ride in the past (don't remember by whom, though), and deservedly so. Startles more than it scares, but effective and fun. Though some effects weren't working, it was better than my last trip, where a lot were off-line. Still wish they would return it to it's former glory, but any park would be happy to have it.
Getting lost in the Indian Caves is always fun. A walk through the 7 dwarfs cave is also cute. Also, ask Gator just how many slides there are at this park (all free w/ admission); he did them all. Walking through the crooked house is always a blast. The maze is small, but fun also. I made Bill do Alice in Wonderland's rabbit hole; he didn't need much prodding.;)
From there, we watched the animatronic denizens of the English Village (where the new ride opens next year), and tripped through Pinocchio's Playhouse (more fun). Thinking about it, there is so much more to this park than initially meets the eye, it's incredible how much has been packed into it's relatively small space. The park makes great use of it's hillside setting, with LOTS of trees/shade throughout. And Bill met his first "land boats" crazy cars ever! They are bumper boat-style cars and land, natch. Later, Silverwood would have a much better version of the same bumper cars.
All in all, Enchanted Forest is a great place for kids of all ages to play. And pay attention to all the notices posted throughout the park. The more you know your nursery rhymes, the more chuckles you'll find. :D
Oh, if anyone ever expects to go to Thrillville USA ( located next door, literally to EF) NEVER trust the website! Both Bill and I noticed the site said it would be open the day we were at EF; it was not. The grounds worker suggested we return in June, LOL!
Onto Oaks Park, celebrating 100 years this year, although you wouldn't know it. Some classic rides here, sure, but not any that scream any kind of history. Well, maybe Lewis and Clark the Adventure, but...
We start off with their Pinfari looper, called Looping Thunder. Done. Next!!! Rock-O-Planes, but I do not need to do those ever again in my life, so I watch. Bill & Ted's, errr..., Lois & Clark's..., errrr, Lewis & Clark's is up next. This was an old trailer-type powered haunted house ride that was re-themed for the park's 100 yr anniversary. It is HORRIBLE!! SOOOO bad it's actually funny. All the indians have this big grin on their faces, like they are so happy to see the white man! Yeah, right. There was audio, but the noise of the powered cars drowned it out, rendering the entire ride dis-jointed and senseless. Bill can elaborate further.
KMG Afterburner was next, and again I watch; saving all my spinny resolve for the Puyallup. The park has a lot of standard rides, like a scrambler. a round-up, a tilt-a-whirl, etc Their classic Herschell-Spillman Carrousel is a standout. Just wished they would clean it once in a while, or at least dust it a little.:/
Bill, post those pix of The Kid! ;)
The parks best quality asset however, is criminally under-played. Oaks bumper cars reign supreme! On their site, however, there's barely a mention of them but a scant 2 lines, sands any photos. Kind of odd, considering some of the parks crappier rides get more print and pics on the site. At any rate, they rock, big time. It's a whiplash-inducing rush guaranteed to leave you wanting more than the already generous amount of time offered per cycle. The cars here are heavy, and with the constant connection that the ceiling provides, you can get up to some FAST speeds. There aren't that many places left that offer this intense of a bumper car ride.
We ran out of time here, and needed more. Oh well next time! I will say that the park needs more permanent rides to up it's appeal. Everything here is trailer-mounted, save for the balloon ride. It lifts you about 30 ft off the ground in gondolas that you can spin, or not, as fast as you like. Loved it!!
Of note, the ops here are knowledgeable and generally friendly, an added plus. I highly recommend both parks. Bill?
Next up, on the way to Puyallup, we hit Multnomah Falls. More on that later...
*** Edited 10/2/2005 4:19:42 PM UTC by Robocoaster***
They Live. We Sleep.
No, no I can't... ;)
LOL, I'll try and get pics up tonight/tomorrow....high-speed internet at the house now, thanks Aaron. I have a LOT more to say, but really, without the pics it's just words...
BTW, *the word* is....BRUTALIZE. Brutality was found on the Rock-O-Planes (how come they ALL migrated to the PNW?), on the Bumper cars at Oaks, and later at Puyallup.
Roger Tofte is a pure freakin' genius...looking forward to challenging Mondor....and the Log Ride at EF is definitely a re-ride if I get there in more...temperate...temperatures... ;)
Excellent employees throughout the PNW. Out of the dozens of ops I playfully teased with, there was only ONE negative response (skyride at The Fair). Considering how hard I can be on park employees' nerves ;), it was amazing how fun-loving and entertaining everyone was... Good times! :)
P.S....more to come later, when the pics can be referenced...
"The kid" is page 25...for the sadists...;)
I should note that "getting on employees' nerves" is really just an attempt to have more fun in our day, and make their day a little less work and a little more play...or at least provide some *amusement* for them.
Now, the pics I found...needed...comment (or didn't need it, but gets some anyway):
Girabra, Zeraffe? http://www.pbase.com/rollergator/image/50059637
Rock-O-Plane #1, Thrill-Ville (unridden)...must be a breeding ground for those in the PNW...
Descriptive shot of "The Enchanted Experience"
And another...psychedelic, no?
What is UP with this place? :)
Timber Mountain approaches the "coaster track"
Even at a distance, Oaks' looper looks painful. Happily, not as bad as I feared...not that I re-rode or anything... ;)
Rock-O-Plane #2, Oaks (first one RIDDEN since I fell in love with this flat at Sandy Lake in Texas):
Robo gets four newbies their credit laps on Looping Thunder:
Lewis and Clark - the lamest dark ride of the trip....until Ghost Pirates at The Fair...
KMG AfterBURNER...another incredible flat:
Kiddie Miler (?) from Oaks:
....and, as usual, saving the best for last...Knoebels and Geauga Lake find some *competition* in the Bumper car arena:
P.S. Thanks Robo for "all that driving", and for writing the *springboard* TR...I fear starting new threads... :)
Enchanted Forest reminds me A LOT of Idlewild. Gotta love attractions based on nursery rhymes and fairy tales. :-D
Tina, I hope you get there at some point; you'll love it.:)
As for the driving, no worries. I'm a control freak...
*** Edited 10/3/2005 8:11:25 AM UTC by Robocoaster***
They Live. We Sleep.
The Flying Turns makes all the right people wet - Gonch
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