Canada's Wonderland Advice

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 11:35 AM
I was thinking of using my Max Plus pass this weekend to go up to Canada's Wonderland (for the first time), and was wondering if anyone on this forum goes there regularly and might have advice.

First, I know it is a holiday weekend in Canada, and was wondering if the Sunday before Victoria Day is generally much busier than other Sundays. I know we can't predict crowds, but was curious as to what crowds were like in past years.

I am also curious about currency. Does anyone know if they take the Discover card there for food and gift shops? I don't want to carry pockets full of Loonies and Toonies (spelling?) if I don't have to, as Canada's smallest bill is a 5. Or do they take US currency at most locations?

Also, any Must-Ride attractions there?

Mr. Kinzel spoke highly of the park in both the Plain Dealer interview recently, and when I talked to him on CP Opening Day. I can't wait to see what he was talking about.

Thanks ahead of time for your replies,

Sam

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 12:01 PM
Not to sure about crowds but some advice on the card usage. When i was there (and in Canada in general) my visa worked fine. Where you have to watch though is that everything is charged to your account in Canadian currency. So then the credit card company rips you off on the exchange and charges you an extra fee for making charges in another currency.

As far as must rides I didnt ride anything to stand out. Had to wait awhile for Italian Job due to poor load times and limited train operation, made the ride less spectacular which it really isnt to begin with. Their flyer was painful, i would avoid it unless you want the credit or are really curious about it because it is a bit different. Finally, i regret not getting on what i think theyt called "the jackhammer." Basically are crazy huss ride that you will know what i am talking about once you get there.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 12:16 PM
LOL, I will *never* forget giving the parking attendant a US $20 bill and getting about 18.00 change (Canadian of course). EVERY food stall, shop, etc., will take American currency *and* give you exchange rate back on your currency. Of course, you still end up with all of the funny Canadian money - which you can spend at a Tim Horton's before you come back... :)

Ride those flat rides: Huss: Top Scan, Jump 2, and Giant Frisbee. Mondial Splashover, Intamin 2nd-gen drop.

Note to HazMatt: You're referring to the Jump2, aka "Sledgehammer". Even better than the Peter Gabriel song of the same name, LOL.

Most of the coasters are fairly medicre (with some lovin', the wood could be SOOOO much better). Do ride the Arrow suspended, it's one of the best out there. Also ride the powered Thunder Run - best "coaster" in the park. Of course, IJ:ST is always fun (and PCW seems to work harder than most PPs at keeing theming intact).

The hidden gem of the Paramount chain, apparently. ;)

*** Edited 5/15/2007 4:18:59 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 12:17 PM
Haz-Matt,

I actually had the issue with the foreign transaction fees with MBNA, and when I called in and complained, they took them off. I am no longer with Bank of America/MBNA, so that isn't a problem. On my recent business trip to Canada, I used my Discover card for some purchases, and had no problems, plus got a decent exchange rate. Problem is, I don't think Discover is as widely accepted up there as it is here. I would like to be able to use it again up there. I believe Capitol One has cards without those extra fees, but I don't think I have enough time to apply for one and get it before the proposed trip.

Thanks.

Any other advice from anyone?

-Sam

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 12:37 PM
I have not been to CW, but I have been to Canada enough times to find out some of the tricks dealing with the exchange rates.

I would call Discover and find out what their exchange rate is. Then I would look up either Casino Fallsview or Casino Windsor (depending where you are going into Canada at) on the net and find out what their exchange rate is. Chances are the casino exchange rates will be better by a couple of bucks (The casinos are trying to bring in the American money). That may mean you will have to carry some extra cash with you, but you may also make some extra cash in the long run. When exchanging Canadian to American, do it at the Duty Free stores, they usually have the best exchange back to American. Just be sure to have less than $500. Anything over that, they will not exchange.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 1:56 PM
I don't particularly remember seeing and Discover signs in the park and didn't see it on their website. Would call to check.

Currency exchange is also good at banks as well as duty free locations. The exchange rate can change various times throughout the day so a credit card company will generally give you which ever one they want on that day. If the exchange rate is preferable I'd advise going to an ATM and taking a lump sum out to use for your trip and exchanging it back on the way out or at your bank at home.

The Loonies and Toonies won't gang up on you as long as you remember to dig in your pocket to get rid of them occasionally. Paying for something with a few large coins feels sort of like getting it free if you're used to bills so it's kinda fun. (Especially at a bar, it's like getting a free round!)

Spend a night in Toronto while you're there. Fun city that's easy to navigate and has really good ethnic food.

In addition to the flats check out:

Wild Beast - Wood that's running better than ever this year. Airtime near the front on bunny hops is incredible.

Dragon Fire - It's very basic but the seems like they made it much smoother this year. Very odd for an Arrow looper and there's hardly ever more than a one or two train wait.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 3:20 PM
I had a chance to get up to CW on a school trip bank in '01. Nice park. TOP gun is fun and they have a cool stand-up. There's also a good woodie called the "Canadian Minebuster" The waterpark they have is fine, but nothing insane. It is better than Soak City at CP.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 3:26 PM
Call your credit card company and verify what the foreign currency fees are before you use it in canada.

I had 2 visas. One charged no fees, the other charged 3% when i made foreign purchases.

It is another sneaky way they have of gouging their customers.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 4:31 PM
super7,

I don't think Discover charged me any fees on my trip for work earlier this month. On a 2006 trip to the Falls, MBNA did charge me, but I got the fees refunded when I complained. I eventually canceled that account after news broke of Bank of America supposedly giving cards to illegal immigrants (as the son of legal immigrants, it offends me).

I like Discover because they aren't as sneaky, and don't seem to have as many hidden fees as some of the other banks. But then again, maybe I just like them because they don't charge me any interest, and I haven't had any major issues yet. They are like MBNA used to be, before Al Lerner died.

EDIT: Maybe they are a little sneaky, as they keep sending those cash advance "checks," which really annoy me sometimes. If I need cash, I'll go to the ATM. Only in an extreme emergency would I even consider a cash advance!

Anyway, thanks so far for the suggestions. I am not as concerned about the whole money/exchange rate thing as I am about possible crowds, being that this is one of CF's premier parks, and it is a holiday weekend, with fireworks scheduled for that day.

With gas over $3 a gallon here and over $1 a liter in Canada, I don't want to waste the money if I can't get on at least a few good rides and experience the great park Mr. Kinzel spoke of.

Also, anyone know what parking costs? (I only have the All Ohio parking pass, not the imaginary chain wide pass).

-Sam

*** Edited 5/15/2007 8:36:03 PM UTC by Avalanche Sam***

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 5:50 PM
I went to Wonderland in 2002 and found it to be a very nice park. I'd like to get up there this year since you'll need a passport to drive over and back in January.

The park is very flat ride friendly but they have a fantastic selection (even though Great Whale of China is gone). Best flat ride - Shock Wave, the Mondial Top Scan. Psyclone, the Mondial Giant Frisbee, is just as good as the Huss versions.

Their coasters may seem a little mediocre compared to what we have here but they do have a wide variety. Vortex, the suspended, IMO, is the best steel they have. Between Minebuster and Wilde Beast, from what I remember, Wilde Beast was the better wood coaster.

X Factor

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 6:00 PM
Definitely check out Wild Beast. It was giving a pretty good ride on sneak preview night. Vortex is a definite must try. Skyrider is a clone of the non-defunct King Cobra at Kings Island so if you've tried that one you'll know exactly what to expect on Skyrider. In my opinion it is pretty good for an old stand-up.

As mentioned above, be sure to check out some really good flats...there are plenty to choose from.

As far as the Discover card goes...in general that card is not widely accepted here in Canada. It is by far the least popular card. Visa and Mastercard are accepted pretty much everywhere though.

The attendance at the park will most likely increase on the long weekend but I wouldn't expect it to be crazy busy.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 7:33 PM
Ride

CliffHanger

Drop Zone

Jet Stream

Mighty Canadian Minebuster

Psyclone

Shockwave

Sledge Hammer

The Italian Job

Tomb Raider: The Ride


Top Gun


Xtreme Skyflyer

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 11:12 PM
The park is usually packed on the Monday of the long weekend thanks to the fire works. Last year the park was at capacity that day, so avoid it on Monday at all costs.

The Canadian dollar is very strong right now, so your American cash won't go nearly as far as it used to in previous years. We're buying American cash for our CP trip at rates as low as 1.06. Parking is $10 taxes in. Don't bet on using your Discover card, have an alternative ready.

Lastly, don't forget to take a few minutes to take in how beautiful the park is. It's far from the flat cement of most parks I've been too. Enjoy your day!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:11 AM
Long weekend. Perfect weather. It will be packed. Remember, Canada's Wonderland draws more than Cedar Point in attendance.

No Discover Card:


Mastercard, VISA, American Express, Interact Direct Payment, US and Canadian traveller’s cheques, are gladly accepted for admission. For more information, please stop by Guest Services located at the Front Gate and in Kidzville.

low capacity / inefficient operations:

  • Top Gun (Vekoma SLC)
  • Tomb Raider (a very painful flyer)
  • Silver Streak (a family suspended coaster).

mid capacity:

  • The Fly (wild mouse)
  • Italian Job Stunt Track
  • Psyclone (Huss flat)
  • Sledgehammer (Huss flat)
  • Shockwave (Huss flat)

high capacity:

  • The Mighty Canadian Minebuster
  • Wild Beast
  • Scooby's Ghasping Ghoster Coaster
  • Dragon Fire

Have fun!

P.S. If you are driving across the border, select the most efficient route using border wait times.
US (http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/index.asp)
Canada (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/general/times/menu-e.html)

*** Edited 5/16/2007 6:21:22 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 7:33 AM
My last visit was in 1999. It was a Weekend so I was prepared to spend two days if it was necessary. It wasn't, I was able to give the park a good "Once Over" on Saturday. On Sunday I decided to visit Martin's Fantasy Island. I got up at about 6:00 Am and got in my Truck and made my way to Grand Island. Crossing the Niagara River at Queenstown, I approached the Customs Booth and rolled down my window, expecting the Officer to do the usual "Good Morning, What is your Citizenship......" Thing. There was no reply. That's when I realised HE WAS FAST ASLEEP! (It must have been a Slow Night!) I Layed on my Horn, and that jolted him awake. He then did his speil and I moved along. Thhis was pre 9/11, of course. I cannot wonder what would have happened if someone working for Customs did that now!

Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 8:01 AM
Ok, working for a bank, I can tell you that first and foremost, you need to check with the card company if you are traveling outside the US. Remember, credit cards and banks are not a non-profit orginization, and have to generate revenue somehow. And please (Avalanche Sam )refrain from slandering a financial institution when you don't know all the facts. Media outlets have a history of putting a slant on stories about banking and finance because money gets the attention of the public. Enough said.

As for you inquiries on the park, I checked with a friend who lives just outside the Toronto area, and here is the best advice I can give. Do not go into the park expecting to be blown away. For the mos part the rides are average, but definately do the giant rides as forementioned. Also download a park map before leaving, as I have heard the park layout can be quite confusing/frustrating.

Otherwise have a great time, and be sure to post a TR

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 8:45 AM
I last went in early June of 2005. Security was lax and line jumping was rampant, especially on Italian Job. We went right to Italian Job in the morning and then continued around the park in a clockwise pattern around the park. We hit everything except Tomb Raider and the family coasters in roughly 3-4 hours.

That year we had gold passes from PKI and we reaped huge discounts on food and gift shop stuff. *** Edited 5/16/2007 12:46:46 PM UTC by joe.***

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 8:53 AM
If you're driving over the border, DO NOT go on the Queenston Lewiston bridge. You WILL have to wait at least half an hour. :P

As counterintuitive as it may seem, I always have the best luck on the bridge right at Niagara Falls, the Rainbow Bridge. Customs always seems to move fastest there.

This thread makes me really want to go up to PCW!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 9:42 AM
^^Customs at the Rainbow Bridge move fast because of more traffic at that particular bridge. I always find the Lewiston Queenston bridge to be the best as far as least wait times, especially since they just put in a trucks only lane. Not to mention that the QEW is right there.

On the flip side, listen to browntggr and go to the Casinos to exchange money. You will definately get a better exchange rate than any bank will give you no matter what. It is usually between 3-5% higher in the casinos than in the banks. With that being said, if you are crossing throught Niagara Falls, the Rainbow Bridge is the closest to the casinos. And don't forget that there are two casinos in Niagara Falls, Fallsview and Casino Niagara, which is right in front of the bridge.

As for the rides at the park, I have not been there in a few years, but from what I hear, the new flats are all amazing and the coasters are very ho-hum. Vortex is probably the best coaster in the park followed by the Wild Beast. They do however have an amazing array of coasters at the park. It truly is a beautiful park, and very well done

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:01 AM
Borntocoast - All I can say is a lot has changed since 1999. Mostly that attendance has increased in huge numbers.

Also to clarify GreatWhiteNorth, the only major flat that is Huss is Sledgehammer. The others are Mondial versions of Huss rides. Cliffhanger, Psyclone and Shockwave (my personal fave) are all Mondial installations.

I've never found the park layout confusing at all, but then I go there quite often and I'm used to it.

Capacity is definetely an issue at this park though, with Vortex and Dragon Fire being thier only really fast moving lines. I can see Cedar Fair's next addition to the park being one that helps that problem (ummm... B and M!).

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