Canobie Lake Park & Funtown/Splashtown USA - 8/16/

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, August 19, 2003 12:25 PM
We arrived around 12:30 in the afternoon on Saturday at Canobie Lake park. The park itself opened at 11:00AM and the rides started operating at 12:00 noon, but at 12:30PM this place was packed. It wasn't filled to the gills packed, but more crowded than I had anticipated.

This was my first visit and I was immediately struck by a number of things about the park: It had a great collection of classic rides all lovingly maintained like prized possessions; Thought and care were shown in each installation with lush landscaping and a nice lay-out; The park was clean beyond compare; The look and feel of the park conveyed that the owners truly loved their business and were intent on showing visitors a great time. A really beautiful park in the league of an Idlewild or Kennywood.

COASTERS:
Rockin Ryder (5/10)
A standard galaxi painted a standard blah brown, which somehow blended nicely with the environment. The station is wonderfully maintained in a perfect early 70's moment. Pleasant staff operating the trains, but surprised not running at capacity (4 cars stood by idle).

Canobie Corkscrew (5/10)
A picture of the Python at Busch Gardens Tampa. Pristinely preserved and in one of the nicest, most well-maintained pastoral settings for such a mundane ride. Of course, this kind of ride was all the rave 25 years ago, but we're jaded in 2003. The station is another example of how this park does not skimp on its installations. The usual ride in an exceptional setting.

Yankee Cannonball (8/10)
Ok, I'm penalizing this ride a point for the VERY tight queue with little protection from the sun and for operating only one train, which made a long wait inevitable.. I was also surprised and annoyed that blatant line jumping took place RIGHT IN FRONT OF A RIDE QUEUE ATTENDANT, who said nothing. It wasn't until a couple of men in line spoke up and returned the menacing stares of some thug wannabes who tried to intimidate people who complained about their line jumping. It took the combined efforts of the guests to eject the jumpers and return the line to peace. The station itself was a nice pavillion-like design. I wasn't pleased that there was no seat selection. Coming out of the station. the park, again, provided beautiful landscaping where a Six Flags might otherwise pave or allows weeds to thrive. The ride itself was a great example of out and back perfection. Great airtime on and sense of speed on a relatively slow coaster (35mph). A minute up the lift hill, the ride from the top to the station is a mere 52 seconds, but that 52 seconds packs more fun than some longer, taller, faster coasters designed by guys who didn't have a clue. Herb Schmeck not only had a clue - he had the masterplan. Another Schmeck classic.

We left Canobie mid afternoon and pointed our car in the direction of the Maine coast. An hour northeast, as the crow flies, lay Funtown and the highly regarded Excalibur coaster.

Funtown was an interseting park. It seemed to be a carnival caterpillar in the mist of a metamorphasis into a theme park butter fly. Parts were hokey and a bit rambling (in the "rundown" sense of the word). Other parts were masterfully themed and of a quality beyond what one expects even from the bigger chains. The layout seems to have evolved in a series of switchback narrow wooden boardwalk paths. Each ride shoehorned in amongst the others. Of particular note with regard to theming and quality were the highly thened Dragon Descent (a 200 story power drop) and Thunder Falls, a rather unique log flume ride that runs in a buried track, simulating river rapids and culminating in one thrilling drop. Both are masterpieces of design.

COASTERS:
Galaxi (5/10)
A standard galaxi that looks a little beat up. Howeverm it was running at FULL capacity and at night it was lit up as originally designed with semi circles of carnival lights arching like canopies over the track. In need of a paint job, this is a wonderfully nostalgic night time ride.

Excalibur (10/10)
The first drop is perfection. Up the hill, bank 45 degrees and drop - no one I saw, young or old, could keep their hands in the air after the drop, going up the second hill. One of the most thrilling first drops on a woddie anywhere. The train charges back up into the second hill and tears through a pinetree forest. Direction changes, some good laterals and great speed put this into the top ten of CCI creations. Only on the last third does the train seem to lose some steam, but it recovers for a dashing run back to the station. Again, the theming was wonderful with the station designed as a castle and the trains designating King Arthur and the knights of the roundtable. Brilliant coaster - very much worth the trip!

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Thursday, August 21, 2003 3:45 PM
Sounds like you had a great time. I have always wanted to go to Funtown. I live about 3 hours away. Do you think it's worth it? Excalibur looks great but is it really worth a 3 hour drive?

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1-S:RoS @ SFNE
2-Boulder Dash
3-Yankee Cannonball

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Monday, August 25, 2003 6:04 AM
I'm an enthusiast. I have a real love love for wood coasters and a particular fondness for CCI designs. I think it is one of the best woodies in operation. The park itself offers enough to make it an enjoyable day trip AND it is all rather affordable for folks on a budget. I'm not sure how to comment on what you should do, but I certainly had no regrets and would happily visit again.
*** This post was edited by BrooklynRider 8/26/2003 9:43:34 AM ***
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Monday, August 25, 2003 7:50 AM
I can just imagine you with those linejumpers at Canobie. The park is ruthless for that, and security is non attentive.
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Monday, August 25, 2003 7:58 AM
I just basically made an 8 hour drive back to Maine from PA just for Excalibur (and Lobster Stew and a Lobster Roll at Mike's Clam Shack in Wells). Of course, it was part of a much larger vacation... but Excalibur was the primary reason why we ventured back to Maine.

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Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.

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Monday, August 25, 2003 7:26 PM
The only reason I am hesitating about going is because I live 2 hours away from Lake Compounce ( home of another CCI masterpiece ). I will be visiting the park next year though. How is their freefall ride Dragon's Descent?

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1-S:RoS @ SFNE
2-Boulder Dash
3-Yankee Cannonball

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 5:46 AM
There seems to be an older section ofthe park andthen a section where newer rides have been assembled. Dragon's Descent is excellent. The theming is the best theming (and maybe the only theming) I've ever seen for a power drop. It is elaborate, detailed and clearly they didn't try to cut corners. The flume ride as well as Excalibur are all world class.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 1:14 PM
I loved Funtown. It is small and, well, fun. There was pop music pumping through speakers throughout the park, and the atmosphere was pleasant. Some parts will remind you of a carnival while other sections are like a nicely landscaped theme park, but it has it's own charm. Excalibur and Daragon's Decent are awesome, and their selection of flat rides is varied and fun. I especially liked the Swings (Yo-Yo style) and the Tea Cups (large version with three circles, not the little figure-eight kind). The food was decent and reasonably priced and parking is free. Check it out.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2003 9:56 AM

rentzy17 said:
My uncle actually helped build it so I got to ride it when it first opened.awesome!

That's interesting, because a cousin of mine also helped build it. Said it was hell. ;)

Funtown is a nice park, and it depends on whether or not you would think it is worth a three hour drive. If you do go, I would also stop by Palace Playland (a great seaside park).

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