Canobie Lake Park, 2004-08-22, photos

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Sunday, August 29, 2004 6:01 PM
I went to Canobie Lake Park on Sunday, August 22, 2004. I arrived at 10:30am, just as the gates opened. I used a good-any-day pass, which needed to be validated at the ticket booth before entering. The ticket booth opens sometime before 10:30am, but I'm not sure exactly when.

One of my goals for this trip was to photograph and document all of Canobie's interesting coin-operated amusements. These mainly include old-school, mechanical arcade games and mutoscopes. Another goal was to get prices for all concession items. All of these items are now on the web site.

Some miscellaneous observations: The Kiddieland Stage has been rebuilt. It's a solid, art deco building now. It looks pretty good. The new Wipe Out ride is still being constructed. The theming and infrastructure is in place, but the ride is missing. The Boston Tea Party exit is now guarded by an employee! The employee alternates between checking height at the entrance and holding the exit gate open when people exit. I visited Kiddie Land for the first time. There is a penguin-shaped trash can that apparently came from Santa's Village in Jefferson, NH. Why is it at Canobie? Was it purloined?

Pirata was assembled, but it was closed for the entire day. The Canobie Express train was also closed. Starblaster was closed for a while at the beginning of the day. Rockin Rider was closed.

Canobie Lake Park was very crowded. At 11:26am, the line for the Yankee Cannonball extended down the ramp and down one leg of the queue. At 11:56am, the line extended through the entire queue area. At noon the ride opened. At 12:01pm, the line extended past the queue area. At 1:18pm, the line was still long, extending into the midway. At 5:00, the line was a bit shorter, reaching out of the queue area to in front of the waterfall. At 1:58pm, the line for the Canobie Corkscrew reached back to the train tracks. At 4:55pm, the line for Antique Cars wrapped all the way to the Missile. The parking lot was packed. At 5:22pm, the line for the Boston Tea Party stretches all the way across the entrance of Sons of Liberty Cafe. At 5:39pm, the line for Paratroopers goes outside its queue area. At 7:43pm, the line for Elvis' 8:00pm show extended past the Poncho Cantina and almost to the back of Pizza Ria. The Mine of Lost Souls also seemed to have long lines.

I finally rode the Caterpillar ride. I noticed that the theming extends to the inside of the ride (and got a photo of it). I rode the Kiddie Dragon Coaster. I rode Over the Rainbow. For research purposes, I rode Tilt-A-Whirl for the first time. It has seven cars, and it is made by Sellner Manufacturing Co., Fairbault Minnesota. I rode the Canobie Queen. For research purposes, I rode the Matterhorn for the first time. It wasn't as bad (nausea-inducing) as I thought it would be. It was made by SDC. With the addition of the Carousel, these are the only rides I rode. This was mostly because I was busy taking photos and notes, but also the lines were a bit too long for my taste.

Amusingly, according to the fortune teller cards the Zodiac sign between Aquarius and Aries is "Pieces". The fortunes are quite profound. My fortune: "You have been thrown into the spotlight and must show your true grit. The diamond can not be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials. This is more than a learning experience; it is a true test. The ultimate measure of a person is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. When you make that difficult decision for all or nothing, you might feel you need some help. Man becomes the master of difficult situations by refusing the assistance of weak persons. He relies on his strength of character. This will win the day for you."

I saw the Elvis show. It was approximately 25 minutes long. Elvis sang and gave scarves to some special ladies in the audience. He also shook hands with audience members at the end of his show. The Dance Hall Theater has a really nice ballroom floor. I saw that water was continually sprayed onto the roof. I suspect that the fire inspector probably requires Canobie Lake Park to do this to be able to maintain the high occupancy needed for the Elvis show. (It was the young version of Elvis.)

I ate at Portofino's. It's pretty nice, I thought. They serve Budweiser beer. The theme to The Godfather played as I ate. Chicken Parmagiana is served on pasta and served with a breadstick. It came on a real plate. However, service was cafeteria style. Sons of Liberty Cafe had Long Trail "Hit the Trail Ale", Budweiser, Michelob Light, Coors Light, and Red Hook Blonde. They also seem to have wine, Thin Ice, Bacardi R and O3, and TGIFriday mixed drinks. The Dancing Bear Canteen had only Coors Light.

I rode the Canobie Queen (actually, its smaller replacement), but the lines were long and I failed my first few attempts. According to one person I asked, the capacity of the boat is 49 people, limited by the number of life jackets. (It seemed as if fewer people actually rode. I need to confirm the ride occupancy limits.) I finally figured out the trick to riding is to just wait. The boat leaves every half-hour, but it actually begins boarding at about 10 minutes before the hour. The queue area is wide open, leading to mass confusion and line-jumping. To ride at 4:30, I advise arriving at 4:05pm and just waiting close to the entrance gate. Queue size: 5 people at 4:00pm, 25 at 4:05pm, 35 at 4:10pm, 40 at 4:15pm, about 45 people at 4:20pm. After the boat fills up and the people left in line realize that they need to wait another 40 minutes, most people leave. If you show up at this time, you can be the first person in line. If you sit on the ground near the gate, in the afternoon this is usually a nice shady spot. The Queen arrived back at dock at 4:17pm, and people started to disembark at 4:18pm. Boarding started at 4:22pm.

It's interesting that Canobie Lake Park is not very visible from the lake. You can see bits and pieces of rides, but for the most part the park is very unobtrusive. It is not too obvious that an amusement park is there. Once the trees between the lake and Davinci's Dream grow taller, it will be even less visible. I also did not hear much noise from the Park once I was on the lake.

There seem to be new ride handicap access signs. Some have "push button for assistance" buttons, including Boston Tea Party and Dodgem (where the handicap access gates are far from the regular entrance gates).

More people should applaud when the Canobie Ramblers play (in front of the log flume ride on weekends). Not many people did. I think that the Ramblers are pretty good.

The Park announced that they would close at 10:30pm, but I left at 9:00pm. I created a temporary web page specifically for photos from this trip: http://plover.net/~bfan/canobie/temp.20040822.html which I'll keep up until September 30, 2004. After that, you'll need to look at the general 2004 images page on my site.

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Sunday, August 29, 2004 8:49 PM
Wow. Nice trip report. I'm ashamed to say I've lived in NH over 5 years now and have not made it out to Canobie yet. You TR makes me want to go there alot.

I really like the pics of the old arcade games. Growing up as I did going to Cedar Point, I remember at least some of these games being in the Coliseum arcade there.

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