That experience leading up to the event put me in a bad mood of sorts. Fortunately, Catherine was there to kick me in the nuts (what are ex-girlfriends for? ;)) and I was in the park for all of ten minutes before I was happy to be there.
The crowd was enormous. It was 90 degrees with very high humidity. Still, we were determined to at least ride certain things, with a break in the middle at the hotel. Cath needed to study, I just needed time to sleep and let my brain rot a little. I feel like I haven't had any time to just do nothing in about three weeks. It's not that I don't like doing "stuff," it's just that eventually you need to catch up.
Upon entering the park, and getting passed a really salty old bastard of a security guard at the bag search, we were a little worried to see Comet's queue totally full. We went up the hill to check out Great Bear, and it was looking like 45 minutes or more, so we went back down to ride the only thing we missed last year (aside from Roller Soaker), the Sooperdooperlooper.
The line was short, and the crew was fantastic. Granted, when you have no seat belts or shoulder restraints to screw around with, it's pretty easy to move quickly. I'm always pleasantly surprised at how well Schwarzkopf coasters age. I've never been on one that I didn't like. Interesting chain and linkage too between the station and the lift. Great ending.
After battling around through the crowds, we decided that mid-day escape was in order. We stopped to pick up a bag of those kettle chips, and they were fantastic. Greasy as hell, but yummy and fresh. Not recommended on an empty stomach, by the way.
I napped in sweet air conditioning. It was awesome. Comfort Inn there at 422/322 is fairly nice. Would've been nicer without the hordes of kids staying there. (Insert "get off my lawn" comment here.)
We got back to the park just in time for dinner. While the "chicken breast" was definitely chicken, and may have contained breast meat, I think calling it that was a little bit of a stretch. Still, it was yummy, and I'm not complaining. The salad and fruit salad even seemed to go over well. Apparently they "forgot" to bust out the ice cream at first, but we got hooked up, and enjoyed the novelties.
It rained for a little bit, so we had some time to be social in the small group. Cath and I adopted Carrie to ride and headed toward the newer part of the park.
First we went to Lightning Racer, and it was nice and wet. Had a great lap on Lightning. More on that later for the ERT. What I was most interested in was riding Wildcat with the new Millennium Flyer trains. The difference was fairly dramatic, but it was still a little on the rough side in places. To be honest, the "math" of the ride isn't quite right to create the magic that Racer or a newer ride like Renegade creates. It's still a lot of fun though, and very comfortable with the new trains.
Because restroom talk is funny, the girls mentioned that the restrooms in this area of the park were not air conditioned.
We headed down to the middle of the park and did the Reese's eXtreme Cup Challenge, and received no candy at the end. I was disappointed. The theme of the ride still strikes me as super stupid, but the vehicles for this dark ride/shooter are easily among the most interesting. My gun was broken again and I couldn't score. Someone at Sally hates me I think.
We all agreed that we needed to ride Great Bear, so we decided to just deal with whatever line was there. I was disappointed that Coal Cracker, the log flume, was not open. On a day like this, it would've been perfect. This is one of the last truly great log rides of the 80's.
Last year, Great Bear had the only really lame crew in the park. This year's is much better, and the line moved fairly quickly. Great Bear doesn't seem to get a lot of love, but among the B&M inverters, this one is so balls-out intense start to finish. It has no slow point. I love that ride.
We stopped for Boardwalk Fries, and I was shocked that they did in fact offer a bucket size. The three of us shared a large instead, went inside for A/C, and talked about life, love and career. Good times.
Carrie wanted a spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl, but it really didn't do much spinning. We were actually having a serious conversation most of the ride. It needs to be lubed up or something.
We finished on Comet. As someone mentioned later, going up the lift, it's crooked. Like trick track on the lift. And the cars flex as it climbs. That's sweet. Cath and I were in the front seat, Carrie in the second. I was blown away by the amount of air time that thing made. What an outstanding ride. If the line was shorter I would have loved to do it again.
Unfortunately, the crew sucked. When a guy on the platform is signaling to buzz the bars open, or let some stuck people out, and the op at controls is too busy flirting and laughing with other crew members, that concerns me. Also concerning, on all of the coasters, actually, is that they don't watch the train leave. Most of the parks I can think of, they watch the train leave to see that every restraint is in place. That doesn't happen there.
The group reconvened at 10 by the catering pavilion. There was no security officer there to greet us. Fireworks started. We waited some more. At about 10:15, an officer comes down the hill, says nothing, and sits on a bench. Cath goes up the hill to ask the Storm Runner crew what's going on, and they say the security guy will escort us.
A little after 10:30, a guy who I assume is a rides supervisor, tells us they've actually opened Lightning Racer and Wildcat for us, but Storm Runner "won't be running" for us. Naturally, the one thing we held off on because we thought we'd have it for ERT was down.
While annoyed by that, it didn't ruin my night or anything. I bypassed Wildcat for Racer, and ended up doing 11 total laps on it, in the winning car every time. The crew was very enthusiastic, and everyone seemed to have a good time. After some moving around, I discovered that Thunder offers the better ride, especially in the front. The top of the first turn-around absolutely tosses you up and out to the right. Awesome stuff. I had the chance to ride with a number of different people and really enjoyed myself. The smell of chocolate and the beautiful lighting on the ride really made for a great enthusiast moment.
Overall, I had a pretty good time, even if I was a little burned out on work and travel. I hope that if we do look into an event there next year, that the group sales folks are a little more on top of things.
As to the crew, I have a feeling it's a rare day when that coaster is run efficiently.
I'm glad to see someone else who recognizes that just because Great Bear isn't as long as other inverteds, that doesn't mean it sucks. At least they have an inverted, and it's in a great setting!
Was Stormrunner running earlier in the day?
Carrie wanted a spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl, but it really didn't do much spinning...It needs to be lubed up or something.
Da Babies and I are a little obsessive about our Tilt-A-Whirl experience. We'll watch the ride in line and give each other hand signals for the car we believe is the loosest. And we won't hesitate to give the operator a (very) friendly reminder to give our car a little help...but that's just us.
I forgot how cool Great Bear was. By far it's my favorite Invert. I'll have to change the list on my site. I usualy sit in the front for Inverts, but my riding partners had us sit in the back row with me stratigicly placed in the Left seat. There is a diving turn where the Left Rear seat gets great air. That was sweet. And the leg choppers are cool too. I was unaware that the supports were designed like that because they were not allowed to put anything in the creek. They are some of the most bizzare supports I've ever seen on a coaster.
ERT was a blast. We had gotten a front seat ride on Wildcat earlier but missed our rear seat ride because the train went down about 5 minutes after it's already late opening. So for ERT, we got one back seat ride before heading to Lightning Racer. Wiltcat has improved greatly. The front seat was great. Even the rear seat was good up until the turn into the break run. Overall a great improvement.
The rest of the night was spent on Lightning Racer. 9 laps I belive. We lost all but 2 of them. Jeff is right about the front seat of Thunder. We sat in different seats of Thunder all night. Front was best. Biggest problem is the helix after the tunnel, where you lose all your speed. They were running 2 trains on each side, so i don't know how the other Thunder was running, but if we didn't have a 5 or 6 car lead going into the tunnel, we would lose. And that was with 6 people in Thunder and 2 or 3 people in Lightning. Once we convinced the 6 people to sit in the first 3 rows, we finaly won 2 laps after losing 5 in a row.
Not a lot of people at the event, but the ones there, were a lot of fun. *** Edited 6/5/2007 12:47:04 AM UTC by Jason Hammond***
I do agree with Jeff, whereas the main problem I see at HP week in and week out is it has seemed to turn into a breeding ground for teenage works. The flirting gets out of hand at times, and could be quite dangerous.
I love HP, and would hate to see something happen there (or anywhere for that matter) to have to call attention to the problem. Hopefully they will be weeding out the trouble soon.
During the heat of the day I hid at shows to try and make the heat less oppressive. Of the ones I saw, Image Effect Velocity and Ultimate Road Trip were really good. The Milkmen show is the same as last year, really cheesy but fun. The only show I didn't care for was The Soda Pops and I think that was because the sound was too loud for the band and you couldn't hear or understand the singers.
After dinner some more riding was in order until ERT. I got at least one lap on most of the coasters throughout the normal operating hours. The only ones I missed were Trailblazer and Sidewinder.
ERT was a nice surprise as Storm Runner is fun but I love the two woodies at the front of the park. Wildcat keeps getting better for me with each return to the park this season. I also have to second the fact about Thunder losing it's speed on the turn after the tunnel it was weird to see Lightning just zoom after Thunder at that point.
I have to end this message with one for those from Ohio..... GOOOO CAVS. Good luck in the Finals.
It was really nice to meet so many great people during the day.
I really think that despite the loss of Storm Runner for the ERT, it really worked out well. Lightning Racer was cooking.
Hershey does have a big problem on their hands considerring that they had to shut down the Boardwalk in the middle of the day (the rumor was that there were too many people in it). They need to do some planning, or I have a feeling that it will happen alot over the course of the summer.
Good luck with the finals Catherine. And I'll even root for the Cavs. Mainly because I hate Tim Duncan from the years of him killing my Maryland Terps in college.
-Jeremy *** Edited 6/5/2007 2:46:25 PM UTC by kirkout321***
I have to agree with Jeff's comment about the Comet crew - flat out horrible. But I disagree with his comment about the Great Bear crew. Maybe it was just timing but the crew I saw was moving really slow. They just did not care.
I spent most of my laps on the Lightning side and I was really impressed with it. The left turn out of the tunnel, the small bunny hop followed by the hard right turn was awesome at night.
I do have one question - why did every coaster take so long to open the gates? The operators did not open them until everyone was off of the ride and onto the exit ramp. That really slows things down.
Comet is a different beast in front and back...back whips you over every hill and feels terrifically out of control for such a straightforward hill pattern, while the front is smooth and airy.
I believe that Thunder is the green coaster on Lightning Racer, and was much smoother and airier. Lightning seemed rough, and that was slowing the train down somehow.
Great Bear is probably my favorite suspended coaster: Short, intense, and over the water with great use of the terrain.
I was thinking about hitting the park earlier, but the idea of a 14 hour day in that heat convinced me otherwise. Love that GB helix!
There are a lot of parks that won't open the gates quickly, for no reason I can really think of.
Indiana Beach is a part of this list as well. They don't open the gates on Cornball or Hurricane until everyone is off and going out the exit. Maybe it is to prevent people sneaking re-rides?
The Boardwalk was closed off while we were just getting off of Roller Soaker's 2 hour line, and people were told that it was due to inclement weather. Considering the bad thunderstorm and flooding from Friday afternoon, I can't say I blame them.
The heat and humidity (and the hills!) got to us, and we managed 6 laps on LR and 2 laps on Wildcat before we were done. It was nice meeting everyone, and it was good to see Jeff again after missing him at last year's Dorney event and having been at the first Beastbuzz. We might come next year if Hershey wants us back, despite the long trip from Long Island, otherwise we'll go during the week to avoid the crowds.
I know how much fun we had at Kings Island for Beastbuzz, and will definately make sure that I am able to make it to Chocolate Buzz next year. ERT on LR & WC is decent enough. Maybe SR will be included next Chocolate Buzz. Glad everyone had a good time. Hope to see you there next year.
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