Classic Coaster Trip Part I

Associated parks:

Tuesday, June 25, 2002 7:56 AM

Although I've been a part of CoasterBuzz for several years, this is my first actual Trip Report. After years of talking about it, three years ago I started pursuing my dream of doing as many coasters as I could, and having a job that travels, I've been able to make that pipe dream a reality.

Since then, we've done Midwest trips, California trips, Northeast Trips, even some European jaunts. But this latest was really special. My coaster trip comrade (also named Jason) and I decided to catch as many classic rides as possible in four days, with a few newer favorites thrown in. Here's the not too longwinded overview:

I left Florida early last Wed (6/19) & flew to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, where Jason II was waiting with the rental car. We headed north to Rye Playland, so we could finally experience the Dragon Coaster. We had wanted to do it again & again, but usually dropped it when time ran short on a trip. We got there very quickly, paid our parking fee and started dodging the seemingly 10,000 kids there for a field trip. We got tickets and got in line. Although we were nearly the ONLY ones in line over 12, we didn't really care, for we were on a mission. We rode the Dragon, a mild but entertaining throwback to days gone by, watching the load process, taking in the station details and trying to imagine this park in it's heyday. We next took spins on the other minor coasters, and then headed for the highway, for we had other states to get to.

Our next goal was Dorney Park by 5pm. Although we had both visited before, we wanted to experience Talon and re-ride other Dorney favorites. For the trip I had purchased Jim Futrell's new book "Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania" and I read aloud the chapter pertaining to each upcoming park so we were well-versed in the history . This made the trip all the more interesting, knowing the changes and behind the scenes troubles and triumphs of each park.

We got the after 5 discounted admission tickets and headed straight for Talon. The sky was overcast and the park was only moderately busy, so we quickly got to do multiple circuits on Talon, a great B & M inverted that held it's own against others in its class. We then did Hercules (which is still braked beyond belief a la Mean Streak), plus a much wilder ride on the classic Thunderhawk and then multiple repeat rides on Steel Force, a coaster that doesn't get much buzz these days but still packs a punch!

Since the park was slow and and lines were non-existent we decided to change our original plan and head on to the Pittsburgh area that evening rather than wait until morning. We did 4 more circuits on Talon then headed west to Pittsburgh.

Thursday morning we arrived at the Kennywood gates by 10:15, knowing that they'd let us in by 10:30a.m. This would be our third tip to Kennywood, but the first for Phantom's Revenge. We went inside and got in line for Phantom's Revenge, a coaster we had skipped last season due to the long lines. It was worth the wait, retaining the best elements of Steel Phantom yet adding great swoops and curves (plus ample airtime) for the new sections. We rode again & again, due to non-existent lines. We then zipped over to Exterminator, an old favorite of ours and line-less. We rode three times (this ride always makes me laugh) and then stopped to watch the workmen repainting and rebuilding the Whip.

We then did multiple circuits on Thunderbolt, switching seats each time, then on to four rides on Racer and one on the classic Jack Rabbit. It was at this moment that I realized we had just done a backwards chronology of Kennywood's coaster line up, starting with the newest and ending with the oldest. Before leaving we did two more circuits on Phantom's Revenge and one on Thunderbolt.

We then headed north for Conneaut Lake Park, a new destination for both of us. We walked the grounds and bought tickets for Blue Streak. It proved to be an amazing ride, with a fierceness and verocity that was exhilirating. We rode again and again, then checked out the other nearby attraction's such as the Devil's Den. Great little place to see, especially knowing it's troubled recent history. Everyone should support this park as best they can.

It was now 5 O'Clock, and knowing that Waldemeer was closing at 7pm and Six Flags Darien Lake would be closing for a private event we decided to head up to see Niagra Falls and have dinner on the Canada side (something we had never done). As we crossed Grand Island Jason spotted Martin's Fantasy Island and the Silver Comet running its course. Since we had only researched Pennsylvania and New Jersey for this trip, neither of us had realized where Martin's was, so this came as a roadside surprise! We pulled off and drove as fast as possible to the ticket window. It was 7pm and the park was only open till 8:30pm, but tickets after 5pm were only 6.95 and the park was deserted. We ran inside and got 15+ circuits on the coaster plus rides on the other two coasters. It was a well spent 7.00 indeed. The Silver Comet is a great coaster, very similar in look and feel to Villain! We then headed for Niagra Falls to see the sights and have dinner on the Canadian side.

As Day Two ended, we pulled out the maps to plot Days 3 & 4...Since we had deviated from the plan, we now were forced with many, many choices... to be continued...

"You have to scale a lot of lift hills to coast easily..."


*** This post was edited by FloridaFlyer on 6/25/2002. ***

Tuesday, June 25, 2002 2:17 PM

Great TR! Its nice to see another enthusiast visiting this historical park. By any chance, did you see if vertical construction has begun on the spinning wild mouse?

Late May, the area was like this:

Picture 1 , Picture 2 , Picture 3

Tuesday, June 25, 2002 4:28 PM
Great TR FF! Belmont Babe and I were wondering what had happened to you. PA is where we grew up. Let us know when you're back on the West Coast.

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