Coney Island Opening Day - 4/14/03

Associated parks:

What can I say – this was probably the best weather I’ve experienced on opening day in some time. Mid 60’s, Sunny – not a cloud in the sky. With my current work load, it was a much needed break. Dave ‘Flare’ Fraser and I arrived a little before noon, got our wristbands, and very shortly we were on the beloved Cyclone for the first time this year.

Something has to be said for opening day at Coney: the smell of freshly greased track, the freshly painted 4 bench train with its new padding and vinyl coverings, the climb up the crooked lift – it’s all very special to me. The Cyclone was in very good form for opening day – I’d give it a 9 out of 10 for opening day and it was running very smoothly. It was odd to see the decapitated Parachute drop and the dismantling of the Jumbo Jet in the distance.

Crowds were decent all day – a nice mix of locals and tourists alike. We joined on this day by Kyle Mackey, Jenna, Melissa, Phil, Adam Revesz, Mark Rosenzwieg, and later Alec and Tracy. We took three rides on the Cyclone and then decided to walk around a bit. Almost every attraction and stand were open with the exception of the freak show, many times on opening only half the attractions will be open. We wandered down Surf Avenue and then cut up to the boardwalk by the Thunderbolt site and towards the parachute drop. While it doesn’t look like a lot of work has been done on the bottom portion of the drop that’s still standing. There were many large pieces that had been completed sitting next to it – I have to say they are absolutely gorgeous and it’s going to look incredible when finished (operational or not). There are large tented areas where I’m guessing they are doing most of the work (evidently there’s a lot of lead paint that needs to be removed).

We walked along the boardwalk back towards Astroland – noted that there is a lot of LARGE pieces of steel on pallets located next to the new minature golf that opened last year. I would guess this would be for a building rather than a ride, but who knows. It’s always better that something is going up at Coney rather than coming down.

Further down the boardwalk and back for it’s second year – yes, it’s ‘Shoot The Freak’ – you pay $3 for a loaded paint gun and you try to shoot the freak who is running around a bunch of garbage. The freak is located at a former building site next to the Nathan’s on the boardwalk, and is set back below the boardwalk level. Dave decided to give at a go and got him at least 5 times (twice in the head). Not sure if Six Flags will co-opt this one – I think it’s a Coney original.

Back in Astroland, did their bumper cars – while not on their maximum speed - still a lot of fun. I knocked out Dante’s Inferno while other Break Dance’d. You know you’re at Coney when you see the art work on the exterior of Dante’s – again only at Coney.

We knocked out the Wonder Wheel, we was one of the longest rides I’ve had on it. We could see clearly from above the dismantling of the Jumbo Jet. There’s not a whole lot of space there, but the Kaufmans (who own the land) do own quite a bit of property right there (go karts, batting cages, bumper boats, and mini golf. So potentially, something midsize could easily go there. I am truly hoping for another coaster – I heard whispers that something will be on the site by July.

At this point, hunger pains were setting in so we headed over to Nathan’s, but not before a quick spin on the B&B Carousel. Mind you, I’ve yet to make it to Santa Cruz, but for now this is my favorite carousel. It’s one the fastest ones I’ve ever been on, if they sped it up any more it would almost qualify as a derby racer. I’ve learned recently that the majority of the ride came from the Steeplechase carousel.

Onto Nathan’s, for the usual dog and a beer – mmm mmm good. And then back to the Cyclone for a mini-marathon. My last ride of the day in the back seat the Adam – painful but very satisfying. We hung out on the beach for a little and then all paraded Dave over to the Zipper. I’ve never been on a Zipper nor have I any desire, but Dave loves this thing. And thankfully and frighteningly, the CI Zipper allows single riders – something I don’t think you can find anywhere else (please correct me if I’m wrong). The ride ops gave him a good 2 minute cycle forwards, and then 2 minutes backwards – when it sped up in the backwards mode, we watched in awe as Dave must have done 15 incredibly fast flips in a row.

The day was coming to an end and we got our final spinal readjustment on the El Dorado Auto Skooters – unfortunately the ‘Bump bump bump your ass off’ auto spiel was not operational today. The ride was fun and violent as always. One last spin on the Carousel and we called it a day.

Thanks to all that made it such a wonderful opening day.

Up next Knoebels and Dorney first weekend of May!

All the best,Jim ‘jimvid’ McDonnell
*** This post was edited by jimvid 4/14/2003 11:50:50 AM ***

Mamoosh's avatar
Great TR, Jim!

I totally felt like I was there while reading it and wish I could have seen Dave's Zipper ride - or better yet been on it, too ;) You're right, it is the only Zipper that does not follow Chance Ride's operation manual that *strongly* discourages single riders.

I cant' wait to get a taste on Coney this June!


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