I was on the fence about making this trip literally until after I had gotten dressed this morning. I live near Syracuse, NY so Coney Island is a 270+ mile drive each way. Add in the temperature and the likelihood it would be windy and mix in having to drive through NYC and it was a tough call. But I had never been there before and I won’t be able to do the ACE Preservation Conference in August because my brother didn’t consult with me before deciding to get married that weekend out in Washington (the state not DC). In the end my desire to ride the Cyclone won out over all else and at 6:45 AM (!!!) I hit the road. I made good time to NYC and was in the city at about 10:30 AM but, having never driven there before I proceeded to get off course (I wasn’t lost – I knew I was in NYC!) 4 different times and finally got to Coney Island at 11:40 AM. They were giving a free ride on the Cyclone to the first 100 guests in line, but I was about 5 minutes too late.
After taking care of business (it WAS a long drive), I proceeded to the ACE table and paid for my wristband. It was a pretty sweet deal – for $11 the wristband got me 4 rides on the Cyclone and unlimited rides on all other Astroland rides. I naturally went straight to the line for the Cyclone, which still hadn’t opened yet. The temperature was around 50 and it was breezy, but I had my coat. I should note that I made the trip by myself as I often do as none of my friends are into coasters. I don’t mind going alone as I usually end up having very nice conversations with the people around me in the lines. I am very much a front seat rider so when I got into the station I waited for the front seat (this turned out to be a good decision because they weren’t allowing anyone to re-ride using the wristband). I was suitably impressed. While I probably wouldn’t put it in my top 10 list, it packs a pretty good punch for its size and age.
When I got off the ride I decided to get something to eat since it was now approaching 1PM and I hadn’t eaten anything since about 6:30 AM. I got some overpriced, overcooked fried chicken from the food stand on the boardwalk and felt better. I thought I should check out their other rides at this point and this is where I made my first mistake. Walking back through I saw the Breakdance ride. I had heard of these before but never actually seen one, so I decided to ride it. I probably should have watched it run at least once first. Now, I am not one of those enthusiasts that goes to a park and will only ride coasters. I like to try a wide variety of rides. I have no problem with going fast and have yet to reach a limit on being turned upside down, but there are two things that do bother me. One is going backwards – I can’t even sit facing backwards on a bus or train. The second is spinning clockwise (counter-clockwise doesn’t seem to affect me at all – must be a left-handed thing).
I got on the Breakdance and the operator said that if anyone wants to get off they just have to raise one arm and the ride will be stopped. That should have set off a red flag in my head. They started the ride and at first it was quite fun. After about a minute they slowed it down and asked if anyone wanted off. I figured that meant the ride was half over and determined that I could tough it out for the second half, so I said nothing. They started it back up, only this time it went considerably faster. When they slowed it down again I was so happy that it was over that by the time I realized the operator had said they were giving us a few seconds to rest before the final spin they already had it spinning again. I swear it went even faster the third time! Finally it stopped. Getting off of the ride I must have looked like one of the peeps from Rollercoaster Tycoon just before they barf all over one of my paths. I found a place to sit for a few minutes while my stomach told me what an idiot it thought I was.
Once my stomach had stopped yelling and was merely off sulking in a corner, I got up and decided to try something a little tamer. I picked Dante’s Inferno. It was a good choice. It’s a nice classic dark ride – not really scary, just relaxing and entertaining.
At this point I decided I was ready for another ride on the Cyclone. This is where I made my second mistake. As I said before I am a front seat rider, but I acknowledge that some coasters do provide a better ride in other seats, so I usually do my second ride on a coaster in the back seat. Holy crap! That thing threw me around like a dog with its favorite chew toy. Given that I’m 6 feet tall and 240 pounds, that’s saying something. I will be surprised if there isn’t a bruise on my thigh tomorrow. It was so bad that the young girl in the seat in front of me actually asked me if I was OK halfway through the ride (I lied and said yes). I definitely won’t do that again.
Now I needed another break. I decided to ride the Astrotower. Good choice, nice sedate observation tower ride with a spectacular view. Unfortunately my digital camera decided it didn’t feel like working when I got there, so I couldn’t take any pictures at all. More annoyingly, when I got home I turned on the camera, pointed it at the cat and it took a picture. I almost threw it at the wall.
I was once again ready for the Cyclone. This time I sat in the back seat of the first car. It was much better but still a little rough for my taste. For those that don’t know the trains on the Cyclone have three cars that each have four seats. I still had one ride left on my wristband so I got right back in line. For the last ride I decided to try one of the middle seats on the first car as the middle seats usually provide the smoothest ride. That turned out to be the case and my fourth (and final) ride of the day was quite enjoyable.
I wandered over to check out Deno’s Wonder Wheel and really wanted to ride it but my stomach refused to get on the ride with me so I decided it was time to go home. So I drove roughly 550 miles round trip to ride the Cyclone 4 times and get in one ride each on Dante’s Inferno, Breakdance, and Astrotower. Would I make the trip again? Absolutely. Will I ever ride a Breakdance again anywhere? Absolutely not.
CoasterGeff *** Edited 4/2/2007 4:54:54 AM UTC by CoasterGeff***
Thanks for the story.
Thier Top spin (I'm guessing) is similar. Great ADventures has one or two inversions tops. My dad and I were eating Nathans hot dogs on the street and I stoped counting after tweny inversions.
Astroland has a reputation of having expensive non-pop rides on weekends, but giving you your moneys- worth.
I was on thier music express ride and I swear I paid 3 bucks for it, but got a 20 minute ride..fowards, backwards, and then fowards again.
The wonder wheel is not a stomach turner by any streatch of the imagination. I think even in a swinging car, you only get two laps around. Very expensive, but an impressive one-of-a-kind ride.
Ironically, I love almost all rides...but the Breakdance rides gets me as well...
So eventually the ride slowed down and the op asked if anyone wanted off. All the kids on the ride shouted "No!!!" We really wanted off, but didn't want to annoy anyone, so we stuck it out for another insane round of spinnage. We took a walk after that and never really recovered before leaving after only about two hours.
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