Conquering Kennywood

Associated parks:

'What's that smell?' ;)

Starring: TeknoScorpion & loriu

One of my favorite parks. It has my favorite coaster, great food, and is reasonably close. But my only visit thus far that been in October of 2003, during Phantom Fright Nites, and only for 3 hours, so I had only had a chance to ride Phantom (with a huge line), Thunderbolt, Jackrabbit, and both sides of Racer. I’ve been wanting (needing) to get back ever since.

So when I got 4 days off due to a state holiday, I took advantage of it. I worked Sunday nite, got home just after 7am, and tried to take a nap. My brother and sister sent their kids down here for the week, which was another bonus reason for me to leave. Since they were coming down here, I went up to where they live to visit my family there. So I left that evening and headed to my grandmother’s home in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, where I lived for quite some time.

The five hour trip was done around 10pm, and so was I. The next morning I woke up early, went for breakfast and to visit some friends, then to visit more friends at a restaurant I used to work at for lunch, then back for a nap. That evening, among other things, we met up with friends of ours for basketball and tennis. I wanted to sleep till 7am the next morning, but because my sleeping schedule was out of whack, I was up at 6am instead, so I decided to go ahead and leave, getting out of town around 7.

The trip to Kennywood was around 3 hours. My morning didn’t go so well. Aside from ATM card problems, and only having a limited amount of cash on my person, it stormed the entire way to Morgantown. I almost had an accident at an intersection as well. Around 9am I was almost in Morgantown, so I called Lori to make final meeting arrangements. Then, once I passed by Eighty Four (they have really weird names in PA, like Eighty Four, Laboratory), I called again so she would know to leave. The park opens at 10:30, but the rides don’t start till 11.

I got to the park and parked up in the free parking area (since I was early, I didn’t park too far from the pay parking), and headed to the beautiful new front gate to wait on Lori. The day turned out to be very nice in Pittsburgh, sunny and hot. The new entrance really goes well with the park. It looks like it has been there forever, and the fountain with the carousel horse was a nice touch. Around 11:30, I spotted Lori. We exchanged pleasantries, I apologized for not wearing a billboard for another park on my shirt ( ), and we went into the park.

Seeing Kennywood in the daylight was much different. After we emerged from the tunnel, we headed to our left. Both of us needed a bathroom break, and some water to take various motion sickness and pain pills. Lori and Co. had just spent a day at Kennywood not much earlier with HomeyG and his (much) better half, so Lori was all for whatever I wanted to do. Let’s see, we’re in Kennywood, walking to the left, what is there to do? Oh, yeah, Phantom!

Phantom’s Revenge- The wait wasn’t very long all day. We went directly to the back car, and waited maybe 15 minutes. They hadn’t yet added the second train, but it was on the transfer right beside the final brake run, and ready to be added later. Once we were finally on board, I was slightly nervous going up the lift hill. Would Phantom live up to the hype I had after my last (and only) ride? Would it still be my number 1? The first drop was better than I remembered. Since I wasn’t anticipointed with it this time, I was able to enjoy it. Then up and over the big one. Not quite as shocking this time since I knew what was coming, but amazing none the less. Yep, still my #1, but now for totally different reasons. I remember the second half being out of control, but not like this! That bunny hop after the midway turnaround yanks me up outta my seat and over. That, followed by a double down? Simply amazing. Even the ending was ultra sweet.

So that was a great way to start off the day. There is a reason that Lori prefers the back. I’m just glad she took me along with her. I won’t be able to tell you exactly how we did everything because I was honestly having too much fun to remember exactly what order we did it, but I’ll still cover everything (would you expect any less?).

We walked over by Thunderbolt, but with one train running, the line was too long to wait for right now. Instead, I mentioned that I need the Exterminator credit, so we rushed over to Old Kennywood before the line for the mouse got too long.

Exterminator- Most mice still scare me, because I don’t like that feeling of almost going over the edge around the curves. Exterminator didn’t scare me, since you’re in a building. The ride is a lot of fun, though, because you get so disoriented in the dark. The themeing, while not the absolute best ever is still descent and just being in the dark on a spinny mouse is fun. We didn’t spin a lot, but it was enough for the both of us. Definitely worth a ride, but not a long wait.

Since we were there, we decided to go ahead and do Pitt Fall. I’m very afraid of heights, and Intamin Drop Towers scare me to death. I really didn’t want to, but I didn’t want to skip it either, so now was as good a time as ever.

Pitt Fall- It was really, really good! I wasn’t so bad on this one, don’t know why, even if I was terrified at the top. I didn’t like the clanking noise it made, but the ride its self was fantastic. I would have done it more during the day, but we never got back around to it.

We walked back over by Thunderbolt, but the line was still long, and they hadn’t added the second train yet. We walked by Gold Rusher, which had no line. I love dark rides, so Lori said we should go ahead and ride.

Gold Rusher- What a funky little dark ride. Kinda reminds me of the mine ride at Knott’s, but with a ‘spooky’ theme. It was fun, and a nice rest from the heat. Later in the day, the line grew significantly.

As we walked thru the park, we walked by Auto Race, the only one left in the world. Lori said we needed to ride, so who was I to dispute a Kennywood expert.

Auto Race- This was an interesting old ride. Hand slapping between Lori, who was a car in front of me, was fun. The ride wasn’t really a thrill, but was definitely fun and interesting. And any time you can ride a one of a kind ride, that makes it even more interesting, knowing that so many people don’t know this kind of ride even exists.

We then walked over by Log Jammer, which hadn’t opened yet. Then we walked over towards Racer. I’m not a huge Racer fan, so I said I’d rather get in line for Jackrabbit first. I know some people have not been happy with Jackrabbit’s new logo, but I thought it was funky and funny. The line was around between Jackrabbit’s first drop and the building beside it. We may have waited 20 minutes with two train op.

Jackrabbit- Even with the new seatbelts, this ride is still just as good as ever. They don’t tighten the seatbelts at all, so it is much like riding it with just the leather strap. Some people have complained, but there was no change to this ride. The first drop is still great. The first time we rode, the double dip scared both me and Lori, as we both came out of our seat, but I went just a bit higher than Lori. I’ll never hold my hands up on that double down again. Even knowing how it was the last time, I wasn’t expecting it. Still a great old woodie.

The line for Racer was the normal length. We figured we’d better stop now, since they line was sure to be about the same for the entire day. I think we may have waited 20 min. once again.

Racer- We rode the back of the red train on the right side facing into the station. Wow, these trains look like they just rolled off the production line! PTC did a great job of ‘refurbing’ them. The ride was good, with a shot or 2 of airtime. But I still just don’t ‘get’ Racer. I don’t dislike it, but it really isn’t my favorite coaster, much less at Kennywood because they have such good rides. Oh well, 4 out of 5 great adult coasters isn’t bad.

Thunderbolt finally added its second train, so now was a good time to get in line. My only complaint is that the queue doesn’t have any covering, but the wait wasn’t long.

Thunderbolt- We sat in the back seat (of course). As good as Thunderbolt was on my first visit, nothing could compare to this…yet. Thunderbolt was running wild, with a great drop out of the station. Thankfully, Lori got in first; otherwise she would have gotten flattened in the helix. This thing was running great. But this wouldn’t come close to what we got later.

At this point, Lori and I were both hungry, so we rolled on over by the Potato Patch. The line was long, so we skipped by and went to the other Potato Patch in Lost Kennywood. There was a line there as well, but not for very long, so Lori ordered some fries with Xtra cheese, and I got Chicken strips and fries with cheese. They were hot out of the grease, but very good. So we sat at the bottom of Phantom’s first drop for a long while, eating and talking about loads of things (maybe even you).

The park was fairly crowded, and some lines were fairly long. Kangaroo was fairly long, Swing Around was fairly long, quite a few others as well. Phantom had stopped on the lift when we were heading over to Lost Kennywood, but they got it running again, so we jumped in line for another go. This was just as good. I really love Phantom. I won’t do a rundown for each ride because each one was really great. We sat in the back each time. Once, the kid in front of us left his hat on, which blew off going down the second drop.

I think we did Noah’s Ark after Phantom this time. The line wasn’t too bad. I love dark rides, esp. walk through attractions. And this was something else rare, only 2 more in existence? You know I’m gonna ride.

Noah’s Ark- Yes, the horn is annoying (HomeyG, we thought of you). This ride seems smaller than it is. The ‘elevator’ wasn’t working, but the rest of the ride was interesting, esp. the rocking back and forth in the ark. I wish there were more of these around, it really is fun, and a nice break from the norm and heat. I didn’t quite get the last room, but it was all still fun enough for at least once each trip.

I would have loved to have ridden King Kahuna, but it really does drench the riders, and since I didn’t stay till the evening, when Lori said they turn the water down, I didn’t get too. I don’t mind, though, since I did the Top Spin at Knott’s with water effects (that were turned down). Volcano looks really cool as well, but even with Ginger pills, I didn’t feel quite up to it. So we went to the Merry-Go-Round.

Merry-Go-Round- I haven’t done one in years. I love them, but usually forget to ride when I’m at a park. The paint job looks amazing, they just finished recently I’m told. Even the blue leather (?) on the benches (which I sat on) was in good condition. You get a good cycle, and this thing really is classic. Another shot of nostalgia for us.

We walked over and took a spin on the train, which is something I’ve been doing at parks in the last year or so. This one was a bit different, but still fun and a great break from the heat. Then we went to see what the line for Log Jammer looked like, but it was way too long after they opened it. All of the water rides had a decent line, and I didn’t feel like waiting that long to get drenched on the rapids and Shoot-the-Chute.

We walked thru the park some more. I wanted cheese on a stick, but we couldn’t find any. Lori said she thought they stopped with cheese on a stick, but I noticed they do have it at one place in the park once I looked at my park map after I got home. Oh well, next time. We headed over to the Old Mill to ride Garfield’s Nightmare. I didn’t get to do the Old Mill on my last visit, so I was looking forward to this. The line was decent, but you’re in shade most of the time.

Garfield’s Nightmare 3D- The 3D effects were okay, but the paint was more fun than the cutouts. The ride was cute, quirky, and fun. We managed to get our own boat. Since there were only 2 of us, we caught up to the boat in front of us. The ride is fun, and another dark ride was ridden.

Swing Around was closed when we walked by a few minutes before. We stopped for another shot of Jack Rabbit, then the other side of Racer. We also took another spin on Thunderbolt and Phantom. When we walked back by Swing Around, we waited near there drinking water while they opened it back up, so we hopped on.

Swing Around- I think I may have been on one of these at a fair once. But this was different as being on top of the building. The forces when you swing low are really intense, and the feeling at the top of the swing make my stomach feel all funky and happy. The cycle was pretty long. In fact, they give a long cycle on all of the flats we rode.

We headed back over to Lost Kennywood once again, stopping for our final Phantom ride of the day along the way. I don’t think I could ever get tired of this coaster. Supes in New England and Expedition G-Force are both going to have to be stellar coasters if they hope to break this out of my #1 spot. Phantom is short, not too short, but in the amount of time you’re on the ride, it really packs a punch. I was so afraid I’d have to re-evaluate it’s ranking after having rode almost 3 times the amount of coasters I had under my belt during my first Phantom ride, but it still stays put firmly at #1. Finally, when we walked by Kangeroo, it had a smaller line. This looked insane.

Kangeroo- What a great old flat! Why aren't there many more of these? I nice pop of air on top of the hill really made this ride stand out. Slightly less tame, really, really fun, and I'd like one of this out front in the yard, please :).

After that, we went over and walked around Lost Kennywood some more. I have been wanting to try a whip for the longest time, and today was the day. The line had shortened from our last traipse through this section of the park, so we hopped in line.

The Whip- What a cool old ride. This was another exciting ride that you just don’t see any longer. You really do whip around the corners, and the ride cycle was quite long. The breeze made it even better, esp. since this whip no longer has a cover. Now I see what all the fuss is about.

I believe that was our last official ride of the day. I could be wrong, but either way, it was a nice way to end it. We walked around a little more. Lori was hungry as was I, so I stopped for a pretzel, and she went over to Pedro’s where she got a taco salad that she couldn’t even finish because it was so large. Even though we rode quite a bit, Lori and I spent a large portion of the day just hanging around, sitting and talking, or walking and talking. This time we sat and watched King Kahuna some more.

There were a few other flats I would have rode, but I told Lori that I would be leaving at 7pm, and it had quickly gotten closer to 7. We walked around for another Phantom ride, but the line was longer than I wanted to wait, so we headed out of the park. All in all, I had a really great time. Kennywood is just that type of park that you can hang out at, not even spend the whole day riding, and still have a great time. What would I change about Kennywood? I’d make it closer, and that is it.

I really had a nice time finally meeting and hanging with Lori, even if the rest of the U’s didn’t get to show up. I’m thankful Lori tagged along, and acted as my guide, I just hope I didn’t bore her too much . I will be back to Kennywood, sooner rather than later. Now I know where to get cheese on a stick, so I’m sure I’ll make a day of eating.

After getting out of Pittsburgh, I headed south on I-79. I got to Morgantown and got gas. Then got to Clarksburg as it was getting dark. I called mom to let her know where I was and that I’d probably be stopping somewhere to rest along the way as I was sleepy from the different schedule (again, I’m a nite shift guy). I finally stopped in Weston at Sheetz for a little while, but after waking back up and driving for just a few miles, I was still in no condition to drive, and thankfully passed a sign stating there was a rest stop just ahead. I pulled off and slept till 5am. The next morning, I woke up and headed home for my own bed. Another trip down, and one more credit. Next stop? Dollywood.

Amen Bring back the whip. I did an enclosed one at Dorney what an experience for me.

I am young and may never see many of these but the age really doesnt show on these things.

Resident Arrow Dynamics Whore

I'll tell you, The whip is one of a kind. Kennywood is a great family park. Chippewea would look similar if it were open today...thats why I liked to see Kennywood and see it in succesful operation, they had some rides I don't see here in Ohio such as teh whip, auto race, the turtle (not sure on that title there), oh and there was another.... but Its a great place to go and enjoy yourself!
Great TR! Responses in order:

Sorry I didn't make it out man, but that 5-page paper would have sucked, those cases were horrible this week. Let me know next time you're headed up though!

Geez, how could you NOT remember the 2nd half! Too bad you never got to ride the old Phantom, although you probably would have hated it like the "normal" folks (not me ;) )

Yea, Pitt Fall's awesome, those Intamin drops kick S&S drops all over the park and back again. And having ridden Mr Hyde at GL less than 3 hours ago, those 1st gens kick the 2nds all over the place for sheer "is this thing gonna fall apart?" terror! Woot for drop rides!

I still think they could fit some sort of Spiderman IoA like ride in the Gold Rusher building, especially if they reconstructed the old Le Chalot building in that green area. I think it'd be a much better ride than what's there now.

Chicken and fries at Small Frys (I think that's what it's called) is the best food in Kennywood! I get it every time - gotta love that seasoning salt.

Should have seen Noah when it wasn't an overhyped Hollywood production ... not that I'm bitter or anything.

Swing Around and Kangaroo are two of my favorite flats anywhere! Only those frisbee and knock-off frisbees top 'em in my book. You're right, Swing Around's location does make all the difference, but you should ah ... cherish those memories of it's current locale ...

The Whip was better when the roof was on it, but the microburst that hit Kennywood about 3 or 4 years ago took out the roof and since some lady was unfortunately crushed by the debris, they never rebuilt the roof. Honestly, I've ridden the Whip once since and it was "meh" without the roof in my opinion. Maybe I'm just bitter (again).

Glad to see you made it up man! Kennywood's flats are one of a kind, but I honestly don't understand why. Kangaroos and large-scale Swing Arounds would make great additions to any mid-sized park, and even some flat-ride-deprived mega parks (ahem SFMM) and they cannot be that hard to manufacture. With all of the fabrication know-how around here, I'm surprised no local company has tried to springboard into that sort of business. I'm sure the patents on those rides have long since expired.

Edit: you also missed the absolute best part of Kennywood ... Kennywood at night. The light package at the park is second to NONE, and I'm not just talking amusement parks, I mean the atmosphere and the time warp you get in Lost Kennywood at about 10pm is simply unreal. If you ever get to experience it, trust me, it'll be burned into your head forever.

*** Edited 6/25/2005 5:01:33 AM UTC by Impulse-ive***

Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)

Impulse-ive said:And having ridden Mr Hyde at GL less than 3 hours ago, those 1st gens kick the 2nds all over the place for sheer "is this thing gonna fall apart?" terror! *

I totaly agree! The first generation Intamin Freefalls are completely awesome! Demon Drop at Cedar Point is my favorite freefall ride, and in my opinion, better than power tower, hellevator, and about the same as Drop Zone. You really think that the thing is going to fall apart! On my last trip to CP I must have ridden Demon Drop over 10 times. I love that ride.

I like disco.
Its okay, Brett. I know that real life comes first. Esp. before you end up taking that plunge.

I love Kennywood, though, and I'm sure I'll be back up again next year, hopefully more than once. I'd like to hit it up again this year, but it just isn't going to happen. Pitt Fall was a lot better than I would have thought, I'm usually too scared to enjoy them. I wish I would have been able to ride the turtle, but I completely forgot.

Okay, first off, it's "Lost Kennywood", not "Old". No biggie there. Secondly, how DARE you call the horn on Noahs Ark annoying. You can hear it throughout the park, and its something you really remember about Kennywood. Its been there as long as I can remember, and its just something that id be very sad if it ever stopped. Maybe thats just me though. Oh, and Kangaroo is the LAST of its kind remaining, I believe. And yes, its another winner at Kennywood. I never really realised it until recently, but there's really no other park id want to visit if I planned on riding flat rides alone, Kennywoods are simply the best.

The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000. Track Record: 89 coasters
Wow, you read my entire trip report and focused on my mistakes? If that is all your going to do, don't read them anylonger. *** Edited 6/26/2005 2:45:35 AM UTC by TeknoScorpion***
Just thought Id clear a few things up. It was a very good trip report, I didnt mean to give you the wrong impression.

The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000. Track Record: 89 coasters
Noah's Arks horn/whistle is the lick. Love it. Hear it for weeks after a visit. And it brings me joy. :)
Lord Gonchar's avatar
Sorry I missed you, Tekno.

I'd have taken 10 minutes at KW over the day at Mall Of America.

Jason, its okay, it just sounded like you were trying to be negative just to be negative. No hard feelings :).

Homey, Me and Lori thought of you every time we heard it. Poor Lori had it blow right in her ear one time when we were walking thru (she was walking right next to the speaker).

Gonch, See what happens when you play 'Dodge Tekno'? ;)

This just totally amps me up for my trip soon. (July 12th). Every year, when I go on the second tuesday in July, everything is just better, and it never stops.

Nice TR, glad to hear everything is great.

- Josh, who still remembers and loves the Noah's Ark with the whale.

When you give, you begin to live... - Dave Matthews
kpjb's avatar

TeknoScorpion said:
Poor Lori had it blow right in her ear one time when we were walking thru (she was walking right next to the speaker).

That ain't no speaker.

It's an actual whistle with a couple valves that make it toot the two different tones.

Lori, are you sure it was the whistle that was blowing in your ear? After the whole "CB Thong" incident, maybe it was just a stalker. (On a side note, I refuse to say where I was lurking, er, working that day. ;) )

*** Edited 6/26/2005 4:28:35 AM UTC by kpjb***


I'm sure we saw you lurking around at some point. Do you have this agreement with lori that if she is with someone you don't know that you won't come up and say hi for anonimity(sp?)'s sake? ;)

It's cool to know that it is an acutal whistle. Everything about Kennywood is just so cool with the old stuff being kept up and all.

To bad their maintainance people suck ;).

Robocoaster's avatar
I’ll never hold my hands up on that double down again...
LOL, my thoughts exactly, Clint!:) Another reason I'm enamored of John Miller creations (see tribute thread).

I'm glad you got to know KW a little better Tekno. A return visit for me is long past due.

They Live. We Sleep.

I bet Teckno was lurking somewhere in Kennywood.... Are you a regular visitor Tekno? ;)
Wish I was...It was a fun park! *** Edited 6/27/2005 3:30:15 AM UTC by Dominator56***
LOL kpjb, maybe it was you whistling in my ear, since you were lurking and all. We passed by quite a few maint. guys throughout the day, but never saw you.

Thunderbolt is running awesome this year, btw.

What do you guys think, is Kennywood the best park in the country as far as giving the best "all around" experience? This includes: family rides, kids rides, great atmosphere, great food, great traditional rides, great classic rides, and great thrill rides. What do you think? Best park in the country if you're looking for all that? I think so. Whats your opinion?


After going there last Sunday, and already planning a 2nd visit in about a month, I totally agree with you Jeff Reim :)

SPLASHIN'AROUND Featuring SeaWorldOhioMemories 2007 visits - IX Indoor Amusement Park then Waldameer

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