Darien Lake - 06/06/08 - Not Good...

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We were leaving Hershey on Friday morning after a 4 park trip, and decided that we had an extra day, and on our way back to Toronto, we'd stop in at Darien Lake before crossing the border. Thankfully it wasn't out of our way on the drive back, because this is what we were greeted with:


Approaching the park we found it was extrememely busy, and as it turned out Tim McGraw was playing a concert there that night. The parking lot was close to full at about 4pm in the afternoon.

When we got up to the gates and saw the sign in the picture above, I was really disappointed. Darien Lake doesn't really have a great line up of rides, and with that many listed as down was terrible. I went to guest services to ask if the sign was up to date, and was even more shocked to find out that there was even more down in the park than what was on that list. At that moment all the following were closed:

  • Ride of Steel
  • Predator
  • Motocoaster
  • Mind Eraser
  • Twister
  • Only one waterslide in the waterpark was open

When I asked about what was going on, and if someone should spend $30 to get into a park where more than half the major attractions were closed, the girl only responded by saying that in 30 minutes the starlight ticket would be available for $19.

It was disappointing to say the least, but I'm not an idiot, I wasn't paying to ride a Boomerang and an Arrow Looper. We got back in the car and headed on. Ended up spending the night in Niagara Falls at Great Wolf Lodge which more than made up for the bad experience at Darien Lake.

The biggest disappointment to me was that the park was pulling in a huge crowd with Tim McGraw and to have so much of the park down had to be leaving guests with a bad taste in thier mouths. Here's a park that is trying to re-build it's market, and this isn't a strong way to do that. *** Edited 6/10/2008 2:12:07 PM UTC by PCWCoasterBoy*** *** Edited 6/10/2008 2:14:59 PM UTC by PCWCoasterBoy***

Wow, that is really disappointing. I had been thinking of taking my daughter up there sometime this summer, but on the basis of this TR I may very well have to reconsider.

Ah well, there's always Martin's Fantasy Island. Anybody been up there to see how Silver Comet is running?

My author website: mgrantroberts.com

I was there on Friday from 2PM until 8:30PM. It wasn't as bad as this report makes it sound. First, Motocoaster was closed until four because the OCC guys were there for the unveiling of the OCC Darien Lake theme bike. It reopened around 4PM.

The other rides were down because apparently an electrical storm had gone through early in the morning and screwed up many of the rides. They were working very hard to get them running and by about 6:30PM all of the coasters were open. Ride of Steel was the last coaster they got running because something kept tripping and stopping the ride on the lift hill.

Predator being down must have been a short term thing because it was open when I got there and I didn't see it shut down whenever I walked near that area.

Unfortunately they were not able to get the water park area fixed in time to open it, and I don't believe Twister ever opened.

Given the circumstances I think they did an excellent job getting as many rides fixed as they could.

The only negative for me was that one of the ride ops on Mind Eraser was acting like a spoiled little kid and making the rest of the crew look bad. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed my day there.

Wow... I really wish Guest services has shared that info with us, even a little bit of hope. She made it sound like the park wouldn't be able to open the rides at all.

Given your report, we should have gone in and seen things out for yourself. It's hard to do that when things look so grim from the gate.

Alexx Argen's avatar
I got to the park on mondays when I'm not working at Fantasy Island and for the last 3 weeks most rides are open. A few are closed here and there but I can tell the park is understaffed. I think once the park opens full time and most of the workers are done with school the park will be going good.

Its sad when your best friend asks you the exact running time of a ride. Good thing I didnt know.

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
I finally visited this park a few weeks ago on my road trip for Ravine Flyer II's opening day. I was pleasantly surprised by the park and enjoyed it so much, I went back the next day and acquired yet another season pass in the process (was cheaper than buying another ticket).

I found their coster line-up to be quite good and was blown away by Predator. I am a hardcore fan of wooden roller coasters, especially intense ones, but I heard nothing but terrible reviews of the ride from the last few years, even from friends with similar tastes. So expecting the worst, I rode in the back seat just to see how bad it could be. It wasn't that rough and had tons of "train dropping out from under you" airtime. Wow, way more exciting than my two rides on Ravine Flyer II earlier in the day.

I really enjoyed Viper (the old Arrow looper) and even the boomerang surprised me with a very smooth ride. The SLC was an SLC and Ride of Steel was basically what I expected, having already ridden SFA's mirror image. The Motocoaster was kind of fun, but nothing to write home about.

The park also has a nice collection of flat rides and a beautiful lakeside setting. I look forward to going back, hopefully this season to get some more use out of my pass and power ride Predator.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Haven't been to Darien Lake since before it was a Six Flags park (I know it's not a Six Flags park NOW, but it wasn't when I went either). The park was beautiful then even with only two coasters (I missed Mind Eraser by a year, I think). Sucks that they didn't have a better idea of what they were going to do with all the rides, but I wonder if it's going to be harder to be maintaining the park without all the Six Flags funding behind them. This park may be on its last legs...sad, really.

I don't remember Predator being that rough,but again, I was there years and years ago. I liked it much better than Comet or Thunderhawk (the Dorney one, not the new Thunderhawk). For a while, I even liked Predator better than the Viper, which is almost unheard of for me to say when there's a wood versus steel comparison.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Alexx Argen's avatar
Bunky666 I would say that 2 years ago that the park was on its last legs with Mr.Six taking all their profit and cutting hours and operations at the park. At least now With Parc the park is having some nice changes and I see the head honchos out around and even being friendly. I believe in a fiew years the park will be very top notch. (yes i sound like a DL fan-boy but isn't a fan-boy for their home park)

Its sad when your best friend asks you the exact running time of a ride. Good thing I didnt know.

I'm probably just all gloom and doom. :) I loved Darien Lake even with it being a smaller park, and I hope it continues to thrive. I hope to get back up there (I'm from Allentown--Dorney Park home park woo hoo!--and that's a fairly large hike to Darien)--and visit again, but it's not a priority at this time. Still, I hope people don't forget about it in favor of the larger, more impersonal parks. Darien has a special something...

Do they still have the Apollo 2000 type ride with the arms that swung out completely parallel to the ground? How about the Enterprise (spinning wheel that went upside down...had cages for ride vehicles) that was tiny compared to Dorney's but thus felt about five times as fast?

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

phoenixphan :-)'s avatar
We had been camping a few times under the Six Flags management. Once was during one of these electrical storms that Darien Lake seems to attract. Same thing was going on that day, with rides down due to lightning strikes, but by the end of the day everything was open.

Now I have been to both "Darien Lake" and "Six Flags Darien Lake". I guess I must be naieve, but I never noticed anything too greatly different in the operation of the park. Plus under SF Ride of Steel was added, as well as some upgrades to the water park. So take it for what it is worth, all in all the park made out better for the time it was under the six flags.

Real men ride wood... coasters that is!
Alexx Argen's avatar
When the park became Six Flags they made some needed and good improvements. But then after that it went down hill. They basically threw in the top spin to boost falling attendance. When they added the 2 new slides to the water park it seemed like every Six Flags park was getting a Tornado (they must have gotten a good deal on them) and the Big Kahuna slide was used from closed AstroWorld. To me they acted like they really cared but they didnt. Like i said every time i have been to the park this year the Vp is out and talking to people and the Higher ups are also around and really are helpful.

Its sad when your best friend asks you the exact running time of a ride. Good thing I didnt know.

Doesn't seem like Six Flags wanted to put in the effort. Like, "eh, we're bored with this place. Let's ditch it." Glad to know the VP is being social. Don't see that too often!

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

I think that they should close DL and put it out of it's misery. I never understand why that park can't keep everything running especially there new moto coaster. I have went there in the past and I won't even go in if ROS isn't running. I always call a head to find out whats running so I don't have to waist gas money to drive out there.
Hey PCWCoasterBoy, do you have any idea how long it is drive-time wise from Darien Lake to CW? Thanks!!

Alexx Argen's avatar
IN my opinion most of everything is open with the exception of the ranger in the past. Last year i went there 20 times and most of the time everything was running and running well.

Its sad when your best friend asks you the exact running time of a ride. Good thing I didnt know.

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