Dogs, Fire, Buzzers and Coasters - CBuzzCon

Associated parks:

After finding that I didn’t have a whole lot to do at work on Friday, I decided to start the CBuzzCon weekend a little early and left work at 2pm for Kennywood. Since I was heading up with my buddy B who works in entertainment at the park anyway, it worked out well. Kennywood’s new entrance looks great, although I was a little confused. Another friend of mine who works in the band showed me how to get in, otherwise I probably would have walked around like an idiot for a few minutes trying to figure it out. Kennywood’s new entertainment for this year’s pretty good, and I’m not just sayin’ that cause I know the guys who work it, I think it’s a lot more entertaining than the singers and dancers from years past.

Ended up getting on most of Kennywood’s coasters before B got off work, so was worth my time to come to the park that night. Also got a pretty neat “backlot” tour helping them take the dogs back to their house, walked behind the Exterminator building and got a neat view of the Phantom from behind. Noticed there’s a large, random stairway to nowhere behind the Exterminator building, anyone shed some light on exactly what that is? There’s also a lot of work going on around the Phantom, there’s some earthmoving equipment sitting in the spiral, and there’s a lot of gravel piles and obvious earthwork going on. New construction? Perhaps! The former Wipeout area looks a little unsightly with gravel and dirt and a badly-placed cyclone fence. Then again, might look better than what’ll be there next year, but that’s just my opinion.

We left Kennywood to catch Star Wars since if I didn’t see it that night, I probably wouldn’t until it came out on DVD. Was B’s third time in 2 days, he says it gets better every time and I was certainly impressed, although our theatre was full and we were sitting practically on top of the screen. Interesting to see everything that freakin’ huge, but I still have a somewhat sore neck.

We left from Pittsburgh for Allentown at 8am Saturday morning, expecting to get there just in time to get some food and head out into the park. One of the more exciting moments happened just past the Donegal exit of the PA Turnpike – a car on fire! A pickup truck that was pretty new, probably an ’02 or newer was towing one of those car carrying trailers and it was smoking pretty bad. I thought it was just oil smoke or some other bad, but not horrible engine problem, but as we got closer and the truck started to pull off, there were literally flames billowing out from under the truck! I’ve never seen a car driving while on fire like that before! Definitely woke me up and I didn’t need to get out and walk around until nearly the I-81 exit.

The rest of the drive to the park was pretty uneventful. I almost missed the I-81 exit off the turnpike and had to swerve across all 3 lanes to get off the road, and then realized it was just a TO I-81, and not actually 81, so we were a little lost for a few minutes. Also took some detour for construction on 81 to get to 78 which was nice and scenic (sort of the theme for the drives of the trip).

Getting to the park at about 1, it wasn’t crowded at all. I think it was the most empty I’d ever seen the Dorney parking lot, so can’t complain about that. Got our comp tickets quickly and headed into the park. First up was the first of many Talon rides. We took the back seat for our first ride as the line for the front was down the staircase and the back was a walk-on. Was good, but not the Talon I remembered.

Since Talon was a quick ride and we weren’t meeting up with my other friend Ed until the lunch, we headed off to hit Hydra. This is a very impressive coaster visually, I liked how close it gets to the line, and the way the track bends and such. There was little to no wait for the front car, so we took front seat for our first ride. The jojo roll is pretty sweet, I like the picture and the hangtime in there. Nothing mind-blowing, but pretty cool none the less. The first hill is very steep, and after that, the inversions come fast and furious, very smooth, especially the new-style cobra roll. They should try and retro-fit some of the older B&Ms with cobra headbanging with this new style. Well, ok that’ll never happen, but I like it a lot better than the old “blocky” cobra rolls. After the cobra, as Gonch said in his report, it gets a little odd, there’s two little airtime pops, but while the Batmans and Talon both have a “downtime” section rather than a true block break mid-course that just blend in, Hydra’s version of this “downtime” just seems a little out of place for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the close proximity to the station, or how fast all the previous elements come after each other. Overall, a good ride, although we’d find out later that the “money” seat is the back row.

After a confusing search for the picnic pavilions we found the CBuzz area. The food was sort of blah at best, nothing spectacular, but at least it didn’t cost much. We met up with Ed (SpecialEd) at this point and all three of us were sort of expecting Jeff to be there and some sort of welcome speech, but it ended up just being all the little groups or individuals eating by themselves and not really conversing outside. I felt a little odd to walk up and try and introduce myself by a screen name, so I didn’t really make an effort to approach anyone. After eating and waiting a little while for someone to make an announcement, we decided screw this, we’re gonna go ride some more.

Hit up basically the rest of the park without incident, Steel Force was running ok, not as great as I remember, but not bad either. Thunderhawk was awful for me, I nearly got nailed in the head by B’s elbow, and he took a shot to the ribs. Lazer I bounced my head off B’s shoulder which rather ruined that ride for me. Revolution was fun, although riding it I couldn’t help thinking of how much better Maxair is. We also rode Meteor which has a much longer ride than Aero-360 and is much better, although we were both kind of feeling it after being on it for that long.

At about 6:30 we had already hit just about every ride in the park, including a bunch of flats, and we headed out to get some food at a Friday’s that I had seen advertised on 78. Turned out to be a good choice as not only did we get some good food (as always) but the rains came while we were inside.

We got back to the park at about 8 for some re-rides and to wait it out until ERT. Discovered the Krazy Karts ride down under Hydra which might be the best non-thrill ride I’ve ever been on. Best bumper cars EVER. If you’ve never seen ‘em, they’re like bumper boats that it’s an individual car and there’s two levers and a giant inflatable bumper, but they’re a lot faster than bumper cars, and they’re much more controllable going backwards, so there’s a lot more chaos! Hilarious fun.

We headed up to Hydra at about 9:45 and when we got off noticed a group starting to gather under Meteor. I noticed someone from the picnic pavilions and we decided this must be where we were meeting for the ERT, something we never thought to ask anyone about. Hit Meteor one more time before the ERT and got some great upside down views of Talon. I introduced myself to Gonch which was odd since we live like 10 minutes from each other but had to travel to Allentown before we ever met face to face. You were pretty easy to pick out – the two kids gave it away.

Hydra was first up on ERT, and like as been said, there weren’t even enough people there to fill both trains, although we didn’t know that and figured there were people over at Talon too. After two rides near the back (without having to go around!) we headed over to Talon figuring we’d only get a couple of rides in on that before we had to leave … nope! We were the first three to get over to Talon. Headed up for the front rows as a front row ride earlier in the day had shown why I didn’t remember Talon the same way riding in the back. Had a little technical difficulty with the ride as the lift shut down just before we were going to leave the station and it took the ops a little while to get it started again. But, the ride ops were very cool about it, and were in surprisingly good moods for having to stay an extra hour for 35 annoying enthusiasts ;) Finally Talon got it’s act together and we were off on the first of many Talon rides. B got off after 6 rides in various rows, I took another two before it started to get “un-special” and I quit before it wasn’t fun anymore. Totals for the day: 5 Hydras, 10 Talons, and many, many other rides.

Dorney was in great shape, the main drag is a little bland, but as you head down the hillside, it’s one of the greatest landscaped, most crammed in places I’ve been to. I really like this park, it’s a fun little place, although I don’t know if I could really spend an entire day here with lines like they were, unless I hit the waterpark too. Ed left for his hotel and Knoebels the next day and B and I were headed to Hershey. We took the “scenic route” again to get to our hotel (which was free) back near the PA Turnpike, and after being rather lost for a while, we did find the place.

The next morning, got up to a wonderful Hampton Inn breakfast (sausage patties this morning!) and got to Hersheypark at about 11am. We’d been seeing classic cars with bright paint jobs and hot rods all over PA ever since we left Pittsburgh on Friday and arriving at Hersheypark we finally figured out why … car show! We were going to stop if we ran out of things to do at the park, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.

Hershey was great as always, although nothing spectacular to report. Storm Runner is still one of my favorite rides anywhere, can’t beat a launcher with loops and great airtime. There was some kid that was scared out of their mind, like I’m-about-to-be-stabbed-with-a-knife screaming on Trailblazer which made no sense to either B or I. Someone puked and to quote one of my favorite movies, “that real industrial strength puke”, all over Lightning Racer in the station. Apparently, Hersheypark’s never heard of a hose, or more likely, the ride-op was just an absolute idiot as he tried to clean it up with disinfectant and rags. It took nearly 30 minutes to clean (something that would have taken 5 minutes with a hose … ahem, another reason Cedar Point really IS the best…) and the entire ride still smelled like it. Our seat belt also came undone on that ride which was a little unnerving as we were in the front seat, but just added to the excitement!

We took a tour through ZooAmerica which turned out to be a fun little zoo, I didn’t even know that place was back there. Unfortunately, most of the animals were asleep and the Peregrine falcon wasn’t in it’s cage, but the prairie dogs were fun to watch, and there were some other animals (mostly birds) that were awake and visible. I think I’ll be going back there when I come back to Hershey, it’s a nice diversion from the park for a little while, and you can’t beat that it’s included!

We left Hershey at about 4:00, did the Chocolate Tour as is required every time you go to Hershey ;) and hit Fuddruckers before heading home. Final count: 18 coasters, 10+ flat rides, 3 parks, 500+ miles and one great weekend. *** Edited 5/23/2005 9:57:42 PM UTC by Impulse-ive***

Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
Lord Gonchar's avatar

We met up with Ed (SpecialEd) at this point and all three of us were sort of expecting Jeff to be there and some sort of welcome speech, but it ended up just being all the little groups or individuals eating by themselves and not really conversing outside.

Heather Kramer made a very brief "thanks for coming" announcement. Maybe you guys wandered in afterwards. It was pretty early into the lunch.

I introduced myself to Gonch which was odd since we live like 10 minutes from each other but had to travel to Allentown before we ever met face to face. You were pretty easy to pick out – the two kids gave it away.

Yeah. I wish I had gotten to actually talk to you a bit. I was getting bombarded by people while waiting for ERT to begin (and enjoyed talking to every last one of you :) ) - I'm the guy with the kids. What other 7 year old do you know that does ERT and scores 6 consecutive laps on Hydra and another 5 on Talon? That psycho little girl would be with me. :)

I think I need to go back to my 'scary hair' - it made me much less approachable. ;)

Ah, was she the one in the white shirt? I thought I heard someone say something to that effect, but B and I were talking about something and I just caught the tail end of it. So did everyone meeting back by Hydra happen by dumb luck or was that a planned thing?

Heh, startin' 'em early. Keeps the club funded, right? ;)

Yea, you were quite popular. I don't know if the hair would help, I think just the fact that you're not as threatening as "Lord Gonchar" seems like he should be makes ya more approachable! ;)

Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
Lord Gonchar's avatar
I don't even remember what she was wearing (I'm a great parent, right?)

The ERT put her count up to 123.

Consider it my personal crusade to make coaster events less of a weiner fest. IIRC, there were only a half dozen ladies at the event at the most and three of them were with my group.

The meeting spot was mentioned in the flyer and Heather also mentioned it with her "Thanks for coming" announcement.

Like I said, I enjoyed talking to everyone but two of the people I most hoped to/expected to be able to spend at least a little time meeting were you and Vater and you guys were the two I got little more than a hello with.


Seems like we all had the same general impression of Hydra.

Wyandot Lake has the same style bumper cars as Dorney and yes, they're really cool.

Jeff's avatar
I swear I mentioned somewhere that I wouldn't be there. Didn't I?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Um, did you say something, Jeff? We weren't paying attention.
Kick The Sky's avatar
Damn, we were in two parks together (Dorney and Hershey) and we failed to hook up :) Wish I would have gotten to meet you.

Certain victory.

Great TR, Brett. I hate that I had to miss, I have the worst luck with CBuzz events. I decided to skip Beast Buzz since my working partner will be @ Disney World all week and I can't get off to go.

I will let you (and Gonch) know when I'm coming to Kennywood, and I'll threaten, bribe, etc. to make sure you're both there ;).

In retrospect maybe we should have had our screen names on our nametags which might have made people more approachable and recognizable. Or maybe at lunch they should have had everyone stand up and introduce themselves which might not have worked since people arrived at different times.

Oh, well, have to work on the social skills for the next event. I wonder how many Pittsburgh Buzzers there are....Maybe we should have an informal gathering at KW.

Blue Streak Marathon Rider 2003 and 2004 KW Gor_y Park Team Member
I was thinking the same thing during the lunch, how everybody should have had their screen name on their badge. I think that it would have made approaching strangers (at least in person) a little easier.
Kick The Sky's avatar
The problem was that no one wore their name badges at lunch. In fact, very few wore them at the ERT. Once they showed the tag to the ride op and were branded, the badge was put away.

Certain victory.

eightdotthree's avatar
Where DO the dogs stay? Also, I saw that construction as well, that structure is new. I cant imagine what it could be though, a bridge?
I managed to talk to quite a few people, including some people before the ERT since we were all grouped together. I was also lucky to run into someone from the Zombies trip to Texas in '02 and we were able to talk for a while, as well as to his friends.

I saw those bumper cars as well and they looked fun, but I was running out of time to hit other stuff in the park again. As long as they aren't going anywhere, I can always go back this year, or hit it another year. *** Edited 5/24/2005 8:38:49 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***

It wasn't as much weiner-fest as I was expecting honestly, there were a decent ratio of significant others. If it wasn't at a park that thrived on loopers, mine might have showed, but she doesn't do B&M restraints, claim they all hurt the ears. Eh, we'll meet up at some point, I assume you got a Cedar Fair pass now, lemme know if you're up for an afternoon at Geauga or somethin.

Jeff, you might have said that, but since the 'Buzz got banned at work, I usually just browse a thread or two with an interesting title or a lot of hits when I get home and that's about it. No blame here, just comments! If you had something else to do, well, you were one less person getting in my way for Talon ;)

Kick - I probably did see you at both parks, but like I said, I'm hesitant to walk up to a stranger and introduce myself by screen name :) I did see a couple of folks at Hershey on Sunday that I recognized from Dorney, you were probably one of them. Ah well, if Buzz events are that lightly attended and not like Coastermaina '03, then I'll be back, but if the ERT lines are longer than normal lines, forget about it.

Curse of the Scorpion ;)

Yea, the SNs on the tags might have helped. Maybe even placecards at the table? That way you don't have to wear a sticker all day, but you also get to know who people are. Make it seem more formal too! Heh.

The dogs stay at the guy who runs the show's house in the little plan behind Exterminator. I'm actually headed there after class tonite for some Texas Hold 'Em!

I don't know if it'd be a bridge access, that seems to be an odd place for that. Honestly, and I hate to think of the contraversy and rumors this is gonna stir up, but it looked like the access stairs for the end block brakes of a B&M coaster. That real wide top platform with the back-and-forth firewell-style staircase below it. Like I said, I'm headed to that dude's house (should probably remember his name before I get there ... ) tonite, if I can find some batteries for the camera, I'll try and snap a quick pic.

Oh those bumper cars are the best. I want one to go to work in ...

Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
eightdotthree's avatar
If they moved the turtles they could put a coaster station there for sure. Heh.

If it were just dirt I wouldnt think twice about it, but there is a monolith in the middle of the Phantom!

Thanks for the dog info, my girlfriend will be excited to hear they live there. Give them a pat on the head for me.

Nah, can't move the Turtle, that's one classic I can appreciate! Well the stairs aren't really in the middle of the Phantom, they're behind the trees that are to your right on the last leg of the outside queue of Exterminator. I tried to get a picture, but it was too dark, they're painted black and they were on the other street anyway. The thing that's in the middle of Phantom is the equipment and that's an even bigger sign cause that's big bucks to keep those things on-site for too long idle!

Heh, yea, they're great dogs, real friendly too, and I'm not a dog guy. The big one was "helping" me play cards, but I think he was bad luck - after he left, I started making some stupid bets after being up big and ended up being the one that had to eat the Frito that fell on the floor ...

Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
Latest buzz from KW is the construction is in response to a landslide and the monolith in the middle is an old foundation from the original Phanthom. In fact, someone over at kpconnection posted a picture of the original Phanthom that shows which loop it supported.

But, we can still speculate that maybe they are removing the old foundation for the new B&M!

Blue Streak Marathon Rider 2003 and 2004 KW Gor_y Park Team Member
eightdotthree's avatar
I dont remember seeing it there before, but would'nt be shocked if it was.
Impulse-ive said:

The next morning, got up to a wonderful Hampton Inn breakfast (sausage patties this morning!) and got to Hersheypark at about 11am. We’d been seeing classic cars with bright paint jobs and hot rods all over PA ever since we left Pittsburgh on Friday and arriving at Hersheypark we finally figured out why … car show! We were going to stop if we ran out of things to do at the park, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.

*** Edited 5/23/2005 9:57:42 PM UTC by Impulse-ive***

Yep, it was the 1st ever Goodguys show at Hershey that weekend, talk about some nice cars, you could have just sat there all day watching em go up and down the main highway, took some pics for my dad since he is in the club.

I had mentioned it earlier here that there was a car show that weekend and I know Bob (aka Kick the Sky) was going to check it out.

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!

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