Day 1 (7/25/05)—Geauga Lake
After the long drive from Chicago beginning at four in the morning, we arrived at Geauga Lake around lunchtime. A quick bite at McDonalds, and then it was off to explore the new Wildwater Kingdom! The main lot in front of the park was about one-third full, but we decided to park around at the back entrance since we’d be hitting the larger waterpark first. It’s really amazing how much parking they have in the old Sea World side….parking lots spanned the view for a surprising distance, Cedar Point style. Luckily there were only about 5-6 rows of cars there already, so a close spot was easily found. The first thing I noticed about this park is how friendly the staff was…everyone from the parking attendants to the ticket sellers and the restaurant workers (a few ride ops were dull, but more times than not they were friendly, smiling, and interested in making sure guests were having a good time)…this is something that would continue throughout the day!
WOW! This waterpark is off to a great start. The lazy river is excellent, complete with interactive pranks for bystanders to soak lazy river floaters—what a great idea. Plenty of waterfalls, and everything looked so natural. I headed off to the Thunder Falls complex of water slides next….never have I been on a speed slide so disorientating! The green body slide is much more enjoyable than the purple one. First thought I had when I climbed the 100 foot platform is “Holy cow! This is way too high for any waterslide.” Nonetheless, you get a great view and a 20 second thrill ride to the bottom, As far as the tube slides, I went on the blue one (open–air) which I found very relaxing, although be prepared to swirl around and probably end up going down the chute backwards. The orange slide was the other one of interest, with a good 25 ft. drop at the end—good times. I decided to pass on the funnel slide, as I had been on the one at Holiday World and wasn’t terribly impressed after an hour wait. We decided to pack our stuff into a locker for $6 all day (I was pensive at first to try these electronic lockers, although after the day was over I found them to be easy to use, reliable, and a great use of the $6).
We rode the ferry over to the other side of the lake, which was a very nice ride, complete with patriotic music playing on the riverboat…a nice touch. After unloading, we headed over to the old water park section, which I found to be enjoyable as well. We went on the rocket sled slides, which honestly are a blast. The old green tube slide on the Shark Attack complex was a nice ride, reminiscent of the old concrete slides that seemed to wander endlessly through the troughs. The wave pool provided some powerful 4 foot waves and a gorgeous temperature. If I hadn’t forgot my hat, and my face wasn’t cooking in the red hot sun I would have spent a great deal of more time in the water J Note to waterpark lovers: Geauga lake has plenty of great water attractions, and it’s worthwhile to simply stay in your bathing suit with a cover-up or t-shirt all day, as we did.
Next, we headed over to the El Dorado “rainbow” type ride. It gives you a great view and the restraints have to be seen to believed. It consists of this thick metal U-shaped bar that comes down and jabs into your stomach….interesting, to say the least. After that it was off to ride X-Flight…which surprisingly had no wait, and I was able to hop into the front seat. It was a bit rougher than I remembered it from the previous September visit, although still a wonderful contraption—there’s nothing quite like that moment at the top when it flips you on your stomach, leaving you to stare at the grass far below. I’m a fan of S:UF’s restraints and loading procedures more than X-Flight’s, although I much prefer X-Flight’s layout.
As we meandered toward the back of the park, I marveled at how clean and beautiful this park is…it has a ton of potential. Eventually, we arrived at the Villain. I really want to love this coaster, but it just isn’t going to happen until some serious re-tracking is done. I rode this back in Oktoberfest, and found it wild with a couple of jolts, but certain still ridable. HA! Not anymore. I took one ride on it this time and found it to be absolute torture. I have a track record of over 140 coasters and this is the only one I couldn’t wait to get off of. It bounced at the bottom of the hills, reminding me of SOB’s infamous ‘rosebowl’, and the turns were nothing short of violent. I really hope Geauga Lake gives this ride some TLC this next off-season, because it could be a real winner.
The Pepsi Plunge was a cute log flume, and Grizzly Run was a satisfyingly fun raft ride, despite the hidden location and awfully slow unloading procedures. Dominator was down for a while due to mechanical reasons so we decided to hit up Raging Wolf Bobs. Unfortunately we didn’t get a ride in the new train, as it was hiding on the storage track L This ride keeps changing for the better. Last time I rode it I found it a little bouncy, but nothing terrible, with a non-traditional, interesting layout. This ride was completely different, thanks to the new re-tracking. We sat in the front seat, which really is a prime seat on this ride. Wow can this thing fly! I almost want to call this ride “Avalanche 2,” but it can’t earn that reward until it gets its tail end straightened out. The first half runs beautifully…smooth, fast, and intense…then you’re in for a bit of ouchy if you’re not hanging on\paying attention. All in all though, it really is a fun ride and deserving of more attention than it gets.
After a spin on the small gem of the park, Beaver Creek mine ride (I really do like this one….maybe its just because they let you go twice ;) we had saved the best for last: Dominator. This ride always blows me away. The front seat is the best place to ride, and is never a long wait. It rides as smooth as glass and with such fury that it’s hard not to crack a smile. The only part that I dislike is the two interlocking corkscrews near the end that provide a few head rattles. Otherwise, this is my favorite floorless coaster. In fact, I even convinced my mother to ride it—usually not the one to ride multi-loopers—and she loved it! I highly recommend this ride to acquaint anyone with a fear of loops and cobra rolls…it’s a great ride to start on due to its comfortable ride.
That pretty much sums up day one of our nine day coaster extravaganza. Geauga Lake is shaping up to be a superior park…we had a great day and can’t wait to return. Even the guests were pleasant; much better than the stuff we put up with back at our homepark, SFGAm, with line jumpers, crabs and such. Two thumbs up for G.L. That night we stayed over at the Radisson City Center in Akron. One word of warning for Priceline users…avoid selecting the area this hotel is in (3 stars, I believe it was in 'City Center'). Although the hotel itself was a nice room and great price, the location of it is horrendous, and the parking is whacked out. Radisson makes you pay $5 to park in the creepiest underground garage next door—the place is dim, low ceilings, incredibly confusing, and lacks the number of spaces really needed for a 20 floor hotel. Yikes. Stay tuned all, next day is a drive into Pennsylvania and my first ever visit to Knoebels and Dorney Park!!
-John *** Edited 7/27/2005 12:11:19 PM UTC by Gottarideit***
I think that Villain when you rode last year was the same for me. I went to Octoberfest, and thought it was the best in the park that night. Then again i was a bit drunk and we rerode it like 4 times. They need to retrack it more than just a bit. I was getting assaulted by the lap bar tonight.
I also love to see that management is all over the park, just shows how they go the extra mile for us. The only minus every time i see Bill Spehn he wears that goofy multi-colored tie. I might send him a new one for christmas.
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