FloridaCoasterRider Goes North Part One – (CP, SFWOA, Kennywood)
Monday, August 13, 2001 7:32 PM
After months of anticipation, my coaster trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania finally came about last week. I had already been to Cedar Point, but it was to be my first time at both Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure, and Kennywood. I was really quite excited for both, despite all the not-so-positive reviews of SFWoA that I have been hearing lately. The plan was to fly into Cleveland Wednesday afternoon, and drive to Sandusky. We were to hit Cedar Point that evening, and also on Thursday. Friday morning we planned to drive back to Cleveland, and hit SFWoA. Then Saturday we would head over to Pittsburgh and hit Kennywood (for only part of the day… we had to be out of there by around 3:00 to get to our next, non-coaster, destination). CEDAR POINT
As planned, we arrived in Sandusky around 7:30. As we were driving into town, all of a sudden we started to see what looked almost like maybe ashes in the air coming at our windshield… Then we started thinking it was a light rain. However, it was not until we stopped at a light that we realized exactly what it was. They were bugs. Zillions, and Zillions, and Gazillions of tiny little gnats swarming in the sky. I had never seen so many bugs in my life! Anyhew, we arrived safe and sound at the Point and checked into the Hotel Breakers. I especially liked our room because it was on the seventh floor and had a perfect view of Magnum, with Vertigo in the background. I could also see Gemini, and some of Mean Streak. As far as Vertigo goes, I knew it was not open yet because there was still construction going on around it, but from the room I could not see the base because of trees in the way, but I could see the towers, and I noticed that either the cables were not attached to the vehicle, or they were just not pulled tight. I decided that I would investigate that later on, but right now I just needed to get into the park.
We entered through the resort entrance, and headed straight to Gemini for our first ride. We always like to start out on that one. Of course the ride was a walk on, so we went for the front seat. This turned out to be one of the most uncomfortable rides we took the entire time because of the gazillions of bugs. They felt like a thousand little needles on our faces. Screaming with our mouths open was definitely a bad idea. Next we made our way to Magnum XL-200, and only waited about 2 trains to get on. We rode in the first seat of the second car. I was aiming for the ejector seat (1-3), but the wait for that seat seemed a little longer than I felt like waiting at the time. It really loved the ride… The bugs at that point (no pun intended) were already starting to go away, and the view of the beach at sundown from the second hill is breathtaking. We then hit Power Tower, and I was surprised by how much shorter the line is for the blast up side compared to the blast down side. We ended up waiting only about 10 minutes for the blast up side, as opposed to the probably 30 – 40 minute wait for the blast down side. I always get a kick out of this ride. The anticipation at the bottom (or top) is really what separates these types of rides from roller coasters, because you just never quite know when the action is about to kick in. Plus, you can’t beat that airtime on the way down. Next we decided to take our first Millenium Force ride of the season. We were prepared to wait whatever it took. When we arrived the sign said 1¼ hour wait. So we got on line. About halfway through the line, the laser and firework show went off behind us, and we could sort of see the lasers from the backside of the projection screen. We got on the ride after about an hour wait... What a ride, what ride! This was my first ever night ride on MF, and undoubtedly one of the greatest experiences of my life. Words can’t describe how incredible it was. I especially love how the trees on the island are really growing in and getting close to the track. At night you can just barely see them from the lights of the park, and it really enhances that feeling of speed. On top of that, anyone who says that this ride was not built for airtime hasn’t ridden it. I’ve never had such prolonged moments of pure out-of-your-seat airtime as on the first drop, the third hill, the hill adjacent to the third hill, and the bunny hop. When we got off that ride it was just about closing time at the park, and the line for Mantis was already closed, so we hopped on Iron Dragon for one last ride since it was probably the only thing we would have to get on. This is a ride that is really underrated in my opinion. Sure its not the fastest or most thrilling ride, but it never fails to put a smile on my face.
Thursday morning we got up really early and drove around to the marina entrance to make our mad dash to Millenium Force. We got there around 9:15, and were at the front of the small crowd that gathered at the entrance. After they played the anthem, they opened the gates and we sprinted to Millenium Force, and were one of the first ones in line at 9:30. However, the ride didn’t open to us until 10 so we just waited at the front of the queue while Joe Cool riders got some early morning ERT. I did spot one fellow with a blue Guide to the Point shirt on (Was that any of you guys?). There was one guy however who was kind of annoying because every time he would pass us he would snicker and say in a condescending way, “This is my fifth ride of the morning, Ha, ha ha!” Anyway, we got on five minutes after they opened the ride to us, and sat in the first seat of the last car. Once again I had to reconsider which was the greater experience… Millenium Force at night, or Millenium Force in the back?
By the time we got off, the line was stretched out of the queue and all the way down the frontier trail. After that we hit Mantis with a 10 minute wait. This ride really has one of the most twisting layouts… It really feels out of control. We then went around to Magnum, where I set out to ride 1-3, the ejector seat. Well we got it, but unfortunately, very unfortunately, we were stapled into it. I really have come to prefer the ride-ops who pull up on your lapbars, instead of those who push down. It was really a painful ride every time we got hit with airtime. By the last bunny hop we were screaming for the airtime to stop! We then moved on to Gemini again, and then to Mean Streak. This ride is really not as rough as people make it out to be. I mean, compared to rides like Gwazi, this thing runs like butter... Sort of. However, the brakes do take a lot away from the ride. It’s a shame that they are so necessary. We then strolled around the park a bit and took another ride on Power Tower which had about a 20 minute wait. After that we, ate some lunch and did some more walking… Finally we found ourselves at Disaster Transport. What is there to say about this ride? Not much. The themeing seems to be falling apart, and the ride just doesn’t do much for me. We then went to Raptor, but the line was over an hour so we decided we would come back. Since we were in the neighborhood we decided to ride Blue Streak. Just when we were about to get on it started thundering, and the ride was shut down almost immediately. It then began to rain, and it looked like a big storm was about to move through so we headed back to the resort to wait out the rain. This was one big storm. There was some crazy thunder and lightning right over the park, which set off the alarm at the Breakers, and forced us to evacuate… but that’s another story.
About two hours later the sun came out again, and from our room we could see that the rides were starting to run again. So, I headed back into the park and quickly made my way back to Raptor, because I didn’t want to risk not getting on it, just in case the rain came back. I waited about 45 minutes, and got on what is probably my favorite inverted. What a great ride this is. From the ground the paint job looks real nifty, but at the top of the lift you can see the top part of all the track which seems to already have been claimed by the birds, if you know what I mean. After that I got on Blue Streak with only a five-minute wait. I then decided to take another ride on the Force, so we waited about an hour and rode in the back again. I then decided to hit Corkscrew, which is really a better ride now that they have installed the handles on the restrains.
Next I decided to ride Magnum again. Just as I got to the front of the line, operation stopped to replace a wheel on one of the trains. As I watched them take off the old wheel, I started wondering what they do with the old wheel. Finally the workers finished and came over to the booth and set down the wheel. I decided to ask the ride op what they were to do with it, and he said that they would just throw it away. Now I just had to ask… “So, do you think it would be possible for me to keep it? I mean, since you’re just going to throw it away and all… It would make a great souvenir!”. After all, what’s better than a wheel off Magnum XL-200. But the ride op I could tell was new, and didn’t want to ask his superiors, so he just said, “No, I don’t think so.” And would not budge. Oh well, I tried. Next I hit Gemini, and as I was going up the lift, I noticed testing on Vertigo! So after that I left the park and headed over to check out the scene. Upon arrival, I noticed sandbags (or maybe water weights) in the seats. I also noticed there was a man, who looked important, talking to a group of older, also important looking folks. I got close enough to hear what he was saying, and at first I though he was a representative from S&S, but I noticed his shirt said United Riggers and Erectors. I assume that is the company that built the ride. To my surprise I figured out that the people he was talking to were from places like the National Security Agency of the United States, and from NASA. I still can’t figure out why the NSA would be there. Anyway, I heard him mention a possible Sunday opening.
Later that evening, around 10pm, I re-entered the park and headed to Power Tower. Just as I was launched on the tower, the finale of the fireworks show launched, and it was one of the most spectacular views I’ve seen. It’s not often you see fireworks by looking down. I then sprinted around the park, and within that last 40 minutes got in a ride on Mantis, Iron Dragon, and finally one last night ride on Magnum. What a great way to end a great day-and-a-half at the Point. SIX FLAGS WORLDS OF ADVENTURE
Friday morning we arrived at SFWoA around 11am. We unknowingly parked on the wildlife side of the park, so my first impression of the park was that it was very lushly landscaped and pretty. When we got over to the other side of the park, most of the trees were replaced by roller coasters and concrete.
We first hit Batman Knight Flight, and waited only about 25 minutes. At the time we thought we were lucky for the short wait, but it actually turned out to be the longest we would have to wait all day. I found this to be a great ride, however I think the layout is not quite as exciting as Kraken’s. Next we hit Villain, my new favorite wooden coaster. I got airtime on almost every hill, felt every bit of the trick track, did not find it to be rough, and call me crazy, but I was very comfortable in the Gersterlaur trains. For that ride we waited 15 minutes.
Okay, I know you all think this is horrible, and it probably is, but what the heck, we got the fastpasses. We figured it would come in handy when we got to X-Flight. We then hit Mind Eraser, and rode Superman: Ultimate Escape three times, once with the fast pass, and that time they even forgot to punch us (lucky us). That was a fun ride, but in my opinion, did not quite live up to all the hype. We then got some lunch and rode Big Dipper. I got lots of air on this coaster, but overall I could describe it as mediocre. By now it was time for X-Flight with our fast passes. Principles aside, that was the best 10 dollars I spent the whole trip. We walked onto X-Flight 3 times in a row, bypassing a 2-hour line. This ride provided an incredibly different sensation than ever before. I think I can sum it up with one word… Intense. I would definitely agree with the people who say that when you go through the loop you think your face is going to get ripped off. I’m curious as to how many G’s you pull on the ride. It was definitely a lot of fun. On our way out we rode Serial Thriller (which was more pain than pleasure), Double Loop (which I found a nice and smooth for an Arrow looper), Villain again, and Raging Wolf Bobs (which can only be described as lame). Overall my experience at the park was a positive one. I found the employees kind, and the rides good… for the most part. It was not nearly as bad as some of the reviews I had heard. KENNYWOOD
This was one park I was really looking forward to experiencing. I had heard stories of long, long lines for Phantom’s Revenge, and since we only had a few hours at the park, we decided to get there early and beat the crowds. As planned we arrived just as the park gates were opening, and we headed straight towards Phantom’s Revenge. When we were finally allowed to enter the queue at about a quarter to 11, we were second in line. We walked on to the front seat. This was an amazing but short ride. When you’re sitting in the front seat, that feeling of speed coming out of the second drop is really emphasized. The ride felt almost as smooth as Millenium Force, and in some places, almost as fast. When we got off the line was still under 20 minutes so we hopped on again. This time we rode the back seat, and boy oh boy what a difference it made. That ride had, without a doubt, the most powerful, and intense moments of airtime I have ever experienced. Not only that, but the transitions from negative to positive G’s really send you slamming into your seat. I only wish the ride could go on another 30 seconds or so.
Next we rode Exterminator. I was very impressed with the themeing on the ride, because I was just not expecting that much out of such an old-style traditional amusement park. Cedar Point should take note (Disaster Transport). It was a fun little ride, and easily worth the 15 minute wait. After that we headed to the Thunderbolt. We sat in the front of the last car, and overall I came away slightly disappointed. It was good ride, with some good airtime, but it just didn’t live up to all its hype. Probably if I had never heard anything about the ride I would have felt differently, but I was really expecting it to blow rides like The Villain out the water, but it really didn’t. Next we hit The Racer, which is a fun, neat old ride. For some reason I was under the impression that they ran one side backwards... Maybe I was thinking of something else, or maybe it just does sometimes. We then rode the Jack Rabbit. I seemed to get more airtime on this than on Thunderbolt, especially on the double-down drop. Those leather strap restraints really make you feel like you’re riding back in the twenties. After that we explored the park a bit. It’s really the most beautiful park I’ve been to. The trees and gardens really make this park what it is. I was expecting the actual park to work more into the ravine terrain, but for the most part its level. On our way out we rode Pitfall. I guess this was my first “free-fall” ride, and I loved it. It seemed like I was clear off my seat until we hit the magnetic brakes. So overall, I’d say we successfully hit the park in 4 hours.
So that’s part one of my part one of my out-of-Florida coaster trip this summer… Stay tuned for part two with Six Flags Great Adventure (and possibly Astroland) in a few weeks.
I'd Rather Be Riding Rollercoasters www.mycoasters.homestead.com/mycoasters.html