Thursday, August 9, 2001 10:31 PM
What kind of moron would drive 3 and a half hours away to bake in the 95 degree heat at a tiny little amusement park when he has Cedar Point pretty much in his backyard…the answer…THIS MOOREON! This is the question I get from my non-enthusiast family and friends when I tell them about taking road trips to other, smaller parks than Cedar Point….oh, if only they understood!
Ok, this trip was not as crazy as the trip my friend and I took to MA and IB last week (considering this one was actually planned a day in advance!), but it was still a great time at a perfect little park. Even in nearly unbearable heat, Kennywood delivered a great time that makes me wish I lived closer to it. Oh and did I mention that it has Phantom’s Revenge? More on that later… My friend and I left Marblehead, OH at about 8:20 AM, arrived in Kennywood about 12:15, stayed at the park till 9:30, and got home just before 2:30 AM (dinner break at Applebees thrown in there). Quite a full day! I am really glad we decided to take the advice of some fellow buzzers and stay the majority of the day at Kennywood. Originally, we were going to hit SFWoA in the morning to break up the drive, use our SF passes, and ride a few rides before going on our way, but we realized Kennywood commands a full day, so we skipped Six Flags all together (wise move as it allowed us 4 rides on the Phantom). Thanks to those who steered us in the right direction here! All together, only slightly more than seven hours worth of driving the whole day, compared to thirteen on our trip the previous week.
THE PARK: What can I say about this park that you don’t already know? Nothing, so I’ll just say that the cleanliness, the landscaping, the prices (I got a PR mug for what a shot glass would cost at any other park), and the overall magic of this park is unbeatable. Maybe I’m just a sucker for the old-fashioned feel, but I really loved this place, as I remember loving it when I was here in the summer of ’97.
Phantom’s Revenge (4 laps). We hopped right in line for this as soon as we got to the park. First of all, the Phantom was calling my name, and second of all, the advice of buzzers was that this ride has the shortest waits before 1:00. True, the first wait was a half-hour around 12:30, and subsequent waits ranged from 45 minutes to an hour…still not bad for only 1 train capacity. I have to agree that the staged radio broadcast in line got pretty annoying the last few rides. Onto the ride itself…phenomenal! I’ve found a ride I like better than Millennium Force (but not better than Magnum). We sat three out of our four rides in the back car and we waited for the front seat on our third ride. The first and second drops actually don’t seem as fast as I remember the Phantom being. This could be because the banging around the OTSR’s made it seem faster to me or because at the time I rode SP the fastest coaster I’d ridden previously was Magnum. Still, it’s nice to experience these drops without the harnesses. If you sit in the back, you even get a little pop of air down the second drop. The pullout of the second drop slams you into your seat. The huge sweeping turn is nothing to write home about…all the sweeping turns on MF are the reason I don’t like it as much as other people, so obviously this element wouldn’t impress me. The little S-curve right after the turn sure impressed me (more like squished me in my seat). And after that, there’s a little trench through Thunderbolt that leads to the best part of the ride…the most forceful airtime I’ve ever felt on a coaster (more so than the Jack Rabbit’s double dip here). PR doesn’t have as much airtime as Magnum, but it has MUCH stronger airtime and dare I say it, combined with the speed sensation of MF!! This thing just hauls you-know-what through those final hills, leading to a super-intense ride. That last section is just indescribable…you’re ejected, then slammed down into your seat, ejected again, slammed again…and then comes that tastily violent double-dip. Wow! Easily my favorite part of the ride, especially in the back where you are just mercilessly tossed around like the Phantom’s play-toy. The final breaks hit hard and fast, and the train rolls into the station. As much as 1 train operation sucks, I really love having the ride come to a fast stop, roll right into the station, and let passengers out right away. Some rides hold you on the final brake run so long that any adrenaline is gone before you get out of the car. There’s just something about getting out of the train right when the ride’s over that makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. Our final ride was in the dark, and wow, what a night ride this coaster is! Kennywood has done it again…they’ve created a monster ride that goes beyond expectations. I must admit, when I heard PR would only be 3200 feet long and saw the layout, I was disappointed, but this ride doesn’t really feel that short at all. Awesome ride, so great that we were willing to wait for a total of 4 rides in that hot non-shaded queue!
Exterminator (1 lap) We hit this second to find a respectable 30 minute wait. What a difference between an Arrow and a Reverchon Wild Mouse! Last week, I was pretty much thoroughly disappointed with MA’s Arrow model and hoped the spinning cars on this ride would make a big difference. Well, even before the cars started spinning I was impressed. By the way, I didn’t tell my friend about the spinning cars…just told him there was a surprise at the end of the ride. His expression was priceless…”WHOA…what the hell is happening???” I have never been so disoriented on a ride in my life. When I got out of the car at the end, I couldn’t even see or walk straight! Now I know why this thing has such long lines! Speaking of long lines, the wait got a lot longer later in the day and we regretfully didn’t reride it. We chose to spend our waiting time for PR instead, but can you really blame us? The only complaint I have about this ride is the restraints. I understand the need for an over-the shoulder type with all the spinning this ride does, but neither my friend nor I are small guys, and just about every turn jammed my shoulder into the metal part of the restraint, which was not comfortable at all. The padding on the restraint was on the wrong place for my shoulders, I guess. The theming on this ride is done perfectly…not too much, not too little. Another example of the Kennywood magic…what a great addition to the park!
Everything else I had already ridden on my last trip there…
Thunderbolt (7 laps) Whoever said this thing doesn’t have any airtime must have not ridden it at night…as the ride warmed up, airtime magically showed up, especially in the back. What a unique layout…the drops into the ravine are all intense and the final drop really packs a punch. This thing is not the smoothest coaster you’ll ever ride, but the ricketyness (coined a new word) really adds to the overall ride experience. Thanks to Morgan’s making the Phantom’s second drop steeper, the Thunderbolt now contains the scariest headchopper effect I’ve ever experienced. There is even a pad on the Phantom’s track just in case someone reaches up and is able to smack it while going by. Going down that particular hill, I not only put my hands down but also ducked every single time, especially when I was sitting on the right. The laterals are the best thing about this coaster…my buddy and I switched off riding left and right so no one got smooshed all the time. There was one drop, the second hill in the “bowl” section, whose drop from the back created an “air-lat” that caused me to elbow my friend in the head on one ride and him to momentarily land on top of me on another ride. I could not imagine being a single rider and having to ride this with someone I don’t know…it would cause some awkward moments. It would just feel strange squishing (or being squished by) someone I don’t know. Overall, a great ride that, while not as good as a CCI, is a solid, fun, and classic ride. I think it is a bit overrated (#1 in the NAPHA poll) but still a noteworthy coaster “great.”
Jack Rabbit (2 laps) Usually I am excited when chance dictates that I get the front seat of a coaster, but this was not the case on Jack Rabbit. I wanted my friend to have his first ride on this in the very back so he could fully experience the double dip. Well, we got the very front on our first ride. Surprisingly, the airtime on the double dip is still pretty big even in the front. On our second ride, chance gave us a break and we got the back seat…my buddy was impressed! What crazy airtime! While PR has stronger air, the fixed lapbar and bungee cord seat belt really let you fly out of the seat on this ride. This ride is definitely a one-trick-pony, but oh, what a trick! It also features Milleresque pullouts on all the hills, which basically means the track just flattens out, causing you to be slammed down into your seat.
Racer (2 laps) A bit tame, I suppose, but overall a great classic ride. The final drop into the ravine is one of the best finales on any wooden coaster…it is unexpected every time! I really enjoyed my friend’s reaction when he realized that we ended on the opposite side of the platform than we began. He was really thrown for a loop…he did not stop thinking about it so I finally gave him a hint and he figured out the reverse curve at the beginning of the ride is responsible for it. What a neat little trick.
PittFall: short wait, nice view of across the Monongahela, great drop!
Noah’s Ark: you can’t go to Kennywood without doing this one…not really worth the slow, long line but you just have to do it!
Swing Around: nice dizzying spin above the lake.
I wanted to do Bayern Curve and the Kangaroo, also, but we became preoccupied with other things and just sort of forgot about them.
FOOD: Yummmmm….cheese fries…I think I give the Potato Patch the nod over Cedar Point’s fries…hard to believe I would ever say that. The garlic salt might have helped me reach that decision. What a treat! I love how Dippin’ Dots are a dollar cheaper than at Cedar Point, also, and even Cedar Point has pretty reasonable prices compared to some other big chain parks.
Overall, a great day. Other than PR, Exterminator, and Noah’s Ark, we never waited more than 10 minutes for anything. I hope Kennywood adds something new soon so I have an excuse to go back! A CCI ravine coaster sounds really good…..(wipes drool off keyboard). Anyway, thanks for reading this *SHORT* (whatever) trip report.
CCI + CP = #1 Wooden Coaster.
Friday, August 10, 2001 9:20 AM
Great TR! I don't think I ever got that many rides in one day.
Is it me, or did the Exterminator start spinning much earlier in the past? The first year it was open, I think you begain to spin before any of the hills. I guess people were getting too sick--I know I was a little green after my first ride!
Friday, August 10, 2001 9:44 AM
The key to the amount of spin depends on the weight distribution of the riders. Say you have a group of 4, put the 2 heaviest people on the outside (or vice versa) you will get less spin. However, if you sit the 2 heaviest people next to each other on one side, and 2 light people on the other side, you will get a lot of spinning action.