Kennywood, 4/20

Associated parks:
None

Monday, April 22, 2002 6:34 AM
It's good to be home!

My "season" started in January in Orlando. March saw me in Virginia. But the season doesn't TRUELY get started until the "Home Office" in Kenywood gets underway.

I almost didn't go at all. I was sound asleep in bed as of 8am, having set the alarm for 8:30, when a crash of thunder woke me up. I glanced outside, and it was POURING. Ugh. Then the phone rang -- my friend Andrea was dropping her car off in Monroeville for inspection and needed a ride home. So out of bed, into the shower, and out to Monroeville (I live in Squirrel Hill, not far from Carnegie Mellon University or Kennywood itself) in a torrential downpour.

By the time we were headed back, the rain was letting up. Encouraged, I decided to go to the park. As it turned out the rain would mostly hold off the rest of the day.

I arrived at the park at about 10:45, to discover an empty parking lot but an entrance that looked like it was TEAMING with teens. It took a good 10 minutes to get in, but once inside I strolled on over to the Phantom's Revenge queue.

Unfortunately PR wasn't running yet. I waiting in line a few minutes. While waiting my friend Tim (a fellow Pittsburgh ACE'r and RRC denizen) wandered by on his way out of the line, having decided to see if anything else had opened yet. I hopped out and joined him, and we headed over to Exterminator.

Which was also closed, but would "be open later". So instead we hopped on the already-operating Whip

Next we wandered over to the Thunderbolt, which was now operating. Electing for the back row, we were treated to one of the best TBolt laps I've had in years. Still-wet track and VERY light trims led to a ride with good laterals and pops of air. Coming off, we immediately went right back around for another lap (and would return later for a third)

Next up, we saw that Phantom was finally running, so we headed on over there. There's a new sign in front that looks VERY nice (I left my camera at home due to the threat of rain, but I'll snap it next time). Up the deserted queue and into the station (under the cape, which still needs a face), and straight back to "my row". Already waiting for this seat was our friend Dave, another Pittsburgh ACE/RRC person. So now we were up to 3 people.

PR was running one train (not that they needed the second on this day ) The second is in fact not on the transfer yet -- perhaps they're still putting the new fins on? At any rate, the ride is just as wild as ever -- good speed, and insane airtime on the return stretch. The train CRAWLS into the station now after the magnetic trims, which is amusing to see but bodes well for two-train operation. Ultimately we would end up with 4 laps on PR, 2 in "the office" (back row) and 2 in the "reception area" (front row, back car).

Now it was time to check out the other Kennywoodies. First up, Racer, where I exchanged quick hellos with CoastermanMike. I'll note here that the "Racer 75th Anniversary" banners throughout the park are VERY nice, and I hope to see that on a shirt at some point (we looked for it, actually, but couldn't find it). Racer isn't a blowout woodie, but it's a LOT of fun, which is what it's all about. We'd end up with 3 laps on the day.

Next, over to the Jackrabbit. The new braking system is VERY smooth and effective, which is good to see. We noticed that there are actually TWO sets of fins under the cars, rather than just one. Perhaps this is due to the short LENGTH of the train?

At any rate, the operators were still counting out people to let in the station, but were NOT enforcing a "back to front" policy, instead letting people sit where they could first-come-first-served in the station. Yay! The double-down in the back is as crazy as ever. While headed around the curve on our dispatch, Dave spotted RideMan in the queue, so we waited for him after our ride. Now our group was complete.

Lunch found us at the "Small Fry" for buffalo chicken strips and cheese fries. Rideman commented that the buffalo sauce was too vinegary for his tastes, which I can see but I like them that way.

Exterminator eventually opened, but while we were waiting inside it had problems of some sort and shut down. We decided to wait it out, and it was open in about 10 minutes. The waiting room was quite stuffy, considering how cool it was outside at the time. Rideman and I were assigned to one car, and Tim & Dave to another, because the op at thought we'd be too cramped in one car (but then Tim & Dave ended up with 2 other people anyway -- go figure). The spinning release is functioning again, which is good, and our ride was decent -- I've had far more spinning effect, but also significantly less. Part of the appeal on this ride is that no two laps are the same.

So we'd covered the coasters (and with repeats my lapcounts were ultimately 4 PR, 3 TB, 3 JR, 3 R, and 1 E). However, the coasters are far from the only thing to do at Kennywood. We also hit the Old Mill, Noah's Ark, Gold Rusher, Kangaroo, Flying Carpet (more on that in a minute), Auto Race, Pittfall, Bayern Curve, Turtle, and already-mentioned Whip.

The Flying Carpet looks great this year, and runs very well. We noticed that it still has a bit of a jerk on each full rotation, but nothing unsettling. We were also very happy to observe that Kennywood has color-coded the seatbelts ("red belt goes with red buckle") which should greatly help in figuring out which belt goes where. (The color coding consists of small patches of color on the black belts, NOT full colored belts, so people may not notice at first, but at the very least it'll be a benefit to the operators). It's just great to see this ride running (hopefully) reliably again.

On the subject of improvements, the Pirate looks GREAT. It wasn't operating (in fact it wasn't fully assembled), but it looks VERY nice. I can't wait for it to start running again. We found what we believe will be the "Fish & Chips" stand, but it wasn't open yet either.

There are new banners all over the park, both celebrating Racer's 75th year and advertising Phantom Fright Nights.

The roasted corn stand was partially there. We weren't sure if that meant it was going back in or coming out, but are hoping for the former.

Still no Cheese-on-a-stick that we could find

I left the park around 8pm to meet up with some fellow CMU alum at Spaghetti Warehouse. By this point Kennywood had announced a closing time of 9pm, which isn't bad at all considering the bad weather to start the day (although it got downright pleasant out once the clouds cleared out) and light crowds.


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--Greg
"Are you justified in taking life to save life?" -- The Great Debate, Dream Theater
My page

(Edited to add a few flats I'd forgotten about)

*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 4/23/2002. ***

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Monday, April 22, 2002 11:02 AM
Very nice report.

I have the same comment regarding those Buffalo strips as Rideman. But they're not too bad, especially considering the price.

I think I might hit the park this Saturday. I wasnt sure if they would have all the coasters up and running these first few weekends, but now that I know they do, this weekend is looking better for me.

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"Looks like you've been missing quite a bit of work lately"
"Well, I wouldn't say I've been MISSING it, Bob."

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Monday, April 22, 2002 1:29 PM

I think everyone at Kennywood Saturday must have had the Buffalo Strips for lunch. :) Gina (Magnum ATL) and I also had them. Anyway, I agree that the sauce has a bit too much vinegar. I would like it a bit hotter (spicier I guess) but I understand that I am addicted to spicey foods and most people wouldn't like them if it was done the way I like it. :) I agree that the price is right though. The strips and fries are enough for a meal and at $4.50, they are a rare bargain. All of the food at KP seemed cheaper than most places though which is one of the things I liked about the place.

GregLeg, I think I saw you with Rideman when we said hi to him at the exit to Phantom's Revenge, but I didn't know who you were. :) But that's okay, Rideman didn't know who we were either. ;)

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-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew

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Monday, April 22, 2002 1:43 PM

Was this the ride after someone in the station yelled out "Oh My God!" when they spotted Rideman?

As for the buffalo strips, I would also like them quite a bit spicier than they are, but can't complain. The combo of that vinegary sauce and cheese are GREAT on the fries. :)

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--Greg
"Are you justified in taking life to save life?" -- The Great Debate, Dream Theater
My page

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Monday, April 22, 2002 1:47 PM
Was EVERYONE really hungry that day?!

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"Villain-Once You Drop, The Fun Don't Stop!"~My No Limits Designs...http://coastergames.net/author.php?author=BKF%20Master

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Monday, April 22, 2002 4:51 PM

Makes me even more upset that I didn't go.. I was off all weekend.

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AIM: Pritti Kittie

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Monday, April 22, 2002 7:54 PM
Great Report!

Not that they were just hungry, they were at Kennywood!

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X-Flight World's Only flying coaster!
Batwing World's only flying coaster!
S:UF World's only flying coaster! Don't you love SF ?

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Monday, April 22, 2002 8:19 PM
I was referring to the date...lol.

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"Villain-Once You Drop, The Fun Don't Stop!"~My No Limits Designs...http://coastergames.net/author.php?author=BKF%20Master

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 5:44 AM
Since I spent most of my day with Greg, and since I don't feel like uploading my whole trip report, I'll just tell you all that you can read it (with illustrations) from my web page, here.

The appearance of Matt and Gina was on the Phantom's Revenge exit. I don't think the "OH MY GOD!!!" guy knows me other than as "that guy with the beard who likes Gemini". :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 7:33 AM

Yea, that was Frank from the Gemini crew who yelled "Oh my god." We were in line with them at that time also and I heard him yell that. Frank was saying him and Rideman got into some sort of little argument one time about Gemini though and that's why he yelled "oh my god." I'm not really sure what it was about, but at least they appeared nice to each other on the Phantom's Revenge platform. ;) He didn't know who you were until Gina told him you were Rideman from GTTP. :)

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002 10:02 AM
Not REALLY an "argument"...it's just that I pointed out to him that his script is wrong. Gemini's standard ride time is 2:42, not 2:40 as the script says, and I've clocked it anywhere from 2:31 to 3:10 depending on temperature, wind, and brake settings.

But really how much of an argument can you have over two seconds? :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, April 25, 2002 11:09 AM

It was good seeing you again Greg. Though our conversation was brief, always good to see you. Perhaps we could have a much longer conversation at KennyKon?

I believe I saw Rideman as well. What were you wearing that day? It seems to have slipped my mind.

What a terrific day that was. Sun shining and rides operating. Just a perfect way to start another magical season at Kennywood. I encourage everyone to make the trip out this year and see what we have to offer and don't forget to visit me over at the Racer and Jack Rabbit. It won't be hard to spot me, i'm the loudest ride op. ever to grace these two rides. :)

Coasterman Mike - who can't wait to go back to KP this weekend

-----------------
Total rides on Phantom's Revenge: 49
Total rides on Pittfall: 255
Total rides on Superman:UE : 633
Feel free to IM me @ CoastermanMike

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Thursday, April 25, 2002 11:20 AM
Mike, I'll bet you if you get Jill screaming she can give you a run for that title...

Just make sure I'm not there to hear it ;)

(It was actually pretty funny when I spotted her on the Jackrabbit platform on Saturday. I hadn't seen her in a few years. Took me a while to even remember how I knew her -- she used to work at the Century III Electronics Boutique, I used to be a regular customer...)


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--Greg
"Are you justified in taking life to save life?" -- The Great Debate, Dream Theater
My page

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Thursday, April 25, 2002 12:05 PM

Oh goodness... only God knows what will happen when the two of us work the same ride the same day. That's one of the main reasons why our crew is one of the best in the park. We actually enjoy working with each other and have a blast doing it. The complete opposite of last year's crew.

Coasterman Mike

-----------------
Total rides on Phantom's Revenge: 49
Total rides on Pittfall: 255
Total rides on Superman:UE : 633
Feel free to IM me @ CoastermanMike

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