Kennywood, 5/4/2002....what a great day!

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Monday, May 6, 2002 9:11 AM

Seeing as how we've had exactly no time to ourselves since getting married in December, my wife and I decided to take a weekend trip to Kennywood. Neither of us had ever visited this park before, and despite my search of KP trip reports, I wasn't really entirely sure what to expect. I'd never been to an "indy" park before, although I have been to each of the Big 5's parks at least once.

We had been hoping to leave Columbus by 7, but a late night on Friday meant that we didn't leave until 8:20 or so. However, a fast driving Volvo in front of me virtually the whole way allowed us to arrive at the Kennywood lot at 11:25. My first impression was one of slight disappointment-the signs looked old, the parking lot had a bunch of litter, and I was worried that I had driven 194 miles just to be disappointed.

I was ridiculed by the woman at the ticket booth for not knowing the difference between an all-day pass and general admission. Sorry! I then walked through the metal detectors-they didn't go off despite my cell phone clipped to my belt and my camera in my pocket. I don't know if there were park maps available, but I didn't see any. Not to be deterred, I followed the green track to...

Phantom's Revenge! Woohoo, coaster number 50! When I realized that my track record stood at 49, I knew I had to pick a great ride for number five-oh. I had initially planned for it to be WT @ CP, but I figured this would be even better. Since we had arrived pretty early, the line wasn't terrible, but one-train operation turned a 15 minute MF line into a 45 minute line.

What can I say about this ride that hasn't already been said? Well, I can say that it scared the hell out of my wife ;) She's handled MF and Magnum and Apollo's with no problem, but the ejector air served up by PR was too much for her. The back seat, where we rode, is damn near violent. It certainly is a different type of hyper experience than what I've been on before. It was my first Morgan hyper, so I don't know if it's typical of their coasters or not. You can certainly feel the difference between the Arrow track and the Morgan track, but it's still a slightly rougher ride than I was expecting for a 1 year old coaster. Even though I know it's faster than AC, the speed didn't feel as powerful. A great coaster to be sure, but it's my least favorite hyper I've been on. Of course, comparing any coaster to MF/Magnum/AC is probably unfair.

At this point, we were pretty hungry, and my wife was pretty well shaken up. I decided to give the Potato Patch a go, since all the Buzzers seem to give this place 5 stars. I was a little worried at this point that my day was going to be shot-Lori really doesn't like rough coasters, and I knew the majority of the offerings here were wood-I had been hoping that PR would be her favorite. The park was also just OLD. The charm of the place had yet to really set in, and I was really just hoping to get my money's worth. Thank God for the Potato Patch, is all I can say. Those great fries really started to turn my day around. I noticed that there is someone stationed at each eating area to clean up after guests as they leave the table. What a great idea. That little detail also made me start to notice other little details about the park that really increased it's charm factor.

Recharged and ready to go once again, we headed to the Racer. The line was gobbled up fairly quickly by this coaster, although I started to realize that Lori and I were the only twenty-somethings around. It seemed like there were a ton of 11-14 year olds running around unsupervised, and a disturbing number of kids were smoking. For some reason, it greatly disturbs me to see 14 year olds smoking.

Anyway, the Racer was more fun than you could shake a stick at. My green train lagged well behind the red train, but there was a bunch of hand slapping going on, and laughter in abundance. It was also my first time in a looooooong time on a coaster where the restraints were almost non-existant. When you're so used to being stapled in by OTSRs and other restrictive restraints, it is pure joy to sit under a single lap bar with no seat dividers.

Lori was smiling and laughing again, which was a good sign. So we headed over to the Jack Rabbit and its infamous double dip. All I can say here is WOW. Great airtime leading up to the double dip on every drop, and then ridiculous ohmygodi'mstanding up airtime on the double dip. I shudder to think what it would have been like in the back car. Those who dismiss this as a family coaster are really missing out on a great ride. Just goes to show that height and speed do not always equate to greatness.

We then went on a flat/dark ride binge. We took in, in succession, the Kangaroo, the Old Mill, the Bayern Kurve, and the Whip. I had never experienced any of these rides before at any park, and I've got to say that they're all a blast. I think Kennywood really has an outstanding collection of flats, better than I've seen at any park since the old days of Kings Island. The intensity of the Bayern Kurve was only added to by the fact that there was a wasp flying around my head after I'd been belted in, but before the ride began. I've never wanted to ride to start so much in my life!

We then walked over to the Exterminator, only to find that it wasn't running at that time. So we headed over to the Aero 360, which is an absolutely wonderful ride. We ended up doing this ride twice, first in a middle seat, and then in the front seat. Even though it is a looping ride, it really isn't too disorienting. I wouldn't classify it as a spin and puke.

Next up was the Thunderbolt. One train operation made this line about 40 minutes, but they did add a second train while we were in line. I wondered why they asked that smaller riders get in first, but my 5' 7" 115lb wife got in first, and I put my 5' 9" 175 frame in second into the back seat. Well, if we had done it the other way around, I probably would have killed her. She slammed into me about 6 times during the ride, bruising my ribs. The intense laterals and stand up air on this coaster make it my new number one woodie. The last drop into the ravine almost threw both of us out of the car, banging my thighs into the lap bar. I normally try not to rank rides, but this coaster was so much fun that I can't help it. We rode it again later in the day in the front, where it was still fun, but with less air. I had heard great things about this coaster, but none of them prepard me for it. 10++++.

We went back to the Exterminator where a 1hr 15min line awaited us. This wouldn't have been so bad except for two things. The line passes right underneath the shoot-the-chutes, so i got wetter than some of the people on the ride. Secondly, once you get into the actual building, it is deafening. The combined volume of pre-teens screaming at each other and the concrete walls resonating was enough to drive me up the wall, and I played in a guitar heavy band on the road for three years.

The actual ride was a blast, though. I don't know the actual layout of the ride, but it reminded me of the Wilde Maus at BGW without all the brakes. I was expecting a little more theming inside, but I was glad that there wasn't much, as I'm terrified of rats :) The spinning car was a laugh riot. I wouldn't wait that long for it again, but the ride itself is much more than a mouse.

We had a great dinner at the old Casino building. Seventeen bucks for dinner for two people at a park is just about the coolest thing ever. Altogether, the day ended up costing about eighty bucks. That's got to be the cheapest day I've ever had at an amusement park.

After a couple more rides on Aero and on a flat ride or two, we called it a day at 8. My overall impression of the park? Don't go there expecting Cedar Point or Islands of Adventure. Take it for what it is-a grand old park with a focus on fun. I don't think that I've ever laughed so much or felt so relaxed at a park as I did at KP. It definitely won't be my last time there-in fact, I'm already looking for excuses to go back!

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Monday, May 6, 2002 9:28 AM

Great report. It's always great to read positive reports about your home park :)

It's especially good to hear you got GREAT rides out of Thunderbolt. I was really impressed with how well it was running on opening day, and it's good to hear that's continuing.

--Greg

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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, May 6, 2002 10:02 AM

I was there that day too! We only had a half-hour for Exterminator, but I know it went down several times during the day.

Jack Rabbit is a joy with two trains. It really was cranking people through. Thunderbolt beat me up a little. Racer could really be a people eater with four trains (more mag brakes, anyone?). Phantom was awesome once again, and it'll be great when the state certifies that two-train operation!

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Monday, May 6, 2002 10:02 AM

Mark W. Baruth said:
"Phantom's Revenge! Woohoo, coaster number 50!
(SNIP)
What can I say about this ride that hasn't already been said? Well, I can say that it scared the hell out of my wife She's handled MF and Magnum and Apollo's with no problem, but the ejector air served up by PR was too much for her. The back seat, where we rode, is damn near violent. It certainly is a different type of hyper experience than what I've been on before. It was my first Morgan hyper, so I don't know if it's typical of their coasters or not. You can certainly feel the difference between the Arrow track and the Morgan track, but it's still a slightly rougher ride than I was expecting for a 1 year old coaster. Even though I know it's faster than AC, the speed didn't feel as powerful. A great coaster to be sure, but it's my least favorite hyper I've been on. Of course, comparing any coaster to MF/Magnum/AC is probably unfair. "

Well, I'll have you know that I think that Phantom's trumps all three of those coasters (save Millie in the front seat, I dont think anything comes close to that).

And (kinda going back to the "rough" thread) I dont think PR is rough "AT ALL", but it *is* hella violent. That SOB (now to be confused with PKI's woodie) will *LET* you know the real deal. Actually, I think that's what I liked most about it. If not for my loathing of curved drops and straight flat track, Phantom's would be my number 1 hyper (as it is, it's #3)

But that's why opinions are like butt-holes
lata,
jeremy
--everyone has one, and they all stink!

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Monday, May 6, 2002 10:05 AM

Yes, I have a sense of pride in that also, like someone from way out of town saying that they like your sports teams.

I was there too on that day from open to close. You probably saw me. They seemed to have removed a trim break after the lift hill on the top of the Thunderbolt. I'm happy for that. I had a good time also, even if I was a little underdressed. (The temperature was about 66 for a high and went down to 52 deg. during the evening with the wind blowing.) I smashed my 64 year old Dad's ribs on the Thunderbolt also during another visit and they hurt for a week. I can't wait until they run two trains on the Phantom's Revenge.

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Monday, May 6, 2002 10:25 AM

Jeremy-

It's funny how when you're married, your opinion of a ride can be completey predicated upon what your wife thinks of it and how many times she'll ride it. I, personally, would have taken 5 or 6 laps on PR that day, but that's not always possible :) I get the feeling that ride gets better with re-rides.

I have determined that there are two types of trips to parks for me now...wife trips and friend trips. For power-riding, running from coaster to coaster, I'll go with my pals. For a overall fun day at a more relaxed pace, I'll go with my wife. I'm lucky in the sense that she doesn't feel the need to go everywhere and do everything with me, and understands the need to have a "guys' day at the park" every now and again.

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Doesn't it seem as though morons always have the caps lock on?

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Monday, May 6, 2002 11:33 AM

I attended Kennywood on Sunday and found that Exterminator was down. I was not there the whole day. (no need to post a full report.) Phantom's Revenge was not more than a 15 minute wait with one train operation. I did not notice the brakes until entering the station. Thunderbolt was a walk on with one train. Jack Rabbit also ran one train but the park was next to empty so it did not matter. It was a good couple of hours for my first trip of the season to the home park. I wonder if something is wrong with Exterminator?

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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 5:04 AM
Great report. Glad you had a fun time at my home park. I havent made the trip out yet this year, but perhaps this Saturday if I can find someone to drag along with me.


Mark W. Baruth said:
"... it is pure joy to sit under a single lap bar with no seat dividers."

Am I remembering incorrectly. I swear Racer has seat dividers. I could be wrong though.

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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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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 5:08 AM
The Racer has seat dividers and thus is not eligble for ACE coaster classic status.
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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 5:09 AM
My mistake...i must have been remembering jack rabbit :)
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Doesn't it seem as though morons always have the caps lock on?
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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 6:28 AM

And I still think ACE's definition for classic is insanely outdated, but I shant open that can of worms again.

Oops... just did. ;)

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 8:23 AM

Why do you think that PKI used to have one of the best collection of flat rides? I was a PKI junkie until '83 and never considered them as being exceptional in that department. Just curious . . .

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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 8:45 AM
Well, I'm sure that Shaggy or someone else could speak with much more accuracy on this, but I wasn't really old enough to ride coasters when my family started going to KI as a youth. However, I always had a great time there due to what seemed to be a great collection of flats. This, however, was through the eyes of a 6 year old in 1984, so it could be inaccurate. It seems as though they've been removing flat rides at a record rate and replacing them with upcharge attractions or not replacing them at all.

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Doesn't it seem as though morons always have the caps lock on?

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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 2:39 PM

2Hostyl said:
If not for my loathing of curved drops and straight flat track, Phantom's would be my number 1 hyper (as it is, it's #3)"

I thought I remembered you perfering twisters, but you don't like curved drops? You must be hard to please. ;)

An hour and a half for a wild mouse? I don't even think I could wait for that.

-l(who didn't really like hulk's loud music)
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SFEG awaits The Flying Coaster-coming in 2002!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2002 4:37 PM
No Jeff: Go ahead and onpen that can of worms. It's about the only can of worms that you and I can share ;)

PT: I *am* a bit finicky. But there is at least some *semblence* of a method to my madness. I dont like the curving drops like on Shockwave, PR, GASM-II, and Wildcat (HP). OTOH, I do like the "non-straight" drops of ROAR, Lighting Racer, Raptor, and Anaconda (PKD). The difference in the two groups is that in the first group, the curve is continuous and in the second group, there is a quick twist followed by a relatively straight section.

Now the one exception to this not so "hard and fast" rule is the second (third?) hill on The Legend. The only reason I like that is because, unlike the others it's underbanked so you get great laterals :)
lata,
jeremy
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"Nobody writes about the planes that land." Steve Salerno Washington Times 7-10-01

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