Kennywood 6/27/07

Associated parks:
None

Friday, July 20, 2007 2:42 PM
Arriving at the park just after opening, we headed to Exterminator first because we had heard the line gets ridiculous. There was hardly any line at all so far and we got two rides quickly. It was the best spinning mouse I've ever been on due to the darkness and the
decorations. From reading old trip reports though, there were some scenes that either weren't working or had been removed. The second half of the ride was just a huge dark area, although spinning in the dark was nice.

Next we went to Phantom's Revenge. This was a great ride whose only problem was that it was too short. The peak speed is higher than the one launched coaster I've been on, Stormrunner! The train came back surprisingly fast for the length of the track. This was also our largest drop so far, beating Steel Force because of the terrain. The station provides a great view of Thunderbolt, the river, and the steel plant across the river:
http://www.pbase.com/jim_shaffer/image/81336576

On to Thunderbolt, which didn't live up to its hype for me. It wasn't a bad ride, but the airtime and laterals didn't seem at all to be as extreme as everyone says they are.

While we were in the area, we rode the Gold Rusher, a mine-train-themed haunted house with cars that are almost like coaster cars. The decorations were well done but we didn't find it at all scary, and it wasn't totally dark.

After a stop for Potato Patch fries, which were great but the extreme heat and humidity of the day kept us from having a big enough appetite to finish them, we started across the back of the park. The railroad was a nice long ride in the shade with narration of local and park history. Then it was time for the log flume. From the queue entrance we couldn't see how long the queue was (we should have guessed, due to the heat), but we waited it out. This was a nice flume that splashed a lot without soaking, and it was also the first flume we'd seen that has an uphill coasting section!

The Racer was next. This wasn't a high-thrill coaster and the seat belts seemed unnecessary, as did the big "Do Not Stand Up" sign at the crest of the lift -- the first coaster we've ridden with one of those. But it was cool riding a Moebius track, and at least one person while we were there was surprised about coming back to the opposite side of the station.

Completing the coaster circuit, we came to the Jackrabbit. This too has gained seat belts, although here at least there's one moment when you could argue for them. In the front seat we weren't too impressed with the fabled airtime on the double-down, but in the back seat it's a whole different story. Anyone who doesn't wait for the back of the
train is missing the whole reason to ride this. Too bad it only has one hill like that. Underneath that hill, I noticed about a dozen lost hats that had been lined up on display on one of the supports, and recently-lost stuffed animals scattered around.

Next we rode the carousel, which in addition to the unremarkable horses has a large lion saddled with an antelope hide: http://www.pbase.com/jim_shaffer/image/81336551

Then we rode the Kangaroo, a unique ride where individual cars are pulled around a track with a hill and a drop, giving a nice bounce: http://www.pbase.com/jim_shaffer/image/81336552 The historical sign calling it the last Norm Bartlett ride is wrong though since Knoebels resurrected a Looper.

Since we were in that corner of the park we went to Garfield's Nightmare, which had an entrance that was hard to find until we realized that we were meant to follow the paw-prints on the ground. This is a dark boat ride built in the old days by PTC. The tape loop
that plays in the queue gives the history of it. Unfortunately, all the previous themeings of it sounded a lot better than what it is now. You're given diffraction-grating glasses that make fluorescent orange elements of the cartoons that line the walls pop out, which is trippy and the only interesting part of the whole experience.

After re-rides on Racer and Jackrabbit since we planned on spending the rest of our day on the good coasters on the opposite end of the park, I rode the Cosmic Chaos, their new Zamperla Disk'o with an oversized track and extensive alien themeing. A nice touch was that the tape loop was done in the voice of an alien, with sound effects and scrambled speech. While I was in line, someone took offense at the part that informed riders that the aliens aren't responsible for loose objects sucked into a wormhole, yelling "There are no wormholes!" This would be only the beginning of the oddball happenings for the afternoon. My girlfriend didn't ride, which was probably just as well because the alien restraint system doesn't seem to be designed for species with mammary glands:
http://www.pbase.com/jim_shaffer/image/81336567 About the time that picture was taken, someone to the left of me screamed about her chest getting crunched, much to the amusement of that side of the ride.

Heading back to Phantom's Revenge, we took a detour so I could ride Pitt Fall, my first full-size drop tower and quite a large one at that. This was a little scary even without the inevitable in-line conversation about Kentucky Kingdom.

Phantom's Revenge by then had grown a long line, due to still only running one train. By the time we had got into the station and opted to ride the back seat because the front seat line was so long it was almost blockading the entrance, a thunderstorm was spotted and they shut the ride down. Thunderbolt continued to operate until it got closer, then it went down too. While we were waiting, the nearby Turtle, a Tumble Bug, continued to operate in the rain until apparently the track got too slick for the cars to pull themselves over, which led to comments over the PA system from the Phantom staff: "Way to go, Turtle! They valleyed the Turtle! Who's working over there?"

Eventually the storm moved far enough away that they reopened Thunderbolt, so we headed over there. About the time we got there, the rain started again but they kept running, only loading half the train. After a long wait we got a wet-track ride, which seemed a lot more forceful than our ride earlier in the day.

Finally after the rain quit again Phantom's Revenge opened. When we got into the station, heading for the back seat again, the people in front of us were talking about a previous rider losing a bag of marijuana out of his pocket while climbing out of the car. (The cars have a weird lap bar that makes it awkward to get in and out of the seats.) While they were debating whether he would have the guts to come back looking for it, the police showed up to collect the bag, leading to comments of "Great, now the cops are going to smoke all his weed."

After two great back-seat rides, we decided that we weren't going to wait in that long line again (it was about half an hour, and it was getting late), so we went and rode Exterminator again twice, with still a short line but lots of line-jumping by families trying to get their kids organized, before leaving.

In light of recent events at other parks, I should remark that Phantom's Revenge had the most safety-conscious operators I've ever seen. Even while the ride was shut down, the crew on the station floor wouldn't cross the track without clearance from the man at the controls, and they insisted that someone be present on the entrance and exit sides of the platform at all times. *** Edited 7/20/2007 6:45:06 PM UTC by Jim S.*** *** Edited 7/20/2007 6:47:48 PM UTC by Jim S.***

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Friday, July 20, 2007 8:47 PM
Interesting trip report. I couldnt really tell if you had a good time or a bad time. It is frustrating that the Phantoms Revenge dosent run 2 trains more often. Your right though about the old mill themeing, it was way better before they turned in into Garfield. I think the do not stand up sign is more there for nostalagic reasons...I mean obviously its not required more than it is on any other ride...

Shame you didnt try Noahs Ark, its a walkthrough fun house that is one of only 2 remaining in the world, really unique and unlike anything you have ever seen before, I assure you.

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Friday, July 20, 2007 9:59 PM
kpjb gave a nice explanation of why the Phantom can't run two trains all the time... I wish I could find it.

In short, the ride can only run two trains when the line is long enough to guarantee that every train goes out full. I forget the exact reasoning, but I think the problem is that lighter trains take a while to move off the back brake because of the magnetic brakes, which can pose a problem if another train is going up the lift. The park installed new magnetic brakes last season, but I suppose it's still a work in progress.

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Friday, July 20, 2007 10:09 PM
So what do they do in the morning to test?

As a matter of fact, we were at the park before opening earlier this year and saw it testing without anyone or anything in the train. I find that explanation difficult to swallow.

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Friday, July 20, 2007 10:25 PM
Sure, they can test with two, because it's no big deal to stop the train on the lift with nobody in it. It is a big deal when you have 28 people stopped on the lift.
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Saturday, July 21, 2007 12:01 PM
Why's that a big deal? It happens all over the place on many different coasters. First one that comes to mind is Beast.

So it takes an extra few seconds for the train to make it past the brakes, at least the line isn't half way down the ramp. That's my biggest complaint, when they have a completely full station and the line's 1/2 way to the outside queues, they still only have one train running.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:11 PM
Yea, sorry PhantomTails that explination, true or not true, just dosent cut it for me...I mean its been a "work in progress" since the Revenge opened in 2001...the lame excuses are wearing thin. Its not like it ruins my day, I love Kennywood as much as anyone, but its just frustrating.
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Monday, July 23, 2007 10:47 PM

Super Loopy said:
So it takes an extra few seconds for the train to make it past the brakes

Phantom's Revenge only has one block behind the station; therefore, the second train needs to completely clear that block before the first train can clear the lift. If the second train crawls into the station, then there's a chance that the first train will have to get stopped on the lift, which is a big no-no.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 1:28 AM
Just so everyone knows the phantoms revenge doesn't test with two trains....at the end of the night they rotate trains and test that one in the morning they don't test with two because they never open with two...and they never open with two becasuse sometimes the line looks worse than it really is and dies down later on thus they aren't able to fill two trains efficiently and second train will stop on the lift or one will sit on the table. Phantom Tails said it the best though the magnetic brakes and the new computer system prohibit the train from comming in quick and if its not completly off the table by the time the train on the lift is at a certain point the lift will shut itself off thus you have a code 10 (ride stuck with people on) if there is a better explanation please tell me i work at the park and thats even what the mechanics of the ride say.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 12:04 PM
I don't get it. Why don't they just program the system to allow stopping on the lift and restarting without a big deal?

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 12:50 PM
Or slow the lift down so that the other train has PLENTY of time to clear the brakes. Also done on many other coasters.

Raven comes to mind.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 1:37 PM
^ This they do. When running in 2-train mode, the lift runs slower until the train is around halfway up the hill. Then, it speeds up to normal.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 4:01 PM
ok . when I really looked at it one day it started out slow the got faster. I was wondering why it did that. lol
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 10:30 PM
^^

I guess I should have specified "more" or "longer" in my post.

Slow the lift down for a longer period of time so that the other train has more than enough interval to clear the brakes, unload and load.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 11:55 PM
the phantoms design is strange in general there isn't enough room for the ride to slown down in time for it to gaarantee it stopping on the table thats why it has trim brakes now before the double dip and helix and the when it hits the table it comes to such a sudden stop the brakes are always on high pressure now the old system you didn't have to do that but this one does....one of the kinks i guess...bottom line is until they can guarantee they will not run out of a line and won't run half empty trains they wont start with two and besides you people act like waiting 15mins is bad when you go anywhere else and wait hours.
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