Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, USA
I visited Kennywood for their cold and damp passholder preview day and again the following weekend on a hot and sunny Saturday. Last year started very poorly but things improved throughout the year and overall it ended up being a great year for Kennywood. During the off season they announced some improvements to the park experience. That's mostly what I am going to talk about.
The entrance looks great! It's no longer bombed out pavement with mangled highway guide rails. They paved the walkway with red brick and used a black railing to keep the cars in the parking lot. The also reconfigured the entrance. You now purchase tickets at the front of the ticket booths rather than the sides and they moved the security check which is now just a quick walk through, to the center of the ticket booths. It's all very nice.
They spruced up the midways quite a bit. They have little touches like the yellow pennants seen here, added some paint in places, and all of the gardens are weed free.
My favorite change has to be the Potato Patch. Gone are the individual lanes. They now have two individual queues where you walk up, pick up the fries you want, and pay at the end. They need to work out some of the logistics but it's a huge improvement.
New nicely branded signage has popped up all over the park.
The beer garden is not quite done but it's looking good. They also added another small bar in the Parkside Cafe with some pub tables to stand at outside on the patio.
As for rides and operations it wasn't great. Thunderbolt is still not open (although it has been painted). Phantom, Steel Curtain, were running one train, food lines were long, etc, but I expect that from parks this time of year.
Also, the Kangaroo is not ready. They are targeting Memorial Day weekend for that. They are using the Paratrooper's spot for the queue so that's confirmation that it will not be back.
I am really looking forward to the Bites & Pints festival this year and for what's to come. It feels like Kennywood has finally realized that what they have is special and worth caring for and it shows in their 2022 improvements.
Forgot to mention that they added the current year to Cowboy Joe's sign so families can take a photo every year they visit. Such a small but meaningful touch.
They display for me even in the browsers that I am not logged into Google in. I don't know when sharing photos on the Internet became so difficult... Here's a link to the album for the time being.
Now they're showing up for me. Weird.
The park really looks great. Last time I was there was probably 8 or 9 years ago, so it really does look much improved.
I can tell just from those few photos the park looks better than it has in a long time, and it's getting the love and attention it deserves. On my last visit it truly looked sad, with plenty of empty landscaping and other areas overgrown with weeds.
Now they need to end the "one train or bust" coaster operations. When the SEAS parks are better at coaster ops than you, it's time for a change.
I proposed to my wife 25 years ago after a day at Kennywood. We are long overdue for a return visit, and the park looks great.
Operations were really good on Phantom and Steel Curtain last season once they got going. I am hopeful that will continue this season.
Thunderbolt is open and running two trains again. The brakes are now mechanical including (I think) the trim before the last two drops. It's running really well and feels fast. The Bites & Pints festival also started this weekend.
They've added these way finding signs throughout the park.
Kangaroo is open and looks great.
I have not heard a bad thing about the park this season. Comparing that to the last several years where it was hard to hear a good thing, it is so refreshing to hear of a park acknowledging they weren't delivering and actively working to change that.
You must be logged in to post