I arrived at 9:30, a full 30 minutes before the advertised opening of the park. As I parked my car in the crowded parking lot I noticed many of the rides already operating. I made my way up to the main gate and handed the extremely friendly cashier my can of coke. "I'm sorry, that promotion is not valid on Saturdays." Risking less than a dollar to potentially save ten was worth it so it didn't bother me. I just wanted to get in the park and ride.
Rides listed as not operating: Jet Star 2, Cliffhanger, and the stage coach. I'd ridden the JS2 back in 1994 but I was bummed about Cliffhanger. Oh well, I'll be back.
At the front gate I was handed a park map and I made my way back to The Bat, the park's new-for-2005 Vekoma Jr. Suspended Coaster. The line stretched out of the small queue and towards the entrance. Since the day was just beginning I felt the line would only get worse, so I waited. Because it was a mid-May weekend and the tourist season was not in full-swing I suspected that overall crowds would be light and the reason this line was so long was that the ride was new.
And then I noticed something that made me worry. The line for The Bat was right next to a small covered pavilion with a wooden stage. I kept noticing this odd "clicking" sound as kids walked by and then once a group of kids got on stage and started dancing I figured it out: it was a clogging competition. So how many cloggers could there be in the area? Maybe I shouldn't worry so much? A sign staplegunned to the wall of the pavilion confirmed my worst fears. It wasn't just a few cloggers...it was the friggin National Grand Championship!! The more I looked around the more cloggers I saw. Kid cloggers, teenage cloggers, adult cloggers. This was not good.
An hour later I was sitting in the back seat and ready to go. I was surprised how little land this ride took up...it is really compact. I'd seen [but not ridden] Runaway Reptar at PKI but for some reason this identical version looks smaller. The park has not finished landscaping under the ride but from the looks of the rest of the park it will no doubt look beautiful when finished. As a nice touch there is a well-placed "bat cave" that also acts as a foot-chopper during the ride.
Up the zippy lift and we were off around the course and soon back in the end-brakes. With the exception of a few mild slams into the OSTR [oddly, all on straight track!] the ride was fun and smooth and certainly a crowd pleaser with its intended audience. As suspected the line continued to grow and was 60+ mins all day. Ride #352...ca-chink!
As I made my way towards Samurai, the park's Mondial Top Scan, I passed pavilion after pavilion of cloggers. I started to wonder if I shouldn't change my game plan and pick up the coaster credits I wanted first before hitting the flat rides. I passed the park's Flyers and decided to watch a few cycles to see how they were operated and if anyone was snapping. On the third cycle, as I was looking around the area, I heard the unmistakable snap! and turned to see a young kid had found his groove. Just as I contemplated staying line the ride op got on the PA and told the kid to stop snapping. Oh well...off to the Samurai...or so I thought. A huge 60-min line for Samurai, the park's Mondial Top Scan, stretching out of the queue and towards the park entrance confirmed my worst fears. I made a beeline to The Spider.
On the way to The Spider I passed the park's wooden coaster, which most people refer to as The White Coaster. Frankly I'd refer to it as the Looks As If It Hasn't Been Painted Since 1921 Coaster, but I digress. The line for this classic woodie stretched out of the queue and -- let's say it all together now -- towards the park entrance. To make matter worse the ride's second train sat in the transfer track. Could they not see how huge the line was?
Making my way past the Wild Mouse and its very long line I spotted the queue for The Spider. While long the park was running all six cars and the line moved at a steady pace. In about 45 mins I was sitting with three young girls, facing forward. The trip up the lift is fast and soon cars are diving down the curving drop and up into the mouse-like hairpin u-turn, taken at an alarmingly fast speed, and then all hell brakes loose! A mechanism at the end of the u-turn unlocks the cars and the spinning starts as we drop down into the half-pipe element and into another set of block brakes. Cars continue to spin thru the course: the small but sharp drop leading to a slalom section, a third block [this one turned on slightly], a helix, a fourth block, and the final turning dip and bunny hop into the final brake run.
I challenge anyone to ride The Spider and not laugh...it is THAT fun! The spinning action of the car is fairly steady but not so fast as to cause any sickness. Although the forces are quite intense for a family ride it would be easy to marathon on it. I would kill for any of the So Cal parks [hello, Knotts and/or Disney/DCA?] to put one of these in. I liked the ride so much that I waited over an hour to reride later in the day, and when I do Mitch's steel coaster poll The Spider will land solidly in my Top 10.
With the mouse next door I decided to brake the long line and get the last new-to-me credit. Operations were fairly typical for a mouse. All 6 cars were being run and there were only two sections of braking along the course. As a nice touch the park added a tunnel over the two bunnyhops that follow the first large drop. Coaster #354...ca-chink.
Also in the same section as the Wild Mouse and Spider is Colossus Fire Dragon, however a single train operation and long line leading out of the queue and - you guessed it - towards the entrance to the park - meant I'd miss on both of Anton's creations on this trip.
I walked back to check out the flume and the rapids ride. It was definitely warm enough to ride but because I had to catch a flight and I was wearing the last of the clean clothes I'd packed I decided to skip them for now. But I spent $5 in quarters getting rapids riders soaked by a well-placed geyser, getting the timing perfect and entertaining the crowd of onlookers.
A quick walk around the park confirmed that lines for everything were horrendous so I decided to grab a second Spider ride and call it a day. As I passed the woodie I noticed train #2 was running and the line was considerably smaller, so I got in line. In the station is a sign explaining the faded color of the ride. It seems the park is slowly returning the ride to a natural wood color and thusly not repainting it.
The park has a rule that no single riders can ride in the front or back seat so I decided to opt for the middle row of the last car of the 3-bench PTC train. But as I approached I noticed the ride op asking the couple in the middle row to switch with the single guy in the back row. I spoke up that I was single and would ride with him, thus allowing me to get a back seat ride as well.
As one of the oldest wooden coasters operating today -- it was built in 1921 -- "the white coaster" ran like a gem! Mild air on the first drop lead to outstanding ejector air on the first high camelback. The drop out of turn #1 also had excellent air as did the drop from the second high camelback. Turn #2, which pierces the lift, was taken quite speedily and lead to two more drops, the second a double down...again good to excellent air...followed by a quick jaunt around turn #3. It was only the last few bunnies on the return home that failed to deliver but the ride as a whole was very good...MUCH better than I'd remembered it from 1994.
Post-wooden I grabbed that second Spider ride, sitting backwards this time, and called it a day. Despite the crowd I got a good sense of the park and its ambiance. It reminded me a lot of Indiana Beach, complete with a midway-spanning skyride. I would have liked to have sampled the park's many flats, water rides, and two dark rides but crowds were prohibitive. Thankfully I'll be back in Salt Lake City for business a lot this year so I'll have other opportunities.
Next up: The Great Southeast Coaster Feast with Bass, Flare, and Schnappy!
*** Edited 5/22/2005 11:21:36 PM UTC by Mamoosh***
Glad you had a good time!
Samurai was the one thing that eluded me on my trip there, sucky since I've been wanting to ride a Mondial Top Scan for years ... probably because it's the only mega-flat ride name I can remember as much as the ride motion looks insane.
With the addition of the Bat and my parents moving to Denver in a month or so, I sure hope a return to Lagoon is in the works for me soon!
Nice TR. It is fun to read about someone else's opinion on my old home park. The Spider is the bomb. I think everyone should forget about normal wild mouse coasters and start putting these things in.
I tried snapping those flyers while I was there and I got pretty close but it wasn't as easy as the ones PKI had.
You need to hit the two dark rides if you are even a little bit of a fan of the dark and clogging is a very popular thing in Utah. Sorry you had to see that or run into it!
I didn't get to ride Samurai on my trip out there either. Plus Cliffhanger was also closed. I was pretty bummed because those are pretty much the two best flat rides they have in the park.
PS, I'd kill to get a M:TR @ Lagoon, you need to suggest it next time ur there ;o)
If only they knew what I know...
Wow, moosh. I think somebody is tryin to pick you up.
If only they knew what I know...
So Tekno, what do you know? lol I'm sure we'd all love to hear it! I'm not trying to pick up on moosh, although, we are "family" ;o)
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