Lakemont & DelGrosso's. June 11, 12, & 13

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Sunday, June 16, 2002 6:56 AM

Every year I visit relatives in Altoona, PA, which is minutes away from both Lakemont Park and Delgrosso's Park. This week at Lakemont was Dollar Week. Rather than free admission and then $7.95 for a ride wristband, everyone goes in for $1. You would think that this would flock thousands to the park, but you would be wrong. I have been to Lakemont 4 times now, and have never had to wait more than 1 cycle for any ride.

We had originally planned to do both parks Wed. June 12, but a spur of the moment decision took us to Lakemont Tuesday night. I got there, payed my dollar, and went to Skyliner and rode five or so times. Skyliner is a very unique coaster. It really isnt all that big, and there really isnt much to it...yet it is a wild ride. And even in the same seat, no two rides seem to be alike.

The ride is very different in the front and back. The front offers a nice, old-fashioned style wooden coaster ride. It gives great pops of airtime, and its a nice ride.

The back is just insane. The airtime off the 1st drop in the backseat of Skyliner is the best airtime I have ever had on a coaster. It is simply unreal. Then again, I havent really ridden that many coasters, so I am sure that there is even better airtime out there.

After Skyliner I went to the Toboggan. I am sure most people know what this is by now. Its a Chance portable coaster. You get into a little cage-like car and go up the vertical, enclosed lift. At the top, you begin to spiral around the lift and pick up speed. At the bottom, you go over a small bunny hop that really throws you around before headed back to the "station"

It is a unique coaster and I do like it. However if you have claustrophobia, I strongly suggest you dont ride. I do not have it, but begin to feel it going up the lift.

From there I went to Leap The Dips, the worlds oldest coaster. Ahhh, whats this? Its now an extra $1.50 just for one ride on L-T-D, or $2.50 for an all day wristband for L-T-D. Not sure why this is, one of my friends told me that the coaster is run by a non-profit group now..not sure but it really didn't bug me. If it keeps it in good condition, I will gladly pay the extra.

L-T-D is a very unique coaster...and is very fun. The cars are unique, and you must see them to really get a sense of what they are all about. They seat 4, 2 in the front and 2 in back.

The ride really isn't "much" yet is is a lot of fun. It is what the name states, leaps and dips. The track is also interesting because there are no guide wheels. You have to see it to really understand what it is all about.

After L-T-D I rode the Mad odd little coaster. They stop the cars in the station by having them hit the car in front of it. Also, no restraints.

The coaster looks like it could fall apart at any minute, but it offers a relatively smooth rides. Only one big jerk, and it didn't bother me. I like the Mad Mouse.

After this I rode some flat rides; the bumper cars (a nice long ride, but there was a divider..not fun); Scrambler; and Tilt A Whirl. The flats at Lakemont are in good condition, and are run well.

I spent about 2 hours at the park, and that is all I really needed. You can do Lakemont in about two hours, hit every coaster more than once, a few flats, and walk around. It really is nice, and there is never a soul there.

Wednesday I hit Delgrosso's, probably about a half hour from Lakemont (my relatives live about 15 minutes from each park)

Delgrosso's is another great small park. I think that it is actually nicer than Lakemont in terms of cleanliness and quality, but there is not as much to do.

I spent about 3 hours at Delgrosso's, and rode every flat ride, the Zyklon, and went to the waterpark and did all of the slides.

The Zyklon is the only coaster at the park, and really, it isn't much. Its your typical Zyklon type coaster, but it is braked heavily and just crawls through the course. However, you must ride it at least once for the first drop. Another coaster on my trip with no restraints. Ride in the back ...that first drop is incredible. Airtime galore. It makes it worth it.

I was also able to take on ride pics on the Zyklon. I asked the ride op, and all they said is that if I lost my camera, they were not reponsible.

After Zyklon I rode all the flats. They have a pretty good Paratrooper, a Chance Flying Bobs which really sucks...not fast at runs both forward & backward.

They have a Round-Up which was my favorite flat at the park. I havent ridden a Rotor or Round-Up since 1999 when Geauga Lake became SF and took out their Rotor. Even though they have one at Lakemont I have never ridden it, and I had never ridden the DelGrosso's one until this year. It became my number one flat at the park. I rode it a couple of times. So much fun.

They also have a Casino that only runs backwards, which was fun.

The weirdest flat at this park is a little thing called the Space Odyssey. It is in a small, dome like building, and reminds me of a slow Music Express. The cars are shaped like little rockets, and only fit one person. Now, when the ride starts, the lights go down and some blacklights turn on and what not. That right there would be enough. The "coolness" of this ride is ruined when the ride op turns the music on, which is whatever they want to play. I rode twice, the first time the ride op was playing rap music, and the second time, country music. That right there just totally ruins the coolness of this unique flat ride. Add in this annoying siren that randomly goes off two or three times during the ride, it is a very different ride that you must try if you are ever at Delgrosso's.

After I rode everything, I went to the waterpark. Delgrosso's waterpark is definately my favorite waterpark. There is a "Hooks Lagoon" style area, and while it is not as big as the ones found at SF parks, I think it is nicer, and all of it is always open.

The best part though are the five slides. Two of them are on one tower, and they are the speed slides. They are the "Twin Twisters" and are just mirror images of each other. One of the few slides where you have to go down head first. You ride on these foamy mats. You start by going around some curves to gain a little speed, and then, I can only describe it as a double dip. And the effect is similar to the double dip on Jack Rabbit at Kennywood. The first dip gives you great speed, and then on the second dip, you become airborne on your little foamy mat before skimming into the landing pool.

The Twin Twisters are my favorite slides, and are definately the most intense at the park, and some of the most intense I have ever ridden.

The other three are on the tower right next to the Twisters, and are a little milder. What is nice is that you don't have to decide which one you want to do until you reach the top of the steps, because they all start on the same platform.

Also, you have to use a tube to go down this set of slides. However, if you are riding alone (as I was) you can ride these slides, even though the sign says double riders only.

"Midnight Express" is probably the calmest slide, yet it is a lot of fun. The reason; it is painted jet black and is enclosed, so you can not see anything until it opens up at the very end. You really don't get much speed, and the drop is small, but it is still fun.

"Gravity Groove" is a step up on Midnight Express. It really isn't all that faster, however it is not enclosed. Gravity Groove has one unique feature that I loved, a camelback hill. It reminded me of the first drop on Log Jammer at Kennywood. You go down, get some good speed, and then go up. This must be what a watercoaster is like. After the camelback, you go back down and hit the pool.

"Great White" is the most intense slide on this tower. All it is, is a big drop. The lifeguard at the top will start you off backwards, sideways, or will even spin you if you ask them. From there you go down a small drop, flatten out, and then down a steep, fast drop to the bottom.

After that, we headed out for the day, after only about three hours. Another park that I have never seen a crowd at, and another park you can do everything more than once, and still have time to walk around and relax in just a few hours.

Thursday we went back to Lakemont so I could take pictures, but I ended up with about 10 rides on Skyliner, and one last ride on Leap The Dips. Again, I asked if I could take on ride pics, and I got the same response as I had at Delgrosso's.

I left both of these parks with a good feeling. Both parks really want you to have a good time when you are there, and the employees really care. When we ordered pizza at Delgrosso's, they did not have the kind we wanted, so they through in an extra slice of what they had for free, just to make up for it. Now, what "big" park would do that?

If you are ever in the area, I strongly recommend stopping by either, or both of these parks. Both can be done in one day, and one can be done in just a couple of hours.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 16, 2002 7:24 AM
Sounds like fun! I've got to hit Lakemont this year for the Dips 100th birthday. Sounds like most PA small parks have that picture policy (Conneaut gave me the exact same answer). All I hear about Skyliner is the backseat. Is that recommended for the first ride? :)

Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!

Sunday, June 16, 2002 4:12 PM

Back seat, if you can for your first ride, do it. The airtime is unreal.

The front seat also has its moment on the first turn, but it is more of a traditional, floaty, front seat style airtime. The backseat just throws you off of your seat.

As for LTD 100th anniversary, there isn't a big to do about it. A few souvenirs in the souvenir shop, that is all. If you don't look at the souvenirs, you probably wouldn't even realize this was the 100th anniv.


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