I woke up around 6 in the morning. I didn't even have my alarm set either, I for some reason just woke up after only 4 hours of sleep. I had about 3 hours to burn until we had to leave, so after I got ready I spent some time playing NCAA Football (if you haven't bought it already, don't). I left my house around 8:40 to meet up with some friends that were going with me. A bunch of crap I won't get into delayed us, and instead of leaving at the scheduled 9:00, we leave at 9:30.
1 stop at McDonald's and 2 cycles of my iPod music later, we arrived in Altoona. Lakemont was DEAD. The parking lot was full though, because the Altoona Curve had a baseball game that day. Let me say, other than Camden Yards that is nicest ballpark I have seen. anyway, we get in (dirt cheap, about 8 dollars) and get our wristbands. The park itself was, again, DEAD. Other than the group I was with, I saw about 10 people that I didn't know. We decided to head off to Skyliner first, I heard a lot of great things about it and I wanted to see if those people were right:
Skyliner: This was coaster #55 for me, and from what I saw driving into the park and from pictures on the internet, it looked like a good one. The ride starts with a slow 180 degree right turn that is about 15 feet away from the right field wall at Blair County Ballpark. Great view of the game, for 10 seconds anyway. Next, the train ascends the 60-foot lift hill. The train crests the hill, takes a 90 degree left turn and drops 45 feet. The air here in the front is great, but in the back it's SICK. In the back seat, it's one of the best first drops I've experienced. The climb up the second hill has a HUGE air spot in the front and a nice float in the back. Sadly, the rest of the ride is slow and uneventful.
If Skyliner's 2nd half was near as good as the 1st half, this would be an easy top 5 woodie in my book. The 1st drop and climb up the 2nd hill rivals Phoenix when you talk about airtime, but the 2nd half is a complete bore. I heard it did get better as the day went on, but I only had 3 hours there so I couldn't find out. Despite the excellent 1st half, Skyliner ranks in the bottom half of my wood coaster list., I'll give it a 5/10.
After Skyliner, we went straight to another coaster, Toboggan.
Toboggan: Toboggan was #56 for me, and the last credit I would get today. If you haven't seen one of these before, it really looks like some sort of f*cked up flat ride. It starts out with an enclosed vertical lift, then 7 spiraling circuits around the rocket slide-like structure, a small drop, a small climb, and a turnaround back to the station. You get in this little contraption that kind of looks like a car. The vertical lift was really akward, and the spiral drop was pretty uneventful and boring. The little dip drop was PAINFUL. The bar pushed right down into my No Fly Zone. The little climb and turnaround was also uneventful and boring, and the ride was over. Easily the most boring coaster I have ever been on, and the painful moment doesn't help. I never thought I'd say this, but I found a coaster that was worse than Whirlwind! 1/10.
After this, the disappointing part came. I suggested we ride Leap-the-Dips, so we went to the station only to find a "Ride Closed" sign. I knew it wasn't going to be an exciting or fun ride, but I wanted to get at least ONE lap on it for the historical factor. Not my day I guess. After that, we went to the corny ass waterpark that consisted of 3 mat slides and a kiddy pool. Oh, what fun. The mat slides were actually fun though, we would stop ourselves mid-slide and run into each other and go down together. It wasn't my idea, I always went after my friends, but they were stopped there every damn time and I couldn't pass them. The bastards took my mat the one time too. Good laugh.
We came back to the rides section and too a ride on the Sky Diver. You should remember this from Amazing Earl's RCT2 custom rides, or pictures on the internet. It's basically one messed up ferris wheel. Faster, and you're in little caged contraptions that spin around very quickly. Not only did it not feel safe, but it made me sick and crushed my baby makers.
I was getting pretty hungry, so I ordered some pizza. This was actually really good, problem was it was $2.25 a slice, and they weren't that big. There was an arcade attached to the restaurant, so we decided to check it out. We saw this sweet claw machine with fruit flavored Tootsie Rolls in it. It was play-till-you-win, so why not! We went through about 3 bucks in quarters and came out with 4 pockets full of the things.
After that was the not so grand finale. The go karts. The track itself was awesome, but I, of course, got the slowest go kart. I went out of the pits 2nd with a (roughly) 10 second lead on the 3rd place guy. Within 2 laps he passed me. I actually did a good defense/blocking job on the 4th place guy. I held him off for about 2 laps, but he inevitably passed me. I started the "race" 2nd, finished 5th and the nearest car was 2 seconds ahead of me. That got me rather pissed off, seeing as I like to win things.
That was it, we left and got home around 7:00. A sigh of relief for me. What a terrible experience, the rides were all bad (that I was on anyway), the roller coasters were sub par, the waterpark was a joke, and the food was WAY overpriced. I only paid 8 dollars to get in, but it wasn't worth it. I can understand that they are a small, family owned park, but I just couldn't get into it. I really thought I was going to enjoy myself because I love parks like Knoebel's, but this was just terrible. I am safe saying I'll never visit again. Lakemont Park gets a 3/10 overall from me.
Lakemont is what it is, I wouldn't really call it terrible, but I realize it isn't anything great either. I enjoyed my time there, but I wasn't expecting Knoebels either. The park as far as I know is only open as a public service to the area taxpayers and probably barely gets by. I don't kow the whole story there.
It's a wonder that Lakemont and Leap the Dips still survive at all. Yes, Lakemont is far from perfect but they do what they can with the resources they have and I think they are slowly rebuilding it into a respectable park.
Too bad you didn't get to ride Leap the Dips as you would have found that it, contrary to your belief, is both a fun and an exciting coaster. I think anybody who has ridden it would agree.
*** Edited 8/5/2005 2:48:17 PM UTC by millrace***
Lip the Dips seems to have been down all season, I was disapointed to find it closed during my short visit last month.
Yep, Lakemont is what it is, and that is a service to the community. A place for people to go to find something to do for a day. Although not much, it seems to me that they make at least some profit, or else they wouldn't be in business. I think the fact that the people who work there in the summer make less than minimum wage probably help them stay afloat as well.
People around here still talk about the Lakemont Park of the past, and are very angry at those involved with the "Boyertown Expierment", which was supposed to turn the place into another Hersheypark.
There's still one at Conneaut Lake Park, but it was closed the day we went.
Bottom line: Toboggans are better for snow than for *coasting*. They DO count as a credit (at least in my book)...albeit a painful one...OUCH! ;)
Shame for me was that the *event* post-PPP in '03 had the Mouse off the menu, then it went away....still, that's WAY better than what you got, missing out on L-t-D....I got to ride with some great friends, and while it's (obviously) not a thrilling ride, everyone with *an eye for nostalgia* seems to agree that only Coney's Cyclone compares on that front among wooden coasters...it's THAT special.
Skyliner is a moody beast...
Conneaut's Toboggan has been SBNO this year....there's rumors that it'll be open next season, but I'd qualify those rumors as being *of questionable reliability*...
Actually, its back up and running! I rode it on 8/7.
You should have gone to DelGrosso's as well, if you had the time. DelGrosso's has some terrific waterslides, but no wood. :( Maybe someday they will build one.
Funny story, we actually pulled into DelGrosso's parking lot because the guy driving us thought this is where we were supposed to go. There was a sign that said "Amusement Park: 5 miles" back on the highway. I guess he didn't care that the previous sign said "Altoona: 10 miles". So an unnecessary argument started, trying to get it through his head that we weren't in the right place. The water slides did look pretty sweet though.
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